“I don’t like playing with you.”
Posted on Sept. 19, 2018, 11:35 a.m. by MindAblaze
Last night I was involved in two multiplayer games of magic against the same two guys. The first game player A; with his version of Temur Energy sits down to an aggressive start with an intended combo-y finish. The second, player B, a mish-mash blue/black aetherborn/servo tokens energy deck. I’m playing an Emeria Angel + Knight of the Reliquary deck that uses Zealous Persecution as my main difference maker, and lots of 1/1 tokens (on a side note; great place for the new Serra Angel generator, Lingering Angels? Raise the Angels? Wut?)
So that game goes fairly smoothly, B runs short on mana and only draws his fourth when I’ve got 10 birds and two angels. Player A has a fair army, but isn’t keeping up with the landfall shenanigans and I eventually draw into Vault of the Archangel and put the game out of reach of their fair, recently standard but very casual decks. I concede my deck was much stronger than theirs, but they left that game not feeling too bad and somewhat impressed with the synergy (ie; drop a land, make a bird, Mentor of the Meek trigger, draw a card, gain a life off Suture Priest.)
Now comes the second game. A little background first;
I joined this group roughly a year ago. At the time their existing group was evolving. The core of the group is made up of a bunch of guys late thirties - early forties who have either come back to the game or are new to it. Player A is a returning player. When I came to town, their were three guys exiting moving south to “try to go pro,” younger guys, early twenties-ish. Im told later that Player A was so excited and that he was boasting about how he was going to be the best player in the group now...So I show up to the first day I’m invited and it’s an Ixalan draft. It goes ok in a large group and I finish top 4 with a hodgepodge of creature types. Notably player A finished ahead of me. So at the end of the night one of the guys that’s going to be leaving and I start up a conversation about some deck types we’re interested in based on the new cards, and card names start to fly. You know the conversations, where any uninitiated onlooker goes “wtf are these guys talking about?!?” Anyway, Player A gets a bit concerned he may not be the guy to beat moving forward.
Fast forward to game two; I sit down with deck-large;the-mad-king-of-tristram (which I acknowledge might be a bit anti-social for the environment, but it’s my favourite deck and I’ve only played it twice, maybe three times, in the last year including last night.) A is playing the pre-con cats basically right out of the box into sleeves, and B is playing a tweaked Edgar Markov (but not so tweaked as to be any more threatening than it is out of the box.) They’re probably a bit outmatched here. The first few turns nothing happens of relevance, since I kept a hand with no rocks just an Ancient Tomb. Turn three I play Font of Mythos planning to curve into Archfiend of Ifnir on turn four. So A plays Qasali Pridemage and lets everybody draw the two extra cards until his next turn comes around, in which he doesn’t swing with his cat but he does sacrifice it to blow up the Font so B and I don’t get the two cards. Well, after that the Archfiend does a fairly reasonable job suppressing the board state and the two non-blue decks don’t find anything to kill it or Nekusar until eventually I Lim-Dul's Vault for Megrim, kill his Leonin Relic-Warder that had stolen my Memory Jar and crack it. A dies and B is left with three life, he Merciless Evictions my creatures away and I top deck Wheel of Fortune for the win.
Well, as soon as A dies he packs up his deck, throws his stuff in his bag and says “I don’t like playing with you.” I start to say I understand how that’s not fun for him and how I rarely play this deck, and he stands up, leaves his beer on the table and goes. B and I finish the last turn, chat for a bit and leave.
So am I in the wrong for playing a deck too powerful for my environment? feedback from other group members goes something like “your decks are so interesting and we get better by seeing how you play your turns and you don’t gloat when you win or sulk when the whole table turns on you.”
On the other hand, this guy who is 40+, throws salt and shade every time someone blows up a permanent or even throws an opportune attack in his direction. I do consider him the only other player who is a threat though, and have been known to do things like blow up his only Forest (and green source) that he just put a Fertile Ground on...I view it as a learning experience but I also see how some people could consider me an a**hole...
What do you guys think?
Based upon what you've written, these are my thoughts for both you and Player A:
I fully understand where you're coming from. My kitchen table is dominated by interesting, unusual decks based around unique cards. Many of these cards are very interesting, but not competitive, which really holds the decks back. While I enjoy building around unique cards, I also have a much greater drive to optimize--so, while my decks might not be tier one competitive, they often end up too powerful for the meta, so I'll play with them once, realize the mistake, and retire them permanently.
I think it's a very fine balancing act--on one hand, you have to make decks that you enjoy playing, on the other, I do believe you have an affirmative obligation to not play a deck that's vastly more powerful than what others are playing.
Based on what you've said, you seem to be doing pretty well in this regard. You hold back on playing your most powerful decks out of respect for the meta, and, even then, they might not be as optimized as they otherwise could be (I personally think Font of Mythos and its ilk are are bad cards for Nekusar). Since no one else is allegedly upset, you seem to be towing the line fine.
Now, if you played a deck more powerful than everyone's every single game, that would be a problem, but that is not what you've reported.
From what you've written, he sounds like a bit of an ass. Losing is part of any game, and being able to accept that is important. If he felt your decks were too powerful for the meta, he should address this issue with you directly or update his deck to better check your threats. Throwing a hissy fit is almost never the right answer.
September 19, 2018 11:57 a.m.
Maybe the guy was having a bad day. Don't let it get to you. But playing a tuned edh deck against a pre con is a little dickish unless you unless you told them that you have streamlined the deck and they'll be outclassed. I've been on both sides playing casual games at my lgs. Maybe offer to buy him a beer next time you see him
September 19, 2018 12:44 p.m.
He’s always like this, B reported considering quitting playing with him and one of the other guys gives him a hard time whenever he starts to get salty because it’s his pattern.
The difficulty I have is I’ve been playing solidly for ten years now, and I came from a meta that was full of guys who have been playing 5-10 years longer than me, and have robust card collections...my “mentor” if you can call him that is a devout spike who now owns/runs a card shop. Most (other than Nekusar and Breya) of my commander decks are in two 1000 card boxes, separated by colour, legends, and lands so that when Tuesday rolls around I can open them up, pick 62 cards and 37 lands, shuffle them up and go. So my 15 minutes to build a deck often results in a formulaic build, that may not be quite optimized but probably includes cards similar in power level to Survival of the Fittest, Necropotence, Swords to Plowshares and 8-10 mana rocks as well as some jank like...anything red. If I’m expected to go back to playing pre-cons exclusively and put up with comments like “you know I build decks with cards I pull right,” and not be able to make constructive comments about efficient ways to spend money and resources to find out about cards like Scryfall or even the gatherer...then I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do. I try to help them make better plays, point out threats that they may have underestimated or just generally be a good sport and/coach.
September 19, 2018 1:02 p.m.
Ok so from what it sounds like you got 3 options
- Stop playing with the douche
Put up with his shit and play with him
Be salty right back (I dont recommend this)
September 19, 2018 1:16 p.m.
My only real deck that I keep together is a fully decked out cEDH Grand Arbiter combo control deck. I don't play at shops specifically because of this. Instead, I play UW control in modern there. I sometimes have terrible decks together I make solely to play against dumbed down decks, but I rarely enjoy myself. Mostly, it's the rampant misinformation about EDH and the terrible piloting that gets to me. In addition, players new to EDH don't know how to shortcut and sequence in ways to cut down game time. I've basically given up on playing EDH if it isn't with my core group of wonderful friends.
I've been yelled at shops before. Most notably someone screamed at me "You're not a human!" because I was playing Arbiter way back when the deck was like $300 and intentionally nerfed to nothing.
My best friend, bless his heart, is of the opinion we ought to teach these people and hone them over years. I disagree.
The only really constructive thing you can do at this point is bring up your concerns and try to make him understand that you're open to hearing what's on his mind. Maybe there's a middle ground you two can work toward. Try to be adults about it. Maybe do it outside of a game and dedicate a little time off for the conversation.
In the end, nothing you're going to do is a suitable replacement for airing out grievances. If no agreement is reached, at least you saved yourself frustration and time wasted in the future.
September 19, 2018 1:35 p.m.
I recently started playing with a new group that is extremely casual and/or beginner (compared with me) and I knew I needed to build a new deck that could play at their level. I normally like playing control decks but too many boards wipes will make 5 player games last forever and ever. So I made a "rattlesnake" deck that controls the game with fear instead of much actual removal. And it wins with other people's monsters after they do most of the work.
Its the most fun I've ever had playing multiplayer edh.
I would try some more cards that will strike fear into their hearts for ever crossing you and less that cause angry retaliation because of you proactively destroying their threats. Not pillow fort cards like Propaganda think more like Comeuppance or Settle the Wreckage. Then once they know your game plan, any open mana will be scary to attack into. So they will kill each other first, leaving you with a much easier task to finish the game up. I think Fog effects are often underrated in edh. They are extremely powerful if everyone is winning by attacking in your playgroup.
Not sure it will make your casual people like you better, but it worked for me. By the time a couple people are eliminated from a game you can be as ruthless as you want and it will be ok. Just give them a chance to kill someone else before dream crushing them and they won't feel like they just lost the whole game.
Many people don't like dying from effects that are not just "attacking creatures". Combos and control and resource denial decks are "not fun to play against" for these kinds of folks. They are not comfortable with the edh cardpool as a whole but they enjoy some of it, the easy stuff...that moves slow enough for them to react. Its possible your build was just too powerful for that situation but they might have even objected to a powered down version of the strategy just because they don't like playing vs those effects. Good luck.
Here's my "rattlesnake" deck:
Commander / EDH
SCORE: 2 | 1 COMMENT | 216 VIEWS | IN 1 FOLDER
September 19, 2018 1:54 p.m.
I’ve even gone as far as carrying a binder of singles around for sale or trade, but it’s a lost cause I think. You can’t teach everyone.
I’m considering group hug...because that’s fun
September 19, 2018 2:37 p.m.
Hm. Tough situation here. My two cents would be that you could make your own personal goal something besides winning. The folks at The Command Zone podcast talk about this a lot -- in a four-player pod, everyone's win rate should be 25% (plus or minus, since there's always variance). So, if you're winning 75% of the games, maybe you should take out a group hug deck, or a politics shenanigans deck, or even a "I put this deck together to teach y'all about threat assessment" deck. I appreciate that one of your goals is to teach people better gameplay, but unless those people are having fun, they're not going to want to improve. And people are less likely to have fun if you win the lion's share of games. Instead of dumbing down your decks, challenge your piloting and deckbuilding even more by building decks that foster that healthy kind of fun.
All that isn't to say, though, that player A doesn't need a major attitude adjustment (he does). But you might be able to actively improve the situation, which your concerned and self-aware post leads me to believe you are perfectly capable of(: good luck, friend!
September 19, 2018 3 p.m.
Group hug lasts forever. Maybe consider running something like Inalla, Archmage Ritualist. She can play out in a way where you'll have plenty to think about in a turn cycle and optimizing plays can reguire some thought. Even when played well, a loosely tuned version of her likely won't be too powerful. I find bad decks all too often don't require much skill to pilot, so dumbing decks down just pisses me off.
September 19, 2018 3:15 p.m.
I agree with Arvail--it's much more fun to build around a mediocre commander or strategy than dumb down your deck. Then you get all the joys of optimizing, without upsetting your meta.
If you're looking for a group-based deck, perhaps consider Karona, False God. Her ability is unique, and it's pretty fun to watch other players kill one another with your Voltroned commander. Her high mana, plus the fact you need to protect yourself from her (losing to your own commander damage is pretty disheartening) makes for some unique deck-building challenges, while also hamstringing her ability to dominate the meta.
September 19, 2018 4:03 p.m.
I think the important thing is to ask what level they're playing at, then bring something similar (or if you can't, explain what you have so that they are aware that they might have trouble and can either say they don't want to play or use as a learning experience). I recently brought a few different EDH decks to my new LGS and after watching a game and being told that is was pretty competitive (duals, mana crypts etc) rolled with my Kaalia deck, which is quite nasty and has things like universal land destruction and Iona. Cue me immediately becoming a target and being bitched about because blowing up someone's lands "stopped them winning next turn", and another person was going Doubling Season/Atraxa superfriends. I lost quickly, but it made me think about how to improve. Some people just don't like it when a deck they think is the tits is beaten, especially if they've sunk money into it! As someone else suggested, maybe try to find alternate win cons when you're playing worse decks/new players as well? I've found some cool synergies for a few decks by NOT tutoring for the "best" cards and deliberately avoiding playing cards that I know will have a big impact in favour of something else. Finally, ask if they would appreciate advice on how to beat your deck or improve theirs if you swapped places. Maybe even ask they'd like to pilot yours: that way they either get to win while you can get some experience seeing what yours is like to face OR they lose, proving that yours isn't an automatic winner.
September 19, 2018 5:25 p.m.
you're under no obligation to lower the power level of your decks just to please other players, and playing a deck you've constructed yourself against a precon is not "dickish". the other players consciously chose what to include or not include in their decks. if they're getting beat too badly, they can view it as a learning opportunity. you shouldn't feel like you have to cut down on your own fun, just so someone else can have fun.
September 19, 2018 7:38 p.m.
@DragonKing90 - There comes a point where money is a legitimate barrier. It's hard for a players wit $50 decks to take on a tuned $5K machine.
September 19, 2018 8:25 p.m.
Well guys (and girls?) I’m feeling much better about this now. Ive had an opportunity to chat with Player A about our predicament, and informed him that because (insert reasons here) I’m not that motivated to change my play style. Essentially he told me he’s intimidated by the knowledge and card selection I have, and wants to find a solution like draft or something to level the playing field. I suggested Brawl or Standard, but emphasized that I didn’t spend X number of dollars on my edh cube to not use it. Drafting it is a time consuming venture, however I think they’ll be up for it eventually. Just maybe not Tuesday night at the legion.
You guys have given me some good feedback and it’s greatly appreciated. I like the idea of playing a commander like Inalla who is less powerful, but still lends itself to thoughtful plays. I considered Tatyova but she just turned into Strip Mine+Crucible of Worlds.dec...(it doesn’t help that I don’t have self control)
I’m going to go through the 150 odd legends in my cube and decide what I can do to make a fun but not over powered deck. That way I don’t have to change my style significantly, and still don’t blow them out of the water without intentionally making bad/inopportune plays. I have to agree with the idea that just because my idea of fun doesn’t line up with his shouldn’t mean I have to meet him where he is.
September 19, 2018 8:33 p.m.
No problem mate. Thanks for helping me tune my Nekusar deck 4 years ago when I was still a baby to edh.
September 19, 2018 10:42 p.m.
Arvail: $50 vs $5,000 is indeed a big gap, but i feel its an exaggeration. even just a couple lands alone is more than $50, and $5000 seems high unless a player is running original dual lands.
September 19, 2018 11:07 p.m.
hah. I can’t believe it’s been that long! You’re welcome, I’m sure it’s come around on other decks over the years.
September 20, 2018 1:21 a.m.
- Hmmm. Sounds to me like the fellow could use some wins under his belt to get over that frustration. I'm usually somewhat impetuous & competitive by nature... After I took the challenge of multiple losses I constructed a (Captain Sisay) deck and got my game-winning beatdowns out of my system. Now that I have those wins under my belt I don't place the same feisty emphasis on that.
- A lot of the cards you mentioned are kindof standard fare, some control-shell stuff, more impetuous players will get insanely sick of seeing those repeating theme, control-based game winners. You could suggest budget control beaters against certain recurring themes in your meta. Unusual punishers & whatnot.
- I personally have more resilience than salty tantrums, I just take the "roll my eyes" approach to seeing my millionth overloaded Cyclonic Rift
- I have found that emphasis on winning is overrated; for me it is all aimed for massive game impact, punisher decks, with big time ways to pursue vendettas against whoever hits me with some dickish targeted spell :) .... This little metagame is difficult for a someone without too many wins to boast though.
- I like the Karona, False God suggestion, make a deck with a theme "less traveled" you may find you like it. The player probably is salty from losing repeatedly to the same control tricks (you may be unaware because they seem very standard to you).
September 20, 2018 1:48 a.m.
Player A sounds very much like a certain player that was in our meta when I started with EDH. I have to say I played legacy and sometimes vintage and came back to the game in 2016 after a break of 8 years or so...I was pointed towards EDH by the LGS since it was the only locally played format in which I could use my cards from back then (legacy and vintage was dead locally at that time). Obviously, not knowing what is actually good in EDH, the first decks were not too good because I built them with my previous 60 Card and 20 life experience in mind and didn't realize what the different setting and rules actually enabled.
Our clone of Player A had decks that could be considered steam engines. Slow to start but impossible to stop later on. It took me (and consequently also other newer EDH players) a while to figure out the weaknesses but eventually "be faster" was the first step. Just liek your Player A that guy also can't take losing well and he also seemed to have some codex of what is fair and not fair in addition to the actual game rules. Not being able to define that, people were building what they thought would help against the established steam engine decks...
Fast forward two years and the middle aged pubstomper hasn't adapted to the younger (~30 years old) players' brewing skills and got wrecked numerous times and went down with loud bitching every time. Even taking out his "tournament deck" didn't help anymore because the deck was actually bad and not suited to pubstomp the meta anymore. Eventually our Player A went from overpowered pubstomper to "casual scrub" in relation to the meta in far less than 2 years. It has even gone as far as him not being able to stand the sight of our now competitive table having more fun than himself nearby (he went to playing strictly casual tables anyway) and he made the casual players turn to Vampire the eternal struggle instead of mtg. now that is a really hilarious ending to a touchy pubstomper story...