StarCityGames.com is pleased and proud to announce a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interview Ruhan of the Fomori.
We figured there'd be no one better to interview this giant (literally) of the Commander scene than feature writer Sheldon Menery well renowned for his employment of Ruhan as a commander. His notes:
I was surprised when Ruhan's agent told me that I'd be meeting him in his Upper East Side penthouse. I had just assumed that he lived in a giant cave or something. When I arrived I was cordially greeted by his good friend and confidant Michiko Konda who told me I'd have two hours to speak with Ruhan before she came back as they had an engagement. She also told me to not damage anything or it would cost me.
I was intrigued by Ruhan's delicate interior design sensibilities. I had expected something a little more brutish than the art deco and vintage fixtures throughout the space. He's clearly hooked on Mad Men. We sat on comfortable sofas in a tall-ceilinged room that looked out over Manhattan.
Sheldon: Thanks for talking to us.
Ruhan: Yeah no problem. You've always been bros.
Sheldon: Tell us about what brought you to New York.
Ruhan: Well I was just kind of humming along randomly attacking people. You know "unfettered by allegiance driven by war." I was having a pretty good time doing what I was doing and then WotC called. They offered me a slot in the new Commander product coming out. I was like "Dude! That'd be sauce!" I figured there'd be more attacking. Always attacking.
Anyway that got me into the spotlight. I got a couple of commercial offers. There was one like the dog food with the little wagon that disappears under the sink. I'm still not sure what that was about. There was that a toothpaste a low-end athletic shoe and Under Armor. I was kind of hoping to do a thing with Ray Lewis but that never panned out.
Then once you featured me as the commander for that deck here on StarCityGames.com stuff really took off. Joe Eszterhas wanted to write a film about Darien King of Kjeldor that led into my own creation story but it just wasn't violent enough for my tastes. I had a little side project with Claire Danes but the less said about that the better. I think she's still pretty mad at me.
I have three different pilots in the works. The first is where I'm a US Marshal taking over for Mary McCormack in In Plain Sight. That series ends mine picks up and I randomly arrest fugitives. The second is a sitcom where me Michiko and Thada Adel own a Pike's Place fish market where hilarity ensues because I only give the salmon to the right person a third of the time.
The third is a fantasy-setting piece where the Fomori are dealing with the same issues as Black Americans were in the 1960s. There's some attacking but I'm more interested in the social commentary. I think I have a responsibility to use my celebrity responsibly. There's also a pretty good anti-smoking message in that one.
Sheldon: Let's turn our attention to the format for which you're famous. Do you say "Commander" or "EDH?"
Ruhan: I know I should say Commander because that's the product I come out of but it's EDH for me. I'm a traditionalist.
Sheldon: What's your favorite thing about the format?
Ruhan: Attacking. I don't really care who.
Sheldon: Really? No one in particular?
Ruhan: If I had to choose—and I'm slowly teaching myself how to choose things—it would be Sharuum. That guy is never bros.
Sheldon: What do you mean?
Ruhan: Every time there's a Sharuum deck the owner lies about there being no infinite combos or that he's playing "not broken" stuff. I'm not a fan of lies. It's what led me to suggest to you the idea of "You did this to yourself."
Sheldon: Yeah I'd like to point out to our readers that "You did this…" was from your fertile mind not mine.
Ruhan: Well we should first shout out to Armada Games' Todd Palmer who showed us Parallectric Feedback but yeah it's one of the things I'm proud of. I believe in justice. I believe in punishing people for going too far. I believe in comeuppance. Like in Game of Thrones. Everyone gets their comeuppance.
EDH is a format where some fun can be had and some epic plays can be made but sometimes people take it way too far. We're not going to kill you for drawing two extra cards a turn or whatever but when you have a hand of twenty expect some Sudden Impact. I'd love to play around with Storm Seeker too but I just don't understand it.
Sheldon: Because it's green.
Ruhan: Yeah whatever. Anyway there was this Sharuum guy and he was all "Glassdust Hulk" and "Sculpting Steel Sharuum infi loop attack for infi damage." I had to just say "We need to Mirror Strike that <expletive deleted>."
Sheldon: So you're not opposed to creatures attacking.
Ruhan (getting a little animated): No! I love attacking! I think everyone should attack all the time! That's why I'm bros with Avatar of Slaughter. It's just that attacking with a 49/49 Omnath gets it shoved back in your pie hole. And don't even get me started on Rofellos. I hate that little <deleted at the behest of the ACLU>.
Sheldon: There have been some rumors about you and Michiko…
Ruhan: Let's put that <censored> to rest right now. I love Michiko. She has a great outlook on life. You break something you pay. We work extremely well together. We're friends. In the end we're different species. Even in a fantasy setting that's just wrong. If not you never know but let's not go down that road. Kind of creeps me out to think about it.
Sheldon: There's also rumor that there's been a little tension between you and Thada.
Ruhan: Are you going to ask serious questions? I thought this was for StarCityGames.com not the <deleted> National Enquirer.
Sheldon: Sorry we'll head a different direction. Who have you been hanging out with lately?
Ruhan: Boldwyr Intimidator. That guy is serious bros. Turns out Cowards can't block Warriors when he's around. You know when that's most useful? At the clubs. The two of us were in the VIP Room at Jay-Z's place [writer's note—the 40/40 Club] and let's just say there was no blocking of any kind going on. If you know what I mean.
Sheldon: You spend a fair amount of time in the clubs?
Ruhan: I wouldn't say a lot but a couple of nights a week. I'm still hoping to run into that Osyp guy. I hear he's slick and wild things always happen around him.
Sheldon: Any other Magic pros you'd like to hang out with?
Ruhan: I already have. I got to hang out with Antonino de Rosa a few months back and <entire story deleted due to graphic and adult nature of content>. Fabiano was supposed to come with us but he was out of hair gel or something. I wouldn't mind getting invited to one of those drafts at Finkel's place. And all the girls think Kibler's dreamy but I don't get it. Even if I was Human I wouldn't exactly jump the fence for him.
Speaking of hanging out you've never invited me over to your place. It's like you've invited over everyone else but Ruhan just stays in New York. You ever think I might like Florida?
Sheldon: Well yeah but…
Ruhan: Didn't even invite me to your birthday party. Invited everyone else. I bet you even invited Liliana…
Sheldon: No but…
Ruhan: We should move on before I get huffy.
Sheldon: Yeah we should. Tell us about your responsibility as a commander for an EDH deck.
Ruhan: It's really all about setting a tone. I want to see everyone battling. It's good for you you know. That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger and all. If I can show the way then I think everyone just gets better.
Sheldon: Isn't that a little one-dimensional?
Ruhan: Not at all since we're still keeping an eye on things as we're battling. All that raw aggression forces the opponent to be aggressive too and in the end that's how we kill him—he overcommits or tries to do too much at once and then BANG!—Reflect Damage. Eat that Kresh.
Sheldon: We understand you've recently added Curse of Echoes to your arsenal. How's it working out?
Ruhan: Okay so far. I haven't seen it much. It's there mostly to make That Guy have to think about what he's doing. He's going to have to carefully consider if he wants to cast Recurring Insight or whatever now. I'm still not sure it really punishes anyone for doing stuff to excess but we'll see.
Sheldon: Any other recent additions you're happy with?
Ruhan: Alpha Brawl. It's freaking hilarious most of the time.
Sheldon: Anything else?
Ruhan: Yeah Mischievous Quanar. We got turned onto him by one of the Armada regulars Nate Fons and he's been copying like a madman ever since. The fact that we can turn him face down again is just bonkers. You know what I really like copying? Time Stretch. That Guy's Time Stretch. And then battling him three times. Unfortunately sometimes I get distracted and battle other people.
Sheldon: Anything you're considering getting rid of?
Ruhan: Mindslaver. It's been valuable don't get me wrong but it just feels skeevy to use it. I don't like taking the ability to play away from people. I just like doing stuff to them when they do play things. I think you're the one who said what I also believe about Mindslaver: one activation is fine; it's recurring it that's the problem. I don't want to be that guy.
Sheldon: What cards do you really hate in the format?
Ruhan: Sundering Titan. Dude is seriously not bros. You guys should really think about getting rid of it. It definitely makes for games that are no fun. Contrast that with something that's reasonable protection like Ruination which I fully support. If you get greedy with your mana base you should get wrecked.
This format is best when it plays longer games and in longer games you don't need to have all those dual lands and shocklands and whatever because fixing mana is only important early. You can get by with lots of basics. If that's the case then Ruination isn't going to hurt you. If you're greedy it will and it should. The bad thing about Sundering Titan is that it nukes stuff coming and going and you know anyone who plays it is thinking about bringing it back multiple times.
Like you I'm not a fan of taking the game away from the other players. Yes it's a good strategy if all you care about is winning but it makes games you'd rather forget instead of games you remember. I'd rather win by actively beating my opponent not by preventing him from doing anything. But that's just me. I like active beating.
Sheldon: Are there other cards you'd like to see banned?
Ruhan: There are a number of cards that I think are on the edge in some wonky gray area where you don't want them banned but you want to discourage being played. I know that doesn't make much sense but sometimes I have a difficult time making up my mind. Like Time Stretch. I'm not a fan of one-card "I win" cards but it does cost ten mana. I dunno. You can't ban every game-ending card.
Honestly I think the Rules Committee is doing a great job. When people complain about this being banned and that not I don't think they really understand how difficult it is to juggle a banned list. You could end up with a list that's too long and effectively unmanageable which would ruin the format. Really you guys deserve an award or something [Writer's note: that was completely unprompted. I swear].
Sheldon: What do you think of the Armada Games one-time League ban on Primeval Titan?
Ruhan: I love Primeval Titan. It lets jerk wads get Cabal Coffers and Urborg Tomb of Yawgmoth out with piles of lands. It helps them Exsanguinate for 50. And then I can Parallectric Feedback them. So yeah I love Prime Time. Set him free!
Sheldon: What's your favorite TV show?
Ruhan: Land of the Giants obv.
Sheldon: Well I meant what's currently on.
Ruhan: I dunno probably Justified Fringe or The Big Bang Theory. Just pick one.
Sheldon: Tell us about the commanders you share a deck box with.
Animar is kind of quiet most of the time; he kind of just likes thinking about how to get more dudes into play cheaper which I can appreciate—assuming of course they're going to attack. Kresh is definitely bros but he's not getting into the red zone as much these days as he used to. He used to be all about attacking and bringing along his buddy Lord of Extinction but now he's all "I need to get Stalking Vengeance in play first just in case. I need Fling." I think he's lost some of his taste for battle.
Karador is also kind of quiet. My favorite deal is when he runs Feed the Pack because you know those Wolves are BATTLING. It's what Wolves do (makes some odd Flavor Flav-like gesture).
Lord of Tresserhorn? That guy is a stone cold playa! You have not been to NYC until you've been there with a brother who leads a Zombie horde. Sick! I'm telling you Osyp you need to hang with us!
That <censored> Phelddagrif is kind of a know-it-all. Never stops yapping about how he was "the first" and we owe it all to him if it wasn't for him there'd be no format blah blah blah. Purple <deleted>-face.
Sheldon: What cards from Avacyn Restored are you excited about?
Ruhan: Well my first thought was Tamiyo but you'd make some crack about me having a "type" and I'd get angry again. Although I think Tamiyo will be a great addition to the team I'm most excited about Gisela.
I understand that she's an Angel and I'm not but that girl is straight up BUSTED. We're gonna get all up in that red zone. I know you'll probably explain to folks next week during your set review how she works with Mirror Strike or Reflect Damage but I'm more looking forward to working her with Cerebral Vortex and Sudden Impact. BOO-YA!
Sheldon: I know it's about time for Michiko to come back to get you. Where are you headed?
Ruhan: Over to De Niro's place. Something about a kangaroo and a hippie chick.
Sheldon: What's next for Ruhan?
Ruhan: Attacking for seven my friend. Attacking for seven.