P.S. I still love you, Duck.
The issue that WotC and you boys care about is whether all blue decks tend to use the same cards to draw more cards. What does it matter whether they're all the same card so we can classify them as an "engine" because it iteratively functions to transform inputs oh my god stop.
I suspect that, as we get more broken blue draw spells, eventually the correct move will just be to play Highlander Blue Draw Spells. What are you going to restrict then, huh?
Andy, I understand your desire to keep The Mana Drain held to a certain standard of quality. It makes sense to winnow out posts that peddle misinformation, trolling, incoherence, and so on. It's a good idea to try to elevate the discourse. But, for whatever it's worth, I would be above any kind of bright line rule about what cards are or are not worthy of a thread.
I've got a few reasons for this:
1. Playing a test game with a card is work
It's not much work, sure, but it is some work. Anytime you increase the cost to get something, you will lower the amount of it you get. I know that I usually check The Mana Drain when I'm on breaks at the office. I do not have an opportunity to playtest a card spoiled that day. When I finally get home, I may or may not have the energy left after work to proxy something up and mess around with it. I cannot imagine this is a unique situation. As a practical matter, a rule like you propose would lower the number of threads and contributors to threads.
2. Ongoing discussion between members of The Drain has value.
...even where the discussion is over a bad card. I know we're not primarily a social website, and some of us (like me!) are totally unknown to the core group personally. Even so, the fact that we have a bunch of 30+ Vintage players chatting online in a forum about something that interests us has social value and contributes to all of us staying in the format.
On top of that, analysis of why a card is bad is a good thing to have around, too. Just because we have threads for the 6cc Anjani and Tezzeret does not mean that the level of discourse in those threads was all worthless. With respect, the least worthwhile posts in those thread were probably those where people took personal offense at the fact that the thread was made or the fact that other people were so offended.
3. Theorycrafting is fun.
This is the biggest reason to avoid hard and fast rules, I think. We're here on the Drain because we enjoy being here. We contribute because we want to hear others' thoughts. This isn't Team Meandeck / Serious / whatever's Testing Forum, where only the lean and mean proven decks and new tech can be discussed. It's a place for us to interact and enjoy ourselves.
If no one on this website is willing to play a single game of vintage, maybe the website shouldn't be active.
As to this... let's be real, opportunities to play real Vintage are rare unless you've invested in MTGO. I used to have access to weekly sanctioned Vintage, then it went away. I've tried to revive it, and no one cares. I can play casual and EDH and cube with my kids, but I do not trust my Vintage collection with The Sticky at this point. So, no, I actually don't get to play much Vintage at all. I regret that.
Even then, I do enjoy WATCHING and TALKING about it. It's nerd football. E-Sports. There's nothing wrong with that.
P.S. Good luck in the play-in tournament tonight!
JACO, while I respect your position, you're not really giving this an even-handed approach.
- WotC has intentionally structured their organized play program so that they do not run most of the tournaments (outside of Pro Tours), so if there was any kind of employee/employee relationship it would be between the judge(s) and the tournament organizer (let's say SCG, Channel-Fireball, etc.). The change in judge Foil compensation and so forth was to help clarify their stance on this issue. Your local gaming store and the regional tournament organizers are the ones paying judges (by whatever labor agreement they come to).
I'm sure all of that is true, from Wizard's perspective. But, just because you strive to set up a relationship that falls outside of the definition of "employment" does not mean you always succeed. It depends on the particular kind of relationship. I would assume that WOTC attorneys have already vetted the relationship and set up something they believe will pass muster, but it's very hard to stay on top of shifting law in a state like California. Even worse, all your best laid arrangements can sometimes mean nothing if the "worker" themselves is disputing what the relationship actually was.
- Most people would consider judges, Uber drivers, and other part time ad hoc workers as contractors.
Would they? To begin with, obviously reasonable minds can differ on this. Uber, for instance lost a motion for summary judgment where they contended basically this. (They did then settle the lawsuit before a jury got to decide.)
You have to be careful making sweeping generalizations about what is an employee and what is not. For instance, suggesting that all "part time and ad hoc" workers are not employees would exclude temp workers or part time workers. Courts do a more holistic analysis of the facts of the relationship when they look at it.
- Concurrently, the NLRB under Obama's direction...
You lost me here, when your post started to read more like a political diatribe than a reasoned opinion. Here, you started using words like "bogus precedents," call the case "wackass," suggest that WoTC is "clearly in the right," and so on. In an effort to bring more moderation to the discussion, let me explain the situation as I see it (as someone who litigates this issue on both sides in my state):
I have observed a push by state agencies (in non-liberal states) towards reclassifying workers as employees. Locally, this started around the time of the recession in 2008, when the state unemployment insurance office started hemorrhaging money due to all of the people being out of work. It appears to me that the agency beefed up its enforcement wing substantially to recoup the losses and has been pushing hard ever since.
The way the agencies view it, they are not trying to "push a libru'l agenda on 'merica" or anything like that. They see themselves as trying to fight a business system that has evolved to try and escape regulation through artificial structures designed to make what would at first blush look like an employee -- the person who actually does the work your business gets paid to do, under the company's direction and control -- into an independent contractor. Sometimes, like for small contractors, this is done out of ignorance or because the worker sees a bigger paycheck if they get a 1099 instead of a W-2. For more sophisticated businesses, like FedEx or trucking companies, this is a very specific plan designed to minimize the business' costs or liability exposure.
It's not "clear" at all which side is in the right here. I have seen and dealt with many businesses who have very deliberately designed a relationship to try to escape the normal protections workers enjoy. I have also seen businesses who legitimately need to hire contractors and not employees (for example, where the workers are doctors or other licensed professionals who need to exercise independent judgment.) It depends on the context.
The reason I find this case so fascinating is that I have not yet encountered a situation where someone is freely engaging in a leisure activity, but in an authoritative role, and considered when that would cross the line into employment. Consider: are sports referees employees? At the professional level, I bet they are. What about people who volunteer to ref at a Little League game? Or parents who run a Cub Scouts Den? There's probably cases out there on this, but I have not read them yet, so I look forward to learning more about where the line is.
So are these clowns going to pay back taxes for all the product if they win? Or is being paid in barter somehow tax exempt?
Tax advice is a tricky thing and you need to pay a lot of money to get it from someone who will review the particulars of each situation. In general, however, the IRS will tax income from any source, including litigation, absent certain exceptions.
I get grumbly when people argue that MUD having access to "five Black Lotuses" is a problem because this misses the whole point.
I would be more likely to equate the restricted MUD spells (Trinishpere, Chalice and LSG) to the restricted blue spells (Ancestral, Brainstorm and Timewalk).
Yikes, no way. In a vacuum, Ancestral Recall and Timewalk mop the floor with other effects. These Blue effects are so much cheaper than the MUD lock pieces that you don't need a "T: Add UUU" land to fuel them. I mean, there's a reason why Ancestral is broken and Concentrate is not.
If you print cards that generate lots of mana without restriction, they just go into Blue.dec. Mishra's Workshop without restriction doesn't create Shops; it fuels broken combos out of Blue.dec.
Literally the whole point to Shop (and Bazaar) is that they are INCOMPATIBLE with Blue.dec. This means that, if you can use them to make a deck that is of comparable power level, you have natural fault lines in the format ensuring diversity.
To drive the point home, here are other cards that are more or less incompatible with Blue.dec and could function as cores to diverse decks in the future, if they get enough powerful cards:
And so on.
Basically, it's a Very Good Thing when we get new cards that you can't really run profitably along side the original P9. Workshop and Bazaar are the only two to really get there yet, and we need to hold them up as examples. not undermine them.
It looks like some folks out in California decided that the Judge Program actually constitutes employment of Judges by Wizards of the Coast and they've filed a class action lawsuit over it.
Wizard's Press Release in Response: http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/news/wizards-responds-lawsuits-2016-04-20
In relevant part, FLSA (and the California equivalent, apparently) does not allow you to volunteer for a for-profit corporation. See http://webapps.dol.gov/elaws/whd/flsa/docs/volunteers.asp
So, the argument they are making -- and it's fascinating to me professionally - is that what a judge does constitutes "employment" within the meaning of applicable law and, as such, Wizards has been very bad for not paying minimum wage or otherwise complying with the law related to employees. That does not sound frivolous to me, though of course I'm not privy to the details of the Wizards / DCI / Judge relationship. I would expect that no matter how this shakes out, changes will be made the judge program to either resolve the lawsuit or protect against another.
I have questions:
(1) Does this mean anything for Vintage? Do we dodge the results since we usually have the TO judge the event anyway? Is this a boon for unsanctioned "Play Test Tournaments?"
(2) If this pushes on-line play, where judges are not necessary, does that help or hurt the format?
(3) It sure seems to me like this puts a fine point on the Reserve List issue that keeps popping up - yes, yes people WILL sue Wizards of the Coast in a class action if you give them a chance to do so.
(4) Steve, you're the only Magical Card Attorney I know of in California. Care to weigh in as someone who is licensed to do so? I'm not barred there. (PS NO POST IN THIS THREAD SHALL CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. IF YOU CAME TO A FORUM ABOUT MAGICAL CARD GAMES FOR BABIES AND EXPECTED LEGAL ADVICE, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG PLACE.)
I don't think this is the first time that modern speculation culture has impacted Vintage, but it might be the first time some people have noticed. Modern and Legacy have been dealing with this for years.
Perfect Information, Free Market
Here's the issue. Information and cards are available to anyone, anywhere today. On the information side, Twitch and similar programs allow people to keep a close eye on what is being played. Robots scour the internet collecting price data and aggregating information about buying activity and buy list prices on major retailers. There are at least three very prominent websites (mtgprice, quietspeculation, and mtggoldfish) pushing financial and market data, as well as articles about how to invest wisely.
On the card side, we have peer-to-peer sites like TCG Player and Pucatrade along side the old standbys of eBay and major retailers. If you want a card, you can go online, punch in some information, and you will get it. If you see a card getting played at the Legacy Open in the top eight, you can go online and click to order it immediately. If you want to unload a card, you can post it and get it sold in seconds. Bargain hunting? Well, we got that covered now too, with sites like MtgScavenger searching eBay to find unusually low prices on cards.
The point is that both information and cards are now liquid in paper. Not quite MTGO-liquid, sure, but still very liquid.
This presents a speculator with money to burn with a very specific kind of opportunity.
Anatomy of a Price Spike
Since everyone knows everything all at once about Magic goings-on nowadays (well, everyone who cares to can, anyway), buyers and retailers can react instantly to new information. Algorithms react even faster than that.
When a card gets play at a big event, or enables a new combo, or whatever, the player base can move generally to buy the card. In the case of a rare from Legends, it takes a very tiny percentage of the player base making this decision to buy out the card. Sellers take notice, and repost at a higher price. This is one way price spikes happen.
Speculators can also cause a spike by doing their own buyout. If you think that some card, say, Moat, has been static for too long, you can charge out a credit card and buy most of the available copies from most retailers. Then, you re-list them at an absurdly high price and wait to see what happens.
These spikes do not always stick. Regardless of whether the community or a speculator sucked up the supply, if the new price is so high that sellers can't move their stock at that price, it will slowly go down. Slowly, because the seller will only move the price down if time proves it won't move, or as competitors list their cards just under the higher prices.
However, a price spike does accomplish one thing, and it accomplishes that thing VERY WELL: A price spike quickly determines the maximum possible price that retailers can charge for a card in that environment. That is to say, a price spike lets retailers determine exactly how much they can get away with charging for a card. A recent example is Mindslicer.
Someone bought out this dumb-little hellbent enabler and relisted it for around fifty bucks. Everyone laughed because this was dumb. People did not buy Mindslicer for $50, and the price tanked. People started buying again when the card was a much more reasonable price, around five bucks... which was actually still a 500% increase over what the card was selling for before the spike! In other words, the spike allowed the selling community to determine that the market will actually bear a $5.00 price tag for this particular card no one uses.
Moat will do the same thing. It will fall in price after the spike only until someone decides to pay that price. Once they do, the price won't fall any further.
What This Means For YOU
These price spikes mean that Magic cards are going to cost the maximum they possibly COULD cost much faster than in the old days. Is this a good thing? If you're a retailer or speculator, sure. If you're a player, no. Either way, it's hard to see how you could put the genie back in the bottle at this point. Perfect information and perfect card availability is here to stay, so these things are going to happen.
The best that players can do is find ways to stay educated. Look for cards that are likely to spike and acquire them before they do. Don't buy into spikes at all; once the ship sails, look elsewhere. Keep abreast of the finance community's articles so you have some idea of what's going on and you can get good advice about what may be coming down the line.
@babau Maybe? Previous cards that tried to stop Storm by being painful still let the Storm player go off and so they were far less powerful than cards that STOPPED the Storm player. At least this one guarantees lethal damage before the Storm count gets to 9. As turn 1 off a Workshop, I could see it if you needed a narrow answer to Storm.
@protoaddict I have been out of the Vintage scene for years, but this seems objectively correct.
It's a non-ETB land that is a un-counterable Disenchant when you need it. That seems stupid, stupid good, and if it were not for Mentor, I'd wonder why White bothers to exist at all anymore.
I wonder, though, will Stifle make a comeback now that this monstrosity is online?
One of the things I found counter-intuitive about Chain of Smog is that it doesn't work like Storm. That is, you don't have to stack up a bunch of CoS triggers right away. They create copies on resolution, so you only ever have one CoS on the stack getting volleyballed around. Cute way to enter a multi-player non-mandatory loop!
The major issue is that, if your deck can support a companion without sacrificing anything... then you run it. Lurrus is just the best of em.
I'm surprised I don't see more companions in Storm or other non creature decks, honestly. The nightmare lord or lurrus would prolly fit.
WotC uses the terms "counterfeit," "proxy," and "playtest" and they mean something slightly different. What you're talking about are "Playtest" cards.
And, yes, that's how you play paper Vintage nowadays. No reason paper Vintage has to die as long as there is a will; whether it's an insert, custom alt-art print job, or a sharpied basic land, the format is completely open to anyone, anytime.
What IS dying is SANCTIONED Vintage. I have not been able to play that in person since about 2013.