This drives me away from EDH

If you head over to twitter and check out the hashtag #youmightbeanedhdbif, you’ll see a list of suggestions about what acts mark you as an EDH DB – that is, an Elder Dragon Highlander douchebag.
The idea behind the topic is that EDH is fundamentally a “casual” format, therefore there are overly competitive or unfriendly things someone could do that makes them a bad person.
So, two things turn me off of EDH.
The first is deck design. I tend to get about thirty cards in and suddenly suffer from flashbacks to my first days in Magic, where I was basically throwing all my halfway-decent cards into my deck and hoping it would work out. I’m sure if I were sufficiently motivated I’d get over that one. However…
The second one is exactly the kind of sentiment that shows up in this twitter topic.
Here are some of the #youmightbeanedhdb suggestions from various folks across twitter:
you play Armageddon, Decree of Annihilation, Obliterate or Jokulhaups and you have no way to win the game shortly after
You insist on playing a UB Storm Combo deck in multiplayer and kill everyone on turn 4, taking a 20 min+ turn.
You cast Time Strech.
you’ve got more board resets and creature kill spells than creatures in your deck
you play Contamination, Ruination, Blood Moon, Quicksilver Fountain, Sunder, Stasis or other similar disruptive spells
you play Myojin of Night’s Reach when you have Nath of the Gilt-Leaf in play.
You play Shahrazad (Especially on Turn 2)
you never intend on actually casting your general
You snack on nachos and touch everyone else’s cards.
So, there are only two of these I’ve 100% agreed with so far – the comment above, and Ken Krouner’s, which I’ll include below:
you think your strategies are fun and other people’s are not
This. Absolutely this.
A while ago, I wrote about why I dislike unspoken rules. Essentially, it’s frustrating as hell to interact with anyone who keeps their social rules hidden until you accidentally violate one of them, and then suddenly you’re a douchebag.
This really struck me, in watching EDH-related traffic over the last few days, because there was some discussion of this guy as a “douchebag” general:
Really? That seemed like a great general to me. I mean, seriously. He’s a vampire bloodsage. He’s also a super-big rattlesnake card – a term I picked up from The Ferret, former Serious Fun author, which refers to a card that is likely to get you targeted for some punishing lickety-damn-split in multiplayer. He’s a flavorful, Legendary Creature that isn’t exactly competitive play material – I’d be happy to see him at my multiplayer table.
Continuing on this thought, let’s return to that sampling of “douchebag” plays above.
you play Myojin of Night’s Reach when you have Nath of the Gilt-Leaf in play.
…sounds awesome. I would love to see that happen in a multiplayer game.
More generally, Ken Krouner hits the problem in this line of thought, which also applies to basically every game in the casual, “anything goes” room on MTGO. “My fun” is fine, but “Your fun” is wrong. But no, I’m not going to tell you what’s okay or not in advance…it would be limiting if we just said you can’t play certain cards. Instead, we’re just going to complain like a petulant teenage girl when you don’t know ahead of time what’s going to be okay or not.
Heck, maybe we don’t even know you’re being a douchebag until you do it. We’ll let you know once it happens, when we’ll accuse you of being a bad person and treat you like crap until you either fix the problem or just go home.
And you know, I’d choose “go home” here, because that sucks.
I like going to a DCI-sanctioned event because I know all the rules ahead of time. I can build my deck to those rules.
Similarly, I have a great deal of fondness for people who make their own rules, whatever they are, explicit. I really appreciate groups that can (1) ban things they don’t like and (2) perhaps incentivize things they do like – for example, having a special points system like Sheldon Menery has talked about, which gives you points for the kinds of plays your group thinks are cool.
Waiting around to ambush people with your unwritten rules is the definition of uncool, and can’t help but turn people off the game so much faster than, say, calling a judge on them for a Game Rule Violation at a sanctioned event will. I really dislike the disservice this does to the community, and wish we could all knock it off, just come out and explicitly say the kind of game we want to play, and leave it at that.
I can see from the replies here and elsewhere that I didn’t make my point clearly. Here it is:
I want clear social contracts.
I’m not saying you need to let me play Kokusho as my general in your EDH game at your store. That would be a dumb argument.
I’m saying that if you are part of a group that hates counterspells, it would be the decent thing to do to tell new players, up front, “You know, we don’t play counterspells for our EDH games, so please don’t.” Then if the new player persists, well, that’s their problem.
The thing I’m concerned about is the idea that the right response to someone playing casual in a way you don’t like is to (1) give them the cold shoulder or (2) just kill them out of your games repeatedly, with no explanation.
Instead, why not just actually state your rules?
“Hey, dude, welcome to our weekly EDH game. Here’s a quick rundown — we use the Legacy Banned list, and we also don’t allow extra turns, and any ‘infinite’ combo is only allowed to go off five times in a row. Cool? Cool.”
The thing that rubbed me the wrong way about the “EDH douche” topic on twitter is that calling someone a “douche” for playing a casual game in a different way than you would play a casual game is, itself, a pretty damn “douchey” thing to do. Similarly, just thinking angry thoughts at someone for bringing a deck you dislike is a far, far more negative thing for the community than, say, having a chat with everyone at the beginning of the game about what kind of game you want to play.
Pauper on MTGO is an excellent example of a well-defined format that fits many of our intuitive ideas about “casual” gaming – they just bothered to actually spell their rules out.
It’s all about clarity. If you want to play a certain kind of casual game, why not have a nice chat about it in advance instead of sending punishing glares and bad vibes at folks who unknowingly violate your unwritten rules?

On the EDH maybe list

There’s enough EDH running around locally that I’m seriously considering putting a deck together. Here are my candidate generals at the moment:
Iname as One
Jhoira of the Ghitu
Kaho, Minamo Historian
Maralen of the Mornsong
Mayael the Anima
Silly, yes. Has anyone out there actually used one of these? I’ve at least heard of Jhoira seeing some play in EDH. I’m currently enamored of figuring out how to make Iname work, though. Did you know there are 321* Vintage-legal Spirits?
*Naturally, only a subset being color-legal for Iname as general.
Edit: Just realized I wouldn’t ever get to use Iname’s first ability in EDH. Very sad. Moving on.