12/20/2010 Feature: "December 20 2010 DCI Banned & Restricted List Announcement"

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This thread is for discussion of this Feature Article, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
OK, last minute predictions, then we get massive complaining discussion.
Level 2 Magic Judge Lite a man a fire, warm him for a day. Light a man on fire, warm him for the rest of his life.
Vintage, Legacy, Extended, Standard: no changes
Commander: that thing they did a couple days ago.
If the DCI was managed by people that knew their job, they would ban one of the key pieces of those survival decks that have been taking all the recent Top 8 places at legacy tournaments regardless of being the most hated deck for months.

But I consider myself lucky if they ban brainstorm instead. They'll probably not make any changes to the format, or maybe unban some card in legacy because those cards can no longer compete against the broken decks.
What pissed most of legacy players off was how they completely killed Reanimator when it wasn't even putting up any top 8 wins aside from like one or two tournaments.

It was a relatively weak deck that was super fun to play and very old school. It was driven by nostalgia for a cooler time in magic's history. And they took it to pasture and shot it's head off. Given how badly they overreacted to reanimator, they may think twice about doing something about Survival despite it top 8ing roughly 10x as more frequently as Reanimator ever did.

Wizards has two options, either unban Mystical Tutor. Or at the very very least, print another card like Careful Study.

A one mana card that both draws a few cards and serves as a discard outlet is exactly what Reanimator needs in order to be viable again, but without being a broken deck.

The least wizards could do would be to print something along those lines. And they should also tread very carefully about how to address Survival's dominance.

For proof of what legacy players want, here you go...

www.mtgthesource.com/forums/showthread.p... 
Legacy players want to see a maximum number of viable decks and a minimum number of completely dominant decks. Reanimator was just a viable deck, so was pre Vengevine survival. Vengevine Survival is a dominant deck. So I say, ban Vengevine and unban Mystical Tutor. Now suddenly you remove a dominant deck and add two viable decks (Survival and Reanimator) to legacy.
Sorry, but Reanimator was broken in half. If you study the evolution of the format since its inception, blue decks get more and more percentage of Top 8 spots every year (this is because Force of Will is broken and should have been banned about twelve years ago). The DCI doesn't want to ban the REAL culcripts of this situation, so it instead bans the enablers. Mystical Tutor will never be legal again as long as blue keeps performing better and better every season.

Note to all of you that still think that the format would be broken without FoW. All those fast storm combo decks that kill you in your first turn are allowed to exist in order to have decks that can reliably compete against FoW decks, and this is something that the developers themselves have confessed. Otherwise, there would be no reason at all not to play a deck with FoW.

In fact, the best deck archtype in magic has always been a fast combo deck that also plays FoW. Just take a look at all the banned decks in the format and old extended and you'll see this exact same pattern.

Because all of you want to keep playing FoW, the DCI is forced to keep banning blue supporting card after supporting card in their duty to preserve game balance, and will still fail, because FoW's effect is stronger than a pitchable Timewalk, and WotC has yet to realize it.
Okay, 99% sure now that Survival of the Fittest bites the dust this monday. I might even start playing legacy tournaments again (and I have my own playset of Survivals). Laughing
Why so sure? Because of this image?
media.wizards.com/images/magic/daily/fea...

The same image they use every three months when something doesn't get banned?
Ok, Legacy is an entire league of its own right now, and it's worthless to discuss it here since it has been talked about anywhere else.

I would like to see these changes on Monday:

Extended:

Bitterblossom is banned.
Vivid Crag, Vivid Meadow, Vivid Grove, Vivid Marsh and Vivid Creek are banned.

Standard: Jace, the Mindsculptor is banned.

Yeah the last one is unrealistic but the first is obvious to most people. Worlds have showed up they are still as predominant as they were in Standard, and the last thing they need to show is that their new inception is repeating exactly while everyone hated it two years ago. Considering that none of the cards are giving them revenues anymore (and they will probably be making people avoid investing in many other cards from the Extended format) I don't consider their banning completely unlikely.

If Limited gets in the way of printing good Constructed cards... Screw limited
But, is Super Jace really format warping?
All it's really doing is saying "buy four jaces or don't play blue.".

All I really see in T1 is the "big four" (Drain, Ritual, Shop, and that one I forgot) getting R'd.  That's extremely unlikely, however.
I thought they were five, you are missing bazaar and force of will in your list. It doesn't matter, though. WotC broke vintage on purpose as a way to drive people to legacy. That the format still exists is proof that there's people that will keep playing a destroyed format for years and absolutely love it (except for the fact that nobody else plays it).

The best birthday present would be the creation of a new eternal format called unrestricted, in which you can play four copies of Black Lotus, just for that people that have four copies of Black Lotus. Laughing 

But, is Super Jace really format warping?
All it's really doing is saying "buy four jaces or don't play blue.".



It's far deeper than that:

Most of the time, control matches are solely decided by who resolves Jace and sticks it. The one that does it first has a significant advantage. Jace Beleren gets played just as an additional way of gaining Jace advantage.
Of course, this means that any attempt to build a control deck without islands is doomed. Not only you can't play blue without Jace, you can't play control at all without him.
Currently, the playability of a creature is judged for its effectiveness against Jace. Theoretically, bounce isn't even permanent but the ability to keep a creature bounced for 2 - 4 turns is as good as removal.
It's not uncommon to see 16 - 28 Jaces in a top8 of a regular Standard tournament. If it shows up less, it would be more likely that people in the tournament couldn't afford it instead of being able to beat it.
If Limited gets in the way of printing good Constructed cards... Screw limited
Ok, Legacy is an entire league of its own right now, and it's worthless to discuss it here since it has been talked about anywhere else.

I would like to see these changes on Monday:

Extended:

Bitterblossom is banned.
Vivid Crag, Vivid Meadow, Vivid Grove, Vivid Marsh and Vivid Creek are banned.

Standard: Jace, the Mindsculptor is banned.

Yeah the last one is unrealistic but the first is obvious to most people. Worlds have showed up they are still as predominant as they were in Standard, and the last thing they need to show is that their new inception is repeating exactly while everyone hated it two years ago. Considering that none of the cards are giving them revenues anymore (and they will probably be making people avoid investing in many other cards from the Extended format) I don't consider their banning completely unlikely.




If Bitterblossom/Vivids weren't bannable in Standard, they are certainly not bannable in Nu-Extended. And even if they take these cards out, they are still going to have the problem where Extended is just Standard from last year or two years ago. It's not ever going to be different enough because there are not enough sets in the card pool anymore. WOTC has come out and said this was part of the intention, to have Standard and Extended not that much different. 

On another forum, there was a discussion about an article that claimed that Survival of the Fittest, although likely to be banned, should be retained because doing so would promote diversity in Legacy deck types, and instead, the one recent card which gives it a powerful combo, Vengevine, should be banned instead.

My own opinion, which I expressed there, was that the traditional heuristics were correct in this case; banning Vengevine would just leave unfinished business, and in the future, other cards would end up having to be banned, until Wizards turned around and fixed things by unbanning them, and banning Survival of the Fittest. They might as well learn from experience, and get it right the first time.

Plus, of course, banning a Standard-legal card from Legacy might be perceived as looking kind of embarassing for Wizards.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

Not quite as much as banning a Standard-legal card would be from Standard, ie JTMS, whose head people are randomly calling for out in the community.

I agree though that SOTF would be the better card than Vengevine to ban, if they need to ban either. They tried that dance with Necropotence before finally giving up and banning/restricting it.
If they want any semblance of a coherent policy then they must ban Survival of the Fittest to keep in line with the banning of Mystical Tutor.  Unless the only tournaments that matter are Grand Prixs.

Midnight can't come fast enough.

If it isn't banned, expect to see a mad rush on MTGO to buy up all copies. 
While it is unfortunatly true that it will be SOTF that gets the axe, it is untrue that the card itself is busted without having a creature engine to make it so like the above arugments suggest.

Keep in mind: it has been legal in legacy since the format was first created back in 2004... it has been around for 6 years without being broken and providing variety and not dominance in the format untill the printing of vengevine, as such it should be VENGEVINE that gets banned, but I realise that for economic reasons they will not do this, nor will they likely ban basking rootwalla as it would still leave the deck a teir 1 deck, and traditionally when they ban cards in legacy it is with the intent do take a deck completely out of dominance, not just adjust its strength.  It has only been in the past 6 months or so that SOTF has crossed the line and gone from a teir 1.5 deck at best to a format dominating teir 1.

It is unfortunate that we must see yet another arch-type die because some new card to be printed a couple of months ago makes it unfair.  To those who say they will eventually print another creature that will make it busted: just remember it took 6 years for them to print the first one that truely broke it folks.
Should have been Vengevine.
Level 2 Magic Judge Lite a man a fire, warm him for a day. Light a man on fire, warm him for the rest of his life.
Finally Time Spiral is unbanned.

Now I can stop complaining about the fact that no one could tell me why it was still there. MOre importantly I can start using it in Legacy-legal decks.

A shame about SOTF, though. I don't know how badly the metagame was warped but I was seeing a lot of anecdotal commentary about in on several sites. But I never like seeing cards added to the list. But if you are going to ban something you bad SOTF and not Vengevine. Nip the problem, if it is a problem, at its source.
Since the people advocating banning Vengevine instead of Survival based their argument on the fact that Survival decks were a type of deck that existed, but which was not overpowered, before Vengevine came along... and it would be nice not to lose a whole type of deck... unbanning Time Spiral, according to Eric Lauer's explanation of the changes, allows another type of deck to return to take its place, thus somewhat addressing that concern.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

We'll see if Time Spiral even has an impact. Unfortunately, I don't think it will. But, man, its going to be horrible getting my hands on three more of them if it becomes relevant.
Level 2 Magic Judge Lite a man a fire, warm him for a day. Light a man on fire, warm him for the rest of his life.
The link to Erik Lauer's column doesn't work as-is; it has one too many w's in it.  Hopefully someone on the site can fix it soon.  Until then anyone who wants to read his article can copy and paste www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.a... into their browser.

Edit: Or just click on the link above, I guess.  I didn't realize it would hotlink automatically.
I will say it is nice to actually see an explanation the day of the announcement in stead of a week later, even though the holidays are probably the only reason for this.
Yeah banning Vengevine would have just been a temporary fix.  In a few years they would have also had to ban the next fattie that came back from the graveyard on its own.  Then the next one a few years after that. 

It would be like constantly replacing your car's battery when you have a bad alternator.
Or drinking more and more caffeine every day instead of getting enough sleep.
Or constantly reformatting your hard drive every time you get a virus instead of buying anti-virus software.

Yes it was power creep in creatures that broke Survival, but Survival was the engine.  This is pretty consistent with their policy and shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone.  

few years



And those would be a few years of having half a dozen viable Survival decks instead of zero.
Level 2 Magic Judge Lite a man a fire, warm him for a day. Light a man on fire, warm him for the rest of his life.
Erik Lauer states: "[Survival] has caused the competitive format to become significantly less diverse."

Compare SCG Top 8s from before August, and after August. AKA Breakout of the U/G Survival Madness.

Pre-UG Survival-Madness: (time period 1/1/10 to 6/27/10)
Sample size: 72 decks

























































































































Merfolk1216.67%
Zoo1115.28%
Reanimator811.11%
CounterTop79.72%
Goblins56.94%
New Horizons45.56%
Lands34.17%
Belcher34.17%
Ad Nauseam Tendrils22.78%
U/W Tempo22.78%
Threshold22.78%
Bant22.78%
B/W Aggro11.39%
Tezzerator11.39%
Team America11.39%
U/G Survival11.39%
Dredge11.39%
Landstill11.39%
Mono Black Control11.39%
Aggro Loam11.39%
Show and Tell11.39%
Enchantress11.39%
Painter's Grindstone11.39%



Post-UG Madness: (time period 8/22/10 to present)
Sample size: 56 decks










































































































































U/G Survival1323.21%New deck
Goblins58.93%
G/W Survival58.93%New deck
Ad Nauseam Tendrils47.14%
Ooze Survival47.14%New deck
Merfolk47.14%
Countertop35.36%
Dark Horizons35.36%New deck
Aggro Loam23.57%
Team America11.79%
Sneaky Tell11.79%
Painter's Grindstone11.79%
Zoo11.79%
U/W Aggro11.79%
Threshold11.79%
Bant Survival11.79%New deck
Burn Deck Wins11.79%
Faeries11.79%New deck
Dreadstill11.79%New deck
BUG Control11.79%New deck
Lands11.79%
GWB Rock11.79%New deck



Erik Lauer states: "Other cards were considered, such as Vengevine. However some of the winning decks do not even play Vengevine; instead, they primarily rely on combinations with Necrotic Ooze. "

All the decks from the 2nd set play Vengevine. Only 4/22, or <25% of Survival Decks play Ooze combo.  Vengevine was always the primary win condition.  Case in point: Gerry T's Top 8 match vs Show and Tell, where he raced a turn 2 Progenitus using Vengevines (and no Survival was to be found).

 Aside from changing the strangehold of Merfolk, CBtop and Zoo, along with introducing several new decks; how has the diversity been reduced?
"In recent months, Survival of the Fittest decks have been outperforming other decks in Legacy. This has caused the competitive format to become significantly less diverse"

really.  ironic, since there's nothing for WOTC to profit from a Legacy tourney.

Let's look at standard, however ( driven by the newest, still-in-print cards).

"In recent months, Jace, the Mind Sculptor decks have been outperforming other decks in Standard. This has caused the competitive format to become significantly less diverse."

...well, now there's something with more than a ring of truth.

more?

"There are other reasons some cards are banned; some cards cause logistic problems for tournament organizers running large tournaments. For example, some cards cause so many matches to run out of time that it can cause a strain on judging and tournament organization, and even force tournaments to finish outside of the normal tournament venue."

really.

Rampant hypocrisy.  Damn you all.  

Again.

 
really.  ironic, since there's nothing for WOTC to profit from a Legacy tourney.

Well, Wizards did print some cards recently that caused the price of Baneslayer Angel to plummet, thus reducing her impact on the diversity of decks.

They may do something to Jace 2 as well. But the fact that Legacy doesn't drive the sale of boosters as much as Standard does is no reason not to attend to its B&R List. That doesn't cost a fortune.

Banning Jace, the Mind Sculptor, though, would lead to a lot of disappointed people who have copies of that card. If your cards can be kicked out of the game so easily, that would discourage people from buying the cards. Nothing's stopping casual playgroups from banning it, so nothing stops Magic from being fun.

So expect to see either answers or alternatives to Jace TMS soon enough. But not a ban.

Post-UG Madness: (time period 8/22/10 to present)
Sample size: 56 decks

For purposes of the Banned and Restricted List, Wizards has to be a bit more proactive than would result from simply taking a sample of all the decks played in tournaments since a set came out.

This article cites a recent tournament series specifically: the Star City Games Legacy Open, which apparently was dominated by Vengevival decks.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.


"There are other reasons some cards are banned; some cards cause logistic problems for tournament organizers running large tournaments. For example, some cards cause so many matches to run out of time that it can cause a strain on judging and tournament organization, and even force tournaments to finish outside of the normal tournament venue."

really.

Rampant hypocrisy.  Damn you all.  

Again.
 



Couldn't agree with you more! Apparently, so does the DCI:
source:  www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/ld/2

Bill Stark states: "The constant activating of Divining Top bogs games down, which ultimately leads to an increase in the number of matches that go to time and beyond, which in turn leads to tournaments running much longer than they have historically. Furthermore, the Top encourages players to maximize the number of shuffle effects they play in a deck and the constant shuffling, cutting, presenting to an opponent to repeat the process, and then continuation of a turn exacerbated the situation. In the past the DCI has banned such cards on those grounds alone (Shahrazad is a good example of this, with Land Tax and Thawing Glaciers also having been banned for similar reasons) but in conjunction with the Top’s popularity during the last Extended PTQ season, the decision was to ban the card from the format it was harming."

Your move, DCI.
"In recent months, Jace, the Mind Sculptor decks have been outperforming other decks in Standard. This has caused the competitive format to become significantly less diverse."

...well, now there's something with more than a ring of truth.

more?

"There are other reasons some cards are banned; some cards cause logistic problems for tournament organizers running large tournaments. For example, some cards cause so many matches to run out of time that it can cause a strain on judging and tournament organization, and even force tournaments to finish outside of the normal tournament venue."

really.

Rampant hypocrisy.  Damn you all.  

Again.

 




Not really.  Legacy has a much more diverse meta game than standard, ever more so now that we are in the smallest standard rotation.  A deck taking up 20% of the metagame in legacy is much more noticeable than a deck taking up 20% of the metagame in standard.  


If you actually pay attention to the standard decklists that did well the first day of worlds, you'll find a healthy mix of Titan based ramp lists, Jace based  control lists, and a variety of agro lists.  I'd actually say the standard metagame is quite healthy right now, with a good mix between ramp, aggro and control.  Jace is really the only reason control is viable right now, without him the metagame would be quite less diverse.

It is a shame that Primeval Titan and Jace are so expensive, but the DCI doesn't ban off of price.  

JTMS is not exactly dominating Standard in a way that makes it bannable anyway. It's a lightning rod for criticism in the same way that Tarmogoyf and Bitterblossom were in their time. Neither of those were banned because they did not need to be. Jace is a powerful card that should be accounted for in duals. But it is not ban-worthy until it starts warping the format around it.

I don't that this is happening with Survival decks and I am not claiming to have an opinion other than I don't like cards being added to the ban list - especially old ones. But Jace is certainly not doing to Standard what Survival is accused of doing.

Some card has to be the best, and right now that's Jace. You ban Jace, another card will take his place, and another, and another, until we are talking about banning runeclaw bear.

Jace is not format warping, he hasn't polarized the format, he's just the best card in standard. He'll rotate out in less than a year.... life will move on.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wotc doesn't like banning cards if they don't have to. Luckily, in standard, they can print solutions pretty readily. In fact they do this all the time.

In legacy things become trickier because cards don't rotate out, and people have acess to a larger card pool, so printing solutions isn't really an option. Instead banning becomes the best option.

Trying to compare Standard to Legacy is absurd. Each has unique properties that effect how cards are dealt with.
… and then, the squirrels came.
I will say it is nice to actually see an explanation the day of the announcement in stead of a week later, even though the holidays are probably the only reason for this.

I'm pretty sure they've had a similar short blurb about it the last several times they've changed the lists, though my imagination may be playing tricks on me. The Latest Development columns just went into more detail.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

They certainly didn't do that this summer. But they did do it in September (well they explained the changes the next business day), so this might be something they are just going to do going forward.

Wizards giveth and so Wizards taketh away.
The problem with Survival cited by GainBanding is only symptomatic of the problem with Legacy as a format. The problem is that R&D does not design cards with eternal formats in mind. Granted, there are some cards designed which are "playable" in enteral formats (though I doubt a lot of testing went into them and few are defining). It would also be a logistical challenge to test in formats with plus 10,000 cards (in reality though there is probably less than 500 "playable" cards in the eternal formats).

All that said, Legacy (and to a lesser extent Vintage) will likely always be the subject of cards being banned due to unforeseen interactions. While WotC doesn't observe the secondary market, it actually disincentives innovation in Legacy because if you find the "best" deck like Mystical Tutor/Survival decks, odds are it will be banned which tanks the financial investment Spike's make. 

Additionally, while it is true that Survival decks have seen their share of dominance the past quarter in recent 5K's, there are several problems with this as a warrant to ban Survival. 

First, the banning of Survival seems inconstant given that Jund was allowed to proliferate top 8's of 5K's for nearly a year. Survival hasn't dominated for even half as long as Jund did and its numbers are relatively comparable.

Second, it assumes that Survival decks are not beatable. The problem with Legacy is that with a limited number of large events and a small number of dedicated pros, there is not a lot of innovation in the format and if there is, it is slow to happen. If the "top tier" decks cannot seem to win, then maybe people should start over by designing a new deck with a given meta game in mind. Instead you see the same decks trying to add cards to their main deck or add more sideboard cards to improve the match up. The irony here is that there is probably some thought that banning Survival opens up space for other decks to be competitive; however all it will end up doing is allowing the same decks to compete that did before hand. A good historic example of how innovation can solve is when Counterbalance and Threshold decks were overtaken by Aggro Loam and Dragon Stompy. The Survival meta game, having only been around for three months, really didn't have time to develop new decks to take down Survival. Even most of the articles that have talked about Survival have only talked about how terrible current decks are against Survival. Again, rather than attempt to innovate and beat Survival, most authors and players have just assumed the deck is not beatable. 

If anything, the sign of a healthy format is not one in which there is the absence of a "dominate" deck, rather it is a format in which innovation is rewarded and meta games and decks shift. This ban does not promote innovation, rather it reverts the format to what it was. The notion that there are decks that have "unwinnable" match ups are accurate observations to make. The problem is that writers talk about these decks with an implied assumption that they "should" be able to compete with Survival. If the traditional decks in the format cannot compete then they should be relegated to the sidelines as new decks rise to take their place. At least, that would seem to be a healthy format.

Overall, I find it disheartening that WotC really gives eternal formats the shaft most of the time. There is little support and attention given the formats outside of B&R updates. The lack of R&D foresight when designing cards causes terrible ripples in the secondary market and makes for an unstable format when there is a risk of a ban. The two cards that have been unrestricted this year have had almost zero impact on the format. The flip side is that WotC has banned two cards effectively killing at least three deck types (Reanimator, Survival, and nurfed Combo). WotC has done more to stifle creativity in the format than promote it this past year. 

I will say it is nice to actually see an explanation the day of the announcement in stead of a week later, even though the holidays are probably the only reason for this.

I'm pretty sure they've had a similar short blurb about it the last several times they've changed the lists, though my imagination may be playing tricks on me. The Latest Development columns just went into more detail.


Zammm, your imagination has been playing tricks on you. This time. Explinations are rare at the time of announcement.
Level 2 Magic Judge Lite a man a fire, warm him for a day. Light a man on fire, warm him for the rest of his life.
I will say it is nice to actually see an explanation the day of the announcement in stead of a week later, even though the holidays are probably the only reason for this.

I'm pretty sure they've had a similar short blurb about it the last several times they've changed the lists, though my imagination may be playing tricks on me. The Latest Development columns just went into more detail.


Zammm, your imagination has been playing tricks on you. This time. Explinations are rare at the time of announcement.



As Hacimen said, they did this in September as well:

see here 

I hope they continue this trend and I imagine they did this because of the backlash they got from the Mystical Tutor banning in which we had to wait a whole work week to read some BS about a gentlemen's agreement.  Also, that banning was basically out of the blue whereas this one was heavily speculated to be a certainty.

Edit: they even allude to the Mystical PR debacle in that September announcement:

"Rather than wait until Tom LaPille's column on Friday to offer an explanation of the banned & restricted list changes, we've given Erik Lauer a platform to explain them right away."
Really sad. DCI is banning all of the marquee cards that make Legacy feel like Legacy. Perhapse they should start considering other formats besides standard more when designing new cards. 

I just think that if they crop off all the different limbs of Legacy we're going to be reduced to playing 4x Jace tMS in Legacy because it will be the most powerful card. Eventually the format is going to be so generic that anything deemed to powerful in an ETERNAL format is going to get the hammer. 

It's just I like Legacy because it reminds me more of a simplier time in MtG. Like Time Spiral? Cool AnT just got way better. Looks like LED will be in the next announcment. Survival decks, one of the defining archeytype cards is gone & will never return, and I feel that's just unfortunate.  
See, to me talk about losing a pillar of Legacy is a bit of hyperbole.  Survival was tier 2 at best less than a year ago.  Powerful cards need to go, period.  That's why Oath of Druids remains banned.  You're still free to play all the brokenness you want in MTGO's Classic or Vintage.