At the Gathering: The Stormwind Fallacy, Teflon Redux

  • #1
    This thread is for the discussion of my latest article, At the Gathering: The Stormwind Fallacy, Teflon Redux. We would be grateful if you would let us know what you think, but please keep your comments on topic.
    My articles
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  • #2
    Jeff your articles never cease to entertain and educate. In regards to the two statements at the end of your articles regarding what you hate hearing, I can say I agree with you 100%. I never criticize the deck a person is playing. Rather if I see cards that don't seem to work I as if they've heard of the cards that are more effective. For example, I met a guy at an FNM playing an interesting U/W fairy deck that he had thrown together last minute. He had a good deal of cards on him, but wasn't that knowledgeable about the set. He hadn't included cards like scion of oona or mistbind clique or even spell studder sprite. Rather than criticize the fact that he wasn't using these cards, I asked if he had heard of these cards. As it turns out he had never heard of these cards which is the reason why he wasn't using them. We played 4 rounds of swiss and he managed to go 2-2. while he didn't win anything, he had a great time. That in my opinion is the key to understanding this game and I believe you have touched this fact very well. Good job.
    Level 2 Judge.
  • #3
    Hah hah, oh Pun-Pun, is there any sentence you can't improve?

    Grin

    I approve of this article. It needed to be said, but delving the Stormwind Fallacy to say it was just. . . that was epic win. Thumbs Up
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  • #4
    True, but you don't really address the primary difference between D&D type games and CCG.

    People don't have equal raw resources, so while I can make a pyroclasm deck to deal with my friend 1 land in play elf, I don't want to spend the time to actually make that deck, and because I don't want to force this respounce from a fellow player, I tend to not played heavily tweaked decks.

    That said, it's not that not playing to win isn't the opposite of playing for fun, but that shifting power level isn't worth the time spent getting it together.

    There are a lot more builds (because there are alot more formats) that go under Magic then D&D.
    The guy who found the new art for shock and other 10th edition cards on the wizards site.
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  • #5
    Very well written response to your critics there. Smileup

    There is a bit of a strawman argument hiding in the Stormwind Fallacy, though. In a group playing casual Standard if a player turns up running tournament Faeries, I'm not concerned that they're not "playing for fun". Rather, I'm concerned that they're harming everyone else's fun.

    The reason for this isn't psychological or moral, it's purely technical. If they're running one of the highest power decks in the format, the average power gap between their deck and an opponent's deck will be high. Massively overpowering an opponent is something some people enjoy. Being on the other end of that? I've yet to meet anyone who appreciates the experience.

    Towards the centre of a format's power range there are also far more decks, hence more variety. The cards are also cheaper, which improves accessibility and leaves everyone with more money for buying cake.

    So yes, I accept your argument that players of optimized decks are indeed having fun too. I remain to be convinced that their preference is healthy for the game outside a competitive tournament context.

    (Incidentally, I'm also a roleplayer and have seen numerous cases of optimized characters harming roleplay. The worst system for this being not D&D but GURPS. A non-optimized character in a party of optimized characters will be outpowered to the point of irrelevancy to the storyline.)
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  • #6
    Quote from bateleur
    So yes, I accept your argument that players of optimized decks are indeed having fun too. I remain to be convinced that their preference is healthy for the game outside a competitive tournament context.
    Lovely article, but I have to agree with bateleur here. There should be a second corollary.

    The amount of fun derived from the game you are playing is predicated upon the strength of the deck your opponent is playing in relation to the strength of the deck you are playing.

    Since we all like winning, we will have a good time (even though we might feel guilty) if the opponent's deck is weaker than your deck. Since we all dislike losing (some worse than others), we won't have as good a time if the opponent's deck is (significantly) stronger.
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  • #7
    We have a what I will refer to as a "anything goes"(any card ever printed, even Un-sets) tournament every Wednesday at my local card store. I have been getting a lot of negative responses for playing my type 2 faeries, and have won every game for a month or so. Last night, I had to deal with about 4 people siding in boils, and vexing shusher. It was kind of nice seeing people finally take initiative, rather than call my deck unfair. I really like this article, as I am also a weekend warrior for D&D. Keep up the good work. You got my vote for article of the month, yet again.
  • #8
    Quote from Joe Cross
    We have a what I will refer to as a "anything goes"(any card ever printed, even Un-sets) tournament every Wednesday at my local card store. I have been getting a lot of negative responses for playing my type 2 faeries, and have won every game for a month or so. Last night, I had to deal with about 4 people siding in boils, and vexing shusher. It was kind of nice seeing people finally take initiative, rather than call my deck unfair.


    Great job! I wish I could go to your weekly "anything goes" tournament that includes Un-cards so I can finally have a place to play my Vintage tuned STAX deck. That way I can really have fun with everyone. [/sarcasm]

    There is a time and place for Tier 1 tournament decks: the tournaments that deck was designed for. I'm sure all the other players love the thought of pulling through their cards, researching Un-sets, and trying new ideas, only to get smacked around by Faeries. Again.

    I'll translate "unfair" for you in the context of this weekly tournament: they don't want to play tuned, format ready tournament decks - they want to try and play something new, different, and interactive (and with anything goes there's more broken things than Faeries out there...).

    I won't mitigate that taking a tuned deck to this weekly tournament wasn't smart: it clearly was becuase you are winning consistently. Ultimately, though, is it worth some of the abuse you're inflicting on other people?

    There's a fine line between Spike (what you proudly claim, without using the word, to be) and Dave. I can't say for sure but I feel like you're pushing on the line towards Dave. I know I would be very frustrated to come to have fun with something different only to get slugged in the face with more of the same from Standard.

    By the way, what is/are the prize/s for winning?

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    Yes. A thousand times yes. They lured me in with Ivory Tower and Zuran Orb, and I kept telling myself "I can quit whenever I want...just look at that untapped disk". That was ten years ago man.....

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  • #9
    Actually I think the article makes a lot of sense. Allow me to share an observation of mine (and maybe give you a future topic to write about)...

    There are 2 kinds of Magic player. One is the player who wants to just play his deck. The other is the player who is playing against another player.

    Now, think about that a little bit. When you are building a deck, or maybe when you first started and you built a deck, you say "wow, thats a cool concept, I'm going to build me deck to work like this ___..." or something along those lines. The deal here is that you aren't building your deck planning on there being an opponent sitting across the table from you, you just want to play your deck. These are invariably the people who hate blue for countering their spells, red for destroying their lands, black for making them discard, and white for destroying all of their creatures in an efficient manner.

    The difference there is that the people packing some sort of powerful control cards is that they are actually planning to play against an opponent. Does that mean they all play control? No. If you look at extended last year you'll see that Domain Zoo was a powerful deck, and it remained near the top because Gaddock Teeg allowed them to disrupt the control player's powerful spells for instance.

    It often tends to be that the player we think of casual is the type of player who only wants to show up and play his deck. They have this cool combo that they want to go off, nevermind that its a 4 card combo and they lack any sort of good tutors, its cool and they don't think you should be allowed to stop them from going off with it. But its also efficient decks often. Someone playing White Weenie might pack their deck full of nothing but spells that cost W and/or WW, which is well and good if they other player doesn't play anything else. But if the other person plays Wrath of God on turn 4 you're kinda done. Hell even if they play a couple bigger green creatures the white player is done a lot of the time.

    For the person who just wants to play his deck, this is the point where its frustrating, they lose AND they don't get to display how awesome their deck is (or they think it is). Then that leads to the things mentioned in the article .. "that card isnt fair!" Bitterblossom is too good, Tarmogoyf is too good, Teferi isnt fair, etc etc. The reason is because those cards interfere with your ability to play your deck, or they're so powerful on their own that you have no way of handling them and it wins the game for them. As the author said though, if you know that someone is showing up with those cards, bring answers... Wispmare destroys Bitterblossom easily, Smother will take down a 'goyf, Sudden Death had Teferi written all over it for quite some time.

    Anyways, I've gotten off track enough, and I'm having a hard time continueing to articulate my point, so I'll stop here, but its something to think on.
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  • #10
    Quote from cheddercaveman
    There are 2 kinds of Magic player. One is the player who wants to just play his deck. The other is the player who is playing against another player.

    This

    Fundamentally, this is why so many people will call counterspells and removal un-fun. Anything that stops your deck from doing what it is supposed to do is unfun. This is commonly (and quite rightly sometimes) attributed to casual players. When casual players build a deck, they usually just want to see what it does. However, the desire to see what a deck does has nothing to do with competition. If you lose at Faeries at your FNM, you shouldn't be terribly surprised or angry that your random homebrew lost to the consensus best deck, especially if you didn't prepare any SB strategy either.

    IMHO interactivity is hugely format dependent. The reason elfball was so hugely successful at the PT was because interactivity was at an all time low with the banning of Top and the rotation of counterspell. Some people recognized this and built the best combo deck they could. Kudos to them. At other times, the grindingly slow Teachings deck is going to be best because the answers in the format are better than the threats. It's just another aspect of metagaming, which (judging by what I've seen) is where many of the best players cull their enjoyment of the game.

    Just for the record, this refers to limited as well as constructed magic. Everyone knows a couple people who stumbled into the ridiculous power of mono-red in Shadowmoor block before it was the consensus best limited deck (my brother played it religiously even when everyone said it sucked, and won a lot, even though he's a mediocre player). Draft is archetypes, and finding, recognizing, and properly valuing those archetypes is metagaming in its own way. I will say that our Wednesday night playgroup had already recognized that base BR aggro was ridiculous, adjusted card values, and come to a new equilibrium by the time Eisel published his article on it. Just reading his assertions, after we had already come to them in our own experience, and knowing exactly how the card valuation would adjust (IMHO I don't believe his BR decks are the best ones to be had) carried a huge amount of satisfaction with it.

    For those doubters, success is intoxicating. Try Spike-ing for a while, almost no one goes back.
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  • #11
    Great article, I hope to read many more.
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  • #12
    Quote from jerubbaal
    For those doubters, success is intoxicating. Try Spike-ing for a while, almost no one goes back.


    I don't think that is true, at least in my experience. Unless you mean that spiking means that you are much more aware of power level, and you can quantize to some degree that differences in power level.

    I mean sure, I am very spiky when it comes to limited, but that doesn't translate into me using my random semi-tourny variable U/R madness deck, that managed to net top 8 in the schoalarship series when TS and rav were legal, or trying extremely hard to go to every FMN isn't limited.

    ... I guess the main problem is that you aren't very clear on what you mean.
    The guy who found the new art for shock and other 10th edition cards on the wizards site.
    Butcher of Words. Slant



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    Quote from Kenaron
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  • #13
    I loved it. well thought out and was a great read. I have to agree with you on a lot of this.
    EDH aficionado and Level 1 Judge at your service
  • #14
    Quote from bateleur

    (Incidentally, I'm also a roleplayer and have seen numerous cases of optimized characters harming roleplay. The worst system for this being not D&D but GURPS. A non-optimized character in a party of optimized characters will be outpowered to the point of irrelevancy to the storyline.)


    This is a game design issue, not an issue of playstyle. GURPS is, to put it bluntly, a terrible, terrible game system. Its only advantage is that it is the best 'generic' RPG, meaning that it's only plus is that it's the least crappy game of a narrow niche.

    Roleplayers put up with a lot of nonsense, and I believe that most of it comes from the fact of years of accepting practices that made sense only because these games were designed in the primitive ages of game design. I mean, people like Monopoly, Clue and Risk because they were part of their childhood. But all of these are *terrible* games under the majority of metrics you can think of compared to more recent boardgames (Settlers of Cataan, for instance). People just got used to crappy gameplay because that's what they were born with.

    The kvetching about D&D 4E is the most flagrant example. Here's a game that vastly superior to all previous editions. It's an elegant design and pretty much balanced except for a few outlier problems that were fixed in errata. You can't handicap your character to irrelevance by making what would appear to be rational choices, unlike in D&D 3.X (where suboptimal choices like the Toughness feat were *purposedly* added as 'traps' for noobs, according to the words of designer Monte Cook himself). Characters built 'for fun' and characters built by optimizers are close enough in power level that players are not put off (I have a player with a very suboptimal dwarf paladin in my game and he's still contributing a lot to the team). But people have been complaining that it's an horrible game, because the game designers put their emphasis on fixing *the game* instead of on the nebulous aspect of 'roleplaying', which is different from group to group. The issue, in a nutshell, is that people are complaining that the game designers did *their job* by focusing only on the purely gamist aspect of the game, leaving the freedom to individual groups to decide on how much (or how little) they want to focus on the roleplaying aspect. The nerves!
    "Rain fell like judgement across my window pane
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  • #15
    Awesome! This artical speaks the truth the fun of the game is all in your head! its all about perspective, I don't really like loseing as much as i do winning although i don't really care if i win or lose because it is after all just a game, it has no value other than to entertian me, if i win yay, if i lose w/e i can improve/move on. The people who get angry about being called unfair and cheep, as well as thoes who complian about thoes people are thoes who care to much about the game, and are easily frusterated and thats not good for the game. Maybe if people played the game without haveing thier emotional insecurities attached to winning or loseing then we would have more fun because there wouldn't be that barrier seperating casual and compeative stereotrypes. Like i said its just a game it can't do anything for you except provide you with entertianment how you react and feel about it is up to you to decide. I think that if people playing magic just went to FNM with a smile and an aditiude of whatever happens i'm here to have fun then we wouldn't have people being offened because they were beaten quickly or what ever.

    winning feels good, however just because winning feels good doesn't mean that loseing has to be bitter, instead of hateing the deck/persone/youself instead only realize that it is just a game, that you did your best to win, that you can try agian with an improved strategy, and lastly realize that it is nothing personal.

    I really like Magic its an awesome game to play and win at, however for me it is only ever going to be a game, and a games only purposes in existance is to provide me with fun, enterianment, and socialzing.
    Mehungary
  • #16
    150% Awesome and I 200% Agree.
    I will definatly vote this as the AoM. (Article of the Month)
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  • #17
    The reason this analogy fails completely is that RPGs are open-ended games. Magic is NOT. Meaning (and I canNOT stress this enough), the purpose, the sole objective is to DEFEAT YOUR OPPONENT. If you simply can't lose without crying, then you may want to consider selling your cards and playing 4th grade soccer, where I understand everyone now wins.

    I'm all for other objectives being introduced into Magic ... I would have loved if the original idea for Hideaway, which was Treasure (I am not savvy enough and Wizards site is too convoluted for me to find a link to the article), was successfully developed ... but it wasn't, and so we still have to either kill our opponents or not play.

    The only viable solution I can see for the crybabies of the multiverse to undertake is what a group of players did in the early 90s in order to make the video game Interstate76 competitive in a ladder system, and that was to go through every single option available to a player, assign a cost to it, and then declare each match to be "Class N," N being the total cost allowed. Wizards has tried to do this already with the numerous formats available, but still the debate rages on ... I am completely baffled by anyone who chooses to play a game, and then has anything to say about other players who are following the exact same rules. Don't like rares? Play pauper. Don't like commons and uncommons? Play kingdoms (all-rare). Don't like counterspells and land destruction? DON'T PLAY MAGIC.
    Last edited by bearer of woe: 11/13/2008 6:21:51 PM
  • #18
    Quote from bearer of woe
    The reason this analogy fails completely is that RPGs are open-ended games. Magic is NOT. Meaning (and I canNOT stress this enough), the purpose, the sole objective is to DEFEAT YOUR OPPONENT. If you simply can't lose without crying, then you may want to consider selling your cards and playing 4th grade soccer, where I understand everyone now wins.


    Whoa, whoa calm down. Just so you know the MAIN OBJECTIVE is FUN.
    It's a game. Not a life and death war, where it's win or lose. It's a game.
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    White gets more power shifted into it. Damn, it's like a fat kid devouring the entire color pie.
  • #19
    Quote from XxTaLoNxX
    Whoa, whoa calm down. Just so you know the MAIN OBJECTIVE is FUN.
    It's a game. Not a life and death war, where it's win or lose. It's a game.


    Fun is subjective. Defeat is objective.

    Objectivity wins.
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  • #20
    Just so you know the MAIN OBJECTIVE is FUN.


    So when I have 20 fun, I win?

    Wrong.
  • #21
    Quote from bearer of woe
    So when I have 20 fun, I win?

    Wrong.


    If the game has just come down to you winning then your playing the wrong game because your going to overstress yourself and burn out. Of course in a tournament your objective is to win BUT if you don't have fun then your going to become emotional and lose.
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    White gets more power shifted into it. Damn, it's like a fat kid devouring the entire color pie.
  • #22
    Quote from bearer of woe
    The reason this analogy fails completely is that RPGs are open-ended games. Magic is NOT. Meaning (and I canNOT stress this enough), the purpose, the sole objective is to DEFEAT YOUR OPPONENT. If you simply can't lose without crying, then you may want to consider selling your cards and playing 4th grade soccer, where I understand everyone now wins.

    I'm all for other objectives being introduced into Magic ... I would have loved if the original idea for Hideaway, which was Treasure (I am not savvy enough and Wizards site is too convoluted for me to find a link to the article), was successfully developed ... but it wasn't, and so we still have to either kill our opponents or not play.

    The only viable solution I can see for the crybabies of the multiverse to undertake is what a group of players did in the early 90s in order to make the video game Interstate76 competitive in a ladder system, and that was to go through every single option available to a player, assign a cost to it, and then declare each match to be "Class N," N being the total cost allowed. Wizards has tried to do this already with the numerous formats available, but still the debate rages on ... I am completely baffled by anyone who chooses to play a game, and then has anything to say about other players who are following the exact same rules. Don't like rares? Play pauper. Don't like commons and uncommons? Play kingdoms (all-rare). Don't like counterspells and land destruction? DON'T PLAY MAGIC.


    The problem there my friend, is that you seem to assume that there is only one form of Magic to be played.

    You are also so very super spiky and super davelike which isn't a good thing.

    This is untrue. There are different tournament formats, and there are multiple ways to win.

    Just amoung tourny players, there are people who enjoy playing control, aggro, and/or combo.

    Also, people hate rules so it's rather hard to get someone to play exactly the format you want.

    .... I hope I make sense.

    Quote from XDarkAngelX
    Fun is subjective. Defeat is objective.

    Objectivity wins.


    What? Honestly, I can enjoy close games that seem close till the end. Also, why does objectivity win?

    People live subjective lives.
    The guy who found the new art for shock and other 10th edition cards on the wizards site.
    Butcher of Words. Slant



    Made by Spiderboy4

    Quote from Kenaron
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  • #23
    Forgive me if I am wrong, but if I am going to pay money to play in a tournament, I am more concerned about the prizes than having fun. The fun part is opening the packs at the end of the night. That might have been a little harsh. I actually enjoy losing to a deck that has originality to it, and brings old school and new school together. As far as playing fun decks, I have a game at my house almost every Saturday, and there is always about 6-8 people there(mostly from FNM) We play, and dont think about winning or losing, cause winning or losing doesnt matter all of the time.
  • #24
    The problem there my friend, is that you seem to assume that there is only one form of Magic to be played.


    I do assume, and am correct; I refer to the Comprehensive Rules, and if you can find a single reference to "fun" in them, please post it here.

    Go ahead, ban counterspells ... hell ban blue altogether, and land destruction, and black for that matter ... knock yourselves out. Just don't call what you're playing Magic, because it's not.
  • #25
    Quote from bearer of woe
    I do assume, and am correct; I refer to the Comprehensive Rules, and if you can find a single reference to "fun" in them, please post it here.

    Go ahead, ban counterspells ... hell ban blue altogether, and land destruction, and black for that matter ... knock yourselves out. Just don't call what you're playing Magic, because it's not.


    *Clap clap clap*

    Well done! You analogy is similar to saying
    Operating Systems is serious business. Look at the code! I mean you can take out features not every user likes and strip away functionality of the O/S so it causes fewer problems with users but, in doing so, you are forbidden from calling it an "operating system" since, clearly, you're not using all the code that was written for it initially.


    Because fun is subjective, an issue we can all agree to I'm sure, we're all going to have different views on it. Ultimately we can debate the finer points of "his/her deck" vs. "his/her playstyle" vs. "his/her cards" vs. blahblah... until we're old and dying. As long as we recognize that "Yeah, he's got a different point of view. Maybe I should try his way of things once in awhile and he should give mine a shot." we can move forward.

    The catch-all phrase from Penny Arcade applies here best: "Dude, don't be a dick." If we all focused on that there would be less argument in general.

    Tournaments are tournaments: so, on occasion, please remember to leave your Tier 1 decks at home when you go to play casual Magic. The other half of players who don't play in tournaments will thank you.

    Quote from Phantizle
    Was Necropotence the gateway drug of choice here?

    Yes. A thousand times yes. They lured me in with Ivory Tower and Zuran Orb, and I kept telling myself "I can quit whenever I want...just look at that untapped disk". That was ten years ago man.....

    (puts face in hands and weeps)
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