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  • posted a message on Underplayed Tribal Decks That Don't Suck
    I'm not looking to hear about the overused tribes in EDH (... and Vampires)

    It was unnecessary to include them in that list, considering the title you put on this thread. After all, Vampires suck. Rofl
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on Rating System changed to Planeswalker Points
    Slogged through all 73 pages before posting to ensure that any points I'm addressing haven't been exhausted.


    Although their value in the present tense is meaningless in that there are no incentives associated with them, I will nevertheless point out that my Lifetime rankings in PWP put me 26th in Canada while I'm only 804th by my Total rating for Canada. I'm also 24th Worldwide for FNM.

    On that basis, I hate the new system. Immensely.

    I know how the Planeswalker Points system has given me those distinctions but I most certainly do not deserve them. I'm a good player but I am most certainly not a great one. I resent the implication that I've been anything resembling a top player when I know with certainty that I am not now nor ever have been someone whose ability was sufficient to be considered for such an status. Any system that suggests otherwise is utterly flawed.

    For the bulk of the time since I first began playing Magic at DCI tournaments, I worked at a game store. Much of my leisure time was spent playing Magic: most weeks included an FNM draft, another draft, a Block Constructed and a couple of Standard tourneys for years on end. There was one trip to a Nationals Qualifier (back in '97) and a handful of PTQs scattered in there but mostly it was just a lot of local play.

    If the PWP system had been in place over that time, would I have qualified for anything? I have no idea. No way to tell if my numbers were "good enough" or if I (or others) would have gamed the system to the point where I'd have been able to receive byes or invites or if others would have been grinding even harder gotten them instead. However, if I did, I can say with certainty that I wouldn't have been "worthy" of any such awards.


    For those posting with regard to the number of rounds permitted for an FNM, that information isn't available yet. I know because I've contacted WotC Customer Support on that subject. It's something they neglected to consider when bringing in the PWP system. My first attempt to get an answer, by email, was met with an unresponsive reply stating that they could "take action" if an "excessive number of rounds" were run. Then I called the support line, explained the problem (see next), and was informed that precise values will be determined shortly and put into the MTR.

    This is why it's a problem: If a group of players - as those in my area are - want to try to grind into byes, invites, or the FNM Championship, they'd also be happy if they themselves didn't win enough to see their friends go. However, that leaves us in a quandary: If we start getting together and running as many rounds as we can - that the WER will allow - at what point would WotC decide that it was an "excessive number"? It's the old slippery slope argument except we're in the dark/trying to read their minds. Guess too high and our tournament is invalidated. Guess too low and other places that guessed the "right number" gain an advantage over us. It ought to have been resolved before launching the PWP program but at least they've acknowledge the oversight and will be correcting it.


    In the second article about PWPs on the Wizards site, they provide a link to what Brian Kibler had to say on the subject. It showed that while WotC might have heard the "noise" of the complaints, they certainly weren't bothering to listen to the specifics or the solutions. He had fully half of the answer to eliminating the act of "sitting on rating" - using the top value that a person's rating hits over a qualifying period. Combine that with another idea that's been floated around in this thread and elsewhere of requiring a minimum amount of activity to be eligible for byes & invites and the DCI Rating system is fine. Remember, everyone is on a level playing field under such a system - the reasons for sitting on a rating are eliminated.

    The other alternative which would solve things? Get rid of all incentives associated with ratings. Eliminate those and it doesn't matter how (if?) ratings are calculated. Increase the byes offered through GPTs and invites through PTQs and other qualifying tournaments. Run more of them and/or more per event to make up the difference. While that may be too unpopular to be accepted by the Magic community at large, it would solve the problems being debated. It'd also quash the associated problems of players using methods that range from questionable to illegal to inflate their Ratings/PWPs.


    Here's my personal experience with a system that is similar to Planeswalker Points. It's from a skill-gaming site that used to have Victory Points and an associated Level. They were calculated a bit differently - you got one for each opponent in a (cash) game that you won. After enough complaints, they were removed from the site. People thought they meant something and in their defense, it was pretty much the only information of its type available to compare yourself to others. The site was clear that these meant nothing, they weren't an indicator of comparative ability. However, being clear only matters if people bother to read what they wrote. Since they were meaningless, the site deleted them. Not surprisingly, complaints about how people were being matched against one another dropped significantly.

    That's the issue here: Planeswalker Points are an ineffective method to determine who should be provided perks. You're rewarding people for swelling the entrants to their tournaments for the express purpose of getting more Participation Points and pressuring other players and Tournament Organizers to run extra rounds or extra tournaments. Yes, you ALSO have to be a good/successful player but ultimately this boils down to a situation where you can't hope to compete unless you also take steps to create an environment where you can at least HOPE to succeed.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Number of Rounds in a Tournament
    Quote from CarstenHaese
    Originally Posted by dgschess
    Would it be possible for a Head Judge or Tournament Organizer to run FNM that runs 20 rounds, even if there is only 8 players in attendance, as a way to abuse the new Planeswalker Points rating system?
    Unless the tournament has a fact sheet by Wizards stating otherwise, there is no restriction on the number of rounds except that a tournament of individual players must have at least 3 rounds in order to be sanctioned. I've never sanctioned FNM, so I don't know whether there's a fact sheet for FNM that specifies other requirements.

    However, even if there isn't anything actually written prohibiting you from running a 20 round FNM, I imagine that a TO that uploads a single-day 20-round tournament would draw unpleasant attention from somebody at Wizards.

    With regard to the question in the embedded quote, the nature of Swiss Pairings means that an 8-player tournament can have at most seven rounds and a Top 8 Single Elimination. Also, there are circumstances where the pairings of the earlier rounds will leave the software incapable of being able to match up players in the later rounds because it's impossible to set it up for all 8 to have opponents they haven't played against.

    As for the 20-round tournament point: As it stands right now, the new PWP program has left those with FNM-WC aspirations wondering how many rounds they should be trying to pressure their T.O.'s to run. In the absence of information, we're all operating on the "slippery slope" principle. At what number of rounds they're going to balk? Guess too high and we'll be reprimanded - likely having results invalidated, guess too low and we're at a disadvantage to all the players whose T.O.'s choose the "right" number.

    I'd really like to know whom at Wizards to contact regarding what they're going to consider an event that "would draw unpleasant attention." Then at least we know what to ask for from our T.O.'s. If they can't deliver it, we just won't even bother trying. Keeping up with all those other locations running the maximum number of rounds is just too much of a disadvantage to overcome.
    Posted in: Magic Rulings Archives
  • posted a message on The Math of Banning Sol Ring in Commander
    Quote from audiox
    Yes, they are on a similar power level, but in streamlined decks, it gives an extremely unfair advantage to the people that can afford moxes, and in non-streamlined decks it still creates negative tension due to jealousy. And that's the problem. It doesn't matter what else is in your deck, because just the sight of a Mox causes a negative reaction. With Sol Ring, the psychological impact is minimal. Most people will think, "What a lucky draw," and deal with it. But with Moxes, most people wil go, "That's not fair. I can never afford cards like that." That is overall an unhealthy thing for the format, so it's better just to ban them due to the negative stigma attached.

    I got a good chuckly out of seeing this point made right above your tagline:

    If the people you play against lack the maturity to handle losses, then they should probably pick up another game to play, like Candyland.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't see the two as outright contradictory. However, there's definitely quite a bit of contrast between the two which put a smile on my face when I noticed it.

    But in a group of strangers, it is disparaging to see a guy play a 5c goodstuff deck worth thousands of dollars with the full mox suite while everyone else can only afford Sol Ring.

    Yes, but that's exactly my point. I may get to play that "goodstuff" deck ONCE with a particular group of players but then I'd be told I can never play it again. Heck, I might be told that if I try anything like it again that I'm no longer welcome to play in their games anymore. Also, I'd get the same reaction with from any other groups of players that I might encounter if I tried to use that deck against them.

    On the other hand, if I'm just playing them because I own them (started playing in '93, never gave up on the game) and am doing so because I think it's funny to surprise people by mixing the potentially "broken" cards (the accelerants, card draw, tutors, and cards banned due their combo potential), with Great Wall, Chimney Imp, et al, using Atogatog or somesuch as the General, what's the big deal?

    I am aware of the "check with your playgroup" rule. However, letting people know what I've thrown together before we start to play would ruin the hilarity of busting out things like a 1st-turn Horizon Seed with the mana generated by cards worth several hundred dollars apiece. Yes, this is the type of nonsense I would do if they weren't banned but my fun - and that which I'd hope they'd experience - won't exist if I have to clear it with the playgroup first. There'd be no "what the heck?" moment.

    If the point of the format is to provide a casual, fun game, very few of the cards on the Banned List do that by their nature, though even these are somewhat subjective. I'd say the only ones that fit that description are:
    Coalition Victory*
    Limited Resources
    Sway of the Stars
    * Personally, I question the use of any cards with an effect that ends the game. They seem contrary to the secondary meaning to the "Highlander" concept - that you're victorious by being the last person standing after everyone else has been killed. Just my opinion though, based on my guess on what most people would think of as "fun".

    To paraphrase: it's not the cards that need to be banned. It's the decks which players choose to build that violate Rule 0: the Gentleman's Agreement to play games of multiplayer Magic that are interactive and fun.
    Posted in: Articles
  • posted a message on The Math of Banning Sol Ring in Commander
    Quote from audiox
    If you have read the entire thread, you would know that this has already been addressed.

    Moxes are banned because they are too expensive and should go in every deck, creating an unfair barrier to entry for most players, not because they are too overpowered. If they had continued to be printed past Unlimited and were readily available, you can bet they would be legal in EDH.

    Basically, if moxes were legal, the mental process of the new player would go like this, "****! I need moxes to play this format!"

    Whereas without them, they go, "Cool! I get to play Sol Ring in this format!"

    Don't all the "politics" arguments in defense of Sol Ring's impact on the game apply several times over with regard to Moxes? The person playing those would be painting a target on themselves far beyond that which a Sol Ring does (even though their impact on the game state is similar) purely based on their dollar value. In EDH, it's not the power of the individual cards but the way the overall deck. If we're working from the principle that shunning players with degenerate decks is an acceptable and effective practice, then there's no point to a Banned list at all.

    Overall enjoyment of EDH, including not being shunned, is a balancing act between the amount of acceleration being played, what is able to be played (earlier) thanks to that acceleration, playing a deck which interacts with others, and creates enjoyable scenarios. Nothing intrinsically wrong with the Moxes, it merely requires you to cut down on the power level of your threats and making your deck that much more interesting to compensate.
    Posted in: Articles
  • posted a message on The Math of Banning Sol Ring in Commander
    Quote from xitaun
    I think the cool thing about the ring is that it creates a kind of archenemy game around the ring controller. it just feels great to play this sub-game.

    This, I believe, cuts to the heart of the issue. If most people enjoy the experience created from an early Sol Ring, then it - and any other card which creates a similar reaction - has justified its place in the format.

    A question, if I may: How many of these cards can the format support where that "fun factor" is optimized - based on the 7-in-99 likelihood of being drawn at the start of any given game? I'm too tired to do the exact calculations but if four people sit down to play, each with Sol Ring and Mana Crypt, roughly half the games would have one drawn in someone's opening hand.

    Too often?
    Not often enough?
    Just right?

    Most importantly: what other cards, if any, should be listed with those two which elicit that same reaction? Just one more and that 4-player game example rises to nearly 3-in-4. How frequently can you start a game with such a dynamic before it's no longer fun ... or would it still be fun even if it was happening in (virtually) every game?
    Posted in: Articles
  • posted a message on The Math of Banning Sol Ring in Commander
    Quote from Zosk
    Moxes meet the criteria. Sol Ring doesn't.

    2. Its dollar cost is prohibitive for most players and the card usually detracts from the playing experience of everyone in the game [The Power 8].

    Okay, I'm certainly seeing the first half of that statement. However, the word "and" is in there and I'm curious how it is that Moxes detract from everyone else's playing experience. More precisely, if that is what they're doing, isn't it well-established that Sol Ring (not exclusively but one example out of several cards) provide a player with an equivalent amount of benefit and therefore ought to be creating as much detraction? Is the detraction of along the lines of: "Why are you rubbing it in our faces that you own cards worth several hundred dollars apiece?"

    I'm not concerned whether Sol Ring is banned or the Moxen unbanned. All I would like is a casual format where I can follow an established set of deckbuilding rules, show up anywhere, where whatever deck I build that conforms to those rules isn't going to be classified as "unfun" and be told I'm not allowed to play. Been there, done that, repeatedly, and have been soured on multiplayer Magic for almost 15 years because of it. While the source article is singling out Sol Ring, the larger issues are:

    "Shouldn't we have rules that people can follow where they're not penalized for following them?"
    "What changes could be made to the rules, including but not limited to changes to the Banned list, that will maximize the amount of fun being had?"
    Posted in: Articles
  • posted a message on The Math of Banning Sol Ring in Commander
    Quote from Kixar
    I love how there were several comments basically saying " You got to run hate against sol ring and thats stupid " .......Ummm this is EDH? Why in the world would you not run artifact removal? I can say that every deck someone plays, there is atleast 1 artifact in the deck. If your not packing the removal for artifacts then I think there's just an issue in the deck. It doesn't even have to be alot, just simple spells.

    I'll admit that I have very limited familiarity with the format - only played a couple of games with borrowed decks. However, one of the basic principles of multiplayer Magic is that if I use one card to counter or destroy one of yours then the net result is that everyone else in the game has just gained +1 card advantage against us. While such plays earn "political favour" from the other players, I'd rather being one of those "other players" than down a card. I far prefer to keep my "available resources" as something tangible.
    Posted in: Articles
  • posted a message on The Math of Banning Sol Ring in Commander
    Quote from arctic79
    The EDH/Commander format is all about the politics, and most playgroups act as a democracy. Each individual group has its threshold of what is acceptable play and what isn't. A card should not be banned from a format because of one particular playgroup (or one person of a playgroup) has a problem with degenerate decks. A card or more specifically a Deck Type will be removed from a playgroup if the general consenus is that it is not fun.
    One player should not decide on what is fun a group should.
    This is what the format is about, if Wizards decides to sanction EDH/Commander and run a GrandPrix, well then I would say the gloves are off, but until then it is Kitchen Table Magic, nothing more.

    I think I may have poorly worded my previous post as this response doesn't seem consistent with what I was attempting to bring to the discussion.

    Every decision on restricting or banning a card in any format begins with someone being the first to say so. Then it's up to that person to put their argument into words (and in this case, statistics) in an attempt to justify their opinion and convince those who can make it happen.

    Specifically, what I take from the debate in this thread is that Sol Ring is a card where it can be argued has an inordinate amount of influence on the politics of the early game. If the point is valid, I'd theorize that the same is true for Mana Crypt, possibly Mana Vault, and (if they were legal) the Moxen & Lotus. Put another way, maybe we'd find games of EDH are more enjoyable without those cards exerting their influence on the early game. Not saying that definitively, only as a point worthy of consideration.

    As I said, my viewpoint is skewed by repeatedly trying to build Emperor decks which wouldn't get "banned" by my playgroup. Finally gave up after building over a dozen different ones over a period of several months, all of which were considered "not fun". I have enough difficulty screwing up the initiative to keep my cards sorted as it is and would prefer a format where I know I won't be forced to rip apart one deck and put another together endlessly based on my playgroup's opinion. I'd just like to know that the rules for deck construction are such that as long as I follow them, I can play the deck.

    Do I think it's likely that whether Sol Ring is Banned in EDH is going to be the determining factor there? I think that is extremely unlikely. However, perhaps it's one of several cards that, if they were all Banned, would prevent me from building a deck other people tell me I'm not allowed to play. I like the *idea* of the format and I've seen people playing it who appear to be having a lot of fun but it's that fear that keeps me from trying it.
    Posted in: Articles
  • posted a message on The Math of Banning Sol Ring in Commander
    Quote from arctic79
    An easy solution to those of you belly aching about fast combo decks is this, let him/her go off and win then say okay you win the rest of us are going to continue playing as if you weren't part of the game. I despise fast combo kills (I love combos though that I can build up to) and those that play them only care about winning not the fun of the game, so let them have their win and keep having fun without them.

    This is the main beef I have with multiplayer Magic - needing to figure out what other people are going to consider "not fun" is, itself, not fun. Whether we're talking about the plays fueled by the acceleration provided by Sol Ring in EDH in 2011 or the many and various decks that my playgroup told me I couldn't play in Emperor back in 1995, it's frustrating to be told that the deck you spent a lot of time building - which complies to the agreed-upon rules for construction - isn't acceptable based on the opinion of the other players.

    I believe that's the point the author was attempting to make. His opinion, which he's attempting to defend, is that a card which has too much impact on the politics of the opening turns of the game is detrimental to the enjoyment of the format. You put those in your deck with the hope of playing them on Turn 1 so you can play more powerful cards at the start of the game than you could otherwise. However, the potential threat it represents puts a damper on the politicking of the situation as everyone attempts to curtail the degenerate early plays it enables. Since much of the fun of multiplayer is having an extended game where allegiances are made and broken, any cards which excessively influence those decisions take away from the atmosphere it's trying to create.
    Posted in: Articles
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