22 Formats Discontinued on MTGO. Thoughts?

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From the weekly blog:  http://community.wizards.com/content/blog/4051771#sthash.3lQlAtsr.dpuf

 

Retiring Formats:

During the February 12 downtime, the following formats will be retired:

 

All block constructed fromats from Masques through Innistrad.

Extended

All Vanguard formats

Legacy Tribal Wars

Standard Tribal Wars

Kaleidoscope

Standard Singleton

Hero's Path

Core Set Constructed

Duel Decks Constructed

 

No explanation.  As far as I know, no warning this was coming.

 

Given that folks are running PREs in several of these formats, how does this affect those events?

 

During the Theros prerelease and release events, Wizards talked about the avatars being playable in Hero' Path events.  The paper avatars included in the event boxes are still used that way.  Did Wizards ever mention that the new avatars are not Hero's Path avatars, but just more pretty pictures?   Also, if we spent actual money to buy the Hero's Path avatars, do we get compensated in any way?

 

Anyone know why this happened?

 

My guess:  the new client creates decks in a given format, and they just wanted to have decks fall into the Standard, Modern, Legacy, Vintage and maybe Commander tabs.  It was easier to kill the formats than program the tabs into the new client.  Or am I being too cynical, here?

 

If anyone has any better information, please share.  (That includes WOTC folks...)

 

PRJ

I write State of the Program, appearing every Friday on PureMTGO.com.

Hey PRJ!

We looked at the popularity of the formats. The ones we removed were the least played of our available formats.

Alison L.
Associate Community Manager
Official MTG Twitter: @Wizards_Magic Official MTGO Twitter: @MagicOnline

Wizards_Alison wrote:

We looked at the popularity of the formats. The ones we removed were the least played of our available formats.

 

It is not a horse race or a beauty contest? Killing these formats online makes no sense. It takes zero effort to code and by deleting them you are certain to make some dedicated players unhappy.

 

Will this be a yearly event? Deleting the 22 least popular formats each year until we are left with standard only in 3 year.

 

Tribal wars? Vanguard? Really?

sikonawt                :Winner of the "I love MTGO" contest

Lawnmower_Elf   :Winner of the "Explain your name" contest

 

PREs obviously have a fairly low priority.

It doesn't seem to affect PREs, because deck legality is enforced by Gatherling. The two tournaments that I see coming up are Heirloom Kaleidoscope and Legacy Tribal Wars Singleton. Neither of those formats were supported on Magic Online before the change, so they shouldn't be affected.

Wizards_Alison wrote:

Hey PRJ!

We looked at the popularity of the formats. The ones we removed were the least played of our available formats.

 

Thanks for the quick response.  That's a nice change from past practice. 

 

A clarification:  what exactly does retired mean?  Here are some possibilites.  Which is correct?

 

  1. The format's B&R list will no longer be updated.
  2. No sanctioned events will be held in that format.
  3. The format will not be programmed into the wide beta deck legality filters.
  4. The legality filters in the v3 format will not be updated when sets rotate.
  5. The filters for checking legality will be removed from v3, and removed / not included in the the wide beta.
  6. The formats will not be avialable when creating a table in the v3 interface, in the wide beta interface, or both.

There may be other meanings - those are just what seems most likely.

 

PRJ

I write State of the Program, appearing every Friday on PureMTGO.com.

Wizards_Alison wrote:

We looked at the popularity of the formats. The ones we removed were the least played of our available formats.

 

Allow me to say, no, you didn't.

 

There's a Legacy Tribal Wars event running since 6 years, every Saturday of every week. I'm the current host, the fourth of my lineage, since 2 years.

 

In 2011, 910 players attended the event.

In 2012, 889 players attended the event.

In 2013, 1014 players attended the event.

 

Here you can look at the main page of the event, with link to history and data. The different players winning the event are already more than 50.

 

Here you can see the 120+ installments of the weekly feature about the event published on a popular MTGO website since 2011. You can also see the number of people visiting those pages.

 

Now, maybe "popularity" can be intended in different ways. But can I ask you to at least examine these data?

Thank you.

 

Retired means that the formats will not be available when creating a table in the v3 interface, in the wide beta interface, or both.

Alison L.
Associate Community Manager
Official MTG Twitter: @Wizards_Magic Official MTGO Twitter: @MagicOnline

one can always play highlander

 

less there's not enough cards

PirateAmmo wrote:

It doesn't seem to affect PREs, because deck legality is enforced by Gatherling. The two tournaments that I see coming up are Heirloom Kaleidoscope and Legacy Tribal Wars Singleton. Neither of those formats were supported on Magic Online before the change, so they shouldn't be affected.

 

It doesn't make the PRE outright impossible to play, but the filter in the client is important to know that your opponent is being honest, regardless of what they registered on Gatherling. If we're forced to make the tables as Legacy, there's no way of knowing that my opponent doesn't secretly have a sideboard, if not by looking at the list AFTER the tournament has ended, and provided they actually drew the sideboarded cards. And there's no way to know if there was the right number of creatures in the deck, unless you had a way to look at the entirety of it during a game. This will cause endless fights and complications.

There are lots of players who enjoy playing Tribal Wars, and the removal of filter will now make it impossible to create games where players are sure that their opponents are playing a legal deck. The removal of most other filters is not a problem in this sense (which doesn't necessarily mean that is not a problem in some other aspect) since it's immediately obvious when a player is playing an illegal deck in say an Innistrad block constructed or a Kaleidoscope match even if the rules aren't enforced by a client. Tribal Wars is a very unique format in this sense. It really needs a filter to ensure deck legality, and since it is played by a bunch of enthusiasts on a weekly basis, it would be greatly appreciated if the decision to retire it could be reconsidered.

I am astonished, Pete, that they are removing TWL. That is heinous. With a thriving and vibrant community involvement via Puremtgo (and MTGOtraders) every Saturday the PRE keeps people playing this format. Yes, there aren't as many casual games going in Juff during the week (which is what I suspect is the cause behind this yanking away) but there are still plenty of people brewing and playing on Saturdays. I am appalled that WOTC chose this route instead of polling us at the very least but I guess I am not that surprised. Draconian decision making without regard for the populace has become all the rage these days. Meanwhile I am outraged!

 

The other formats being yanked are all unloved and unplayed by all. No one will care that extended is being finally put in its long over due grave (thanks for getting rid of that stinking corpse btw.) And few will care that 60 card singleton is going or that Standard Tribal Wars is leaving. I liked the idea behind the latter but it was not a fertile brewing field of cards. Innestrad block gave it a little boost but it was fairly meager in the over scheme of things. Modern-based Tribal Wars would be mildly interesting in its place.

 

It is also weird that I often get this feeling:  Just when the horror of the last uncool/unfair (and usually largely unpopular) decision has worn off the powers that be come up with something new to make me rethink my involvement in MTGO. Thanks again, for nothing Wizards.

Winter.Wolf

 

WHAT?  Legacy Tribal Wars retired!!!!

 

Hey guys, what are you doing ???

 

ok, there weren't a lot of matches per week being played, but certainly at least fifty!!!

 

Do you want to tell me that someone plays in Mirage Theme Deck,  Vision Theme Deck, Ninth Edition Theme Deck  that still appear in the dropdown menu???

 

But let's be serious, the next downtime put back at least Tribal Wars Legacy

thanks
Simone (SBena)

One reason I can think of for killing these is that players were having trouble accessing some formats because the drop down box had no scroll bar. The options had become crowded and fell off the bottom of the screen.

 

An easy fix for this would have been to re-order the options so that the least popular formats were at the bottom of the list. No functionality lost.

 

Removing the options completely seems reasonable for some of the block constructed formats.

 

Hard to understand why some of the more popular formats "Legacy Tribal Wars" for example were dumped when still left on the list are :

 

9th ed theme decks

10th ed theme decks

magic 2010,11,12,13,14 theme decks

Mirage theme decks !!!

Visions theme decks !!!

 

And removal of "Duel Decks" as a format when Jace vs Vraska is scheduled for release online May 12 2014 is surely an obvious mistake. How will purchasers play ?

 

I would have left Kaleidoscope alone too. It wasn't hurting anyone.

 

 

 

Also by killing Vanguard (which I never personally use anymore) isn't that killing all those games of MhoJoSto I see in Juff on a regular basis? That seems rather harsh too. What Wizards should be doing is installing the capability in the new client of actually having MORE formats available. Not reducing them. Add MORE features to the hell you call a beta. Don't take them away because that makes it easier for you. (I don't know that this is the motivation but it does make sense in a twisted shorted sighted way.)

 

The term "take our money" seems lost here. I mean we (the casual crowd) may not crack packs as much as WOTC/Hasbro wants but we do buy in via the secondary market which in turn supports reasonable cracking of packs by others. If there were no demand for cards to be played in casual play there would be no secondary market to speak of to support the vast amounts of drafting that goes on. This is certainly a simplification of the economic model we live with on MTGO but I think it is accurate all the same. If you remove the ability to play the formats we want in a comfortable and safe manner, you are messing with the chemistry of the online experience.

 

This is happening just when VMA is around the corner with the potential of renewed interests in the older niche formats. I'd say nice timing but that would be sarcasm.

Winter.Wolf

Standard Singleton is still available, apparently.

 

The current dropdown menu features the following formats in Just For Fun. Anything Goes and Tournament Practice:

 

 

  • Standard
  • Classic
  • Legacy
  • Planechase
  • Modern
  • THS Block Constructed
  • RTR Block Constructed
  • Prismatic
  • Standard Singleton
  • 100 Card Singleton
  • Commander
  • Freeform
  • Freeform Vanguard
  • Pauper
  • Standard Pauper
  • Momir Basic
  • Ninth Edition Theme Decks
  • Tenth Edition Theme Decks
  • Magic 2010 Theme Decks
  • Magic 2011 Theme Decks
  • Magic 2012 Theme Decks
  • Magic 2013 Theme Decks
  • Magic 2014 Theme Decks
  • Mirage Theme Decks
  • Vision Theme Decks

In Just Starting Out:

 

  • Planeswalker
  • Freeplay Current Core Set Theme Decks
  • Mentor
  • Standard
  • Standard Pauper

 

So "All Vanguard formats" retired: not true. Standard Singleton retired: not true.

I don't know what to make of all those Theme Decks, I hope it's just a mistake and they will be removed.

Still, Prismatic more popular than Legacy Tribal Wars? Doubtful. Is there a running even for Prismatic? If Prismatic is the lower limit, then Legacy Tribal Wars should be included as well. I'd actually be okay with a Freeform Tribal Wars, with just the basic deck construction rules enforced.

 

I am livid.

 

No consultation? No warning? No advance notice in the client? 

 

It's time for a little history lesson.

 

Here is the last time Wizards tried to get rid of of the full card set tribal format. 

 

Here at the bottom of the article is what happened as a result, quoted here for your convenience:

 

Aaron Forsythe wrote:

Here's what I wrote originally concerning the switching of Tribal Wars to Standard:

 

The big change was the switching of Tribal Wars to the Standard card pool. That was the best solution we had for a format that was increasingly deviating from the “spirit” of its initial conception. Several good things happen with this change: (1) We lose the decks based on Tooth and Nail, Isochron Scepter, and Lion's Eye Diamond, which are less about tribal and more about preying on the fact that other people's decks are tribal; (2) We lose the oppressive Onslaught Goblins, Elves, and Zombies, which were fun for a while but had outlived their welcome; and (3) We get to guarantee that the format won't stagnate again. As sets come and go, various tribes will be more or less feasible, and new block will have an actual impact on what is being played, as opposed to feebly trying to unseat the eternal powerhouses

.

This change was made to re-inject some fun into the format and allow creative deckbuilding—rather than metagaming—to be the driving force behind what tribes are showing up.

 

Let me make it very clear that we have rethought our stance in light of public reaction. We are going to keep "Classic Tribal" as a format, and add "Standard Tribal" as yet another alternative; all Tribal tournaments will be run using the latter format going forward. Look for the DCI announcement to be revised sometime on June 2. (And Umezawa's Jitte will be banned from both versions of Tribal Wars; its removal from the Banned List was an oversight.)

 

The DCI is in uncharted waters when it comes to managing "casual" formats; after all, that body's job is to make sure that tournament environments are fair. To that end, I'm positive that something had to be done about the Tribal tournament environ, and my above comments hold true on that. We always have to assume that prize-driven Spikes will exploit any and every rule, card interaction, and format deficiency to win, and that has to be addressed whenever it pops up. What the DCI doesn't have a great read on is how well casual players self-regulate within their own circles. And honestly, how could we? It really isn't our domain. But, at the same time, we have to recommend how to operate the various Magic Online formats so as to maximize player enjoyment.

 

That's where you, the public, come in. You spoke and we heard. Your Specter and Volver and Sliver decks will never be without a format to call their own.


 

There, we have a public statement from Aaron Forsythe, the present director of Magic, that tribal decks will 'Never be without a format to call their own'. In light of this statement, I formally request one of two things:

 

1. Reinstate the Tribal Wars format in accordance with this statement.

or:

2. Allow the reprinting of cards on the Reserved list, since we only have your public statements upholding that, and if breaking your word of public record is something you are willing to do, you might as well go the whole hog.

 

Full disclosure: I have been writing about, podcasting about and playing in Tribal Wars, casually and in player run events, for over a decade continuously. I have accurately been able to say I have played every possible tribe online in the format. It is the principal format on which I spend my MTGO-related disposable income, to the tune of a three-digit sum every single month. This matters to me, deeply.

Okay I get there were too many formats in the client. but I have to say getting rid of Tribal Wars was a mistake. As Kumagoro has pointed out it has a dedicated fan base that plays every week. Deleting the filter seems to be just short sighted at best.

 

Here are my thoughts on this.

 

1 - What is gained by removing Tribal wars. All I can see is pissing off long time fans MTGO players, so unless actively undermining player ran events is the aim I dont see what the payoff is.

 

2 - Who plays mirage theme decks?

 

3 - You are getting rid of the block contructed from innistrad back, but leaving Theme decks from 9 years ago. 

 

4 - Why keep theme decks but get rid of dual decks.

 

 

Hi Wizards, here is another upset mtgo player because of this change.

 

Please restore the filter for Legacy Tribal Wars as soon as posible. Or even better, and as Kumagoro says, create one for Freeform Tribal Wars.

I never understood why the filters have to be so restricting. Why can't we choose pauper AND prismatic AND singleton for example? If we could have chosen pauper AND standard then there would have been no need to clutter up the game with standard pauper, and maybe modern AND pauper would still be popular. As for block contructed, why not have one block option and make the particular block a second variable? If someone thinks that people are just going to switch to standard and modern through this then they just don't understand people very well.

AJ_Impy wrote:

I am livid.

No consultation? No warning? No advance notice in the client? 

This is the big thing, and why everyone around here is pissed off and dissillusioned.

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Look at the List in the Wide Beta

 

Kumagoro has listed the filters in the v3 client.  That lists appears both in the deck legality filter and the formats choices when you make a table in v3.

 

I also loaded the wide beta client.  In constructed open play, the choice of formats is:

  • Standard
  • THS Block Constructed
  • Modern
  • Legacy
  • Planeswalker
  • Pauper
  • Standard Pauper
  • Commander
  • Planechase
  • Classic
  • Momir Basic
  • 100 card singleton
  • Prismatic
  • Freeform Vanguard
  • Freeform

In the deck construction / collection tab, the same list of formats show up.

 

 

/me ponders throwing gasoline on the fire.

 

That would be bad.

 

It's Alison's first week.

 

and.....

 

Failed my resistance roll.

 

 

Speculation:  it was easier to kill the other formats than program them into the wide beta client.

 

That idea is not inconsistent with the explanation we have so far.   The one sentence explanation.  Seriously, Wizards, give us a bit more.  Please.  Did you run it past focus groups?  Did you consult players?  Did Aaron Forsyth know about the plan?  Did Worth?

 

"We cut the least popular formats."

 

Why?

 

Why was it necessary to cut any?

 

Should we read this to indicate Wizards is going to work on getting rid of popular PREs?    Or is that just a byproduct?

 

All we can do is speculate.  Especially the Tribal Legacy players.  What else can they do?

 

As for popularity, I can only assume that Wizards counted the number of matches launched and used that.  Still, I'm amazed that Prismatic was more played than Tribal Wars.  It has literallty been years since I have seen a Prismatic challenge, but I play more in tournament practice, so maybe it is just me.

 

I guess Freeform and Freefrom Vanguard were left because you can build anything there, so it is a catchall.   But keeping Prismatic and axing Tribal Wars just baffles me.

 

I am also feeling down, but I don't want to end on that note.  On the plus side - I clicked the wide beta collection tab, and it loaded in a few seconds.  That is a huge change from a couple months ago, when that tab took over 30 minutes to load, or crash.  Back then, the wide beta clearly suffered from frosty backside syndrom.   (A speed term - means getting hit in the behind by a glacier.)

 

 

 

PRJ

I write State of the Program, appearing every Friday on PureMTGO.com.

PRJ wrote:

Speculation: it was easier to kill the other formats than program them into the wide beta client.

 

I am pretty sure that all of the retired formats were previously available on the Wide Beta client. I am sure that Tribal Wars was.


PRJ wrote:

Speculation: it was easier to kill the other formats than program them into the wide beta client.

 

 

The client is only half of the equation, the server has the same set of formats. The server checks deck legality on game start too. My own feeling is that maintaining all the formats gets to be a huge manual chore with 4 new sets a year (+special products). For instance every time basic land gets printed in a new set some one has to go through and add it as a legal proxy in all the old formats. When spells get reprinted with changed rarity it gets even more labor intensive. Now any number of us here could write some smart software to make that task a lot less human centric, but as we all know, wotc are limiting what programming gets done, so easier to kill it now than improve it.

 

 

I think the origonal planeswalker game may have increased card sales

Dear WotC employee responsible for this decision to eliminateLegacy Tribal Wars as a format,

 

The only explanation I can come up with to satisfy the known facts is that you are a lazy, unintelligent coward.  I hope that's not true.  I would post my rationale but others have just about summed it up already above.  Please reconsider, or my time in the game will dwindle considerably.

 

Thanks,

Bazaar of Baghdad

While this is extremely frustrating given the lack of warning would someone from WoTC please tell us why they made this change and let us know how much work it takes to keep the formats in MTGO?  It seems like very minimal work IMO but I could be wrong.

 

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I can confirm that Legacy Tribal Wars was being played in the beta just fine. Several tribal players were doing it every week (the only missing rule was that the deck editor in beta didn't recognize Changelings as part of every tribe; but that wasn't really a problem, since the tables would fire anyway, even if the beta editor was saying that a deck using Changelings to complete its tribe wasn't legal).

I think everyone has already made some excellent points. I too just want to voice that the removal of Legacy Tribal Wars greatly upsets me, and I will likely end up quitting MTGO as a result. I'm hoping they will listen to everyone here, and bring it back, but until then...

 

Thanks for nothing...

Kuma, do we get sideboards and Peer Pressure now?

Bazaar_of_Baghdad wrote:

Kuma, do we get sideboards and Peer Pressure now?

 

Don't think so. What about you get banned for life in all Gatherling events if you try to exploit the situation?

Kumagoro wrote:

 

Bazaar_of_Baghdad wrote:

Kuma, do we get sideboards and Peer Pressure now?

 

 

Don't think so. What about you get banned for life in all Gatherling events if you try to exploit the situation?

 

The way you wrote that makes it sound as if discussing potential rules changes were a bannable offense.  Or, are you suggesting I would break the rules?

Bazaar_of_Baghdad wrote:

 

Kumagoro wrote:

 

Bazaar_of_Baghdad wrote:

Kuma, do we get sideboards and Peer Pressure now?

 

 

Don't think so. What about you get banned for life in all Gatherling events if you try to exploit the situation?

 

 

The way you wrote that makes it sound as if discussing potential rules changes were a bannable offense.  Or, are you suggesting I would break the rules?

I think you may be personalizing a generalized you that Kuma was refering to. Keep in mind that he is not an English speaker/typist first. The context is key here too. If you or anyone else did cheat and were caught I imagine Dabil would be quite wrathful.

Winter.Wolf

Simply stated, I am unhappy with the retirment of the Tribal Wars formats.  Second to that is the lose of the duel decks format: why sell them online if there isnt a specific format to play it in?  I truly enjoy this game, hell i love playing this game but the lose of Tribal SUCKS!

 

I hope that somehow some consideration is given and Tribal comes out of "retirement." Please.

 

Thanks

Weird that they left so many useless formats like core set constructed. 

 

I think ink that their reasoning is likely that they want as few choices as possible... So as not to confuse new players.  Because of course they think they are going to get a lot of new people. 

Calavera on MTGO I collect Zendikar Foil Basic lands. Trade me yours! Things that I want to see changed on MTGO: 1: 64 man drafts added to rotation of Events. 2: Visual/Audible Notification of disconnect, deckbuild/afk time expiring and round starts. 3: Prize Payouts as close to draft sets as possible. 4: Rotate Classic draft queues monthly! 5: MOCS level events for Classic/Pauper 6: Power 9! 7: Award Promo Cards for Constructed PEs (esp for Legacy/Classic) 8: Program Split option back in! 9: Set Favorite version in deck editor (i.e. always use x swamp) 10: Better sorting of gold cards in deck editor. 11: Bring leagues Back!

Calavera777 wrote:

Weird that they left so many useless formats like core set constructed.

 

I think it is just a problem with the current version. Core set constructed and the theme deck formats are not present on the Wide Beta.

I think the biggest thing to me is why?

 

Ok, you have some formats that don't get as much play as others. I can understand cutting off any official support in the sense of product releases, ban list updates, or official events, but what reason is there to strip a working feature from the game and remove the ability to play less popular formats at all?

 

A lot of more casual people were already quite upset about the loss of Pauper and Momir daily events and the signficant die back the format has experienced as a result. Now it's looking like beyond cutting off most prize support for casual formats, there is a push to remove them from the game completely. 

gwyned wrote:

As someone who regularly hosts events using Gatherling and only (relatively) recently got a filter for our format, I would like to add my voice that taking away the Legacy Tribal Wars filter is a bad move. I can also say that the response I have heard from WotC time and time again is that if a community supports a format, WotC will do the same. So if you're a Legacy Tribal Wars player, make your voice heard. Mike Turian is the Organized Play Digital Manager and would be a great person to contact to make your opinion heard. He can be E-mailed at  michael.turian@wizards.com.

I agree 100% with gwyned's post.

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Telir wrote:

 

Bazaar_of_Baghdad wrote:

 

Kumagoro wrote:

 

Bazaar_of_Baghdad wrote:

Kuma, do we get sideboards and Peer Pressure now?

 

 

Don't think so. What about you get banned for life in all Gatherling events if you try to exploit the situation?

 

 

The way you wrote that makes it sound as if discussing potential rules changes were a bannable offense.  Or, are you suggesting I would break the rules?

 

I think you may be personalizing a generalized you that Kuma was refering to. Keep in mind that he is not an English speaker/typist first. The context is key here too. If you or anyone else did cheat and were caught I imagine Dabil would be quite wrathful.

 

I don't see what's the problem with that sentence. The question was: "Do WE get sideboards now?". The answer was, "No, YOU don't". "You" being a plural pronoun in English. And I don't think Bazaar was using pluralis maiestatis, or that discussing rule changes was part of the answer. And yes, whoever will be caught doing the vulture act on purpose, will be banned for life in Gatherling.

The problem is that "you" is also a singular pronoun.  It is good practice to avoid ambiguity.  So I guess the answer to my question is that the format stays the same, we're on the honor system now.  Fair enough, good to get this clarified early on.  I asked about a second point, however, to which there was no response - do we get Peer Pressure or any of the old WotC ban list, or does that automatically get added to the Tribal Apoc ban list?  And I guess, as a third (new) question, is that you're keeping old WotC rules about whatt counts as a tribe member, right?

Bazaar_of_Baghdad wrote:

The problem is that "you" is also a singular pronoun.  It is good practice to avoid ambiguity.  So I guess the answer to my question is that the format stays the same, we're on the honor system now.  Fair enough, good to get this clarified early on.  I asked about a second point, however, to which there was no response - do we get Peer Pressure or any of the old WotC ban list, or does that automatically get added to the Tribal Apoc ban list?  And I guess, as a third (new) question, is that you're keeping old WotC rules about whatt counts as a tribe member, right?

 

I'd say our best bet is not to change the rules unless and until we can get the format reinstated. No point muddying the waters.