It’s been a good year.

As 2013 draws to a close, those of us who like to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the format that we love have the opportunity to reflect on the year, and to offer our thoughts on what took place this year.

Before we get to the thoughts of Team GDC, we want to offer this chance for audience participation: if you’d like to share your thoughts, we’d love to hear them! As an end-of-year thought exercise, we asked each of the GDC writers to answer the following prompts. If you want play along, please copy/paste and share your thoughts on the following in the Comments section(spout off in the comments):

  1. What was your favorite new EDH card that came out this year?
  2. What was your least favorite new EDH card that came out this year?
  3. Your favorite article about EDH that you read this year?
  4. One thing about the banned list (something that should be added, removed, changed, whatever)
  5. Thoughts on Commander 2013?
  6. Hopes/goals for the upcoming year?
  7. What was the best EDH experience you had this year?

Our answers to these questions follow. Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, thanks for being awesome, and we’ll see you in 2014!

XO,
->Mr. P (and Cassidy, Dave, Imshan, and Sean)

 DAVE

What was your favorite new EDH card that came out this year?

  • Aurelia, the Warleader, because I like the beats.
  • Colossal Whale because obviously; it’s not that great, but it’s funny and interesting.
  • Gahiji, Honored One, because although he’s kinda dumb, Beast tribal having a viable commander that isn’t boringly linear is cool.
  • Oh, and Blind Obedience. I don’t know if this even counts as an EDH card, but it’s reallllly fun in the format without being toooo griefer-y.

What was your least favorite new EDH card that came out this year?

  • Nekusar, the Mindrazer, because it’s boring and obvious and perhaps mildly oppressive.
  • Master of Cruelties. Snore. Turn three put you to one life for not having a blocker. Stupid. Fortunately most tables hate that person out really fast so the balance is maintained.
  • Debt to the Deathless – We didn’t need another, harder to cast but probably more powerful Exsanguinate. We really didn’t.

Your favorite article about EDH that you read this year?
I reallllllllly like Abe Sargent’s series of “the next 100 project.” Some are better than others, but the overarching idea is awesome both to reveal the depth of the EDH card pool and to point players towards more interesting decks.

One thing about the banned list.
The worst thing about the banned list is all the stupid conversations people have about cards that should be banned because they dislike said cards. The obvious example is comparing Sylvan Primordial to Primeval Titan. There’s so much info written by Sheldon on SCG and other RC people on MTGCommander.net, it’s pretty easy to see why PT got the ban and why Sylvia Plath fits 0-1 of those criteria. And yet, because they’re tired of seeing it and because it’s so oppressive with cards like Flash, players call for the ban. Ugh.

On the bright side, the shrinking of the banned list seems pretty sweet. Also, Trade Secrets?

Thoughts on Commander 2013?
I really like seeding more copies of things like Command Tower and Sol Ring because I don’t care if everybody runs one in every deck. Keeping the price down on some perhaps-signature cards in the format is rad. New players are also great. People who only 70% get EDH designing the precons that establish a format’s character for new players doesn’t make me super excited but EDH is wide-open enough that I can get over that and be happy about new toys.

Hopes/goals for the upcoming year?
I want to get back to playing more than once a month. I’d also like to shrink my stable of decks so I can focus on playing decks more often to really cut cards that aren’t fun/aren’t pulling their weight. I hope to trade more and spend less cash relative to new card acquisitions, which will keep me from just picking up more pricey staples, and I hope always for some sweet new generals, Jund ramp-hater being at the top of my list.

What was the best EDH experience you had this year?
Besides the great interactions with Team GDC and readers, I’d have to say getting a group of just five guys together to play in a way more relaxed, friendly setting has been repeatedly the most fun for me as far as EDH. The real secret to the game is playing with people who you like and roughly agree with about the best way to play the game.

IMSHAN

What was your favorite new EDH card that came out this year?
So many to choose from! Hythonia, the Cruel for sure.

What was your least favorite new EDH card that came out this year?
Oloro, Ageless Ascetic is hands down the thing I hate most this year, bar none. Look for all the reasons why in an upcoming article.
Other than that, Emmara Tandris is the most disappointing. Basically, Emmara is useless to everyone. Some people play in ‘griefer’ environments where Kaalia is legit, and Master of Cruelties or Sire of Insanity are the best drops ever for Kaalia. Some people to play with softer threats. Emmara? No one wants her, and that makes her the saddest creature.

One thing about the banned list.
Stop treating it like a list of commandments. If you don’t like Sylvan Primordial, Lord of Extinction, Swords of Protection and Value, or even Kaalia of the Vast, stop playing with it, and talk to people about WHY you don’t play with it, and WHY you hope to never see it at an EDH table. Case and point: I played Jor Kadeen deck with all five swords and Umezawa’s Jitte. I talked with people after our games, and they said they didn’t like swords (because they reduced interaction through colour protections), and so I stopped playing all of them, so that others might find the games more enjoyable.

SEAN

What was your favorite new EDH card that came out this year?
Derevi, Empyrial Tactician. Bird Wizard Legend – It’s about time.

What was your least favorite new EDH card that came out this year?
Darksteel Mutation. I hate having conversations about why this card is the worst Arrest option.

One thing about the banned list.
We need to stop the inbreeding on the Rules Committee. Trade Secrets really?…really? REALLY? Just stop banning things at this point.

Thoughts on Commander 2013?
It gets harder every year to do anything that really excites me and makes me want to build and spend money building. However, I can tell Wizards has accepted that Commander is the #1 casual format.

Hopes/goals for the upcoming year?
Grow the local community. We have been bleeding players from students graduating and we need to get more people playing.

What was the best EDH experience you had this year?
The ongoing disagreements with Mr. P. It gives me hope in humanity that two people so far apart in beliefs can still get along and be civil. (Editor’s note: Who loves ya baby! XO,->Mr. P.)

CASSIDY

What was your favorite new EDH card that came out this year?

  • Colossus of Akros – Card of the year for me. This goes back 19-odd years to my well-documented love of Colossus of Sardia, and it just hits on so many levels for me as a result. At my heart, I’m still a kid in love with big, shiny things, and this is the biggest and shiniest. I want to run this in every deck I own just because.
  • Erebos, God of the Dead – I’ve likewise been waiting a very long time for Wizards of the Coast to give us “god” as a creature-type. I love the flavor of the devotion mechanic, and I love that these things each have their own flavor (instead of falling prey to “Eldrazi Syndrome” by making the cycle all back-breaking. No one is running scared from Thassa, for example…) In a vacuum, I’ll always take the one that says “draw card” on it, so Erebos is my pick of the litter.
  • Strionic Resonator – I love techy utility cards. There’s nothing better than things that can subtly fit into many different shells and change games in many different ways as a result. Rings of Brighthearth has been missing his little brother for a long time.

What was your least favorite new EDH card that came out this year?

  • Master of Cruelties – Dave nailed it with this one. Magister Sphinx is about as close as I get to life-fixing cards, and that’s a pretty borderline one for me. Dropping someone to one life is a pretty brutal way of invalidating everything they’ve done in the game, and while I don’t feel Master is broken, I do think it ends up being pretty groan-inducing.
  • Sepulchral Primordial – Again, well-documented, but this card takes the cake of the cycle (yeah…it’s worse than Sylvan by a longshot.) It never ends up doing anything fun; nine times out of ten, the caster gets to run off a chain reaction of effects that just end up being super-swingy, and worse, take forever to resolve most of the time. I’m hereby officially renaming this card “Everyone Check Your Phones And Start Trading While I Play The Game Alone For A Bit Primordial.”
  • True-Name Nemesis – Oh wait…you wanted EDH cards, not Legacy cards. Never mind this one, then.

Your favorite article about EDH that you read this year?

It’s hard to put a specific article in the limelight here. What I will do is say that I’m pretty happy to see EDH getting more coverage in general these days. It’s great to see the marquee sites branching out past the tried-and-true “deck doctor” articles (and yeah, I get the irony in that…), and sites like Commandercast.com and EastCoastCommander.com keep upping the ante with great writing and more and more multi-media content. This is great to see.

One thing about the banned list.
Honestly, if I had to say one thing, it’s simply “Good Job.” I think the Rules Committee is doing a pretty fantastic job of keeping their hands off of things to let the format grow organically however it feels like growing. (The Trade Secrets ban aside, anyway…)

If I could then say two things, it would be to continue making the list smaller as things balance out. Metalworker isn’t any scarier than Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary, and Tolarian Academy isn’t doing anything that Gaea’s Cradle isn’t already doing in mono-green. Pulling things like Staff of Domination off show that we as EDH players are trusted enough to do the right thing, so ultimately, I’d like to see the list pared down to simply the cards that don’t do anything but make games suck – Worldfire, Biorhythm, Limited Resources, and the like.

Let me play with Power, dammit. I promise I won’t hurt anyone.

Thoughts on Commander 2013?
I’m still coming around on this one. On the one hand, it’s great to have new product and new players flooding into the format. New cards and new generals are always welcome.

On the other hand, more linear things like Nekusar, the Mindrazer aren’t helping anyone to diversify, and neither is making a pre-con nearly unavailable by printing cards that are crap in EDH and clearly plants for Eternal formats, making them ripe for speculator picking.

Hopes/goals for the upcoming year?
I hope that I get to play more games that leave me with a good feeling. I want more awesome interactions and big, flashy spells that make memorable – *good* memorable – games for everyone involved.

And I want to double-down on GDC as well. With the team we have in place, I want to blow it wide open in 2014. Bigger and better all around.

What was the best EDH experience you had this year?
I’ve had the luxury of some great games, some great conversations, and some great articles this past year. I’ve had the joy of hitting up GenCon, breaking into the podcasting game, and rolling out the upgraded website. Most of all, I’ve been lucky enough to surround myself with a great group of teammates in Dave, Imshan, Sean, and Mr. P.

I think I can safely say that EDH in general has been the best experience this year as a whole.
-Cass

MR. P

What was your favorite new EDH card that came out this year?
Giant Adephage, because it is the perfect EDH card: big, dumb, splashy, powerful, and impossible to combo off or go infinite with (OK, I suppose you could do something involving haste effects and chaining attack steps, but I’m ignoring that.) I love him.

What was your least favorite new EDH card that came out this year?
Sylvan Primordial, partially because I’m so bloody sick of seeing it but mostly because I can’t understand why it doesn’t have the words “up to one” between the words “destroy” and “target non-creature permanent” on it. I mean, I understand someone is going to ramp into this thing on turn four every single game, but the fact that it manascrews at least one person every time leaves me totally cold. I currently have this thing in exactly zero of my decks.

Oh, and the black one also sucks.

Your favorite article about EDH that you read this year?
This article technically came out last year, but Pat Chapin’s “Words Mean Things” is one of the best articles I’ve ever read about the social aspect of the game, which is a huge component of EDH. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say everyone should read this.

One thing about the banned list.
I like the banned list, and I have no real desire to see anything added to it; I like that playgroups can use social norming as a means to excising cards that make the experience “unfun”, withough imposing those values on the larger community. I am glad that the Rules Committee is not fickle and impulsive in the way that people in forums seem to desperately want them to be. (Also, I’m writing this pretending that the banning of Trade Secrets never happened.)

Oh, but why on earth is Library of Alexandria banned? I understand it’s powerful, but there have been so many strong cards printed that it’s hard to make a case for it still being “overpowered.” I understand it’s expensive, but so are Moat, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, Timetwister, Imperial Seal, and a bunch of other legal things. People want to play with power, but Mr. P wants to go to the Library!

Thoughts on Commander 2013?
Mind Sleeze! Oh dang!

I personally don’t mind all that much that the Mind Sleeze precon is impossible to find, because it’s super easy to find people who want to trade the other 99 non-True-Name Nemesis cards from this thing. I also like the fact that they are supporting the format by reprinting older, obscure cards (hey, Foster!) alongside new, useful-if-not-broken cards (howdy, Bane of Progress!) Thanks for the support, Wizards! Now stop printing the damn oversized foils!

Hopes/goals for the upcoming year?
My goal, as ever, is to continue to work on being gracious, pleasant, and generally enjoyable to be around. My hope is that the format will continue to grow in a way that is positive and leaves room for everyone to feel as though they are having the experience they want while also allowing others to do the same.

Oh, and I want more Twitter followers.

What was the best EDH experience you had this year?
I love that EDH is a social format, and that the people who play it regularly end up feeling like part of a community. I love having EDH Night at Mr. P Manor, as well as my regular games Mondays at Off the Wall and Wednesdays at Worlds Apart. Getting to see the same awesome people every week is a delight.

I also continue to have a great time going to GenCon, and 2013 was awesome in that we added to our crew. In 2011 we had three, in 2012 we had four, this year we had six. I would love to have ten or more next year. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention how much fun I had playing in (and winning!) an EDH event at GenCon, something I never imagined I would do (or enjoy).

Finally, I’ve had a super awesome time being part of Team GDC this year. Thanks to all of the other writers, the people who post comments, and anyone who ever argued with me on twitter; y’all make this (more) fun.

XO,
->Mr. P