What happens when an EDH metagame goes bad?
I came close printing out a joke "Deck Registration Form" for my friends' EDH decks. The joke is, there'd only be 88 blank slots, because the first 12 would be hard-printed as:Stoneforge MysticEnlightened TutorSteelshaper's GiftTaj-Nar SwordsmithSteelshaper ApprenticeStonehewer GiantSword of Fire and IceSword of Light and ShadowSword of Body and MindSword of Feast and FamineSword of War and PeaceLightning Greaves
Frankly, I was getting sick of it. Every game was becoming the same game, over and over again. Didn't matter if they were playing WU Grand Arbiter, GW Saffi, BGW Doran, WUB Sharuum - they all had those 12, give or take a card or two (and they usually packed Sun Titan
, and Karmic Guide
just to make sure they got as much Sword/Fetch recursion as possible.) Even the non-white decks were throwing all of the equipment in - and to make up for the lack of tutors, simply played even more equipment.
I had three choices: accept it, complain about it, or try to hate that style out of dominance. Because while I didn't enjoy facing it over and over again, they all enjoyed piloting it over and over again - so they wouldn't exactly be keen to change (especially since the decks were winning a lot.)
I don't like complaining, and I didn't want to just roll over to it. That left hate.Learning How To Hate
One of the problems I see a lot of people make when it comes to coming up with a "hate" deck is they simply put in answers. First instinct a lot of players have is to build something like:Kresh and his Anti-Equipment Assistants... a bunch of Creatures like Manic Vandal, Acidic Slime, Tin-Street Hooligans, Viridian Zealot, etc
... a bunch of Instants/Sorceries like Ancient Grudge, Hull Breach, Putrefy, Nature's Claim, etc
... a bunch of Creatures like Shriekmaw, Nekrataal, Boneshredder, Flametongue Kavu, etc
Looks good at first. What's the opponent going to do if you can answer all the things they're doing?
... better question: is it better to be asking or answering questions? You've already fallen into the trap: you just let your opponent dictate how the game is going to be played and how the victor will be crowned.
They want the game to be about whether they can get equipment out and swing with it - and they've geared their entire deck towards winning that game. Sure, you might draw the answers to each threat... or you might draw the wrong answers and watch as one of their threats beats you.
The best way to hate against a deck is to find a strategy
that hates against it - finding a way of saying "You know what? I don't care about your plan at all, and I'm going to make this game revolve around something else entirely."
Instead of letting them leverage all their strength at playing out equipment and swinging with it, make them fight a completely different battle that they're not expecting.
A good example of this is aggressive decks and Turbo-Fog. Yes, Turbo-Fog is completely annoying (and frequently makes everyone at a tournament hate you since you're holding up every single round) ... but think about why
it's annoying. You're piloting an aggressive deck that's been figuring out how to maximize your damage and get the most out of both card and tempo advantages... and then you find out that your plan doesn't matter anymore. Your opponent has changed the definition of the game, and now it's about how often they resolve a "Prevent All Damage" spell.