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 Post subject: A method to their madness.
AgePosted: 2014-Feb-03 1:43 pm 

Joined: 2014-Feb-03 11:24 am
Age: Egg
When Wizards of the Coast makes a banning/unbanning, they usual attempt to attack cards that enable a particularly oppressive strategy. Deathrite Shaman's recent banning, and cards like Seething Song are examples of this.

In reference to the Commander ban list, I feel like I don't see the same methodology when it comes to the bans. Some bans do show some semblance of this thinking, like Tinker and Yagmoth's Bargain.

While I will admit that I took the banning of Primeval Titan personally, considering how much I love the "Get more land" strategy, I understood that it enabled the green decks to accelerate beyond decks not playing that color. It warped multiplayer games from a fun atmosphere where each player had their own individual strategy to "Everyone make copies of Primeval Titan".

Sylvan Primordial's recent ban has got me thinking about how these decisions are made. It's Sundering Titan and Primeval Titan wrapped in a happy little bundle. It warped the playing field in the same way those two cards did, and more, so the banning did not surprise me.

What I have noticed since the banning of Sundering Titan, to Primeval Titan and now Sylvan Primordial is that the combo oriented decks are now becoming more popular. Prior to the banning of Sundering Titan, I chose when to cast him and when not to. If it was obvious that a player in the pod had intentions of preforming some shenanigans like Kiki-Jiki + Pestermite or Tooth and Nail entwined for Palinchron + flicker effect, I would cast cards like Primeval Titan and Sundering Titan as an attempt to prevent myself from being completely put out of the game by such a degenerate combination. Sundering Titan sets them off of lands, Primeval Titan keeps me up to speed with the faster artifact decks and Sylvan Primordial to slow down other people while I speed up.

I'm sure there are a lot of people who spend a lot of time to regulate the EDH format, but I just don't know if all the cards that are banned, and all the cards that are not banned are in the right place.

What do the regulators focus on when making bans, and what are the chances of seeing unbans?


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 Post subject: Re: A method to their madness.
AgePosted: 2014-Feb-03 2:49 pm 
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Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
Official Banned List and Format Philosophy Document
Might I direct you to the above link, because you've come to the right place for the answers. Notice, not everyone will agree with the banlist in its current form, nor does everyone agree this is how it should be handled. The Rules Committee follows, to the best of their knowledge and ability, these general guidelines as I've linked above. Usually, cards have to be in more than one of these categories to even be considered, because it is the Committee's belief the smallest possible banlist is necessary for the health of the format.

As far getting something unbanned: normally, it involves a whole lot of effort. You not only have to prove the particular card doesn't qualify for its previous offenses anymore (such as with Kokusho, the Evening Star), but that it will also add to the gameplay experiences of the widespread EDH community. Neither of these are easy.

Did you have a particular card you were looking at?

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 Post subject: Re: A method to their madness.
AgePosted: 2014-Feb-03 3:02 pm 

Joined: 2012-Apr-11 7:17 am
Age: Elder Dragon
FortyBears wrote:
What I have noticed since the banning of Sundering Titan, to Primeval Titan and now Sylvan Primordial is that the combo oriented decks are now becoming more popular. Prior to the banning of Sundering Titan, I chose when to cast him and when not to. If it was obvious that a player in the pod had intentions of preforming some shenanigans like Kiki-Jiki + Pestermite or Tooth and Nail entwined for Palinchron + flicker effect, I would cast cards like Primeval Titan and Sundering Titan as an attempt to prevent myself from being completely put out of the game by such a degenerate combination. Sundering Titan sets them off of lands, Primeval Titan keeps me up to speed with the faster artifact decks and Sylvan Primordial to slow down other people while I speed up.
I would suggest if you know a player is going to combo (or win very soon via any methid), make him the archenemy until such time as he is no longer able to do that. Sy Prime did not help you do that, it set all your opponents back without choice. Same for Sundering

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 Post subject: Re: A method to their madness.
AgePosted: 2014-Feb-03 3:06 pm 
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Joined: 2012-Feb-07 4:15 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Welcome to the forums!

Generally the RC likes to focus on a couple things when banning cards:

1. Does it produce a buttload of mana too fast? To paraphrase a statement by a member of the RC (I think it was Sheldon) on this topic: Epic plays in games are the point of EDH. However, we'd rather not have them happen on turn 3. That's what Legacy and Vintage are for. Tolarian Academy and Channel are prominent examples.

2. Does it consistently create unfavorable gamestates: People like fun games, not stupid ones. Sidenote: This is by far the most subjective one. Examples: Sundering Titan, Limiting Resources, Trade Secrets

3. Does it interact badly with the rules (both written and unwritten) of EDH: Certain cards are just plain dumb with the rules of EDH. Examples: Riftsweeper (back when the Command Zone didn't exist and generals were in exile), Coalition Victory, Karkaras, Sylvan Primordial (if EDH wasn't a mostly multiplayer format, it would be fine). All creatures like Rofellos that are only banned as generals also fall under this criteria as well.

4. Perceived Barrier to Entry: People who may want to join EDH may be convinced it's an expensive format if these cards are widespread. Examples: Power 9 (except Timetwister), Library.

Those are the "official" reasons to ban stuff. Here are some unofficial criteria that are often also taken into less consideration, but still sometimes valid:
-Format Warping (Primeval Titan)
-Creates too linear of gameplay (Gifts Ungiven, Protean Hulk)
-Too difficult not to break (Fastbond, Panoptic mirror)
-Reduces Interactivity when paired with cards that already do that, even though it is fine on its own and with cards that don't reduce interactivity (Painter's Servant)

2 more things about the banlist:

1. In general, the banned list relies on the social contract in its most basic form to weed out "obviously" unfun cards like Stasis or Obliterate. The cards that generally make it to the banlist are those that aren't fun, but they seem like they are. Classic example: Recurring Nightmare

2. Ultimately, even with all these rules, the banlist is mostly representative. I mean, there are some specific cards that are just there because they suck for the format or in general (Coalition, Biorhythm), but most cards on the list exemplify a specific kind of card that the RC believes shouldn't see very much play if you want "fun" games, and the cards on the list happen to be the most egregious offenders. For example, Worldfire happens to be the top notch worst of the "big red blow up everything" spells, and therefore it is banned. This doesn't mean that the RC wants everyone to run similar cards like Obliterate either.

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 Post subject: Re: A method to their madness.
AgePosted: 2014-Feb-03 3:09 pm 

Joined: 2007-Aug-09 7:38 pm
Age: Drake
FortyBears wrote:
In reference to the Commander ban list, I feel like I don't see the same methodology when it comes to the bans. Some bans do show some semblance of this thinking, like Tinker and Yagmoth's Bargain.

While I will admit that I took the banning of Primeval Titan personally, considering how much I love the "Get more land" strategy, I understood that it enabled the green decks to accelerate beyond decks not playing that color. It warped multiplayer games from a fun atmosphere where each player had their own individual strategy to "Everyone make copies of Primeval Titan".

Sylvan Primordial's recent ban has got me thinking about how these decisions are made. It's Sundering Titan and Primeval Titan wrapped in a happy little bundle. It warped the playing field in the same way those two cards did, and more, so the banning did not surprise me.

What I have noticed since the banning of Sundering Titan, to Primeval Titan and now Sylvan Primordial is that the combo oriented decks are now becoming more popular. Prior to the banning of Sundering Titan, I chose when to cast him and when not to. If it was obvious that a player in the pod had intentions of preforming some shenanigans like Kiki-Jiki + Pestermite or Tooth and Nail entwined for Palinchron + flicker effect, I would cast cards like Primeval Titan and Sundering Titan as an attempt to prevent myself from being completely put out of the game by such a degenerate combination. Sundering Titan sets them off of lands, Primeval Titan keeps me up to speed with the faster artifact decks and Sylvan Primordial to slow down other people while I speed up.


I agree with your point. While I’m glad Sylvan Primordial is gone, combo is slowly becoming harder to oppose. The only outcome I see is that if the format turns into ‘Combo’ vs ‘Anti-combo’, then and only then will the banlist and format philosophy change to counteract it, if at all.

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 Post subject: Re: A method to their madness.
AgePosted: 2014-Feb-03 3:13 pm 

Joined: 2012-Apr-11 7:17 am
Age: Elder Dragon
ruler2k2k2 wrote:
I agree with your point. While I’m glad Sylvan Primordial is gone, combo is slowly becoming harder to oppose. The only outcome I see is that if the format turns into ‘Combo’ vs ‘Anti-combo’, then and only then will the banlist and format philosophy change to counteract it, if at all.
Can you explain how Sy Prime stops combo that is better than other available cards? I really am curious to see the other side of it.

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 Post subject: Re: A method to their madness.
AgePosted: 2014-Feb-03 3:17 pm 

Joined: 2007-Aug-09 7:38 pm
Age: Drake
MRHblue wrote:
ruler2k2k2 wrote:
I agree with your point. While I’m glad Sylvan Primordial is gone, combo is slowly becoming harder to oppose. The only outcome I see is that if the format turns into ‘Combo’ vs ‘Anti-combo’, then and only then will the banlist and format philosophy change to counteract it, if at all.
Can you explain how Sy Prime stops combo that is better than other available cards? I really am curious to see the other side of it.

Disruption plus a win condition. Sylvan did it too effectively and has been shown that players don’t want to use it fairly, i.e. ramping, reanimation, cloning etc.

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"During the democratic debate Tuesday night, Senator Joe Biden criticized presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, saying 'There's only 3 things he mentions in a sentence: A noun, a verb, and 9/11.' Giuliani later responded, saying, 'Joe Biden sucks 9/11.'"
-Seth Meyers, SNL's Weekend Update November 3, 2007


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 Post subject: Re: A method to their madness.
AgePosted: 2014-Feb-03 3:38 pm 
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Joined: 2012-Feb-07 4:15 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
ruler2k2k2 wrote:
MRHblue wrote:
ruler2k2k2 wrote:
I agree with your point. While I’m glad Sylvan Primordial is gone, combo is slowly becoming harder to oppose. The only outcome I see is that if the format turns into ‘Combo’ vs ‘Anti-combo’, then and only then will the banlist and format philosophy change to counteract it, if at all.
Can you explain how Sy Prime stops combo that is better than other available cards? I really am curious to see the other side of it.

Disruption plus a win condition. Sylvan did it too effectively and has been shown that players don’t want to use it fairly, i.e. ramping, reanimation, cloning etc.

Not really a win condition.... It makes it easier to use other win conditions....

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 Post subject: Re: A method to their madness.
AgePosted: 2014-Feb-03 3:42 pm 

Joined: 2012-Apr-11 7:17 am
Age: Elder Dragon
ruler2k2k2 wrote:
Disruption plus a win condition. Sylvan did it too effectively and has been shown that players don’t want to use it fairly, i.e. ramping, reanimation, cloning etc.
A single creature with 6 power and cost 7 mana is better at stopping combo than a cheap answer? I don't see that as very efficient for stopping combo.

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My... history of buying Magic cards is probably a tapestry of bad financial decisions >_>
niheloim wrote:
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 Post subject: Re: A method to their madness.
AgePosted: 2014-Feb-03 3:47 pm 

Joined: 2013-Jan-07 1:45 am
Age: Dragon
FortyBears wrote:
What I have noticed since the banning of Sundering Titan, to Primeval Titan and now Sylvan Primordial is that the combo oriented decks are now becoming more popular.... If it was obvious that a player in the pod had intentions of preforming some shenanigans like Kiki-Jiki + Pestermite or Tooth and Nail entwined for Palinchron + flicker effect...


Now presenting... Torpor Orb: The Format. (previously known as EDH)

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 Post subject: Re: A method to their madness.
AgePosted: 2014-Feb-03 3:47 pm 

Joined: 2008-Jan-25 8:26 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Calgary
ruler2k2k2 wrote:
Disruption plus a win condition.

I guess I don't see Syl Prime working that way.

If it's disrupting the combo player through mana denial then it's probably doing the same for everyone else. And if it's being being used hard enough + early enough to deny the combo player their mana all game then it sounds like the actual combo player is the one playing with Syl Prime.

If the combo player is using a combo that can actually be disrupted by 7cc sorcery speed non-creature permanent removal then consider yourself lucky, the most reliable combo win conditions like to win on the turn they are played (Omniscience) or involve only creatures (Mike+Trike, Kiki-Jiki+whatever, etc.) - the latter not because of cards like Syl Prime but because disruption can be overcome through recursion/reanimation.

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 Post subject: Re: A method to their madness.
AgePosted: 2014-Feb-03 3:58 pm 
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Joined: 2012-Dec-04 3:38 pm
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Quote:
Epic plays in games are the point of EDH. However, we'd rather not have them happen on turn 3. That's what Legacy and Vintage are for. Tolarian Academy and Channel are prominent examples.


Show And Tell, Eureka, and Dream Halls disagree very much with this statement...Also, Jeleva loves to cast her Enter the Infinite turn 4.

Quote:
Does it consistently create unfavorable gamestates: People like fun games, not stupid ones. Sidenote: This is by far the most subjective one. Examples: Sundering Titan, Limiting Resources, Trade Secrets


Contamination, Land Equilibrium, Consecrated Sphinx....


Quote:
Does it interact badly with the rules (both written and unwritten) of EDH: Certain cards are just plain dumb with the rules of EDH.


Serra Ascendant, Felidar Sovereign, Sorin Markov, Magister Sphinx, Master of Cruelties....


Quote:
4. Perceived Barrier to Entry: People who may want to join EDH may be convinced it's an expensive format if these cards are widespread. Examples: Power 9 (except Timetwister), Library.


Mana Crypt, Mishra Wokshop, Imperial Seal, Gea's Cradle, Moat, Tabernacle of Pendrell Vale, Mana Drain....

Quote:
-Creates too linear of gameplay (Gifts Ungiven, Protean Hulk)


Tooth and Nail, Hermit Druid...

Quote:
-Reduces Interactivity when paired with cards that already do that, even though it is fine on its own and with cards that don't reduce interactivity (Painter's Servant)


Kiki-Jiki/Splinter Twin, Mycosinth Lattice, Triskelion, Palinchron, Mind Over Matter, Teferi....




Quote:
most cards on the list exemplify a specific kind of card that the RC believes shouldn't see very much play if you want "fun" games, and the cards on the list happen to be the most egregious offenders. For example, Worldfire happens to be the top notch worst of the "big red blow up everything" spells, and therefore it is banned. This doesn't mean that the RC wants everyone to run similar cards like Obliterate either.



I'm afraid this is not very clear to lots of EDH players unfortunately.


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 Post subject: Re: A method to their madness.
AgePosted: 2014-Feb-03 4:01 pm 

Joined: 2008-Jan-25 8:26 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Calgary
:roll:

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 Post subject: Re: A method to their madness.
AgePosted: 2014-Feb-03 4:53 pm 

Joined: 2011-Sep-30 6:08 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I think all groups naturally tend toward combo as they mature unless the players deliberately make choices to avoid it. Combo is simply the most powerful thing you can do when you need to take 100+ life away from your opponents to win.

I don't think ramp or LD or particular bannings have anything to do with this.

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 Post subject: Re: A method to their madness.
AgePosted: 2014-Feb-03 5:47 pm 

Joined: 2009-Jan-23 11:34 am
Age: Elder Dragon
crokaycete wrote:
I think all groups naturally tend toward combo as they mature unless the players deliberately make choices to avoid it. Combo is simply the most powerful thing you can do when you need to take 100+ life away from your opponents to win.

I don't think ramp or LD or particular bannings have anything to do with this.

This is absolutely correct.
When you're looking to win a MP game against multiple active opponents then Combo is almost always the only viable option to do so.
Trying to beat a table using straight Aggro usually means splitting your attacks among multiple opponents which dilutes the effectiveness immensely, and trying to out Permission the table is almost always destined for failure.

Combo isn't a horrible way to win. It's HOW you Combo which is the real crux of the issue.

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niheloim wrote:
Aggravated Assault + Bear Umbra = My attempt to make my group move to ban Uril.
That's not ban-worthy, that's the spirit of EDH. Three-card combo involving the combat phase? Awesome.


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