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  • posted a message on Does banning fast mana make for better games?
    On the Gaea's Cradle comparison, it's an issue of consistency. Sheldon on card's he'd ban if he had to (http://www.starcitygames.com/article/27949_Cards-Id-Ban-If-I-Had-To.html):

    My third category is "too much mana too easily," cards that generate mana at a higher ratio than is healthy. This is different than "too much mana too quickly." It still takes some investment for this third category, but instead of mana getting additive, it gets multiplicative. The banner-carrying card here is Cabal Coffers. Cabal Coffers leads to fifteen mana on turn 7 tomfoolery, and I'd prefer to see games develop a little more slowly. Once the game turns the corner on turn 10 or so, I'm fine with it creating 50 or 100 mana, but that explosion in the mid-turns leads to yawn-inspiring games.

    The card that doesn't go here is Gaea's Cradle. I think the situations that it creates too much mana too early or too much too easily at the wrong time are rare enough to not be a cause of concern. Yes, it can happen, but there has to be a sufficient star alignment for it to come about that I don't see it as worrisome (ditto for Serra's Sanctum). I'm not quite sure about Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. I suspect that it's in the Gaea's Cradle category, although closer to Cabal Coffers. I'd want to see more evidence of brokenness, so I wouldn't make it one of my forced ten.


    I agree. For Cradle to power out an game-winning Tooth & Nail entwine before Turn 4, you need to have spent turn 1 and 2 on something like Magus of the Candelabra and a card that creates 3 other creatures. And you have to have both Cradle and T&N. Speaking of God-hands, that's 5 cards + 2 land necessary by Turn 3. So essentially, it's not happening before Turn 4. After Turn 4, that's more than enough time for Control in this format to set up with a 3cmc counter or removal. And at that point, it really doesn't matter what type of Control it is, either. It just needs high enough answer density to have 1 or more counterspells or removal cards < 3cmc by Turn 4. That is not hard.

    Sol Ring and Mana Crypt don't rely on setup, and can turn a really high number of hands into game-breakers without trying. And whatever they do, they are always broken before Turn 4.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [[Official]] Discussion of the Official Banlist
    I don't think Painter's Servant is overtly prone to creating "unfun" game states, though. I will give that Lifeforce deck credit because it's 2 unique cards and doesn't win the game. Actually sounds like fun.

    What I do know though is that Painter's Servant/Grindstone is a playable combo in ... wait for it... Legacy.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [[Official]] Discussion of the Official Banlist
    Quote from papa_funk
    Quote from Jusstice

    So essentially, there is already some evidence that the RC did at one point take cues from the Legacy bans.


    Way back in the early days, the idea of using the Legacy list as a baseline was floated a couple times, but quickly discarded. Taking inspiration from Legacy - arguably the format most antithetical to Commander - seems counterproductive. Any overlap is coincidental.


    Well, what could any possible criteria for Metalworker be besides one combo where it spent time on the Legacy list? Same thing with Balance, Protean Hulk and these other cards that spent time in a Legacy combo deck? I mean as far as I've heard it explained, things are put to an RC vote. Who would put them to a vote and for what reason, if not the fact that they were wrecking Legacy at some point?

    On Legacy being antithetical to Commander, if it were apples to oranges, sure. But it's linear along the same metric of power level. Say Legacy is a speed of 5 Turn win, and EDH is the speed of 10 Turn win. Any ban list that serves for the quicker speed would serve for the slower speed.

    Take car racing as an example. Maybe we have two competition classes, depending on driver performance. Only for the faster class, we also have a hard speed limit of 200 mph. Saying that you can't apply the same 200 mph to the slower competition class, based on the idea that they're different, makes no sense. So what you would have is a driver putting rocket engines and all sorts of things not allowed in the higher competition class due to the 200 mph speed limit, and then using them in what's supposed to be a lower competition class. Demonic Tutor for Survival, wank wank. That looks as silly in EDH as a jet engine would look on a NASCAR track.

    I just don't see anything on that list the EDH absolutely NEEDS to have, and a ton of stuff that's conspicuously not casual.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [[Official]] Discussion of the Official Banlist
    Quote from cryogen

    I still don't understand why the Commander RC should take cues from a format which is designed for competitive 1v1 play and the goal is to kill your opponent as quickly as possible. The two ban lists are almost polar opposites, and many of the cards which are shared are simply banned in this format due to their price being the tipping point. The only similarity between the two formats is the available card pool. If your group plays Commander as a race to kill each other the fastest, then maybe you SHOULD adopt a Legacy ban list. But Commander is intended to be a less competitive, longer game and almost every card on the Legacy ban list is not ruining games in Commander.


    Well, aside from Demonic, Mystical, Vampiric, Sol Ring, Crypt, on and on...?

    I mean, despite all the legalese trying to dodge around this fact, there is such a thing as abstract "power level". Maybe not entirely "abstract", because it's still relative to other cards, but certainly relative to how a card will be used along with the set of 15,000+ other possible cards. Regardless, there is some element of power that is not very relative at all, and it will always be the case because of the nature of a card game where you draw 7 to start, and 1 per turn after. Certain cards in that construct will always be exceptionally powerful. Demonic Tutor is busted everywhere it shows up. It's more busted the more combo-style a deck is, but it is still busted everywhere else.

    The Legacy competition committee keeps its eyes on cards like that. They also keep their eyes on decks as a whole, which decks may only be playable in 60 card 4-max, but they do keep their eyes on objectively powerful cards. The EDH RC does not. Either it refuses to, or it doesn't see itself as capable. Probably a bit of both. I've heard it said that if they were ever to think about banning Vampiric and Demonic, that they would have no idea how to stop the slide down the slippery slope of banning Diabolic Tutor as well. I mean, Diabolic? A card that has never been played anywhere in a serious way? This crew still feels it appropriate to make that comparison. As if 2 extra mana and 2 extra turns for Control to get its counter wall up is just a wash. What are you doing playing non-ramp cards before Turn 4, you Spike? It's literally no difference to this crew if combo goes off Turn 5 or Turn 9. So bottom line, the RC has no comprehension of "power level", has denied that it exists, and so cards that are clearly out of hand in terms of abstract power level will continue to run amok, while the Legacy committee has taken no small amount of care to fish these things out.

    Taken from the other end, is there any one of these cards that screams out and demands to be included in a "casual" format? Goblin Recruiter? Who sees a Necropotence laid down on the other end of the table and thinks to themselves, "Oh great, I love casual games!". If it's warranted a power-level ban in Legacy, it is just not a casual card.


    Quote from Donald
    I look at the Commander banlist sort of like a guideline containing examples of types of cards that are generally frowned on in casual play. Not very useful for balancing the format for competitive play but that's fine because that's not the purpose of their banlist. It's about encouraging building fun decks for casual play and it seems like it does a good job of doing that as it stands. Since I don't think it's broke I'm not in favor of trying to fix it.


    As for the spirit of the ban list, certainly I've heard it before that it's a guideline. But on the other hand, it's talking out the other side of the mouth for the RC to mention how WotC employees and such would come up to them expressing concern about how the SP/PT bans were going to affect their private games. If it is really just a guideline and no more, then people wouldn't be so concerned about it. The reality is that it's got the same weight of authority as the ban list of any other format. WotC promotes EDH through specific product releases, and it supports playing the format on MTGO. WOTC and the RC both know that the game is being played across hundreds of public settings, by people with no play experience with one another. But to hear Sheldon tell it on SCG, you have to find your own private playgroup, whether online or off, in order for the format to work right.

    If the format working right is no winning before Turn 10, games where Diabolic Tutor is the exact same as Demonic for all intents, then they're probably right. But if working right is fun and interactive games, they are selling their own format short if they believe that no set of rules will make it suitable for public games. There is a conscious decision not to support public play. Not even the most obvious power-level bans are being made. So complete unplayability in a public setting is a totally fair price to pay in their minds to keep intact each player's private right to insist on not having to deal with things that win before Turn 10. Nevermind that fun, interactive, and creature-based games are to be had well within that turn window. The ban list just isn't doing anything to resolve that conflict, in either direction.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [[Official]] Discussion of the Official Banlist
    Quote from Cheethorne
    Quote from Jusstice
    The main advantage is administration.


    From your description I would think that you're saying that the main advantage is that it "fixes" the format in a way that you don't think the RC is going to do, thus partially removing them from the equation.

    And that's fine as far as it goes, but even if I think more cards should be banned, I would think that banning them individually is the better way to go than a blanket adoption of the Legacy banned list. There are just too many cards on it that don't need to be there and since the RC still has to ban cards on top of that list, that seems like it would be just as unwieldy. I mean, its not like most people that understand the format can't quickly list off the worst of the fast mana cards. If we wanted to ban them, than just ban them, but the RC is not really interested in making a balanced format, for better or worse, which is often very frustrating for people.


    Well, it wouldn't have to be unwieldy, it's only that the RC is more or less refusing to look at balance issues. If they could look at a card like Frantic Search and make the determination that's it's not a problem the way it is in Legacy, then fine. But they are not even taking the fact of cards being banned in Eternal formats as a cue that they should be looking at it in the first place. So fast mana, <2 cmc tutors, and busted CA engines like Necropotence and Survival aren't drawing any more eyes, despite having been called out as broken by competition committees that actually look at balance.

    Meanwhile, it's hard to say that the current regime isn't itself at least at this level of unwieldy, anyway. Stuff like Protean Hulk, Metalworker, Balance are just different looking bans that the recent roll-out of Sylvan, Prime Time, G-brand, and Sundering Titan. Whether the dates make sense to some or not, their time on the Legacy banlist did precede their bans in EDH. And it's hard to have any real, independent criteria for a ban like Metalworker or Balance, which just like the Mind's Desire combo pieces, are not game-breaking at all outside of 60 card, 4 max.

    So essentially, there is already some evidence that the RC did at one point take cues from the Legacy bans. That itself has already created this incongruity. But somewhere along the line, the RC decided that basically any deck winning before 10 could be considered unsporting, looked at what needed to be banned to make that happen, then abandoned whatever inclination they had to look at other formats. Wrong decision, imo.

    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Basic/Nonbasic Land Count for Back to Basics
    I've run it before in tri-color. So definitely any mono-color can work it. If even Wildfire effects are good, B2B is way better than those. Is this single or multi?
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Does banning fast mana make for better games?
    Quote from Donald
    Quote from Jusstice

    This is pretty interesting, and I think I agree. Even thinking as casual as possible, I am a lot more loathe to give up on a huge 6-drop density if I have a Sol Ring and a Mana Crypt in my deck. With ramp that busted, there's not as much reason to run a trim curve, because really, you are going to be over-budget on mana when you do draw Sol Ring unless you have some giant things. You can be sitting there with a near empty hand on Turn 4 if your average CMC is less than 3, because you're playing 2 spells a turn from Turn 2. At that point, you'd rather have a Rampaging Baloths than a few 4/4's at 3 mana. Or worse, you're wiping lands on Turn 3 because your deck's over budget with just one of these rocks.

    Even adding Mana Vault you still don't have enough broken ramp to run 6 drop.dec simply because you don't have enough of it in your deck to be consistent. I tend to play low curve decks and these cards are still fantastic because they let me vomit my hand before I refuel with a draw spell and are just generally broken on just about any turn if you have a deck full of tutors and wheels.


    Well, there are plenty of high-powered cards at 3cmc and less, it's just that they're not Timmy creature-style cards. On those, there's a pretty steep incline in power as you go from 3cmc to 6. Take a creature like Loxodon Smiter, which is considered efficient in this game for 3cmc but generally won't be played in EDH. You can get something like Hound of Griselbrand for 1 more mana, and at 6 mana you can get a steady stream of 4/4's with something like Rampaging Baloths or Sun Titan. Most of the playable 3cmc creatures are ramp, draw, or other such cards. Even Goyf and TNN are not played in EDH. That's the difference of a Sol Ring. But in non-creature slots, you've got Demonic Tutor versus Diabolic, and generally just a lot better stuff for this format in non-creatures. So even decks with low curves, they are mostly gas, mostly pointed at trying to access stuff like Sol Ring more quickly in the event that they have any kind of creature-based win condition.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Does banning fast mana make for better games?
    Quote from Golden
    Yep. I actually think the primary upside of banning ramp would be the return of more interaction in turns 1-3, which is often lacking in EDH where those turns are spent ramping or setting up. Playing early game action that isn't either ramp/draw/stax often feels like a mistake in EDH. Take away some ramp and I think that changes, as you don't stand to see your 1-3 drops get outclassed so quickly and reliably.


    This is pretty interesting, and I think I agree. Even thinking as casual as possible, I am a lot more loathe to give up on a huge 6-drop density if I have a Sol Ring and a Mana Crypt in my deck. With ramp that busted, there's not as much reason to run a trim curve, because really, you are going to be over-budget on mana when you do draw Sol Ring unless you have some giant things. You can be sitting there with a near empty hand on Turn 4 if your average CMC is less than 3, because you're playing 2 spells a turn from Turn 2. At that point, you'd rather have a Rampaging Baloths than a few 4/4's at 3 mana. Or worse, you're wiping lands on Turn 3 because your deck's over budget with just one of these rocks.

    People think that banning artifact mana would put Green even more ahead a a ramp color, but I'm not so sure. Green runs these mana rocks itself anyway, and is even running a higher curve than it otherwise would because it has access to them.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [[Official]] Discussion of the Official Banlist
    Quote from Fedders
    Jusstice's approach seems the easiest way to resolve some issues. Yes you lose a few cards that have no reason to be banned, but then administering the banlist is just so much easier. And you can still have things like Griselbrand, PT, SP, Biorhythm banned. Out go all the 1-2 CMC hard tutors and fast mana rocks. Seems real easy to implement. The RC should announce it for a test run.


    Basically this.

    I get that 60 card 4-max produces problem cards that are not problems in 99-singleton. I also get that some cards like PT cause problems with "fun" in EDH rather than competition, and those should be banned as well. I wasn't suggesting that EDH bans be limited to Legacy bans, only include the Legacy bans. Essentially, it would start there but not end there.

    The main advantage is administration. Some guy in Alaska who only plays creature-ball decks might think that Mystical Tutor is a silly card, and not ban-worthy at all. It would be great if that creature-ball player had an idea of what play was like in other groups. But good sense being such a rare quality, and one that human beings have always found more or less impossible to transfer, you really don't want to have to engage with that guy about why Mystical Tutor is busted. Just on the last page, Memory Jar was discussed between two well-meaning, experienced players with a different opinion on how unbalancing the card was. There will probably also be holdouts on cards like Necropotence and Survival of the Fittest. But if a categorical ban is overbroad and gets a card like Frantic Search, sure, most people consider it just fine, but banning it is just a price you have to pay for the efficiency of taking Legacy bans as a whole. Honestly, all of these cards that are banned in Legacy but obviously not broken in EDH are not very widely played, and are often even suboptimal. So, there would be no huge outcry if something like Black Vise dropped out of the format. I think the efficiency there is worth it, because despite the incongruity, at least the competition committee for Legacy is actually interested in policing the format of delinquent, unbalancing cards. The RC is overtly committed to avoiding that. So, we are left with a Vintage minus Power-9 baseline that's not suitable at all for a balanced format, even if people are trying in good faith to strategize against one another.

    A Legacy baseline just makes more sense for a "Casual" or "Social" format, anyway. If it's too cutthroat or powerful to be allowed in a fast-paced, combo-rich Legacy format, who's going to see the same card as sporting and fun in Casual?

    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [[Official]] Discussion of the Official Banlist
    Quote from cryogen
    Quote from Jusstice
    Quote from Titanscross

    So you are saying that cards like Falling Star and Flash are unhealthy for the format while cards like Worldfire and Karakas would be good for it? Commander definitely need its own ban list.




    Ok, I guess I didn't make it back in time for all the affirming the consequent fallacies.

    What I said was that EDH should adopt the Legacy bans and Vintage restrictions. I didn't say that EDH should stop making its own bans in addition to those.

    Quote from cryogen


    Lastly, let's just nix this mentality of using the Legacy ban list. They are two TOTALLY different formats. If you disagree, then please explain to me how Black Vise, Frantic Search, Gush, Memory Jar, Mental Misstep, Mind's Desire, Strip Mine, Wheel of Fortune, and Windfall are breaking games, ignoring some of the more borderline cards I could also name.



    As for those cards banned in Legacy because of a specific deck (Frantic Search, Black Vise, Mind's Desire...), I think people should learn not to miss them. That's exactly what I mean when I advocate the Legacy banlist, that if a card is illegal or restricted in any other eternal format, the presumption should be that it's not going to be played in Casual. Instead, the presumption seems to be that Timmy gets to play with what Timmy wants, as long as it's not a 6-7 drop with an overly powerful ETB effect that people get tired of. But I have no idea who this guy is who can't play EDH without Black Vise or Frantic Search. So I have no idea why the rest of us would need to stage a debate challenging the hypothetical presumption of non-legality for Legacy banned cards if that player doesn't exist.

    Case in point, we seem to disagree about Memory Jar, for one. Goblin Welder does exist in this format, but otherwise as a 1-sided wheel effect also, it's a busted card that I've had to force myself not to play. Instead of having a town hall debate about every candidate banned in Legacy that people want legal in EDH, the presumption of illegality would do everyone just fine. After all, administrative inefficiency is part of the reason the RC stopped trying to balance the format for any games other than those between 7-drop decks. It's too hard for us to find the busted cards, so the only alternative is for everyone to just police yourselves, *wink wink*, and so on.

    I can certainly think of a lot of cards that are just fine, but I can't see any compelling argument for why any card banned in Legacy just NEEDS to be played in a casual format.


    But you still haven't answered my question. How are the cards I listed breaking games? I mean, that's the criteria used for banning a card. So if they are so powerful that they have to get banned in Legacy, surely you can name at least one deck where Mental Misstep is a powerhouse.


    Breaking games being the criteria, first, let me be the contrarian this time and say, no. A true RC lemming would know that "power level" is not a criteria.

    Even if it were though, I guess where we lose each other is that I'm proposing a new criteria. That criteria would be that if it's on the Legacy banlist or Vintage restricted, then it's banned in EDH. That's the criteria. Ovebroad, maybe. But easy to administer.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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