B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020

Well, something is happening next week and it affects Vintage, Legacy and Brawl. As for the actual steps they will take, I feel that is less clear.

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https://twitter.com/wizards_magic/status/1259997359179616256

Predictions:

  • Gush is unrestricted again
  • Discussing the reserved list is banned
  • Being disappointed by WotC's actions is now required

No modern mention, apparently that format can deal with companions?

i'll be the pessimist and say that they are just gonna ban/restrict the baubles

I'm putting my money down on Lurrus getting banned in Legacy and Vintage. Possibly Zirda, too. Remote possibility of Companion generally getting banned in eternal, but that last one is only true if they are planning to print more Companions and want to make sure they stay in the formats where the deck-building restriction is a real cost.

last edited by MaximumCDawg

A ban of Lurrus would be a very bad precedent, in my opinion, as it shows that they are still missing the mark on what is causing a lack of format diversity and it opens the flood gates of more cards potentially getting power level banned in Vintage.

@vaughnbros I don't think it makes a bad precedent. It could just be an instance of "Oops, we're human and made a format-breaking design, so we're acting as if it never happened." Just because a card is printed doesn't mean it can't be erased and the format reset to normal. If they accidentally made a standard-intended card that said "U-Draw 7 cards, destroy all lands and creatures you control," Vintage with their mox mana would laugh at that drawback and do uber-busted things. Would we just have to say "Well, that's a massive error, but we have to allow it and play with it," or can we essentially flamethrower it at the printing press?

last edited by Thewhitedragon69

@thewhitedragon69

A vast majority of the cards on the Vintage restricted list were “mistakes”.

I dunno, I don't have an issue with cards getting banned in Vintage. I mean it's pretty ridiculous on the surface for us to expect them to never make certain cards because it might upset the smallest subset of the community.

Restriction is a cool concept in itself, but obviously not a catchall when they explore more and more design space. Almost every single magic card ever printed is "more powerful" in Vintage. I think we need to realign our expectations as Magic gets pushed further and further. If they operate under the handicap of "not breaking Vintage," there isn't very far they can push. On the other hand, almost every problem card in Vintage is a problem card in other formats too, so there's that.

Is a card getting banned before it's officially released that big of a deal?

@vaughnbros Yes, but a card that a restriction can mitigate. We're talking about a card where restriction, perhaps for the first time ever, has zero impact.

@thewhitedragon69 said in B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020:

@vaughnbros Yes, but a card that a restriction can mitigate. We're talking about a card where restriction, perhaps for the first time ever, has zero impact.

Did restriction mitigate the influence the power had on the format? Nope, it helped define the format almost in it's entirety.

Lurris is only a stupid card in the format because of all the other stupid broken cards in the format that were restricted, not banned, because of power level. Think about the cards that make him as powerful as he is without hitting the deck building restriction:

  • Moxen
  • Lotus
  • Blue Power
  • Force of Will
  • etc

In legacy they have 4x LED which is the source of the issue there, but it is a similar one.

If you wanted to really make the format more balanced and more open by banning a card, the cards that are in the abstract far more powerful are the vintage staples. Even though Lurrus starts outside the normal game as+1 card, lotus is still the thing that enables almost every degenerate game, including Lurrus. Even in games where it does not come up as you are not guaranteed to draw it, entire games are made up of people playing around the tension created by ancestral and force of will.

All that being said, I think some of the cards we may also be looking at getting a restriction this announcement are PO and Breach. Both are absurdly powerful and have proven themselves a few times over. Breach is at the least in the same caliber as yawg's will, which sets a restriction precedent, and PO's interaction with all the moxen and so forth would probably enable it to still see play as a one sided value engine even if restricted.

This format was defined and built on a foundation of broken cards from 20+ yrs ago.

Why show that same reverence towards a card that is so new, it isn’t even available in paper yet?

@joshuabrooks said in B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020:

This format was defined and built on a foundation of broken cards from 20+ yrs ago.
Why show that same reverence towards a card that is so new, it isn’t even available in paper yet?

Because if the format does not change set over set, minimally or sweepingly, the game will stagnate and die. That is a fundamental design principal of Magic, the collectable card game. This is not about showing reverence, it is about not having sacred cows.

Let me ask this. When the dredge mechanic, and then more specifically Bridge from below came out, they fundamentally altered the format in a far more drastic way that lurris is. Decks could now be played without mana, without properly casting spells. It created a somewhat oppressive deck that has remained to this day, one that does not interact with any of the traditional power cards.

Why is that deck now also considered a pillar deck, and bazaar considered by many to be untouchable? It is not 20+ years old, and not something the format was designed to accommodate. What is different from them than Lurrus?

Personally I feel that if I am showing reverence for anything, it is reverence to the core principal of the format, one that at its core is that we don't ban cards for power level, we restrict.

But this is a card/ability that circumvents restriction.

By that argument, what if Wizards decided to design cards that were horribly unbalanced for modern, standard and draft, but the caveat to the cards were that "you may only play one copy of this card in your deck."

Do the rules of Vintage still bend to this?

@protoaddict All those cards would have a WAY more severe impact on the format were they NOT restricted. The way restriction mitigates their effect is by creating variance. You have to draw that 1-of-60 in your deck or do some other gymnastics to find it. To play Lurrus, you just need 3 mana of the right colors, and restriction won't do anything to mitigate that. Restriction doesn't make a card less busted, it just makes it less likely you'll draw it. Would restriction be an okay fix to lotus or ancestral if it always started the game as your 8th card?

You ask if restricting power mitigated their influence on Vintage? I dunno - try running 4 of each P9 and tell me the format is influenced exactly the same amount.

last edited by Thewhitedragon69

Ban Bouncing Beebles.
Restrict Biovisionary
Unrestrict Demonic consultstion
Unban Curse of the Fire Penguin

@protoaddict said in B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020:

In legacy they have 4x LED which is the source of the issue there, but it is a similar one.

Yeah, I just want to point out that this is actually incorrect. The best Lurrus deck in Legacy is not an LED shell. It's Delver. Yes, Lurrus is also played in Storm decks, but those decks are not the dominant force in the format since Lurrus came about. It was very immediately the Delver shells because of cards like Bauble and just the fact that everything in Delver synergizes well with the card. It turned the deck into a CA machine that can grind long games very well.

That being said, my take on this BnR and how reactionary it feels is that it will indeed be a ban of Lurrus. This is a situation I've considered for some time now (have written about several times too) and I would most assuredly prefer them to ban this one card if it would mean a measure of health returning to the format. Yes, it's a slippery slope, but it's likely the simplest and most correct way of handling this card that has really no other simple options of dealing with it.

I maintain my hope that the action they will take for Vintage is to ban Lurrus, but only as a companion. Allowing it to still be included in your 60 maintains some measure of consistency with the (eminently arguable) spirit of the format as the one place where you can play every card. There may come a time when an outright ban of a card is the only correct action, but I don't think this is it.

@thewhitedragon69 said in B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020:

@protoaddict All those cards would have a WAY more severe impact on the format were they NOT restricted. The way restriction mitigates their effect is by creating variance. You have to draw that 1-of-60 in your deck or do some other gymnastics to find it. To play Lurrus, you just need 3 mana of the right colors, and restriction won't do anything to mitigate that.

If the problem with Lurrus is variance, why is that an issue? Every move WOTC has made in the past few sets or rules changes has been to reduce overall variance. That is the direction they are driving the game in, for people to be able to execute on their game plan. That is why Commander is actually popular with most people., myself excluded. In this instance the card is doing EXACTLY what it was designed to do.

So I guess then the question is what would you prefer, a card of a respectable power like Lurrus that has no variance (you always start with him in every game you play) Or a card with higher variance like lotus or ancestral that is undeniably more powerful? I think we all agree that without companion Lurrus is a non issue, and even as a 4-of would be perfectly fine in the format right?

I would also point you to the argument of Bazaar and Serum Powder under the new Mulligan rule. I forget what the math was but I believe if you run 4 Bazaars and 4 Powders your actual odds of getting Bazaar in your opener are somewhere around 97%, and it was somewhere around 95% to start with it and still have something like 3 cards left, which next to Lurrus would be the second lowest variance instance that we see in the game. Now yes it costs you cards in this example, but where as Lurrus absolutely needs other cards to support him (mana, things to bring back), A dredge deck can win with one bazaar and no other specific cards. If Powerlevel needs to be somewhat inverse to variance, shouldn't one of those cards have been restricted at this point?

@thewhitedragon69 said in B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020:

Restriction doesn't make a card less busted, it just makes it less likely you'll draw it. Would restriction be an okay fix to lotus or ancestral if it always started the game as your 8th card?

This is demonstrably false. There are a number of cards that feed off other copies of themselves to become more than the sum of their parts, and restriction helps stop that.

The penalty on the second LED you activate in a turn is usually 0. Golgari Grave troll has the highest chance of all the dredge cards of getting you another Golgari Grave troll in the yard. Subsequent copies of Thorn and Lodestone combine to go from a tax on your opponent to potentially hard lock. Minds desire can get you another Minds desire, and each subsequent copy has a better chance to get you another.

There are some cards on the list that have diminishing returns and are on there clearly just because of power level, like Treasure Cruise or Trinisphere, and in these cases it the answer is yes, they are restricted purely to increase variance, but that is not at all the case with the whole list.

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