Semi-restrictions (two-of limit to cards)
I've been reading discussions on recent restrictions, Paradoxical Outcome, Workshop, etc. There has been a lot of talk on whether restricting or unrestricting some cards would promote or kill a diverse meta.
What I don't see amidst all this discussion, although I think could be helpful for promoting a diverse and healthy meta, is a consideration of semi-restricting cards, in addition to full restrictions. A semi-restricted card would be allowed as a two-of or less in a deck.
Full restriction is a bit extreme compared to non-restriction. There is quite a bit of difference in a card's influence over deck construction between when it is a 4-of and when it is a 1-of. When a deck has 4 of a certain card, that card has structural influence over the deck. When a deck has 1of a certain card, that card does not have much of an influence over the structure and feel of the deck. Some of the restricted cards, although powerful enough to break the game consistently when unrestricted, become just another card that might be useful to draw once in a while when restricted. The decks that were centered around such cards when they were unrestricted become largely useless when they are restricted.
Although it is not very fun to run into the same 'broken' deck playing the same broken cards over and over, it is always a shame to see the interesting ideas underlying these decks go to waste when their central cards become restricted. Semi-restricting certain cards to a 2-of limit judiciously could mean that such cards continue to have palpable influence over a deck, significantly more than they would as a 1-of, and importantly, enough to preserve the spirit of the deck, while reducing their likelihood of being outright anti-competition/interaction. Semi-restrictions, rather than killing decks outright like full restrictions often do, could urge players of those decks to find creative and/or subtle alternatives (through redundancies, novel facets, etc.) in response to the limitation of cards central to their decks.
Some of the cards that, in my opinion, could be semi-restricted to promote a diverse meta are: Gitaxian Probe, Ponder, Mishra's Workshop, Thorn of Amethyst, Gush, and so on. If any of these cards were semi-restricted on their own, they might become too dominant. However, if appropriate groups of conflicting and synergistic cards were semi-restricted in conjunction, we might be able to nurture a more diverse and dynamic vintage format than it is today, while sustaining a balanced meta that is critical to any healthy format.
I'd like to hear what you all think, whether you think semi-restrictions could be good/bad for the format, what cards you think could be semi-restricted, what could be done moving forward, and anything else relevant to the topic. Perhaps this has been discussed to death already (my search turned up nothing).
Its been suggested many time before by the many members of the community (myself included). Have never heard one peep from Wizards about it. Nothing say, "we'll consider it." Nothing saying, "It will never happen." Nothing at all to even acknowledge the idea. Which to me is an even more harsh way of saying, "not going to happen."
The problem, stated by most, with this idea is now when deck checking we have to see if card X is restricted, semi restricted, or allowed as a 4 of, which can easily become quite confusing.
boerma last edited by boerma
I've been reading discussions on recent restrictions, Paradoxical Outcome, Workshop, etc. There has been a lot of talk on whether restricting, semi-restricting or unrestricting some cards would promote or kill a diverse meta.
What I don't see amidst all this discussion, although I think could be helpful for promoting a diverse and healthy meta, is a consideration of semi-semi-restricting cards, in addition to full restrictions and semi-restrictions. A semi-semi-restricted card would be allowed as a three-of or less in a deck.
Full semi-restriction is a bit extreme compared to non-restriction. There is quite a bit of difference in a card's influence over deck construction between when it is a 4-of and when it is a 2-of. When a deck has 4 of a certain card, that card has structural influence over the deck. When a deck has 2 of a certain card, that card does not have much of an influence over the structure and feel of the deck. Some of the semi-restricted cards, although powerful enough to break the game consistently when unrestricted, become just another card that might be useful to draw once in a while when semi-restricted. The decks that were centered around such cards when they were unrestricted become largely useless when they are semi-restricted.
Jokes aside, I don’t want the DCI to have to solve the metagame for us. If a card is problematic, they don’t have to figure out if it would maybe be fine as a two-of or three-of. Either the metagame can handle a card, in which case it’s allowed as a four-of, or it can’t, in which case is restricted. No micromanagement necessary.
Limiting cards to 2 or 3-ofs doesn't solve anything and only makes the restricted list more confusing. Playing 3 Workshops wouldn't change the deck; playing 2 would be the same as only playing 1, deckbuilding-wise.
IF you really want to change the model I guess one option would be what games like Netrunner did: have a list of cards that can't be played in the same deck. If you play one card on the list, you can't play any of the others.
So for example if you had a list like:
Sensei's Divining Top
Thorn of Amethyst
Then you could still play 4 Workshops, but you'd have to skip on Thorn - making Shops what it is now and also making Eldrazi budget viable again. You could play 4 PO but not with Mox Opal and Tops, etc, etc. This would be a separate list in addition to our normal Restricted List, of course - no way we're allowing 4 Time Walk.
I'm not suggesting doing this: I'm actually fine with our B&R policy. But this would actually change how the list works in ways restricting to 2 or 3 copies of a card wouldn't.
Brass Man last edited by
Personally I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with the idea, but I'm not holding my breath that it'll happen. I'm not worried about the argument that it would make things more difficult for vintage players - there's already an absurd amount of information a vintage player needs to have memorized to play the game ... 25 years of one-off keyword abilities, rules changes, errata. How many cards in the average vintage deck have oracle text that matches their printed text, 30%? Deck construction rules are barely a drop in the bucket, especially considering a player can verify before the tournament starts (there's are plenty of tools that check legality for you), and never have to memorize or think of it ever again. I don't have any reason to think that a semi-restriction system would make the format worse (and for that matter, even though I know boerma was joking, a 3-of rule wouldn't bother me at all, either)
That said, there's an unspoken assumption here that Wizards is having difficulty achieving their desired outcomes through blunt restrictions, and that this would be a tool they could use to more precisely create the outcome they want. I think it's a mistake to assume that Wizards has very strong opinions on what the format should look like, or that they even think there's any consensus metagame target or problem that needs to be addressed.
I think that the amount of work this would take to put together, and more importantly, how it would look to people who DON'T play vintage, both dwarf any desire they have to make the format different than it is now.
(but as an amateur game designer, I'm all about it)