Most of the never-to-be-surpassed cards existed at the format’s inception. It’s always just been a question of how much power you’re willing to sacrifice for innovation, and vice versa.
To me, it sounds like you’ve found a formula you think is best, refuse to move off of it, and then blame the format for your own stubbornness.
To be more constructive: I tend to think of some plan that I want to enact, and then build the deck to maximise my ability to execute that plan. If your plan is always just “win” then that’s probably why you don’t see much variety in your lists.
Well...I'm don't feel that this is the case. I don't have a formula beyond "what's the plan" and "does this card fit my plan". I only have decks that have a somewhat strange strategy or at least unusual in EDH, and make it a point to scour the game's past as much as possible to fit that plan as well as possible. I don't think it's the best way to play, but as of now, it's the best way i know of to keep the game casual enough to not scare off/price out new players and varied enough not to bore off invested/old players.
My lists USED to be to just 'win', but that got old quick, and made the playgroup pretty stale. I'm complaining probably more about the others in my playgroup for being unable/unwilling to take the seriousness/spikiness of the game down and not just 'win'. So maybe it's unfair to say it's all EDH as a format's fault.
And it's pretty much as you say. If one is stuck in a group where everyone is focused on just 'win', then they take all the powerful spells in the old days of the game, couple them with all the creatures of the modern era, and there's the deck. Not sure how to force people to move away from that. I've even tried talking to them (the horror)!
Well, I gotta agree with what the OP is talking about. It's basically the same kinda story at my game group (which is partly why I've dropped out of EDH mostly, and have focused on legacy recently).
The playgroup has a UR artifact combo deck, a mono U artifacts, multiple BUG graveyard decks, a UB control deck, UB ninjas, RUG cascade, a 5c control, and multiple UG goodstuff value grinder decks. All of them outside of the ninjas share a surprisingly high (or not surprising, really) number of pieces. Most of the peeps here could probably end up building the entire deck and be probably 90% correct for each deck.
I've tried shaking it up in my groups by playing a mono U 'colour-control (blind seer', mono white combo, RB suicide aggro, and a zedruu voltron. The other peeps in my meta were generally really into the idea of my decks, but they're mostly a very 'roll-player' sort of deck, where it's got an outside chance for a win.
It's not too bad, since i dont generally mind losing, but its the idea that we're seeing the same old cards over and over again. It feels like it's only ever my decks that sport those "wait.. what does that do?" kinda cards.
Until something big happens to shake up my local meta, i'm not planning to update any of my decks at all. It just doesn't feel like its worth my time anymore.