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Playing With Power MTG is the most popular YouTube channel for “CEDH” gameplay in Magic: The Gathering. CEDH is an abbreviation meaning “Competitive Elder Dragon Highlander.” In essence, it’s just Commander where everyone plays with the best decks out there and tries as hard as possible to win. With the increasing power level of newer commanders, more and more people are getting into the format. Today we’re bringing you this interview with Playing with Power MTG where we discuss what CEDH is, as well as some of their personal opinions on the subject.
Daily Esports: Can you define CEDH for us?
Playing with Power MTG: CEDH is a “nickname” for the top end of the format EDH. It is used as a quick way to define the power level of a deck and expectations when sitting down at a table.
Are there any misconceptions you feel people have about CEDH?
There are actually a lot of misconceptions about CEDH. Most people believe that CEDH players are try-hards, pubstompers, and tournament grinders. We are anything but that. A CEDH player would never sit down to a casual table with a CEDH deck.
How would you describe the difference between casual and competitive EDH?
It is different in three main forms. It is different in the deck-building approach, play style, and player attitude.
The deck-building approach is that this deck is created to win as efficiently and in the best way possible. It ensures every card in the deck adheres to this game plan.
The play style of the deck is that you pilot it to the best of its abilities and always take the correct play.
The player attitude is in how you approach a game. There is no emotion, politics, or other factors in your play style. You always play as efficiently as possible. This ensures that you will always make the best play possible, and no one takes it personally.
How do you feel about the state of EDH currently?
I believe the format is healthy for the casual side of EDH. The ban list is in a good place but could probably have some items trimmed off of it.
I feel that power creep has started to infiltrate into the casual EDH metas. This has resulted in an uptick of the power level discussion we see online and in the wild more and more. It’s hard to define a deck’s power level, so there are more and more power balance issues.
Do you play any other competitive format?
I (Ryan) do not play any other format. The rest of the Playing with Power team dabbles in Standard, Modern, and Pioneer.
How did you feel about the meta prior to the release of Thassa’s Oracle as opposed to now?
Flash has been a problem for a while now, but the release of Oracle has caused the two best strategies in CEDH to be homogenized into one deck. This deck has created a space where creativity can no longer thrive.
How serious of an impact has Fish/Sushi Hulk made on the metagame?
It has warped the meta to a point where if you sit down to a table and Flash / Hulk is present, the entire gameplay approach changes. It takes a fun element out of the CEDH metagame.
Which power level would you say you usually play with friends?
I (Ryan) almost exclusively play CEDH with my friends. We will bring out our more casual decks from time to time, but on the whole we usually only play CEDH together.
Who is your favorite commander?
Godo, Bandit Warlord.
Do you feel like the Rules Committee is treating EDH well?
Absolutely. They are definitely looking at the health of the EDH format and want to ensure it is strong and healthy.
How about the competitive scene?
The Rules Committee is in a tough spot where they want to ensure that everyone in this format is included, but they also don’t want the ban list to reflect competitive play. So when you play the format in the most competitive way possible, you have issues when certain cards cause stagnation or issues at the top end. They, unfortunately, have to try not to take sides while making decisions, but every decision they do or do not make will make one side of the spectrum upset. It’s a tough job and we know it. We don’t envy them one bit.
Do you think the format should still be balanced to the casual scene, or do you think Rule 0 is enough for that?
I believe the format should be balanced for a competitive scene and let rule 0 dictate how casual balances itself. I believe the current rule 0 is inverted so that its effectiveness is faulty. Banned lists are for competitive balance. Rule 0 allows for soft bans and un-bans from a casual perspective.
If you had control of the ban list, what would you ban/unban?
All “I win” cards would come off the banned list. Cards that are very tough to interact with would stay on or be added on.
Are there any rule changes you’d make towards the format (such as removing commander damage, nerfing partners, etc.?)
No. I wouldn’t make any rule changes. If I was “forced” to make one rule change, I would start with lower life totals. When you can use life as a resource in this format, that leads to very broken outcomes. Things like Ad Nauseam and Necropotence become game-winning cards.
Do you think Commander / EDH has a future as a competitive format?
Absolutely. I believe (and this is all personal speculation) that [Wizards of the Coast] is already probably trying to make something like that happen. Right now they don’t have control over the format, but if they did get it they would probably move to do something like that right away.
We thank Playing with Power MTG for talking to us about Magic: The Gathering, Commander, and CEDH.