Power level guides for navigating the EDH landscape

A multiverse format

Commander, or EDH, is a malleable Magic The Gathering format that is played in many different ways. By focusing on the social aspect of the game it has opened up new avenues to enjoy Magic. Unlike conventional formats, which are mainly played at their competitive edge, EDH facilitates games at all levels of play: from cEDH to all possible kinds of casual Commander. This diversity is great in that there's something in EDH for everyone. And everyone should be able to find an EDH game they will enjoy. Regardless of budget, skill or time.

At the same time this open-ended nature of the format has led to many different preferences and ideologies among the EDH player base. So different that sometimes it can seem as if the person accross the table is playing an entirely different format. In that sense EDH has become somewhat of a format multiverse in which several diverging interpretations exist at the same time. And not all of them are going to be compatible with each other. Aligning expectations during a pre-game talk is advised to increase the odds of an enjoyable time, especially when playing with strangers, but that can be easier said than done for many. "The EDH Multiverse" guides are tools aimed at helping players in this process. They are power level guides that focus on the gameplay experience rather than numbers and that don't require a shared understanding.

Trying to win and trying to prevent others from winning are two fundamental drivers in the game. In EDH, the extent to which these two drivers are pursued will lead to different experiences that different players prefer. "The EDH Multiverse" guides use those drivers to describe how expectations about EDH can differ and how they can impact gameplay. The chart paints a picture of the EDH landscape and gives pointers on how you can navigate its many interpretations. Like assessing for what type(s) of EDH your deck(s) might be suitable, what you can do to increase the format coverage of your deck suite, how you can express what kind(s) of EDH you prefer using language anyone can understand, what questions you can ask and answer to gauge expectations, and what you can do to get into the same ballpark.

An expectation alignment guide For guiding pre-game talks

EDH Multiverse Commander Power Level Guide

A model of the EDH landscape For analysis outside of play

EDH Multiverse Commander Power Level Chart

Four things to know when using these guides

Don't talk numbers; talk about the preferred gameplay experience instead

While it can be valuable to understand how the power of your deck compares to others, sharing a power level number in a vacuum during a pre-game talk is rarely enough to align expectations. It can even further obscure differences in expectations when your fellow players attribute a different meaning to them than you do. Instead, you can choose to ignore the numbers and focus on the desired gameplay experience: how far do we want to go to win (e.g. "what's the crucial turn range we're aiming for", or "what's the earliest turn where we all don't mind the game ending") and how far are we willing to go to keep others from winning (e.g. "is there any level of interaction/denial we're not comfortable playing against?", or "to what extent can we tolerate others preventing us from playing our game")? Talk to your fellow players to gauge their preferences and act accordingly. These guides can support in that process, but are not a replacement.

You don't need to show the guides to other players for them to work

Although still possible, it's not required to show these guides to your fellow players. Instead you can use them to get on the same page with your playgroup without referring to them. They can help you get an overview of the EDH landscape, diversify your deck suite, express where your different decks fall using language anyone can understand, gauge the preferred gameplay experience of the others at the table, and know what options you have to resolve mismatches in expectation. That can be all you need to get into the same ballpark most of the time.

The included format interpretations are examples

The boxes marking "~cEDH", "~High Power Casual EDH", "~Casual EDH" and "~Tolerant Casual EDH" are meant as a starting point and not as the correct definitions of these ballparks. Users are encouraged to define their own preferred format interpretations by drawing their own lines.

All EDH interpretations are considered viable

The guides are built from the principle that there is no correct or incorrect way to play Commander. Only a more or less appropriate way given the expectations of all the players at the table.

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