MTG Commander/Elder Dragon Highlander

Having Your Voice Heard
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Author:  Sheldon [ 2019-Jul-12 12:48 am ]
Post subject:  Having Your Voice Heard

Despite what some folks think, the RC listens to as many voices in the Commander community as we can. One of the reasons we formed the CAG was to extend our reach. Still, it appears as though some folks feel as though their voices aren't being heard.

I'd like to get your opinions on how you think that we might demonstrate to you that we're listening, especially when we do the thing that's not what you, the individual, want. It's easy to feel as though you weren't heard if a decision goes a way you don't like--but every decision is going to have people who dislike it. What would make you go "Well, they didn't agree with me, but at least I felt like they considered my position?"

Author:  Segrus [ 2019-Jul-12 1:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Having Your Voice Heard

I think there's a lot to be said that people use any and every online media to discuss Magic-related topics, and some vocal components of those communities incorrectly believe that if you don't personally respond on their personal favorite place, with some unspoken frequency, then you are automatically "ignoring all Commander players." That isn't to say there isn't room for improvement, but that people should consider you all are human and tailor their expectations to fit that.

My first interaction on this site was to send you, Sheldon, a private message asking a stupid question about a fan-made variation on Planeschase I had made and where it might fit on these forums--and you politely responded (thanks for that, by the way). To me it has long felt like you're available.

Author:  zimagic [ 2019-Jul-12 1:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Having Your Voice Heard

I've never felt that you guys were unavailable but I've also never felt like you owed me answers either, which I think is an important view-point to take into account.

People who want to talk, and in particuliar to you Sheldon, in a civilised manner have multiple platforms to do it on. You've never been shy on social media & in here, so I don't see the issue.

However, I'd like to take the opportunity to raise a slightly-related thought point for you. Forgive me if I ramble too long.
I have always been on board with the "Build Casually, Play Competitively" point of view and that you have to take responsibility yourself for how you want to play the game or have the game played around you. Sometimes that can be really hard. There are just so many ways to do stupid things in Commander. The format is broken, we're not here to prove that theory but to enjoy playing despite that.

I'm someone who can deal with not having my hand held, but I fully recognise that not everyone is like that. Some/a lot/maybe even the majority of players like very clearly defined lines around their formats. I often feel that a lot of people who are unhappy that card X is banned or that card Y isn't banned, are people who need to see the walls more clearly defined.

So my thought point is: Should you guys on RC stick with the "Take responsibility" stance and, if so, how could the message be improved to englobe more players? Or, if not, where do you draw those lines in order to create a format that's still Commander but with, let's say, more structured restrictions? (I always think back to your cascading bans article on SSG when I think about stuff like this).

Keep up the good work!

Author:  Zegram [ 2019-Jul-12 2:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Having Your Voice Heard

Sheldon wrote:

I'd like to get your opinions on how you think that we might demonstrate to you that we're listening"

Well for starters you can stop dictating how people play for fun.

Author:  smashness [ 2019-Jul-12 2:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Having Your Voice Heard

I guess some obvios topics aren't covered when explaining your decisions, so I think there should be more effort in explaining what led to some decisions.

As for the recent changes, lots of players are just wondering if this new philosophy on deciding banned cards is fair, simply because the same line of thought applies to a lot other cards wich remains unbanned, like Contamination. With all that in mind, I wonder if it ever crossed your mind to have this philosophy applied in the form a whole new EDH "modern" format so the more competitive players can enjoy an unrestricted meta, while casual players have a full format truly dedicated and worked upon the philosophy they agree on.

Author:  PurpleOmega0110 [ 2019-Jul-12 3:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Having Your Voice Heard

Hi Sheldon,

I want to direct your attention to a Reddit threat about your request for feedback. Take a look when you get a chance - it would be very interesting if you could respond to some of the ideas and concerns coming out of that community (and that thread, in particular):

Author:  Mox_cardboard [ 2019-Jul-12 4:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Having Your Voice Heard

Hi Sheldon, thanks for posting this. :)

I understand, and correct me if I'm wrong, but you have said something like, "We want to discourage cEDH type of play because it is selfish and the experience of others isn't taken into account because they only care about winning."

I think most people who consider themselves as "cEDH" players would disagree with this. As a cEDH player myself, I feel disenfranchised from the format when you say things like that, which is basically just saying "you don't count, your opinions don't matter."

When you say things in your posts and philosophy pages about how cEDH isn't taken into account when banning/unbanning decisions are made, that right there is part of the problem.

Sheldon, again I welcome you to say if this isn't the case but you have said repeatedly on twitter and other social media that you and the RC do not ever take cEDH into account when making decisions and the RC willfully ignores the existence of the cEDH community, and anyone else who is not as casual as what the RC considers what EDH is supposed to be.

To answer your question Sheldon you can add people to the RC who have diametrically opposed philosophies to your own and are experienced cEDH players. The RC currently lacks player diversity with cEDH players on it and I don't think there is a point to having a RC in the first place if everyone on the comittee are all too like-minded. It would be like if congress was controlled only be either dems or republicans. No balance.

I understand you were one of the people who pioneered the format into existence and have been around since the beginning and you don't think decks that are too competitive are what the format should be but, it's not just your format. The cEDH community exists. Players more competitive than yourself exist and you need to not ignore them and diversify the committee that controls the format.

Author:  Gath Immortal [ 2019-Jul-12 4:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Having Your Voice Heard

So, there's kind of a major problem with EDH that is pretty much centered around the idea of nobody being heard, but I don't think that's the actual issue.

EDH is an insanely open format. If ten separate groups of EDH players adhere strictly to the Rules Committee party line of "Build Casual, Play Competitive" every single one of those groups could be completely different. They have completely different playstyles, completely different opinions on what cards are good or bad for the format, completely different meta boogeyman cards and above all else every one of these groups all believe they aren't being listened to because the bans/unbans don't adhere to exactly what they view as being correct for the format.

The problem is that there aren't ten or even a hundred groups of edh players any more, there are thousands. There are also many more who fit into the "Competitive EDH" scene or somewhere in between who feel the Rules Committee has disavowed them completely. This is especially problematic at local gaming stores where you can't rely on the social contract and make up your own rules or ban list and play with the same four to six people every night, it's incredibly antisocial to just wave off random players because they showed up and don't follow a ruleset they didn't even know existed.

Without hard restrictions on what is and isn't acceptable in the format these disparate groups will never stop feeling like they aren't being heard. The real issue is that such a thing at this point is impossible to accomplish without alienating some of those people. It seems like a no-win situation unless people are willing to take some initiative.

The Rules Committee has said time and again that CEDH is not supported by the ban list and yet people seem to keep wanting you guys to ban for it. Why they haven't split off and done their own thing I have no idea but I don't think it is on you guys to support an entire playstyle you've said from the jump you aren't interested in.

I think a clearer party line with less "social contract" and more "these are the rules" is a better route to go even if I disagree with how such a thing gets handled. You simply can't please everyone, but the whole point of a unique format is to attract a certain subsection of players, so stop worrying about everyone and make the format for the players you want to support.

Author:  blackmagemasta [ 2019-Jul-12 4:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Having Your Voice Heard

What would make you go "Well, they didn't agree with me, but at least I felt like they considered my position?"

Well, I'd personally feel that way if you mentioned my position when posting your reasoning for bans. I'm a Johnny. I like combos. For me, building a deck can be like solving a puzzle. Paradox Engine led to me creating a deck build around using cards with Buyback. It was a unique deck within my playgroup that was fun to play. And yet you say this:

Paradox Engine is a card that has proven to be intensely problematic. Not only does it provide easy wins seemingly out of nowhere, it has demonstrated the potential to unintentionally wreck games. Easily inserted into any deck, it combines with cards which players already have heavy incentives to play, generating a great deal of mana with virtually no deck building cost. While we don’t ban cards which are only problematic if you build around them, Paradox Engine has clearly demonstrated that it doesn’t need to be built around to be broken.

Paradox Engine is problematic. It wrecks games. No mention of it being fun. No mention of it having a unique effect. No mention of how it's a powerful combo card that made my Johnny senses tingle. And it's been legal in the format since January 2017. If it's a problem, why not ban it shortly after release? No. The only position you mention is that of Paradox Engine being bad. By not mentioning other positions, you give the impression of dismissing them. Maybe you did consider other positions. Maybe you did consider how other people liked the card and didn't consider it to be a problem. But you didn't mention this. You only presented one view, one position. And in doing that, you gave the impression of dismissing people who hold other positions. I'm not saying that this was your thought process, but the subtext that some people are getting here is "It doesn't matter that some people don't think Paradox Engine is a problem, because those people don't matter".

On a related note, a lot of people like data. I realize that it's a lot harder to gather data for a casual format than it is for Standard, but did you try to get data? I don't know how many members there are in the Rules Committee and Advisory Group, but I do know that they are in multiple US states and multiple countries, right? Could they not have collected data to see how many games included decks with Paradox Engine, how many games those decks were able to play Paradox Engine, how often other decks were able to remove Paradox Engine, and how often Paradox Engine "wrecked the game"? Some people consider the banlist to be cards that you, Sheldon, do not like. Having concrete data from multiple locations around the world would lend credence to your claims of Paradox Engine (or any other card) being "problematic". It wasn't a problem in my play group or at my store, and I'm supposed to just accept that I'm the outlier and that really it is a problematic card. /u/Stabby_Stab on Reddit made this post ( comparing your ban announcement to the one from Wizards banning Bridge from Below. In contrast to you, WotC includes stats to back up their reasoning. Even if I don't agree with a ban (and if it wasn't clear, I don't agree with this one), including data and having proof would show me that you've put thought into it, rather than just banning cards you dislike.


Author:  ichik [ 2019-Jul-12 4:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Having Your Voice Heard

Please, stop unbanning terrible, broken, disgusting cards that poison casual metas. Neither Hulk, nor Painter's Servant were good ideas.

Author:  wildcard604 [ 2019-Jul-12 4:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Having Your Voice Heard

I really just wish you would have consulted a single cEDH member of the community or put one on the CAG. The fallout of the Paradox Engine ban is that the top tier 1 decks that used to run it, actually don't care that it's banned, they just switched to another line like consultation/lab-man. BUT, banning Paradox Engine took one of the most important tools AWAY from other decks that needed it to compete with decks like Thrasios/Tymna. Arcum Daggson? Gone! Sisay? Gone! Not to mention that the card was worth $40 US and you tanked the price. A LOT of players spent their hard earned money and you've literally burned their cash because YOUR playgroup and style doesn't like it. Any cEDH player would tell you that Paradox Engine is not the issue, but you banned it for casual players.

Author:  Shabbaman [ 2019-Jul-12 5:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Having Your Voice Heard

zimagic wrote:
I've never felt that you guys were unavailable but I've also never felt like you owed me answers either, which I think is an important view-point to take into account.

People who want to talk, and in particuliar to you Sheldon, in a civilised manner have multiple platforms to do it on. You've never been shy on social media & in here, so I don't see the issue.

This is an opinion I can get behind.

You're here regularly, so by now you must have concluded I want to play Recurring Nightmare, even without ever starting a thread about it and insulting the mental capacity of any RC member. Somehow that last bit seems to be the way to go for new members here, and it seems that exactly those kind of threads attract less of the RC's attention, instead of more. But perhaps some "I have read this" response in any thread would give people the impression the RC is paying attention to what happens here, because if you're not here regularly it might seem as if nobody from the RC is.

Having said that, I don't think the RC can do it right for everyone because magic players just have to complain about everything. It's not as if my opinion is more visible to anyone at Wizards, so in that regard I think you're managing the format better than Wizards does with other formats. But when someone is angry that perspective is lost.

Author:  PurpleOmega0110 [ 2019-Jul-12 5:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Having Your Voice Heard

This is going to be controversial...

I genuinely believe for the health and future of the format, you should consider stepping down from your role as the head of the RC, and that the RC itself should instead shift to a council of people elected by the community.

Your situation reminds me (of all things) of an episode of Brooklyn 99 call Full Boyle. In it, one of the main characters (Captain Holt) is running unopposed for president of an organization he founded called AAGLNYCPA - (African-American Gay and Lesbian New York City Policeman's Association ). Or so he thought.

In fact, this is the first time that he has had a competitor for President of the organization. At first he is insulted, and the notion that anyone could care about the organization or handle the responsibility in the ways that he does is laughable. However, after much deliberation he decides that the organization's success is actually a great indicator that it needs fresh minds. Minds who didn't come up through the same system, but got to benefit from the successes of the organization. In a strange way, the success of the organization was the catalyst that indicated the need for a change. And with that, he resigns and offers his endorsement to his competitor.

In a similar way, EDH has grown far beyond what you could have possibly hoped, which is a wonderful thing. Wizards makes dedicated products, and almost any LGS has a Commander night.

With that growth, however, comes different experiences, opinions, and thoughts. For instance, there are now many interpretations of the definition of a fun/good/memorable game, and having people who represent those disparate views on the RC would be incredibly healthy for the format and the future.

It's honestly the best thing you could do and it would be an incredible gesture of good faith and trust in the thing that you created.

Author:  Sheldon [ 2019-Jul-12 6:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Having Your Voice Heard

I appreciate that you can make a difficult suggestion in such a civil manner.

I'm more the face of the RC than the head. We're all equal in the decision-making process; I'm just the one that has the time, opportunity, and drive to be the one interfacing with the community and representing the format.

The intention of forming the CAG was to put fresh and diverse minds into the process. There are now more of us who reach into the community and bring back thoughts, ideas, and impressions. The decision-making group is still the same, but we're doing to now with even more information than we had before.

Author:  intreped [ 2019-Jul-12 6:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Having Your Voice Heard

wildcard604 wrote:
I really just wish you would have consulted a single cEDH member of the community or put one on the CAG.

As someone who plays almost exclusively at the casual end of the spectrum, I actually also agree this is important.

It's a lot easier said than done, though. From what I understand, the cEDH community itself is just as fractured on what is the best direction to guide the format as the rest of us are. Which public face in cEDH would you suggest to adequately represent such variety of opinion on the CAG? And would they be willing to be a part of such a group, knowing that even though they have a direct line to the Rules Committee, the rules would still be focused on a different kind of gameplay, so while they were being 'heard', their influence would rarely lead to change in policy? Having one or even two token cEDH members of the CAG would be great for the CAG, but maybe not so great for those tokenized members.

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