[M14] Disperse and Time Ebb

  • #26
    Quote from Semantics
    Calling Time Ebb card parity is really, really skewing what card parity really means.


    No, that's exactly what card parity means. You spend a card to deny your opponent a card.


    The link you provided is really misleading. The decks that want Excommunicate in that format are often hyper aggressive, and they ended up with enough low drop soldiers to justify its inclusion. The chart says absolutely nothing about the actual, in game effectiveness of the cards in question. Hell, there's a pretty good chance that a bunch of those decks that contained Overrun either built them poorly (3-color or something of the sort, a common mistake in M10 limited) or simply drew them less often, as Excommunicate was a common and thus was much more likely to show up in multiples. In the end, we don't know, but the implication that Excommunicate was better than Overrun in that format is patently ludicrous.


    If you don't want to compare it to Overrun, compare it to every other common in the set. It performed better than all of them except Pacifism.

    Can you really come up with excuses as to why the data is biased towards Excommunicate over every other non-Pacifism common?


    Negating a draw step is flat out not worth a card, and during states of board parity, all Ebb does is deny a card and give the opponent the option to recreate said board state or simply play something else. That might be card parity in the literal definition of the term, but so would this card:

    Card Parity All-Star
    U
    Sorcery
    Target player skips their next draw phase.

    Would you play that card? That effect is flat out not worth its weight in cardboard, and while Time Ebb obviously does more than that, unless you can blow someone out with it, given the presence of auras or a game state in which tempo and answers matter, it ends up not being anywhere near worth the card investment.


    That's a straw-man. A better comparision would be Inaction Injunction, which was playable though not spectacular in RTR and full-block Limited. Time Ebb similarly stops a creature from blocking and (unless it has haste) attacking the next turn, without costing you a card. However, Time Ebb has 2 key advantages. The first is that it gets rid of any counters/auras on the creature (giving it 241 potential). The second is that the opponent has to repay the cost of the creature to get it back into play. So Ebb is a much stronger card overall.

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  • #27
    Quote from fnord
    Disperse is card disadvantage, but Time Ebb is not. If you Time Ebb a random creature it's a 1-for-1. You've spent the a card, but your opponent effectively loses his or her next draw step.


    Everyone knows this. Clearly, Sem knows this, considering that he actually stated that it cost the opponent a draw in his post, so what's your point?

    The argument here is that both cards are inherently disadvantageous to play unless you can implement some kind of trick. Time Ebb might be less disadvantageous (because of the lack of card disadvantage), but it's also far less versatile in the pulling-a-trick department, too.

    Because of the inherent card disadvantage, it's much harder to get card advantage out of Disperse. If you disperse Random Creature enchanted with Random Aura, it's a 1-for-1. If you Time Ebb it, it's a 2-for-1.


    Not true, at least against competent opponents. An opponent who lets himself get Time Ebbed for an advantage probably made a mistake. Instant speed makes all the difference in the world.

    Quite the opposite. We have hard data on this; in M10 sealed, Excommunicate was better than Overrun.


    Interesting data, but all that shows is that Overrun is a harder card to use correctly than is Time Ebb. There's a big difference between a card's strength and a card's success, in a world of imperfect players.

    Because there isn't a CA difference between the two.


    Again, try to take the comparison as it's intended, eh? Quag Sickness is more reliable removal than Doom Blade is, but is worse because it's sorcery speed and more costly. In the same vein, Time Ebb can more reliably be used to cost the opponent a card than Disperse can, but is worse because it's sorcery speed and is more costly.

    The CA difference between the two is not news, but it's hardly the full picture. No one is claiming that Time Ebb doesn't cost the opponent a card in a way that Disperse doesn't (especially not Sem, who said as much in his post). The only argument is that sorcery speed is a ridiculously bad tradeoff that often ends up making it un-maindeckable.
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    Quote from Mox Ryan
    Wit's End is the PERFECT answer to your opponent's Monomania however.
    Just hold on to your Wit's End when they Monomania, so you can Wit's End them on your next turn!!! Slant

    I think this is fairly reminiscent of the "Jace Battles" we have seen in past standards.. My guess is we will soon witness the great Monomania-Wit's End battles.

  • #28
    Quote from warplord
    Those who are viewing Disperse as weak are a little misguided. If I Disperse my opponent's creature in response to an aura, how is this card disadvantage? If I Disperse my opponent's equipment or aura in response to a block that allows my creature to kill his, how is this card disadvantage? When used as a combat trick, there are situations where Disperse will be superior and others where it will be inferior. This does not make the card weak or naturally disadvantageous, despite the times when someone might use the card to less than its full potential.


    Depending on the board state, you may be able to play Disperse in a way which gets around its inherent card disadvantage. It's just harder to do so than with something like Giant Growth.


    It's not completely appropriate to compare the card to Unsummon, because Disperse can target so much more than Unsummon can. If you happen to have Jace, for example, you can activate Jace, Disperse Jace, then recast Jace for another activation. While not necessarily a common play, this could allow for a victory when your opponent would otherwise win with lethal damage (note that you can also save a planeswalker with Disperse). You can also bounce troublesome enchantments, or you can save your Pacifism in response to a sweeper. As an instant, Disperse gives its caster a lot of options as far as when and how best to use it.


    Sure, but this stuff is relatively rare in a typical Limited game. Usually, you'll be bouncing a creature. I'd say the extra mana in the cost will generally be significant more often than the ability to bounce noncreatures.

    Quote from Puddlejumper
    Everyone knows this. Clearly, Sem knows this, considering that he actually stated that it cost the opponent a draw in his post, so what's your point?

    The argument here is that both cards are inherently disadvantageous to play unless you can implement some kind of trick. Time Ebb might be less disadvantageous (because of the lack of card disadvantage), but it's also far less versatile in the pulling-a-trick department, too.


    Time Ebb is not inherently disadvantageous to play. If you cast it on a 3-drop (with no Auras), you have spent 3 mana and a card to cost your opponent 3 mana and a card. Disperse requires some trick to just break even, but Time Ebb just requires a target.


    Not true, at least against competent opponents. An opponent who lets himself get Time Ebbed for an advantage probably made a mistake. Instant speed makes all the difference in the world.


    This isn't really true unless you consider playing auras itself a mistake. I could turn this around and say that the Instant speed bit is irrelevant as a competent opponent wouldn't do stuff into open mana. But the entire line of reasoning is suspect as you can't just always play around everything.


    Interesting data, but all that shows is that Overrun is a harder card to use correctly than is Time Ebb. There's a big difference between a card's strength and a card's success, in a world of imperfect players.


    Again, if you want to make excuses for Overrun try any M10 common other than Pacifism instead. Are you seriously going to argue that Time Ebb is easier to use than all of these as well?



    Again, try to take the comparison as it's intended, eh? Quag Sickness is more reliable removal than Doom Blade is, but is worse because it's sorcery speed and more costly. In the same vein, Time Ebb can more reliably be used to cost the opponent a card than Disperse can, but is worse because it's sorcery speed and is more costly.


    If Quag Sickness drew you a card as well, would it still be worse than Doom Blade?

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  • #29
    I think Time Ebb has a lot more potential than Disperse ever could have. For the first 4-7 turns (depending on your deck) disperse is marginally better as it costs you less mana and lets you pull some funky combat tricks. However the later the game runs the better and better time ebb gets. In addition to almost all of the function disperse has in top deck mode it also blanks an opponents draw and the more extreme the board state is on the empty-full spectrum the more and more it becomes a time warp. Because it forces your opponent to replay his creature (disperse does to) it also prevents him from getting any additional spell that could affect the board that turn. If you are in blue and don't have a way to take advantage of a time walk (any evasion) you are doing something horrendously wrong.

    In summary if you are some funky tempo blue based deck disperse might be for you. If you are playing any deck that wants to survive until turn 6 or 7 so time ebb is almost always the right choice.

    EDIT: Time ebb also punishes greedy play as in both the cases of mana screw and flood you force them to stumble an additional turn. Also chaining time ebbs is one of the most disgusting things I have seen. At draft I picked up 5 Time ebb and in one game played it 3 turns in a row starting on 3 causing my opponent to stay on 3 land while I went up to 6.
    Last edited by redeath: 7/16/2013 5:40:21 PM
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  • #30
    Quote from fnord
    Time Ebb is not inherently disadvantageous to play. If you cast it on a 3-drop (with no Auras), you have spent 3 mana and a card to cost your opponent 3 mana and a card. Disperse requires some trick to just break even, but Time Ebb just requires a target.


    Nonsense. Neither card is a threat or an answer. If you play it on a 3-mana creature, then you've improved your opponent's threat density in his deck. You do realize that Time Ebb isn't removal, right? You can't run a player out of ways to win with it. It's a tempo card and a tempo card only.

    This isn't really true unless you consider playing auras itself a mistake. I could turn this around and say that the Instant speed bit is irrelevant as a competent opponent wouldn't do stuff into open mana. But the entire line of reasoning is suspect as you can't just always play around everything.


    You could do that, but you would be wrong, and any simple glance at what kinds of spells make the transition to Constructed would prove it.

    Again, if you want to make excuses for Overrun try any M10 common other than Pacifism instead. Are you seriously going to argue that Time Ebb is easier to use than all of these as well?


    Yes, to an extent. It has a single colored mana, it's effective in aggro decks, and it was in the best color in M10. It doesn't exactly have a lot of competition. The whole reason that article is titled the way it was, is because it highlights exactly how misrepresentative of quality such data can be.

    If Quag Sickness drew you a card as well, would it still be worse than Doom Blade?


    1) Card advantage is not the point. Quag Sickness has some advantage over Doom Blade in that it is a more reliable piece of removal. If you insist on being maximally pedantic about the comparison, then just dismiss it, rather than straw-manning it.
    2) Would you rather have Doom Blade or a 3-mana, sorcery speed spell with the exact same rules text as Doom Blade, plus "That creature's controller skips his next draw step."? Because Doom Blade is still better than that. Such a card wouldn't even make the constructed cut.
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    Quote from Mox Ryan
    Wit's End is the PERFECT answer to your opponent's Monomania however.
    Just hold on to your Wit's End when they Monomania, so you can Wit's End them on your next turn!!! Slant

    I think this is fairly reminiscent of the "Jace Battles" we have seen in past standards.. My guess is we will soon witness the great Monomania-Wit's End battles.

  • #31
    There is no way Doom Blade would be better than that card, id play that card in all my black decks in standard basically.
  • #32
    This Excommunicate vs. Overrun thing is getting hilarious. The data is only telling us what the winning percentage of decks containing the card were in sealed. First of all, the less often a card is played in a sealed deck, the more skewing any given set of results for it will appear, and given that far fewer decks ran Excommunicate than ran, say, Chandra's Outrage or Doom Blade, it's likely that a good number of those decks were piloted by players who had a good reason for including it. Do you really want to make the argument that Excommunicate was better than Doom Blade in that format? I think you're wrong in this one, but there's no way you can justify that evaluation. The more a card is played, the more evened out the statistics for it end up. That chart is absolutely useless as a part of this discussion.

    As for the issue at hand, I'm done trying to say the same thing: I understand the difference between Time Ebb and Disperse in terms of literal card parity. The point is that this is a really poor way to evaluate these cards, as your use of the phrase "deny your opponent a card" is absolutely hilarious, as you won't find a good limited player on the planet who really thinks that's what Ebb does. Denial implies solution, whereas Time Ebb only denies a draw, not access to the creature you target. Yeah, Time Ebbing that Colossal Whale might prevent it from attacking for a turn, but you're likely still losing to it. In the mid-to-late game in grindy formats, it's typically really bad to spend a card to force an opponent to replay a guy, as the only way it's at all relevant is if their top card would swing the board balance in their favor. Yeah, that's possible, but it's the same line of argument as the one made by proponents of milling for value. It's just as hollow there.

    You still haven't addressed the versatility issue, instead choosing to clutch onto this literal card parity issue as if it's the last lifeboat on a sinking ship. A card's value can easily be defined more by what it can do than by its literal definition. Izzet Charm will never produce card advantage, and none of the abilities are worth 2 mana in current limited environments, but the card is still far stronger than a card with the same cost and just one of the abilities would be. If you evaluate so blindly by card advantage alone, then you'll end up taking things like Assassin's Strike over Stab Wound, or Trostani's Judgment over Arrest in a deck with some token potential.

    As for the retort in regard to the Quag Sickness comparison, do you really think that Time Ebb's draw denial is functionally the same as drawing a card? That's an awfully tough comparison to make. Using Time Ebb in this way is a stall tactic, not all that much better than a Fog, and likely on a board on which such an effect is worth way less than a card.

    Your argument is that Time Ebb is a "much better" card, but the only argument you have is an archaic one that evaluates cards in an absurdly simplistic vacuum for high level limited play. The type of arguments you're making are ones you use to explain what card advantage literally is, not one you use to evaluate and discuss a card in a forum of Pro Tour hopefuls.

    Quote from redeath »
    Time ebb also punishes greedy play as in both the cases of mana screw and flood you force them to stumble an additional turn. Also chaining time ebbs is one of the most disgusting things I have seen. At draft I picked up 5 Time ebb and in one game played it 3 turns in a row starting on 3 causing my opponent to stay on 3 land while I went up to 6.


    I love when my opponent does things like this. You basically spend 3 cards and probably around 2.5 turns adding nothing to the board and spending cards. These types of "it makes manascrew worse" arguments are insanely hollow, as they're closet cases. That same situation falls completely flat if I curve out from Elvish Mystic into turn 2 Rootwalla into turn 3 Rumbling Baloth, and Time Ebbing doesn't do anything other than postpone the beating those cards will give you if you don't spend mana dropping an answer.

    Also, saying Time Ebb has more potential is laughable. Sorceries by their nature offer fewer opportunities for play than instants with similar effects. Disperse can do so much more (read: potential) than Time Ebb can ever do that I'll even give you the "makes manascrew worse" line as a proponent for Ebb and still my list in favor of Disperse will be pages longer.
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  • #33
    I'd argue that if Time Ebb isn't card parity, then Index isn't card disadvantage (and I imagine most people would agree that it is, and is a big part of why Index is rubbish). In both cases a player is losing a card, and (usually) gaining an increased EV from their next draw in return (Index could arguably be better than that implies, but that would support my point anyway).

    Semantics' point about "U - Target opponent skips their next draw step" isn't actually saying anything beyond the common wisdom that a do-nothing cantrip is not playable. "Draw a card" is functionally extremely similar to "Opponent skips a draw". I think that goes against our intuition, trained as we are to regard "draw a card" as a powerful bit of text. The only major difference, though, is that "draw" is better when you're behind on board and need to draw an answer, and by precisely the same logic "opponent skips" is better when you're ahead and your opponent needs an answer. (Edit: Notice that the counter examples people have put forward for why "draw a card" is clearly better all involve you being on the defensive.)

    It's possible that that means "draw a card" is inherently better by the principle that it's good for a card to gain value when you're behind, but I tend to think that the better takeaway is that "opponent skips" is better if your deck will generally be the beatdown, and "draw a card" is preferable if you expect your opponents to be the beatdown.

    Time Ebb, then, would be Repulse if it were an instant (that Repulse is so much better is an indication of just how powerful being an instant is). Not identical to Repulse, but of comparable value... you'd rather have Repulse if you anticipate being the control deck, but I say you should actually prefer "Instant Time Ebb" to Repulse in a sufficiently aggressive deck.



    What does that ultimately say about Time Ebb vs Disperse? I'm not sure, and I think I might still prefer Disperse (mmm, that instant type line), but I'm with fnord on the issue of card parity/disadvantage, and on the point that Time Ebb has been unfairly maligned.
    Last edited by Dire Wombat: 7/16/2013 6:41:07 PM
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  • #34
    Quote from Dire Wombat
    Semantics' point about "U - Target opponent skips their next draw step" isn't actually saying anything beyond the common wisdom that a do-nothing cantrip is not playable. "Draw a card" is functionally extremely similar to "Opponent skips a draw". I think that goes against our intuition, trained as we are to regard "draw a card" as a powerful bit of text. The only major difference, though, is that "draw" is better when you're behind on board and need to draw an answer, and by precisely the same logic "opponent skips" is better when you're ahead and your opponent needs an answer. (Edit: Notice that the counter examples people have put forward for why "draw a card" is clearly better all involve you being on the defensive.)

    It's possible that that means "draw a card" is inherently better by the principle that it's good for a card to gain value when you're behind, but I tend to think that the better takeaway is that "opponent skips" is better if your deck will generally be the beatdown, and "draw a card" is preferable if you expect your opponents to be the beatdown.

    Time Ebb, then, would be Repulse if it were an instant (that Repulse is so much better is an indication of just how powerful being an instant is). Not identical to Repulse, but of comparable value... you'd rather have Repulse if you anticipate being the control deck, but I say you should actually prefer "Instant Time Ebb" to Repulse in a sufficiently aggressive deck.

    What does that ultimately say about Time Ebb vs Disperse? I'm not sure, and I think I might still prefer Disperse (mmm, that instant type line), but I'm with fnord on the issue of card parity/disadvantage, and on the point that Time Ebb has been unfairly maligned.


    I think I can say that unless I know for certain that my deck is full of absolute garbage, drawing a card will always be preferable to denying your opponent a draw unless you're putting them in a position in which they must have an out. Basically, the racing/tempo scenario I've been beating to death throughout this discussion. In the cases when the board is at parity, drawing a card is far, far superior to denying your opponent one, as it doesn't improve your ability to develop your own.

    I never said Time Ebb is a bad card. I'm arguing that Disperse is a better one according to a holistic evaluation of both cards.
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  • #35
    Quote from Puddlejumper
    Nonsense. Neither card is a threat or an answer. If you play it on a 3-mana creature, then you've improved your opponent's threat density in his deck. You do realize that Time Ebb isn't removal, right? You can't run a player out of ways to win with it. It's a tempo card and a tempo card only.


    Not being a threat or an answer doesn't make it inherently disadvantageous. Yes, it's a tempo card. But it's a tempo card which doesn't have the inherent negative-CA which tempo cards generally have. That's what makes it good, even outside tempo decks.


    You could do that, but you would be wrong, and any simple glance at what kinds of spells make the transition to Constructed would prove it.


    I'm not sure how Constructed potential is relevant, given how different the formats are. There's plenty of stuff (such as Pacifism effects) which are usually first-pick caliber in Limited but almost never see play in Constructed.


    Yes, to an extent. It has a single colored mana, it's effective in aggro decks, and it was in the best color in M10. It doesn't exactly have a lot of competition. The whole reason that article is titled the way it was, is because it highlights exactly how misrepresentative of quality such data can be.


    There was plenty of competition, including powerhouses like Lightning Bolt and Doom Blade. While I agree that that kind of data can sometimes mislead, I don't think you can ignore the fact that the card was one of only 2 commons in the top-25 list. It was one of the top commons in M10 (even if you don't think it's quite #2) and I expect Time Ebb to perform similarly in M14.


    1) Card advantage is not the point. Quag Sickness has some advantage over Doom Blade in that it is a more reliable piece of removal. If you insist on being maximally pedantic about the comparison, then just dismiss it, rather than straw-manning it.
    2) Would you rather have Doom Blade or a 3-mana, sorcery speed spell with the exact same rules text as Doom Blade, plus "That creature's controller skips his next draw step."? Because Doom Blade is still better than that. Such a card wouldn't even make the constructed cut.


    Sorcery-speed Doom Blade for 2B with the additional skips-draw-step clause would be a far, far stronger card.

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  • #36
    Quote from Semantics
    I think I can say that unless I know for certain that my deck is full of absolute garbage, drawing a card will always be preferable to denying your opponent a draw unless you're putting them in a position in which they must have an out. Basically, the racing/tempo scenario I've been beating to death throughout this discussion.

    I guess I'm arguing that this line of reasoning is flawed in that it treats the racing/tempo scenario as a special exception and the falling behind/stalled board (not just parity, you can be at parity and racing) scenario as the default. Especially in today's Limited formats, I don't think that's justified.

    I never said Time Ebb is a bad card. I'm arguing that Disperse is a better one according to a holistic evaluation of both cards.
    I don't really disagree with this, just with some specifics of the argument.

    Also, note that I did get a little carried away and left out the "bouncing your own stuff" case, where Disperse is clearly superior, and contributes to my somewhat preferring Disperse overall.
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  • #37
    Quote from bateleur
    The important thing to realise about Disperse and other straight bounce spells is that their value varies massively with the environment.


    Just wanted to say this is a very good point, and something to keep in mind in regards to this set.

    In the grand scheme of things, I believe both Disperse and Time Ebb are going to be valuable limited spells, each in their own way.

    Time Ebb is more general purpose and ensures 1-for-1 value, but there's less opportunity to punish your opponent and it's more costly. It will always send a creature to the top of their library, and sometimes that's exactly what you want, especially if you're an on-curve-with-creatures deck. And it's optimal against creatures with Auras attached.

    On the other hand, Disperse will less often result in card-for-card value, but costing one less and being an instant has its advantages. It's easier to play something else and have mana open for this, than playing Ebb and another card. It's also useful for punishing multiblocks when you want to attack with bigger creatures. It can even save a creature or other permanent of your own if necessary (a rare situation, but it's possible), so there's lots more that you can actually do with it.

    It's not hard to see that neither of these cards are strictly better than the other. Their practicality really depends on the board state, of which there are seemingly endless scenarios.
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  • #38
    Quote from Wustin
    Disperse is probably better. Time Ebb is the better tempo card, but Disperse is much more versatile. It can tempo and act as instant speed pseudo-removal when your opponent plays a trick or enchantment. Saving your creature is not out of line either.


    This just isn't true, stopping them drawing a card is very powerful
  • #39
    Quote from Semantics
    This Excommunicate vs. Overrun thing is getting hilarious. The data is only telling us what the winning percentage of decks containing the card were in sealed. First of all, the less often a card is played in a sealed deck, the more skewing any given set of results for it will appear, and given that far fewer decks ran Excommunicate than ran, say, Chandra's Outrage or Doom Blade, it's likely that a good number of those decks were piloted by players who had a good reason for including it. Do you really want to make the argument that Excommunicate was better than Doom Blade in that format? I think you're wrong in this one, but there's no way you can justify that evaluation. The more a card is played, the more evened out the statistics for it end up. That chart is absolutely useless as a part of this discussion.


    The problem with this argument is that this isn't just a small sample of results. The data is from every game in r1 of every M10 sealed event on MTGO ever. So that kind of statistical argument just doesn't hold water.

    Now, I do agree that there may be some distortions for various reasons. I don't think that data proves that Excommunicate was better than something like Doom Blade. What I do think it proves, however, is that Excommunicate was a tier-1 common in the format. On the other hand, bounce effects like Disperse have generally not been tier-1 unless they did something else as well or there was substantial weirdness in the format.


    As for the issue at hand, I'm done trying to say the same thing: I understand the difference between Time Ebb and Disperse in terms of literal card parity. The point is that this is a really poor way to evaluate these cards, as your use of the phrase "deny your opponent a card" is absolutely hilarious, as you won't find a good limited player on the planet who really thinks that's what Ebb does. Denial implies solution, whereas Time Ebb only denies a draw, not access to the creature you target. Yeah, Time Ebbing that Colossal Whale might prevent it from attacking for a turn, but you're likely still losing to it. In the mid-to-late game in grindy formats, it's typically really bad to spend a card to force an opponent to replay a guy, as the only way it's at all relevant is if their top card would swing the board balance in their favor. Yeah, that's possible, but it's the same line of argument as the one made by proponents of milling for value. It's just as hollow there.


    By "deny your opponent a card", I'm talking about the next draw, not about the target of the Ebb.

    I agree that "In the mid-to-late game in grindy formats, it's typically really bad to spend a card to force an opponent to replay a guy". The key difference here is that you are not really spending a card, just mana.


    You still haven't addressed the versatility issue, instead choosing to clutch onto this literal card parity issue as if it's the last lifeboat on a sinking ship. A card's value can easily be defined more by what it can do than by its literal definition. Izzet Charm will never produce card advantage, and none of the abilities are worth 2 mana in current limited environments, but the card is still far stronger than a card with the same cost and just one of the abilities would be. If you evaluate so blindly by card advantage alone, then you'll end up taking things like Assassin's Strike over Stab Wound, or Trostani's Judgment over Arrest in a deck with some token potential.


    Yes, Disperse is more versatile and that gives it value. Time Ebb makes up for that by being more consistent. There are plenty of board states where it is impossible to get value from Disperse. You can nearly always get value from Time Ebb.


    Your argument is that Time Ebb is a "much better" card, but the only argument you have is an archaic one that evaluates cards in an absurdly simplistic vacuum for high level limited play. The type of arguments you're making are ones you use to explain what card advantage literally is, not one you use to evaluate and discuss a card in a forum of Pro Tour hopefuls.


    My main argument is that if you look at previous formats Time Ebb effects have generally performed much better than Disperse effects. You are overrating the advantage of instant speed. In ISD block, for example, Grasp of Phantoms was considered better than Griptide, since the very-expensive flashback was more valuable than the instant speed.

    Practice for Journey into Nyx Limited:
    Draft: (#1) (#2) (#3)
  • #40
    Quote from fnord
    That's what makes it good, even outside tempo decks.


    I really disagree. If I'm not playing the card for its tempo advantage, then I'm playing the card to stabilize, and it does an incredibly poor job of that.

    I'm not sure how Constructed potential is relevant, given how different the formats are. There's plenty of stuff (such as Pacifism effects) which are usually first-pick caliber in Limited but almost never see play in Constructed.


    Guess why: because sorcery speed is a lot worse than instant speed. Look at Oblivion Ring. It was good in constructed up until they printed much narrower instant speed answers to planeswalkers, and then everyone dropped it like a hot rock. Instant speed makes all the difference in the world.

    There was plenty of competition, including powerhouses like Lightning Bolt and Doom Blade. While I agree that that kind of data can sometimes mislead, I don't think you can ignore the fact that the card was one of only 2 commons in the top-25 list. It was one of the top commons in M10 (even if you don't think it's quite #2) and I expect Time Ebb to perform similarly in M14.


    A big problem in M10 that people often complained about was how red and black were really bad because so many people sniped their removal for splashes. This data suggests that those splashes were frequently not worth it, but it hardly says anything at all about the quality of those cards. The fact that basically no one ever splashed for an Excommunicate is both unsurprising and indicative that the card is really not that great. It is completely reasonable to see a mediocre playable in a strong color that never got splashed fairly high on that list, based on how it's aggregated.

    That's what I meant by there not being much competition. In order for a card to appear highly on that list, it'd have to be in decks that consistently do well, and additionally not be in decks that do poorly. Doom Blade and Lightning Bolt shine for the first criteria but not at all for the second, because everyone plays them basically unconditionally.

    Sorcery-speed Doom Blade for 2B with the additional skips-draw-step clause would be a far, far stronger card.


    Really? I'll agree with you that I maybe jumped the gun on my original assessment, but I can still think of dozens, hundreds of (limited) games that I've lost in my Magic career, that I could have saved with cheap, instant-speed removal instead of the more expensive sorcery-speed stuff with tacked on advantages that I was stuck with. It probably happens once per draft. Certainly vastly more than the occasional loss to an opponent's final topdeck, which happens maybe one game in thirty.
    MTG Rules Advisor

    Quote from Mox Ryan
    Wit's End is the PERFECT answer to your opponent's Monomania however.
    Just hold on to your Wit's End when they Monomania, so you can Wit's End them on your next turn!!! Slant

    I think this is fairly reminiscent of the "Jace Battles" we have seen in past standards.. My guess is we will soon witness the great Monomania-Wit's End battles.

  • #41
    I'm confused by Semantics' elaborate discussion of this subject, to be honest (well, not about the fact that it's elaborate). I agree with pretty much everything fnord said about Disperse vs Time Ebb:

    - Disperse is an inherent 1 for 0 that gains tempo. If you use it in response to a pump spell, or make an Aura fall off, it becomes a 1 for 1 that gains tempo. It can also sometimes be used to save your guy from removal, in which case it's a 1 for 1 that loses tempo.
    - Time Ebb is an inherent 1 for 1, but it's a bit harder to gain tempo with it. Still, if you are the beatdown or it's a race, it can provide a good amount of tempo. It can also make Auras fall off, in which case it's a 2-for-1, but obviously can't be used in response to pump spells or to save your own guy. (You can save it from Pacifism or Claustrophobia, but then you get 2-for-1'd.)

    I really don't see how it's hard to argue that denying a draw step is effectively the same as a cantrip. Just consider:

    Time Ebb
    Sorcery
    Put target creature on top its owner's library.

    Time Ebb 2
    Sorcery
    Put target creature on top its owner's library.
    Each player draws a card.

    Sorcery Speed Repulse
    Sorcery
    Return target creature to its owner's hand.
    Draw a card.

    A sorcery speed Repulse is obviously nowhere near a Repulse, but it's clearly a card that always provides card parity. Time Ebb 2 and Sorcery Speed Repulse are identical cards. And adding the text "Each player draws a card" is more or less neutral. Some decks would prefer to see this as a free liner on one of their spells; others would prefer not to, but the difference is pretty small. (Mostly decks with a higher curve would prefer to add it, fwiw. But especially in Core Set Limited, I don't think it matters much.)

    I haven't played the format yet, so I can't say for sure which is better. At least, as far as the first copy is concerned (although I agree that if the format is as slow as reported, I'd be leaning towards the card that is less of a tempo boost but not an inherent 1 for 0 - but the presence of certain cards, notably Enlarge, certainly helps Disperse's case). It's pretty obvious to me that I'll want to maindeck (and draft) the second or third copy of Time Ebb before I want to maindeck/draft the second or third copy of Disperse, simply because of the inherent card disadvantage of Disperse, which Time Ebb doesn't have. The more copies of Disperse you run, the more likely it is that you won't find enough situations to make up for its card disadvantage. This means that I'll more often pick Time Ebb over Disperse, given the choice.
    Last edited by Tahn: 7/17/2013 2:46:22 AM
    You really just need to embrace the rage. I keep a small colony of hamsters next to my computer and every time I lose a match to mana screw I throw one against the wall.
  • #42
    Quote from Puddlejumper
    I really disagree. If I'm not playing the card for its tempo advantage, then I'm playing the card to stabilize, and it does an incredibly poor job of that.


    It doesn't necessarily do that poor a job at stabilizing. Often you just need to stall a turn until you have enough mana for something bigger.


    Guess why: because sorcery speed is a lot worse than instant speed. Look at Oblivion Ring. It was good in constructed up until they printed much narrower instant speed answers to planeswalkers, and then everyone dropped it like a hot rock. Instant speed makes all the difference in the world.


    Again, this is totally irrelevant. It doesn't matter how good instant speed is in Constructed. We're not talking about Constructed here. Different rules apply.


    A big problem in M10 that people often complained about was how red and black were really bad because so many people sniped their removal for splashes. This data suggests that those splashes were frequently not worth it, but it hardly says anything at all about the quality of those cards. The fact that basically no one ever splashed for an Excommunicate is both unsurprising and indicative that the card is really not that great. It is completely reasonable to see a mediocre playable in a strong color that never got splashed fairly high on that list, based on how it's aggregated.


    The data is from sealed, so there was no sniping.


    Really? I'll agree with you that I maybe jumped the gun on my original assessment, but I can still think of dozens, hundreds of (limited) games that I've lost in my Magic career, that I could have saved with cheap, instant-speed removal instead of the more expensive sorcery-speed stuff with tacked on advantages that I was stuck with. It probably happens once per draft. Certainly vastly more than the occasional loss to an opponent's final topdeck, which happens maybe one game in thirty.


    3 vs. 2 isn't a big difference in terms of cost. This logic does hold if you're comparing 3-cost removal with 6-cost removal. But 2 mana and 3 are both in the cheap removal category.

    The problem with something like Assassin's Strike is that by the time you're able to cast it, it may be too late. That's not happening with CMC-3 removal. Unless we're talking Pack Rat, of course.

    Practice for Journey into Nyx Limited:
    Draft: (#1) (#2) (#3)
  • #43
    Quote from Puddlejumper
    Certainly vastly more than the occasional loss to an opponent's final topdeck, which happens maybe one game in thirty.


    Saying that denying your opponent a draw step only denies him his final topdeck is like saying the text "draw a card" only gives you one additional draw step on the last turn to save the game.

    Your opponent skipping a draw step may mean that his on-curve creature is now no longer on curve, that a crucial color of mana remains missing for one more turn, that a counterspell is too late for a spell it should counter, etc. There are a million scenarios where it might matter, obviously all of them with a low probability, but as a whole they certainly can make the difference. Just like the text "draw a card" helps your gameplan, the text "target opponent skips his next draw step" hurts theirs. For assessing a card's strength in Limited, they are quite interchangeable.
    You really just need to embrace the rage. I keep a small colony of hamsters next to my computer and every time I lose a match to mana screw I throw one against the wall.
  • #44
    Quote from Tahn
    For assessing a card's strength in Limited, they are quite interchangeable.

    Although it's worth noting that whilst this symmetry is pretty reliable, denying your opponent a draw by putting something on top of their deck can often be better than drawing a card because you can plan around your own card drawing spells, but your opponent cannot reliably plan around being denied a draw.
    --
    Forum Awards: Best Writer 2005, Best Limited Strategist 2005-2012
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  • #45
    Quote from Puddlejumper
    Really? I'll agree with you that I maybe jumped the gun on my original assessment, but I can still think of dozens, hundreds of (limited) games that I've lost in my Magic career, that I could have saved with cheap, instant-speed removal instead of the more expensive sorcery-speed stuff with tacked on advantages that I was stuck with. It probably happens once per draft. Certainly vastly more than the occasional loss to an opponent's final topdeck, which happens maybe one game in thirty.


    How often does your opponent get to cast a creature that keeps them alive because they drew a land? How often does your opponent draw a removal spell that gives them the advantage? That hypothetical removal spell would be absolutely absurd. It would single handedly win limited games a large portion of the time it was drawn. Card advantage provides a large advantage long before the game ends. Every single turn of the game your opponent is down a card. The last turn isn't the only time it matters. Ancestral Recall that required you to discard 2 cards before the end of the game would be basically the same card.
    Dimir
  • #46
    Tahn, I don't know how many more times I can post that I understand the difference in the literal card advantage provided by both cards. That has never been my point in evaluating the cards, and it never will be. My point is that in terms of what cards of their nature functionally do in formats like this one (assuming the evaluations of it being glacially slow are true; if it isn't, then the discussion needs to reroute anyway), the real value that Time Ebb provides often does not end up being worth a card, even if it technically provides card parity, while the reactive nature of Disperse tends to make up for the fact that you're technically not gaining/denying a draw out of any given exchange. Also, I'm getting a little tired of people inferring that I'm saying Ebb is bad; I generally anticipate wanting a 1/1 or 1/2 split of it and Disperse in most of my slow, durdling, blue-heavy decks in this format, if only to have a diversity of answers to auras.

    It's a matter of holistic card evaluation, not raw card evaluation. I played a ton of M10 limited, both in preparation for and in a local Grand Prix in 2009, so I remember the format well. There were an absolute ton of situations in which games became slogs of draw-go until someone drew Overrun or Fireball. In these types of games, comparable card quality makes an enormous difference, as even a slight shift in permanent board parity can have a dramatic effect. In these situations, Excommunicate was abhorrently bad. Yes, it denied your opponent a draw, but all it functionally did was give the creature you targeted Echo in addition to the draw denial. At that stage in the game, that effect was really, really underwhelming. Yes, casting Unsummon on the same creature does a whole hell of a lot less, and that the comparative M14 example makes Disperse look terrible, but that's not the point. The point is that the sheer ability to blank a removal or sweep spell reactively, bounce an EtB creature to reuse it, make gang blocking a bad play (Disperse is also better against the Sliver decks, if they exist prominently), or even kill a token creature easily mitigated the card disadvantage that Unsummon provides under normal circumstances.

    Basically, I clearly understand the fact that in nearly every situation in which you want to use Disperse analogously to Time Ebb, Ebb is going to be much better. My main argument is that when Disperse is better, it's a lot better, given the many reactive things it can do. When you're casting Disperse at card disadvantage, it often means that you're either using it to survive in combat, in which case it's obviously a poor option (Ebb would be better in these cases, but not by that much) or to either win the game or give your opponent little chance of coming back (in these cases, it's absolutely worse than Ebb). In the latter situations, being able to wait until your opponent's turn to make that decision is hugely relevant, especially in an environment in which you want to be casting your own auras and better card advantage options like Divination or Archaeomancer on your turn. Again, these examples do not entirely mitigate the card disadvantage that Disperse comparatively has. It does, however, end up functionally having a similar effect as Ebb at each of these tempo poles, and when the board states become more diversified and reactivity becomes the name of the game, Disperse can easily have a dramatic effect on the game in ways that Time Ebb flat out cannot have.

    If I were to use the 0.0-5.0 rating scale, I'd probably have Disperse somewhere around a 2.7 or 2.8 and Time Ebb at a 2.5. I find that in formats in which I have time to operate, I generally want to have more play on my opponent's turn in order to mitigate losses due to removal, tricks, auras, and to just give myself more phases of the game in which I'm active, because a lot of these basic formats take place primarily at sorcery speed with little overall complication. If I end up using both cards for identical effects, then of course Time Ebb is superior, but as a whole card, that angle isn't comparatively fair to Disperse at all given the vast array of other things Disperse can and often does help you accomplish.

    Lastly, in terms of the draw a card versus deny a draw argument, I find that if all I'm doing is stalling for a turn, be it on an even board or one on which I'm behind, drawing a card increases my options, while forcing my opponent to replay his threat leaves me in exactly the same actual condition I was in the turn before, still needing the top of my deck to provide an answer or something to pull me ahead. In the survival model, I'm almost always going to prefer to draw a card, as if I'm behind, I need something to pull me out, and it has to invariably come from my own deck. If the board is at parity, the same applies for me: I don't really care about the mana I gain from the exchange if I'm in the exact same stalled position a turn later. It's when you're even a little ahead that the draw denial becomes far better, as your opponent is the one who needs to dig. Yeah, in terms of quantifiable card advantage, the two effects are identical, but in actual function, it often doesn't work out that way.
    Providing a plethora of pompous and pedantic postings here since 2009.

    :dance:Fact or Fiction of the [Limited] Clan:dance:

    Quote from Puddlejumper
    Signalling is like farting: it's a natural thing that helps people avoid being where you are, and if you try to do it deliberately, things turn to crap fast.


    Quote from Hardened »
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  • #47
    Quote from fnord
    It doesn't necessarily do that poor a job at stabilizing. Often you just need to stall a turn until you have enough mana for something bigger.


    Yes, it does do a terrible job of stabilizing. Sure, it'll be enough sometimes, but that doesn't mean it's good at that role.

    Again, this is totally irrelevant. It doesn't matter how good instant speed is in Constructed. We're not talking about Constructed here. Different rules apply.


    Again, no it isn't. Constructed and Limited follow the same rules. There's nothing fundamentally different about the two formats that would make instant speed less valuable in Limited. The fact that more stuff happens at sorcery speed in Limited is a function of availablity, not quality, and actually increases the value of being able to react at instant speed.

    The data is from sealed, so there was no sniping.


    That is completely tangential to the point, so I'll assume you've conceded it.

    3 vs. 2 isn't a big difference in terms of cost. This logic does hold if you're comparing 3-cost removal with 6-cost removal. But 2 mana and 3 are both in the cheap removal category.

    The problem with something like Assassin's Strike is that by the time you're able to cast it, it may be too late. That's not happening with CMC-3 removal. Unless we're talking Pack Rat, of course.


    I'm not saying the 3-mana sorcery Doom Blade wouldn't be excellent. It would be. But 2-mana Doom Blade is already excellent in ways that the 3-mana version can't ever duplicate. Being an instant is the single most important thing a cheap, reactive spell can do, to be worth using. Card advantage matters, but limited games which would not be decided by a 1-card margin of error are common, whereas games that would not be decided by the ability to react to something at instant speed are basically nonexistent.
    MTG Rules Advisor

    Quote from Mox Ryan
    Wit's End is the PERFECT answer to your opponent's Monomania however.
    Just hold on to your Wit's End when they Monomania, so you can Wit's End them on your next turn!!! Slant

    I think this is fairly reminiscent of the "Jace Battles" we have seen in past standards.. My guess is we will soon witness the great Monomania-Wit's End battles.

  • #48
    Quote from Semantics
    Tahn, I don't know how many more times I can post that I understand the difference in the literal card advantage provided by both cards. That has never been my point in evaluating the cards, and it never will be. My point is that in terms of what cards of their nature functionally do in formats like this one (assuming the evaluations of it being glacially slow are true; if it isn't, then the discussion needs to reroute anyway), the real value that Time Ebb provides often does not end up being worth a card, even if it technically provides card parity, while the reactive nature of Disperse tends to make up for the fact that you're technically not gaining/denying a draw out of any given exchange. Also, I'm getting a little tired of people inferring that I'm saying Ebb is bad; I generally anticipate wanting a 1/1 or 1/2 split of it and Disperse in most of my slow, durdling, blue-heavy decks in this format, if only to have a diversity of answers to auras.


    I think you have it exactly backwards. The slower a format is, the more important card advantage is and the less important having a same-turn answer to a threat is. So if M14 turns out to be "glacially slow" I expect Time Ebb's advantage over Disperse to be bigger.


    It's a matter of holistic card evaluation, not raw card evaluation. I played a ton of M10 limited, both in preparation for and in a local Grand Prix in 2009, so I remember the format well. There were an absolute ton of situations in which games became slogs of draw-go until someone drew Overrun or Fireball. In these types of games, comparable card quality makes an enormous difference, as even a slight shift in permanent board parity can have a dramatic effect. In these situations, Excommunicate was abhorrently bad. Yes, it denied your opponent a draw, but all it functionally did was give the creature you targeted Echo in addition to the draw denial. At that stage in the game, that effect was really, really underwhelming.


    Sorry, this is just plain contradicted by the data I linked earlier. You can argue about whether various things caused Excommunicate to be ranked a bit higher than it deserved, but there is no way an "abhorrently bad" card would be one of only 2 commons to make that top 25 list.


    Basically, I clearly understand the fact that in nearly every situation in which you want to use Disperse analogously to Time Ebb, Ebb is going to be much better. My main argument is that when Disperse is better, it's a lot better, given the many reactive things it can do. When you're casting Disperse at card disadvantage, it often means that you're either using it to survive in combat, in which case it's obviously a poor option (Ebb would be better in these cases, but not by that much) or to either win the game or give your opponent little chance of coming back (in these cases, it's absolutely worse than Ebb). In the latter situations, being able to wait until your opponent's turn to make that decision is hugely relevant, especially in an environment in which you want to be casting your own auras and better card advantage options like Divination or Archaeomancer on your turn. Again, these examples do not entirely mitigate the card disadvantage that Disperse comparatively has. It does, however, end up functionally having a similar effect as Ebb at each of these tempo poles, and when the board states become more diversified and reactivity becomes the name of the game, Disperse can easily have a dramatic effect on the game in ways that Time Ebb flat out cannot have.


    This seems like a classic best-case analysis. That's not a good way to evaluate cards. The problem with Disperse is that you need something to take advantage of to get good value out of it. Time Ebb just requires a target. So sure it may be better in the best case, but on average you're getting more value from Ebb.

    Quote from Puddlejumper
    Yes, it does do a terrible job of stabilizing. Sure, it'll be enough sometimes, but that doesn't mean it's good at that role.


    That's not its main role. But it still does a decent job at it if that's what you need it to do.


    Again, no it isn't. Constructed and Limited follow the same rules. There's nothing fundamentally different about the two formats that would make instant speed less valuable in Limited. The fact that more stuff happens at sorcery speed in Limited is a function of availablity, not quality, and actually increases the value of being able to react at instant speed.


    The formats are so different that it's not productive to draw conclusions about one from the other. I'm not sure why you should need to anyway. If you think instants are so much better in Limited, argue from Limited.


    That is completely tangential to the point, so I'll assume you've conceded it.


    Not at all. If that wasn't your main point, what was?


    I'm not saying the 3-mana sorcery Doom Blade wouldn't be excellent. It would be. But 2-mana Doom Blade is already excellent in ways that the 3-mana version can't ever duplicate. Being an instant is the single most important thing a cheap, reactive spell can do, to be worth using. Card advantage matters, but limited games which would not be decided by a 1-card margin of error are common, whereas games that would not be decided by the ability to react to something at instant speed are basically nonexistent.


    That's fallacious reasoning. That's like saying that there's no difference between a 1-mana 1/1 and a 1-mana 2/1 because a single point of power on your 1-drop is very unlikely to decide the game.

    A lot of the time, you will mainphase your instant speed removal anyway so you can attack this turn or dodge counters/tricks. Even when you don't, you will generally just be trading 1-for-1. It's fairly rare that you take advantage of the instant speed to get a 2-1 or bigger blowout.

    The skips-a-draw clause, however, ensures that you get a 2-for-1 every time the spell resolves.

    You're confusing removal with combat tricks. Instant speed is crucial for something like a pump effect. For removal, it's valuable but not crucial.

    If this hypothetical 3-CMC spell were in the same pack as a Doom Blade, it would be the clear pick.

    Practice for Journey into Nyx Limited:
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  • #49
    Don't you feel soooo good when you time ebb the land they put awaken the ancient on?
    MUSE are number one!

    Quote from CMoriarty

    Time Spiral mashed legs, a beard, and a body desperately in need of a cheeseburger on to Candelabra of Tawnos and gave us Magus if the Candelabra. This guy made people very nervous when he was printed, but it turns out that the difference between spending 1 colorless mana and 1 green mana for this effect is about $100.00. Who knew?
  • #50
    Being able to be cast during combat makes Disperse far more appealing to me. Though I'd rather not play more than one. I want it to eat my opponent's combat tricks.

    Time Ebb has exactly one game plan, so I don't imagine I'd be drafting that deck as often.
    Contemplations: Panglacial Wurm , Using Morph , White Weenie
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