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  • posted a message on Modern Horizons (Updated)
    I actually hope this set would be moderately-powered at best, mainly because it's the first of its line (assuming this becomes a yearly product) and without MSRP (MTGO pricing not withstanding at the moment), how much the paper secondary market drives this will determine the series' fate in the mid-run. If by some miracle we manage to keeps our heads in the cool and let this actually successfully run at Standard MSRP prices, we might have truly "saved" Modern in the long run.

    Yes, we can say that it's just re-branded Modern Masters (despite having a completely different print pool for this run), but the fact it got "rebranded" is a very powerful opportunity in by itself. The "all-new-to-Modern-cards" might be a gimmick for the first set (or two, maybe), I don't think they're establishing it as the constant feature for the product line, so there's potential for actual reprints already legal in the format in future Horizon sets. If we successfully maintain an image of Standard booster prices for Horizon sets, the same way we do for Conspiracy/Battlebond, the day we get fetches/other desirable cards reprinted in regular-priced boosters without having to pass by Standard (which in turn means WotC is more willing to re-consider and reprint them year after year) might even become a reality.

    The fact that even the market was tired of all the tricks Masters was pulling by UMA (to the point we're basically going below MSRP) does give a little bit of confidence we might behave ourselves to set the precedent for this product line to be the "reasonably priced Modern boosters" product we've always wanted. Now all that's really left on WotC's hand is the print run guarantee... I really hope it's eating the Conspiracy/Battlebond slots because those print runs are pretty much the generous ones of the supplementary product list.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [Offtopic] Community Thread
    Quote from Hermes_ »
    so, I attempted to price cards from one of my decks and well..I just couldn't go through with it....

    Can't confirm until you answer, but are you stuck between the point of "spent time/money/effort fallacy (especially since we all know how much more it'll cost to rebuild again)" and "but it's useless to keep the deck if I don't even get out and play at all"? Also, how many decks do you have?

    I'm not going to say this is a fix-all solution (especially when I haven't confirmed anything) and nor that it's the cheapest option (in fact it may be the other way round depending on how vast is your collection/number of decks), but keep at least 4 decks to form what I call an "Apocalypse Constructed EDH Cube" and preferably of around the same power-levels as well (as opposed to the typical suggestion of having decks of varying power to suit the LGS/environment).

    Constructing a "board game" environment of your own making is my not-so-elegant solution to justifying staying in this position - like a Cube, it doesn't require you to go out for games (just get friends around and you can basically start a game) and justifies the effort you put into the format prior while allowing you to "retire" of sorts. Of course, the price you pay is not getting money out of selling your cards, but if you couldn't bear to do that in the first place, what's the practical difference? The actual price we pay dearly for is that the format itself basically demands 4 (100-card) decks at minimum for its construction (unless you opt for the 1v1 route, but at that point that becomes the application for most other formats some people adopt as well).

    Of course, one could argue if you seldom use this "Cube" it'll be also rather "worthless" (while costing more to build initially), but the actual point of contention is it's also more resistant to you-stopping-going-to-outside-games/LGS-closing/game-crashes-completely scenarios. With a "Cube" you still get grab a deck out of the four to go for games on the occasions you do, while the retained existence of the other 3 is justified despite not being played.

    Eh, I probably just psyched myself with the reason (and the whole thing, actually), but at the very least I'm proud of my decks regardless of some much play they actually see and honestly if I'm going to keep them regardless, I'd rather psych myself with such pride and positivity rather than the other way round and if the Cube-structure/concept helps reinforcing that, I go along with it.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Discussion Thread for the Rules Committee Commander Advisory Group
    Quote from Forgotten One »
    And I think that there is nothing wrong with them being content providers. They are already public figures and a familiar face to certain segments of the Commander community, they have a built-in forum for disseminating information or opinions, and they have access to lots of player feedback as part of what they do. Seems to me like these would be the kinds of people who you can go to not just hear their own opinions, but that they would also have a hand on the pulse of their audience.

    While the realistic (and what I believe to be correct) decision is to simply wait it out and wait for the trust in the CAG to be built over time (which would greatly require the RC's efforts considering a number of us probably aren't and won't be following the CAG on their social media) and that we're currently right on the starting point of the introductory phase no less, I felt the need to express concerns upfront first so the parties involve "get the memo", many of which that stem from our general impressions of content producers, which in turn is shaped by pretty much the entirely of its industry (relation to MTG not withstanding nor specific).

    I've thought of how to phrase this "nicely" several times before, but I gave up, so I'm just going to be really blunt but with the full disclosure that it definitely isn't aimed at anyone specific nor a generalization that every content producer is like that. Alright, it basically boils down to how much content producers may be willing to "compromise" in order to garner views and because of how much time, effort and passion the industry demands of them (which is honestly a respectable thing, but hey irony), how much of said "compromising" nature seeps into their lives and becomes "second nature", so to speak.

    Throw in the fact EDH is full of grey "flexible" areas (plenty of cards we won't miss being banned but don't really care either way, yet if we were to produce an ordered list our lists would most likely be all different in order), I cannot help but wonder if feedback from content providers would end up as a "marketing tool" for themselves rather than an amplifier for the communities they interact with, because they instinctively craft how they output their words on such a frequent basis. If Card A is one of those cards they don't care for regardless of state, but their community routinely wants it banned (and it shows up on statistics relating to their content related to the topic/card), would the way they present their opinions to the RC be the same or different from the way they present it to their own communities?

    While I do trust the RC to have their own personal filters between themselves and the CAG as well (the same way they filter our opinions to begin with), I daresay content providers definitely have better skills at refining their words to appeal to a specific purpose and it's also likely much more ingrained into their lives as well due to the industry's demands. I'm doubting them sort of in the same way people further outside the details of the format like to simply accuse the RC of being an "echo chamber" of their own making, except that I'm marking the CAG as "an unknown quantity that could either be the best amplifier of their communities, or an echo chamber of wrongness if it goes wrong" and I reserve my right to "doubt first for clarity then to trust first and get burned".

    I'm making it very clear that I can see both sides of the coin, but my natural deposition tilts me to err on the side of caution in this introductory phase and therefore it is both the RC's and CAG's job to display that trust-building to me. My emphasis on the "negative" side of the coin might seem like a downer (and probably is), but it also comes from the perspective that I'm trying to make sure both the RC and CAG are aware of this themselves (and acts actively to prevent it), but as I just said, this is me erring on the side of caution rather than being a downer for the sake of being a downer.

    Sheldon, I know you had a separate thread in the main sub-forums for your own content suggestions, but since it's related very closely to this, it'll be nice to have periodical updates on your interactions with the CAG (rather than waiting for the usual update dates), so we have a clearer view on how the CAG interacts with the RC and also admittedly to assess on how the RCs filters their feedback, especially during this introductory phase (of initial doubt) and I would say this might be important as a habit down the road since you're intending to expand the CAG (and considering some of them as RC members/successors).
    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
  • posted a message on Going Infinite and "I Win" Combos Outside cEDH.
    Quote from DirkGently »
    Having a backup plan is all well and good, but I feel like you've got it backwards. The primary plan is the primary plan because it's the best one, the one with the best chance of winning. The backup plan is the next best chance of winning. And so forth. You switch to the backup plan when the chances of the first plan succeeding become lower than the backup. All these decisions are predicated on trying to win the actual game, though, and playing your best. If you've got your better plan as your secondary, then there's no logic to when you switch plans - because logically you should switch the moment the game begins.

    Maybe I'm too much of a min-maxer to make any logical sense out of what you're saying, but it sounds like the best deck in your meta would be one with a primary plan that falls apart like tissue paper, to give you the fastest excuse to start playing towards a robust combo plan that's your "backup".

    I don't follow this "when your plan falls apart" scenario though. A combo can fall apart, sure, because it's dependent on specific cards which could be removed, but if your plan is, say, "beat face with zombies" or whatever, then unless someone strips all the zombies out of your deck I'm not sure at which point you'd be incapable of acting on your plan.

    Decks without combos can, of course, have backup plans, and they don't have to be bad decks, either. People in this thread keep acting like the only alternative to including a combo is having a precon-grade deck that falls apart against a stiff breeze, when that's obviously not the case. A good deck should either have a very robust plan, or multiple backups if the primary plan becomes untenable, but there are myriad ways to do that which don't need to include a combo.

    Not that this is even specifically about combo - it's about building a deck that plays the way you want to play it, whether that's combo or something else. If you build a deck trying to do X but with backup plan Y that turns out to be stronger...then you've made a Y deck with an X backup plan, not the other way around. If you can't find a way to make your X plan the most viable part of your deck and still make your deck perform decently, then I'd say that's a failure of deckbuilding.

    As far as having answers, then I think it sort of begs the question - if you're so worried about being plan-less and having your primary wincon dismantled, then what exactly do you do if your backup combo gets answered? I would think if your goal was to avoid being stuck without a way to win, you'd want the most durable backup plan possible, not something that will presumably fall apart if a single card in answered. Which, strangely enough, is how many decks in competitive play in other formats work - fragile but powerful primary plan, with a weaker but more durable backup.

    I can tell where you're coming from and how my structure feels like it's going against some sequence of logic. Let's start with this: "The primary plan is primary plan because its the best one." There we have our first disagreement - the primary plan is the way you hope to win with, the janky brew idea(s) you intended as the deck's base and not necessarily the "best" one. The "Combo" is the backup because its the one that needs the least components in order to technically win, but if you win with said combo you are actually just "closing the game proper" than actually "winning", because you've failed to win via the primary objective.

    Yes, at the start of any given game, the backup "combo" is inherently more powerful because you can tutor for it straightaway and win, but as I said, closing the game without accomplishing your primary objective is "pointless" so to speak. Doing so while your primary objective pieces have not been disposed of is doubly insulting to the deck's brewing purpose. Of course, this is only within context of decks of equal or lower calibre - if plunged into complete cEDH, it becomes your typical logic of "best plan = primary plan... or rather, given the prevalence of removal... the decoy plan."

    I can already feel your potential cringe of the start being like that - I'm spending resources (draw, tutors) building on a weaker plan, but at the same time I'm also forced to spend the same resources on removal and the like to deal with threats (and combos if combos are someone's primary plan). By the time the primary plan is worn down to be impossible, not only do I lack the resources to promptly just summon the backup, part of several combos might have already been spent since it's important to make sure your combos aren't just "two cards stuck into the deck", each and every piece must also have synergy with the primary weaker plan.

    Let's use the zombie plan as an example (since I actually have one) - My primary plan is to beatdown with as many zombie (preferably the 2/2 tokens I collect) as possible. I do have my share of counterspells to stop wipes, but the secondary plan against wipes is to sacrifice them and let Plague Belcher/Vengeful Dead do the job (likewise, against pillowfort and the like, Shepherd of Rot is also a secondary plan). The kicker comes in when I know I have run out of resources to reliably ensure I can muster enough zombie (tokens) for either plan against the opponents' plans and/or life totals in time - now I need to use whatever resources I have (usually draw, not tutor) to find Gravecrawler and Phyrexian Altar (or Rooftop Storm and some sac outlet) and I'm potentially still screwed if either Belcher or Vengeful is completely out of the realm of recovery.

    If we're playing cEDH within the closer group and/or the new player outright declares cEDH and/or tells us to play our best, gravecrawler, altar and plague belcher might be out as early as first to third turns (depending on draw/tutors) and it would still be answered safely. In such games, the "backup" plan becomes the "decoy" plan because you expect it to fail and it's actual purpose is simply to exhaust the opponent's resources. The primary plan usually still retains because we're spending each other's removals on each other's "decoys" (hence the actual need for several backups/decoys in some decks). If I walked into a casual game doing that it would be a three-turn game at most that doesn't even accomplish the decks' primary goal because the decoy won... so it's a decoy victory and essentially as worthless as a backup/closer one (which is why they're the same).

    If I removed the teeth of the decoy/backup plans, all I'm left is the midrange grindfest that honestly makes the primary plan itself boring (especially since the combos are also interweaved into the theme - Gravecrawler is equally useful in sac-lose-life plan even when not infinite and Altar is great ramp for the deck regardless, I could replace Altar with Ashnod's instead, but it falls to the Magic Feather argument - I have the Phyrexian which is better why "cripple" myself during deckbuilding instead of when playing? Sure in theory I could swap Altars depending on the players, but in practice I usually play with people of the same caliber and my resources are already split across multiple decks of around the same level (so they can form an apocalypse constructed cube), so that means having to double unsleeve and double-sleeve the altars (and bringing said decks with each other all the time, I'm not cherry-picking cards from several other decks to form a sideboard).

    As for the "fragile part" - we're in multiplayer edh, with me tilting towards the competitive end... nothing is durable, there are answers for everything by anyone on the table (even for protective measures). The value of a decoy/closer is in how many pieces it requires to assemble so it can either outspeed removal (in cEDH), dispose of removal for the future at a low cost (decoy function) or assemble successfully in the window of opportunity that both draw and removal resources were halted by the primary plan doing well enough to demand all the attention in order cripple it down (backup/closer function). Yes, there are bad times where everything just fails and you just sit there twiddling your thumbs, but the whole design philosophy is to minimize such cases from happening, without decoys/backups, it a whole lot more common than one would imagine.

    EDIT: Spelling
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on If you were to house ban the best tutors, which would you ban?
    Quote from schweinefett »
    Wouldn't the outright banning of all "search your deck for ANY card"-style of tutors be what you're looking for?

    I mean enlightened tutor is good, but it can only search for a pretty specific type of card from your deck. banning only 1 specific tutor effect seems pretty weak when you're comparing cruel tutor, imperial seal, vampiric tutor and so on as redundancy.

    By the way, i'd say that demonic consultation should be completely ok and not banned. Since you might end up decking yourself and/or exile 3/4 of your library.

    Actually, applying a "Demonic Consultation" clause in-lieu of all search effects sounds like a plan a group could house-rule. Instead of naming a card, you name a card type (for general tutors like Demonic Tutor or multiple choice tutors like Enlightened Tutor) and filter until you hit the first card of that type, then shuffle the rest into the library (exiling as a overall rule would be too much I'd say).

    There might need to be a sub-clause for ramp cards though (since they search), depending on how prevalent ramp is in the meta and how much people want to curb it. It can go anywhere to excluding ramp from filtering, changing it to filter by basic land type (instead of card type) so Rampant Growth isn't affected as much as fetchlands are, or the heavy-handed method of literally letting Rampant Growth hit the first random basic land via filtering.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Going Infinite and "I Win" Combos Outside cEDH.
    Quote from DirkGently »
    If you enjoy playing combo, I'd say just play combo. I don't have a problem with people playing combo decks against each other if that's what they like to do. If you want to have a house rule that says "no combos until turn 6" or something, that also seems fine to me. Then people can play their best within that constraint.

    In the metaphor, this is roughly letting everyone have a magic feather. That way it's a fair, fun game. You say you don't want him to lose the feather, but if someone sits down with a combo deck you're effectively asking them to play like they don't have one. I'm not sure how this is supposed to be less disrespectful. Personally I'd rather not play at all, than be told I'm supposed to play my deck incorrectly.

    As far as people having to sit out, I'm not sure what you're trying to avoid. If most of you have multiple decks, than whatever a newcomer shows up with, you'll be prepared for it. If there are multiple players with only one deck and one has a powerful deck and one has a weak deck...well, that game was always going to suck.

    But if you wanted it to NOT suck, the better solution would be to run ANSWERS to the more powerful deck, so that you can dole out an appropriate amount of hate to bring the powerful deck down to the same level as the weaker one. Not pile on to the problem by having multiple combo decks racing to the finish line while the weaker deck has no chance at all.

    As far as deckbuilding being the same as playing, I wonder if you're willing to follow that line of thought to its natural conclusion. If someone had all the cards available to them, would you be disapproving if they DIDN'T build FCT or some similarly degenerate, win-on-turn-3 deck? They'd be holding back and you'd feel your win wasn't earned if they built anything less? Why can't people brew for the sake of brewing? I don't put combos in my deck because I want to try to win in other, more interesting ways. Deckbuilding is an experiment, and forgive me if I don't want to experiment with the same cards that have been done to death already. Also it sounds like you're holding back during play (by mutual agreement) anyway, so I'm not sure where this disapproval is coming from. Seems like everyone should just be fine with either, rather than disapproving of both.

    This is not a matter of "If you enjoy combo, play combo. If you don't enjoy combo, don't bother at all". This is our solution to "what happens if your primary plan of the brewed deck fails?" Perhaps your solution is "I'll concede and move on to the next game", but to us that is disrespectful, not letting people who still have a chance of executing their primary plan to continue doing so - what fun is there if the game ends abruptly because the first person in the pod decided to concede because he or she couldn't assemble the primary win-con? Scrambling for boring combo last-minute isn't as efficient as just T1 tutoring into it and will take time, time in which participants still on their first plan can continue to do so, whereas people who "conceded" aren't reduced to mere puppet and/or kingmaking positions.

    I said this was built and agreed upon by our circumstances - you say this lets everyone have a Magic Feather... and that is true - the core group consists of pretty much experienced players with years of experience and collections, perhaps not to the extreme (although there are a few semi-active players who does bling out their cEDh in OG foils and beta duals). The primary decks we build are all very near-competitive from the get-go and the "inverse mantra" keeps it from being outright cEDH. Again, this is not a matter of "If we enjoy playing cEDH, just play cEDH", we will do that when we feel like it - what we're doing and enjoying is "creating decks that can stretch to meet both ends of cEDh and casual in the same deck" instead of creating purely cEDH and casual decks, because we don't enjoy that.

    Perhaps I've phrased my wordings really badly to make sound hypocritical in terms of combo - if you want to play combo, go ahead, we'll definitely have the answers to stop you from doing so. The only mentality I think we're really on opposite ends is that (I think that) you think "as long as you have a combo in the deck, you should always tutor for it as fast as possible and give it your "best"... and leave combos out of your other decks trying to win in other interesting ways", whereas from our own experiences it becomes "your other interesting winning way should have back-up combo so that you would have something to strive for when the plan fails instead of ruining the actual play experience by outright conceding/kingmaking afterwards".

    The "interesting way first, combo backup" formula doesn't seem to gel with you because it feels like you're emphasizing on "as long as you have a combo, you should always combo first, otherwise it feels like you're not trying to win" whereas it gels with us because it's a formula that works in pretty much any scenario - casual, competitive and itself as well. If the point of contention is that it feels like we're "holding back" when playing casually, all you have to do is tell us and you'll face the cEDH side of the same decks. If the point of contention to that is that we don't have a purely "casual" deck, then yes, that's the whole point this whole thing was for - because we don't enjoy building "purely casual" decks with no backup, because once the plan fails, it becomes a miserable experience altogether - conceding outright is considered worse than striving for a combo-backup and kingmaking is even worse.

    Actually, I think we're just agreeing to disagree here - you pointed here our "holding back" is a mutual agreement, but my whole point of contention is that I had to say that because right before that post your suggestion was to communicate, which implies you thought we didn't (apologies if you didn't mean it that way, but I had to infer with what I have), hence the whole post there. Likewise, this recent post citing answers being important - trust me, we definitely know how important answers are, considering we originate from cEDH or at least very close to it in terms of power.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [[Official]] General Discussion of the Official Multiplayer Banlist
    Quote from Pokken »
    I don't blame people, I blame very bad card design honestly. Wizards designs these cards that break the action economy that are fine in normal matches (for a variety of reasons) but really awful experiences in multiplayer.

    I've seen Seedborn Muse also break the action economy rather badly, but honestly I don't think that's the actual reason PE would be banned for if it does get the hammer, the same way PoK wasn't actually banned for it either. PoK was so powerful it enabled action economy breaking single-handily, whereas PE and Seedborn require either an instant-speed enabler and/or plenty of instant-based plays to get breaking.

    What the RC needs is evidence that Engine is getting the majority of the format tuning their decks to take said advantage (by more instants and/or instant enablers), hence making PE fall into the category of "centralizing". Primeval Titan had an easy time being centralizing because almost everyone runs lands regardless and Prophet took longer because despite how annoying it was, creatures are statically still less played than lands and the data needed time to collate. PE and Seedborn alone rely pretty much on instants and/or instant enablers, which is another tier below (or several, actually).

    Like many other powerful enablers, PE will be a card I won't really miss if it's gone, but based on past instances, I don't think the RC has quite the sufficient amount of data to work on as of yet, especially since removing recency bias tend to spike in difficulty the less colors a card has. I don't feel the spike generally in decks that rely on instant-speed action disruption based on around snatching an Engine the same way Titan disrupted the land balance and PoK and creature balance in decks. Perhaps some metas did, but the RC has to collect data on a much larger scale before making a decision.
    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
  • posted a message on Looking for a versatile, resilient deck that wins without combat
    Alright, I'm not actually recommending this, but a lot of your points feel like they match my Grimgrin deck, so I wanted to do some comparisons.

    1) UB. You said you preferred it to be the core, which was why I thought Grimgrin fit in paricular for a comparison case.

    2) No combat. Okay, fine my Grimgrin's casual goal is amass as many 2/2 Zombie tokens as possible (I collect those and had to use them somewhere) and theoretically you could just run all of them in combat, but let's face it's unrealistic primary plan. The actual plan is get as many of them as possible out at once and use Shepherd of Rot to win. But like all creature-reliant strategies, it's easily disrupted (but then again I'm in quite a fierce meta, almost anything can be disrupted anyway).

    3) Oh boy, flavor-wise theft/clones are the theme of the deck (zombies are the functional half). I run the big three in the deck and even in the cases where there's nothing of value elsewhere to copy, Zombies is the one tribe that amplifies itself a whole more when multiplied. I generally resort my theft plans to be more of my answers to what the color combination has trouble answering past counters/bouncing though, using cards like Aura Thief for enchantments, since space gets tight once you squeeze zombies into the whole lot. As for drain, it's a side-theme at best (as mentioned, lack of space) that falls into the likes of Bontu's Monument and Gary. I do run Plague Belcher and Vengeful Dead and with Exquisite Blood you could turn it to drain, but I'd say the enchantment is too much of a trouble magnet for me to bother. I usually just run zombies into players/things with Whip of Erebos for lifegain separately.

    4) Grimgrin is a sac outlet. Not the only one of course, but it's always more reassuring to have one in the Command Zone when relying on creature/token-based strategies. Zombie tribal recursion means it's often tempting to put him into the graveyard, but sometimes Rooftop Storm makes it preferable to just pay the tax only instead.

    5) Well, I do have my sacrifice outlets to subvert anti-synergies from wipes (because cheaper wipes are almost always two-sided), but if one doesn't want to, we're in the colors of Cyclonic Rift, Plague Wind and In Garruk's Wake.

    6) Here is where it digresses. UB alone isn't exactly the fastest of colors (you're going to need all the 2-mana rocks you can find basically for the color combination) and cheap mass removal as mentioned, isn't one-sided (but it'll hurt them more than you if they're aggro-fast anyway). Honestly, if you have elfball, ramp-eldrazi and chaos-crazy decks on the same table, it'll be nigh difficult to stay stabilized between all of them even with the tools packed into the decks since there's no guarantee you'll get to them in the correct phases... especially if you're the only answer on the board. You'll basically need to draw into early mass removal to cripple the elf decks early on and load up on counterspells to deal with the likes of ramping and chaos cards.

    Just based on the digression on 6) alone I'd think one of those competitive Tasigur decks would work out better though. I'm no expert on the commander so I won't be recommending anything in particular (you can go find the Tasigur threads via the database instead), but I've witnessed variations of the decks in action myself that it feels like the correct choice here.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Combatting Ramp
    MLD has its reputation (and hence ramp is so popular generally) because people tend to prefer struggling completely futilely over being simply completely durdling. Throw in the fact people tend to be inadequately (or completely not) equipped to deal with MLD themselves, they direct their anger towards to MLD player instead ("you're losing either way" doesn't cut it to curb the anger because of my first sentence, people get angrier because they are denied their chance to struggle, even if said struggle was essentially worthless as well) and it forms a vicious cycle of people not playing MLD and not being prepared for it, which frees ramp. No one wants to play the "bad guy" in the social circle game and in groups that don't take feedback very well, honestly this cycle is pretty much unbreakable (chances are people would actually split instead).

    How easy it is to fix the problem is based on how receptive the group is to feedback to deckbuilding (in terms of being prepared for deckbuilding) and playstyle ("not attacking the open player because he or she is just ramping" is a common mistake for beginners and well there are stubborn people out there). On a individual deckbuilding level you can only do so much if the social aspect of the problem is not fixed - no amount of MLD is going to magically fix these problems. As mentioned above, in some of the most stubborn groups, perhaps the only actual individualistic solution (without playing the "bad guy") is to outramp them all and win instead.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Going Infinite and "I Win" Combos Outside cEDH.
    Quote from DirkGently »
    So (1) bring multiple decks and (2) communicate before you sit down.

    If I found out I'd won a game because someone else was sitting at the table with a win in hand and didn't play it, I'd feel like my win was tainted and I'd never want to play with them again.

    Same as above. Bring multiple decks. Communicate. Or just bring a sideboard to take in/out the combo stuff.

    MJ isn't a good comparison because that's an innate ability. You aren't intrinsically bound to your deck. If MJ had a magic feather that made him good, and without it he'd be roughly equivalent to your skill, wouldn't you rather he just ditched the magic feather and tried his heart out, rather than kept it but played like crap on purpose?

    Ah, but we did communicate - in fact what we presented to you is what came out of the communication, which is why I said it's a matter of perspective - there's no right or wrong, but the majority of the core group in my LGS agreed to this "inverse mantra". You could argue that perhaps intrinsically we are compromising and I won't deny that, but the "inverse mantra" was decided taking into account on how we would react to different newcomers to the LGS (not necessarily new players to the game/format overall, could be walk-in experienced player).

    Using the MJ and his magic feather example, I would tell you that we wouldn't want him to ditch his magic feather so just we could have a "equal" match - it would be disrespectful to the fact he has the Magic Feather and we know he does. Just like you think us playing our 75% decks and lowering ourselves to 50% to match casual to disrespectful, we think if you could improve your deck with cards you have but you didn't because you outright wanted to "match" a lower tier, to us is no different from putting it into your deck and not playing it out - in my meta, deckbuilding criticism (the good kind) is no different from questioning move decisions in-game as well - "why you didn't play out the game-winning combo" is an equal question to "why didn't you put this fitting combo we know you own into your deck" and the same answer of "I didn't want to win too easily" is met with equal lack-of-approval.

    Perhaps saying "Build competitively, play casually" as the inverse mantra is not correct - the correct order is "play casually, build competitively". Our roots lie in managing the way we play so that it doesn't cause players to outright have to divide their decks (or even worse, only have 1 deck (especially newer players) and effectively have to sit out games) into distinct competitive and/or casual decks, we seek to improve all our decks over time still. Building is primarily individualistic process (even if we do give out criticism to assist), but the playing style is a whole lot interweaved between all active players of the group. Telling a player to build a whole another deck of a different tier is a whole lot less productive than telling them our playstyle and have them try to adapt to it. Sure both require change, but we have enough proof over the years to see which one has a better retaining rate.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [[Official]] General Discussion of the Official Multiplayer Banlist
    Quote from Cainsson »

    Some decks just aren't for some kind of players. If you can't think in advance Burn isn't for you, if you can't hierarchize threats Draw Go isn't for you. The same is true of some cards like Engine, Armageddon, Cyclonic Rift, etc. They can be solid pillars of particular deck archetypes, they can be inexperiencedly durdled with by players who genuinelly want to learn the correct way to play them, or they can be played with the explicit intent of ruining the game for everyone. It's time we stop blaming the inanimate objects for the malice of toxic people within our playgroups.

    Sheldon did say "The secret of this format is in not breaking it." and I'd say its applicable to every individual card as well, but the RC has to observe that on a global scale. Many cards are powerful, and many of those are also easily breakable by individuals for want to break them for the intent but at the same time can be used "fairly". The RC has to analyze how responsibly we (as a whole) use each card and that is not an easy metric to measure.

    Not a lot of cards invoke enough "malice" across enough of the entire playerbase to get the hammer. Primeval Titan is the poster card that fell into this category and it took a very, very long time before the RC confirmed the hammer because it wasn't easy to accurately assess the data and attribute it to this factor (it was a relatively recent card between its time of print and ban).

    There are many other factors that come into play for different cards (Leovold I would attribute to how-easy-it-is-to-fall-into-said-malice instead of the typical "malice-measurements" across the board, especially due to its Commander status and Prophet is a mix of the two - too powerful to be used as an absolute staple, resulting in "fell-into-unintended-malice-of-the-masses" instead) but many of the commonly complained-about cards seem to currently fall on the safer-end of this factor.

    They also say the grass is greener on the other side and two green cards which once stood on opposite fields of grass have proved that. Both could be used irresponsibly by the entire masses like Titan was if we somehow so desired and agreed to do so, but clearly they never reached that level (and in a fit of irony the less potent-one when used fairly was the one hammered down). The RC feared Hulk more because on the basis it was easier for people to abuse it (and hence more people will) due to it being a creature but since its release turns out not a lot of people really wanted to do that (and as a result I actually see less Hulks than TNs around since Hulk was bluntly put just underwhelming when used fairly, even if it was easier to activate).

    As mentioned in the post above - EDH is MTG D&D, the RC/Banned List is not even the DM, they're the base guideline rulebook whose changes are dependent on how well the global playerbase is behaving in regards to each individual card.
    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
  • posted a message on Going Infinite and "I Win" Combos Outside cEDH.
    Quote from DirkGently »
    I've seen this inversion of the EDH mantra a couple times and it really bothers me. It's supposed to be "build casually, play competitively", not the other way around.

    Mostly I just don't understand how people could have fun following the inverted mantra. The reason the EDH mantra works is that competition is FUN. Trying your best to win at a game is a pastime that's provided enjoyment for humans since time immemorial. And as long as everyone is playing toned-down decks that don't have easy "I win" buttons, it's a good, satisfying game. I can't speak for everyone, but I wouldn't have any fun playing a deck that I knew I could win with, but intentionally held back.

    I've used this analogy in the past and I think it's apt - playing a (powerful) combo deck and holding back is like bringing a NASCAR racer to your buddy's homemade go-kart competition and trying to match your speed. It's condescending, it makes the competition feel meaningless, and I don't understand how it could possibly be fun for you. I'd much rather bring the slowest go-kart of the bunch, and have to fight tooth and nail in order to stand half a chance.

    Not to say that "playing competitively" means you're acting like it's day 2 of a GP or something. Take-backsies as long as no hidden info from your opponents was revealed, etc. is all fine. I just mean that I'm always trying to find the best play. It still doesn't need to be taken super seriously when all is said and done.

    It's all a matter of perspective. The most important thing to note about "75% / build competitively, play "casually"" (I don't claim to speak for everyone, but I guess there's some common baseline at least with others with similar mentalities) is that the primary win-con is usually by nature a casual win-con (or at least reasonable in the realm of casual) and the "competitive half" (which amounts to pretty much a couple of insta-win combos and tutors) is an adaptation tool to the competitive side of the LGS's meta. "As long as everyone is playing the same something" is not a luxury the flexible LGS walk-in scene can afford, even with core groups in the LGS tilting towards either side of the meta.

    On the "mathematical" surface level, you can say that we're not trying our best based on our decklists solely, but the 75%/inverse mantra in by itself is a social agreement within the LGS/group - we are all aware that we're playing with the primary objective of winning with methods that don't really match cEDH standards and may be higher than the typical casual standard (but can be reasonably stopped in the dimension).

    Perhaps the gap between competitive and casual isn't as wide in your meta, but 75% isn't exactly "flip a switch - I'm competitive now" - by the time you analyze that your primary plan isn't going to work, resorting to the "competitive half" is already "fighting tooth and nail to win" against decks of the same or higher caliber. Any less than this baseline, you'll be either conceding or passively doing so by durdling (or worse, kingmaking), in which by itself leaves a bad taste.

    To put it bluntly, the "competitive backup plan" is essentially us "conceding" in a twisted, yet gracious way - we admit that we aren't going to win with our preferred way, but at least we aren't to just leave abruptly or go down as puppets or kingmakers (especially considering the politics of multiplayer combined with resources of the game) and we're going to throw what is admittedly "more boring combos" as the last wall for you to overcome. Perhaps to you (and people with the same opinions), a clean concede would be neater and more polite, but from our perspective, denying our opponent the chance to play out their strategies or practically staying there as a goldfish is also disrespectful in its own way.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Cards Most Needing a C19 Reprint
    Mana Crypt. Same status as Sol Ring - banned in Legacy, restricted in Vintage. It was fair to dangle it as a carrot in EMA and as a Masterpiece for Vintage players because it was rarer than Sol Ring due to its unique origin status, but Vintage is such a narrow market comparatively to EDH I'd say it's unfair to dangle the regular versions any longer (since the Masterpiece exists).

    If the hint from upcoming Modern products indicates they're diversifying to really focus on their target markets of each group, I'd daresay Vintage is too small for most considerations and cards like Crypt should have "Commander-targeted" as their main demographic instead.

    Before anyone screams it'll aggravate the fast-mana "problem", I'd say the EMA print-run already initiated an arms race from what I saw. If it's really a problem curbed by price barriers (since EMA didn't exactly make it "cheap", just "cheaper" on the technicality), I'd rather it do a run like Sol Ring so we can properly assess how harmful is the whole situation. While Ring remains free (and has its complaints), cards like Primeval Titan did prove there is ultimately a line drawn. In fact, I'd feel a long-term "imbalance" caused by the EMA print run is more disturbing (and less likely to invoke actions since perceived barrier is no longer an active consideration of removal from the format) than if we let Sol-Crypt run amok for a while to make a proper assessment, especially now that the RC has introduced the CAG as more points of observation.

    You can feel free to disagree (and I'm sure someone will), but I won't touch on the topic here further, the statement was just a preemptive reply because I know my choice of a needed reprint is bound to lead to someone raising this particular issue and I'm just planting my opinion here beforehand - some changes require statistical motivation beforehand (as Titan proved) and I think at this point of time, Crypt is definitely one of them, regardless of which side of the argument of whether it should go you stand on. As Masters have ended and I don't see Vintage having a chance of getting the treatment Modern is hinted to get at all, I'd say it's now a bonafide Commander-focused card for WotC to reprint.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Going Infinite and "I Win" Combos Outside cEDH.
    It depends on the deck build - how confident am I that the deck's primary win-condition(s) (yes sometimes they have several) can fully execute their job. If I'm confident they can finish it by themselves, I'm less inclined to include infinite combos and vice-versa. For example, in Karador I roughly consider Jarad with Lord of Extinction to be my primary finisher despite not being infinite (and easily reduced/countered via gravehate) because generally I see Kokusho doing its midrange grinding effectively enough. Meanwhile, Alesha's equipment smashing / aristocrat drain themes often don't seem to finish their jobs even when combined, so there's like 4 infinite combos of varying levels of assembly difficulty to close the game so I won't be left durdling - but I noted to make sure the individual components of said combos also play into the main themes and I don't really keep them in-hand for the purposes of combo-ing until it's made clear I can't win traditionally, so many of my "combos" invalidate themselves by use through the game.

    In decks that rely on combos to finish the job, the active effort is there not to tutor for them for said purpose. I don't shy away from tutors either, because I find them necessary to seek answers so I can actually get the main plan moving and not just roll over to the first competitive move made in some games I encounter and even in more casual games they're used to find my card advantage generators instead to get the plan moving reasonably faster and my reliance of getting combo pieces will more often fall to these generators than tutors. That being said, my primary LGS playgroup is 75% tilting slightly towards the competitive side (but not wholly outright cEDH either), so I don't feel particularly ashamed of Tooth and Nailing into-win in a game where I fought off several other similar attempts earlier along with the knowledge there would be more coming if I don't perform one myself either. In the rarer occasions when I play with the more casual groups (due to timings of when I visit the LGS), I adjust my playing style accordingly.

    The RC advocates "Build casually, play competitively", but I find that only works within the same tier of "Built Casually" and in a vacuum of the LGS (even with a core pool of regulars), those don't align as well. There are enough "flexible" cards in "competitive tier" that I personally adopted a "Build nearer-competitively-than-casually, then play according to the group in question" and that reflects in my choice of cards like Tooth and Nail over Protean Hulk (TN can bring about legitimate non-infinite threats in casual settings while generally Hulk feels underwhelming when not combo-ed, but that's based on my own decks only, though the idea I'm trying to convey is still there).
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Can EDH be 'Almost (or somewhat, even minimally) solved'?
    In the strictest, most methodical/mathematical way, the format can actually be "solved"... except with the caveat that there are "brain-dead" restrictions placed on some decision maneuvers and the acceptance that the end result of any given simulation via such a restriction is essentially utterly useless since the restriction by itself outright goes against the real-life unpredictability of an actual player's reaction. Yeah, that also means it should be entirely computer-operated, since I would't trust any group of Magic players to consistently remember which creature to Dismember based on a myriad of decisions made earlier by all parties involved (alongside with or without prior deck knowledge) in order to maintain the restriction for data collection.

    Long story cut short, it is technically possible, but it's also bluntly speaking a pointless quest for a pointless result. Even if we stopped taking into account new cards from today onward, it would take more than a lifetime to gather accurate data at all - for all tournament reports and forum discussions are essentially worthless to a concentrated data collection program based on certain restrictions... and that's assuming the dedicated group doesn't make the occasional mistake that renders an entire game moot in terms of data collection.

    I'm not versed enough in technology to figure out whether it's possible to code a program within a lifetime that can calculate that instantly afterwards (with the same caveat of no new cards onward), but even if it's possible, it changes nothing that the generated result would be worth less than an individual's personal analysis and adaptation of his or her own meta. In fact, it takes one curveball of a player acting out-of-the-ordinary to throw the later's analysis to be "roughly invalid" already, let alone a computer-generated result that probably can't grasp the rough range to begin with.

    And all of that above is based on a traditional criteria of winning, which many have pointed out is pretty much a "brain-dead" restriction of its own to begin with. (Which means like-wise, I suppose if you add-in a different restriction of "knowing what your opponents want to achieve" instead you can run another grand simulation of actively "winning by denying them that" and come up with a computer-generated result of optimal decklists for each given set of opponents, but it'll also still be less useful than the playmat an actual game is on.)

    EDH is the D&D of MTG. Trying to "solve" it is akin to trying to solve D&D, generally you're better of with the "default in-a-social-vacuum solution" of trying to min-max for your meta and hope for the best.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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