Hello everyone and welcome back to Elder Dragon Recycling with your host – me! I will be heading to SCG Syracuse this weekend to play some EDH, so today’s article will be shorter than usual. If we play EDH together at the event please talk to me, I’d love to talk to you about the format or anything else!
Now on to the brunt of today’s article, which I thought would be relevant to my upcoming attendance at Syracuse: EDH Rec and how it killed EDH.
EDH Rec is a website that assembles a conglomeration of data from every deck on Tapped Out or directly submitted to the site in order to assemble lists of every commander and colour identity, along with those decks staples, unique cards and most common overall picks. Many people find this a useful tool to avoid spending hours scouring cards to find the perfect synergies or most powerful options, and EDH gives you a bevy of information about the most common cards per colour combination or general. Knowing to put a Sakura-Tribe Elder in your Meren of Clan Nel Toth deck is probably obvious (especially since it came in the pre-con deck) but not everyone may be aware of the strength Spore Frog can have in the same deck, which promptly puts it into the “Signature Cards” section of Meren. This section indicates cards that are relatively unique to that general which separates them from other commanders with the same colour identity.
Others have argued that EDH Rec and other websites that attempt to analyze the format, discuss and quantify it are violating the “spirit of the format” as it were. They view EDH as the greatest “casual” format that should be played solely for fun and should avoid any attempts at what they would argue as a homogenization of the format – staples, everyone playing the same decks or any “unfun” strategies. These are the people who argue against mass land destruction, infinite combos or tutoring. In essence, they are the crowd that the EDH Rules Committee caters to the most when making ban list decisions. The proponents of this argument believe that there exists a “casual vs competitive” conflict within the format and to a degree they are correct. There is a growing strain on the overall format between casual players and those seeking a more competitive edge to their EDH games.
Let me tell you – EDH Rec *did* kill EDH and it needed to die. When Wizards of the Coast adopted this format, they decided to give it a new name – Commander. They wanted to codify it, formalize it and regulate it, to a degree. Some opposed this but overall the transition has been smooth. This in some ways created a new format, one that acknowledged that precons and internet would undermine any attempts to keep information and homogeneity out of the format. Naturally we are going to see people discussing decks and cards and see more people playing the same decks than before but that is because the format is growing more popular and has more players which is the ultimate goal – to ensure there are enough people who play the format that you can show up at an event like SCG Syracuse with a deck and expect to sit across from people who are playing in the same vein as you are, even if there are differences in opinion on the level of competitiveness or legitimacy of particular strategies.
But there are naysayers, those who would have Commander return to its EDH roots and abandon all aspects of the current format. They would have us stop discussing our favourite cards, stop us from getting precons with new generals that inevitably lead to “Everyone Is Playing Atraxa.™” Any collectivization is bad and so are unfun things, which information leads to as well as people agree on the best strategies and most powerful interactions. Counterspells are unfun, board wipes are frustrating, infinite combos end your 4-hour long slugfest too early. These people want to play a worse format where everyone is playing generic midrange decks, otherwise known as “goodstuff.” Goodstuff is when you are just playing good cards in your colours and avoiding uniqueness. They may argue that they’re trying to keep people playing unique decks, but information helps many players learn about new cards or synergies they might not otherwise know exist. This information can hurt as much as it can help and the help sites like EDH Rec have given to new and seasoned players is undervalued by the aspects of the community that opposes anything new or that they don’t like. EDH Rec is killing the EDH that they desire, the one where they have more knowledge and get to take advantage of but somehow other people discovering this same knowledge in a shorter time or with other people is disrupting the format despite the popularity and growth it seems to have allowed.
So in short, EDH Rec did kill EDH – but it was a bastion of inbred, anti-information puritans who would not stand to see *their* format tainted by any others. There is a reason WotC changed the name to Commander and that gave our format a breath of fresh air and an acceptance of the times. Something a few people could still stand to learn from.
Until next time.