In what respects do you find the mechanic to be inelegant? I'm not trying to give you a hard time at all; I'm genuinely curious. I recognize that the mechanic is a divisive one for 1v1, and I plan to begin by outlining reasons that one might like or dislike it. I totally understand shamizy's concern above about how the effect snowballs.
I'm getting a little careless in labeling Monarch inelegant for 1v1. The inelegance for me lies more in including a single instance of a non-evergreen mechanic in my cube that has only been featured in a small run multi-player set. Monarch is fine for 1v1, but is more dynamic in a multiplayer setting. I have a few archetypes in my cube that don't win via combat so Monarch would occasionally function as an emblem which I didn't love. I haven't given it THAT much thought tbh, so I'm interested to hear what you have to say.
Will of the council in 1v1 is more clunky, having a vote between two people when you already know the outcome...
Related, I came across this about the original development of the Monarch mechanic for 1v1 play....
Mark Rosewater said:We were about two months from starting exploratory design for Ixalan (codenamed "Ham") when Shawn Main came to see me. He was working on Conspiracy: Take the Crown. Because of the success of the first Conspiracy (and a desire to move Unstable away from Kaladesh, as both had a steampunk vibe—although taken in very different directions), Conspiracy: Take the Crown had been put on the fast track for 2016, and Shawn was the obvious choice to lead the design.
He came to me because they only had two months left of design and they were having trouble finding a mechanic they liked. He wanted permission to explore an edge-like mechanic (what would eventually become the monarch mechanic). He knew I was interested in it for Ixalan, but he also knew that there were some in R&D who felt it was a multiplayer mechanic that wouldn't work in two-player games. The problem was that Ixalan exploratory design (where'd we figure out whether or not the mechanic worked in two-player) wasn't scheduled to start until after Conspiracy: Take the Crown design ended.
I told Shawn to start exploring it in Conspiracy: Take the Crown. I was going to start up Ixalan exploratory design early so that I could test an edge mechanic in Magic for six weeks. That would let me know whether or not it was something I felt I could use for Ixalan. He needed to explore alternative designs in addition to testing an edge mechanic because if I found it was useful for Ixalan, he couldn't use it for Conspiracy: Take the Crown since a whole block would have priority over a supplemental set. But there was chance it worked in his set and not in mine, and I wanted to allow that possibility.
So Shawn and his design team started doing their own investigation while I quickly put together my Ixalan exploratory design team and began testing. The Conspiracy: Take the Crown team came up with monarch and it worked beautifully. The mechanic lent itself ideally to both multiplayer play and the flavor of the world. Meanwhile, the testing of the exploratory design team also showed great promise. The give and take worked just as well with two players as it had worked with many. When Shawn and I met up after six weeks, I told him that I was going to use the edge in Ixalan and that he was going to have to use another mechanic.
But Shawn and his team hadn't found another mechanic that was anywhere near as good as monarch. He didn't have another viable option and there were only two weeks left of design. Losing the edge threw Ixalan design into disarray, but we still had all our exploratory design time (remember I started early to test out the edge) and all of our design time. We'd have over a year to find a new solution. Conspiracy: Take the Crown got its monarch mechanic and Ixalan had to start from scratch.