I'd be willing to take the reins on a ranking project mirroring (or similar to) the last one we did 2-3 years ago (though help would be appreciated) so that we can determine where things stand through M20. I believe it is safe to say that none of the M20 cards would make a top list which is why I think it is safe to proceed even if M20 only just came out. I'd like to see how people would rank cards at this point in time. In the past we've done a top 20 per color/colorless and top 10 per guild, and I can't recall what we did for 3+ colors. I tend to be a purist in that I think cards should be considered by their mana cost (e.g. Noble Hierarch is Green) but we can discuss that along with rehashing how we deal with functional reprints, using spoiler tags for lists to help encourage independent lists, and still ranking cards you may not run because your cube is unpowered, budget, etc. since what we're interested in is what is the best, not necessarily what do you run (though of course that will inform your rankings which is unavoidable and that's okay). I know there were a few other logistical matters that we will need to sort out as well (voting period lengths, etc.). Ideally, I'd like to kick off the project next Monday if people are interested.
Let me know your thoughts and considerations for this and hopefully we can get it on! =D
Thanks for taking this on. I'd be very interested in another Top 20 project. I'd be willing to help, but I'm not the most tech savvy person so depending on what you need I may or may not be the right person.
My quick thoughts:
1. Lands and artifacts that require a certain color to function should go in that color. e.g. Vedalken Shackles is blue; Treetop Village is green.
2. Functional reprints should be counted at the same cost so we don't have Ravages of War and Armageddon taking two slots.
3. 10 per guild is more than enough. For tricolor, we could rank overall top 10 or maybe vote on top 3 per trio.
4. Need to establish how to rank "best." I think last time we did it by measuring how likely you are to win if the card resolves.
Thanks for trying to get the ball rolling on this, BlackWaltz3!
Great, seems like there is enough interest to get this going.
So, this is the initial plan then--it can still be changed as needed.
1) Only cards up thorugh M20 will be elligible for consideration - I believe we will conclude before the next set, but just in case I wanted to state this.
2) Voting will go from Monday to Friday (beginning July 15th) for each color/colorless/enemy guilds/allied guilds/tricolor/lands. Saturday and Sunday will be to calculate, organize, and present results. (So should be 10 weeks). This gives people plenty of time to be involved each week and also gives me a breather in between categories.
3) Each color, colorless, and lands will be top 20. Guilds are top 10. Tricolor is top two per trio (this can be 3 if people think tricolor goes deep enough for it, I'm not sure it does.) Be aware the guilds weeks are going to take everyone some time as even with the allied/enemy split you still have to come up with 50 cards for those weeks - top 4 to 5 probably won't be too hard, but it gets harder from there.
4) I don't think I'm going to do an overall top 20 ranking if that is okay as it doesn't really provide a ton of value in terms for cube designers and it pushes us into an 11th week.
5)Colors will generally be determined by their mana costs. So Yasova Dragonclaw is Green, Noble Hierarch is Green. Exceptions to this will be artifacts and lands that are color specific such as Vedalken Shackles and Treetop Village which will be Blue and Green respectively. (I'm not sure where this leaves cards like Bomat Courier or Scrapheap Scrounger--I don't think those will make lists, but it might be good to determine this ahead of time).
6) Functional reprints will be slotted together so don't list Armageddon and Ravages of War separately. Same for Wildfire/Burning of Xinye.
7) I'm okay with that definition for best if that is what people want. I think it's a bit narrow. I'd like something that incorporates frequency with which you would maindeck the card or cards that critically impact the game even if they don't win when resolved (e.g. Hexdrinker).
8) Lastly, I'd like people to try to use spoiler tags if possible to encourage people to try to generate their lists independently. I know the temptation is strong to see if you're in line with the consensus prior to the results, but I think we could stand to learn more if people resist the temptation to look at others rankings as a guide for their own. To be clear, I'm not calling anyone out and it is completely valid to look at someone's list--perhaps as a reminder of a card you don't run, but should be in the top 20 or whatnot, but I'd like to avoid any leading and let the results speak for themselves as best they can.
Thanks for the feedback so far. Please keep it coming. The more we can plan ahead of time, the less wonkiness we have mid-project. =D
It would also be nice to not be pedantic about Wrath of God being a strictly better Day of Judgment, and lump those two together as well.
And I don't want to step on your toes, BW, since this is your project, but I disagree with your categorization priorities. I know this is a decades-old fight at this point, but we really ought to consider context in cards rather than strictly adhering to mana costs. Kird Ape is not a red card in any meaningful sense, in the same way that Yasova Dragonclaw is not a green card. From your logic, it follows that Lingering Souls should be considered a white card, and Alesha, Who Smiles At Death should be considered a red card, even though neither of those cards would go in decks without their secondary colors.
I actually agree with WOG and DOJ being put together as regeneration is a major corner case in cube. Like, isn't it just Thrun we are talking about here? I mean Wildfire and Burning of Xinye have been lumped together, but a Boros Charm only works against one of these, but again, it is a major corner case.
I don't disagree with you entirely, but I also don't know how meaningful it is to break this down card by card especially where there is so much disagreement as to the categorization. If most everyone agrees that Kird Ape, Alesha, and Yasova are Guild/Tricolor cards then this is fine with me. I still don't think Noble Hierarch should be anything but Green as its value isn't contingent on playing Bant or any of the color pairs within. At least with the others (including Souls) their value is markedly contingent on having at least one or both of the other colors in your deck.
I would vote for classifying everything where it's intrinsically best. Including Hierarch in Bant and phyrexian mana in its respective color.
I also think it's time to eliminate the notion of voting for "best" cards. It's too subjective and cubes are too different for the results to be meaningful. People should list their 20 favorite cube cards in each color, and the "ranking" should be based on frequency of appearance. That way, no matter how you measure quality, what metrics you use to subjectively determine "best" or why you consider cubing a card, people can look at a list of the 20 white cards that cube players/managers like the most. For me, there's a strong correlation between the most powerful cards and the cards I think are the "best" cards to cube with. But that's not the case for everybody. By the time you try to meaningfully filter through the results, every voter is using a different metric to determine "best" anyways that the results have basically lost all meaning.
tl;dr - I think we should make lists of our favorite cube cards instead of the "best" cube cards.
Summary of Remaining issues
1) Voting Period (Is M-F) for each respective section okay? Saturday and Sunday will be to calculate and present the results thread prior to the next voting category being posted.
2) Guilds- Are people okay with doing all ally and then all enemy 10 cards deep? We have done it this way in the past, just want to be sure this is still okay.
3) Tricolor - How deep do we want to go here. A single card, two cards? Keep in mind people will choose different cards so we will still get to see the alternates.
4) Card Classifications - This is always the hardest one. I think my inclination is to uphold the guidelines from 2016 for cards up to then (with the exception of WOG and DOJ which will be combined). Makes my life easier. As for Hierarch which is probably the most controversial in terms of classification, I still hold that while it is optimal in Bant (or selesnya/ simic), it is played in any base green ramp deck and should be evaluated accordingly. Furthermore, if we classify Hierarch as Bant, I don't have to look into a crystal ball to tell you it takes #1 Bant card. It is a lot more interesting to see where it rates within green. In 2016, it was 13th. I don't know if we have too many other new cards that are going to present an issue in terms of classification, if people can point them out beforehand if they can think of one it would be very much appreciated. The only ones I'm aware of are Bomat Courier and Scrapheap Scrounger which I'm unsure how to classify (though I don't know that they are top 20 material either, but maybe to someone they are?).
5) Ranking criteria: I think we can more broadly define best, but I don't want to go down the "favorite" road since we're trying to examine what we consider to be strongest overall and the word favorite has a tendency to produce a lot more outliers that will really change how our results look. Part of the fun of this project is to see evolving opinions from the last time this was done and should we change the criteria too much, this doesn't really allow us to do so effectively. This is the biggest thing we need to nail down in the next few days and I'd love more input so we can have a great definition here to guide us in determining our ranking criteria. I'd like the definition to be a bit more expansive than 2016's but not so much so that the results can't effectively be compared to our previous rankings.
I'd rather get useful and accurate data instead of getting new bad data to compare to old bad data. Historically, the voting has always produced data that was very skewed and imperfect. So if we make the objective data less ...subject to differing metrics, we'll get better data in the long run.
Basically, the ranking system is trying to extract objective data from subjective metrics.
I don't see it that way. I think the results are still subjective, but if enough people are involved the average gives us a pretty strong picture of how we collectively view cards from a large scale perspective. I think a ton of people found the 2016 results to be useful and not "bad data". I was one of them, which is why I have wanted to revive this ranking project for awhile and am thankful I now have a good window and the time to do so.
That always baffles me. Just because the card would still be in the cube if it only tapped for G doesn't mean that its Bant identity doesn't influence the value of the card. There are absolutely decks that I play Hierarch in that would not play a Llanowar Elves. The fact that it taps for those specific types of mana influences how the card is played. For the same reason I might play Coldsteel Heart in a Bant shell that wouldn't play a Moss Diamond; mana fixing properties can influence what kinds of decks play the card.
If we weren't going to vote on tri-colored cards at all, I could see including Hierarch in Green so that it doesn't get excluded from voting. But since we are going to be voting on Bant-identifying cards, I see no reason to vote on it anywhere else. It's just as much of a Bant card as Probe is a blue card or Legionnaire is a white card, and that's where we'd classify those cards...
That always baffles me. Just because the card would still be in the cube if it only tapped for G doesn't mean that its Bant identity doesn't influence the value of the card. There are absolutely decks that I play Hierarch in that would not play a Llanowar Elves.
Noble Hierarch adds value to Bant, sure, but you don't need to be Bant to gain the full value of Noble Hierarch just like I don't need to be 5-color to gain the full value of Birds of Paradise.
Which is fine. But 2 things there. 1st, there's nothing intrinsic about Birds that makes it one specific combination of colors. It's just as good in Bant as it is in Jund. 2nd, we don't have a 5-color section. So just like with Hierarch, it gets classified and voted on in the section that is both included in the cube and included in the voting. Intrinsically, Birds is good in every combination of colors, instead of a specific combination of colors like Hierarch is. It's the same reason that I consider City of Brass to be a colorless card and Azorius Signet to be a W/U card. The former isn't intrinsically bound to a color or combination of colors the way that the latter one is. The only color intrinsically tied to Birds is green.
The fact that Hierarch is Bant is more meaningful than the fact that phyrexian-mana cards are associated with their respective colors. I can confidently say that Hierarch has meaningfully tapped for W and/or U more often than I've paid W for Legionnaire or U for Metamorph. So the argument that those should be in their respective colored sections but Hierarch should be green makes zero sense to me.
Again, if we weren't voting on Bant, Hierarch should go in green. Since we are though, I think it should go there. There's more meaningful cube cards to vote on in green anyways; I'd rather see what green's 21st card is than what Bant's 4th card is, since that's far less likely to be relevant than the former.
Would you then consider Avacyn's Pilgrim or Elves of Deep Shadow to be a guild card? I know I wouldn't. Yeah, it's better in a deck playing white/black, but the bigger deal is that it ramps. This is even more true with Hierarch because the fixing is even better, but primarily we came for the ramp and even if I'm playing Jund this almost certainly makes the cut.
Luckily you will be able to see Green's 21st card because I will likely do the spreadsheet thing that was done in 2016, but unless there is some groundswell against classifying Hierarch as Green rather than Bant, I think I need to get answers on the other more pressing questions as detailed above and I would love your input on those.
Okay, fair enough. I appreciate your point of view, but I don't think it is the prevailing view and if it is people can surely let me know Really would appreciate your take on the other questions I raised in my earlier post. Voting timing windows, etc. Also, might need to consider how we are dealing with Nexus now that it is live....should we restrict the results to the one's posted here or should I bring in the new site and count those results as well?
I've never taken part in one of these before, mostly because I'm more of a lurker, but as someone with a janky, non-traditional cube who largely talks to curators of other janky and/or non-traditional cubes both in person and online, I don't feel like my input would be valid or useful with a "power level" list. I don't run Power, I don't run Moxen, and I don't run cards just because they're straight gas, so how do I know whether Land Tax or Monastery Mentor is a better "15th best white card" in that environment?
That said, MTGSalvation seems to have a pretty strong lean towards the power-level cube, where "but is it -strong-" is the most relevant criteria for inclusion, so I don't want to hate on the idea of a power level list here.
OTOH, if you want a list of "top 20 white cards that fit in a bunch of decks", or "top 20 white cards that lead to interactive games" or "top 20 white cards that make for meaningful decisions during the draft", now I'm happy to vote as my experiences are relevant to that. To have a list of straight power is only considering one axis of cube design, an axis that is being edged out as cube is getting more popular and people are wanting to do their own thing. From my own experiences, the 10-cards list of multi archetype all-stars and the descriptions of cards within was -way- more influential to my cube and how I consider cards for inclusion than every single one of the power rankings lists on this forum, and that post and approach to archetype-based design seems to have been abandoned in discussions here.
Still, just one voice, and there are room for many. For what it's worth, I agree with hoodwink and wtwlf on colour identity even if my own cube has Lingering Souls as a white card (forgive me)
This is why I like the idea of people's lists of their "20 favorite white cards for the cube" because you can use whatever metric you want! People could then review that list and see which cards most cube folks consider to be their favorites for inclusion. I think it would be a more helpful cube-building tool than a top-20 list by some arbitrary/inconsistent powerlevel metric that nobody can possibly agree on.
Quote from Marl Karx »
You want to classify according to color identity (or even stricter than that, since even Commander fudges on extort)
I classify cards based on whatever specific color or combination of colors they're intrinsically best in. If there isn't one, it goes in colorless. This winds up excluding 5-color classifications since "all colors" isn't a specific color or combination of colors.
There's a lot of overlap with the commander/EDH "color identity" classification, I'd assume. But I don't know the intricate details on how those work, to be honest. I don't play commander.
Just my 2 pence, but I like the idea of voting on cards that can be cast by a single color but have tribrid like abilities to be voted on in both sections. I think this would give the most useful information to members of the community. Most cubes that are small can't run a card in each shard but are still probably interested in looking at Noble Hierarch, but cubes that are big enough and run cards for each shard / clan etc maybe inclined to include it there.
Every time one of these projects comes up, these organization debates resurface. FWIW, I agree with wtwlf on pretty much everything here.
The organization style he mentions makes the most sense to me. Costs green, taps for a white? That's a Selesnya card. Why? Well, because when I'm playing Selesnya is when that card is at its best. Will it see play in a Gruul deck? Sure, occasionally that deck will fall short on mana dorks and need to play a Boreal Druid to make up for it. But that's certainly not where it's at its best.
On the subject of voting criteria, I think a top 20 list would have more value if the cards on that list were quite literally something a new cuber could refer to and get a good idea of what the most played / most loved / best cube cards for that respective color are. Someone who is completely new to the format should realistically be able to refer back to these lists and find a nice starting point for the cube cards in each other that we veteran cubers tend to prefer. Obviously, cube is what each of us makes it out to be and everyone's cube will (and should) be at least a little different. But a top 20 list for each color as a starting point for my new cuber brain way back in 2007 would have been a priceless resource.
On a similar note, last December I took it upon myself to re-up a project from the previous year to find the average peasant cube list among active MTGS forum posters. Don't get me wrong, this was a ton of work for me and I completed it while off from work on vacation around the holidays. In a nutshell, I just pulled lists that had been updated recently then consolidated that data in Excel and spit it back out as an Average Peasant Cube on CubeTutor. Doing this meant that it didn't matter if someone had Faerie Conclave in their land section instead of in their blue section. As long as it was somewhere in the list it got a point toward how many cubers included it. The final organization was my prerogative because I was the one uploading to CT, but that didn't matter. If you check the CT list you can see that Faerie Conclave is a popular cube card. If you disagree with where I sorted it, that's fine, but based on numbers, it's at least a card you should consider. The data I got from this comparison project was really interesting and actually made me give several cards a second (or sometimes third) look based on how popular they were among trusted cubers here. The point of this is to say that, if I wanted to, right now I could refer to that data and see what the top twenty white cards for peasant cube are as of Dec 2018. Doing it this way removed both the organization debate and criteria of the vote factors from the discussion. It's quite literally just a "played in X cubes" list sorted by most to least, which I think can provide more value than having multiple people submit top twenty lists all using different criteria. If you compare 30 cubes and all 30 are running Card X, then that's probably a good cube card. If you compare 30 lists and only two of them are running Card Y, then maybe that card is a little more niche.
I'm not advocating that you take on such a big project, but I do think data like this that really doesn't have a chance of being tainted by human interpretation is more valuable. It's literally just numbers.