First Annual Commander Climate Survey

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Post by cryogen » 5 months ago

https://forms.gle/aSA7hjo5G1HCK1V87

Hi everyone. For those who may not know, I have been conducting an annual survey about the Commander ban list and some of the more controversial and debated rules of the format. This year however, I'm both widening the scope of the survey as well as conducting it on a medium that I hope will result in much more feedback for the Rules Committee.

The questions are a mix of ones that i have asked in previous years, questions i see brought up constantly, as well as ones that I crafted based on reading feedback the RC has given similar polls in the past.

The poll should take five to ten minutes to fill out, so hopefully you'll participate. And please, share this with your friends and other players, because the larger the sample size the better the data will be for the RC.

Thanks!

Results - 10,760 total responses


Distribution of survey:
In addition to this site, I posted this survey on MTGSalvation, Reddit (r/EDH and /TGCmagic), Twitter, two of my local Facebook groups, and a Discord server I'm on. In addition, a Reddit user posted the poll on the cEDH sub, and on Twitter the survey was shared by Sheldon, Bennie Smith, and some other high profile Twitter accounts. It was also discussed on an episode of the CommanderCast podcast. Beyond that, I'm not sure where it was shared by other people.




Question One - Which of these banned cards do you think should be UNBANNED?

Note: This question was missing "I don't want any of these cards banned" and "I want to leave all these cards banned" options, so there is potentially a very slight skew to these results. However, that should not affect the overall results. I mention this mostly as a reminder for when I look at this poll in preparation for next year.

Cards which got 25% or higher are in bold

Options and results (9,617 replies)
Show
Ancestral Recall - 4.8% (458)
Balance - 11% (1,054)
Biorhythm - 28.1% (2,704)
Black Lotus - 3.5% (334)
Braids, Cabal Minion - 28.7% (2,759)
Coalition Victory - 40.6% (3,907)
Channel - 4.2% (407)
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn - 17.6% (1,693)
Erayo, Soratami Ascendant - 8.9% (855)
Fastbond - 6.8% (656)
Gifts Ungiven - 35.8% (3,446
Griselbrand - 13.5% (1,297)
Iona, Shield of Emeria - 26.8% (2,576)
Karakas - 7.2% (689)
Leovold, Emissary of Trest - 15.3% (1,473)
Library of Alexandria - 10.1% (976)
Limited Resources - 6.3% (602)
Mox Emerald - 4.8% (463)
Mox Jet - 4.9 (470)
Mox Pearl - 4.9% (475)
Mox Ruby - 5% (478)
Mox Sapphire - 4.9% (473)
Panoptic Mirror - 13.9% (1,338)
Paradox Engine - 39.4% (3,787)
Primeval Titan - 30.7% (2,948)
Prophet of Kruphix - 25.4% (2,444)
Recurring Nightmare - 23.1% (2,221)
Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary - 18.5% (1,777)
Sway of the Stars - 14.9% (1,436)
Sundering Titan - 20.4% (1,963)
Sylvan Primordial - 23.5% (2,260)
Time Vault - 2.9% ((276)
Time Walk - 3.3% (321)
Tinker - 9.6% (922)
Tolarian Academy - 16% (1,543)
Trade Secrets - 7.9% (764)
Upheaval - 11.6% (1,118)
Worldfire - 21.8% (2,098)
Yawgmoth's Bargain - 10.9% (1,051)



Question Two - Which of these legal cards do you think should be BANNED?

Note: Not included were options for "I don't want to ban any additional cards" or to ban something as a Commander only. The Google Form makes it hard to see options which got very low numbers of write-ins, but Thrasios, Triton Hero got at least 80 votes.

Cards which got 25% or higher are in bold

Options and results (8,669 replies)
Show
Ad Nauseam - 12.2% (1,059)
Ancient Tomb - 4.4% (381)
Basalt Monolith - 2.7% (233)
Bazaar of Baghdad - 6.5% (564)
Blightsteel Colossus - 7.3% (636)
Consecrated Sphinx - 4.9% (429)
Craterhoof Behemoth - 3.3% (288)
Cyclonic Rift - 26% (2,258)
Deadeye Navigator - 8.4% (724)
Demonic Tutor - 6.5% (567)
Derevi, Empyrial Tactician - 5.1% (438)
Doomsday - 6.7% (581)
Doubling Season - 4.4% (379)
Enlightened Tutor - 2.3% (202)
Enter the Infinite - 2.6% (226)
Expropriate - 12.9% (1,115)
Felidar Sovereign - 4.3% (375)
Flash - 37.5% (3,253)
Food Chain - 12.3% (1,065)
Gaea's Cradle - 12.2% (1,055)
Grim Monolith - 4.6% (396)
Hermit Druid - 5.7% (496)
Intuition - 1.6% (142)
Imperial Seal - 4.3% (377)
Isochron Scepter - 5% (434)
Laboratory Maniac - 3.2% (274)
Mana Crypt - 26.2% (2,273)
Mana Drain - 4.5% (392)
Mana Vault - 14.2% (1,232)
Metalworker - 3.2% (281)
Mishra's Workshop - 8% (697)
Mystical Tutor - 2.6% (227)
Narset, Parter of Veils - 5.7% (496)
Nexus of Fate - 4.9% (421)
Omniscience - 4.3% (369)
Painter's Servant - 6.7% (583)
Palinchron - 4.1% (396)
Prossh, Skyraider of Kher - 1.1% (94)
Protean Hulk - 14.1% (1,220)
Razaketh, the Foulblooded - 1.5% (133)
Serra Ascendent - 4.9% (426)
Sol Ring - 22.7% (1,970)
Stasis - 10.5% (913)
Survival of the Fittest - 3.5% (301)
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale - 12.7 (1,097)
Time Stretch - 3% (263)
Timetwister - 7.8% (676)
Tooth and Nail - 5.9% (509)
Triumph of the Horde - 2.8% (246)
Urza, Lord High Artificer - 6.2% (538)
Vampiric Tutor - 4.5% (392)
Vilis, Broker of Blood - 0.8% (67)
Winter Orb - 15.5% (1,343)
Worldly Tutor - 2.4% (211)
Yawgmoth's Will - 3% (262)



Question Three - How satisfied are you with the July 2019 announcement?
Options and results (10,659 replies)
Show
Very satisfied - 12.9% (1,370)
Somewhat satisfied - 23.2% (2,469)
Neither satisfied nor unsatisfied - 24.2% (2,579)
Somewhat unsatisfied - 19% (2, 029)
Very unsatisfied - 22.1% (2,352)



Question Four - Commander damage should be

The "Cumulative among all generals should have been worded differently to also give options to change the overall amount of damage. Write-ins included "cumulative and increased", "20 (half starting life total)", "cumulative among partners", and "cumulative and 40".
Options and results (10,669 replies)
Show
Left at 21 points of combat damage per general - 65.9% (7,032)
Increased - 1.6% (174)
Decreased - 3.1% (328)
Cumulative among all generals - 20.3% (2,167)
Removed altogether - 7.2% (764)



Question Five - The starting life total should be

Write-in options included 20 and 35, along with a number of "30 with condition (such as commander damage change)"
Options and results (10,661 replies)
Show
Left at 40 life - 77.3% (8,236)
Decreased to 30 life - 19.4% (2,065)
Increased to 50 life - 2.6% (275)



Question Six - Infect should be

Approximately 2% of participants wrote in 20 points. 21 points was also written in a few times.
Options and results (10,684 replies)
Show
Left at 10 points - 58.4% (6,240)
Increased to 15 points - 31.6% (3,377)
Infect should be banned altogether - 3% (325)



Question Seven - The color identity rule should be

I got feedback that the options were too limiting, so next year I can try to give better options or wording. The most frequent write-ins were the devoid mechanic, and to allow hybrid while simultaneously preventing off-color fetches.
Options and results (10,664 replies)
Show
Left alone - 64.4% (6,870)
More strict to include flavorfully off-color cards (such as fetchlands) - 13.9% (1,486)
Relaxed to include off-color hybrid mana cards - 19.9% (2,119
Removed altogether - 0.7% (77)



Question Eight - How should "wish" effects function in Commander

The most common write-in was to allow them to pull cards from exile.
Options and results (10,667 replies)
Show
Keep the current rule (they do not function - 51.4% (5,482)
Create a wish board of a fixed size - 38.5% (4,102)
Let them pull any card from your collection - 8% (851)



Question Nine - The "tuck" rule should be
Options and results (10,629 replies)
Show
Stay removed - 62.7% (6,662)
Brought back - 10.9% (1,157)
I am indifferent to this change - 26.4% (2,810)



Question Ten - The "Banned as a Commander List"

So I actually missed Rofellos in the options. I also got comments that there was no option to bring back the list with fewer cards on it.
Options and results (10,585 replies)
Show
Should remain gone - 55.5% (5,876)
Should be brought back with Braids and Erayo back on it - 19.2% (2,036)
Should be brought back with more generals added to it - 25.3% (2,673)



Question Eleven - Planeswalkers as commanders should be
Options and results (10,686 replies)
Show
Kept how it currently is - 62.4% (6,671)
Changed to legalize all planeswalkers as commanders - 37.6% (4,015)



Question Twelve - Overall, how satisfied are you with the rules as they currently exist?
Options and results (10,707 replies)
Show
Extremely satisfied - 22.2% (2,380)
Moderately satisfied - 46.8% (5,008)
Somewhat satisfied - 15.9% (1,706)
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied - 5.9% (632)
Somewhat dissatisfied5.2% (562)
Moderately dissatisfied - 2.3% (251)
Extremely dissatisfied - 1.6% (168)



Question Thirteen - Overall, how satisfied are you with the way the Rules Committee manages the format?
Options and results (10,699 replies)
Show
Extremely satisfied - 12.6% (1,352)
Moderately satisfied - 26.2% (2,798)
Somewhat satisfied - 14.2% (1,519)
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied - 11.6% (1,238)
Somewhat dissatisfied - 13.3% (1,420)
Moderately dissatisfied - 11.7% (1,249)
Extremely dissatisfied - 10.5% (1,123)



Question 14 - What amount of input do you feel Wizards of the Coast should have in managing the format?
Options and results (10,672 replies)
Show
No input at all - 16.7% (1,780)
A little input - 38.9% (4,154)
A decent amount of input - 25% (2,665)
A lot of input - 7.1% (763)
Wizards should take full control of the format - 12.3% (1,310)



Question Fifteen - How much of an influence do you think you have over the format?

This question was worded poorly because the question asks how much influence you have over the format, but the 1 to 10 scale went from "I have no influence at all" to "I feel that my voice is heard and respected by the Rules Committee". In the future the question needs to be better worded so that it is clear the intent is that I am trying to find out if you think your voice is being heard by the RC.
Options and results (10,664 replies)
Show
1 - 48.1% (5,134)
2 - 13.7% (1,458)
3 - 11.7% (1,249
4 - 5.6% (602)
5 - 8.3% (886)
6 - 4.5% (477)
7 - 4% (431)
8 - 2.1% (226)
9 - 0.6% (63)
10 - 1.3% (138)



Question Sixteen - For how long have you been playing Commander?
Options and results (10,715 replies)
Show
Less than one year - 4.9% (521)
One to three years - 22.7% (2,435)
Three to five years - 25.4% (2,720)
Five to eight years - 24.4% (2,614)
Commander? Don't you mean EDH? - 22.6% (2,425)



Question Seventeen - On what continent do you currently live?

Australia actually isn't a continent (thank you public school 30 years ago). The correct response should have been "Oceania", which I added shortly after the poll opened.
Options and results (10,704 replies)
Show
North America - 71.4% (7,648)
South America - 4.4% (470)
Europe - 15.8% (1,688)
Asia - 4.9% (524)
Africa - 0.3% (310
Oceania - 3.1% (336)
Australia - 0.0% (28)



Question Eighteen - What is you favorite Magic format besides Commander?

Write-ins included Cube, Pauper, Oathbreaker, Canadian Highlander, and kitchen table
Options and results (10,688 replies)
Show
Limited - 29.1% (3,105)
Standard - 9.4% (1,003)
Modern - 21% (2,241)
Legacy - 9.2% (986)
Vintage - 1.7% (187)
There are other formats? - 18.5% (1,972)
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Post by benjameenbear » 4 months ago

Great idea, cryo. It's like you actually CARE about Commander or something. Weird.
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Post by ISBPathfinder » 4 months ago

You put Winter Orb and Stasis on there but no Static Orb????
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Post by xeroxedfool » 4 months ago

Static Orb is okay because the art is better. Thanks for the survey Cryo, I filled it out.
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Post by cryogen » 4 months ago

ISBPathfinder wrote:
4 months ago
You put Winter Orb and Stasis on there but no Static Orb????
I left it at the cards which we got a lot of talk about on MTGS, as well as ones I thought should be included. Static Orb never seemed to be one many people talk about or widely played, so it was overlooked.
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Post by digitalfire » 4 months ago

I cast my vote! Only advocated for Ring/Crypt bans, and voted for a surprisingly significant number of unbans.

On a broader notion, I read a great post the other day that really resonated with me: cEDH is a casual format. I don't go to tournaments, I play it with friends at a kitchen table, I don't play for prizes, win or lose I don't care as long as I played well. It's fun! Casual is just a setting, and power level is independent of that. Why do I bring this up? Because people always say if high power players don't like the format, we should go make our own. But if we go make our own, people are still going to increase their power level in EDH until suddenly there's a separate high powered commander format AND high powered EDH players alongside mid/low powered EDH players. So not only does it splinter the community, but it also doesn't solve the problem.

I don't think the RC should be thinking of tournament play with their bans, but rather what happens when playgroup inevitably arms race or start to run more combo. Social contract isn't always viable because everyone wants something different from this game, and sometimes total agreement is just out of the picture.

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Post by SocorroTortoise » 4 months ago

digitalfire wrote:
4 months ago
I don't think the RC should be thinking of tournament play with their bans, but rather what happens when playgroup inevitably arms race or start to run more combo. Social contract isn't always viable because everyone wants something different from this game, and sometimes total agreement is just out of the picture.
At the risk of starting a more involved conversation in the wrong thread, how does the banlist solve that? If there's a fundamental difference in the types of games everyone at a table wants to be playing, banning the worst competitive offenders doesn't even the playing field. Someone playing the most powerful cards available under the constraints of the banlist is going to stomp the wonky tribal deck the vast majority of the time even if those cards are a step or three down from what's currently available.

I voted generally status quo with a half dozen unbans. Most of those are cards that have been on the list for forever that I don't think are particularly problematic, though a couple might be borderline. I also voted for unbanning Recurring Nightmare for purely selfish reasons, though I don't think it's as bad as people make it out to be.

Aside to @cryogen, I like that you expanded the reach of this to social media, i.e. Reddit. There have been a lot more responses than I would have expected from forum traffic alone in a brief time period. It also (predictably) looks like there's a decent sized silent majority over there happy with the status quo, despite the vitriolic responses that some of the threads there get.
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Post by reach229 » 4 months ago

Glad to see someone making efforts to collect a wider range of opinions. the results so far are interesting! I think you'd have seen a different set of results if you did this a week or two after the last announcment, there are already far too many people saying unban paradox engine, i suspect just because they play it. As one who also played the card, i can still say that objectively the ban was correct.

Iona however, is a different story. Are you able to comment on the speculation as to whether her banning was related to the unbanning of Painters Servant? I speak for most of my playgroup when I say I can't think of any other reason why she would be banned, instead of the many alternative more oppressive cards out there. Iona is mean, but is she worse than Gaddock Teeg or Winter Orb, or more powerful than Expropriate, Mana Crypt or Sol Ring? I personally am not satisfied by the reasoning for bannign her, and I'm afraid in the outlash surrounding PE, she is being largely ignored. :(

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Post by digitalfire » 4 months ago

SocorroTortoise wrote:
4 months ago
digitalfire wrote:
4 months ago
I don't think the RC should be thinking of tournament play with their bans, but rather what happens when playgroup inevitably arms race or start to run more combo. Social contract isn't always viable because everyone wants something different from this game, and sometimes total agreement is just out of the picture.
At the risk of starting a more involved conversation in the wrong thread, how does the banlist solve that? If there's a fundamental difference in the types of games everyone at a table wants to be playing, banning the worst competitive offenders doesn't even the playing field. Someone playing the most powerful cards available under the constraints of the banlist is going to stomp the wonky tribal deck the vast majority of the time even if those cards are a step or three down from what's currently available.
I agree, power level disparity at a table is an unsolvable issue for every format. But it does potentially address the 2 other scenarios:

First, when every deck at the table is high powered, the 2 most egregious fast mana provide an almost insurmountable lead, and deck diversity took a huge hit with the Paradox Engine ban. You may think "well those games are the wrong way to play so they don't matter" but doing so is dismissing a large community of EDH players.

Second, when every deck at the table is low powered... I'll just let Sheldon explain this one: "A Commander game trend I noticed both at #SCGCon and in the few times I've been to my new LGS is "descent to the infinite." I'm not talking about competitive decks that want to go infinite as quickly as possible, but even more casual builds--and most of them have an eventual infinite combo of some kind. It's not "go infinite," it's "do some stuff for a while, then go infinite."

People will almost always trend towards better cards. Personally I believe there are easy banlist changes to address these issues which I will discuss elsewhere, but my point is that even in playgroups where everyone is at the same power level, regardless of what that power level is, competitiveness will occur in some way and the RC should acknowledge that. It isn't just balancing tournaments for spikes.

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Post by SocorroTortoise » 4 months ago

@digitalfire Thanks for elaborating. I don't know that I agree, but I do have a better sense of where you're coming from there. I'll stop trying to derail this thread now.
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Post by digitalfire » 4 months ago

@SocorroTortoise Not derailing, it's all in the spirit of the Current Commander Climate :)

Some other interesting notes about the results: Wishes and Banned as Commander are actually very close to parity, which is surprising because the status quo has a huge advantage. I personally voted in favor of wishboards and bringing back BaC.

Also I marked my own personal influence at a 7 because I fought hard for unbanning Metalworker, Protean Hulk, and Painter's Servant (still waiting on Gifts! ;) )

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Post by Hissp » 4 months ago

The only thing I would have added was an "other" rule change like there was for adding cards to the ban list.

I would love to see the command zone tax changed to: Cards cast from the command zone cost {2} more to cast for each time a card is returned to the command zone; this is an additional cost.

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Post by FunkyDragon » 4 months ago

Hissp wrote:
4 months ago
I would love to see the command zone tax changed to: Cards cast from the command zone cost {2} more to cast for each time a card is returned to the command zone; this is an additional cost.
So, if you had partner commanders, the commander tax would be cumulative between them rather than tracked inividually? Like, I cast Krav three times, and he dies each time. Now I cast Regna for the first time, and I have to pay an extra {6} even though it's the first time she's been cast?
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Post by ISBPathfinder » 4 months ago

I was sad to see on the planeswalkers as a commander that there wasn't an option to ban them all (yes talking about the current legal as commander ones). I suppose I will live.
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Post by SocorroTortoise » 4 months ago

@cryogen I was glancing at current results and there is a good reason to have a "None/Leave as is/Decline to state" option for every question if you continue to use Google docs as a platform for this in the future. When results are being tabled or plotted, percentages are based on total number of responses to the question, not to the survey, i.e. if I don't think anything should be banned and leave that question blank I'm not considered in the results. As I'm typing this, 4384 people have taken the survey, 3538 responded to "Which cards should be BANNED?", and 1385 voted for Flash. That's showing up as 39% in favor of banning Flash - 1385/3538. If the assumption you're making is that anyone who doesn't feel any additional cards should be banned is skipping that question, the actual percentage of people who feel Flash should be banned is 32% - 1385/4384. This is pretty easy to account for when you're looking over results as long as you're aware of it but it does potentially skew the conversation, especially as people are comparing results when they come in.
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Post by cryogen » 4 months ago

Yes, that occurred to me already and I'll have to include a "no changes" option next year.
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Post by MuzzleMuffin » 4 months ago

It will be interesting to see how reddit responds. Thanks for the work.
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Post by DrSeaMonster » 4 months ago

I said unban Braids and Primetime and I meant it.
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 4 months ago

Four thousand votes? Nice. How'd you do that?

I was another one of those "unban ~5 cards and don't ban things" folks that the thread's got a few of already.

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Post by Jace » 4 months ago

I voted to unban Gifts Ungiven, Prophet of Kruphix and Sway of the Stars, although I feel more confident about Gifts Ungiven out of the three.

Cyclonic Rift needs to be banned, and I admit that as a devout Blue mage. It isn't rewarding to use, and it's upsetting to be subjected to as well. Just trash it.

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Post by cryogen » 4 months ago

Rumpy5897 wrote:
4 months ago
Four thousand votes? Nice. How'd you do that?

I was another one of those "unban ~5 cards and don't ban things" folks that the thread's got a few of already.
More like 5k by now. Reddit was quite passionate about getting their voice heard, and Sheldon, Bennie Smith, and some other high profile accounts tweeted a link to the survey as well.
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Post by Hawk » 4 months ago

Great survey! My thoughts:

Unban: Nada. I think everything on the banlist has a good reason to be there. I miss playing with my Prophet of Kruphix, but it was also a stupid card that warped games around itself and tended to drag games to a crawl by allowing its controller to take N-1 extra turns in the middle of someone else's turns, where N was the number of opponents at the table. Oh, and God forbid we had two or three of them out due to clones or stealing or just multiple Simic players.

Ban: I was unsurprisingly in favor of banning Stasis and Winter Orb. I respect STAX/prison players in other formats but they feel like fundamentally anti-social cards that have no "fair" use; rarely are they run symmetrically. Such strategies are also rarely good, powerful, and healthy to have as an adaptation to a meta (the same way that weenies + Armageddon can be powerful, good, and healthy), and are so insanely unfun as to ruin games. Additionally, I think a good criteria is "if lil' Timmy tosses this into their deck and casts it more or less randomly on curve, does everyone have a good game?" to see if a card is a healthy keep in the metagame - and no one will have a good game at all in that case. In other words, the potential for these cards to just "accidentally" blue screen of death the game is pretty high. It's high time we axed these cards. I think most combos and combo enablers (FlashHulk, T&N, Deadeye, AdNaus, Hermit Druid) continue to have fun and fair uses, and if we're going to live in a world where Grindstone Servant is legal there seems little reason to ban those - let playgroups police themselves on whether it's appropriate to bring these nukes to a swordfight.

Wishes: My first instinct was to allow Wishboards as I own So. Many. Wishes and I love them. But for the health of the format and the game's speed, I think they ought to be left alone - no good will come out of allowing every red deck to pack Boiling Seas, Ruination, and Flashfires as a split card to just randomly break people's backs while also allowing them to keep potentially dead Vandalblasts out of the 99. There may be occasional folks who use Living Wish or Cunning Wish because they had more cool stuff than they could fit in their 99, but for every one of them there will be 10 that just pack it with combo redundancy or with narrow, game-busting hate. I miss 'em, but I can play casual if I really want them.
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Post by toctheyounger » 4 months ago

Filled in.

Interesting set of data, all in all. Mostly it seems people are happy with the status quo, although based on results there's clearly disagreement on management of the format by the RC. I honestly think the worst thing for the format would be Wizards putting their oar in the water regarding that, but evidently people disagree.

Weirdly conflicting though is that these two things are side by side - people are generally happy with the format, but there's disagreement as to whether the RC is doing well or not? Cognitive Dissonance is a thing I guess.

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Post by pokken » 4 months ago

I am fairly happy with the format and even happy with most of the decisions the RC makes, but I do not care for having an independent body in charge of it from a conceptual standpoint. I would prefer WOTC hire these guys and integrate them into commander development fully,

I realize that's probably not what the RC wants; they like independence. But I see a lot of risk in that model for the format long term and generally would prefer Wizards own it.

I'm sure that's a fairly unpopular opinion but something really rubs me the wrong way about outsiders with no obligation and no fair compensation being in charge of something so important.

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Post by toctheyounger » 4 months ago

pokken wrote:
4 months ago
I am fairly happy with the format and even happy with most of the decisions the RC makes, but I do not care for having an independent body in charge of it from a conceptual standpoint. I would prefer WOTC hire these guys and integrate them into commander development fully,

I realize that's probably not what the RC wants; they like independence. But I see a lot of risk in that model for the format long term and generally would prefer Wizards own it.

I'm sure that's a fairly unpopular opinion but something really rubs me the wrong way about outsiders with no obligation and no fair compensation being in charge of something so important.
Yeah that makes sense, even though I don't share the same concerns. I guess I see it differently in terms of the RC being outsiders, in that I don''t personally see them that way. They are us, they're players, the original players of the format. I can't think of a more suitable criteria to manage a social, casual format myself.

But that's how it is, we're all entitled to our opinions, I just thought it was an interesting combination of trends.

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