6/20/2011 Feature Article

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his thread is for discussion of this week's Feature Article, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Assuming this is the B&R announcement, I predict:

Standard, Neo-Extended, Legacy, Vintage
No Change

MAYBE
Legacy
AEther Vial is banned (This is to slow down Merfolk)

Online Formats
I still don't care.

What I hope for:
Standard
Jace, the Mindsculptor is banned
Stoneforge Mystic is banned
(Yeah, I neither will happen)

Legacy
Survival of the Fittest is unbanned (I do think it will happen in about 4 years)
Mind Twist is unbanned (I'd give this a solid coin flip's chance of happening)
Vengevine is banned (By the time the format is ready to handle Survival again due to new answers getting printed Vengevine might not have to go on with Survival coming off. However Merfolk have put up similar numbers to Survival pre-ban, its just that no cards in Merfolk were on the watch list, while Survival was.)

Online Formats
Get their own separate announcement because paper is too good to be hanging around with the likes of online.
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.
Survival will be Time Spiral'd back in at some point. If they were crazy enough to bring back Timetwister's inbred cousin they'll let Survival back in after its probation runs out. Although taking out Vial is a big enough kick that they could afford to do it fairly soon.

I fully expect Jace to be banned. Stoneforge would be a sincere shock. 
WHAT!? A banned exception?
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.
Well, tan my hide! I really wanted 'em banned, but I didn't think they'd really drop the hammer. Good for them.
I feel sorry for MaRo. NO ONE is really going to read his article today. This is just too mind-blowing and attention-grabbing. 
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WHAT DID YOU THINK WAS GOING TO HAPPEN?
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57070368 wrote:
58280208 wrote:
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SO HAPPY 

3,000th post: September 5, 2010 4,000th post: March 24, 2012 Winner of the YMTC Ravnica War of the Guilds contest as guild Dimir.

Snapcaster Mage is the best card of all time. How do you deal?

I am really surprised as well at the banning... but apparently it was what the metagame needed, and so the courage to do that is to be applauded.

Can bannings be avoided, without having to "play it safe" to an excessive extent?

I'd say that today's announcement may answer that question.

Cards like Jace, the Mind Sculptor can be avoided if R&D just does its job more carefully, at least according to some who have commented on these forums, whose statements in this regard I have no reason to doubt.

But a card like Stoneforge Mystic, on the other hand, would require R&D to play it safe to an excessive extent to ensure a card like that never comes into existence, I strongly suspect.

So, while R&D should play it safer, and avoid cards like JTMS and Tarmogoyf in future, once in a while, with a conscientious balance between printing interesting cards and trying new ideas on the one hand, and not producing excessively strong cards on the other, there will be the odd card that needs to be banned... even in Standard. But Standard bannings can be made quite rare, even if not absolutely eliminated. And that should be good enough.

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.

I think banning Jace was probably unnecessary, but Stoneforge Mystic definitely needed to go.

- Doug

 

"Collectability is just a code-word for ripping you off." - David Sirlin

OK, after reading half the article I have a few things to say:

1. Obvious bannings in Stardard get WAY more written about them than the non-obvious restriction of Brainstorm.

2. I was almost absolutely certain that WotC (and I don't say DCI here for a reason) policy was "Never ban a card in standard because it will rotate soon enough" PERIOD.

3. This article's length was insulting to a person who has read many on official article on both Legacy and Vintage changes. Seriously, you don't really care, do you?

4. The exception means that judges need to either memorize, or have on hand the "War of Attrition" decklist. And I know a lot of judges that don't think even the banned list in any format should be required to memorize.

5. You are really OK with a one deck meta in Standard?

6. Again, I honestly though you guys were going to let them rotate and do nothing.
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 am pleased by this announcement. R&D's willingness to admit its mistakes is one of the things that makes Magic the best game ever conceived. Thanks, Aaron.
Wow.

I have mixed feelings about the bannings personally, but it's honestly inspiring to see Aaron handle it like this. Open, frank, and communicative. Exactly as it should be. My hat is off to you all.

Also, re: standard
So.... All hail Valakut? O.o
You'll forget you ever read this the minute you look away.
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88318561 wrote:
76783093 wrote:
there is nothing "epic" about a turn one victory. ever. or really any magic game, for that matter.
So this one time, I wanted to play a game of Magic with my friend, but he was in another country and neither of us had Magic Online. I hitchhiked my way to the coast, barely fending off hungry wildlife when I couldn't get a ride, nearly dying of thirst crossing deserts, and posoning myself half to death foraging for food. At one point, I was taken hostage by a group of kidnappers, only managing to escape after a week of careful planning thanks to careful application of a rusty spoon. Once I reached the coast, I had no money to buy a ticket across the ocean, so I built a boat using my own two hands, and spent months sailing across the waves, nearly losing my deck as I swam to the shore of a desert island in a storm after being capsized by an enormous wave. Nearly delusional after so long with no human contact (the notches I cut in the single tree to tell time had long since felled the thing) I was eventually rescued by a passing ship, where I was taken aboard as a crew member. We sailed around the world, seeing many exotic places and having great adventures, before we finally arrived at my friend's country. Once more I stumbled across a desolate landscape, riding on train or car when I could, and going on foot when I could not. Eventually, weary to the bone, seven years after I started my journey, I arrived at my friend's house, clutching my well-worn and weathered deck to my chest. We shuffled up our decks, I won the roll. Gleefully, I laid down my cards. Black Lotus. My friend looked quizzically at me, wondering what I was about to do. After so long, he no longer knew what deck I had brought with me to this game. Flash. A knowing smile appears on my friend's face as the knowledge slowly returns to him. Protean Hulk. My friend extends his hand, knowing the game is over before it even started. And finally, after so many trials, the sweet taste of victory is mine.
56866178 wrote:
108166749 wrote:
So no one else is upset with the stunt Wizards just pulled to drive sales?
Drive sales of what? Non-Jace, non-Mystic cards? I'm pretty sure people already own more than eight Magic cards. If you don't, I feel for you. Maybe you can trade those Stoneforge Mystics, which are still quite valuable, for some.
Hurray!
I'll say this, the Jace banning I'm not surprised with, the Stoneforge banning a little more so, but it is still understandable.  
Wow, with this they show they actually listen and they care. Granted I really didn't want to see Stoneforge go. I have to admit it going beyond my desires, it is what is best for standard. Ah well, at least I can play'em in legacy and hopefully modern if it tested well ^_^
I would have liked to have an explanation for banning both these cards.  The explanation for either one was acceptable, but both was a complete overreaction.  Decks with Jace and not Stonforge Mystic were not "broken" and neither were decks with just Stoneforge Mystic, so I would have liked to have the reasoning that both needed to be banned and not just one or the other.
I don't even play Magic these days, and I'm still happy to see this. Any card that's putting up those sorts of tournament numbers needs to be beaten senseless with a banhammer. 
Stoneforge Mystic tutored up the Banhammer

Jace planeswalked away into the Extended and Beyond 
I`m really, really happy with this. Thank you!
The answer to the "rapidly converging metagame problem" could be solved with rapid monthly bannings and unbannings of cards in the top archetypes.  This would keep the format fresh, keep prices from skyrocketing, and make banning cards less of a problem.  If a card could potentially be banned, the price would stay a bit lower, and likewise, if it could be unbanned, it won't drop as far.
I still contend that a simple restriction would have been fine. People should be allowed to play with JTMS after playing the money for it. Having one in your deck is no big deal. The same goes for Stoneforge. I think restricting them would have caused people to adjust in interesting ways but whatever I never used those cards so this doesn't effect me. But, I can see where some people will be seriously pissed right now.
I am really surprised as well at the banning... but apparently it was what the metagame needed, and so the courage to do that is to be applauded.

Can bannings be avoided, without having to "play it safe" to an excessive extent?

I'd say that today's announcement may answer that question.

Cards like Jace, the Mind Sculptor can be avoided if R&D just does its job more carefully, at least according to some who have commented on these forums, whose statements in this regard I have no reason to doubt.

But a card like Stoneforge Mystic, on the other hand, would require R&D to play it safe to an excessive extent to ensure a card like that never comes into existence, I strongly suspect.

So, while R&D should play it safer, and avoid cards like JTMS and Tarmogoyf in future, once in a while, with a conscientious balance between printing interesting cards and trying new ideas on the one hand, and not producing excessively strong cards on the other, there will be the odd card that needs to be banned... even in Standard. But Standard bannings can be made quite rare, even if not absolutely eliminated. And that should be good enough.


Under the current way of doing things in order to keep Legacy interesting (admittedly because I think a small amount of power creep is needed) you need to push a put on some cards. Sometimes cards are pushed too much. That has been true as long as development has been trying to push individual cards. I for one am actually very interested in having Eternal only sets that include cards that just plain push the envelope, or are trying to fill holes in struggling decks.

In the end I think Jace2 was just trying to figure out who far should Planeswalkers go. In a way it is healthy to try and figure out how far cards should go in any era of the game. That eventually leads to bannings. Something I really thing should be done more often. Push it till it breaks, then fix it. I understand that there is a consumer confidence aspect, which is where my belief that 'WotC will never ban a card till it gets really, really bad in a flagship format' belife comes from. However, If you don't push, things get bad. WotC understands, and does this. However, if you don't ban when you push a little too far, then things are even worse. Over the years since the last Standard banning I have felt that WotC has been too cowardly about banning overpowered cards, and that Standard has been able to, on multiple occations, missed out on an opportunity to be a lot better. I'm glad cards got banned. And one of the things that really prevent me getting into Standard, even though I have all the resources to do it, has gone away.
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 feel sorry for MaRo. NO ONE is really going to read his article today. This is just too mind-blowing and attention-grabbing. 


I think he'll understand.


Anyway, really great article. As a former yugioh player I've always wanted konami to do this when they ban cards, and finally getting what I wanted leaves me very impressed. The explanation given was very well written, thought out, and blunt. It takes a big man to bite the bullet and admit they screwed off and for that my hats off to Aaron and R&D as a whole for manning up, accepting the fact, and moving forward. Sure people some people are going to be mad, like bruha02, but the way this was handled makes me love magic that much more.

I still contend that a simple restriction would have been fine. People should be allowed to play with JTMS after playing the money for it. Having one in your deck is no big deal. The same goes for Stoneforge. I think restricting them would have caused people to adjust in interesting ways but whatever I never used those cards so this doesn't effect me. But, I can see where some people will be seriously pissed right now.


Imo limiting cards to 1 is horrible. It simply turns the game into a race to whoever gets those cards first. It pushes luck way to much in what should be a game about skill.
Jace didn't matter either way to me.. SFM ----> sword or batterskull is was very difficult to deal with in almost any situation. Batterskull is just too much power coming in on turn 3... no way to argue with it. 

As far as everyone worrying about Valakut... I have beaten Valakut every time but once with my MBC deck (out of 6 or 8 matchups) and Valakut doesn't scare me one bit.  
I'll be honest I didn't think either would be banned. I think of the two Stoneforge probably needed to be, but I'm not quite sure about Jace. On the positive, I think this can do good things for the game. So, let the brewing begin.

I say this as an owner of many Jaces and Stoneforges BTW. Really I could care less about the prices and such. I just want a good environment that fosters change and appeals to new players. Jace restricted the entry of new players. I hope the days of $100 cards are gone in standard.

<a href="http://www.wizards.com/Magic/PlaneswalkerPoints/1206663433"><img src="http://pwp.wizards.com/1206663433/Scorecards/Landscape.png" border="0" /></a>

I'm tempted to agree with snowsunsurf4life. I think the only deck with Stoneforge Mystic that was dominant in any way was also playing Jace TMS (aka Caw-Blade). Would that deck still have been too good with Stoneforge but not Jace? I suppose so, the broken 2-drop is worse than the broken 4-drop, but Stoneforge goes in a wider range of decks than Jace IMO, so I would have liked a meta with multiple Stoneforge decks.

Of course, this opinion is tainted by the fact that I bought 4 of Stoneforge. I can only imagine how bummed those Standard players are who spent $400 on Jace
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There's inherent risk in spending exhorbitant sums of money on single cards for their playability.
You don't really have a leg to stand on when you grossly overpay for cardboard on the secondary market, knowing that formats are ALWAYS subject to change.


Ding don't the witch is dead!
I say this as an owner of many Jaces and Stoneforges BTW. Really I could care less about the prices and such. I just want a good environment that fosters change and appeals to new players. Jace restricted the entry of new players. I hope the days of $100 cards are gone in standard.


Many people in Legacy and Vintage agree that prices are irrelivant if you can get more people to play. People with many $100+ would gladly see those cards devalued if they could just play with more people. I am one of them. Unfortunately, due to inflation in general the $100 card will be more and more common in the future no matter what.
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.
Because Stoneforge Mystic works by combining with other cards, I don't suppose it would have been possible to squeeze the event deck in by a method less directly targeted to it: to simply make the card "semi-restricted" - that is, instead of just the unmodified Event Deck, any otherwise Standard-legal deck would be allowed that had one or two copies of Stoneforge Mystic in it, but not three or four.

I would have preferred that, if it were possible: but, as noted, it's probably too powerful for that.

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.

Because Stoneforge Mystic works by combining with other cards, I don't suppose it would have been possible to squeeze the event deck in by a method less directly targeted to it: to simply make the card "semi-restricted" - that is, instead of just the unmodified Event Deck, any otherwise Standard-legal deck would be allowed that had one or two copies of Stoneforge Mystic in it, but not three or four.

I would have preferred that, if it were possible: but, as noted, it's probably too powerful for that.


A restricted to two rule would have been less awkward, and an interesting precedent (B&R tool) for the future.
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 know that the groups I play with are tired of "caw-blade" and friends. Attendance at events is plummeting noticeably just since discussion of banning these two cards... Literally people have been waiting for two months go this and just wanted to see it done.
Summer is when people have time to play, and this duo is really driving players away. From a value standpoint, they are only cutting the cards a few months early. NPH prerelease was chopped because of this... M12 is in a few weeks and they need to get players back to tables!!!

Please keep your posts polite, respectful, on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks.

"When I Get Sad I Stop Being Sad and Be Awesome Instead."



Also I play RUG Mass Polymorph combo at FNM, i would love to play against Valakuts.  Just gotta get some sideboard Flash Freezes.
I like fun, but competitive decks. So I might not play what is optimal but they have normally been tested to have a 2/3 winrate.
I hope this puts to rest the "they can't ban it because people spent a lot of money on it" arguement.  The secondary market doesn't control the ban list.
I have Been playing magic since I was 16 I jsut bought the "War of attriation" deck to get my last two stoneforge cards. Now they are banned I ran the deck on the friday it came out with no changes but it was a joke and i lost every round even the mirror with someone else playing one they bought.  That was my fault haha.  Time to brew i guess. I thought it would rotate out and m12 would have some new cards to go vs those cards. Crazy times.

Guess its back to my Kiln Fiend deck i was playing.

Also i just recently found out about this form so please feel free to add me as a friend.

Freeman  Jace Better then all!
Better late than never.  As a storeowner, TO, and still semi- competitive player Tongue out who tries to get to tourneys when possible, I'd say it's better this happened now than not at all and waiting for them to rotate.  Both cards were too good.  The only group that will probably really be upset is...

"There exists a crowd of competitive players who pursue perfection, who have no personal attachment to any certain cards or decks save those that reward them for their great skill and dedication. I very much appreciate that mindset; in fact, much of our organized play encourages it. But there exists a larger crowd for whom decks and cards are extensions of themselves, who revel in diverse metagames wherein they can show off their creativity. They want to be able to play decks that suit their whims and personalities without feeling like they are wasting their time; they want Magic to afford them the opportunities to individualize while still taking it seriously. Standard has lost that in recent months, and we aim to bring it back."

This blurb was dead-on.  Couldn't have been said any better.  There will always be that hardcore group of players that just maximizes the most out of a situation.  There are guys who come into my shop that just know the caw blade mirror like the back of their hand... but they are having trouble finding other people to play with.

As a player, my view (and most sane people :p) is standard became caw or no caw.  I actually qualified for Nats battling the beast with a vampire deck, but I felt like I was taking a knife to a gunfight every time I battled caw.  Also, I was dead-set on skipping Nats if standard was in its current form.  I may reconsider now, although will prob still skip it to run my store and events.

As a TO, it goes without saying that the current form of standard has hurt my FNM's.  Everyone I know running fnm has experienced a downturn.  Even big TO's who run PTQ's and giant independent tourneys had been experiencing massive downturns from what they usually got.  It's basically the summer of Affinity all over again.  I don't think it was quite as bad, as people didn't just quit magic over Jace and Stoneforge.  It's just alot of them are playing other formats right now like Legacy and Commander.  Or draft.  No one is really clamoring to play standard except the super hardcores, and they're always going to play.

As a storeowner, sure it hurts my pockets a little because even up to this week I was still buying Jaces at good amounts of money even though I knew there was a good chance they'd plummet in value if R & D came to their sesnes, but I'm glad they did.  I'll lose a couple bucks from buying Jaces to watch Standard actually balance out, even though this move should've been done months ago.

Plus as Aaron mentioned, Stoneforge and Jace will still be valuable because they are undoubtedly top cards in other formats.  Honestly I wouldn't mind seeing them banned in Legacy or Modern Magic as Pre-emptive strikes, but I don't think that will happen.  You're just forcing people to play with oblivion rings and Pithing Needles, but at least those formats had playable and decent answers to those cards. 

Standard had no good answers.  When you throw a bunch of emergency out-of-flavor cards into sets to try and curtail the monster you've created, it's always better to just put the monster down.  The way they handled this basically mirrored how Affinity was handled.  The damage had already been done and only a few months were left before it rotated, but at least they admitted mistakes.

Past R&D members refused admitting things like Skullclamp were a mistake for months on end.  This iteration at least acknowledged a problem existed, although it took a few more months for them to actually act on it.

R&D making mistakes is fine with me, as long as they realize the repurcissions they directly have on millions of people when they don't act on their mistakes.

Obviously the best solution would be to hammer out these mistakes long before they ever see the light of day from being opened out of a booster pack, but mistakes happen.  They've had a very good track record of card balance for the past several years.  Magic as a whole is very healthy.

When something like this comes along, it just has to be nipped in the bud asap.  Just admit you made a mistake and ban the cards.  Or at least if you're going to emergency print stuff, don't do theoreticals.  Print actual proven cards that kept these broken ones in check.  Oblivion ring and Pithing needle should've been in Scars block.  Would've been far better than cards like Hex Parasite and Despise.

Anyway I've said my piece.  I'm happy this was done as standard tournament attendances will undoubtedly go up the next several months.  Personally speaking, Standard was the only format where my attendances decreased instead of increasing this year.  People want to play Magic, they just don't want to feel stupid for not playing broken cards.  Now they don't have to feel stupid.

Good job R&D.

- Dave Feinstein
Owner, Die Hard Games
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

On another note: Does this mean Mike Flores has to stop blatantly lying to us? 
No Valakut Ban. Fail, R&D, fail.

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WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

On another note: Does this mean Mike Flores has to stop blatantly lying to us? 



He makes a good living lying to us Tongue out
This was a big mistake.  People who paid out huge sums of money for jaces(many as much as 500 US dollars) are going to quit overnight.  When the cards would have simply rotated out shortly anyway.  As for the event deck list, what a joke.  "You can still play Stoneforge Mystic, just not with any equipment worth playing".  It's an insult to the average player's intelligence.