You know, I’ve seen and heard a lot of preconceived notions about everything MTG in my time. You’d think they’d be borderline conspiracies, and I don’t mean the card set. I think I’ll tell the full story another time. I remember at an SCG Open, someone I played against told me after our game that Modern was a format designed to divert interest away from removing the reserved list because WotC had wire fraud allegations and needed the list to stay afloat.

Hmm, storytime might be a nice thing to write someday, now that I’m thinking about it

It’s quite the misconception that cEDH, the format, and the players, get a pretty bad rap, and there isn’t really a good reason for it. I feel like so much of it is just typical MTG player™ stereotypes. It should go without saying I don’t think the stereotype it’s indicative of MTG as a whole, but it’s why I’m a bit hung up on things.

If we know the stereotypical MTG player isn’t a representative, then why do people use the same representation for a subgroup within the MTG sphere?

This of course isn’t the first time this has happened. Legacy players have always been seen as the cocky, annoying types who think they’re better than everyone because they think their format is better. Vintage players are seen as sophisticated maestros that wear suits and ties and play on the top of skyscraper penthouses for fun. 

I think part of it is related to the perceived skill level of whatever format people are playing. We’ve spent years talking about how easy Standard is, how Modern is a strictly worse Legacy, how Legacy is the best format, how Limited is a true test of skill, etc. etc. It’s all kind of nonsense, but it really perpetuates the idea that you aren’t a real Magic player unless you do [thing].

This all brings me to cEDH. Now, I can’t speak for everyone, but I don’t think I’ve ever had, seen, or read an experience that’s unique to cEDH as a whole. We’ve all met the rules lawyer, or the jerk that complains about Sol Ring or whatever card is the discourse for the week, but is that really a cEDH community problem? Is that really something we should attribute to cEDH players? I don’t really think so.

I definitely don’t think the cEDH community is better or worse than any other, but I think the bad rap comes from how competitive the format is. There isn’t a perceived “casual” aspect of the format, even though it’s played by so many casual players. A lot of the time, many players play cEDH so they don’t have to deal with the annoying parts of rule zeroing or people getting salty over things that a natural game of Magic would and should have. You won’t have to deal with whether playing the card Counterspell is enjoyable or not. You won’t get heat for playing Farewell. You simply bring the best deck you can muster, and jam. There’s a charm with that, as it really makes the goal crystal clear. Everyone is on the same footing, and everyone can join.

Casual EDH has its own charm, in that it’s much more enjoyable when you’re with people you enjoy being around, playing decks you all want to see in action. It’s a much different vibe, and there’s room for both. They aren’t exclusive to one another, and there’s a type of player that either format is for.

I don’t think it’s good conversation to hard-separate the two, and I definitely don’t care for how tournament EDH is thrown into the equation (as I think it’s the same as cEDH). It’s way more productive to do more to help others know the difference and how to build for either which one, allowing a more natural move into whatever people prefer. I also think it’s not particularly helpful to try and actively “fix” any sort of reputation that cEDH does have, mostly because those people have their minds already made up, and there isn’t much you can do to try and change them. 

This is one of the few cases where showing, not telling, is the best bet, and the cEDH community continues to do that every day they showcase themselves. 

Anthony Lowry (they/he) is a seasoned TCG, MMORPG, and FPS veteran. They are extensively knowledgeable on the intricacies of many competitive outlets, and are always looking for a new challenge in the gaming sphere.

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