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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-05 2:26 pm 

Joined: 2011-Mar-07 4:24 pm
Age: Drake
niheloim wrote:
Koko wasn't banned for power level. It was banned for turning entire metas into the recur-the-life-drain-dragon game. Same for primeval and sylvan. That their effects were powerful certainly factored into why thy warped the game.

Gifts is banned not for its effect, but what that effect did to the game. Its a fine distinction, I readily admit that, but it does a good job dispelling silly comparisons between cards and power levels. Tooth and nail is almost exclusively a one card "I win", but it isn't currently warping the format into Elder Dragon Tooth'n'nail.


1) if that's true (ubiquity > power level in banning considerations), then how would it be possible to know how omnipresent it would be without unbanning it?

2) if that's true, HOLY CRAP SHOULD SOL RING BE BANNED. You want to talk about ubiquity and game warpingness...

3) I see T&N in most green decks I play against. I see intuition (gifts' closest counterpart) almost never. Except when I cast it, because I love that card.


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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-05 2:35 pm 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Palm Springs Area, CA
Himetic wrote:
niheloim wrote:
Koko wasn't banned for power level. It was banned for turning entire metas into the recur-the-life-drain-dragon game. Same for primeval and sylvan. That their effects were powerful certainly factored into why thy warped the game.

Gifts is banned not for its effect, but what that effect did to the game. Its a fine distinction, I readily admit that, but it does a good job dispelling silly comparisons between cards and power levels. Tooth and nail is almost exclusively a one card "I win", but it isn't currently warping the format into Elder Dragon Tooth'n'nail.


1) if that's true (ubiquity > power level in banning considerations), then how would it be possible to know how omnipresent it would be without unbanning it?

2) if that's true, HOLY CRAP SHOULD SOL RING BE BANNED. You want to talk about ubiquity and game warpingness...

3) I see T&N in most green decks I play against. I see intuition (gifts' closest counterpart) almost never. Except when I cast it, because I love that card.

1 is a question for the RC... What did they use to determine that stuff like staff of domination and koko were safe? A wider view of the format is my guess.

2... Sol ring doesn't warp the format (when was the last time someone played Acquire with the intent of snagging a sol ring?)... It also doesn't warp games the way you're implying. And even if it did... Powerful cards are allowed to take over games.

3... Your meta might be different. I see 1 TnN regularly. Most decks eschew it for more interactive plays. It isn't the dominating force in the format that were other cards currently banned.

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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-05 5:20 pm 

Joined: 2008-Aug-02 10:17 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Himetic wrote:
Ok, first of all, you could apply that logic EASILY to tooth and nail, necropotence, hermit druid, etc. And I think you'd end up with a better deck.

Second of all, if you're curious, the first deck I'd be inserting it into (were it unbanned) would be a political phelddagrif deck, where I'd enable a lftl draw engine. Good? sure. Broken? no. Currently I use intuition for this purpose, and I have lots of tutors in there almost exclusively to tutor for it because it's a fairly unique effect. I don't see why that should be a bad thing. If it's late-game and I'm playing black, demonic tutoring for diabolic revelation seems like the smart thing to do, but that doesn't make it ban-worthy, nor does it make diabolic revelation better than demonic tutor.

Again, I'm still waiting for lftl piles that are actually broken. You tell me - what deck would you make to really abuse it?


First of all: comparing cards is rarely a good idea. T&N gets twocreatures into play, Necro draws cards, Druid dumps libraries into graveyards in specifically build decks. But for the sake of argument: try it with all 4 and post your results :wink:

Second: you're asking for a card to be unbanned. You're basically stating: "The decision to ban was a bad one". Which is kind of a bold statement. It's not impossible, but you're going to have to bring more to the table "I like this card", "Ik know other cards that I have thought up a reason for being more offensive" and "prove me the banning was justified". It's easy to ask for a card to be unbanned, harder to get it done. If you're really commited you will at least need to mobilize people to playtest. Maybe you can start with your own group?

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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-05 6:46 pm 

Joined: 2011-Mar-07 4:24 pm
Age: Drake
Well that's fair, however I'm not sure exactly what the criteria would be for playtesting it to determine fairness. I mean, if the goal is to try to break it, then obviously hermit druid would be banned under those criteria, but he's not because the deck is generally pretty rare. But if the goal is to prove that gifts wouldn't have an excessive presence...well it's sort of hard to prove how people would react to an unbanning. Maybe everyone would build a combo deck with it, maybe they wouldn't, sort of hard to tell.

I think it's fair to say that plenty of legal cards CAN be broken if built that way. T&N being a good example - I see the card a lot, but it's not very frequently used as an instant win, even though it could be used that way. Similarly with gifts - there are some combos that can put together a win fairly quickly (not as easily as T&N imo, though) but you'd have to build them into your deck. Would people use it for that purpose? Well it's sort of hard to playtest human nature.

As far a being meta-centralizing, I have a hard time believing it would be anything like ptitan - it can't be briberied (although i guess it could be knowledge exploitationed...but usually there are better targets), it can't be reanimated (except through memory plunder, diluvan primodial, and that sphinx), and it can't be cloned (except through copy effects a la twincast). And while there are still ways to do so, they're generally a lot harder to pull off, and the effect is, imo, small enough that it's probably not worth going to such great lengths in decks that aren't build to exploit it. So even though it might drive deck construction (as does sol ring to some extent), I don't think it would have a huge impact on what other people would want to run (I guess maybe more anti-tutors like aven mindcensor, but you could say that about any tutors or even land ramp).


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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-05 8:06 pm 
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Location: Midgard
Himetic wrote:
...well it's sort of hard to prove how people would react to an unbanning. Maybe everyone would build a combo deck with it, maybe they wouldn't, sort of hard to tell.

I wish I could remember where I read it...I feel like Sheldon or another RC member provided a very indepth analysis of what playing against and with Gifts was like, and I've been trying to find it for your (and my) convenience all day without success so far.

Anyone else remember something like that?

In any case, testing it yourself is going to be the best way. Come up with a plan your group can agree upon, and implement it until you're satisfied. That's part of how the RC was able to determine Kokopuffs would be okay in the '99: extensive testing.

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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-05 8:18 pm 
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Himetic wrote:
Well that's fair, however I'm not sure exactly what the criteria would be for playtesting it to determine fairness. I mean, if the goal is to try to break it, then obviously hermit druid would be banned under those criteria, but he's not because the deck is generally pretty rare. But if the goal is to prove that gifts wouldn't have an excessive presence...well it's sort of hard to prove how people would react to an unbanning. Maybe everyone would build a combo deck with it, maybe they wouldn't, sort of hard to tell.

I think it's fair to say that plenty of legal cards CAN be broken if built that way. T&N being a good example - I see the card a lot, but it's not very frequently used as an instant win, even though it could be used that way. Similarly with gifts - there are some combos that can put together a win fairly quickly (not as easily as T&N imo, though) but you'd have to build them into your deck. Would people use it for that purpose? Well it's sort of hard to playtest human nature.

As far a being meta-centralizing, I have a hard time believing it would be anything like ptitan - it can't be briberied (although i guess it could be knowledge exploitationed...but usually there are better targets), it can't be reanimated (except through memory plunder, diluvan primodial, and that sphinx), and it can't be cloned (except through copy effects a la twincast). And while there are still ways to do so, they're generally a lot harder to pull off, and the effect is, imo, small enough that it's probably not worth going to such great lengths in decks that aren't build to exploit it. So even though it might drive deck construction (as does sol ring to some extent), I don't think it would have a huge impact on what other people would want to run (I guess maybe more anti-tutors like aven mindcensor, but you could say that about any tutors or even land ramp).

It's actually really easy to playtest cards like Gifts to see how bad they are. Run it in a strong but fair deck that isnt broken or antisocial, with said deck also giving it actualsynergy with the other cards in the deck (which is actually far harder NOT to do), then test the results.

Personally, I've tested Gifts before. The problem is that it has such a strong tendency to make games ridiculously linear and boring across the board. Even in a mono-blue deck, the odds are that each time you're going to grab a pretty similar group of cards depending on the deck, whether it be a bunch of removal or the top four best cards in the deck or whatever. This is why I personally tend not to run more than two tutors in any non-competitive deck, because picking anything but one of the 4-5 best cards in the deck will almost always be intentionally gimping myself during gameplay, something I am heavily against. And Gifts is easily EDH's most powerful tutor, in a color that is powerful enough without tutors of that kind of strength. It only gets even more broken when you add in other colors, giving you recursion to nullify the card's already small drawback.

And to stomp the argument down before it starts, there are 3 reasons Gifts is gone but Intuition isn't:
1. Power Level. Getting 4 cards out of the deck and 2 in hand is so much better than 3 out of the deck and 1 in the hand, and the one mana cost is negligible.
2. Price. More players will be able to obtain Gifts, therefore making it more likely to be prevalent. Intuition is pretty damn expensive, so less players will buy it unless they really need it.
3. Banlist Philosophy. The banlist is mostly representative. Usually when there's a very specific group of offenders, the RC will only ban the very worst among them. Example: dumb super board wipes suck. The RC could have banned DoA, Obliterate, Wildfire, Apocalypse, and so much more, but no, they only banned the worst of the worst, which happened to be Worldfire, Sway, and Upheaval.


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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-05 9:13 pm 

Joined: 2013-Mar-20 1:38 pm
Age: Drake
This card is the poster child for cards that should be banned. It is a really cool card, and an eternal favorite. Unfortunately, tutoring for 4 cards in a 100 card singleton format ends games in unexpected unfuness. It wrecks games unintentionally. I've seen it do it on multiple occasions. It ends games in boring ways every time it is cast. That is why it is banned. I'd be safe in saying that if you see it otherwise, you aren't playing for funsies.


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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-05 10:28 pm 
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It's also worth noting that the drawbacks that the card was designed with in relation to mana cost (pitching to grave, cards must have different names, costing four mana) mean damn near nothing in this format, which boosts its power up considerably. Also, pretty much every Gifts ever whether in theorycraft or playtest goes something like this:

Theoretical: You cast Gifts to tutor up four different but fun cards which press your advantage while still advancing the gamestate in a fun and interactive way.

Practical: You cast gifts to tutor up two instant win conditions and two pieces of recursion; or one wincon, one way to protect your wincon, and two pieces of recursion. The game ends shortly after your untap step, one way or the other.

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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-05 11:01 pm 
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Joined: 2012-Dec-04 3:38 pm
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I play and tested the Gift Ungiven in EDH and I can say that without silly shenaningans for tutoring two win combo cards and two way to recur them, it's pretty much the same (but obviously better) of Intuition. For example, in graveyard-theme decks Intuitions and Gift Ungiven are the same, because you will choose cards that either way will be recurred without actually doing anything that bad to istantly win the game. For example, in a Bruna deck, Intuition and Gift Ungiven got the same function, tutoring auras to be putted in grave, so that Bruna can later recur them. In Mimeoplasm you choose only fatties so that you can either cast of recur them, etc. Sure, powerful combo, but nothing too much oppressive for the format for now. Also, Gift, like Intuition, can be used without the intention of recursion just to tutor three or four functional reprints of a same card that you need in that moment, an that's also a perfectly fair use of the card.


The "unfair" use people are talking about, is the same "unfair" way when someboy is using a Tooth and Nail to tutor up Kiki-Jiki+random infinite tokens card, or playing Zur just for tutoring in the battlefield Bitterblossom+Contamination and so on. In all the case, the problem are not the cards which can be a double-edge swords which either can be used to kill or promote the fun in your playgruop. The real problem are douchy spike players who likes to win exclusively with solitary combos, without interactions with other players. Those players will play bad regardless of whatever cards you give to them. And other players, like Timmies will play for the fun of everybody regardless of any potential overpowered bombs you gave them. That's why I say that a official ban-list for a format like this is completely disastrous when it's followed by the letter but not by the spirit.


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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-06 12:08 am 

Joined: 2011-Mar-07 4:24 pm
Age: Drake
-While extensive playtesting might help me personally decide whether it's fair, I really doubt it's going to make any actual impact on the RC. Also it's really dependent on how I personally choose to use it. Which is almost certainly going to be with life from the loam + 3 lands - strong but probably not broken. I don't think I really represent the average playstyle of EDH players at large, though, I'm more into instant-speed removal and incremental advantage over, for example, Avenger of Zendikar. Also I tend to play a variety of people since it's mostly pickup games and a semi-rotating crowd at my LGSs EDH night.

-I agree with what uriel said - certainly it CAN be abused, but EDH has never been a fixed format.

-Something that occurred to me - the fastest gifts combo I can think of - noxious revival + regrowth + power artifact + grim monolith - can be just as easily, for a lower ultimate mana cost and susceptible to more kinds of hate, with insidious dreams by fetching power artifact + grim monolith + gush (putting gush on top). Plus it has the option of putting a game-winning X spell on the bottom. And no one thinks insidious dreams should be banned.

-I think a lot is made of the fact that it has "no downside" in EDH because it's a singleton format. I don't think that means it's better, any more than it makes demonic tutor better because it has more options. Ostensibly you'd just have duplicates of your best options, which you'll probably be picking anyway, were it not singleton. Intuition does lose power level in the singleton format, though.

-I could see ease of access being an issue, although it's sort of speculation. Man gifts is super cheap now, I didn't even notice. Last I checked it was 10.

-I disagree about it being "easily" EDH's most powerful tutor. Tooth and Nail and SotF are also very strong, and it's hard to beat the efficiency of demonic/vampiric/seal.


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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-06 1:05 am 

Joined: 2012-Oct-09 1:35 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Stoke-On-Trent, England, UK
I am in the Gift's is fun side of the argument, but only because my meta doesn't abuse things. (That being said one of them has just built a Nekusar deck filled with extra turn cards....Think I am going to have to stomp him with Uril and Kaalia a few times to teach him why we don't play such unfun decks....) But anyways, back in the day when my friend introduced me to the game we both ran Gifts. We usually used it to search for wraths or lands, almost exclusively in fact. I am putting it in my EDH cube in the next couple of weeks (when i will be building it) along with Griselbanned and Emrakul because they will be much harder to destroy the game with being in my cube where there will be very few combos available and will be even harder to draft together and use in game. I think you should just house unban it if everyone agrees that it chould be fine. If it never causes problems its all gravy.

The RC want everyone to run their own EDH bubble however they want in reality IMO, if a meta unbans everything, and everyone is happy with that, the RC will be happy. It doesn't mean they will unban it all though, they want all metas to be happy, the best way to do that is to try and capture most things that are generally miserable and knock them out, for the most part this works great and generally speaking EDH is healthy. There will always be problem cards in metas whether it be Kiki, Armageddon, T&N etc, but unless they are problems for the majority of people and causing real damage they will not be banned.

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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-06 6:00 am 
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Himetic wrote:
...more talk, no action...

Extensive playtesting is all you have to convince the RC of anything, plain and simple. You can just brush it off and say it doesn't matter, but they aren't exactly nobody MTG players and they have their own evidence backing the banlist. Discussion proves nothing and convinces no one here--mostly because everything you're arguing has already been stated (multiple times, I might add). And those arguments mostly involves refusing to acknowledge the facts or refusal to provide any clear evidence that unbanning Gifts would improve the quality of the format.

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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-06 7:29 am 
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Zirilan of the Claw wrote:
It's also worth noting that the drawbacks that the card was designed with in relation to mana cost (pitching to grave, cards must have different names, costing four mana) mean damn near nothing in this format, which boosts its power up considerably. Also, pretty much every Gifts ever whether in theorycraft or playtest goes something like this:

Theoretical: You cast Gifts to tutor up four different but fun cards which press your advantage while still advancing the gamestate in a fun and interactive way.

Practical 1 (Casual/Semi Competitive):You cast gifts to tutor up four different but fun cards which press your advantage while still advancing the game state in a fun and interactive way.... The first time. As games go on, you start to gravitate toward the same couple cards or groups of cards every time. Games where Gifts shows up start to look really similar, and soon enough you either have to intentionally choose non-optimal search targets if you want the games to stop being linear and boring.

Practical 2 (Competive): You tutor up 1 or 2 combo pieces/win conditions and the rest recursion, then proceed to win.

Practical 3 (Hyper Casual): Gifts is too powerful of a card to run in this kind of deck/meta anyway.

FIFY.

A lot of you guys (on both sides of the argument) are looking at this from the wrong angle. The RC doesn't care that you can get Mindslaver, Academy Ruins, Crucible of Worlds, and E Wit and just dominate from there. They care about the fact that Gifts can wreck games even in decks that aren't designed that way. The fact remains that the thing is a 4-mana, 4-card tutor with drawbacks that in the world of EDH either don't matter or can easily be turned to the user's advantage. It's also an instant, in the color that is already powerful enough even with a small amount of viable tutors. The ubiquity argument also applies, as every deck that can legally run it probably wants to, and what it does really isn't fun. Sol Ring is ubiquitous, but it doesn't really do anything bad (except sometimes enable god hands, but it needs lots of other cards to do that), and helps advance the game state in what is usually a positive way.

Dale! said it almost perfectly. The real reason it needs to be banned is that it looks like a card that EDH wants more than anything else, but it actually turns out to be not that awesome the vast majority of time in practice. Maybe in super casual Illusion Tribal it wouldn't be too broken or annoying, but odds are if you build a deck like that in the first place, you probably are one of the players who doesn't need a banned list to get how NOT to play the format.


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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-06 7:38 am 
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Himetic wrote:
-I agree with what uriel said - certainly it CAN be abused, but EDH has never been a fixed format.

CAN be used "fairly" and WILL be used "fairly" are very different things. I CAN resolve Yawgmoth's Bargain and only draw one card per turn. I CAN decide to never blink or copy Sylvan Primordial or Sundering Titan. I CAN only fetch basic lands with Primeval Titan. That's not how things tended to go in the real world though, and Gifts has a long history of not being used for fun.

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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-06 9:39 am 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Palm Springs Area, CA
My favorite gifts package... Eternal witness, Soul Foundry, Mystic Snake, Cryptic command.

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