September 2016 Banned and Restricted List updates

@ajfirecracker

well its strictly better than Squee because it's returned to your hand immediately. So Survival of the Fittest, Bazaar of Baghdad, and Wild Mongrel are all fine options.

There has been a fair amount of talk about lotus petal, and I feel like there are a couple of decks besides storm that benefit a lot. 1) RG Belcher, which is in some ways a storm variant, becomes a lot more consistent, and can start playing mox opals because of the new 0 mana artifacts. 2) Any hatebears/white eldrazi deck. Think about how much more consistent t1 thalia (of either type becomes) if you can play five 0 mana white producers alongside your 2 mana lands and your other moxen. That decks biggest issues are related to drawing white mana early while still being able to follow up with big eldrazi quickly, I think petal would support that too much, especially since it is already one of the best decks in the format.

I have been talking about "Spirit Spirit Guide", the white spirit guide, for years, and unrestricted petal is better than that in hatebears.

@gkraigher said:

@varal

it's not ambiguous, its clearly a replacement effect. In fact, it should be able to get around cards like Rest in Peace and Leyline of the Void.

Portal 3 was a stand alone set, with cards like Cao Cao, Lord of Wei. You are wrong if you think this card does what it was intended to do.

Zodiac Dragon was a Portal card. Portal was designed to be an introductory starter set. It was not designed for tournament legal play nor was it designed with the same rules. They used different templates, different wording even different timing restrictions for some sorceries.

Errata to the wording on cards like zodiac dragon was made to make the card function in normal magic the way it was intended to work in the first place. Also look at cards like Darksteel Colossus and Serra Avatar. Notice the 'from anywhere.' That is what lets the ability function in zones other than the battlefield. The errata was a clarification , not a functional change. "If" did not mean the same thing in portal that it did in regular magic.

@Khahan said:

Zodiac Dragon was a Portal card. Portal was designed to be an introductory starter set. It was not designed for tournament legal play nor was it designed with the same rules. They used different templates, different wording even different timing restrictions for some sorceries.

Errata to the wording on cards like zodiac dragon was made to make the card function in normal magic the way it was intended to work in the first place. Also look at cards like Darksteel Colossus and Serra Avatar. Notice the 'from anywhere.' That is what lets the ability function in zones other than the battlefield. The errata was a clarification , not a functional change. "If" did not mean the same thing in portal that it did in regular magic.

You had me up until the end. That seems like a really ridiculous claim, which seems hard to back up. Can you support that view?

@ajfirecracker said:

@Khahan said:

Zodiac Dragon was a Portal card. Portal was designed to be an introductory starter set. It was not designed for tournament legal play nor was it designed with the same rules. They used different templates, different wording even different timing restrictions for some sorceries.

Errata to the wording on cards like zodiac dragon was made to make the card function in normal magic the way it was intended to work in the first place. Also look at cards like Darksteel Colossus and Serra Avatar. Notice the 'from anywhere.' That is what lets the ability function in zones other than the battlefield. The errata was a clarification , not a functional change. "If" did not mean the same thing in portal that it did in regular magic.

You had me up until the end. That seems like a really ridiculous claim, which seems hard to back up. Can you support that view?

http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=4212

If you go through the link above, many of the cards in the set use "if" instead of "when". For instance, Charging Bandits states "If Charging Bandits attacks, it gets +2/+0 until the end of turn" which clearly cannot be a replacement effect (what would it replace? attacking?) so it seems that @khahan's view is correct - that "if" was not indicative of a replacement effect and was used as a synonym for "when". All instances of a creature dying in Portal having an effect use "if", though the designers had the foresight to include "from play".

last edited by Guest

An enjoyable fun format is essential to its sustenance. In the past few months, I've seen the constant lamentations of the format translate into real departures that are discouraging. Justin Kohler for instance who used to be a mainstay at nearly every event in a 300 mile radius of Eastern Pennsylvania hates Gush tokens so much, he sold his MTGO collection and has skipped every event save last hurrah Waterbury. The dailies on MTGO are not firing and the P9 event sizes appear to be trending sharply downwards. The format is generally not as fun as it has been in the past. Many of us disagree on what the causes or solutions are, but there is a palpable malaise and distaste for current Vintage coming from multiple varied perspectives.

While Steve, who I generally enjoy and admire, may write off these losses as meaningless plebeians who don't truly understand what is good for the game or good for their own lives, I have a responsibility to take the more audience-friendly approach as the format's paper Champion. In my (strong) opinion, the concerns, engagement, and enjoyment of the players at all skill levels matter. "[Well then quit, the format doesn't need you]" is an asinine approach to leadership. In my (strong) opinion, the secondary market matters as well because I find it callous and nefarious to inflict economic hardship on community members who are like family to us merely to have a theoretically more "diverse" metagame by some arbitrary standard. I will never support the restriction of Mishra's Workshop or Bazaar of Baghdad because too many individuals have sacrificed or worked hard to acquire playsets and I can't even imagine what that would do to stores (who are likewise our TO's and friends) that are heavily invested in either. Never will go there. By the same token, I'll never support unrestricting Library of Alexandria because this will create an additional chaos and result that disproportionately favors the affluent. Finally, I don't want to restrict Gush right now because I do care about the incredible effort Stephen invested in his extremely well realized new Gush book and I'd find it disheartening to see such a triumphant accomplishment neutered at its onset. Maybe that's too "subjective" a reason for some, but because restricting Gush is a very 50/50 proposition (and since life will be fine overall regardless of whether we have Gush for another 6 months, a year, etc.), what makes it an easy call for me is that fact that restricting it will bring about tangible harm to an important member of our community and there is no compelling reason to do that. I'm also persuaded by stories people have told about spending months preparing for Champs and restricting it now is like pulling the rug. Those concerns matter and they -should- matter. The detached faux-scientific strictly mathematical approach to restricting cards in our hobby of enjoyment is not only entirely misplaced, but it is also comically pretentious and mismatched to the actual goals of a format voluntarily played more for fun than for stark competition. I believe the Gush question should be revisited next year.

That said, since we have problems with the format, a reasonable inclination is to wait for Wizards to fix them with printings. They have demonstrated an inability to understand why a gazillion mana sorcery is not a competitive answer to a 2W army of Monks. Bear in mind, most of us who found Shops to be problematic several years ago wanted to hold off on calls for restrictions until Wizards had the chance to rectify things themselves. Rich Shay famously suggested a card with Kamigawa's "channel" mechanic that could destroy a single artifact irrespective of Sphere tax. When a year or two went by and nothing happened, we were dismayed. Three to four years was worse. "Well they can't really let themselves harm Standard with Vintage specific cards.," we may have reasoned. When Wizards began releasing eternal only sets and still didn't address the [censored] problem, that's when the calls to action began in earnest. But many prominent blue mages were not trigger happy in calling for restrictions. I waited a while,. I supported restricting Chalice and opposed restricting Lodestone Golem. This is a pretty measured non-radical perspective, IMO.

Since Wizards is demonstrating the same ineptitude in understanding how to craft a check/balance for Monastery Mentor and likewise never really provided an adequate inherent game balance to 1-mana discard spells (since anything that's not free will itself simply be forced via discard, Leyline of Sanctity is horrible since it's -CA even if oppo does not draw the discard, and here in Vintage we're not getting much mileage out of a vanilla 4/4 like Loxodon Smiter), we have a problem with token generators and Probe/Therapy and the obnoxious "misstep your misstep of my misstep on your misstep." It's time to say goodbye to New Phyrexia.

It has been said before that Magic is a zero sum game in terms of fun. I disagree. There are some games that are richly engaging and enjoyable for both parties regardless of who wins. And there are those that are miserable both for the loser and for the winner. Monastery Mentor is a net negative. My experience with the card matches what I hear from others. I don't like losing to it. I don't like winning with it (and heaven knows, I have won a lot of crap with it). I don't like winning after removing an opponent's Mentor. I don't like losing with Mentor in hand or in play. Anyway it's sliced, Mentor is negative. It's functionally a strictly superior Tinker that adorably does not require you to play an uncastable robot and then a self-help card like Thirst for Knowledge to shuffle the robot back. If there's any reason for Tinker to still be restricted (is there?), Monatery similarly should be restricted. But I would go further and Ban it as an incontrovertible statement that we don't espouse cards that Wizards fails to address with proper answers. The other card I would consider banning is Mental Misstep. It's banned in every format, universally recognized as toxic, not simply because it makes players win more or lose more, but because it leads to empirically low quality games.

I would keep the list as it currently is for Champs and then in January:

Ban Monastery Mentor
Ban Mental Misstep
Restrict Gitaxian Probe
Unrestrict Windfall (trial basis)

--Urge Wizards to print something that actually makes Thoughtseize/Duress/Therapy a risky proposition as Teferi's Response did for Wasteland/Rishadan Port. A trap with Rayne, Academy Chancellor's effect would be ideal.

And the watchlist would be:

Preordain, Gush, Show and Tell (this card is always going to be a headache from now until 2030 and beyond, even though our designers have not fully exploited it yet), Thought-Knot Seer, Windfall, Wasteland, Oath of Druids.

last edited by brianpk80

BPK 2016! Seriulously tho nice reply(s). I agree with 99% of what you said. I still think 3 more temporary Mana Rocks (unrestricted Lotus Petal) would not hurt, but help diversify the meta.

The question of whether Zodiac Dragon was intended to have a replacement effect is an interesting one, but I think ultimately beside the point: if it's a trigger, it's a zone change trigger that can trigger only from the graveyard, and so functions in the graveyard (regardless of where the card came from) by 112.6j.

Is banning really necessary, BK? Wouldn't restricted Monk and Misstep be more than enough to reduce their appearance in the format to one we all love - drawing cards like Ancestral, Lotus, Walk?

I think Windfall is also a good possibility for unrestriction.

@brianpk80 That's a lot of strong claims. I don't know that you're wrong, and in fact I agree with a lot of what you said, but I see your complaint more as a kind of generic warning than as a specific, narrowly identified issue

@brianpk80 said:

While Steve, who I generally enjoy and admire, may write off these losses as meaningless plebeians who don't truly understand what is good for the game or good for their own lives, I have a responsiblity to take the more audience-friendly approach as the format's paper Champion. In my (strong) opinion, the concerns, engagement, and enjoyment of the players at all skill levels matter. "[Well then quit, the format doesn't need you]" is an asinine approach to leadership.

Hi Brian,

I always appreciate your thoughtful comments on the format (and kind words about my work), but I must object to any suggestion that I might write off anyone's concerns about B&R list format management as paternalistically not knowing what's in their best interests, let alone dismiss some or many players as 'plebians.' I don't believe that or hold views that would accord with that kind of thinking. I'm not sure how you may have formed that impression.

It's true that I have taken pains to point out how often community voices have called for restriction (going back decades now), and how the DCI has generally served the format best when it has exercised restraint in response to those calls (the restricted list would have been much larger at times if they had). But that doesn't mean I believe that community voices don't matter.

I would never want anyone to feel that they don't matter or don't belong. In fact, that's my concern with many of the calls for restriction. The restriction of Lodestone Golem was as divisive an instance of B&R list management as I can remember (although it's interesting that Chalice of the Void was not). There are players who felt like the DCI slapped them on the face, and remain unhappy about it to this day. That restriction may well have driven out or nearly driven out some players from the format. The same thing was true of the 2008 restrictions, where a number of players quit.

In general, I tend to be on the more conservative end of the spectrum when it comes to B&R list management. Not because I don't care about people's experience, but exactly the opposite. Before we take toys away from anyone, shouldn't we be absolutely sure there is a problem? And that neither printings nor metagame shifts can solve it?

I have no doubt that any given metagame may drive players away. I remember how unhappy players were in the Trinistax period, in the Gifts era, when manaless Dredge became a deck, and how unhappy players were when Time Vault was errated, and Tezzeret was dominating. People hated the printing of BSC and Tinker's rise to dominance.

It's a tragedy that anyone would quit the format in disgust over a particular aspect of the format, but it's probably safe to say that there is no way to please anyone all of the time. The extant player base at any given time represents players who can either tolerate current format features or actually enjoy them. A utilitarian calculus would simply reward the most popular decks, rather than foster a diverse metagame that is broadly open to new players. If the DCI had followed the demands of the Team Paragon in 2002, then restrictions would have the appearance of a kind of special interest policy making. It would have looked the DCI was manipulating the B&R list to serve the interests of Keeper pilots.

While there may be segments of the community who want, say, Gush restricted, there are segments who are either on the fence or don't want Gush restricted. I suspect that most of the concerns around token strategies is from blue pilots, who feel that Gush decks are the only viable blue option. While I don't believe that to be true (I think Landstill, Oath, and other blue decks are perfectly viable), I certainly respect those concerns.

Here's where I land: The rapid metagame shifts over the last few months I think counsel for active surveillance or watchful waiting rather than action. At the NYSE, I surveyed a number of players, including yourself, Rich Shay, and others, if they felt, after the tournament, Gush needed to be restricted, and many said that they had felt that way, but were now uncertain or thought not. That was immediately after the breakout of Eldrazi in the P9 challenge a week before. At the same time, Nick Detwiler said just a month or so ago that he thought Workshops were dead, but they just won the Waterbury.

The Vintage metagame is oscillating rapidly, and the forecast is just too cloudy to form a sound basis for any significant B&R list change. It's just not clear that Gush decks are either maintaining a level of unhealthy dominance, or will maintain it going forward, given all of these changes. We don't know if Eldrazi are a flash in the pan or a permanent player. We don't know where hatebears strategies go from here. Add to those uncertainties the combined impact of Conspiracy 2 and Kaladesh, which is also difficult to predict, but certain to impact the metagame, and prompt more changes.

My strong preference for this B&R list period is no changes. That doesn't mean that I don't think there aren't cards that could be eventually unrestricted (I think Bargain might be safer than Windfall, but either one would be an interesting candidate). But the format is undergoing so much change and so much turmoil that I think we should be certain before taking drastic action. Not because we ignore the legitimate concerns of unhappy players, but because we should also care about players who might feel unfairly harmed by unwarranted action as well.

last edited by Smmenen

If Lodestone were unrestricted and Lotus Petal was unrestricted would this not only make MUD players happy but also help with the chances of getting the one land and one zero cost mana rock on turn one to answer the Lodestone (via bolt, swords, path etc etc) and make more people happy?

@Khahan

alt text

Serra avatar was errated to do what it does. Zodiac dragon was errated to not do what it says on the card, even if it isn't a replacement effect (which it clearly is) at the very minimum it would trigger if you discarded it from your hand to Cao, Cao lord of Wei. Which it doesn't.

The card needs to do what it says on the only printed version of the card.

@Smmenen said:

Hi Brian,

I always appreciate your thoughtful comments on the format (and kind words about my work), but I must object to any suggestion that I might write off anyone's concerns about B&R list format management as paternalistically not knowing what's in their best interests, let alone dismiss some or many players as 'plebians.' I don't believe that or hold views that would accord with that kind of thinking. I'm not sure how you may have formed that impression.

I had the fortune (or misfortune, heh) of finally having a few spare hours to catch up on some reading on this site, much of which included perusing the "Thoughts on restrictions" thread. I was given the impression you hold the above now seemingly objectionable view from your own words! 🙂

"People don't always want (or know) what's best for them or the format. "
http://www.themanadrain.com/topic/593/thoughts-on-restrictions/93

Even a cursory reading of your viewpoint stated throughout the thread evinces the belief that the playing population at large has historically raised complaints that have proven baseless and you exalt the DCI for its typical policy of inaction, which you consider a product of wisdom. This is definitively paternalistic, mon cherie. 🙂 I've always differed by believing what you'd consider restraint to actually be neglect, a view which seems supported by the increase in restriction frequency since Vintage became more popular and marketable in the past few years. But this is impossible to ascertain since after all of these time and all of these debates, I have never received an adequate explanation of who or what in fact comprises the decision-making body that we call the "DCI." Is it three persons? Seven? The entirety of R&D? Randy himself with a villainous grin? The Illuminati? I have no idea. Do you?

@ajfirecracker said:

@brianpk80 That's a lot of strong claims. I don't know that you're wrong, and in fact I agree with a lot of what you said, but I see your complaint more as a kind of generic warning than as a specific, narrowly identified issue

It's a weigh-in on an important topic that advocates for no changes before Champs, explains my position on the controversial Gush question, and seeks to further accredit the burgeoning case for addressing Gitaxian Probe, Mental Misstep , and Monastery Mentor. Most of us are able to exercise patience and give Wizards some time to address game imbalances and design flaws via new printings. And again, the are showing signs of failing on that account as they did during the 4x Chalice/4x Golem era.

@skecr8r said:

Is banning really necessary, BK? Wouldn't restricted Monk and Misstep be more than enough to reduce their appearance in the format to one we all love - drawing cards like Ancestral, Lotus, Walk?

Good question. No, it's not necessary in the strict sense but I do think the door should be open on using that as an option. In the case of Monastery Mentor, with lack of an efficient response being such a crucial issue to its problematic status, having one of them might lead to an even worse scenario where people are even more disinclined to answer it thus making it even more swingy than Tinker when it resolves (and thanks to Cavern of Souls, this is much more easily accomplished if the designer/player chooses).

I have a strong suspicion that games being determined by the fact that an opponent "had their one random restricted Mental Misstep" would be low quality affairs akin to dying to Mana Crypt. And on that note, I wouldn't be opposed to a Mana Crypt errata that removed the utterly skilless coin-flip clause. I'm not sure what the best way to do that would be, but it's clear that Mana Crypt coin flips should not be so determining in a game played by such intelligent participants with such a multidimensional depth of strategy.

-B

last edited by brianpk80

@brianpk80 I like the crypt flips personally, its a nice balance to the ridiculousness that is Mana Crypt. Ive lost my share of games on a coin flip to it, and won a few nailbiters as well where it was a win the flip win the game situation.

Actually banning cards for power level or just because some people don't like them is a horrible idea. Suggesting that Monastery Mentor or Mental Misstep have to be not only restricted but banned is laughable!

@Evoclipse Though I agree that a restriction (not a banning) would satiate the masses, especially in the case of Mental Misstep, I think you are missing not just the forest, but also the trees by focusing only on @brianpk80 last point, especially since he already addressed it in his subsequent post.

@Evoclipse said:

Actually banning cards for power level or just because some people don't like them is a horrible idea. Suggesting that Monastery Mentor or Mental Misstep have to be not only restricted but banned is laughable!

Or it's a negotiating tactic. Demand what you'd want in a perfect world and you might get what you need in this real one. 😉 Never start the negotiation asking for 25%. Go for the full 150%. Someone has to shift the Overton window.

last edited by brianpk80
  • 191
    Posts
  • 124356
    Views