I played a game of EDH last night for the first time in…. well, a really long time. I had kind of lost the desire to play after killing off my Jenara deck and after I started seeing some really crazy decks, but I gave it a go because the new pre-cons came out and I wanted to see what they were like. In the first 10-15 minutes of the game, one guy just won because of an infinite combo. It took the fun out of the entire time, so I suggested we just continue playing as if he wasn’t there since he didn’t have an impact on the game before that moment. I’m sure there was a way to stop it, had we all been aptly prepared for what was happening with his deck, but I’d rather sit down and play a fun game of EDH where everyone gets to play some threats than briefly play for 15 minutes and become the victim of some tomfoolery.
Admittedly, I got really frustrated during this experience. It’s not to say that this person doesn’t have a right to play with his deck of tomfoolery (can you tell I’m liking that word today?), but it wasn’t fun. It wasn’t fun for me and it didn’t seem fun for the other 4 players at the table. And the game didn’t lose its fun because I wasn’t winning (which is a reason that games can lose their fun aspect for me), it was because I didn’t feel like I really played. Personally, I don’t get to play Magic very frequently. I run most of the tournaments I would like to participate in (and I’m totally okay with that, I love what I do), so my opportunities to play are few and far between. But when I DO get to play, I want to PLAY Magic. I don’t want to sit there and watch someone’s infinite combo go off, killing everyone in the game after 15 minutes. I used to play 3-4 hour EDH games! All we did was throw out threats and try to see whose metaphorical butts were bigger and more threatening! Maybe that’s not the goal of the format, but when I sit down to play EDH, I want to have fun. I have fun by being able to play my deck. I put some effort into this deck, so let me play it! I didn’t build the deck I used last night, but I liked playing it!
We did, ultimately, continue playing as if that person had just left the game. I enjoyed the rest of the experience (possibly because I won), but I felt like I did so because I was able to play the deck. I played Craterhoof Behemoth! I haven’t gotten to play that card in a while! It’s huge! And with the commander, Prime Speaker Zegana, I got to draw 21 cards and keep them all in my hand with Reliquary Tower! That’s fun. To me.
TL;DR - I like EDH as a format when everyone agrees to let the game be fun for everyone. For me, EDH is purely casual and so my goal is to play a longer (multiplayer) game where silly things happen and I get to experience interactions involving cards that I don’t normally get to see interacting. I can play ultra-competitive Magic any day of the week. When I sit down to play, I want to get a chance to play.
What is EDH to you? Casual or Hardcore?