EDH Player Psychographics – Barktooths and the Allure of the Unusual

Barktooth Warbeard

Barktooth Warbeard is a card you’ve probably never heard of, which is exactly why he’s the namesake of our next EDH player psychographic.

A Barktooth is an EDH player who loves playing unusual, underused, and under-appreciated cards. For Barktooths, the fun of the format isn’t necessarily derived from playing the optimal card all the time. For them, it’s quite the opposite. It’s all about taking cards no one else is playing and making them good (or at least as good as they can get).

In today’s article, we’ll take a look at what makes a Barktooth, what might tickle a Barktooth’s fancy, and how we can find Barktooth players using EDHREC. Let’s get started!


Finding Barktooths (Barkteeth?)

Using EDHREC, let’s take a look at some of the format’s underserved commanders. For the purposes of this article, I hereby decree that any commander with fewer than 50 decks is a Barktooth commander. Let’s take a look:

This is just a random smattering of Barktoothy commanders (including the man himself), though I think it gives a decent impression of the psychographic. These are the kinds of cards you might look at and think, “How could this possibly function as a commander?” Barktooths love answering that question.

For the purposes of this section, I’m erring toward cards from older sets rather than newer ones. That’s because new commanders might have fewer decks simply because they’re new and players haven’t had time to tinker with them. For example, Adeliz, the Cinder Wind currently has just 38 decks on EDHREC. However, she doesn’t really feel like a Barktooth commander to me, and I don’t expect her to be in Barktooth range much longer. Once people notice that she’s cosplaying as the dude from Assassin’s Creed, she’ll explode in popularity.


Finding Other Barktoothy Strategies

However, there’s more to being a Barktooth than just selecting obscure cards. Players who play established commanders in unusual ways might also fall into this psychographic.

Since Sultai is my favorite color combination and I am in fact the person writing this article, I’d like to turn your attention toward Sidisi, Brood Tyrant (and thereby turn your attention away from this run-on sentence). From this lovely page, we see that Sidisi is the most popular commander of her colors by a wide margin.

Sultai Commanders

In fact, she’s one of the most popular commanders of all time.

True story: Sidisi is so popular that two new decks appeared in the time between these screenshots. Judging by that fact and these numbers, Sidisi is the exact opposite of a Barktooth commander. Many players run her, therefore she doesn’t typify our psychographic—but let’s delve a little deeper and see what we find.

Once we visit Sidisi’s commander page, let’s check out the panel labeled “Tribes/Themes.” As we can see, the listed themes near the top are more or less what you’d expect. Self-Mill and Graveyard—no surprises there. If we’re Barktooths, we’re skipping over those and going straight to the bottom.

Naga Tribal

Boom. If you’re one of the five players in the world who’s playing Sidisi, Brood Tyrant in a Naga tribal shell, you are absolutely a Barktooth. That’s because even though it’s a popular commander, you’re implementing it in a unique way.


Playing Against Barktooths

Barktooths are fun to play against because you never know what you might encounter. For the same reason, they can be formidable adversaries.

Truth be told, it’s often difficult to intuit a Barktooth’s strategy. When a player brings Kaalia of the Vast to the table, it’s abundantly clear what their game plan is, and therefore easier to strategize against. When someone sits down with Mirri the Cursed, things get far less predictable. Cat tribal? Vampire tribal? Voltron? Mono black goodstuff? String theory alternate-world obscure-lore theme deck? Who can say?

If you’ve got a lot of Barktooths in your playgroup, I’d recommend approaching them with caution. Resist the urge to ignore them. Even though players might not seem like threats when playing atypical commanders, they could very well be your undoing.


A Barktooth Brew

In my first article in this series, I mentioned I’m a bit of a Barktooth myself. Below is probably my Barktoothiest deck so far. Squee, the Immortal serves as frontman, joining a total of 22 decks. See what you think:


A Few Other Signs You Might be a Barktooth

Here are a few reasons you might be a Barktooth. If you display any of these signs, it’s a distinct possibility. Check them out and see what you think!

  1. You delight in playing cards no one’s ever heard of.
  2. You’re a self-described hipster. Better yet, other people call you a hipster, only you insist that you don’t prescribe to any particular style, group, or set of beliefs.
  3. You believe popularity is a sign of selling out.
  4. Your opponents read and re-read almost every card you play.
  5. Your favorite film is a French New Wave drama with a thin plot, probably shot in black and white with nonsensical jump cuts.
  6. You use EDHREC’s “Random Commander” feature constantly.
  7. When I mentioned Barktooth Warbeard earlier, you thought to yourself, “Oh yeah. That guy.”
  8. You already have a Squee deck or a Sidisi Naga tribal deck. Maybe both.

Calling All Barkteeth (Barktooths?)

If you’re a Barktooth, give us a shoutout in the comments below! Tell us what makes being a Barktooth so special. Share with us your newest brews and how EDHREC has helped you build them. Most of all, delight us with cards we’ve never heard of!

Kyle Massa is a writer and avid Magic player living somewhere in upstate New York with his wife and their two cats. His current favorite card is the forthcoming Niv-Mizzet, Parun. Kyle can be found on Twitter @mindofkyleam.