The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring

@MaximumCDawg Helldozer was printed before Wizards re-commited to the RL and said they wouldn't do functional reprints anymore. So it's not a good example.
Printing newer versions of RL cards is something Wizards can't do, so if you want to do that then yes, you're talking about abolishing the RL, even if you don't think you are. I understand there's a thin line separating what is and what isn't a functional reprint, but printing something that's the same and strictly better than a card in the RL, imo, is what they can't do. We can say whatever about Treasure Cruise or shock lands, but they're NOT better than the originals.

@Sovarius Modern does steal a lot of attention from Standard. There's a reason they stopped doing Modern Pro Tours for a while. If you make the cost to enter Legacy way way lower, with high availability of crucial cards (dual lands mainly), there's a non-trivial amount of players that'll prefer a format where you don't need to buy-in every season. I have no doubt that the attention Wizards gives Standard would make it viable, but any screw up they make in Standard loses them players, and having a cheap Eternal format where you don't need to deal with Wizards' design variance is something that would definetely attract players. So yeah, I do believe it would ruin Standard in the medium-long run.

Eternal Masters doesn't screw up Standard because it doesn't reprint RL, so it actually helps only a few handful of people to enter Legacy/Vintage. It's mainly a Commander/Modern oriented set despite the name - a few cards for Legacy like Sneak Attack and Jace and a bunch of Vintage cards we don't need like Balance and Mystical/Vamp.

EDIT: Sneak Attack doesn't help anyone into Legacy since you probably need a bunch of City of Traitors to play it anyway, for example.

EDIT 2: no one commented my dual land design. Is it bad? Too good?

"Land - Plains Island
<Card name> comes into play tapped unless it's the only nonbasic land you control"

last edited by fsecco

@fsecco said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

Imagine this:

Land - Plains Island
<Card name> comes into play tapped unless it's the only land you control.

EDIT:
This feels better in Modern than Eternal since you need to fetch basics first a lot in Legacy and Vintage. So it could actually be:
"Land - Plains Island
<Card name> comes into play tapped unless it's the only nonbasic land you control"

so you can fetch basics first against Wastelands.

This is similar to a cycle i created. I actually like this a lot, it could also be like "unless you control 2 or fewer other lands" which would be slightly more flexible. This sounds totally possible.

The condition i created was

Different Tundra

Land - Plains Island

Different Tundra enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Plains or Island

This way, you could play pretty close (close enough to be worth playing 3 colors in legacy with no real duals?) to the same decks by playing basics or by at least owning one dual land possibly.

@sovarius Hum... Yours is worse as a 1st fetch so I don't think you could use it. Being able to fetch for a dual turn 1 is important. Since fetching your dual turn 1 would be bad, it makes old duals still preferable for flexibility over them. Mine has issues too, since it's impossible to make better cards than the original duals... You could add a mix of our 2 to have the perfect manabase though. 😛

@sovarius said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

@fsecco said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

Imagine this:

Land - Plains Island
<Card name> comes into play tapped unless it's the only land you control.

EDIT:
This feels better in Modern than Eternal since you need to fetch basics first a lot in Legacy and Vintage. So it could actually be:
"Land - Plains Island
<Card name> comes into play tapped unless it's the only nonbasic land you control"

so you can fetch basics first against Wastelands.

This is similar to a cycle i created. I actually like this a lot, it could also be like "unless you control 2 or fewer other lands" which would be slightly more flexible. This sounds totally possible.

The condition i created was

Different Tundra

Land - Plains Island

Different Tundra enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Plains or Island

This way, you could play pretty close (close enough to be worth playing 3 colors in legacy with no real duals?) to the same decks by playing basics or by at least owning one dual land possibly.

This reads like you just want a cycle with the Seachrome Coast template and a cycle wit the Glacial Fortress template, but with basic land types.

last edited by Guest

@hierarchnoble Wouldn't that be great? Seachrome Coast as plains-island is too strong though.

@fsecco It would, and Wizards showed with Amonkhet that they're more willing to add basic land types to new dual lands. However, with Kaladesh containing the Seachrome Coast enemy cycle and Ixalan having the Glacial Fortress cycle reprint, it's not happening any time soon.

last edited by Guest

@hierarchnoble I like them being cautious. It's pretty easy to screw this up.

@fsecco said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

@hierarchnoble Wouldn't that be great? Seachrome Coast as plains-island is too strong though.

So what? Anything that isn't at least situationally better / worse than original duals winds up being just sub-optimal choice. What we really need is cards that truly are a legitimate choice when put up against cards on the RL.

I'd really like to see the quotation that you were talking about where someone from WotC said that printing cards "as powerful" as Reserve List cards is somehow prohibited. I don't remember seeing that, and it would be helpful to see.

While Helldozer might be older, many other cards that are essentially just upgrades to RL cards are not:

  1. Portent is a colorshifted and dramatically improved Natural Selection.
  2. Farmstead has been improved upon several times, most closely by Ghost-Lit Redeemer and Fountain of Youth.
  3. Sedge Troll got colorshifted to Hedge Troll and got a better creature type in Sedge Sliver (as someone pointed out).

And, there are also examples of cards that are at least AS good as RL cards:

  1. Cryptoplasm is a Vesuvan Doppleganger for 2 less mana that does not ETB as the target.
  2. Veteran Bodyguard has been replaced by many cards that are at least as good for what you might use him for, including Palisade Giant, Protector of the Crown, etc.
  3. Roc of Kher Ridges has so many 3/3 fliers for 4 with more upside in Red than you can imagine.

And so on. All of these cards are functionally different; some are colorshifted, some work slightly differently, but they all slot right in for their older counterpart in reasonably relevant circumstances, no sweat. So, I have a very hard time believing that the RL alone stops WotC from making cards at least as good as those on the RL.

No, I think it's more likely that WotC just realizes that making cards as powerful as original duals or the Power 9 blows up whatever format they're in. Even if you print direct to eternal. It's a power level concern, not a RL concern, as far as I can tell. If you have a quotation to the contrary, please do let me know.

I mean, consider the following cards. They're rough, but they're an attempt to make cards you might legitimately choose to play instead of RL cards. Sometimes they'd be better, sometimes they'd be worse:

Milly Tundra
Plains Island
When this enters the battlefield, each player may choose to put the top card of his or her library into their graveyard.

Scrying Seas
Island Swamp
When this enters the battlefield, each player Scrys 1.

Hippity Island
Island
T: Add R to your mana pool. You cannot use this ability during your first turn of the game.

Hoppity Mountain
Mountain
T: Add U to your mana pool. You cannot use this ability during your first turn of the game.

This kind of thing is more what I'm thinking. They'd all be perfectly fair substitutes for RL lands and you would no longer have a bottleneck there. To some extent, these are the easy ones - the low-hanging fruit - since at least in Vintage people probably won't run 8 duals. They'll just mix and match the few they need. The more difficult nut to crack is the P9, but that doesn't mean it can't be done...

last edited by MaximumCDawg

@maximumcdawg said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

@fsecco said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

@hierarchnoble Wouldn't that be great? Seachrome Coast as plains-island is too strong though.

So what? Anything that isn't at least situationally better / worse than original duals winds up being just sub-optimal choice. What we really need is cards that truly are a legitimate choice when put up against cards on the RL.

If you print something that's functionally the same as old duals, then Old Duals will plummet in price and the result will be the same as breaking the RL. That's what the functional reprint problem is, it prevents them from creating cards that'll make RL cards directly obsolete and lose value.

I'd really like to see the quotation that you were talking about where someone from WotC said that printing cards "as powerful" as Reserve List cards is somehow prohibited. I don't remember seeing that, and it would be helpful to see.

I never said Wizards said that.

While Helldozer might be older, many other cards that are essentially just upgrades to RL cards are not:

  1. Portent is a colorshifted and dramatically improved Natural Selection.
  2. Farmstead has been improved upon several times, most closely by Ghost-Lit Redeemer and Fountain of Youth.
  3. Sedge Troll got colorshifted to Hedge Troll and got a better creature type in Sedge Sliver (as someone pointed out).

These cards are all before the Wizards recommited to the RL. You may think this is irrelevant, but it's not. They don't do that stuff anymore (to a certaind extent).

And, there are also examples of cards that are at least AS good as RL cards:

  1. Cryptoplasm is a Vesuvan Doppleganger for 2 less mana that does not ETB as the target.
  2. Veteran Bodyguard has been replaced by many cards that are at least as good for what you might use him for, including Palisade Giant, Protector of the Crown, etc.
  3. Roc of Kher Ridges has so many 3/3 fliers for 4 with more upside in Red than you can imagine.

And so on. All of these cards are functionally different; some are colorshifted, some work slightly differently, but they all slot right in for their older counterpart in reasonably relevant circumstances, no sweat. So, I have a very hard time believing that the RL alone stops WotC from making cards at least as good as those on the RL.

RL doesn't copyright effects. You saying that every 3/3 red flyers break the Reserved List is just... I can't even.
The thing it the line between functional reprint and being OK is thin, and as far as I know not as clear. But you can't say Treasure Cruise is the same as Ancestral Recall just because the card draws 3 - so I wouldn't say they're functional reprints. Porphyry Nodes IS a functional reprint to Drop of Honey but, as I said, that was before they changed RL policy.

No, I think it's more likely that WotC just realizes that making cards as powerful as original duals or the Power 9 blows up whatever format they're in. Even if you print direct to eternal. It's a power level concern, not a RL concern, as far as I can tell. If you have a quotation to the contrary, please do let me know.

They can release products anyway they want now. They can release a new set and say every new card released there is Vintage-only or Vintage/Legacy only. It won't break anything since they solved that kind of problem and can do whatever.

EDIT: of course, releasing P9-alike cards would break Vintage in many ways, so there IS a power concern there. It's not a coincidence that every "new P9" concept people have thrown around for years always try to account for that. So yeah, printing new P9 is not something doable. The focus is probably Legacy and the easier problem to solve that is the dual lands.

last edited by fsecco

@fsecco said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

@maximumcdawg said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

  1. Roc of Kher Ridges has so many 3/3 fliers for 4 with more upside in Red than you can imagine.

And so on. All of these cards are functionally different; some are colorshifted, some work slightly differently, but they all slot right in for their older counterpart in reasonably relevant circumstances, no sweat. So, I have a very hard time believing that the RL alone stops WotC from making cards at least as good as those on the RL.

RL doesn't copyright effects. You saying that every 3/3 red flyers break the Reserved List is just... I can't even.

But you should, because that is literally exactly what the Reserve List says! The line between what is forbidden by the RL (setting aside the "spirit" issue and I'll get back to that in a moment) and what is not is not blurry at all; it's there in black and white. I keep quoting from it again and again, because everyone seems to have their own notion of what "obviously" violates it or "obviously" does not, like you do, but it's at odds with what the actual policy is.

Again, the Reserve List only prohibits reprinting cards in a “functionally identical form.” This is defined as follows: “A card is considered functionally identical to another card if it has the same card type, subtypes, abilities, mana cost, power, and toughness.”

Roc of Kher Ridges is a 3R 3/3 Bird with Flying. They can never print a 3R 3/3 Bird with Flying and no other abilities ever again. It is straight-up prohibited by the Reserve List. (It's funny to go through the old creatures on the Reserve List and look at newer cards, because you will see they carefully avoid violating the list with creatures.) And, yet, this is no barrier to printing Rakdos Pit Dragon, a far superior creature with a slightly changed casting cost and MORE abilities.

From the perspective of the Reserve List alone (ignoring balance issues), this is no different from printing Revised duals with more abilities. The black and white rules of the List don't care whether the printing is making another card cheaper. They don't care if the card that is being upstaged is "important" like Tundra or "unimportant" like Roc of Kher Ridges. The Rule doesn't care about anything except type, subtype, abilities, mana cost, power, and toughness.

Now, I know that many years ago Maro made some vague gestures about feeling constrained by the "spirit" of the RL, but no one has any clue what on Earth that actually means. It's not black and white. That's why I wanted to know if you had a reason for thinking that Wizards refuses to upstage or replace RL staples as a matter of RL policy - I'd be genuinely interested if they did. I bet Hasbro's lawyers would be interested, too, since I can't imagine they want them running around making more vague statements that expand the possibility they get sued for printing Rakdos Pit Dragon.

last edited by MaximumCDawg

@hierarchnoble said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

@fsecco It would, and Wizards showed with Amonkhet that they're more willing to add basic land types to new dual lands. However, with Kaladesh containing the Seachrome Coast enemy cycle and Ixalan having the Glacial Fortress cycle reprint, it's not happening any time soon.

Duals that great wouldn't be in a standard set anyway. They'd be in a Conspiracy-type more likely.

@maximumcdawg said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

I'd really like to see the quotation that you were talking about where someone from WotC said that printing cards "as powerful" as Reserve List cards is somehow prohibited. I don't remember seeing that, and it would be helpful to see.

fsecco didn't say that, i did. And the links are above. One of the specific examples is "But Mark, would WOTC make a card that says "U, Instant, You draw 3 cards" since it doesn't target and the response is "That's breaking the spirit of the reserve list and we don't do that anymore".

@maximumcdawg said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

While Helldozer might be older, many other cards that are essentially just upgrades to RL cards are not:

Portent is a colorshifted and dramatically improved Natural Selection.
Farmstead has been improved upon several times, most closely by Ghost-Lit Redeemer and Fountain of Youth.
Sedge Troll got colorshifted to Hedge Troll and got a better creature type in Sedge Sliver (as someone pointed out).

These seem to me like they are so far, far different that you think they are.

To specifically reply to a few if you want,
Portent was created a very very long time ago. Like so long ago, this example literally predates the Reserve List. Natural Selection was not RL by the time Portent was created/printed because it didn't exist yet. But even so, "colorshifting" does not break the RL, as is the case with Donate//Harmless Offering. I have agreed before, the literal interpretation of the RL means you can print a White Lotus or "Primal Recall, G, Instant, Target Player Draws 3 Cards". But is that how you apply it, print Primal Recall and make it less necessary to have Ancestral? Or do people just play both?

Farmstead is a garbage card for example. Magic would be an awful game if we could never improve on cards in new similar, but different, design space.
But they are fundamentally different. So yes we can print the Ghost. And it's probably better every single time, like 100% of the time, even in a weird enchanter deck (where neither card would see play anyway). But how would that be applied to the very most powerful cards in the game?
A Black Lotus Kobolds of Kher Keep? That's actually worse, unlike Ghost compared to Farmstead and Portent compared to Natural Selection.

I pointed out Sedge Sliver, but WOTC considers it and the Juzam Sliver to be very different since they interact with other creatures.
You wouldn't, for example, play multiple Plague Slivers if you wanted multiple copies of Juzam in a Legacy deck (pretending we live in a world where Juzam is a good creature today lol).

@maximumcdawg said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

And, there are also examples of cards that are at least AS good as RL cards:

Cryptoplasm is a Vesuvan Doppleganger for 2 less mana that does not ETB as the target.
Veteran Bodyguard has been replaced by many cards that are at least as good for what you might use him for, including Palisade Giant, Protector of the Crown, etc.
Roc of Kher Ridges has so many 3/3 fliers for 4 with more upside in Red than you can imagine.

Bolding key point here. These examples are all different, even if better. But the cards they are better than are mostly actually kind of shit cards anyway. Trying to improve or outdo Lotus, Ancestral, Timetwister, Time Vault, Library, Workshop, duals, Cradle, Candelabra, etc is just gamebreaking.

Vesuvan and Cryptoplasm are so different it's not close. Vesuvan, in it's day, wasn't surrounded by a ton of awesome ETB effects. Today, Cryptoplasm is. I would agree 20 years Crypto would be better, but today Vesuvan is much better in any format you play it in, because any format that either of those are actually playable is in a format full of juicy ETBs. But they are just different. The manner they are different means you could print a Candelabra that costs 2 mana to cast with X activation cost but is a poly artifact instead. It's better, but it's also already really absurdly powerful.

Cost is hugely key to differences. Sometimes paying 1 more mana is totally worth it 100% of the time, the way Hooting Mandrills sees less play in green decks than Gurmag Angler sees play in black decks, or how about the way that Gurmag is often better than Tasigur, who has an an incredible ability and cheaper to cast but simply has 1 less power.

As they continue to print new and better and better effects onto cheaper and cheaper and creatures, underpowered RL cards will become unplayable. Not all are similar though. Why play Thunder Spirit when you can play Monastery Mentor or Delver? So i think that we will just get different cards.

Maybe a an enchantment for G or U that provides 1 mana for each artifact and opponent controls.

@maximumcdawg said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

And, yet, this is no barrier to printing Rakdos Pit Dragon, a far superior creature with a slightly changed casting cost and MORE abilities.

But they are so, so different. Rhoc is unplayable, sure (although not due to the dragon, really), but when you want 3 power in the air for 4 and not have to keep investing every turn after that, you don't play Pit Dragon.

They are in no position to be sued over Pit Dragon, they are not the same and WOTC never promised they wouldn't print a creature that is "almost always better, but it's different".

I would consider printing a 2R 3/3 flyer a violation*, i would consider printing 3R 4/4 flyer a violation*, i would consider priting a 3R 3/3 flyer doublestrike a violation*. But Pit Dragon isn't even remotely close and you are making a huuuuuge stretch to see that.

*I don't know if Wotc actually considers those violations.

I think the only point of disagreement we seem to have is whether making cards that are "better" than RL cards actually violates it or not. I think we've made it clear that if you tack a new ability onto a card or otherwise change one of the relevant fields, it no longer violates the text of the Reserve List. We're talking strictly about the "Spirit," right?

So, I tease out two things from your argument:

  1. When Maro talks about the "Spirit" of the RL, he means they won't print cards that are the same or better than RL cards even if they technically differ in one of the fields; and

  2. This rule only applies to cards that see competitive play. (Farmstead need not apply.)

Is that fair? I'm unconvinced this is correct, but I want to be sure I get what you're saying before responding.

This is one of the oddest threads I think I've ever seen on this site... Is the opening thesis really that this is a thread about why we should not talk about the reserve list? I want to start another thread about this thread called the Rededest Herring.

@topical_island C'mon man.

The thesis is that the Reserve List is not the real barrier to printing "solutions" to the problems of limited supply because Wizards can and does print suitable substitutes for Reserve List cards, even better ones, sometimes.

The barrier is actually just a design and development one having to do with whether printing more duals or P9 substitutes would be good for the game.

And, yes, I really hope people don't start talking about how good or bad or permanent the Reserve List is, because -- let's be honest -- that conversation has been had to death so many times. Heck, there's a special thread for it. I was hoping to differentiate this topic, and as you can see, there's a good number of folks who understand that and are having an on-topic conversation.

EDIT: To put it another way, this kind of question is really the core kind of thing I'm aiming for:

I have agreed before, the literal interpretation of the RL means you can print a White Lotus or "Primal Recall, G, Instant, Target Player Draws 3 Cards". But is that how you apply it, print Primal Recall and make it less necessary to have Ancestral? Or do people just play both?

last edited by MaximumCDawg

@maximumcdawg C'mon man!

Actually I have no follow up to starting with C'mon man... I just really like the phrase and I applaud your use of it...Ummm solutions? Ok. I'm imagining a solution to Moxen... If we are getting around to talking about a walking Null Rod I am all ears. Oh, and one other thing...

C'mon man!

@topical_island Thats the way to come on! Man, putting legs on hate cards is a tried and true way to make vintage playable, yeah. Could you design one where the normal p9 would not also come? On man to man games, you probably would. Can we design a hatebear that the common man would not be able to run alongside other Reserve List staples?

Hater McHatebear
1
Cannot be countered.
May only be cast off a basic land.
When this etb, exile all singletons ( cards that there is only 1 copy of in the deck ) from all players hands, graveyards, and libraries.
0/1

Switching topics a bit, back to specifically the Reserve List, this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but I just never bothered to write it down or anything.

First, I want to comment on the legality issue, which I believe is actually a non-issue, but not because I think there are ways around it. I think it’s a non-issue, because even if there were guaranteed ways around it, it wouldn’t matter.

Basically, the reserved list (RL) represents a promise to not devalue specific cards via re-printing them. Collectors and investors rely on this promise. If WOTC were to just reprint the RL, even if there were absolutely no legal ramifications, the collectors and investors could pull all of their money and boycott WOTC, which would cause massive damages to WOTC. So, regardless of the legalities of reprinting the RL or violating the spirit of the promise, if they get too close to the line, the result will be the same.

So, I’m assuming that the RL is here to stay. Fortunately, I think the issue of card availability is separate from the issue of maintain the RL. The collectors and investors care about the value of the cards, not the cards themselves, which is the key. They simply don’t want to lose a bunch of money.

I believe both issues can be handled via something akin to a stock split, which increase the card availability without actually reducing the value of the cards still available.

Basically, WOTC reprints* RL cards, like Black Lotus, but they don’t sell or distribute the reprints normally. Then, they make a standing offer trade. Anyone who sends in an original RL card that can be validated for legitimacy will be sent 10 new versions of the same RL card.

By not distributing the new cards any other way and making this offer to anyone, the value of the new cards will always be exactly 1/10th of the old cards, and the total value of all the cards in circulation will always remain what it is. As one fluctuates up or down, the other will as well.

So, if a Black Lotus costs $5K, I can sell it for that, or trade it for 10 New Black Lotuses that are all valued at $500 each. Selling all of them would still get me the same $5k in value.

In fact, this method is likely to actually increase the overall value of RL cards from a collector’s standpoint. More people are likely to buy these RL cards, because they are more affordable, increasing the overall demand, which would increase the price of both new and old versions (because they are actually pinned to one another). Furthermore, as the new ones get bought up, the old ones will start becoming rarer, and some people would still prefer the old version, increasing the demand for only that version, but because the two are pinned, the value of the new version would increase as well.

Furthermore, because the total value is a net 0, you can actually customize the exchange rate for specific cards. For example, maybe the P9 and a select few other cards are exchanged at a rate of 10 for 1, but the duals are exchanged at a rate of only 5 for 1, depending on what the ideal exchange rate is.

So, the collector’s and investors can stand to actually make more money, while the players can get significantly cheaper versions of the cards to actually play with.

Am I missing anything, or could this actually work?

@takaryx I just see that idea as more reasoning that starts from the premise that the only solution to the problem of limited availability of Reserved cards is to reprint those exact cards again. I disagree with that premise, and I think WotC has shown unequivocally that they will not agree with any conclusion that results in printing Reserved cards again.

Hence why I suggest people focus efforts on ways to cure the EFFECT of the Reserve List - bottlenecks into eternal formats - not the List itself.

@maximumcdawg Not the ONLY solution, just A solution, which could be done in conjunction with new cards, like you've been discussing.

The big difference with my proposed solution, and other proposed solutions that I've seen, is that it's not a true reprinting. This method should allow the overall value to be retained (which is the entire purpose of the RL) while simultaneously increasing card availability and reducing the bottleneck of entering into eternal formats.

Additional new printings would further help that, but this is the only why I see that the card availability, specifically for the RL cards could be increased without abolishing the RL, which as you've said, WOTC is not going to do, and I agree with that.

Lastly, even if this solution did work, I still think they should continue to look into new printings, like your suggesting, and I believe they have been (which is where things like Treasure Cruise, Spirit of the Labyrinth, the Maguses, the new transforming lands, etc. have all come from), but it's just really hard to do, because make it too good, and it breaks stuff or makes other cards obsolete, but make it not good enough, and it doesn't see play. The best example of this difficulty, that I can think of, is Ancrestral Recall v Ancestral Visions v Treasure Cruise.

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