I mean it quite literally – What’s the problem with EDH?
Okay…the cart is before the horse here. Let me frame this in a bit.
I was able to make it down to Worlds Apart last night for EDH Wednesday for the first time in nearly a month. I was pretty excited; it had been a while since I had played EDH, and both Dragon’s Maze and the Banned List update had occurred since the last time I was able to play. I was pretty geared up for a good night of cards.
Strangely, I felt pretty let-down by the end of the night. ‘Unfulfilled’ is possibly a better word. We played three games, and none of them quite went the way that I was hoping. Here’s the breakdown:
-Game one was a rare six-player free-for-all. I played my Angus Mackenzie deck, and managed to score some points by dealing combat damage with Angus to all five opponents. This felt pretty good, but the game tailed off from there; I spent the early game leveraging a Survival of the Fittest to find some interesting utility options, and by the time we hit late game, I ran out of gas.
I couldn’t really find any draw, and my tutor had been destroyed. I was in a position with Aluren, Equilibrium, Angus and Aether adept to keep bouncing the board, but that wasn’t getting me closer to being able to go on the offense. Worse yet, the only person I could really affect was Mr P, and the one of the permanents I kept bouncing was a Kaervek that was slowly bleeding me to death. The turn I finally got a Draining Whelk to stick on Massacre Wurm, he replayed it with Torrent of Souls. I bounced the Whelk, replayed it to counter Torrent, and was dead to a third reanimation effect. We all ended up pretty spent, and Sigarda Voltron took the game.
-Game two saw me play Karador, versus an Aurelia aggro deck, Andrew’s Ashling deck, and Mr P on a Mirko Vosk mill deck. I made the mistake of coming out of the gates a little too hard in a way that seemed more threatening that Aurelia; I found an early Mirari’s Wake, which got me into Karador and a recurring Necrotic Sliver plus Alms Beast.
Unfortunately, I was on the back foot playing control, and while I certainly looked threatening, I had no offensive plan. I quickly ended up at really low life, drawing a large amount of hate while trying to deal with Aurelia; Pyreheart Wolf and some other odds and ends (eventually an Odric) meant that Aurelia was swinging in for 25-ish damage all told a turn, and it was impossible to block. I tried to leverage some extort life-gain and found Kokusho to try to head off the blood loss, but 34 unblockable damage a turn adds up quickly.
The game ended shortly thereafter.
-Game three was a three-player match, with Mr P playing B/W spirits and Andrew playing mono-white Odric. I joined in with mono-white angels. Again, I got off to a strong start, tabling Blinding Angel and Battlegrace Angel and gaining some early life. Herald of War joined, and a
offered up Blazing Archon. Windbrisk Heights
From there, the wheels fell off. I had Sensei’s Divining Top, which only effectively meant that I was able to see three irrelevant cards a turn instead of just one. Meanwhile, Andrew had turbo-charged his draws with Endless Horizons and added Cathars’ Crusade; every turn ended with a host of creatures with dice set to seven and eight on them.
I Rout-ed. I Wrath-ed. I Terminus-ed. Mr P Rout-ed.
Andrew didn’t miss a beat and won with ease anyway.
. . .
Back to the question – What’s the problem?
When I ask this question, what I’m looking at is a personal take. What do you find to be your biggest problem with the format? It really could be anything at all, but I’m interested in seeing what’s below the skin and at the core.
My breakdown above is designed to help illustrate what I view as my biggest obstacle with EDH; I have a really hard time fitting into the scheme that makes up our metagame. In the past, I’ve built decks much in the same way that I’ve always built decks for other formats – I make sure that I can answer the problems that I’ll be facing, and then fill in from there. I play much in the same way; I often take on the role of policing the game before trying to exert energy in my own plan to win. I think I have developed an over-urgent sense that things won’t get done if I don’t do them, so I run with that more often than not.
What that means is that I’m set up to be a bit of a punching bag and a diversion. The metagame that I play in is made up of players who largely build what I refer to as “the problem decks.” These are the decks that try to force their plans on the table. I bring “the solution deck” more often than not, and exert my energy and resources into trying to stop the aggressive players from winning.
Meanwhile, there are the players that are very good at staying out of the spotlight and capitalizing on this interaction, in the process building a board position that usually takes over and wins once the dust settles. Mr P is very good at this. He has a patience that I simply do not when it comes to other threats, and sees plays much further off in the distance than I do.
So I’m the low man on the totem pole. I simply can’t be the aggressive deck; last night is a great example. It’s not in my nature, and I draw a ton of attention when I (likely over-) do it.
This is a great source of personal frustration. It makes me feel like I need to overhaul every single deck I have to be “better”, and that’s not a direction I really want to go.
This is likely also why I tend to have tons of things to complain about. Just a theory.
So what does it for you? Is it a specific player that you don’t like playing with? The power level of your metagame? (Too strong? Too weak?) Are there certain cards that drive you nuts, or are rampant to the point of over-saturation? Or is it something more intangible, such as what I described above?
Tell us a story.