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 Post subject: Re: Having Your Voice Heard
AgePosted: 2019-Jul-12 6:17 am 

Joined: 2012-Apr-11 7:17 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Please don't turn us lose with the community at the helm !

I mean, I know you won't, but just... YIKES.

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 Post subject: Re: Having Your Voice Heard
AgePosted: 2019-Jul-12 6:50 am 

Joined: 2019-Jul-12 6:33 am
Age: Egg
Hi Sheldon,

Sorry to hear that some in the EDH community are sending hateful messages to you.Now something that I would enjoy would be for the RC to write a paragraph or two about each of the banned cards and non-banned cards that are similar in each of the categories( lock pieces, card advantage, finishers, fast mana, mass land destruction) and example would be the moxen and cards like mana crypt and sol ring. So that we can get a better idea on how the committee is thinking.


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 Post subject: Re: Having Your Voice Heard
AgePosted: 2019-Jul-12 6:57 am 

Joined: 2019-Jul-12 6:32 am
Age: Egg
First off I want to make it abundantly clear that I will forever be grateful to you and the RC at large for coming up with and developing such a beautiful and wonderful format. Since I started playing Magic right after the release of Theros (so like 2012ish?) Commander was immediately introduced to me, and is has been my favorite format to play ever since. I have played Standard and Modern a lot, but no format has ever captured my imagination quite like Commander has.
To expand on how deeply I love the format briefly, since I relocated to Lincoln Nebraska late in 2018, I quickly got involved in my local Commander league. During this time I worked to get my Level 1 Judge certification, and was mentored by the league coordinator. I had many ideas on things we could do to make the league more fun and engaging for our participants and was handed over the reigns around December/January.
When I began implementing the changes to the league, we saw immediate results. Before I began running the league we averaged around 12 people per week. after finishing our 2nd season at the end of June, we averaged 29 people.
(There is a reason I am going through all of this, bear with me xD)

One of the things that I have stressed since taking over the league was that everyone is welcome to the table, regardless of playstyle. If you are a Spike? You are welcome! Johnny/Jenny? Welcome! Timmy/Tammy? Welcome! Everyone is welcome. Now I have worked pretty diligently at making a system that pairs people of similar play styles together organically, and that has helped a lot (teaching one's self Excel so that you can make functioning spreadsheets is... a thing that I did and it was crazy xD).
But the biggest thing I hear from our players is that they always feel welcome to play. They always feel like we want them to be there. And that is absolutely true!

I say all of this because rhetoric and actions that the RC implements, give the impression that Spikes are never welcome in the format. The consistent use of calling the format a "casual only" format, among other things, gives Spikes feel very unwelcome to the overall table of Commander.

Part of why I think this is a shame, is by observing what a big positive role Spikes can play in leagues and groups when they are embraced rather than shunned. When they are embraced, they want to help the community find pieces to their deck's puzzle. They help deck build, they help encourage and build the community when they feel like they are being welcomed. We rarely see this in Magic because they are so often shunned.

EDH has been an outlet for me to use my creativity, to bring me closer with my friends, and to help cultivate new friendships also! So when I see the RC make people feel very unwelcome in a format that has brought so much into my life, is truly disheartening.

I do not always agree with the logic the RC uses, or the cards they choose to ban or unban; but the way they treat and entire subsection of the Magic community with such hostility truly seems to me to be against the spirit of the format. I hope that perhaps it will change, because Commander is a beautiful format, and it is even more beautiful when everyone is welcome to the table.


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 Post subject: Re: Having Your Voice Heard
AgePosted: 2019-Jul-12 7:02 am 
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PurpleOmega0110 wrote:
This is going to be controversial...

[Stepping down is] 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.

If you think saying that is controversial, then why present it as if you're speaking for the majority of players for this format? I don't think the 'majority' of players would agree, and I don't believe stepping down is the "best" thing for the format. There's many voices out there wanting to be heard and Sheldon wants to finds the best ways to allow those voices to feel heard--stepping down reduces the number of people available in the Rules Committee to communicate. It would do the exact opposite of what you and he are wanting.

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 Post subject: Re: Having Your Voice Heard
AgePosted: 2019-Jul-12 7:06 am 

Joined: 2019-Jul-12 6:56 am
Age: Egg
Some quick ideas from my POV:
[*] Update this website. It's 2019. We expect more from our online communities than a simple forum. Finding or elevating updates and discussions is not easy. I suspect many EDH players have no idea this website existed. Alternative resources like EDHREC have become the defacto home for Commander. The RC has an opportunity/obligation to share information more efficiently.
[*] Acquire and, most importantly, share data. We have access to information - edhrec is a good example of concrete data, but I'd also love to see more qualitative data. What are the lessons learned from GPs/MagicFests? What can we learn from MTGO matches? What can we learn from LGS owners? Help this community be better to each other by arming us with more information about how and why people play EDH.
[*] I think we need to confront the reality that Magic, and board/card games in general, has historically attracted players who might not have the social skills to uphold the social norms that make EDH a positive space for everyone. To that end, I would love to see coming from the RC more (maybe in partnership with content creators) tools and strategies for empowering LGS, organizers, and random shop players.

tl;dr: Help us help you!


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 Post subject: Re: Having Your Voice Heard
AgePosted: 2019-Jul-12 7:51 am 
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I posted this on the MTG Nexus thread of the same title, but figured it can go here as well.

Hello Sheldon.

First off, thanks for taking the time to reach out to get some feedback. I think one of the shortcomings of the RC, which you have admitted yourself in the creation of the CAG, is somewhat poor communication, and this is another step in improving that. I do find it interesting you chose to do so here exclusively on a relatively new website/the oft-forgotten EDH forums rather than spreading it out via other social media (reddit, facebook, twitter, all of 'em), but that's neither here nor there.

My response here comes from the perspective of having played EDH for over a decade, running the gauntlet from pretty casual piles of tossed together cards to tuned cEDH decks. I enjoy playing more casually (though admittedly my local group probably plays at a higher level than many, even casually), as well as playing competitively--I actually help set-up a monthly cEDH meet-up for people to play in paper in my home state.

One thing that I really appreciate about the RC is that you take a relatively conservative approach to banning. I think if you were more heavy-handed, the format would not have grown to the heights it has. And as much as I am sad about Paradox Engine, it's understandable why it went (I also don't think the Iona ban is a net negative, and the Painter Servant unban seems like a wash at worst). Overall, I believe the ban list is curated pretty well. Don't get me wrong, I'd make some changes. Personally I think Flash going would be a positive to the format overall because I've never seen it used to do positive things (in casual or competitive), and I think a few things could be unbanned without issue (Coalition Victory, Biorhythm, Recurring Nightmare), but overall the ban list is good. What could help continue with this is simply a run-down of the issues that come up in discussion with the card, and a brief "pro/con" to banning it--I imagine this is something that already happens behind the scenes with the RC/CAG, and it might help to make those discussions public (not necessarily calling out anyone by name, but just the content) in the explanations of why something had to go.

I think the issues really arise from the combination of the conservative nature of the ban list with the somewhat poor communication from the RC. With this most recent banning it seems like a lot of the feedback has been relatively split between happy and sad to see Engine go, and the Iona and Painter's Servant changes seem to have been met relatively well. But when it's been a 2.5 year gap since the last ban, any change is going to be met with some backlash--that's just going to happen with the "slow and steady" nature of this ban list. And that alone isn't a reason to change the banlist management. What does need to change is the communication. While EDH is never going to have statistics to explain why something is or isn't banned that can be quoted like a WotC ban announcement, the explanations for a ban could stand to be a little longer. I know the guidelines in the Philosophy Document are just guidelines, but it might help to explain why a certain card passed the threshold (and maybe compare to another that did not). With a better explanation, I think people might be more willing to accept the changes--but there will be consternation regardless.

With communication, I also think you should consider the messaging put out by the RC--and specifically some of the messaging you individually put out. When you post things like the Facebook conversation about combos being too prevalent or too quick, it gives a lot of players pause. My playgroups all generally agree that games need to end, and the rules currently support combos as being the best way to do that. It's fine if you and your playgroups enjoy longer games, but most of the people I play with feel like an hour or so is long enough, and sometimes a combo is needed to end the game. Likewise, when you posted that particular message, it felt like you were somewhat out of touch with the nature of Magic as a whole--with each new card that gets printed, more possibilities open up for EDH, and some of them are going to push the envelope. And that's ok! That's what we love about EDH! I'm so glad my own playstyle has evolved beyond what I started with in EDH as my group has changed and adapted to new cards, and it's made me a better Magic player and better person to do so. But seeing something that came across as dismissive of a playstyle different than your own--even if that wasn't your intention to be dismissive--was a little alarming. Even more so when some of the comments on that particular note were even more out of the ordinary with regard to the current EDH rules--and comments from people who I know have the potential to have your ear. Things that would, frankly, make EDH no longer the type of Magic so many of us love.

I think Rule 0 is a great start. People need to communicate better with their groups. I have had my group invite me to play cEDH decks against them to see if their new deck matches up at all. I've played a deck at a lower power than the group because I've been asked to bring it down a lot. Most of the time we agree on what the level is without any hitches at all. But that doesn't work for everyone. It doesn't work for GPs, where players are potentially paying a decent chunk of money to play a lot of EDH. It doesn't work for whomever when they come to a new LGS for the first time. And that's where the ban list has to continue to be carefully curated, and potentially adjusted so that Joe Schmoe the Shark doesn't come crash an EDH FNM for a couple promos and ruin everyone's night. I don't want to see further splintering of the casual and competitive EDH players, because at the end of the day we all love playing EDH, we just get the most out of it in different ways. And that's a good thing for the format overall. I'll end my point with a tortured analogy. Some people prefer chocolate ice cream, others vanilla, and still others like strawberry. It's fine to like them separate, but if all ice cream were just one flavor, only a certain group would be happy. EDH is our ice cream shop, where we all can come in, find the flavor we like, and then enjoy it with other people. Don't limit the ice cream shop to only selling vanilla and vanilla-related accessories.

As a closing note, I'd like to specifically highlight what I see as amazing community outreach by Shivam Bhatt on twitter. While I'm sure that the other CAG members and RC members all speak with lots of commander players, I haven't seen any one of them other than Shivam engage in difficult conversations with as wide a variety of people as he does. I don't always agree with what he says, and I think he and I likely have very very different playstyles driving what we find to be fun, but his openness to communication is what the RC/CAG needs way way more of. And honestly, I think he ends up getting dumped on a lot by people because the other RC/CAG members aren't engaging as well, so he ends up taking extra flack when he's really, in my opinion, a shining star of what the CAG should be all about.

I'd also like to extend my best wishes toward your health, as well.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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 Post subject: Re: Having Your Voice Heard
AgePosted: 2019-Jul-12 8:08 am 

Joined: 2019-Jul-12 7:18 am
Age: Egg
How about we just get rid of the banlist. The banlist does not currently stop competitive decks from putting crater sized holes in tables that adhere to "The Spirit of EDH." It does not stop rather innocent gradual improvement of decks getting to the point where they are so consistent that they seem unstoppable to more casual players. What occasionally stops things like this from happening is the social contract.

When I sit down to play I ask the table how competitive their decks are. I have competitive decks. I also have a combo-less battalion deck that enjoys the combat step. Depending on the answer I grab the appropriate deck. The banlist isn't stopping me from going off on turn 4 at a casual table, the social contract is.

Where things get sticky is when different players have different views on what competitive is. Some people thought their deck was competitive but had never seen dramatic scepter go off in a thrasios deck.

What should replace a banlist is a spice list. Give me a list of spicy cards that signify that this deck might be rough. Give us three tiers, let us vote on cards, so that there can be a quick discussion before a game that lets everyone know what speed we're going to go at it. This deck has a spice score of 100? Damn, better bring out Ghave. Your deck has a spice score of 0? You avoided everything on the list? Alright, haven't gotten to play Minotaur tribal in awhile.

You could even create a "Spirit of the Format" zone of proximity.

TLDR: The banlist doesn't stop people from playing competitive decks at casual tables. Players do. Give us a way to discuss how competitive our decks are in a quick objective way, so that we, players, can sculpt our play experience with more clarity.


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 Post subject: Re: Having Your Voice Heard
AgePosted: 2019-Jul-12 8:23 am 

Joined: 2016-Jun-29 3:47 pm
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Here’s my take on the matter:

The ban list should be finalized, and by that I mean they need to ban all the cards they’ve got their eyes on anyway. Those cards that are well known and complained about the loudest by the community. Alpha through Core20. There. Done. Fin. The list is set in stone. It may be a long list but Legacy has a long ban list, too. These cards are there in addition to what’s already there.

“Sorry folks, but a lot of these were inevitable. Please refer to the philosophy document.”

At that point the ban list would work like the reserved list. There will be stability for everything from the beginning to now. Your hated mtgfinance guys won’t stockpile potential unbans. You, the player, can part with your banned cards for store credit.

In the future they ban cards that are obviously degenerate as they are spoiled/released. I realize some cards don’t prove to be problems until interactions have been seen, but I’m certain a committee with over a hundred years combined play experience can spot a Paradox Engine when they see one. They did with Griselbrand. Leovold didn’t last long.

As for anything else we can expect bad cards to get the ban in the logical course of time.

Why this matters: I’m sure WoTC would hate cards being preemptively banned, but they’ve said themselves not all cards are for all players. If EDH is by players and for players then the rules committee should be more concerned with us. Preemptive bans look terrible for sanctioned tournament play. It simply has to matter less for a casual format.

It’s irresponsible to let a card like Paradox Engine flourish for years even as they half-heartedly hint a ban. People want to play with cards they own! WoTC figured that out when they introduced a banlist and different formats nearly thirty years ago. And though bans occur and people lose money in their investments, wouldn’t it be a lot simpler to trade off a banned card you popped at prerelease for something you could play?

Especially if you, your playgroup, the EDH community, your uncle, and the late Mark Twain knew it was bad for the format?

Don’t treat good players like villains for running powerful strategies with legal cards! Would you run a business by shaming customers for buying products that you sell?

If EDH really is about the social experience I’d argue that the monetary aspect, the trading aspect, and collecting aspect is part of that experience. There’s a “feelbad” associated with a rules committee who supposedly care about everyone’s fun turning a blind eye to broken cards. And there’s a feelbad causing the players to lose a lot of money.

So there you have it. That long ban list Sheldon Menery is afraid of may very well be the thing that would give everyone some peace of mind.


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 Post subject: Re: Having Your Voice Heard
AgePosted: 2019-Jul-12 8:31 am 

Joined: 2019-Jun-06 6:25 am
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I think a big issue for people is the fact that complaints about bans are often met with "the RC knows what they're doing" and "it's against the spirit of EDH." This feels pretty demeaning when ultimately the reason for why a card is banned is because "it's not fun." To what end is fun being determined? I personally disagree with many RC members on what is considered "fun," and a lot of people do as well. To many people, Coalition Victory is a "fun" card, or at the very least not an "unfun" one. Enjoyment is largely subjective, and of course I understand how hard it can be to try to appease as many people as possible, but at a certain point it feels like the decisions of the RC are made solely off of what YOU determine to be fun or unfun. And considering the fact you find Wound Reflection to be an unfun card, I find it hard to take your opinion on fun to be aligned with mine (although I appreciate the fact you haven't gone so far as to ban it).

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 Post subject: Re: Having Your Voice Heard
AgePosted: 2019-Jul-12 8:33 am 

Joined: 2019-Jun-06 6:25 am
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Segrus wrote:
PurpleOmega0110 wrote:
This is going to be controversial...

[Stepping down is] 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.

If you think saying that is controversial, then why present it as if you're speaking for the majority of players for this format? I don't think the 'majority' of players would agree, and I don't believe stepping down is the "best" thing for the format. There's many voices out there wanting to be heard and Sheldon wants to finds the best ways to allow those voices to feel heard--stepping down reduces the number of people available in the Rules Committee to communicate. It would do the exact opposite of what you and he are wanting.

Of course I'm biased on the matter, and I would never argue that the majority of players believe something when I'm not in their heads, but I regularly play at two fairly big LGS's and no one I talk to in person is generally favorable towards the RC. I've had several people say they want Sheldon to step down. I don't care either way.

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 Post subject: Re: Having Your Voice Heard
AgePosted: 2019-Jul-12 9:15 am 
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More detailed B&R change notes would help a lot. Discuss current or new problem cards that are raising peoples' heckles, in some moderate depth in an appropriate centralized location: the B&R announcements.

Being MTG players, our other point of reference is WotC's own B&R list updates which get much more detailed. I want to bring some of those up for comparison. I feel like this is a bit of an unfair comparison to make—this is a casual format you manage in your spare time, while WotC has people paid to do this for formats that people make careers out of—but I feel it's going to be a helpful comparison to make anyway. First, let's look at this one:

  • February 12, 2018: Two cards are unbanned. For each one the author talks about why the format's ready for it and/or why it's going to improve the format. You did this when you unbanned Protean Hulk and that was good. There's one other thing: this was published at a time when Lantern Control had recently done very well at a tournament, and a lot of people were abuzz about it. Some were concerned about it, some were concerned it would warp Modern, some were just concerned the cool new deck might get banned. The author devotes some time to addressing peoples' concerns and talks about how Lantern Control is fine and why it's not getting banned or at any threat of being banned yet.

That part about the Lantern Control thing is important here.

The Paradox Engine ban in the June 2019 announcement was preceded by no commentary at all by the RC that I had seen on Paradox Engine being a problem. In an alternative universe where WotC manages the Commander format and bans Paradox Engine at the same time, I expect they would've preceded that ban by noting in the April or January B&R announcements that people were complaining about them, and would talk a bit about the situation and acknowledge they're keeping their eye on things to see if it becomes a problem, and why it isn't a thing needing banning yet. There was a brief mention in January 2017 because people were clamouring for a ban on it straight away, which was fine, but more recent "it's on our radar" commentary would help us understand what's going on with how the format's getting run. We were just getting B&R announcements more or less saying "the format's fine, no changes" while there was trouble brewing.

(I'm not one of the people who were upset about Paradox Engine while it was legal, nor am I upset about it being banned. But I'm just speaking generally about what could help people feel heard. Even when it's not a card I'm upset about myself, you talking about a card other sare concerned about about helps me feel as though I am heard. It helps me feel like the RC is keeping its eye on things and open about its thoughts when there may be a serious issue. It tells me the things I'm concerned about have eyes on them too, and that if they were a similarly serious issue, the RC would talk about them too instead of B&R announcements drifting by with no acknowledgment of anything that could be a problem.)

I'm sure that in various spots around the 'net, members of the RC had discussed Paradox Engine and said they were keeping their eye on it. Essentially, I'm sure that for any problem card, there's many threads about it across the 'net (including here) and some of them have had some response and some explanation from some RC members. I'm sure Sheldon might also talk about some of this stuff on his SCG articles. Perhaps from the RC's perspective, everything that can be said has already been said at some point or another—but for us to find it out requires knowing it's there to be found, hunting it down, piecing it together, etc.

The B&R list announcements are in contrast a single huge broadcast beacon that just about everyone will read in full, it's a means to blast the message out to absolutely everybody instead of it being scattered around. I feel like the RC underutilizes this capacity to communicate to the community about concerns it's seen. The RC should take advantage of that medium to communicate to people “Hey, we hear you on that emerging bogeyman card.” then “We don't feel it poses any threat to the format, here's our reasoning why.” or “We're keeping our eyes on it, but it's not banned right now despite appearing to meet some of our criteria, here's our reasoning.” or “We recognise some of you are worried, but we're pretty confident it's OK and won't need to be banned despite appearing to meet ban list criteria. Here's our reasoning. You may of course like to take action to ban it in your local meta if you find it disruptive.”

A couple of other comparisons:

  • May 20, 2019 is a more typical B&R update from WotC. This one was pretty significant: the blue Delver archetype had been dominating Pauper for ages, and really should've been banned a lot sooner. Note they again acknowledge some current concerns the community has; they assure people they're keeping an eye on things and that the cards aren't yet at a point they need to be banned.
  • July 8, 2019 is when they banned Bridge from Below to handle Bridgevine decks, acknowledging the role they played and what they're doing to address it.
On that first one: the acknowledgement of community concern is much shorter this time. It takes up only a paragraph and the assurance is only a couple of sentences. The EDH RC can do this too. It helps.

In both cases, WotC addresses at length what they're doing and why. It talks about what they've observed over time, the archetypes they're targeting, and why these cards are the ones that need to go, including discussing options they'd considered but discarded. That length is considerable, they take their time with it and nothing at all is even a little off-the-cuff.

By contrast, our Commander banned list update for July 2019 was exceptionally brief. Painter's Servant gets all of two sentences with very little detail about what the EDH RC is picturing will happen and which addresses no concerns people held about PS. Those exact details get fleshed out quite fully here—that is the kind of detail which should have been in the B&R announcement but is now just in one place on one topic only a small portion of the Commander community will ever see.

The same announcement discusses Iona extremely briefly. It's so brief that it appears to have made a major mistake, and absolutely warrants much further commentary: Sheldon, you appear to say that the RC only just now realised people weren't hardcasting Iona for the full 9 CMC. Kaalia of the Vast has been capable of tutoring then dropping Iona as soon as turn 4 since 2011, and that's just one of many ways to get Iona out early. I currently assume the RC has been aware of this for a long time—I would be totally shocked if this was actually a very recent revelation for the RC. But it warrants commentary on what was going on that changed: what happend previously that you weren't banning her before, and what changed your minds? (Probably the CAG, it's fine to say that, you've got an entirely new B&R discussion environment happening now.) If the RC really had only just learned she could be dropped early then that's a significant breakdown—what was going on, and what's changing to help you notice this stuff? (Again, if this is the case, it's probably the CAG, and it's fine to acknowledge they're now giving you improved information about the format to navigate what players are seeing.)

The Paradox Engine commentary in the announcement is fine. A decent amount is said. A bit more could be said—what are some examples of what it was doing?—but it's still passable and answers all the questions we might have about its ban. Like I said, the only issue is that this bogeyman wasn't acknowledged sooner in B&R announcements.

~~~

If you want to talk about existing bogeymen that have been around for ages (Consecrated Sphinx for example) I don't know how you'd handle that, since this is mainly for more timely recent concerns. I wonder why Overwhelming Splendor isn't banned like Iona is, but timely commentary could've helped. At my current guess it's something like this: “we feel the player can still interact past it enough to have a meaningful impact on the game, it isn't generally being cheated into play early, and it overall isn't quite at the line we draw.” Saying that in a central place would be good.

I mentioned over in the earlier survey thread that I feel there's a disconnect between how I view what the format's supposed to be and how the RC views it. The RC discussing things on its radar and why they're not banned yet or will probably remain unbanned, despite appearing to meet ban list criteria, would help me much better understand the RC's thought process behind the format and, in turn, help me better understand the format and why it is the way it is, instead of feeling confused and frustrated about how <card that apparently meets ban criteria and that has ruined games for people> isn't banned yet. The RC doesn't have to ban it, and the RC definitely won't mention every card I'd ever feel concerned about, but it mentioning some of them and its thoughts on them will do a lot for helping me feel more security in the format and in the RC.

The new philosophy document has helped me better understand the RC (in addition to some conversations on this forum). For example I now understand why the RC only ever seems to ban the most extreme problems—the philosophy document says that's exactly what you're trying to do, so no wonder! The RC discussing stuff on their radar in B&R announcements might've helped me understand this much sooner. I'm still wondering why that's the bar you set given your format goals, but B&R announcements that describe more of the RC's thought process might help me understand that too.

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 Post subject: Re: Having Your Voice Heard
AgePosted: 2019-Jul-12 9:17 am 

Joined: 2019-Jul-12 3:45 am
Age: Hatchling
Segrus wrote:
PurpleOmega0110 wrote:
This is going to be controversial...

[Stepping down is] 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.

If you think saying that is controversial, then why present it as if you're speaking for the majority of players for this format? I don't think the 'majority' of players would agree, and I don't believe stepping down is the "best" thing for the format. There's many voices out there wanting to be heard and Sheldon wants to finds the best ways to allow those voices to feel heard--stepping down reduces the number of people available in the Rules Committee to communicate. It would do the exact opposite of what you and he are wanting.


I am sort of confused by what you are saying here. I was not intending to present this as if I were speaking for the majority of players in this format . This is my own personal take.

I'd also like to clarify why this is my take.

Sheldon is the father of Commander. He invented it and successfully ushered it into the incredibly successful, popular place it is today. Even if he isn't the head of the RC, he's the creator, and that position comes with a lot of clout, and a lot of visibility.

It becomes problematic when that person - viewed rightly by people in the community as the single most influential person in the community - writes public-facing articles for Starcity about what cards you shouldn't play. Or posts on his twitter about his feelings about card power level, and what cards are fun.

Think of him like a politician in this sense. Even if he isn't speaking in his "official" capacity, he's still speaking from that seat of power - so when Sheldon adds Paradox Engine to his list of cards he thinks you shouldn't play, and then that card is banned, what are people to think?

This is why I think he should resign from the RC (much how Richard Garfield isn't involved in the design of entire sets of cards). He should allow someone else to take his place who doesn't have this pedigree, and who the community trusts and knows will do the thing with neutrality.

In other words, even if Sheldon is trying to be impartial in his decision-making, his public facing persona as the Father of Commander is problematic because he also makes clear his feelings on what is fun, what is good, and what is bad.


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 Post subject: Re: Having Your Voice Heard
AgePosted: 2019-Jul-12 9:33 am 
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Joined: 2016-Nov-27 2:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Also: please absolutely don't step down to some kind of big community election. If—if—a RC member steps down I want them hand-picking their successors, or for the new member to be chosen by a closed group like the existing RC and CAG.

I barely even know the people on the RC, let alone whoever might replace them. I don't trust most of the online EDH community to know half the people much better. Certainly the extremely enfranchised people will have some idea, but they're a small minority. This isn't real life where major news outlets take pains to make sure we all know tons of things about lots of important people over many years. I am sure loads of us would be suckered by inaccurate statements for and against various people who would run for RC, and I am sure I would see tons of smear campaigns, and I am sure those smear campaigns would destroy at least a few peoples' livelihoods in the EDH community. I feel that a democratic community election for the RC will be one of the worst things that could happen to the EDH community and will be one of the worst ways to pick a new RC member.

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 Post subject: Re: Having Your Voice Heard
AgePosted: 2019-Jul-12 9:45 am 

Joined: 2008-May-02 9:20 am
Age: Wyvern
Location: Indianapolis, IN
I definitely feel like my voice is heard and that the RC is approachable/reachable. I haven’t any problems with the RC’s decisions. I do recognize as someone who played when the format was very new and only recently came back that how a lot of people play has changed.

I agree with the RC’s stance that you shouldn’t take cEDH into account for the ban list. It is effectively a different format. The expectations are quite different than what the general ban list is for. People that want to play that way should come up with their own ban list or even decide to ignore it. The way a lot of those decks are built it seems like they should just switch to playing Vintage Singleton with a Commander.

Thanks for all you have done. I definitely don’t want to see you step away from the RC and being a part of guiding the format. You’ve made it a collaborative and open process. With the RC, adding the CAG, stating the philosophy of the format. If you have always told groups that the ban list is only a starting guideline and if groups want to change it they can.

I just want to have games of multiplayer Magic with friends and people I meet. I thank you for creating a format that so many people have gravitated to.

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 Post subject: Re: Having Your Voice Heard
AgePosted: 2019-Jul-12 9:48 am 

Joined: 2019-Jul-12 9:26 am
Age: Egg
Hi, Sheldon

Long time EDH fan here. I think you're doing a great job!

I remember 4 years ago when the rules committee made the tuck rules change; I was so mad. I swore that I would quit EDH and yet 4 years later I'm playing more than ever. I think in another 4 years, people's tempers will cool and this controversy will be in the past.

I've read your article on the power creep of infinite combos and I agree with your view on how it's lowering the quality of casual EDH games. Once the arms race has started, it's difficult to get everybody back on the same page.

The house rule and social contract nature of the game has made it a difficult job for the rules committee to ban cards. Playgroups tend to naturally ban cards that they find un-fun. Most playgroups don't need a Flash ban, they can understand that it's un-fun to win on turn 2. They can already see how cards like Iona to lock a player out of a game sucks for that player. It's easy to either implicitly or explicitly ban these cards using the social contract. It doesn't help that when content creators who make EDH content see an Iona ban and comment that there wasn't a need for this ban because their playgroup already don't play the card.

What I see as the role of the rules committee is that they need to make the tough calls that playgroups cannot. Paradox Engine was lowering the quality of casual EDH games, the use of the card leads to overly long turns of sitting there watching somebody attempt to win the game, not fun for the vast majority of people. Not many players will recognise this though, many casual players will play this card, thinking that it's the only way to make their deck competitive. A conversation asking the playgroup to ban this card would go poorly. I'm happy that the rules committee would play the bad guy here and ban it for all playgroups. Every conversation for playgroups now won't start with whether Paradox Engine should be banned, but whether Paradox Engine should be unbanned, and that's a much easier conversation to have.

Many competitive players argue that the format should be warped for them. That the natural conclusion for the growth of EDH is to be that of a competitive format, and I disagree. There are many formats made for competitive players and I'm glad that you stick your neck out so frequently to push back against this mindset. I hope that you and the rules committee continue to shape the format the way you like.

PS: My idea for powering down combo-centric EDH is for WotC to print a land card that produces colorless mana, but with a cheap tap effect that breaks tutor effects like Aven Mindsensor!


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