You Are Now a Member of the cEDH RC
Posted on Feb. 13, 2020, 11:59 a.m. by Nemesis
After a long and grueling debate, the EDh RC have come to the decision that EDH and cEDH need to be split into two different rule groups. You are now a member of the cEDH RC with the power to propose changes to the current rules. What do you propose and why?
For a base, we'll say that for the beginning of this new format we're taking the current EDH rules as they are and tweak them from there.
One of the first rules changes I would personally propose is unbanning Paradox Engine. I thought that card opened up tons of interesting lines of play and I think the format in general is made less interesting with its absence.
The point of cEDH is that it's min-maxed EDH, under the exact same ruleset and banlist. It's not a different format, it's a defined approach to playing the exact same format.
If the RC tries to instantiate a separate set of rules for cEDH, cEDH as we know it will die and people will min-max the new non-cEDH ruleset, leading us right back to where we are now, just maybe with some different brand names.
I don't follow cEDH much but they currently seem to be calling for Flash's head on a pike above anything else.
February 13, 2020 1:12 p.m.
Oh, I understand that, but that's kind of the issue right? the community is calling for a change when they "should" (by RC standards) be self governing through their social contract. Well, guess what, that's great and all, but I personally don't like that the fate of a format I like is decided by the whims of a group of people that completely disregard a section of their community, so I thought this would be a fun exercise.
February 13, 2020 1:23 p.m.
I would call for the banning of the format's most expensive and powerful cards.
After the ban takes effect and card prices plummet, I would buy up all the supply.
Then I would call for those cards to be unbanned. Card prices would skyrocket under the pressure of demand, and I would make a lovely profit.
The RC would find out about my actions and condemn me to exile. The MTG community would scorn me, but I would sleep at night on pillows made of money.
At this point I am banned for life at all sanctioned events, and go back to playing casual kitchen table magic.
February 13, 2020 2:29 p.m.
February 13, 2020 3:20 p.m.
Alright, in hypothetical Larryland where I am now in charge of making decisions, here is what I would do
First, establish criteria for the format
Shouldn't be too complicated, as there has already been lots of time spent discussing the format
- Bans should serve to stop certain combos or deckbuilding approaches from swallowing the meta.
- Bans should be justified off of power level for winning, not how fun or unfun the combo or style of deck is to play or play against
- General rules changes about the format should serve to open deckbuilding and allow for more interesting approaches to the meta and winning.
I think a couple rules changes should take place to open deckbuilding and allow more options, and allow cards to work as intended with the commander specific ruleset
- Commanders should hit the graveyard before returning to the command zone. This allows commanders like Child of Alara or other death triggers to actually function as intended while maintaining the command zone. Commanders should have the option of returning to the CZ at will from exile, the graveyard, the library, or a player's hand as an ability that doesn't use the stack, similar to mana abilities.
- Hybrid mana symbols should be perfectly legal as long as the hybrid symbols fulfill a color identity of your commander. For example, Boros Recruit should be legal in a mono-red deck. If a hybrid mana card has a mana symbol in the text box that it outside the color identity, it should still be excluded. For example, if Boros Recruit had a firebreathing ability for in the text box, it would no longer be legal in a mono-white deck.
- Restriction of the command zone to a single card. Partner commanders are still legal, but not legal to run them as partners in the command zone. Having a mix and match color identity and having guaranteed access to two cards at all times over one card is too strong. Bigger color identity means wider pool of cards to pull from, and the partner players are effectively starting with a 9 card hand as opposed to non-partner commanders starting with an 8 card hand.
Bans and Unbans
First, I would unban cards that the RC has banned because they are "unfun" or don't fit the spirit of the format
- Coalition Victory - If you can pull this off and cast the cost, go ahead and win
- Emrakul, the Aeons Torn - This costs 15 mana and channel is banned, this isn't going to break decks at all and most likely will only see play as an Ulamog alternate in Gitrog decks
- Erayo, Soratami Ascendant - This can be countered or removed or smart opponents can avoid triggering it. Once it has flipped, it is still removable although somewhat toxic. It definitely gets good mileage in EDH but people can play around this if they have even half a brain, which is what I would expect from competitive.
- Iona, Shield of Emeria - This is only banned now because Painter's Servant was unbanned. Certainly reanimator Iona strategies can cause problems, but hitting a 2 card combo for a soft lock isn't game shattering unless you are on a mono-colored deck, at which point it just becomes one of the things you must worry about. If Back to Basics and Blood Moon are totally fine for shitting on 3-5 color mana bases, I'm 100% fine with Iona for shitting on mono color decks.
- Library of Alexandria - I have no idea why this is banned in the first place. Most competitive decks are so tight on their land base and won't have a slot for this. Also most competitive decks wish to play spells on turn 1 and 2, which makes it harder to get the 7 in hand for the Library draw.
- Panoptic Mirror - If someone can assemble the ultra fragile Mirror + Free turn spell, and then gets an ENTIRE ROTATION of no one destroying it, I'm 100% fine with them taking infinite turns. Also consider that this combo basically costs to start, 5 for cast and 5 for the free turn. This card is banned because casuals absolutely loathe combos. Its unbanning could make Pox decks somewhat viable in competitive, and would be a boon to stax decks as well
- Primeval Titan - This card is a double tutor on ETB or attack, but its a double tutor for lands. If someone really wants to set up Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth + Cabal Coffers + Deserted Temple + Inventors' Fair (which fetches Rings of Brighthearth) then more power to them, as it requires either a blink effect or an entire rotation to THEN get the second set of tutors from attacking. Its big value, but honestly no reason for this card to be banned. It costs to cast
- Paradox Engine - the banning of this card made the format worse, as it knocked out tons of viable decks simply because "Too many casuals put down rocks and PE and oops into an infinite". The unbanning of this card opens up the format significantly, and allows weird decks like Hannah, Ship's Navigator or Dralnu, Lich Lord to be viable commanders, although definitely not tier 0 picks.
- Recurring Nightmare - Banned because of griefing almost 100%. Nobody likes being hit by some ETB creature that involves saccing or losing permanents, but it isn't fast enough to warrant a ban. It requires mana, AND a creature on the field, AND a creature in the GY.
- Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary - Selvala is basically a more powerful version of this because of the cantrips and you can play non-basic lands. This would probably become a tier 1 deck by basically copying the Selvala list, but I think the meta would be enriched from adding this as an alternate, similar to how Marwen has added instead of detracted from the meta.
- Sundering Titan - Banned because attacking a player's resources is seen as an unfun way to win. Its expensive to cast and not exactly game shattering when it enters.
- Sway of the Stars - This costs to cast for a weird Timetwister that sets life totals to 7. Sure there is potential for abuse with Suspend cards, but this costs 10 mana. Nobody is going to play this if it gets unbanned.
- Sylvan Primordial - Another board state changer that isn't really going to do as much as it looks when it lands. Sure, -3 permanents on board for opponents and +3 lands is neat, but it costs . Decks would rather win than assemble some blink or recursion loop for this card.
- Upheaval - This is banned almost entirely from a casual and time perspective. It makes games take longer. In competitive though, this card would be used with excess floating mana to THEN rip your combo. Almost definitely wouldn't see competitive play though, and the banning seems silly to me.
- Worldfire - If you can run a wacky suspend deck that abuses this to win, you have my blessing. It also costs to cast so someone will probably just win before you
- Yawgmoth's Bargain - This is a Necropotence that costs with the benefit of no-delay on the draws. If necro is legal, this should be legal.
My biggest reasoning for bans is that some combos are so strong and so hard to interact with that they become the go-to builds for certain color identities. When the optimal way to build 30 different commanders in the same color pairing is Flash Hulk, you have run into a problem.
- Flash - Arguably the worse part of Flash Hulk. Potential for abuse in a post-Hulk world with Academy Rector. This card has the potential for abuse with every single new creature printed. I don't think this card makes the meta more interesting, and I think it pigeonholes deckbuilding into "well why don't you run Flash Hulk, or Flash _". Flash combos are also difficult for other decks to interact with outside of Counterspell, which means when you're building for playing in a competitive meta, you are almost expected to play Blue due to how strong and warping this card is.
- Protean Hulk - Even with a flash banning I still wand this turd of a card gone. Finding hulk, reanimating hulk, and sacrificing hulk isn't interesting. There isn't very much skill there. The decks aren't interesting. There is a combo in practically every color combination for winning immediately after you get a Hulk trigger. It can be viewed as a 6-card into-play tutor, or a 5-card into-play tutor, etc. etc. I don't think the meta is more interesting or better for having this card be legal.
- Demonic Consultation and Tainted Pact - More boring and tired combo archetypes. Once again, tutoring for 2 cards and ripping the Consultation + Oracle combo doesn't really require much pilot skill, and it doesn't make decks more interesting to build. These cards are simply too efficient at what they do, and they are hard for non-blue decks to interact with meaningfully. The presence of this combo and Flash Hulk has basically relegated all stax decks to being tier 2 builds, as they have such an impossible time locking down these combos. The banning of these two cards and Flash Hulk would bust the competitive meta wide open. Also, between these cards or the Laboratory Maniac + variants in the combo, these are the cards that are way way way more degenerate than the other part of the combo.
- Rhystic Study and Mystic Remora - These are annoying and burdensome mono-blue staples that slow gameplay, and are auto-includes in practically any deck that includes blue. They function much better than intended due to the multiplayer nature of the format, and deckbuilding is less interesting and diverse because these cards are legal. They can singlehandedly run away with games when you have a single player in the pod who ignores them, and having your combo shut down because someone draw a Force of Will after getting 6 free draws is frustrating and extremely obnoxious. They also prop up extremely mediocre mono blue decks like Urza, Lord High Artificer and Baral, Chief of Compliance. Once again, I don't really think there is any skill in playing or building around this card, and the power level of "auto-include for any deck with blue" stifles deck building. Blue really doesn't need any help being good in EDH, let alone cEDH.
- Nature's Will and Druids' Repository - Targeted bans for Najeela, the other obnoxious tier 0 commander deck in the current meta. I'm not a huge fan of 1 card combos with commanders, because you always have one of the cards available at all stages of the game, and tutoring + playing a single card once again doesn't really speak to high skill or interesting deck building. The banning of these cards will peripherally splash and hit other decks, such as Edric, Spymaster of Trest, but I'm fine with that. Najeela and Edric will still have other options for executing these combos, such as Sword of Feast and Famine or Bear Umbra, but these are more mana intensive or more fragile combos with lower utility outside the combo.
- Tymna the Weaver - I have already advocated for removing partners from the command zone, but this card is so dummy strong as to be included in the 99 of other decks with some frequency. You can get the draws even if Tymna didn't attack (i.e. it just came in). You can get 3 draws a turn for the same mana cost as Phyrexian Arena, except that if done correctly you'll get the draws before you would get the Arena draws. This card is meta warping, this and Najeela are a big part of the reason the meta is so creature heavy right now. Decks either run this card, or they run ways to handle this card because a Tymna sitting on the board for 1-3 rotations gives such a fat advantage the pilot runs away with the game.
- Timetwister - A card that sees play because you save slot efficiency by spamming TT to create a loop of infinitely recasting spells, plus its a wheel effect for 3 mana that shits on decks assembling combos through the GY with cards. I'm totally hunky dory with high efficiency combos, but losing to a timetwister loop is boring, cumbersome, and takes the pilot 30 years to demonstrate and explain the loop to those who haven't seen it. Combined with the ridiculous price of the card, and the ridiculous powerlevel even outside the combo, this card should go. This is also another card that makes fast mana extremely degenerate, as someone going first and sticking Mana Crypt into Sol Ring into Chrome Mox into Timetwister feels extremely bad, and opponents don't even have the benefit of recurring their starting hand from the GY later on.
- Sylvan Library - The green Rhystic Study. Doesn't make decks more interesting. Doesn't make games more interesting. Its just cheap ways to get cards that becomes more ridiculous in the context of a format where you have double the starting life of the format this was printed for. The auto-include nature of this card means decks open up more when this card is removed.
- Lion's Eye Diamond - No, Razakats is not an interesting combo. No, bomberman is not an interesting combo. These are both degenerate and more shoe-horn "oh I need a combo to win" style combos. Bomberman is extremely degenerate as LED can be recovered in the face of targeted GY removal by simply stacking the Salvager trigger on top of the removal if you have extra floating mana, and pretty much the only way to really stop it is a replacement effect like Rest in Peace. Seeing someone play a bomberman combo then dump mana into their outlet from the CZ (whether it be Thrasios, Triton Hero or Breya, Etherium Shaper) isn't interesting, although I will admit it is fast. This card is much lower on my list of requested bans, but it is still there for how annoying Bomberman and razakats are, plus how easy this makes Doomsday piles.
- Hermit Druid - I want this gone for the same reason Consultation and Pact should go. Boring deckbuilding that becomes "UGx deck can run Hermit and Oracle to win", and thus you end up with twenty different UGx decks that look the same. Once you have seen this combo once, there isn't much merit to seeing it again. This card isn't as bad as Consult or Pact in my opinion, and once again it is a much lower priority for banning than those cards, as it requires a haste enabler to make it truly degenerate, or a way to flash it in at EOT before your untap step.
Cards I would avoid banning
As the title reads, things I think aren't a problem but usually draw comments for bans.
- Cheap tutors like Vampiric Tutor and Imperial Seal - Every single 1 CMC tutor goes to top of deck (besides Gamble and Steelshaper's Gift), which means you're -1 card advantage for casting them. Having the ability to assemble combos or seek a problem solving card doesn't blow the format out of proportion. Having players be able to assemble threats in a timely manner makes the format faster and more interactive. If you see an opponent tutoring, you know to hold up interaction or try to race them. I'm more interested in removing hyper degenerate combos that are hard to interact with or are resilient enough to win through interaction.
- Fast mana like Mana Crypt or Mox Diamond - If fast mana is banned, all decks will require Green for speed purposes from the high amount of turn 1 dorks (read: accelerators) available. Stax would become 100% dead as an archetype with these bans outside of Hatebear builds that include Green.
- Free counterspells like FoW or Pact of Negation - Keeps combo decks in check. Similar to how Force of Will keeps Legacy from being overrun by super speed combos, these cards also keep Commander in check.
February 13, 2020 3:44 p.m.
Here is where I disagree with both of you. I don't think the majority of cEDH players enjoy the fact that they have no say in a format they love that can change regardless of their input, and I'd go as far as to say that they're playing in the format despite having to work within arbitrary limitations that negatively impact their format. If a new format that catered to the concerns and opinions of competitive players was established and kept the following current cEDH has, I believe players would be happy. Obviously this is just conjecture and I could be way off the mark here, but I think given two equal base sizes, the format that cares about the players will win out over the format that doesn't.
TLDR: cEDH players are settling by following RC rules because there is no better alternative.
February 13, 2020 3:45 p.m.
I'd remove the ban list. Create a banned as commander list. Place only commanders that are the worst of the worst on there. Rename the rule set from cEDH to just EDH. Change nothing else.
February 13, 2020 4:20 p.m.
I agree that the RC could do more for the cEDH side of the community. I also agree that the RC sometimes comes off as disregarding the cEDH community (I don't think there is any malice, but Sheldon could stand to have someone proofread the tone of his words sometimes).
However, the answer is not splitting the community, it's the RC adding a few more cEDH people, and making changes to how they approach the banlist.
Currently, the criteria for a card being banned is effectively: can the card win the game on its own, without any additional support you would not already be running (i.e. Paradox Engine, which combos with your already ubiquitous mana rocks and has infinite combo lines to boot).
That's a good rule for a casual table, and is one of the things that makes Commander unique--unlike Legacy/Modern/Standard/Pauper, where the banlist is based exclusively on the top-tier of decks, Commander's banlist is driven by a desire to create a fun meta.
I would not get rid of that rule, and I would continue to ban cards that run afoul of that rule.
What I would want to do is also ban cards that warp the higher ends of play, using metrics similar to those Wizards uses when deciding to ban cards in their formats.
Yes, cEDH players will still complain about the fact some cards that are fine in cEDH would be banned. To a lesser extent, casual players will be upset some cards that are fine in a casual game will be banned.
But both metas will be able to adjust. Sure, neither will be as inclusive as they might otherwise be, but the game would be healthy and playable regardless of what level of play you were at. The benefits of keeping the format together--fluidity of players between competitive levels; the ability for everyone in the community to be able to discuss the same format; not fracturing the playerbase; making it so you can take just one deck to the LGS without having to worry about whether it is legal/competitive in the format played there; etc.--all drastically outweigh any grievances over individual bannings.
February 13, 2020 4:23 p.m.
How the ban list impacts casual players
- It literally doesn't, casual players may ignore the ban list entirely and slot whatever cards they wish
- This is akin to casual 60 card players ignoring the Modern or Legacy or Standard or Vintage ban list
- The vast majority of casual players who do not own a competitive deck don't even know there is a ban list
- Since the vast majority of EDH players are kitchen table friend groups, they may impose rule 0 on anything they dislike
How the ban list impacts anyone who goes to a sanctioned event (competitive players)
- We are stuck repeatedly watching turboturds assemble and poop out Flash Protean Hulk as if they are a God for using this combo
- We are stuck playing decks that can handle Thassa's Oracle + Demonic Consultation due to how ezpz the combo is to slot, assemble, and use
- Many interesting decks were wrecked by arbitrary Paradox Engine ban for the sake of casual players
What the current ban list does
- Cause casual players to whip out phones and pause mid game to tell their friend who didn't even know a ban list existed that they can't play Primeval Titan
- Cause immense grief for competitive players who are forced to play against TnT flashhulk yet again. For the _ straight week in a row (insert whichever number is accurate for your shop competitive players, mine is 10)
Commander's banlist is driven by a desire to create a fun meta
- I haven't met a single person above the age of 15 who enjoys playing with or against Sushi Hulk
- I bet casual players would have even less fun playing against Sushi Hulk or Layered Najeela Consultation Hulk
- Do people seriously get mad when someone resolves a Primeval Titan? Who doesn't have fun from that card?
How has the ban list gone up to this exact point?
- Sheldon hits the PCP pipe before grabbing a random handful of cards
- Any cards that draw blood on anyone else in the room after being thrown like shuriken receive bans
- What I'm trying to say is there is no logic or reasoning given for bans, it is entirely dependent on the subjective "fun" factor of a single person not affiliated with Wizards or the design process in the slightest.
What do competitive players want?
- Just 3 simple bans for cards that cause immense repeated grief game after game in competitive pods
- These cards see absolutely 0 play in casual decks
- We don't even want the crack smoke weird bans unbanned. We just need Flash + forbidden tutors to go
How likely is it that EDH and cEDH split?
- Depends on if Shaper and Sickrobojoke and Labmaniac_Dummy call for a split. As much as I dislike these brewers they are unfortunately influential in the competitive community because even the competitive community can't brew worth a hoot
- Depends on if the RC and Wizards keep taking big fat dookies on competitive players, week after week, year after year
- There is already basically a split between the groups of players, and as I'm sure any competitive player can attest to, playing a competitive deck in a casual pod causes lots of hurt feelings for players who "aren't playing to win" but get upset when you win.
- Every single competitive player I have ever met also has "casual" EDH decks for playing with the people who get upset if you win before turn 15.
February 13, 2020 7:14 p.m.
dingusdingo You have clearly never played against some of the cards you're calling to unban. Most notably, Recurring Nightmare is an absurdly strong repeatable reanimator card that cannot be interacted with outside of counterspells. As much as my graveyard decks would love it, it should absolutely be banned. Calling Selvala a more powerful version of Rofellos is laughable. Erayo is much harder to play around than you seem to think, and being counterable is a shitty reason to unban a card - if counterspells are what you're relying on, you're pushing the meta towards blue and away from any other color.
I also have no idea why you're shitting endlessly on Flash/Hulk for being degenerate/boring, but somehow seem to think that Paradox Engine is a just fine card that simply opens the meta. Given that your standards for bans include being based off power level and not fun-ness to play against, you call out several cards for being boring to play against - Demonic consultation, tainted pact, LED, hermit druid, sylvan library, timetwister.
February 16, 2020 1:55 a.m.
PhotogenicParasympathetic zzz please don't @ me so aggressively if you are a scrub.
Recurring Nightmare is a repeat value engine in a format that is almost entirely combo oriented at the competitive side of things. Notably, it requires a creature card in two zones to function. So when you're busy putting 1 creature on the field, 1 in the yard, and then paying 3 for Nightmare, anyone with a brain is just going to send Protean Hulk to the GY and Reanimate + sac/destroy it for a much faster and powerful combo. The card is slow and requires creatures on field and in GY to make it go. It probably wouldn't even make a splash in competitive EDH if it were unbanned, not even as reanimate effect #6 in a reanimate deck.
Selvala, Heart of the Wilds allows for more explosive mana production much faster, and you can use that explosive mana to get access to more cards by playing creature spells. It also serves as an outlet to draw your deck with infinite mana with Temur Sabertooth. Consider if you get a Selvala versus a Rofellos onto the field turn 3. Rofellos is AT MOST making 3 mana (maybe 4 or 5 if you had a fat land tutor or something). With powerful options like Phyrexian Dreadnought available for the Selvala pilot, you can get much more than 3 with the added benefit of also getting repeat draw triggers. Once again, probably wouldn't make a splash in competitive. Selvala is a MUCH stronger commander, even with Rofellos benefit of 1 cheaper to cast.
Erayo is babyshit easy to play around if you can think your way outside of a box, and actually makes comboing easier. Imagine you're a pilot holding your Oracle + Consult combo. Every single person besides the owner of the Erayo gets their first counterspell handled by the Erayo. Burn a weak cantrip and rip the combo, and if you now don't have to worry about 2 of the other 3 players in your pod stopping you. Burn a weak cantrip then remove the Erayo if you aren't ready to combo. Erayo may gain a spot in some jank esper stax control build, but will not see competitive play in tier 1 decks if unbanned. Any player foolish enough to run Erayo as the commander will not have a competitive viable deck.
If you take the temperature of the competitive community, you will find the PE ban to be poorly received. At to cast, and presumably another to start the engine, you're not very mana efficient for a wincon. It also requires board presence in rocks or dorks which can be disassembled prior to or in response to the PE cast. Finally, you also need an outlet for all that mana, requiring yet ANOTHER card, either on field or in hand to utilize the mana/untaps. PE makes the competitive meta much less boring BECAUSE it allows certain decks to be competitive viable that otherwise can't hack it. Specifically, Hannah Dralnu Sisay and Arcum all move from being practically unplayable to at least fringe decks.
For the cards that I consider boring, notice how being boring isn't the only context used to evaluate the cards. Reread my comment. I pretty thoroughly explain reasoning for each card I would ban based on power level. Me subjectively thinking the combo is boring is an anecdote, not the meat of the argument. I consider all kinds of other cards in the format boring to see, but don't wish for their bans. For example, I find Dramatic Scepter to be another boring choice for winning, but have no wish for the combo to be banned, as the format is more interesting for its inclusion.
You really need to think in context of cards on board and resources available. When you compare the necessary components for Flash Protean Hulk to win and how resource intensive it is on your mana, compared to Paradox Engine, you will see that one of these is significantly stronger than the other. When you require permanents on board to win, and heavier mana investment, your win is going to be slower and easier to stop. When your win revolves around getting 2 cards in hand and spending 2 mana, or getting 2 cards in hand and spending 3 mana (Thassa's Oracle + Demonic Consultation), that is MUCH harder to stop than when you let someone drop 3 mana rocks and their untap outlet then play PE then cast ANOTHER spell. Once you are able to evaluate combos and winning lines with this framework, the quality of your posts and decks is going to rise quickly.
While you claim I have clearly never played against these cards, its much easier to claim you have clearly never played a competitive pod in your life. Rofellos is a blip on the mono green radar and his non-bo with Gaea's Cradle and other non-basics makes him iffy at best, especially compared to Selvala and Marwen. Recurring Nightmare is too slow. Erayo is baby stax that takes time to activate and almost every deck that could possibly want to slot Erayo is going to slot Nether Void instead. Flash Hulk is a big degenerate combo that is hard to interact with, just as I said, and so is Fish Consult. Educate yourself on competitive before you feel the need to speak freely on it.