Was WotC's embrace of Commander a good thing?

User avatar
Hermes_
Posts: 1740
Joined: 4 years ago
Pronoun: he / him

Post by Hermes_ » 3 weeks ago

I'm sure from a bottom line stand point it was/is good. I'm also grateful that WotC has an extra place for reprints and other cards that wouldn't see the light of day otherwise. But on the flipside, power creep/complexity has increased with everything you need to keep track of or be aware of.

What do you all think?
The Secret of Commander (EDH)
Sheldon-"The secret of this format is in not breaking it. "

User avatar
benjameenbear
Posts: 1109
Joined: 4 years ago
Pronoun: he / him

Post by benjameenbear » 3 weeks ago

I'll chime in as one of the old-timers who still remembers when this format was called EDH back in 2009-2010. Damn, I've been playing for a while...

I personally think it's been a mixed bag of results at best and a negative thing at worst. The way WotC influences Commander is from a card design and printing standpoint, so I'll offer my critique from this level. I also come from a more cEDH standpoint on my card evaluation and less from a casual standpoint, so take my comments with that standpoint.

I would say there's been some overall net positives that are awesome to see. Being able to make Commander so accessible through EDH-specific precons has been great for the MtG community as a whole and has overall lead to a positive growth and acceptance of what was once a fringe format. I like that. My chances of going into any LGS and being able to play a game of EDH with a group of unknown people is super high, and I appreciate that. cEDH is really developing into its own format and a large part of that has been because of the broad push WotC has done for the format.

But WotC has printed cards that have specifically warped the format that were exclusively designed for Commander. The two largest culprits are obviously Dockside Extortionist and Hullbreacher. These cards single-handedly warped/warp the cEDH format around them and even trickled into more casual play as format warpers. Personally, I'd rest my case there. But then there's all the commander-free spells a la Fierce Guardianship and Deflecting Swat. These cards are also powerful staples from a competitive standpoint and influence the way decks are constructed on a very broad and powerful scale. Jeweled Lotus is also a card that is arguably a mistake since it allows a more Commander-centric gameplan to take effect and minimize other card and mana development strategies.

User avatar
Avacyn Believer
Faith Requires Sacrifice
Posts: 287
Joined: 1 year ago
Pronoun: he / him
Location: Innistrad
Contact:

Post by Avacyn Believer » 3 weeks ago

Interesting question, and I agree with @benjameenbear that it has been a mixed bag. I've been playing Commander exclusively since 2017, and I have noticed too how events in LGS shifted to accommodate for it. I do love that I can travel across the world and have a game of Commander in almost any LGS, and I do genuinely believe that Commander is much better format then Standard or Modern, at least in terms of inviting casual play.

But casual play is not what Wizards/Hasbro want, for them it is about money. Hence why they tried to introduced a rotating Commander format, which got them nowhere. It is great we are getting more cards to build around and with, but it has been far too much for the last three years. I've read or heard somewhere recently how much more cognitive load there is in Commander games, so many new cards and niche mechanics. Perhaps case could be made that while it is much easier for new players to join the format, it is harder for them to stay in it because it is so massive.

I do remember when I used to wish Wizards released more precons and re-printed more cards for Commander, but I guess it is the classic case of be careful what you wish for :rofl:

We can be only glad that Commander as a format can exist divorced from Wizards, since that is how it began.
Faith Requires Sacrifice
MTGNexus Primer | Archidekt | Church of Avacyn

User avatar
PrimevalCommander
Posts: 836
Joined: 4 years ago
Pronoun: he / him

Post by PrimevalCommander » 3 weeks ago

EDH'er from 2009 reporting in...

I was happier when sets were released in a 3-set block, standard was a robust and supported format, and wizards designed for 60 card, 20 life, constructed. Decks were slower, and games were long, but you know we didn't care a lick. You could play over costed draft chaff that rotted in trade binders and give life to stale cardboard. Commander staples and constructed staples only moderately overlapped, and it felt like a true eternal format where creativity was abundant.

Now commander feels like as much a pseudo-rotating format as Modern with power creep, and commander competes for so many cards when direct-to-eternal sets can blow the doors off the card design limits and push powerlevels to 9000. "You don't need the latest and greatest to compete in a multiplayer 40 life format" I hear you say, and I say it too, and I agree...but the question was if WOtC turning Commander into their Golden Goose was a good thing, and I say not. I'd still not need the latest and greatest to do well in commander, but whenever the latest and greatest DID come, you know 2-3 times a year maybe, most everyone could afford it if they wanted to. Now after 2 months I'm already 3 sets behind on the new hotness.

I love commander, and will play it for as long as I play magic, but I don't think commander needed what it got when WOtC turned on the money machine. Can't put the cat back in the bag, so I shut my mouth and play when I can. I don't beat myself up for not buying all the chase mythics. I buy what I can, when I can, and my decks still get better. So I temper my expectations and keep an eye on having fun. All the new cards sure to create a lot of content for the youtubers, podcasters, and secondary market vendors.

User avatar
Cyberium
Posts: 836
Joined: 4 years ago
Pronoun: Unlisted

Post by Cyberium » 3 weeks ago

All things in moderation.

Part of the fun of creating EDH decks in the past is using cards (including legendary creatures) that's clearly designed for 60 cards and make it work in a 100 singleton. WotC's heavy catering of EDH format in recent years added quite a number of good things, such has Monarch, and plenty of bad things, such as Jeweled Lotus. That said, EDH brings back a lot of casual players and encourages tabletop/kitchen gaming, which is always welcomed.

Three glaring problems with WotC's interference are that:

1) They created so many EDH products, it wears people out both mentally and financially, especially when there are more and more "staples" to collect and less time in-between to build decks.

2) Rule Committee cannot maintain neutrality when there's sales to be concerned, they cannot ban cards that WotC is pushing to sale. Hypothetically, if WotC made a Mana Crypt or Moxen that can only tap to cast commander spells, advertise it as the face card of a new set, it's unlikely that RC can do anything about it. Which leads to the next issue......

3) Many cards WotC designed speed up the game, which is detrimental to this casual format in the long run. Yes, people can always use house rule to ban cards, but that's a lot harder to do with random players or new LGS, and by principle WotC shouldn't be printing cards that could warp a format, while using "It's EDH only" as an excuse to ignore balance.

User avatar
DirkGently
My wins are unconditional
Posts: 4502
Joined: 4 years ago
Pronoun: he / him

Post by DirkGently » 3 weeks ago

I think it's a huge problem for the game. Maybe even the biggest problem.

Standard, for all its faults, is the ideal primary format for the game - it's relatively easy to follow as a new player since it uses the base game rules, 1v1 only, and a small card pool. It also avoids any complications of "the social contract" and it's relatively cheap to be competitive in.

And from a business perspective, standard is a guaranteed source of sales since players always need to buy new cards. Without standard as the flagship format, players have no reason to buy new products unless those products can catch their attention on their own merits, and that becomes increasingly difficult as the card pool becomes increasingly dense.

That's why we're seeing so many gimmicks like UB, side products, alternate arts, pushed cards, dozens of precons, and the general deluge of products to get people's attention.

And from the player side, it's why the format has lost a lot of its identity - new players without the experience of standard play commander because it's the primary magic format, but they don't have a reason to care about the nuance of moderating power levels to create more enjoyable games. Plus pushed cards and increasingly strong precons raise the power of the format in their own right. So instead of commander being the refuge from competitive magic, it's slowly pushing power levels closer to being "just another competitive format".
Perm Decks
Phelddagrif - Kaervek - Golos - Zirilan

Flux Decks
Gollum - Lobelia - Minthara - Plargg2 - Solphim - Otharri - Graaz - Ratchet - Soundwave - Slicer - Gale - Rootha - Kagemaro - Blorpityblorpboop - Kayla - SliverQueen - Ivy - Falco - Gluntch - Charlatan/Wilson - Garth - Kros - Anthousa - Shigeki - Light-Paws - Lukka - Sefris - Ebondeath - Rokiric - Garth - Nixilis - Grist - Mavinda - Kumano - Nezahal - Mavinda - Plargg - Plargg - Extus - Plargg - Oracle - Kardur - Halvar - Tergrid - Egon - Cosima - Halana+Livio - Jeska+Falthis+Obosh - Yeva - Akiri+Zirda - Lady Sun - Nahiri - Korlash - Overlord+Zirda - Chisei - Athreos2 - Akim - Cazur+Ukkima - Otrimi - Otrimi - Kalamax - Ayli+Lurrus - Clamilton - Gonti - Heliod2 - Ayula - Thassa2 - Gallia - Purphoros2 - Rankle - Uro - Rayami - Gargos - Thrasios+Bruse - Pang - Sasaya - Wydwen - Feather - Rona - Toshiro - Sylvia+Khorvath - Geth - QMarchesa - Firesong - Athreos - Arixmethes - Isperia - Etali - Silas+Sidar - Saskia - Virtus+Gorm - Kynaios - Naban - Aryel - Mizzix - Kazuul - Tymna+Kraum - Sidar+Tymna - Ayli - Gwendlyn - Phelddagrif - Liliana - Kaervek - Phelddagrif - Mairsil - Scarab - Child - Phenax - Shirei - Thada - Depala - Circu - Kytheon - GrenzoHR - Phelddagrif - Reyhan+Kraum - Toshiro - Varolz - Nin - Ojutai - Tasigur - Zedruu - Uril - Edric - Wort - Zurgo - Nahiri - Grenzo - Kozilek - Yisan - Ink-Treader - Yisan - Brago - Sidisi - Toshiro - Alexi - Sygg - Brimaz - Sek'Kuar - Marchesa - Vish Kal - Iroas - Phelddagrif - Ephara - Derevi - Glissa - Wanderer - Saffi - Melek - Xiahou Dun - Lazav - Lin Sivvi - Zirilan - Glissa - Ashling1 - Angus - Arcum - Talrand - Chainer - Higure - Kumano - Scion - Teferi1 - Uyo - Sisters
PDH - Drake - Graverobber - Izzet GM - Tallowisp - Symbiote
Brawl - Feather - Ugin - Jace - Scarab - Angrath - Vraska - Kumena
Oathbreaker - Wrenn&6

User avatar
Boros_Blendo
Posts: 49
Joined: 3 weeks ago
Pronoun: he / him

Post by Boros_Blendo » 3 weeks ago

Edit: (my dates were a bit off) Speaking as a strictly casual player, I built my first deck in 2009. I actually started Magic just after 3rd Edition came to stores at 19 yrs old, and I'm almost 50 now. Went into the LGS at the time proudly with a jank Oona, Queen of the Fae deck and got nuked simply because it was black and blue. That was the reason given when I asked why I got teamed by no less than three people two games in a row. I didn't play the format for the next decade until my own playgroup of 30 years picked it up. We now have at least 6 decks for each person, some with much more, and we enjoy the format. The complexity is manageable even if it feels sometimes like you need an English and Law degree to parse out the walls of text and what happens next, and a game takes 3 hours. But that's simply the format since day one, so it's not actually a problem, nor is it WotC's problem. People would and will make and play what they want either way. I remember Sheldon always said something like "build casual and play competitive", and I saw that in every deck of his I read about. WotC prints so many cards of so many different playstyles that you can make what you want, but you just have more to choose from. Power creep is a thing, but our group has adjusted and our games are more fun than they've ever been. If all they did was keep recycling Serra Angel and Sengir Vampire, the game would have died decades ago.

So for me, the problem is not WotC nor EDH/Commander. Sure, WotC could stand to slow-roll the sheer number of cards, but that's not why Hasbro bought it, and it's not in their business plan. The problem is and always has been finding a group that builds like you do, or a store that supports you instead of treating you like a part of their next rent check or you're outta there, and players that don't look at you as an invader to their playgroup or just someone to be pwnd because they don't know you and therefore have no reason to care. I love the format, I love that an unmodified precon can win a 4 person game with Frodo alpha-striking the last enemy for 25 points because of a frying pan only a turn before Frodo gets taken out due to Commander damage when at 130+ life. That wouldn't have happened in anyway, but for WotC doing what they've done. I like it.

User avatar
pokken
Posts: 6194
Joined: 4 years ago
Answers: 2
Pronoun: he / him

Post by pokken » 3 weeks ago

Unequivocally awful. Power creep is approaching the point we may need to *raise* the life total and we were legit talking about cutting it to 30 a few years ago.

Its nice that so many archetypes got support but I'd rather no card printed in the last five years was printed than we be in the state where Etali, Primal Conqueror // Etali, Primal Sickness is a card.

User avatar
Mookie
Posts: 3417
Joined: 4 years ago
Answers: 47
Pronoun: Unlisted
Location: the æthereal plane

Post by Mookie » 3 weeks ago

Good for whom? I'm sure that the focus on EDH has been great for WotC's bottom line. For players? More of a mixed bag.

On the plus side, we're getting a ton of new stuff every set. It used to be that for any given deck, new sets had maybe one or two new cards for it. These days, there may be a dozen cards I'll consider. Not all of them necessarily make the cut, but the sheer number means at least a few will stick. We're also getting significantly more legendary creatures to build around, and they're more diverse than the classic 'Boros combat / Dimir mill' legends of old. If you're a brewer that likes to play with new stuff, the increased focus on EDH is great.

...unfortunately, I didn't come to EDH because I wanted to brew a new deck every month. There's already a format for that, and it's called Standard. Both EDH and other non-rotating formats like Legacy and Modern have effectively had rotation added into them. It's possible to play a deck from a year ago, but power creep means it probably won't be viable anymore. That doesn't hit EDH quite as hard as other formats because there isn't as much pressure to build the strongest deck... but Dockside Extortionist and other broken stuff definitely pops up in higher-powered tables, to say nothing of all the broken commanders.

I do think that the format has accelerated significantly over time, and there are a lot more snowballing, must-answer threats. My favorite games are the ones with back-and-forth, where everyone has a chance to be the biggest threat at the table... but it feels like that happens less these days because the threats come down sooner and are harder to answer.

User avatar
Avacyn Believer
Faith Requires Sacrifice
Posts: 287
Joined: 1 year ago
Pronoun: he / him
Location: Innistrad
Contact:

Post by Avacyn Believer » 3 weeks ago

Boros_Blendo wrote:
3 weeks ago
The problem is and always has been finding a group that builds like you do, or a store that supports you instead of treating you like a part of their next rent check or you're outta there, and players that don't look at you as an invader to their playgroup or just someone to be pwnd because they don't know you and therefore have no reason to care.
Good point, finding the right group makes all of these issues irrelevant.
Faith Requires Sacrifice
MTGNexus Primer | Archidekt | Church of Avacyn

User avatar
folding_music
glitter pen on my mana crypt
Posts: 2205
Joined: 4 years ago
Pronoun: they / them

Post by folding_music » 3 weeks ago

if the boys up top embrace your quirky side format you need to design a new quirky side format
have been saying for years

User avatar
3drinks
Kaalia's Personal Liaison
Posts: 4789
Joined: 4 years ago
Pronoun: he / him
Location: Ruined City of Drannith, Ikoria

Post by 3drinks » 3 weeks ago

It's a bad thing if you lack the self control to say no to building new decks. It's fair to middling if you can convince yourself you don't need every new card and just because a removal spell is "better" than terminate|pls, doesn't mean that removal spell is meaningfully pushing your game metrics up. Yeah it's theoretically better sure but what is it really doing such that the $4 on this new "chase" removal is bringing to the deck? Most new cards are sidegrades anyway, outside of the few design mistake posterchild cards. Hope my thought process is making some sense.

Now if you do happen to lack that discipline, then boy oh boy does WotC have their hands glued to your pocket. And that's bad. So very very very bad. They say "hey look over there, shiny" and the net result is a carnival worker separating you, the mark, from your money.

Modern
R{R/W} 87guide Burn
Commander
WRKellan, the Fae-Blooded // Birthright Boon (local secret santa gift)
RTorbran, Thane of Red Fell (Red Deck Wins)
WBRAlesha, Who Smiles at Death (Slivers)
WBRKaalia HQ

User avatar
Dunadain
I like turtles
Posts: 1290
Joined: 3 years ago
Answers: 2
Pronoun: Unlisted
Location: 'Murica

Post by Dunadain » 3 weeks ago

I'm a bit more optimistic, of course there have been hiccups, but, by and large, the format has thrived, something that can't be said for any other fan-made format. EDH is different than it was 10 years ago, and we'll never get that back, but that doesn't mean what we have now is a bad thing.
All cards are bad if you try hard enough.

Important decks: Ebondeath, Dracolich, Emiel, The Blessed, Phelddagriff
Other: Ruhan, Zask, Kellan, Liesa, Galadriel, Orca, Sauron, Thantis, Rukarumel, Sisay, Stickfingers, Safana, Thantis, Dihada

Help me complete my JumpStart Cube!

User avatar
ISBPathfinder
Bebopin
Posts: 2136
Joined: 4 years ago
Pronoun: he / him
Location: SD, USA

Post by ISBPathfinder » 3 weeks ago

I don't think its a problem that they embraced commander and I even think its.... kind of ok to design for it a little. Our issue mostly comes from when they power creep cards to drive sales. They do this not just for commander but for every format because desirable cards sell product. There has been a lot of power creep for commander the last 10 years but a lot of that just comes from the quantity of new and somewhat pushed cards as well as filling in holes that we had previously like adding more cheap cantrips and such.

Honestly at this point I don't even blame wizards so much as the RC in that they refuse to step up and ban cards. We have seen such an explosion of problem cards and in other formats they result in bans eventually but what have we banned in the last 5 years even? If my counting is right, Modern has like 4-5 more bans than we have in commander and we have a bigger card pool. I think Lutri, the Spellchaser was the last ban but I can't even name what was banned before that as it would probably have been Hullbreacher and that was what like 2-3 years ago. I just think its kind of crazy what release cadence we have had in the last 3-4 years and we have seen a ton of problem cards but no answers in sight. I am not saying that wizards has no blame for this but I don't blame them considering that the RC has not taken any appropriate actions on these problem cards.

I love the RC and respect them for what they do for us. I just don't understand why we haven't seen any recent bans when we have had huge problems and standout cards. It is true that more testing could have gone into some of these cards and maybe wizards shouldn't have pushed them so hard but also some of this stuff needs to be tested IRL to see to what degree of a problem it is. Sometimes those really good looking cards end up going absolutely nowhere when actually played so that is why I am more annoyed with the RC than wizards at the moment.

Right now the top of my ban it now list is: Thassa's Oracle, The One Ring, and Dockside Extortionist. I just don't see a reason that any of those three should really exist at the moment in commander. The two creatures are either game warping wincons or unplayable trash and the other over centralizing and format warping.
[EDH] Vadrok List (Suicide Chads) | Evelyn List (Vamp Mill) | Sanwell List | Danitha List | Indominus List | Ratadrabik List

User avatar
duducrash
Still Learning
Posts: 1173
Joined: 3 years ago
Pronoun: he / him
Location: Brazil

Post by duducrash » 3 weeks ago

I think it was the best thing to happen for non spiky players since Richard Garfield. I think making it official and making products was an amazing idea, how big it is is thanks to that.

How they done it was a big mistake, but embracing as big of a right call as they ever had imho

User avatar
Lifeless
Not here to contribute.
Posts: 628
Joined: 4 years ago
Pronoun: he / him

Post by Lifeless » 3 weeks ago

Eh I don't know. My gut tells me I was a lot happier when every set wast full of commander targeted cards and decks and legends out the ass. There's probably a number of reasons for that but I'm not going to do any self reflection and instead say Wizards is the villain.

NZB2323
Posts: 583
Joined: 4 years ago
Pronoun: Unlisted

Post by NZB2323 » 3 weeks ago

I don't know if I ever get into Commander if Wizards doesn't target it. Edgar Markov was my 1st deck and Tymna the Weaver//Ravos, Soultender was my 2nd.
Current Decks
rg Morophon, the infinite Kavu Eowyn, human tribal Legolas, voltron control Wb Tymna/Ravos cleric tribal Neheb, Chicago Bulls tribal Ug Edric pauper

Retired Decks
Edgar Markov Kaalia, angel board wipes Ghen, prison Captain Sisay Ub Nymris, draw go Sarulf, voltron control Niv-Mizzet, combo Winota Sidisi, Zombie Tribal

yeti1069
Posts: 1153
Joined: 4 years ago
Pronoun: he / him

Post by yeti1069 » 3 weeks ago

I think designing for commander with the commander decks has been mostly good, though the occasional broken card printed there is a problem.

Changing 'target opponent' to 'each opponent's on some cards in Standard sets is a nice QOL change.

Throwing tons of super-pushed cards into Standard sets that are aimed at EDH are problematic. I think dramatically increasing the number of legendary creatures in every set is obnoxious, especially when they tread on very similar ground to other existing legends.

User avatar
Cyberium
Posts: 836
Joined: 4 years ago
Pronoun: Unlisted

Post by Cyberium » 3 weeks ago

DirkGently wrote:
3 weeks ago
And from the player side, it's why the format has lost a lot of its identity - new players without the experience of standard play commander because it's the primary magic format, but they don't have a reason to care about the nuance of moderating power levels to create more enjoyable games. Plus pushed cards and increasingly strong precons raise the power of the format in their own right. So instead of commander being the refuge from competitive magic, it's slowly pushing power levels closer to being "just another competitive format".
This. Business is business, company has to make money, but players need formats of different power level, rules, and creativity, instead of having all of them being competitive or approaching competitive. This is one reason why I insisted on EDH banning fast mana that's restricted even in Vintage, and why WotC should stop creating cards like Jeweled Lotus. At this rate, RC might as well break this format into EDH and cEDH and have separate ban lists.

WotC has been designing most cards centric on EDH format, a 100-cards-singleton format, which is the minority of its game. WotC is toppling the game's fundamentals for the money making format, it's disturbing. Standard cards ought to focus on Standard, Modern on Modern, not everything should be made for EDH.

User avatar
Boros_Blendo
Posts: 49
Joined: 3 weeks ago
Pronoun: he / him

Post by Boros_Blendo » 3 weeks ago

Since I've been playing since before Legends was a thing, I have kind of a different historical viewpoint. I read that EDH started in 1996, pretty much not long after Legends, which is where the five elder dragons in the name came from. It didn't really get any attention until they opened the format to other Legends. That's when people came in, seeking relief from Type I (Vintage) price-outs. Then, with new buzz, cEDH players entered, looking for similar fun relief, but wanting to play spicier games than 3 hour durdle wars. I remember the rants about "those darn competitive players" are ruining the format, taking away our escape from Type I, turning it into 100 card Type I, stuff like that. Standard, then Type II, saved Magic from a slow death, brought new life into the game with more attainable cards, but it was EDH that has been the lifeblood since WotC started supporting it, but that wasn't until WotC saw the desire for more competition in the format (plus Sheldon Menery appealing directly didn't hurt either). I get that there are complaints about pushing power, too much of one design, but not enough of another. I share some of those. However, this website reflects Magic pretty well. The only board here still showing any life to speak of is Commander. People come into Magic through Commander/EDH, then move to Standard. Standard is a solved meta almost a mere night after the next pre-release list (before the set even comes out). There's so little to talk about then. So, without those darn cEDH people, and WotC, wrecking the Commander format, the vibrancy would not still be here in this game. It might not even be here as a game at all by this point. That's my view on the last 30 years, for what it's worth.

User avatar
Treamayne
Posts: 586
Joined: 4 years ago
Pronoun: Unlisted

Post by Treamayne » 3 weeks ago

Avacyn Believer wrote:
3 weeks ago
Boros_Blendo wrote:
3 weeks ago
The problem is and always has been finding a group that builds like you do, or a store that supports you instead of treating you like a part of their next rent check or you're outta there, and players that don't look at you as an invader to their playgroup or just someone to be pwnd because they don't know you and therefore have no reason to care.
Good point, finding the right group makes all of these issues irrelevant.
This is true, has always been true and will continue to be true. The right group of like-minded players can make any game (not just MtG) more enjoyable. Which, to me, means that it can;t be counted as a metric on evaluating the issue-at-hand.

I think it has been a net nagative, overall. However, I also think the stages of evolution should be considered.

2011: Positive. Almost inarguably so. Put the format on the map, gave up much needed wedge support. Increased players discovering the format. EDH was still "one of the many."

2013-2017(8): Net-Positive. I think the key here was that we were still getting other formats. Planechase and Archenemy. Conspiracy Draft, The weird Theros Hydra thing. The Gatewatch 2HG thing. This era argueably ends with either Anthology 2017 or 2HG (Commander-in-Disguise) Battlebond in 2018 where the transition to "everything is for Commander" really started picking up steam.

2018-2020: Net Negative. The awkward transition period as WotC tries to add more and more (not-so-secret) Commander cards to product, but still pretends that competitive (Standard, Modern) formats drive decisions. The spiral begins.

2020-Present: Negative. WotC (in)formally announces "Commander is everything" by removing the Commander product and linking it to (ostensibly) Standard sets (Ikoria). Most pretense of supporting anything else becomes so much foul wind. Of course Covid had an impact, and just happened to coincide with a vulnerable time withering in-person competitive formats due to an inability to actually hold tournaments. The possibility of a casual gamer getting *any* non-Commander format in-the-wild (non-playgroup) disappears.** More and more sales drive design and set releases, as UB and other gimmicks become the calling card of MtG. In theory, this is to "widen" player options; in reality this becomes "if you don't have a playgroup of likeminded players, then you can only play in the way WotC wants you to play - no deviations allowed - Big Brother is Watching."

Summary:
If they had only stayed at the 2016 level. Commander product two of every three years (or so), Block supports Standard. Modern does it's thing with an occasional release to help it along. Occasional non-EDH product to show WotC supports other formats too - we could be in a good place right now (despite Covid). Instead, the fact that threads like this feel necessary shows how much damage has been done overall.

**Note: I would be very interested in hearing of any instances of somebody playing Tribal Legacy, Emperor, Star, etc. with random folks at an LGS (not your normal one), convention or similar gathering.
V/R

Treamayne

User avatar
benjameenbear
Posts: 1109
Joined: 4 years ago
Pronoun: he / him

Post by benjameenbear » 3 weeks ago

Treamayne wrote:
3 weeks ago

I think it has been a net nagative, overall. However, I also think the stages of evolution should be considered.

2011: Positive. Almost inarguably so. Put the format on the map, gave up much needed wedge support. Increased players discovering the format. EDH was still "one of the many."

2013-2017(8): Net-Positive. I think the key here was that we were still getting other formats. Planechase and Archenemy. Conspiracy Draft, The weird Theros Hydra thing. The Gatewatch 2HG thing. This era argueably ends with either Anthology 2017 or 2HG (Commander-in-Disguise) Battlebond in 2018 where the transition to "everything is for Commander" really started picking up steam.

2018-2020: Net Negative. The awkward transition period as WotC tries to add more and more (not-so-secret) Commander cards to product, but still pretends that competitive (Standard, Modern) formats drive decisions. The spiral begins.

2020-Present: Negative. WotC (in)formally announces "Commander is everything" by removing the Commander product and linking it to (ostensibly) Standard sets (Ikoria). Most pretense of supporting anything else becomes so much foul wind. Of course Covid had an impact, and just happened to coincide with a vulnerable time withering in-person competitive formats due to an inability to actually hold tournaments. The possibility of a casual gamer getting *any* non-Commander format in-the-wild (non-playgroup) disappears.** More and more sales drive design and set releases, as UB and other gimmicks become the calling card of MtG. In theory, this is to "widen" player options; in reality this becomes "if you don't have a playgroup of likeminded players, then you can only play in the way WotC wants you to play - no deviations allowed - Big Brother is Watching."

Summary:
If they had only stayed at the 2016 level. Commander product two of every three years (or so), Block supports Standard. Modern does it's thing with an occasional release to help it along. Occasional non-EDH product to show WotC supports other formats too - we could be in a good place right now (despite Covid). Instead, the fact that threads like this feel necessary shows how much damage has been done overall.

**Note: I would be very interested in hearing of any instances of somebody playing Tribal Legacy, Emperor, Star, etc. with random folks at an LGS (not your normal one), convention or similar gathering.
I support the relative timeline you've described here. I do genuinely think there was a golden age of EDH and it was from that 2010-2018 level. But I'm also an old-timer for EDH, so I could be biased. That's when one of the most busted things you could do was Palinchron + Deadeye Navigator lol. I don't even know if that combo sees any play anymore.

I think WotC sees the money-maker Commander is for their bottom line and has no choice but to embrace it. Their product management decisions are... questionable, at best. And with their active support of Arena, they've robbed themselves of what was their historical best-performing, top-line revenue maker. Now? I'd bet it's Commander for their top-line IRL product sales, and I'd also bet it's not even close.

I think that's part of my issue with WotC's decision to embrace Commander; instead of designing balanced cards and decks for the format specifically, they need to move product as fast as possible and have power crept their IRL card design accordingly in order to keep their revenues growing (like companies should).

As many others have commented, I think this has led to a homogenization of Commander and overall increase in the speed of the format. Depending on your playstyle and expectations for a Commander game, I'd argue this has been a net negative overall for the format. I'm not sure on the frequency (as I have no data to back my evidence), but I'd bet the number of battle-cruiser games that extend past T12 are WAY less now. Granted, I've been playing a more cEDH-style of game for the past 8-9 years, so this doesn't directly impact me personally. But my anecdotal report of games from my brother (who plays more battle-cruiser style games), games rarely exceed past T9 anymore.

User avatar
BeneTleilax
Posts: 1326
Joined: 4 years ago
Pronoun: he / him

Post by BeneTleilax » 3 weeks ago

I think this was a net negative for EDH, but a positive for MtG on the whole. The Pod/Twin bans, and Modern since, not to mention how they manage Standard, have shown that WotC will prioritize sales over format health: the independent RC is the only reason EDH has avoided rotation-by-banning. As annoying as rotation-by-printing can be, as 3drinks said, you can mostly ignore it, especially as the deck sizes mute the impact of specific hate pieces. I also don't see how something like the RC could develop and get enough buy-in to stand up to WotC if another format got big now. In the absence of notable tournaments, there just isn't the kind of word-of-mouth connection anymore.

User avatar
ISBPathfinder
Bebopin
Posts: 2136
Joined: 4 years ago
Pronoun: he / him
Location: SD, USA

Post by ISBPathfinder » 3 weeks ago

benjameenbear wrote:
3 weeks ago
I support the relative timeline you've described here. I do genuinely think there was a golden age of EDH and it was from that 2010-2018 level. But I'm also an old-timer for EDH, so I could be biased. That's when one of the most busted things you could do was Palinchron + Deadeye Navigator lol. I don't even know if that combo sees any play anymore.
Not that you couldn't do it but it costs a lot of mana and is somewhat "fair" for a combo these days. I have encountered a lot of Tainted Pact into Thassa's Oracle with a metric load of counter magic backing it personally. Its not that oracle is the only combo out there but holy hell its popular given how little interaction agency there is to it. I also see a decent bit of Dockside Extortionist nonsense that mostly resembles some degenerate storm deck popping off hard with Underworld Breach or some other clone nonsense.

Thassa's Oracle has to be fairly up there though in the degenerate wincons right now. I don't even play cEDH and I see it freaking everywhere. I might have started internally thinking of Thassa's Oracle as crabs and regardless of if you want them or not someone gives you crabs. That is in your head now, you are welcome.
[EDH] Vadrok List (Suicide Chads) | Evelyn List (Vamp Mill) | Sanwell List | Danitha List | Indominus List | Ratadrabik List

User avatar
pokken
Posts: 6194
Joined: 4 years ago
Answers: 2
Pronoun: he / him

Post by pokken » 3 weeks ago

I am at the point of if I see thoracle I won't play with you. That %$#% for cedh.

Post Reply Previous topicNext topic

Return to “Commander”