what constitutes a spike in commander

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Nov. 14, 2018, 9:52 a.m. by sten94

I'm wondering where most people consider the cut off point is for too spiky for commander. Do you have a turn a deck shouldn't kill by, a method of kill that just isn't ok.

Is it some thing like decks shouldn't tutor, or a commander isn't ok because it's too good.

looking at comments on videos like the command zone people seem to think they are pretty spiky, but personally I thought their decks were about right on the power level for decent quick games.

Just kind of wondering where most people sat on the matter.

Arvail says... #2

It's all subjective. Spike refers primarily to attitude toward the game and the core engagement for the player. In this sense, even a brand new player can be spikey in the sense that they may want to tune their precon to better suit their meta and find a card like Wash Out will do work in their group. Although most EDH players wouldn't think much baout a new player putting Wash Out in their deck, this particular player may have been aiming to tune their deck and make it more competitive. The rest of their deck may suck, but this player could still be a spike.

In this sense, no one has an answer to your question. I think it's reasonable to say that when a deck outperforms all other decks at a table consistently even in spite of politics, then that gameplay experience likely won't be great for anyone involved.

Still, you'll find that in most player groups, you'll always find someone with a holier than thou attitude who talks like they know what's best for the format or players who get vocal about certain cards, calling them bullshit, unfair, etc.

The thing I like to remind players about is that EDH is a grassroots format where peak power level isn't always the primary objective (definitely not for most players). As a result, everyone is left to wonder where they would like to fall in terms of power and what kind of group they would like to play in. It helps to remember that no one owes you anything in EDH, but if you run insanely potent or annoying cards, people might not want to play with you. Nonetheless, no one has the final word on what's fun or fair.

To illustrate where I'm coming from, I'm a relatively high level EDH player. To me, the guys in the command zone are often wrong in the card assessment and their decks aren't good at all. I say this because I'm used to incredibly cutthroat competition. Still, I'm not going to take my competitive decks to my LGS. Instead, I'll use some toned down deck in order to not be that guy.

Still, if you want to make a deck that won't ruffle too many feathers at your local shop, you should aim to create something that doesn't have an overload of tutors, an efficient game-ending combo, mass land destruction, and stax effects like Winter Orb. That's not to say that you can't run any of those effects; just that a lot of players hate seeing those types of things at their sessions.

November 14, 2018 10:17 a.m.

cdkime says... #3

I think Arvail hit the nail on the head. Being "too spiky" is entirely dependent on the meta you play in--there are groups where a turn 5 win might be considered "too spiky" when the same deck would be woefully inadequate in others.

I wanted to add one additional thought to Arvail's point. Lands are such a fundamental part of the game that players don't usually consider them "spiky." However, as everyone knows, if you take two decks, one running Bad River, Dismal Backwater, etc., and another running Polluted Delta, Underground Sea, and Watery Grave, all other things being equal the second deck will be faster and more "spiky."

When trying to avoid being too "spiky" for your meta, pay close attention to what lands others are playing. Don't bring Shocks, Fetches, and ABUR lands to a table full of lands that enter tapped. You'll be seen as too both spiky and winning because of money, not because the rest of the deck is better.

November 14, 2018 10:44 a.m.

Pervavita says... #4

I am quite happy with something the command zone had in a episode recently referring to there 1-10 power ranking and the breakdown. I don't remember the exact breakdown but that won't stop me from trying ;)

1-3: Built with just the cards you have on hand but no real goal. Win turn 16-20

4-6: Built with your goal in mind but not tuned. Win turn 12-15

7-8: Tuned but not fast or oppressive. Win turn 7-11

9-10: You picked your commander from a top list and are quite tuned. Win turn 1-3

Obviously I'm not exact on the number; I'm going off what I remember from the episode from a few weeks back but I do think it does hold true to a good guide to feel out the power level and you can target your deck to that playgroup for the best experience.

November 14, 2018 10:53 a.m.

sten94 says... #5

I agree completely. I'm trying to get grasp of what most people think the common place in a edh deck they have and where it sits at on a scale from pre con to cedh. If I walked into a random meta what would I likely find. I have for the most part lived in a area where we have about 5 or 6 of us at most to play with and feel like I often pushed my decks a bit to far for the meta. However I have moved away to a place with more people and so more decks, so was wondering what i'm likely to see if i just ask a group for a game. I don't want to the guy who is sitting out of the game with out a chance but also would like to not feel like the pariah of the table who is too spiky. I would like to see every ones opinions on what is normal for them when deck building

November 14, 2018 11:06 a.m.

cdkime says... #6

I would recommend asking someone ahead of time, either a member of the group who you intend to play with, or, if you just plan on going to your LGS, ask the store's owner. Have a couple very specific questions, such as what turn players generally win on, what commanders are being run, and what type of lands players use--that should give you a good starting point.

If you're still unsure, it's better to undershoot your meta than overshoot it. While you can always adjust in either direction, if you start out too powerful you're going to (a) paint a target on your back and (b) if you later try to weaken your deck, make others feel as if you are patronizing them. Neither of those is particularly ideal.

November 14, 2018 11:15 a.m. Edited.

Rzepkanut says... #7

I think it has to do with the amount of importance that is placed on winning the game within a player. The need to be the winner of all participated games and at any cost is the heart of the spike vibe. Is it more important to prove to your friends that you can beat them every game or do you choose a strategy to play vs your friends that will give them all a chance to play their decks so everyone can have fun together?

The relative power level is not the only aspect, its the intentions of the players of the game that matters most. I mean you ought to make sure not to bring nukes to a knife fight, but it's your decision to blow up the world when someone pulls a knife on you. Like you could just draw your infinite combo and not cast it. I don't always choose the "most optimal" line on purpose, just to make games more interesting. I like attacking the player with the most life, not the one who is easiest to finish off, because the more players a game has the funner it is for everyone involved. If everyone is playing MLD and control, then I can play a deck like that too and we can all have fun shutting down everyone else.

November 14, 2018 11:23 a.m.

MindAblaze says... #8

I am of two minds here so bear with me;

First; the world tends to lead us to believe that we should live our truth. Be who we want to be do and what makes us feel good. It’s a bit hedonistic and it’s the “you don’t get to tell me what’s fun for me, and I play this game for fun so I’m going to do my thing” camp. I don’t want to kneecap myself and totally compromise my experience because you only want to take a few basic lands out of your preconstructed EDH deck to make room for a few on color bombs.

Am I saying spend more money? Kind of, but not only that. Am I saying ask me for ideas and support with your growth as a player? Totally, I’d be in support of that. What do you want out of the game? (and really...this could be applied to life in general.) Do I want to see you enjoying the game too? Absolutely. It’d be nice if we could figure that out somehow and close the gap.

This naturally leads into “on the other hand;”

This is a social game. If you’re not sitting down with winning as the only goal, you have to figure out what’s right for your environment. I have more fun playing magic than not playing magic. Does your group regularly play a random Zetalpa in their Edgar deck? Does then swinging for 22 with Rafiq of the Many in multiple combat phases tilt the table in your direction?

How can we improve the play experience for everyone while still accommodating the more experienced players needs as well? I don’t know what the answer to this is, because I tend to fall more on the “this is fun for me” side of the spectrum...but I appreciate feeling like losing every time to the same player (even if I always bring a different deck) takes away from the play experience too. I would say foster a group that wants to grow within their means. Know your player psychographics and find ways to foster the spike-y johnnys, even if it’s in the Timmy-est ways possible.

I guess what I’m saying is growing the community is everyone’s responsibility. Communication is the only way to do that. Embrace the social aspect of community and discuss frankly what you want, and what other people’s needs are and try to find a way to meet in the middle. Share your spiky nature with your playgroup, take part in their Timmy games...just make sure everyone feels like their voice is heard. However that has to happen.

November 14, 2018 12:20 p.m.

MindAblaze says... #9

For the record Rzepkanut if someone is gonna knife me and I can still push the button on my nuke, I will. We call that the “oops I win” button back home.

November 14, 2018 12:23 p.m.

Pervavita says... #10

On the point of what's fun to me; I agree we are here to have fun and a constant win with no challenge I can't see being fun for you or anyone else for that matter. Now if we are talking prizes on the line I can see that being fine for people.

My point is that if your bringing to a table a deck that is a "9-10" and the rest of the table brings "5-7" chances are that you win the game over and over with little to no interruption (some one had a Swan Song they were able to cast and you counter as you still go off. This leads to yes more games are played but also a lot of shuffle and reset with vary little Magic being played.

communication on what the decks are is vital but don't also expect everyone to uptune there deck to your standard; sometimes a deck fully optimized can never get to that level and that's fine as it can still be fun to play with and against. Simply understand that is the case and bring a deck to that game that is appropriate in power level to the rest there.

November 14, 2018 2:07 p.m.

Rabid_Wombat says... #11

I went to an LGS that was dominated by Spikes. So I spent $1000+ and built a Zur Doomsday deck that could win on turn 1-2.

Then they banned me from the store....suckers lol

November 14, 2018 8:28 p.m.

sten94 says... #12

I was thinking perhaps going very middle of the road with it most decks means you stand a chance in ever game apart from agains CEDH

November 14, 2018 9:51 p.m.

Dankey says... #13

@Rabid_Wombat you were banned from a store for spending a grand on a budget tier 2 deck?

November 14, 2018 11:56 p.m.

Winterblast says... #14

To be honest, I believe this whole problem is a result of people being bad at the game and not wanting to improve while still wanting to win. I think the "still wanting to win" aspect is important there, because if people just played without winning in mind, they wouldn't mind being bad at the game. So, the concept of being "too good" or "investing too much thought into tuning your deck" arises as a means to turn off competition on the kitchen table, all the while people insist they are just playing for fun and winning/losing wouldn't matter. Nowhere else have I found that many people playing a game and being in denial about how much they care about winning than among casual EDH players.

In the comments above there have been phrases such as "intentionally not casting your combo" and "going for weaker lines to make the game more interesting"...statements that basically suggest that someone believes he could actually win if he just wanted to but he's so generous that he lets the opponents have another chance. And if you think about it, that's a pretty humiliating approach under the disguise of "having fun" as you assume that you are so high above the Level of the others that you don't expect any opposition and could end the game at will if you just wanted to.

The truth is though, that usually more players at the table will have that same thought and if they all just played what they think are the "good lines" instead, the game would be even more interesting, exciting and funny because if no one pulled their already suboptimal punches, the game couldn't be just won at will by anyone and the resulting interactions would be hilarious. The idea of "if I tune this deck any further I would win all games without challenge" is just wrong. Nothing is unbeatable and people being afraid of becoming too much of a "spike" prevents solutions to strong strategies in a meta from being developed naturally by putting time and thought into the hobby. Eventually that leads to stale metas, angry or frustrated casual players (you can see them venting and desperately asking for help on facebook and other platforms frequently) and emotionally loaded gameplay that is definitely not funny anymore.

November 15, 2018 9:33 a.m.

killroy726 says... #15

You still have to understand that some people don't have money just to toss into decks. I for one find it more than annoying when a person cant even compete against a deck that's been just had money thrown at it to be better than anything at the table. EDH started as a casual format for a reason. Its quirky, its random, it's fun, and that's the way its supposed to be.

November 15, 2018 9:56 a.m.

cdkime says... #16

Winterblast: It's all well and good to say "everyone could make a deck that could beat a spiky-players," but that ignores the simple reality--there are legitimate reasons why someone would not want to build such a deck. I'll address two points below--playstyle and money.


You can want to win, but not want to play a competitive deck. With thousands upon thousands of cards, Magic has created some very interesting, complex, or otherwise amusing combos that players might want to build a deck around. The best deckbuilder in the world is still going to struggle if they're playing an incredibly convoluted, but fun deck.

This is the case at my kitchen table--most of the people I play with have the skills to build a top tier deckbuilder, but they are mono-Johnny players. The idea of blasting out a victory is less appealing than winning through some convoluted and unique manner

I consider myself a Johnny, but, relative to my playgroup, I have Spike tendencies. I enjoy optimization and bringing the best out of strange cards. Often, that's led me into trouble--I'll start by building around some strange card, optimize, optimize, optimize, and, lo and behold, I've optimized the strange card right out of the deck.

Of course I am going to "weaken" the decks I play for the meta I am playing in. If my deck can lock down the game on turn 2, while others are working on assembling multiple combo pieces, that's not going to be fun for my fellow players. No one is "humiliated" or thinks I am being patronizing--we all understand each of us has the potential to build tier 1 competitive decks, but choose not to.


The next point I want to raise--money. There are two components to the money issue--access to capital and willingness to spend capital on Magic. It's important to consider not just your own monetary position, but also that of your playgroup. Magic can be a very expensive hobby. Even $10 cards add up over the course of the deck, and we're all aware of how expensive some cards can get.

You have to take into account the fact other players either might not be able to afford a deck on par with your own or might not see the cost as worth it. Neither of these are situations where you're dumbing down your meta to stifle competitiveness--they're simply situations where you've got to take into account the reality of other players.

Now, if you flaunt the fact you could afford be playing more expensive cards, that could be seen as humiliating to other players. But that's no different than flaunting your wealth in any other aspect of life--it's rude regardless of whether you're in a Magic game.

Overall, players would rather you play a deck that's on par with theirs cost-wise, rather than constantly feel "you only won because you spent more money."

November 15, 2018 10:11 a.m.

Winterblast says... #17

cdkime the point wasn't that every deck is beatable but that feeling bad for winning and intentionally playing worse than you could because you assume the opponents wouldn't be able to stop you is something that eventually ends in less fun and less satisfying games.

There's a long way from tuning something well to having an actually competitive deck and if you throw time and effort restrictios into the mix, your average Magic player won't get that far in terms of EDH power level anyway. What I'm saying is that the idea of having to make the game more complicated yourself to maximise the fun everyone has is not healthy for the format and the game overall. I would say it's definitely the job of the opponents (and in EDH you should have 3 of them!) to make the game more complicated for each other - at any power level - and that's where the funny interactions come from. Not from actively choosing a weak line of play with the cards you have available. The most hilarious plays I've seen so far have all been made in matches where everyone tried really hard to win and prevent others from winning.

As for the monetary aspect, that's simply a problem of eternal formats in general and the contradiction of having a card pool, that includes cards for several hundred dollars, available for a format that people might even choose for learning the game as a whole these days. It's pretty obvious that at a certain point, pumping more money into the hobby makes a difference in performance. That's like going on a skiing trip together with someone who uses his great-grandfather's wooden equipment while you have the latest model on your feet. Skill only matters to a certain degree then and even if you both tried to make the best of the situation, having fun together will be rather hard that way.

This is where proxies come in as a method to create an even level. It's a casual format, meaning it isn't sanctioned by wotc for official torunament play, so they also can't enforce rules for how it is played. We even host tournaments locally in which we allow proxies because of how hard it is for newer players to obtain the expensive format staples nowadays. But it doesn't just concern new players - one player in our meta for example simply stated that he already has enough expensive hobbies, so he Needs to go cheap here and won't invest the needed Money even though he could theoretically. The result is him playing a 100% homeprinted deck, just thick paper in sleeves, not even other cards stuck behind the paper - perfectly fine from a playing point of view and as there aren't even wotc sanctioned events for the format who the hell cares. So yeah, it's realistic that the player who spent NO money (except 30€ at the copy shop for quality prints and cutting) is the one who wins and not one who has the same cards from back then, when duals were 50€ for the playset (I'm one of those for example).

So much for the monetary problems...now you could say we are actually competitive now and that's a result of not having budget limits, but I tell you that even if people go completely budgetless (when they either already have the cards, have a lot of money or play with proxies) it's most of all the time you (want to) invest in researching, deckbuilding and practising that makes the difference between staying in casual territory and ending up with a competitive deck and being able to play it well. You can be sure that if you tell your new players to proxy whatever the fuck they want, the meta still won't get competitive because they will still come up with suboptimal builds that are clunky and run on weird interactions - like before, just more expensive (with or without actually having to spend the money). You won't have the danger of going full cEDH overnight because the biggest difference is time and effort.

It boils down to the "Spikes" probably having more time available for Magic and also more motivation to spend that time on Magic. I could see the problems coming from that aspect mostly because you can't unlearn what you have already known and you can't easily erase the knowledge about strategy and rules interactions you have acquired by spending more time on the hobby than your friends. All other imbalances can really easily be dealt with, as explained above. The knowledge/practice imbalance however could only be worked out in a playgroup when no one pulls punches. Otherwise people are always unsure about the actual experience and skill of the others, even if they talk openly about the topic. I'm just thinking about one guy in our group who started out having huge problems in understanding how the card texts are phrased and how much he was able to improve his game by not being spared by anyone else in any games. It's alot more fun for everyone involved because of such developments. By shaming "spike behaviour" such processes wouldn't be encouraged.

November 15, 2018 11:14 a.m.

cdkime says... #18

You have one view, which you seem to take as absolute. It's not--other players have different priorities when playing Magic. In a casual setting, particularly with friends, you should consider others in your group, particularly if you are in the minority.

I stand by my primary thesis--there are legitimate reasons why individuals might choose to play substandard decks, and, if you are playing casually, you should consider the opinions of others.


"I would say it's definitely the job of the opponents (and in EDH you should have 3 of them!) to make the game more complicated for each other - at any power level - and that's where the funny interactions come from. Not from actively choosing a weak line of play with the cards you have available."

In my initial post, I never said my players were choosing "weak line of play with the cards [they] have available." To the contrary, I said I played with players who could be top-tier deckbuilders, but choose not to be for personal reasons. These are people who go out of their way to build decks with mediocre, but never-before-used combos, because that's what they enjoy. That's nothing wrong with that, but it means your deck will always be weak.

If your three opponents all find this style of play fun, you absolutely should not build a deck that can blow them out of the water. Hence this being a legitimate reason to weaken your deck's power.


"This is where proxies come in as a method to create an even level. "

There are lots of casual groups that do not allow proxies, so I do not see this as a valid argument. Casual groups might have concerns about a "proxy war" and an escalation of their meta. Many LGS do not like when players use proxies, as they see it as cutting into their sales, so that's not an option if you're playing at the store. My group, for example, would never think of using proxies--we are all attorneys, including one Intellectual Property attorney, and the idea of using fake or substitute cards feels wrong.

Overall, there are a number of reasons to not allow proxies, so I really don't see the fact they exist as being a valid reason to discount budgetary concerns.


Magic, casual Magic is a social game, and if you fail to take into account your friend's opinions, restrictions, and enjoyment, you're going to frustrate those you enjoy playing with. That's not fair to anyone involved.

If pure optimization is what you want, there are plenty of formats and tournaments for that kind of play--there's no reason to make your friends suffer the brunt of your desire to optimize.

I have never once regretted playing a deck that my friends enjoy--I do regret the times I've tested out a brand new "casual" deck and it's ended the game on turn 1 or 2.

November 15, 2018 12:02 p.m.

MindAblaze says... #19

I think the point is you don’t enjoy playing with them even if they’re your friends if you see the game differently.

I could basically sum up my whole perspective on it with “if you don’t go into a game expecting to lose, you don’t come prepared.” If you go into every game expecting someone might let you win you don’t get better. Winterblast made a good point about progression. If you don’t want to get better at the game take short cuts, make excuses and modify the rules. If you want to get better have expectations. If you can’t afford to buy the cards, well...that’s life. Removal spells aren’t usually monetarily expensive. Dying is harder when their stuff is dead.

November 15, 2018 5:38 p.m.

cdkime says... #20

MindAblaze

There's a big difference between "I don't want to get better at the game" and "I want to get better; I don't want to play decks that bore me."

What you and Winterblast seem to be fundamentally misunderstanding--winning on turn 2 is not the only metric of what makes "good" player.

I would argue a "good" player has two fundamental skills:

  1. They can build a deck and properly optimize the deck.

  2. They can read the board, their opponents, and their own resources and act accordingly in a given situation.

But that's not always enough--even the best player in the world is going to have a suboptimal deck if they really, really want to play Battle of Wits or Spawnsire of Ulamog, or any number of fascinating cards that have been printed.

There are plenty of players who find some card or combo interesting, but, by its very nature, a deck built around that particular item will never reach competitive status.

If that's your meta, you'd be an ass to bring a tier one competitive deck to the table. Your opponents won't be able to "get better" to keep up--their decks, by their fundamental nature, are never going to be on your level. By bringing that kind of deck, you're effectively saying "I don't respect your Johnny-nature--either you change how you enjoy playing or I crush you repeatedly."


But wait, one might say, you're talking about a very odd and specific meta while ignoring the fact there are metas that refuse to get better, as MindAblaze mentioned.

Let's address that issue right now, as I believe the proper course of action in these metas still fits my stated position--know your meta and plan accordingly.

In these cases, you absolutely should push your meta to being better. In most cases, I would suggest a moderated approach. Start with a weakened version of your deck with a power level above the rest of the table. Slowly optimize, forcing others to develop in order to keep up. Generally people are much more malleable if they're winning every so often and if you're being friendly, and gradual approach will often be better at "tricking" other players into getting better.

But, of course, there probably exist metas where your bringing a tier one deck to the table would be the right option.

That's all to say, if you intend to play a casual game with a group of friends, all of whom are similar, you, as the outlier, should be the one to adjust. If resisting those Spike urges is too painful, then you probably should find a different group to play Magic with.

November 15, 2018 6:29 p.m. Edited.

killroy726 says... #21

Removal may be cheap but I'd bet he's hanging onto at least a Force of Will or Pact of Negation at the very least

November 15, 2018 6:30 p.m.

MindAblaze says... #22

I am particularly thinking about my meta, in which I’m a win on turn 7-11 sort of player and they’re durdling for four hours playing dinosaurs in their vampire decks. To address your first point about what makes a good player cdkime getting better at building decks is my goal, and I would encourage that goal from my play group and would actively participate in mentorship if they want that.

There is absolutely no misunderstanding about the social misconduct that smoking newbs with T1 decks would be. This is about the second point...I’m talking about the elements that make a player weaker instead of better. Free mulligans, takesy backsies and deck seeding all contribute to making the player worse. Not killing their only green source that they just put a Utopia Sprawl on might be the nice thing to do, but it doesn’t teach them anything, and losing a game because you left their dangly glass cannon alone is nobody’s fault but your own. Did it matter? No. Would you have had a better chance at winning and taught them a lesson at the same time? Yes. Would you could across as a douche...depends on the group. You could very easily say it was too juicy a target to pass up, just like when a more experienced player kills my Crucible of Worlds because it contributes to bad things.

You’re not saying don’t help people improve, you’re saying read the room and don’t be a douche.

November 15, 2018 6:52 p.m.

MindAblaze says... #23

Also when you control Cryptolith Rite, Prossh is in the board and you cast Tempt with Vengeance for 8...they better not all take the tokens and then get salty about you winning...

November 15, 2018 6:54 p.m.

cdkime says... #24

MindAblaze

Ah, that was not entirely clear from your initial post. With that clarification, I’ll agree with you - I have no problem weakening my own deck, and likely would overcompensate by playing a 50% deck in a 75% meta, but I don’t think I could stomach not giving it my all with the deck I have available.

With the caveat that I’ll play worse and be a bit more forgiving on takeseis backseis with new players or younger children.

November 15, 2018 7:05 p.m.

Dankey says... #25

I'd like to remind everyone that it's perfectly acceptable, yet understandably taboo within the community, to proxy cards outside of sanctioned tournaments.

Therefore, as scumbaggy as this may sound, there is no reason to purchase cards that you have no intention using within a sanctioned tournament.

November 15, 2018 9:35 p.m.

cdkime says... #26

Dankey - I disagree that it's perfectly acceptable to use proxies--the very fact that it's taboo indicates there might be a flaw in the acceptability's "perfection." I can think of several "reason[s] to purchase cards you have no intention [of] using within a sanctioned tournament":

  1. You never know when you might play against someone who will not want to play against a deck containing proxies.

  2. You want to support your LGS.

  3. You respect Wizards' Intellectual Property, and feel using counterfeit cards to be distasteful.

  4. You think it is kind of neat to own the real thing.

  5. You don't want the unnecessary confusion that comes from looking at the board, seeing an Island out of the corner of your eye, and forgetting it says "Doubling Season" on it.

  6. Prohibitions on proxies can be health for a meta, particularly if some players might abuse proxy power. No one really wants to face the Power 9 at their kitchen table.

November 15, 2018 9:49 p.m.

sten94 says... #27

cdkime completely agree my LGS banned proxies been used in the store. But out of the shop some players proxied up set of duel lands and build tire 1 cedh decks that no one could compete with and it became pointless trying to

November 15, 2018 11:01 p.m.

Dankey says... #28

To further clarify...

  • Proxies are not counterfeits.
  • Proxies cannot have misleading art or pornography.
  • Game stores won't kick you out for casual play, but weekly constructed events usually allow maybe 1 or 2 proxies depending on the store. You need to ask first.

My LGS even have custom prebuilt decks ready for free modern play (where they reward store credit) if you're new or wanting to try before you buy.

My point is if you're not involved in these events that require you to present real cards, there's virtually no reason to buy cards at all. Most EDH groups that I've seen are self reliant. "hey you wanna try to squeeze in a game between matches?" If there's some sort of prize on the line, prepare to spend some coin on an actual cedh list if you want to stand a chance.

November 16, 2018 1:02 a.m. Edited.

Winterblast says... #29

cdkime I think we had a misunderstanding here. When reading through the comments, this statement of Rzepkanut got stuck: Like you could just draw your infinite combo and not cast it. I don't always choose the "most optimal" line on purpose, just to make games more interesting.

This is what I meant with intentionally playing worse than you could with your available cards. Someone knows what the best available Play is, chooses not to make it because he assumes the opponents can't stop him anyway and would not want the game to end yet. That's a really awful behaviour imo, it's essentially saying "wait, let me kill you in a more complicated way. that's more fun (for me) but I could win anyway if I only wanted"

That's something completely different than pubstomping, where you already outrace the opponents in deckbuilding because of more monetary and strategic investment. Pubstomping doesn't create fun games (you pretty much addressed that in your comments), but playing intentionally worse than you could does as well. What I meant is that "spike" behaviour is something different than pubstomping and can be done on every power level...it's trying to play optimally within your means and that shouldn't be discouraged imo.


On the topic of proxies: I'm personally in the lucky position of not needing proxies in general. I have started playing early enough (6th Edition) to have purchased lots of legacy and vintage staples (which are now also EDH staples) for cheap prices. In my local meta we are mostly players around the age of 30 and most have either started playing early or have enough money to buy at least some of the staples for the deck of their choice. Now, we are playing competitively, which means there are cards needed for certain strategies that you definitely won't just buy with pocket money if you don't already own them today. Timetwister, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, Mishra's Workshop, Underground Sea...you know what I mean. Again, I don't even need proxies for these cards because of my playing history but the newer players with well paying jobs are already not able or willing to just invest that much at once into their deck(s). They might miss like 5 cards max then, which is still fine in order to keep up but if some younger guys want to play along with us there's absolutely no chance they could do so if we didn't allow proxies.

To address your 6 points above:

  1. If you establish proxy use in the local meta, people coming into that meta have to accept it or choose to play somewhere else. If you go somewhere else, it's the other way round obviously. It probably depends on how dominant your local group is in a larger area...for example where I play we have the only actually competitive EDH meta within an hour by car in all directions. If we didn't allow proxies, people who want to play at that power level would have to spend more money or they wouldn't be able to play because there's no other place nearby to play competitively. If we go somewhere else to play (we've recently visited a shop in another town to check if there are potentially competitive players to connect with) we don't change our decks and switch out proxies if there are some and in the beginning we would play among ourselves, letting other people watch, before we have games with strangers. It's rather unrealistic that anyone will have objections to a few proxies when the value of the real cards involved at the table would buy a nice car.

  2. Buying cards often happens online, especially when the LGS has higher prices on average. You can buy a whole deck and not automatically support the LGS with that

  3. Respecting wotc these days is a lot to ask for. Just look at their newest money grab with the new masters set...on a side note, buying eternal staples on the secondary market is something that wotc doesn't profit from anyway. The company doesn't care if you buy your timetwister from another player or print it on a piece of paper instead, the unlimited booster packs have been sold 25 years ago and wotc doesn't sell singles.

  4. Absolutely true and it's the reason why I still buy cards today. I like to have the deck look nice, with exclusive versions of cards, foils, foreign cards, alters...that's a good reason for buying real cards imo, apart from the investment aspect. That's everyone's personal choice though and it shouldn't have an effect on the gameplay. having original and fancy cards is just for the feel and looks imo.

  5. Obvious. Proxies shouldn't obscure what the card is. Writing on another card really sucks for gameplay and shouldn't be done imo...print the card out and put it in the sleeve in front of another card, so that it covers completely what is behind. Using a hqcp is debatable since they might be passed off as originals in sales and trades, which is definitely not ok. If you don't plan on selling anything out of your decks, chances you could confuse them accidentially are basically zero though.

  6. Power 9 is banned in EDH (except timetwister), so that's not a reason against proxies. Obviously, someone proxying Time Walk for EDH wouldn't be ok - just like using the real card. Proxies can only be used for legal cards anyway and that creates an even playing field despite budget differences within a meta. If the fully original decks aren't budgetless yet, proxies could be a problem if the proxy decks become better. A possible solution for bringing the newer players up to the level of the established players might be to check the price of the most expensive original deck in the meta and allow everyone to proxy up to that total deck price. That way you could keep the maximum level at the deck price that the most invested player owns. I much rather prefer to have completely budgetless builds for everyone, but this is because we play cEDH. In my own meta that suggestion wouldn't cap the power level because there are fully original decks in our arsenal with tabernacle and workshop and stuff...For casual groups that want to cap the power level at what is "realistic", orienting everyone at the most expensive real deck might be a trick though.

November 16, 2018 4:30 a.m.

Rzepkanut says... #30

Winterblast the power level in my play group is mostly this year's precons without changes. I have more magic experience in years and collection size than my play group combined times 5 or 10. When i say that i might choose a suboptimal line to keep the game going I'm not being condescending because i actually know what I'm talking about. Maybe you are used to people who have no idea what they are taking about on these forums. I am not one of those people. It's not patronizing or dishonest to withhold a removal spell or combo just to let another player have fun. If you can't see that then you have helped define spike for us here, lol.

November 16, 2018 7:07 a.m.

Winterblast says... #31

Rzepkanut this is exactly what I have critizised above. Having more skill is perfectly fine and you can't unlearn the things you already know better than others. Playing intentionally worse than you could isn't a nice method though to close a budget gap. If you actually play a deck that draws from a large and expensive collection against unmodified precons you basically just hold the table at ransom and decide how the game goes and how and when it ends, you just don't show it openly to the opponents because as a friend you don't want to hurt their feelings.

What you describe is "friendly pubstomping" imo. Your deck alone puts you in a position to control and dominate the game and its possible end and it's just your generosity that lets you make some bad plays once in a while so your opponents can have some fun before the inevitable end comes. And if you lose, it's because you let someone else win - feels bad if anyone discovers that, even in the learning process. It takes away the learner's delight in achieving something imo, like "wow, I finally managed to beat the best deck around here because I practiced so much...oh, well, he just let me have the win again this time, probably could have ended it 3 turns ago."

In such a situation, wouldn't it be more honest to just take a precon as well but play as you are able to? That way you just play skill against skill and if someone wins against you it's a real and positive thing and the newer player can actually grow on that experience.

November 16, 2018 7:37 a.m.

Rzepkanut says... #32

You are assuming that i am playing my over powered decks and withholding things vs my casual friends. I was merely giving an example of possible behavior that would facilitate a friendly game.

Actually for myself I play decks that are chosen to be under powered versus the group to insure interesting games from the get go. It's more fun playing a game that is challenging for me, and trying to win with whatever tools I can. I do that with strangers too actually, I feel like it makes games more fun for me if I'm behind the whole game and I somehow win anyways. I like winning better when it's super hard to the point of it being impossible.

November 16, 2018 7:54 a.m. Edited.

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