Where do you personally draw the line between EDH and cEDH?

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Sept. 23, 2021, 7:12 p.m. by TypicalTimmy

I do it based on the average turn the deck wins on. For example, there are decks that can win with an opening hand of less than 7 cards. I've seen decks that can, in theory, win with a Mulligan down to five and a topdeck for the 6th combo piece. That's a T0 win. You've won before the game started. But this is also theoretical and the deck may have achieved it once in well over 100 games.

I know decks that struggle to win, even at T10. They may not even have a wincon and sort of hope to just slip under the radar.

But this begs the question as to when a deck is no longer cEDH and instead just EDH?

For example, I've built decks that clear the table by T5. I've played games where I've won as early as T3 with a very degenerate build I had that I took apart because I didn't like the feeling of "winning" like that.

I also have a deck that routinely wins between T6 - T8. This is, actually, my goal. When I comstruct a deck, I aim to win between T6 and T8 if at all possible. This, to me, feels more like a "Casually competitive".

For me, a deck is cEDH if it routinely wins before T6, and a deck is non-competitive if it doesn't win routinely until beyond T10.

But how do you define it?

RiotRunner789 says... #2

I typically consider cEDH a deck that consistently wins or completely owns the game by turn 4. These decks also typically have low cost (or free) interaction to both protect their wins or stop others from winning.

September 23, 2021 7:23 p.m.

RNR_Gaming says... #3

Mentality. Play the best thing in the best way. Previous games are meaningless, leave the salt from that game in the past and always make the most optimal decision in every situation. From deck building to cracking a fetch everything is calculated and deliberate - no take backs and abide by all the rules; politics will get you no where with seasoned players - threat recognition should be at its' absolute peak in these pods and winning is the only statistic that matters. You don't get a medal or prizes for flavor.

September 23, 2021 7:28 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #4

RNR_Gaming, that's how I play. I reign in on whom is the objective threat until someone else becomes it. For example, if I have 30 damage on board, sure I can swing out maybe 12 and leave 18 up for protecting myself. Or I can swing approximately 10 at each opponent. Maybe the math doesn't quite work out that well so I do 7, 7 and 12 and the 12 is at someone who has the highest life total.

That's "fair" magic. But if I am aiming to secure a win, and someone is at 29 life, it makes more sense to swing all 30 at them and force their position.

Of course this is all assuming many factors are not relevant in this example. For instance, Reclamation Sage on a players Mana Crypt is a very logical choice.

That's how my Lathliss, Dragon Queen deck wins. I slam face with non-combat damage to a single opponent, then swing in with an army of fliers. Drop their life total from 40 to 16 in one turn.

Next turn, KO with burn and swing full force at #2. Repeat for #3 the following turn and win.

September 23, 2021 7:45 p.m. Edited.

StopShot says... #5

My best deck is built with all the best pieces and combo-kills, but I took out all the ramp for removal so that I win the game later and the removal is the insurance so my opponent doesn’t finish early either. I feel like that still makes it home to competitive, but the game can still play out in casual. Normally I just sit on a game winning combo in hand and wait for someone to make a game-ending play to finally play my cards. Normally my other opponents will take out their win with their removal so that my combo doesn’t take it instead. My only problem is I’m not running blue and there are some game-ending combos only counter-magic can stop that instant-speed permanent destruction can't and in this case the best countermeasure would be to try to win faster with ramp, yet I wouldn’t call my deck casual as I do run some reserve list bombs. I wouldn’t say casual and competitive are diametric extremes as you would never say casual can’t make their own power plays and that competitive has no room for deviation either, so I’d like to think I fit in the overlap given my deck composition and playstyle.

September 23, 2021 8:20 p.m.

While the turns to win are pretty spot on I believe the biggest factor that differentiates cEDH from EDH is the deck building.

cEDH tends to have more interaction in general. A lot of that interaction is free spells. The curve tends to be sub 3 mana on average. Lastly, there’s a relatively consistent card pool Dockside Extortionist, Underworld Breach, Thassa's Oracle, Demonic Consultation, and a large amount of fast mana. With the exception of a few cards cEDH also feels like the decks are all very similar

Meanwhile, EDH is more of a wide open format. Optimal play isn’t needed. The decks don’t need to be the absolute best cards and there’s more room for pet cards.

September 23, 2021 10:13 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #7

My general strategy is to have more spells than the table has removal. I don't worry about one or two people holding up a counterspell or a path to exile. Similarly, I tend to not worry about their plays either.

I get my stuff out faster than the rest of the table, then overwhelm with a force they can't hope to stop.

This tends to make all of my decks very heavily reliant on combat damage and combat tricks, but there are ways to mix that up. In my aforementioned Lathliss deck, I have a bit of cruel control such as with Mudslide and Citadel of Pain, as well as Blood Moon and some others.

Then I passively create damage via Chandra, Awakened Inferno, Impact Tremors, Dragon Tempest, Warstorm Surge, Scourge of Valkas, Terror of the Peaks, Purphoros, God of the Forge and more. Also Sarkhan the Masterless

Ramp, I've got Mana Crypt, Ancient Tomb, Sol Ring, Arcane Signet, Mox Amber, Chrome Mox, Mox Tantalite, Mox Diamond and other staples.

Even cost reduction via Ruby Medallion, cloudkey, Urza's Incubator, Herald's Horn, Dragonlord's Servant and Dragonspeaker Shaman.

I can cheat via Sunbird's Invocation, Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast and Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded - who also serves as a haste enabler on top of like the six other haste enablers in the deck. Oh and Spinerock Knoll.

It even has recursion. For example, Haven of the Spirit Dragon, Vesuva and Thespian's Stage.

...it's like a $1,000 deck... For a $4 Commander, lol

September 23, 2021 10:56 p.m.

DuTogira says... #8

For me it’s the mentality.

Not from just a play perspective even, but also a deck building perspective.

Within my Sharuum the Hegemon deck, I run what I call the “path of exile” combo of Cataclysmic Gearhulk + Portcullis. The combo works such that, if I drop Cataclysmic Gearhulk after the Portcullis is active, I not only wipe most of the board, but I also can stick gearhulk into the Portcullis so that it clears anything that gets locked behind the portcullis. When Portcullis is removed and gearhulk comes back, I can cast Sharuum the Hegemon bringing back Portcullis and lock up the board with my 2 creatures. It’s a 5 turn clock per player from there.
That clock doesn’t change for commander damage vs normal combat.
Basically: even if I build the entire rest of my sharuum deck to win on turn 4, I can actively choose to tutor for this durdle-fest of a combo against decks that I can tell are much weaker, and still create an interesting board state that demands some interaction from my opponents. Even the most casual of decks run something like a Bane of Progress or Austere Command, so they can interact. There’s some allowance that of course must be made (like not Force of Willing your opponents’ removal if their decks are significantly weaker), but you can approach just about any table with a gameplay line that allows for some level of fun and friendly competition.

If you build a deck to only win in the most competitive way possible, it’ll do that. If you play to win every game, you’ll do it. But if you intentionally build a way to play at a variable level into your deck, and actively choose to play according to your table’s level… well that’s where the magic happens

September 24, 2021 12:20 a.m.

TriusMalarky says... #9

It's based on how you are trying to win, the raw power of your ramp, interaction and value spells, and how gimmicky your deck is.

I expect people to play fairly optimally(or as optimally as they know how to play) because it's a game that you're trying to win. Don't take purposefully bad lines.

But the win condition is important. See, Breach lines or Consult-Thoracle or Food Chain or Dramatic Scepter are very very optimal as win conditions. Those would fall under cEDH level. Something a bit less powerful, like Pili-Pala + Architect, isn't as fast or as powerful but is still very good, would fall under high power -- basically, heavily optimal but you don't want to spend as much, or don't quite care for that level of optimal. Under that, you have obscure combos -- basically, anything that's weird and convoluted and really just a spectacle. Under that, there's "casual" -- Avenger of Zendikar, Craterhoof, all those other just big fun wins, etc. Under that, there's True Casual, in which the win condition is being the last person to pass out after the three day game because nobody is allowed to win.

Then I'd consider some builds to be more low-power if they're simply running cluestones, a bit higher if they use big rocks like Worn Powerstone, a bit higher if they add signets and talismans and 1 mana dorks, and then max power if they're running Crypt and Vault and such. Apply that kind of logic to card draw, removal, etc, and you get that section.

So my Kodama-Tevesh list that runs a lot of ramp(ranging from cluestones to mana dorks and signets) but doesn't really have a win con and just has whatever was in my binder for interaction is casual. My Korvold list that wants to use sac loops or ad naus to draw most of my deck to find a game winning combo is high power. My Sisay-Jegantha list that is literally the shiniest things I've traded for/pulled/bought and has no real gameplan other than "so I thought the art was great and also it's shiny" is very gimmicky and definitely casual.

September 24, 2021 11:45 a.m.

jaymc1130 says... #10

There are a combination of factors that are required for me to consider a deck list or strategic archetype worthy to be included in the cEDH meta.

Factor 1: The deck or archetype is consistently able to threaten to win the game or lock opponents out by turns 3 and 4. The speed factor is important because it’s an emergent property of a list or archetype that defines how roughly efficient it is in pursuit of a game winning line of play.

Factor 2: The concepts being deployed by a deck list or archetype are efficiently and effectively competitive from an independent perspective. This aspect can at times be heavily meta dependent and might mean competitive worthiness is a function of a specific meta state. Playing a discard focused archetype such as Gitrog Monster into a field of opposing Tergrid lists is suicide, for example. In the most complete sense of the competitive meta scape both archetypes meet the criteria for Factor 1, but in the specific meta state previously described the Gitrog archetype is not competitive in the slightest and would struggle to win a single game out of 100 played.

Factor 3: The win rate for a particular deck list or archetype is at least 20% in a vacuum with a large enough sample size of games to properly reflect the most complete overall metascape. Decks between 20-24% win rates comprise the Tier 3 list of lists and archetypes, 25-29% is Tier 2, and 30%+ is Tier 1. Decklists and archetypes that fall into Tier 4 with 19% win rates or less can be considered non competitive in the overall meta environment, though if they meet the criteria for Factor 1 and 2 they might be competitive within specific metascapes.

The common theme among all of these factors is efficiency, leading to a more simplistic perspective that for a deck list or archetype to be considered competitive it must be maximally efficient.

September 25, 2021 12:37 p.m.

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