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 Post subject: Re: Edh is dead - fix your banlist or make a secondary one
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-01 9:30 pm 
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Mr Degradation wrote:
niheloim wrote:
I was thinking... we dismiss the idea of “fixing” the banlist pretty easily, but is there merit in the notion of a secondary? Not so much a banlist, as an official “tread carefully” list that groups could point to in order to give weight to their housebans?


Pretty sure, that's what the footnote on the banlist insinuates that it is.

Quote:
These cards should not be played without prior agreement from the other players in the game, and may steer your playgroup to avoid other, similar cards.


EDH isn't a tourney format, the enforcement, and punishment; for violating the banlist and other house rules without prior agreement is usually more in line with "we wouldn't like to play with you." I feel as though, we (as probably experienced grinders for the most part-) over-analyze the banlist concept; because in competitive Magic, we look to the banlist for cards that behave similarly, to substitute what is banned- but in EDH, we're supposed to avoid doing what the cards on the banlist do more specific to the context of how they can ruin a perfectly enjoyable game.

...

Those guidelines are pretty rudimentary to upholding fun, engaging sessions that don't become migraines- and encourage future sessions.


That quote is just saying we can unban stuff in our playgroups. There's no request here to play with cards on the current or future banlist.

This is a request we get some guidance around how to play bogeymen and other problematic cards without causing problems for our players and maintaining the format's intended atmosphere.

It not being a tourney format is the point behind wanting this. If it was, we wouldn't care because winning is the objective. Instead, things like fun memorable games are, and it's useful to get some advice on areas where experienced format experts know we might violate that objective.

Combo play breaking the format over its knees? Some guidance around the kinds of combo play that can easily do that and may be worth avoiding would help players reflect on what's going on for them. The fact nothing needs to be banned is fine, the banlist isn't our only guidance document (we also have the game philosophy document for a reason: to guide us).

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 Post subject: Re: Edh is dead - fix your banlist or make a secondary one
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-02 2:00 am 
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spacemonaut wrote:

That quote is just saying we can unban stuff in our playgroups. There's no request here to play with cards on the current or future banlist.

This is a request we get some guidance around how to play bogeymen and other problematic cards without causing problems for our players and maintaining the format's intended atmosphere.

It not being a tourney format is the point behind wanting this. If it was, we wouldn't care because winning is the objective. Instead, things like fun memorable games are, and it's useful to get some advice on areas where experienced format experts know we might violate that objective.

Combo play breaking the format over its knees? Some guidance around the kinds of combo play that can easily do that and may be worth avoiding would help players reflect on what's going on for them. The fact nothing needs to be banned is fine, the banlist isn't our only guidance document (we also have the game philosophy document for a reason: to guide us).



Quote:
These cards should not be played without prior agreement from the other players in the game, and may steer your playgroup to avoid other, similar cards.


Pretty sure it's a multi-faceted weasel-note designed to steer players into a good direction for how to increase their overall enjoyment of the format. Tbh, I think the text is too small on the banlist page- because that quote itself dips into the diplomatic nature of an EDH playgroup.

Also, combo play is entirely context dependent to each individual playgroup. It's just that once you past a certain point; "fair decks" (mostly Midrange/Aggro/Control) have to pack mass amounts of flexible hate; and the meta itself warps into Combo V Combo-Breaker. While I do prefer that sort of meta, I don't think it's something that would be healthy to expose playgroup members who are relatively new to- and I know plenty of people who've played EDH far longer than me, who just don't dig that sort of game. Ofc we all know that the banlist can't fix that- because it's an attitude issue. Some players won't play depowered decks to satiate the needs of their playgroup- which probably in turn gives their playgroup a short life expectancy :P

As for the format- I think it's pretty healthy. The last couple years of new card influx have been pretty good for it (Amonkhet as a set is especially saucy for EDH fuel)

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 Post subject: Re: Edh is dead - fix your banlist or make a secondary one
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-02 2:36 am 
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Mr Degradation wrote:
As for the format- I think it's pretty healthy. The last couple years of new card influx have been pretty good for it (Amonkhet as a set is especially saucy for EDH fuel)

Good! You're clearly fine and don't need this document.

Other places it isn't so healthy. A guidance document from format experts about how to maintain format health would be very helpful. The banlist isn't that document, though it sure contributes to format health.

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 Post subject: Re: Edh is dead - fix your banlist or make a secondary one
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-02 3:37 am 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Palm Springs Area, CA
Mr Degradation wrote:
niheloim wrote:
I was thinking... we dismiss the idea of “fixing” the banlist pretty easily, but is there merit in the notion of a secondary? Not so much a banlist, as an official “tread carefully” list that groups could point to in order to give weight to their housebans?


Pretty sure, that's what the footnote on the banlist insinuates that it is.

Sure. That might be the intent. But I don't think thats how its being used. Nor is it clear how to players how the banlist is to push them towards not playing certain cards.

The list I was thinking of would be secondary to the banlist for the explicit purpose of pointing out the problematic cards that don't actually deserve to be banned, but are not well looked upon by subsets of the players.

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 Post subject: Re: Edh is dead - fix your banlist or make a secondary one
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-02 6:54 am 
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niheloim wrote:
Sure. That might be the intent. But I don't think thats how its being used. Nor is it clear how to players how the banlist is to push them towards not playing certain cards.

The list I was thinking of would be secondary to the banlist for the explicit purpose of pointing out the problematic cards that don't actually deserve to be banned, but are not well looked upon by subsets of the players.


I'm not sure this would have the effect you're hoping for. If it's not banned, the players you're worried about will still play those problematic cards. A polite suggestion from the RC, no matter the font size or how it is worded will not matter to more competitively minded players. It's for this reason that house bans exist. If you and your group do not like a certain set of cards/strategies, house ban them and make sure to communicate this to newcomers. I know that sounds cynical, but I think the current model where players and playgroups have a pretty high level of autonomy to govern games is the best way to preserve the breadth of deckbuilding choices and experiences the format provides.

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 Post subject: Re: Edh is dead - fix your banlist or make a secondary one
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-02 9:05 am 
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spacemonaut wrote:
Mr Degradation wrote:
As for the format- I think it's pretty healthy. The last couple years of new card influx have been pretty good for it (Amonkhet as a set is especially saucy for EDH fuel)

Good! You're clearly fine and don't need this document.

Other places it isn't so healthy. A guidance document from format experts about how to maintain format health would be very helpful. The banlist isn't that document, though it sure contributes to format health.


Do you really believe that? Like, what kind of hell are you encountering? Has your playgroup discussed it?

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 Post subject: Re: Edh is dead - fix your banlist or make a secondary one
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-02 6:12 pm 

Joined: 2012-Apr-11 7:17 am
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spacemonaut wrote:
Other places it isn't so healthy. A guidance document from format experts about how to maintain format health would be very helpful. The banlist isn't that document, though it sure contributes to format health.
Those places are having differing problems too, so it would be a stab in the dark.

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 Post subject: Re: Edh is dead - fix your banlist or make a secondary one
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-02 6:57 pm 

Joined: 2015-Dec-22 4:41 am
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I think creating balanced and interactive gameplay would not only take discouraging of degenerate strategies but also the inculcation of effective strategic thinking. The latter seems to boil down to "Git gud!" but the former will take a combination of principle and incentive. For example, I just built a Tazri deck. It has some infinite combos, but the catch is that it's only $50. I can't afford to use the best cards and the best strategy on that budget, but I built it to win (it hasn't won a single game yet). Principle keeps me from exceeding $50, and with that limit serving as a sufficient obstacle, I can remain win-oriented and make victory my incentive.

The question is, what document can the RC write and endorse that creates incentive to build decks that lead to fun and interactive gameplay without actually limiting the card pool? I mentioned the use of a side-quest-style point system (with rewards and penalties) earlier. Does anyone on the RC use a specific and refined system that they could recommend to veteran players?

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 Post subject: Re: Edh is dead - fix your banlist or make a secondary one
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-03 3:40 am 
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I honestly think that the best thing the RC could do to try to do that is to keep on doing what Sheldon's been doing: posting their own decks and games and talking about them. Seeing what cards/strategies the format visionaries actually use and hearing why they choose them over the alternatives is about as good as you could get.

That being said, if they were to draw up a document, here are some things I'd consider putting on it:

1. Try to limit yourself from cards/strategies that actively prevent your opponents from being able to play the game, especially those that target a single player. Taking the example of discard: Liliana's Specter and Unnerve are fine, Necrogen Mists and Oppression should be used with caution, and Myojinn of Night's Reach and Wit's End are where it gets to be not fun. Categorically speaking, the offenders tend to be excessive discard, mana denial, excessive removal, excessive anti-removal, and extra-turn effects.

2. Proceed with caution around cards that have some sort of repeatable value effect. The worst (legal) offender in this category IMO is Deadeye Navigator, and other examples include cards like Greater Good, Razaketh, Perilous Forays, and Arguel's Blood Fast. Too often turns and even games can just devolve into maximizing the use of the ability rather than actually doing anything interactive or interesting, and cards like these tend to create the 10-minute turns that everyone despises. The exception to this rule is cards whose repeatable effect is something interesting and interactive, such as Geth, Lord of the Vault

3. In terms of cost vs effect, I say always lean in the direction of the better effect. Smash or Into the Core > Smelt for example. On a similar note, if the choice is between mana cost and other cost, see if the deck can make up for the other cost. For example, in certain decks Rending Vines > Slice in Twain.

4. Play as many cards as you can that test your skills as a player instead of your skills at manipulating the luck of deckbuilding. The best comparison I can make is Thran Dynamo vs Hedron Archive. Not that I won't play Dynamo or that it's a bad card, but when I'm on the cutting room floor it will always go first because Archive gives me the option of playing it multiple ways and possibly making a brilliant play or a stupid one. Its sacrifice effect also gives it the opportunity to interact with more of my own board.

5. Play cards that affect the whole table over ones that affect you alone. The simplest comparison I could make is Drana's Emissary > Nxy-Fleece Ram.

6. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. I generally don't like to build decks that don't have at a backup strategy if the major one fails, and I never like to rely on a single card or subset of cards to do it.

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 Post subject: Re: Edh is dead - fix your banlist or make a secondary one
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-04 3:12 am 
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Mr Degradation wrote:
spacemonaut wrote:
Mr Degradation wrote:
As for the format- I think it's pretty healthy. The last couple years of new card influx have been pretty good for it (Amonkhet as a set is especially saucy for EDH fuel)

Good! You're clearly fine and don't need this document.

Other places it isn't so healthy. A guidance document from format experts about how to maintain format health would be very helpful. The banlist isn't that document, though it sure contributes to format health.


Do you really believe that? Like, what kind of hell are you encountering? Has your playgroup discussed it?


I'm not sure how to begin to respond to that. Do you think I don't believe that, that I'm just typing out these words 'cause it's fun? That's kind of an insulting line of question to respond to someone with.

My locale is dominated by enchantment-based control decks that wind up shutting down the game through lack of ability to do anything, and enchantment-based chaos decks that wind up shutting down the game via lack of ability to make meaningful decisions. I'm not sure how to resolve it, but yes I've tried.

I've written more about it here.

My experience here since writing that though is that the majority of users here have perfectly functional playgroups and dismiss the issues other raise because they don't experience those issues themselves, and can't imagine them actually happening and not being fixable, which is pretty unfortunate for me since it limits the amount of assistance I can get in resolving that situation. But I can suggest the format leaders and experts can provide advice for locales experiencing degenerate play, and how to avoid and recover from it, and how to fulfil the format's philosophy.



Uktabi_Kong wrote:
I honestly think that the best thing the RC could do to try to do that is to keep on doing what Sheldon's been doing: posting their own decks and games and talking about them. Seeing what cards/strategies the format visionaries actually use and hearing why they choose them over the alternatives is about as good as you could get.

That being said, if they were to draw up a document, here are some things I'd consider putting on it:

1. Try to limit yourself from cards/strategies that actively prevent your opponents from being able to play the game, especially those that target a single player. Taking the example of discard: Liliana's Specter and Unnerve are fine, Necrogen Mists and Oppression should be used with caution, and Myojinn of Night's Reach and Wit's End are where it gets to be not fun. Categorically speaking, the offenders tend to be excessive discard, mana denial, excessive removal, excessive anti-removal, and extra-turn effects.

2. Proceed with caution around cards that have some sort of repeatable value effect. The worst (legal) offender in this category IMO is Deadeye Navigator, and other examples include cards like Greater Good, Razaketh, Perilous Forays, and Arguel's Blood Fast. Too often turns and even games can just devolve into maximizing the use of the ability rather than actually doing anything interactive or interesting, and cards like these tend to create the 10-minute turns that everyone despises. The exception to this rule is cards whose repeatable effect is something interesting and interactive, such as Geth, Lord of the Vault

3. In terms of cost vs effect, I say always lean in the direction of the better effect. Smash or Into the Core > Smelt for example. On a similar note, if the choice is between mana cost and other cost, see if the deck can make up for the other cost. For example, in certain decks Rending Vines > Slice in Twain.

4. Play as many cards as you can that test your skills as a player instead of your skills at manipulating the luck of deckbuilding. The best comparison I can make is Thran Dynamo vs Hedron Archive. Not that I won't play Dynamo or that it's a bad card, but when I'm on the cutting room floor it will always go first because Archive gives me the option of playing it multiple ways and possibly making a brilliant play or a stupid one. Its sacrifice effect also gives it the opportunity to interact with more of my own board.

5. Play cards that affect the whole table over ones that affect you alone. The simplest comparison I could make is Drana's Emissary > Nxy-Fleece Ram.

6. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. I generally don't like to build decks that don't have at a backup strategy if the major one fails, and I never like to rely on a single card or subset of cards to do it.


I think the advice in here is pretty sound. I like the emphasis on interactive effects over efficient noninteractive effects, and the avoidance of effects which disempower other plaeyrs. #3 makes sense in a format aimed toward longer games with a lot of mana available.

This is also the kind of advice I'm speaking about wanting to see. Thanks for articulating this.

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 Post subject: Re: Edh is dead - fix your banlist or make a secondary one
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-04 5:14 am 

Joined: 2012-Apr-11 7:17 am
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spacemonaut wrote:
My locale is dominated by enchantment-based control decks that wind up shutting down the game through lack of ability to do anything, and enchantment-based chaos decks that wind up shutting down the game via lack of ability to make meaningful decisions. I'm not sure how to resolve it, but yes I've tried.
That sounds terrible, I honestly feel bad anyone has to play in a meta like that if they do not want to. I do have 2 questions:

1) Is it possible a large number of the players are enjoying that, and you are the unfortunate 'odd man out'?

2) Do you think a guidance document from the RC would change any of those players' decks? They seem to know exactly what they are doing, so do you think anything from the RC would change that style of build/play?

Quote:
But I can suggest the format leaders and experts can provide advice for locales experiencing degenerate play, and how to avoid and recover from it, and how to fulfill the format's philosophy
I honestly think this has happened, people just tend not to like the prevalent answer: Don't play with people who make the game miserable for you. I really do understand people have limited resources such as time, locale, interested parties etc. But in the end we all have to be responsible for our own enjoyment. We should strongly focus on the enjoyment of others in EDH, but you cannot control other people very often.

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 Post subject: Re: Edh is dead - fix your banlist or make a secondary one
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-04 6:09 am 
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MRHblue wrote:
spacemonaut wrote:
My locale is dominated by enchantment-based control decks that wind up shutting down the game through lack of ability to do anything, and enchantment-based chaos decks that wind up shutting down the game via lack of ability to make meaningful decisions. I'm not sure how to resolve it, but yes I've tried.
That sounds terrible, I honestly feel bad anyone has to play in a meta like that if they do not want to. I do have 2 questions:

1) Is it possible a large number of the players are enjoying that, and you are the unfortunate 'odd man out'?

2) Do you think a guidance document from the RC would change any of those players' decks? They seem to know exactly what they are doing, so do you think anything from the RC would change that style of build/play?


1) That's entirely possible, though it'd mean there's a number of Odd People Out -- a lot of people don't seem happy in the face of those decks. I can see when people are having a lot of fun and when they're not, and in the format's mission of having memorable fun games, I'm seeing less having fun, more not. I don't know about exact numbers but they seem more tolerated than enjoyed.

2) Yes. We have like... 3 different discussion groups in this locale of overlapping players. But it is difficult to broach. In lieu of approaching from some core principles and guidance I can point to, it's just "hey I don't have fun with those decks." That either doesn't catch on, or it does and persecutes the people playing them without any guidance for them on how to do better. With posts like Uktabi Kong's to point to, I can say "hey, these are some good principles for a healthy Commander meta, but I think we're violating them, can we work toward meeting these?" -- that's so much more a constructive direction to go in. It takes attention off specific players and decks, and puts it on forward-looking possibilities for action. There aren't documents like that I can point to yet that have an official status, and I'd like those. I'm seriously considering linking Uktabi Kong's post to my locale though.

MRHblue wrote:
Quote:
But I can suggest the format leaders and experts can provide advice for locales experiencing degenerate play, and how to avoid and recover from it, and how to fulfill the format's philosophy
I honestly think this has happened, people just tend not to like the prevalent answer: Don't play with people who make the game miserable for you. I really do understand people have limited resources such as time, locale, interested parties etc. But in the end we all have to be responsible for our own enjoyment. We should strongly focus on the enjoyment of others in EDH, but you cannot control other people very often.


Yes, and so far I have had considerable trouble doing that, so I have resolved that instead by simply not playing since December.

I would like, however, to think that EDH can be a more resilient format than one where only the people who can put up with this can play, and everyone else is just boned and has to suck up or stop playing because of locale degeneracy.

Thanks for hearing me out.

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 Post subject: Re: Edh is dead - fix your banlist or make a secondary one
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-04 3:50 pm 

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spacemonaut wrote:
1) That's entirely possible, though it'd mean there's a number of Odd People Out -- a lot of people don't seem happy in the face of those decks. I can see when people are having a lot of fun and when they're not, and in the format's mission of having memorable fun games, I'm seeing less having fun, more not. I don't know about exact numbers but they seem more tolerated than enjoyed.
So if you are able to identify the people who are not having fun, or tolerating games instead of enjoying, why cant a group of like minded folks be found? I know a lot of people at my LGS I wouldn't sit down for a game with, buy enjoy having a chat with.

Quote:
2) Yes. We have like... 3 different discussion groups in this locale of overlapping players <snip> I'm seriously considering linking Uktabi Kong's post to my locale though.
I hope that creates meaningful discussion for your group. Perhaps an outside opinion can get through where you have not.

Quote:
I would like, however, to think that EDH can be a more resilient format than one where only the people who can put up with this can play, and everyone else is just boned and has to suck up or stop playing because of locale degeneracy.
I think it is, but people who want that have to do the heavy lifting themselves a lot of the time. They have to cultivate those players, and bring along new people to play that way. I understand your want for something 'official' to point at as say 'lets be like that'. Instead I think we have to be the thing people point to.

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 Post subject: Re: Edh is dead - fix your banlist or make a secondary one
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-04 6:39 pm 

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Ultimately, I'm a bit afraid that fighting for a principle alone without providing an incentive to follow it will probably fail. If a format isn't fun, simply making "Have fun!" a rule won't fix it.

If this is happening at an LGS, maybe you could talk to the store manager about it, especially if we're talking about a paid routine event. If they want to incentivize newer customers to buy commander products and play at their commander events, they need to not just support the principle of the format philosophy but also provide an incentive to follow that principle. That incentive usually takes the form of a custom win condition for a series of games/pods as it does at my own LGS. In paid events, they can award prizes both for winning individual games (the normal way) and winning the event (the custom way).

When I get the chance, I'll post an example of what my LGS does. It's not full proof, but it's a start.

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 Post subject: Re: Edh is dead - fix your banlist or make a secondary one
AgePosted: 2018-Mar-05 9:28 am 
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spacemonaut wrote:

I'm not sure how to begin to respond to that. Do you think I don't believe that, that I'm just typing out these words 'cause it's fun? That's kind of an insulting line of question to respond to someone with.

My locale is dominated by enchantment-based control decks that wind up shutting down the game through lack of ability to do anything, and enchantment-based chaos decks that wind up shutting down the game via lack of ability to make meaningful decisions. I'm not sure how to resolve it, but yes I've tried.

I've written more about it here.

My experience here since writing that though is that the majority of users here have perfectly functional playgroups and dismiss the issues other raise because they don't experience those issues themselves, and can't imagine them actually happening and not being fixable, which is pretty unfortunate for me since it limits the amount of assistance I can get in resolving that situation. But I can suggest the format leaders and experts can provide advice for locales experiencing degenerate play, and how to avoid and recover from it, and how to fulfil the format's philosophy.

Woah- definitely not my intention, friend!

What I was getting at, is that we tend to be hyperbolic in these discussions as a mode of articulating ourselves; not that your feelings on the matter aren't genuine or informed. Rather, if you're having a bad experience, I'm much more interested in understanding how you're experiencing the game, because I would very-much-so like to understand how you reached the conclusion of an expanded philosophy document!

Anecdotally, speaking- My frequent groups are healthy, because we all know what we like, and how to disassemble and hate out any strategy we view as oppressive- but, that comes from having set ground rules, and developed an internal lack-of-hesitation for constructive criticism. It sounds like your own conditions are vastly different.

If the control decks in your deck are oppressive, you may have to get a little more brutal about your particularly proactive decks. The most miserable Draw-Go decks don't thrive in many playgroups because those nutty combo decks- and well tuned aggression exist. Is this where you feel like a philosophy document should begin? About the nature of picking roles?

If that's the case- one small suggestion is to build decks within a playgroup in distinct cycles (color combinations, themes, etc.) Often, we build more towards the powerful things we have, than making a deck the strongest version of what it is- and then scaling it appropriately for exciting play. Rather- EDH is rooted in themes (such as the Generals themselves.) It would seem that some members of your group might not have tuned in yet to the idea that EDH is a very social game, and things like themes are often more important than playing 100 of the best cards you could find in the same color identity. I recently taught a friend to build EDH decks by imagining them as a tarot deck that you assemble and disassemble to tell stories with your friend's own tarot decks. Idk if that helps- but I hope it's in the right direction, or that you can further articulate on it.

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