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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-09 5:20 am 
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Age: Elder Dragon
MrCool wrote:
Segrus wrote:
Furthermore, my support for it being format warping is by providing evidence players would run the card in every deck they have.

"Excuse me dear sir/madam. If *card* was taken off the banlist, would you play it?"
Them: "Well since cards are banned for being too good, YES!"

Playing a card and running it in almost every deck are too completely different things. I can assure you born would happen if Gifts were unbanned.

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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-09 8:29 am 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
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Location: Palm Springs Area, CA
Being ubiquitous is also different than being worthy of a ban. The point is that asking if people would run a card isn't evidence that the card is going to be bad.

Without testing, we can only speculate about its effect, drawing on passed experience and current understanding of the format. Is it likely to still be problematic? Yes. Its relative power level has not decreased. But the format has also changed. The boogey-men of the era when gifts was legal are not who they once were. The diversity of the players and the support wizards has provided have drastically changed what people are playing. And! the ban philosophy isn't the same. Which is why I think there is some merit to testing gifts... Even if the results are, "duh, it's too good."

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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-09 10:09 am 

Joined: 2013-Feb-03 7:15 am
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Himetic wrote:
- 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 personally think (and I've heard a decent number of people agree with me on this matter) that if a majority of tutors were banned, it would not have an unhealthy effect on the format.

Himetic wrote:
-Long history of being used for evil? It's been banned since 2009. I consider myself an EDH veteran and I'm not even sure I was playing the format while it was legal. Even if you've been playing since the format began, that's still only a few years of being legal at the most, and the meta has changed substantially since then. If you're saying you know how it would be used if it were legal, you're lying.


Lying? How about being unnecessarily acerbic? Anyways, I've played against gifts both back in the day and nowadays in multiple playgroups and it has always been a problem card, in terms of power level, ubiquity to the point of format-warping, and even, honestly, bringing up the price of the format.

Himetic wrote:
Personally I feel like the meta has changed substantially from 5 years ago - blue is less dominant and combo is less frequent, in my experience (there's also some info to back this up in the form of this thread: http://www.mtgsalvation.com/forums/the- ... r-metagame which shows that the once-boogeymen combo generals azami and sharuum have fallen substantially in the list, with generally ramp and etb-centered generals maelstrom wanderer, damia, kaalia, and karador taking over the top spots. And while it's anecdotal, I'd say I've seen a similar trend in my LGSs.


I haven't noticed this pattern at all. If anything, out of >=10 different playgroups over the years, blue has become more dominant, and combo has become more frequent, with only one exception, that in rather casual metas, non-blue and non-combo decks start to pop up more often. That said, efficient combo decks brought in wreck on those metas.

Himetic wrote:
I wouldn't call that combo in the same way you can call azami + mom combo.


I thought that Mother of Runes wasn't legal in Azami decks... How would that be a combo anyways?

niheloim wrote:
Hmmm... Kaalia combo running gifts?


Seems legitimate, especially within color identity rules.

niheloim wrote:
Combo will never be gone in a format with a vintage card pool and multiple opponents.


Agreed.

niheloim wrote:
Edit: I know I would put it in every one of my blue decks to nab powerhouse cards.


Yeah, that's not even a question. I would put it into every single blue deck I own and probably get rid of some of my non-blue decks or change the general to include blue so that I could run it. It would be a problem.

Segrus wrote:
Also, annoying turns into frustration whenever the same combinations of cards turn up each game. Once that calms down, it's just boring.


I'm not sure why some of the people I play against don't realize that their decks get really boring really fast. I try to alter my decks and switch between a bunch to help with this, and I also search out possibilities for anything other than regular edh 4-way play (as difficult as it can be to convince people to go for that). Maybe it's just that everyone thinks that they are their God's gift to the format, or something.

niheloim wrote:
Koko warped formats... Not anymore.


I'm still not convinced; Kokusho has been pretty meta-warping at least, in quite a few groups that I've been in recently. Though the presence of Gray Merchant of Asphodel also doesn't help matters.

Himetic wrote:
I'm fairly sure (not completely positive) that gifts is restricted in vintage for reasons that don't really apply to EDH. Pretty sure it involves black lotus pretty heavily, although I could be wrong. Also I think it was generally used for a lethal tendrils or something, which would be very difficult in EDH...but again, not positive.

Anyway it's obviously some difference between the legacy and the vintage banlist, because it's fully legal in legacy.


Ahh, the comparison between Vintage/Legacy and EDH. Have you ever heard the statement "EDH is like 99 card Vintage with a commander?" It's actually not so far off in a decent number of metas, you might be surprised to learn. And in that sense, Gifts Ungiven + combo is rather ridiculous. That said, another potential surprise: In most 60 card formats, Gifts is not primarily run in combo. In fact, Gifts shows up significantly much more in control than combo. I could get into why, but moving on...

Gifts being restricted in Vintage:
Aaron Forsythe wrote:
Gifts Ungiven was, for a long time, used primarily in a deck based around it—"Gifts"—that would control the game long enough to tutor up a suite of win conditions that left the opponent no way out. Recently the card has been creeping into other decks, including Control Slaver and Gro-A-Tog, as its power is undeniable. It should still see play as a one-of.


In conclusion on this thought: Being able to tutor up four cards is pretty broken in anyone's book.

niheloim wrote:
Being ubiquitous is also different than being worthy of a ban.


Agreed. However, being overly ubiquitous is basically one of the criteria for banning cards in a nutshell. In my personal opinion, I think it's not used enough, despite the bannings of Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Primeval Titan and Sylvan Primordial.

niheloim wrote:
Without testing, we can only speculate about its effect, drawing on past experience and current understanding of the format. Is it likely to still be problematic? Yes. Its relative power level has not decreased. But the format has also changed. The boogey-men of the era when gifts was legal are not who they once were. The diversity of the players and the support wizards has provided have drastically changed what people are playing. And! the ban philosophy isn't the same. Which is why I think there is some merit to testing gifts... Even if the results are, "duh, it's too good."


Here's a question for all of you people that argue for cards to be unbanned with the thought that the rules committee isn't thinking about it: Do you really think that the rules committee does not look at all regularly at each card on the ban list in various situations to decide if it might be okay to allow it back into the format?


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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-09 12:55 pm 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Palm Springs Area, CA
Wut? You're asking the people who don't think the RC is thinking about the list if they really think the RC isn't thinking about the list?

What kind of question is that?

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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-09 1:59 pm 
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niheloim wrote:
Wut? You're asking the people who don't think the RC is thinking about the list if they really think the RC isn't thinking about the list?

What kind of question is that?

I would hope a rhetorical one.

But the truth is, the RC does heavily consider which cards belong on the list every time they meet, oftentimes when they aren't together, and every time someone mentions any card on the list that said person wants off. Those arguing against the RC's decision generally have one of two things:

1. They believe the argument they're presenting is one the RC hasn't considered.

2. They believe the underlying reason for keeping the card there is flawed, less relevant/important than the RC thinks, or sometimes unclear/inconsistent with a lot of other stuff the RC has done or said (I still don't understand the logic/lack thereof that keeps Painter's Servant on the list. I think someone must have used one to kill a member of the RC's cat or something).

Usually, they tend to be wrong about #1. It's not likely that any of us could come up with a convincing reason to unban something when at the same time 5(?) expert Magic players who talk to players all over the world all the time and spend a lot of time thinking about the format and discussing it have missed. It can happen, but it's not likely. This means that most real discussions about whether or not a card should stay banned tend to fall under #2.

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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-09 5:46 pm 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
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Location: Palm Springs Area, CA
Painter's servant? Value added doesn't exceed potential dumb? Its better to ban 1 card than 2 (an irksome angel and irrelevant mill machine)?

Also, I hate rhetorical questions. I try to avoid them, especially with my kids... If I ask "who do you think you are" they better answer.

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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-09 7:54 pm 

Joined: 2009-Jan-23 11:34 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I think it was Sheldon who said to me a few years back, here on the boards, that if two or three of the cards you're grabbing with Gifts don't say 'graveyard' on them then you're doing it wrong.

Gifts is an instant speed tutor which allows the player who cast it use it EoT before theirs and, barring a counter, end the game.
It's powerful, it's cheap to cast, it's very hard to disrupt when played correctly, and it's drawbacks (both the singleton nature of the tutors and the fact that 2 of the cards will end up in the GY) are not really drawbacks in this format.

It's extremely hard to use fairly because it's an inherently unfair card. You can't really compare Gifts to T&N because there is a huge cost difference, your T&N Combo has to be creature based and oh, btw, Gifts in in the color which is best suited to protect its' resolution.

It's an amazing card and I would play the hell out of it, but it's also overpowered by every measure you can use. It's more akin to Biorhythm in how, if it resolves uncountered, it's an anticlimactic win which comes out of nowhere.

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Spekter wrote:
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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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-09 8:54 pm 
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niheloim wrote:
Painter's servant? Value added doesn't exceed potential dumb? Its better to ban 1 card than 2 (an irksome angel and irrelevant mill machine)?.

You are proving the point I made in the last post. If you look at the most recent "Unban PS" threads, you'll find that that is NOT the reason PS is still on the banlist (and if it was, it would come off immediately. That logic would easily get 20+ different cards banned, although I'd argue the logic they RC is actually using still could get about 6-8 cards axed).

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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-09 10:58 pm 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
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Location: Palm Springs Area, CA
I actually agree that servant should be unbanned.

As for gifts... I'm suddenly sad that I can't legally run it as a second quiet speculation in my NIV mizzet deck. Hmmm... I think I might actually.

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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-10 10:11 pm 
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Quote:
It's extremely hard to use fairly because it's an inherently unfair card. You can't really compare Gifts to T&N because there is a huge cost difference, your T&N Combo has to be creature based and oh, btw, Gifts in in the color which is best suited to protect its' resolution.


Since when Mana Cost was a problem for running cards in EDH or banning them? Ok that Emrakul even if it cost 15 can be cheated easily in play, but Worldfire? Sway of the Stars? Biorythm, Coalition Victory? Etc...

I think that EDH is really the only casual format where mana cost is completely irrelevant for talk about anything. First of all because we have almost all of the crazy mana rocks accellerations of the vintage card pool : Sol Ring, Mana Crypt, Mana Vault, Grim Monolith, etc...all cards that Legacy can only dream about it and even in Duel Commander are banned. Second, even without the crazy manarocks there's still plenty of way to cheat cards in play in reasonably pretty short times compare to their mana cost : Just to mention Quicksilver Amulet for creatures or Dream Halls for all the rest of the spells? Third point, EDH since is a more casual and relaxed format is anyway slower than the others eternal formats so that in a multiplayer environmente you got plenty of time to just accumulate enough mana to play whatever stuff you want anyway. So I think the mana cost is something completelu irrelevant in that matter.


I also see that people complain that Gift Ungiven would not add anything good to the format because it would be played most of the times in just a too much linear, boring and uncreative way.....But I don't think that this is a good argument against the card since making only linear plays with it it's a player problem, and not the card itself. Isn't also T&N played most of the times in a horribly boring linear way? If not Kiki+Pestermite, even in monogreen you would just tutor up Avenger of Zendikar+Behemoth to win the game anyway. Geez, that's boring. And what we should say about Arcum Dagsson? I must yet to see a player running him a general and do not tutor up the same boring Mycosynth+Forge+Disk combo. Really, should we ban all these cards just because are always played in a boring way or should we recognize that the problem are not the cards but the players which don't know how to play EDH properly, and should we leave the freedom to the others to deckbuild with those cards the way the want to?


Last edited by Uriel on 2014-Mar-10 11:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-10 10:36 pm 
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Uriel wrote:
I also see that people complain that Gift Ungiven would not add anything good to the format because it would be played most of the times in just a too much linear, boring and uncreative way.....But I don't think that this is a good argument against the card since making only linear plays with it it's a player problem, and not the card itself.

OK, this line of thinking is starting to get old. The "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" argument really shouldn't come into play when we're talking about unbanning cards. If you have one guy in your group that's kicking your asses every game with some over-powered deck, and you come to ask for the cards he's using to be banned... THAT is a player problem. Unbanning a card under the pretext that the way it was seen to be used when it was banned is somehow not going to happen again... the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Uriel wrote:
Since when Mana Cost was a problem for running cards in EDH or banning them?

It's never been a reason for banning, but he's saying you can't compare them because of their costs, not that mana cost is the reason for the ban.
Uriel wrote:
I think that EDH is really the only casual format where mana cost is completely irrelevant for talk about anything.

Except it isn't. Mana cost matters a great deal, especially when you're talking generals, and not just because of color ID. Zur the Enchanter and Kaalia for example would not draw so much ire if they cost 7 instead of 4. So there is a big difference between cards in the 4-drop range and cards in the 7 (9 really) range, even in EDH. If gifts was an 8 drop I believe it would be legal.

Interesting side note - I believe I read somewhere that at one point in the format's past, you were required to pay at least 6 mana for your general, so if you were running, say, Rofellos, he cost you 4GG instead of GG.

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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-10 11:27 pm 
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Quote:
The "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" argument really shouldn't come into play when we're talking about unbanning cards.


Why not if it's true? Staff of Domination was unbanned for the same principle : can still be used to be abused to infinity combo, but that's up to the player, not of the card itself. So this argument it actually matters for ban or unbans criteria. On the other hands, what are your reasons to mantain banned Gifts? Nothing more which can be also addressed to a lot of already legal cards out there. So who is the one bringing up with pretty inconsistence arguments?

Quote:
Mana cost matters a great deal, especially when you're talking generals, and not just because of color ID.


If cards like Sway of the Stars are banned is just because of their effects, regardless of the fact that they would cost 10,15 or even 20 mana (did I alreay mention that you can cheat mana cost in EDH?). So, if a card like Tooth and Nail is problematic, it should be banned regardless of his mana cost, as long as it being used mainly to just win in the same turn it's played. For this reasons is banned Biorythm, because regardless of the mana costs, can ben used to easily win the game the same turn you cast it. So, it is appropriate to compare Tooth and Nail with Gift Ungiven because both are cards which can be used to either bring interesting interaction with the game or just winning in the same turn.

Quote:
Zur the Enchanter and Kaalia for example would not draw so much ire if they cost 7 instead of 4.


I think that all low-cost generals draw ire just for being low-cost and so, easily available all the time. Especially the ones that basically got the same casting cost for all the rest of the game, no matter how much times do you kill them like for example Karador and Derevi. I don't think it's a pretty relevant point to the discussion this one.


Quote:
If gifts was an 8 drop I believe it would be legal.


If people would just use the card to win the game the same turn they casted it, it would still be illegal, just like Biorythm or Sway of the Stars are illegal even if you need a lot of mana to be able to cast them normally.


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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-11 5:24 am 
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Uriel wrote:
Why not if it's true?

Because it fails to recognize how many people are killing people. If everyone in town is armed, and there is an exceptionally high rate of gun-related violence, you can argue that it's the people that are the problem, not the guns, but you can't confiscate the people from themselves, can you? The difference between a card like Staff of Domination and a card like Gifts is that far less people will be tempted to use and abuse the staff. It requires far more setup to be degenerate - i.e. you must have infinite mana already, at which point your choice of game-winning card is pretty much irrelevant.
Uriel wrote:
So, if a card like Tooth and Nail is problematic, it should be banned regardless of his mana cost

I agree with this part, but...
Uriel wrote:
it is appropriate to compare Tooth and Nail with Gift Ungiven because both are cards which can be used to either bring interesting interaction with the game or just winning in the same turn.

... again, when the winning is happening DOES matter. It's far more likely that you have 4 mana and Gifts Ungiven than it is that you have 4 mana and Dream Halls and Tooth & Nail or have 9 mana (and if you want to entwine T&N the same turn you drop Dream Halls, you need 6 mana)
Uriel wrote:
I think that all low-cost generals draw ire just for being low-cost and so, easily available all the time. Especially the ones that basically got the same casting cost for all the rest of the game, no matter how much times do you kill them like for example Karador and Derevi. I don't think it's a pretty relevant point to the discussion this one.

It is relevant. If they costed 3 more mana, they probably wouldn't be so hated. It's not the ease of casting them again that's the problem, it's the fact they can come down so early, when you're much less likely to be able to deal with them, and then do something ridiculous.
Uriel wrote:
If people would just use the card to win the game the same turn they casted it, it would still be illegal, just like Biorythm or Sway of the Stars are illegal even if you need a lot of mana to be able to cast them normally.

I disagree. There's plenty of game-enders in the 8 mana range that are still perfectly legal. Sway of the Stars and Biorhythm are banned because they interact in a bad way with the format rules, as is Worldfire, and as we've already agreed, if a card is problematic it should be banned regardless of its cost. I don't think Gifts would be problematic as an 8 drop. It definitely has been at 4.

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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-11 7:19 am 
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Uriel wrote:
Quote:
The "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" argument really shouldn't come into play when we're talking about unbanning cards.


Why not if it's true? Staff of Domination was unbanned for the same principle : can still be used to be abused to infinity combo, but that's up to the player, not of the card itself. So this argument it actually matters for ban or unbans criteria. On the other hands, what are your reasons to mantain banned Gifts? Nothing more which can be also addressed to a lot of already legal cards out there. So who is the one bringing up with pretty inconsistence arguments?

These cards aren't parallel. They aren't even perpendicular. The huge differences between them are:

1. Gifts is SUCH a better card in a vacuum. Staff only sees play in combo decks and W, R, or RW decks that need more draw and would also appreciate some of Staff's other effects. Gifts is playable in every blue deck ever (which is a lot of decks) is unbelievably broken in at least 60% of them, and game ending in probably about 30%.

2. Staff is a combo piece. It's not that great without the other combo parts. Gifts gives you combo pieces, and it also gives you ways to protect/ensure the combo.

3. When NOT used to combo, Gifts tends to make games more linear and boring, simply due to the nature of it being a multi-tutor, and a blue one nonetheless. When Staff isn't used to combo, it's overcosted utility.

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 Post subject: Re: Why? Gifts Ungiven
AgePosted: 2014-Mar-11 2:20 pm 

Joined: 2008-Jan-25 8:26 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Calgary
Even when Gifts isn't a combo enabler.
Even when Gifts isn't getting the protection for your combo.
Even when Gifts isn't trying to build a no-win pile.
Even when Gifts isn't going for long-term recursion value.

It is still a tutor without a peer to compare it to.

At instant speed and for only four mana you upgrade that card into the third and fourth best cards in your deck for that given moment, while simultaneously putting the first and second best cards for that given moment into your other hand (quaintly referred to as "the graveyard" in formats with fair card pools).

It is a very short trip from that realization to the realization that getting cards out of the deck that let you repeat this process is pretty darn good. Good enough that cards which allow you to repeat this process quickly become the first to fourth best cards in the deck in most situations.

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