edit: sorry didn’t mean to reply to you specifically
The majority of people in my friends list haven’t even touched the mode yet (might be due to my outdated friends list I guess). But I have the feeling it’s not a popular mode at all.
For live pvp they need enough active players in the mode and yesterday it took me already 30 seconds per match to find another player in my bracket.
So I’m pretty sure they will revamp the mode at some point by making it (a) more lenient and (b) adjusting the scoring system so merges will also give you better scores. They did the same with Resonant Battles which started out as a really difficult mode but now the most decisive factor is the merge count of your harmonics. Same with AR, where mythic merges matter more than perfect play.
Despite how horrible and stressful SDR is, I have to say it is the only mode in FEH right now where I can rank highly without buying orbs. I don’t think it will stay that way with all the backlash it is receiving.
I agree the mode “play as long as you can” takes way too long if you’re a completionist type of player. I would prefer a fixed amount of like 5 battles per week so you can be done with it at some point.
Also, they should have different seasons with a different set of rules so people would have to bring new teams everytime. Like “Book III and below”, “Tellius”, “No Canto”. There’d be a ton of options to add some variety to the team building.