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  • posted a message on Commander Philosophy Document Discussion
    Quote from Muspellsheimr »
    Okay, I thought perhaps I should go through the issues I have with this point by point. I will (try to remember to) post another reply later, when I have more time, discussing what I feel the philosophy should be, and why.

    Snipped the rest of the post to save space.

    I feel the real issue with the bulleted "guidelines" is that some of them are actually secondary consequences of others that act as compounding reasons, rather than factors on their own.

    There needs to be a clear distinction between "cause" and "effect" and not just randomly compile both into a bullet-point list to confuse people. Based on the points we currently have, I would divide them like this:

    Group A (Causes)
    •Are very difficult for other players to interact with, especially if doing so requires dedicated, narrow responses when deck-building.
    •Interact poorly with the multiplayer nature of the format or the specific rules of Commander.

    Group B (Effect)
    •Cause severe resource imbalances
    •Allow players to win out of nowhere
    •Prevent players from contributing to the game in a meaningful way.
    •Cause other players to feel they must play certain cards, even though they are also problematic.
    •Lead to repetitive game play.

    Noticed something? Those in group B have terms (like "cause", "allow", "prevent", "lead to") that imply they are an "effect caused by another factor". The focus should really be on those "factors", in which the document only lists 2 probable ones. By mixing the two together, it creates a whole lot more confusion and assumption that the "causes" are "effects" as well and then they end up thinking more often than not that "causes" are merely the existence of a card breaking a rule, like in some of the cases you listed (Boundless Realms for resource imbalance, for example).

    Let's use an example - Biorhythm. It isn't banned because it "Allow players to win out of nowhere" PLUS "Interacts poorly with the multiplayer nature of the format or the specific rules of Commander".... it is banned because it "Interacts poorly with the multiplayer nature of the format or the specific rules of Commander" "allowing players to win out of nowhere".

    It's specifically because one factor leading to another that got the card banned, not the mere addition of two factors on the list.

    The biggest mistake, in my opinion, is the document presents everything in a "buffet-style" of "reasons" without distinction of causes and effects, so guess what, people have to assume on their own - if a card "Allow players to win out of nowhere" because it can "Cause severe resource imbalances" (e.g. Gaea's Cradle), shouldn't it be considered for banning as well?
    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
  • posted a message on Banning Criteria discussion: Allow players to win out of nowhere
    Quote from papa_funk »
    The new philosophy document goes to great lengths to say "these are not a checklist," just some things we look for.

    Honestly, if you want the most important sentence in that paragraph, I would bold "it combines with cards which players already have heavy incentives to play,"

    Disclaimer: No offense to any RC/CAG member, I'm trying to give constructive feedback, based on my understanding of both the "actual reason" and why I think people might have focused on the "wrong" areas.

    The delivery of the entire paragraph seems a bit off. "Not only does it provide" gives the implication that "wins games out of nowhere" is the primary reason, especially since its placement in the statement is first. As mentioned, the document is not a checklist, but things to look out for, and I feel like in Engine's case, the "wins out of nowhere" is a support secondary consequence of the actual reason you highlighted as the most important.

    Let me try to rephrase the paragraph with minimal word changes:

    "Paradox Engine is a card that has proven to be intensely problematic, mainly because it combines with cards which players already have heavy incentives to play (e.g. Mana Rocks) to create undesirable game states too easily (infinite mana, which often leads to sudden wins or games wrecked) and often unintentionally. It is also easily inserted into any deck with virtually no deck building cost. While we don’t ban cards which are only problematic if you build around them, Paradox Engine has clearly demonstrated that it doesn’t need to be built around to be broken."

    I feel bad on having to nitpick on sentence structure and delivery (and as disclaimed, it was not meant as an offense to any RC/CAG member), but I really feel that as an announcement for a format so widely played, more attention should really be paid to it so that the intent/reason is conveyed as effectively as possible (in this case, the focus on how easily & quickly Engine escalates into sudden wins, rather than the sudden wins themselves).
    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
  • posted a message on [[Official]] General Discussion of the Official Multiplayer Banlist
    ... I actually won?

    It's been over 37 months since I started the SCD for Iona and 34 months since we all basically exhausted every argument regarding the card in one of the longer threads in this subforum. Even before I started the thread I sort of resigned myself to fate that because it wasn't played as much and even when it was played it doesn't always create the feel-bad/inverse archenemy scenario, so I only had the point that the scenario itself was bad enough as an experience that the other scenarios aren't exactly saving graces, especially for a card not really played to be a saving grace anyway.
    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
  • posted a message on Sheldon's Thoughts on infinite combos
    While I still stand by that the RC as a whole should never cater to a specific bubble, Sheldon's personal experiences still always strike me that he's really stuck in a bubble (not that it affects his decision-making). I'll be blunt - what he noticed I already realized years ago and the context in which he states it sort of proves it - in these past few years I've been basically occasionally playing at my LGS, but I very, very seldom play with friends (when we do get together we favor Cube). Meanwhile, just from reading Sheldon's articles/posts/responses I generally assess that he plays the format mostly with friends.

    Okay, to clarify it better... it's more of playing at the LGS with strangers or acquaintances-at-best VS playing at friends that's the real issue here, because you can play with friends at the LGS, so I think this might confuse some people. You can play with friends almost anywhere, but you don't usually play with strangers/acquaintances other than the LGS/Events. Not everyone has (or want) the luxury of having friends to play EDH with and they're perfectly fine with EDH being the "game we play with strangers/acquaintances at the LGS".

    I know I'm harping on making these distinctions, but it's important because Sheldon's post heavily implies he's basically new to the "strangers/acquaintances meta", so to speak, if he's using Open Events and a NEW LGS as the examples.

    Also very important is that with everyone talking about "social contracts/communication" and "winning the game is not the only objective", that the "LGS stranger/acquaintances meta" has to operate on a more nuanced/silent version of the rule. The RC encouraging the above statements does not automatically equate to everyone in the LGS automatically becoming "friends". Just like the RC has to adopt a minimalist approach to keep the game open to as many bubbles as possible, communication/contracts at the LGS are also minimalized to cater to various strangers/acquaintances dropping at different times.

    Combine that minimalism with the "the only actual rule of winning is... winning the actual game", that becomes the silent agreement that is most easily accepted by most "stranger/acquaintances meta" players adopt by, which leads to the "natural progression" of things Sheldon himself said. As I read somewhere, it's easier to go infinite that it is to go 120 divided 3 evenly in the game anyway.

    Before anyone points out "but my LGS pulls off communication and house rules successfully", let me preempt that not all LGS operate like that and considering the general turbulence/turnovers LGS are going through overall now, I daresay statistics would favor the silent agreement and those with vocalized different ones are actually the minority of exceptions, especially once you throw open events into the calculations as well.

    Like I said at the start, this is not aimed at RC at any way, they're doing great keeping the minimalist approach so different type of "metas" can exists, I'm just baffled every time Sheldon cites his personal experience (years late at that) that he's surprised by the "naturally progressed silent agreement stranger/acquaintance meta" out there and I don't quite agree that it would get the format in trouble - every participant in said meta silently agreed to it and after years, I daresay it actually regulates itself somewhat, it doesn't actually outright (de)volve right into cEDH territory.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on [POLL] Planeswalkers as playable generals
    Quote from Kamino_Taka »

    Even though I am still more on the "No Change" side I actually think needing growth should not be underevaluated but unfortunately as you stated before we don't know why people don't try it/stick with it. If it is the PW debate for the majority and the growth trumps the losses I would be all for it, even though I don't think that it opens much more doors gameplay wise, and those opened may be on the moe obnoxius side.

    Because it is always easier for the smaller group to Housrule stuff so if we gain more people than we'd loose the ones who don't like the change can still use houserules. It is however more difficult to houserule the bigger group.

    I wouldn't say more growth is a straight reason for change (the previous post was more of a general observation of the format from my perspective), just pointing out the format is potentially stunting growth (that is doesn't really need now) due to the marketing direction of the game and in a hypothetical case that a sizable portion of the players leave (for whatever reasons), the format would actually struggle to recover numbers because the appeal doesn't line up with the newer player pool.

    I'm fully aware of the gameplay consequences of such a change, which is why I don't actually advocate for the change like, right now, but I feel like a flat "no" and just listing down the mechanic/gameplay negatives is akin to ignoring that "growth" factors I mentioned. I don't foresee the marketing direction changing anytime soon so I only feel this issue would get more and more vocal with time as the bulk of players become newer and newer. I actually think what we should be doing instead is figuring out how to fit planeswalkers in without splitting the format into two. Just like I think saying a flat "no change" is ignoring the format's adaptability in the long run, saying "change, add them in", without any specifics and reasoning will wreck the game forefront (but that is already addressed by the straightfoward negatives we all can list).

    I understand your houserule part - I'm a huge supporter of the RC's minimalism approach of the game and typically I would be on the "no change" side, but it struck me from the responses that at end of the day, the format itself is a "smaller group" to the game's "larger group" and the "larger group" has been on a quite the course in terms of marketing. Them creating Brawl (although it failed due to a myriad of factors of itself) already set off the alarms that we should not take the format for granted despite how robust it is now and it could easily languish in obscurity down the road if someone finds a formula that's "better" than the format that allows for planeswalkers, which in turn would appeal to an increasing number of newer players. We all know we can't just add planeswalkers in and call it a day, but is anyone doing the math to figure which rules we can change minimally to enable them with the least disruption?
    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
  • posted a message on Liliana is a Marry Sue
    Liliana is not a Mary Sue at all, but there are many aspects of her characters that are just plain frustrating. I think a lot of this "Mary Sue-ness" and/or frustration comes from the fact that while she does suffer consequences, it always seems to pale in comparison to what she seems like she is going to suffer from. I'm not belittling the actual suffering she went through (in real-life terms she has it bad), but seriously when you put it beside her "main storyline presentation" which pretty much involves her appealing for help against her demon contracts and repeat it 4 times over the years, as a consumer it becomes sort of grating to the point of "maybe the demon contract ending you would be a better release for all of us here".

    The Chain Veil definitely needed better buildup and as a threat-level, because after Kothophed and Griselbrand I literally gave up on Razaketh and Belzenlok even before I knew their names and by downplaying the Veil against the later two demons (and Bolas) trying to invoke Liliana's character development was a mistake. I'm not saying Liliana didn't need the development, I just felt the Veil (as a "character") really badly needed a bit more autonomy in the whole scheme of things despite its origins, because honestly the Raven Man is fighting for the same spot and they diluted each other real badly.

    The Veil was supposed to be a "consequence" and it was instead used as a tool of "don't use it, use friendship instead" tug-o-war Liliana had, and while that gave her needed character development, it also diminished some expectation of consequences (and Raven Man) and coming from a character who had 4 demonic contracts, the dissonance is laughable. Call me evil, but bluntly speaking, for someone who makes mistakes of such sizes, the consequences Liliana actually suffers from is really sort of laughable in scale. Perhaps they tried to appeal to "realism link" of her suffering (since as I said in real life it would be pretty bad) but I can never get the "people get similar cases in real life, so you're telling me demonic contracts are no worse than their problems?" out of my head and it becomes sort of absurd instead.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Ravnica Allegiance (RNA) and War of the Spark (WAR) General Discussion
    Disclaimer: Eldrazi fanboy alert. I heard the Eldrazi were being wrongly belittled again and returned to defend them.

    Anybody comparing Bolas's dismal record with the Eldrazi as antagonists are doing it wrong. Yes, the Eldrazi have a kill score less then Bolas, but that's like calling a tornado with no casualties a failure as a criminal compared to a murderer.

    The Eldrazi don't register anything than their purposes (I'm inclined to believe Emrakul only did so because Ulamog and Kozilek are gone, otherwise it wouldn't have bothered either). Yes, you could argue they failed in their purpose (to erase the planes they were on) and as such were failures as "antagonists" to the planes, but all because the Gatewatch selflessly threw themselves in the way doesn't automatically equate to the Eldrazi becoming antagonists to the planeswalkers - they never were and won't be, even Emrakul's message was "Hey fly I need to sleep so here's some cryptic messages so you can stop disturbing me".

    I'm not saying BFZ was good, it was terrible, but not because the Eldrazi are terrible antagonists - it's because they decided to conveniently hide all the important characters of the plane behind invulnerable meatshields of planeswalkers... who conveniently have the correct skill sets to be said meatshields... and conveniently squeezed in a "create a Gatewatch" storyline written a way that it seems like they were a neighborhood police unit rather than a disaster relief unit which in turn made people think of the Eldrazi as antagonists/murderers/criminals than the natural disasters they are.

    Bolas has no such backing - this is the Elder Dragon we knew on Amonkhet (and Time Spiral) who could be as patient as he wanted, the Elder Dragon who set up Liliana's demons knowing she would subvert every last one of them and as much as Test of Metal was questionable in placement, he was at the top of his game there toying with Jace, Liliana and Tezz. Even when he "lost" on Alara, he still had control of situation mostly and only had his hissy fit at the end because the plan was not 100% completed due to Ajani-ex-machina.

    I would say the saving grave is that this is also the same Elder Dragon who lost to an Umezawa due to arrogance... so even if we wrote the Liliana-double-switcheroo out of the equation... this time he also lost his contingency plan (which allowed him to remain arrogant) because he let his twin brother who's aware of it into this war (and it's not like he didn't know Ugin's back). There's arrogance and arrogance-that-lets-the-one-thing-that-let's-you-come-back-after-being-killed-by-arrogance-be-demolished-level arrogance.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on [POLL] Planeswalkers as playable generals
    Quote from Kamino_Taka »

    The problem isn't just only the question of how powerful/fun the planeswalkers are but also what people want. Just as there are many people who advocate for Planeswalkers as commanders there are many who dont like that idea or even planeswalkers in general. And I do belive that more people would stop playing EDH (in Nonregular groups/MTGO/etc.) because they allowed PWs as commanders than people would stop because they don't get to play PWs as commanders.

    This had me thinking - how much of an "old boys' club" will the format fall into as the overall direction of the game is heavily marketed towards planeswalkers? Please note I'm just using "old boys' club" as a neutral term, not a negative one, but just from observation of both the game and format over the years, I think it's the apt term to describe what could potentially happen to the format, but as weird as it sounds, without the typical negative connotations with it.

    Let's put it this way - it's easy to say more people will leave the format with PWs were added than otherwise, but I think the statement is sort of heavily stunted towards the fact we're mostly in groups of people who were with the format for already so long, plus we don't actually question enough why some newer players who choose to not continue the format after a short trial (or start the format at all). I honestly won't be surprised if a lot of newer players don't start / barely try the format because their favorite planeswalker (which many newer players tend to have due to the overall game's marketing direction) can't be a Commander and hence there's a whole lot incentive for them to delve into the terrifying depth of the format gone (remember we're probably the most terrifying format to a new player in terms of cardpool and structure).

    Considering I don't expect the marketing direction of the game to change anytime soon, the amount of new players we "lose potentially" will probably compound year after year and I won't be surprised at some threshold the number we "lost" is greater than the number of players who actually actively played the game (some of us probably have to leave for external reasons, but for most part I count them as part of the playerbase, since I'm compounding numbers).

    The clincher? Ultimately EDH is a casual format and we don't need the growth, so everything I said could be potentially treated as pointless - EDH has a stable active player base and doesn't need the growth and neither is the lack of growth "hurting" the format (because at this stage, the RC/format doesn't really benefit from growth, to be blunt), but at the same time I sometimes sit back and think, but even if it does not harm the format like it does for a lot of cases of "old boys' clubs collapsing" (hence I say it isn't negative for our case), it doesn't mean this line of thinking/inaction isn't considered one.

    Imagine if planeswalkers existed from the very start but the the RC tried to introduce the (post-ED-only) format as it is, I'm quite sure the format wouldn't have taken off if people couldn't play with their Urzas and Serras. To be very blunt, the format "lucked" out into establishing itself before planeswalker cards were a thing, but at the same time I would point out to new players (or even returning ones who skipped the whole era EDH grew from, now that retro planeswalkers are a thing), the format would be seen through pretty much the same lens as the imagination spot I started with.

    We're sort of at a point there's nothing to be "gained" from venturing out (because growth doesn't mean as much now), but at same time, I don't think we should treat the "potential losses" as "invisible", even if it doesn't actually affect us negatively. I feel like the "no change" arguments tend to be "stronger" by default because it involves more people among those who already understand the format whereas new players who would otherwise join cannot put up an argument because they don't grasp the format as well and in grand scheme of things, I doubt there will be enough new players willing undertake the task of understanding the format just to evoke this change.
    Posted in: Commander Rules Discussion Forum
  • 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
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