What is the best way to shuffle a Commander deck?

Welcome to the world of Commander, an exciting and popular format in Magic: The Gathering where players can show off their deck-building skills and plan epic multiplayer battles. Whether you’re a Commander pro or just getting started, how you shuffle your deck is a vital skill that can affect how your games turn out.

What is the best way to shuffle a Commander deck?


What’s a Commander Deck?

A Commander deck, also known as “EDH” (Elder Dragon Highlander), is a unique and challenging way to play Magic: The Gathering. It’s made up of 100 cards, and you can’t have more than one of each card except for basic lands. Your deck is led by a legendary creature called the “Commander,” which hangs out in a special zone called the “Command Zone” and can be cast many times during the game.

The History of Commander Format

The Commander format has a cool history that goes back to the early 2000s. It started with regular players and eventually got the thumbs-up from Wizards of the Coast, the folks who make Magic. Let’s take a look at how it all began and how it’s grown.

Popular Commander Deck Themes

Commander decks come in all sorts of themes and strategies. There are tribal decks, combo-focused decks, and many more. We’ll check out some of the coolest and most popular themes that players use to make their decks awesome.

Why Shuffling Matters

Shuffling is super important in Magic: The Gathering and it’s no different in Commander. Good shuffling makes sure your deck is all mixed up so that everyone has a fair and balanced game.

Different Shuffling Techniques

Let’s explore various ways players shuffle their Commander decks, each with its advantages and challenges.

  1. Overhand Shuffle: The Overhand Shuffle is simple and easy. You hold your deck in one hand and use your other hand to take small sections of cards from the top and put them on the bottom. It’s quick, but it might not mix the cards as well as other methods.
  2. Riffle Shuffle: The Riffle Shuffle, also called the “Mash” or “Faro” shuffle, is what you see in movies when people split a deck in two and mix them. It’s common among pros because it’s fast and thorough when done right.
  3. Hindu Shuffle: The Hindu Shuffle is smooth and elegant. You move cards from one hand to the other in a flowing manner. It’s good if you want to keep your cards in good shape while shuffling.
  4. Mash Shuffle: The Mash Shuffle is a gentler version of the Riffle Shuffle. You push the two halves of the deck together, making sure they interlace. It’s efficient and less harsh on your cards.
  5. Pile Shuffle: Pile Shuffle isn’t a great way to randomize your deck on its own, but it can be a good start. You make piles of cards and then shuffle those piles together. It’s like the setup before the real shuffle.
  6. Washing Shuffle: The Washing Shuffle is fun and random. You spread your cards all over the table and mix them up like you’re washing them. It adds a bit of excitement to your shuffling routine.
  7. What is the Legendary Creature Rule in Commander?

Sleeving and Double-Sleeving Your Cards

To keep your precious Magic: The Gathering cards safe and sound, you should use card sleeves. Sleeves protect your cards from wear and tear and make shuffling easier. Some players even double-sleeve their cards for extra protection.

Sleeving Your Cards

Here are the steps to follow when sleeving your Commander deck:

  1. Gather Your Supplies: Get enough sleeves to cover your entire deck. Make sure they fit the size of your Commander cards, which are usually standard or “Magic” length.
  2. Check Sleeve Quality: Not all sleeves are the same. To make sure your cards stay safe, use high-quality sleeves from well-known brands.
  3. Prepare the Cards: Take off any old sleeves or protective coverings from your cards. Make sure your cards are clean and free of dirt before you put them into new sleeves.
  4. Insert the Cards: Carefully slide each card into its sleeve. Make sure the card is centred and fully covered, protecting both the front and back.
  5. Uniform Sleeve Orientation: Keep all the cards facing the same way, with an equal amount of sleeves above and below the card’s top edge.
  6. Double-Check the Deck: After you’ve sleeved all the cards, gently shuffle the deck to make sure everything is well-protected and no cards are sticking out.

Double-Sleeving Your Cards

Double-sleeving, also called “double-sleeve,” is a method that gives your cards an extra layer of protection. It takes more effort but offers superior defence against spills and moisture. Here’s how to double-sleeve your Commander deck:

  1. Inner Sleeves: Start by using inner sleeves on your cards. These are usually clear and fit snugly around the cards. This step keeps the cards from touching the outer sleeve directly.
  2. Outer Sleeves: After all the cards have inner sleeves, put them into the thicker outer sleeves. These offer more protection against spills and rough handling.
  3. Ensure Fit: Make sure the combination of inner and outer sleeves doesn’t make the cards too bulky for your deck box.
  4. Test Shuffle: Shuffle the deck a few times to make sure the cards move smoothly. If they do, you’ve successfully double-sleeved your Commander deck.

Many players use double-sleeving for valuable or rare cards. It’s a great way to protect your investment and keep your cards safe during intense games.

Easy Tips for Shuffling Your Deck

Shuffling cards might seem easy, but when playing games like Magic: The Gathering’s Commander, doing it right is super important. Here are some simple tips to make sure you shuffle your Commander deck the right way:

  1. Practice Makes Perfect: Just like anything else, shuffling gets better with practice. Try different ways of shuffling every day to get better.
  2. Use Card Sleeves: Before shuffling, put your cards in sleeves. This keeps them safe and makes shuffling smoother. Sleeves also help you handle your deck easily during the game.
  3. Double Sleeving for Extra Protection: If you want extra protection, use two sleeves – one inside the other. This keeps your cards safe from spills and wear.
  4. Get Good Quality Sleeves: Invest in sleeves that are strong and won’t easily get damaged when you shuffle. This helps your cards last longer.
  5. Shuffle Carefully: Be gentle when shuffling to avoid bending or damaging your cards. Treat them nicely, and they’ll stay in great shape.
  6. Mix Things Up: Try to shuffle a lot so your cards get mixed up. The more you shuffle, the more random your deck will be.
  7. Use Different Shuffling Techniques: To make sure it’s super random, try different ways of shuffling. This helps stop cards from sticking together.
  8. Mash Shuffle Carefully: If you like mash shuffling, do it carefully. Make sure both halves of your deck fit together well.
  9. Be Gentle with Riffle Shuffle: If you use riffle shuffling, be careful not to bend the cards too much. Practice until you feel comfortable.
  10. Overhand Shuffle Many Times: Overhand shuffle is easy but works well. Shuffle multiple times to make sure your cards are mixed up.
  11. Cut the Deck Properly: After shuffling, always cut the deck. This makes sure your deck is random when you show it to your opponent.
  12. Shuffle Between Games: After each game, shuffle your deck well so there’s no leftover order from the last game.
  13. Reshuffle If Needed: If a card accidentally shows during shuffling, shuffle again to keep things fair.
  14. Respect Your Opponent’s Deck: When shuffling your opponent’s deck, be gentle and don’t bend their cards.
  15. No Mana Weaving: Don’t arrange your cards on purpose before shuffling. This is not allowed and doesn’t make things random.
  16. Keep Things Clean: Make sure your playing area is neat so nothing messes up your deck when you shuffle.

Shuffling your deck the right way is super important for a fun Commander game. Follow these simple tips and practice, and soon you’ll be a pro at shuffling your Commander deck, giving you the best chance to draw the cards you need in every game.


Shuffling is a really important skill for Commander players. It makes sure the game is fair and fun. If you learn different ways to shuffle and follow some good rules, you can shuffle your deck with confidence. This way, you can fully enjoy playing Commander and have exciting battles with your friends.


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