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 Post subject: The Case for Balance
AgePosted: 2009-Oct-23 7:27 am 

Joined: 2009-Oct-23 7:24 am
Age: Hatchling
The Case for Balance

"EDH bannings are made on a case-by-case basis, usually based one of three principles:

#1: A card's power level in multiplayer EDH is signficantly in excess of both it's mana cost AND power level in other formats (due to different rules or game sizes). [Examples include Panoptic Mirror and Biorythm]
#2: A card's dollar cost is prohibitive for most players and the card usually detracts from the playing experience of everyone else in the game [The Power 8]
#3: A card or class of cards can not be consistantly interpreted by all players [Silver bordered cards] "

Number three can be discounted immediately, as Balance has never been printed with a silver border. Number two can be discounted as well, as a Fourth Edition Balance can be picked up for about 4 dollars, cheaper than many of the staples in the format (Duals, Fetchlands, Sensei's Top etc.)

So rule number 1 is the rule that axes Balance out of EDH. Balance is banned because it is perceived to have an effect on the game that is not proportional to its mana cost.

This is faulty for a few reasons. First, Balance isn't a card that you can always play. There are three situations you can play Balance in:

1. You have more permanents of each type than all/most other players. Playing Balance here helps your opponents far more than it helps you.
2. You are about equal with your opponents, but Balance will bring everyone to the same place. This usually involves you discarding cards, sacrificing creatures or lands to balance out your opponents lead in another area. This is when Balance is most "fair".
3. You are behind on everything but cards in hand, due to poor land draws. This is when Balance is "broken".

Playing Balance in situation 1 is almost unheard of, because you gain no advantage. Situation 2 require a large amount of thinking, based on what your opponents have more of than you do, and deciding if the sacrifice is worth the reward. Because Balance costs 1W, many players believe the card to be much too powerful.

The argument is that Balance's mana cost is irrelevant, because a turn 2 Balance achieves almost nothing, unless someone has an extremely fast turn 1/2, Balance achieves so little that many players would not consider making this play. Balance is better played after turn 6, when players have had a significant opportunity to advance their board beyond other players. This opens a player up to Balance, then cast a spell to pull ahead (provided no player has 0 cards in hand). There are many other plays that help with this (Akroma's Vengeance, Austere Command, Planar Cleansing et. al.) None of these cards create more of an advantage than Balance.

Situation 3 is when Balance is the most useful, and arguably the most degenerative to EDH. A player is stuck on 2 or 3 lands, then draws Balance to put himself back in the game. There are other cards that do this when players aren't behind, and none of them are considered as powerful as Balance. This leads me to believe that the rules committee has banned Balance due to its mana cost, which as stated earlier, is irrelevant. The power of this card can be found in other cards and while more expensive in mana, the end effect remains the same.

Unless anyone can point out a situation that I'm missing, where Balance being cast on turn 2 does something incredible, Balance can safely be unbanned.


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 Post subject: Re: The Case for Balance
AgePosted: 2009-Oct-23 7:46 am 

Joined: 2008-Jun-20 7:38 am
Age: Elder Dragon
The argument about Balance's mana cost is not irrelevant. Just because you don't normally want to play it on turn 2 does not make the mana cost irrelevant. Balance is the most broken when you play a number of permanents that aren't affected by Balance, such as artifacts or enchantments or now, planeswalkers.

I completely disagree that "none of these cards create more of an advantage than Balance". None of those cards hit lands. None of those cards hit cards in hand. The comparison is very, very poor. If you want to compare Balance to something, compare it to Decree of Annihilation, because that has a comparable effect. Now look at the difference in mana cost and tell me that's comparable. Combine that with the number of opponents you're hitting and it's absolutely ridiculous card advantage, especially if you have a way to play around it.

I would happily put Balance into every single deck I have that can run white mana, including my Rith token based deck, because it's quite frankly *that* good.

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 Post subject: Re: The Case for Balance
AgePosted: 2009-Oct-23 8:47 am 

Joined: 2008-Sep-21 11:51 am
Age: Elder Dragon
situation 4. you have a land equilibrium in play, and a decent set of counters in your hand, you zuran orb you lands in response to playing balance, keep your artifact mana and lock everyone out of the game, you're also playing creature less so you wipe the board.

so for 2 mana you've got an Armageddon and a wrath of god that hits indestructible critters.

there is a reason it was one of the few things restricted back in the day of mox play.

In theory it's a not brokened card in practice its one of the most unbalanced cards out there.

I suggest you let your play group dork around with it for a bit, then come back with a how effective it is or isn't.


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 Post subject: Re: The Case for Balance
AgePosted: 2009-Oct-23 9:51 am 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Palm Springs Area, CA
odit wrote:
I suggest you let your play group dork around with it for a bit, then come back with a how effective it is or isn't.


Nail on the head.

Talk to the people you play with. The banned list is a suggestion not a mandate. I personally would allow many of the cards on the list so long as they were used not abused.

Your group may actually like the play experience it produces. You never know.

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 Post subject: Re: The Case for Balance
AgePosted: 2009-Oct-23 3:11 pm 

Joined: 2008-Aug-02 10:17 am
Age: Elder Dragon
odit wrote:
In theory it's a not brokened card in practice its one of the most unbalanced cards out there.


QFT (and irony)

I'd add Personal Tutor in my GAAIV deck just to get an extra shot at Balance.

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Heartless Hidetsugu
Ob Nixilis, the Fallen
Reaper King
Ruhan of the Fomori
Hanna, Ship's Navigator
Ol
oro, Ageless Ascetic
Roon of the Hidden Realm
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Sapling of Colfenor
Wrexial, the Risen Deep
Niv-Mizzet the Firemind
Ghost Council of Orzhova
Scion of the Ur-Dragon
Momir Vig, Simic Visionary



Child of Alara
Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund
Rith, the Awakener
Brion Stoutarm
Experiment Kraj
Razia, Boros Archangel
Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
Wort, Bogart Auntie
Kaalia of the Vast
Tariel, Reckoner of Souls


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 Post subject: Re: The Case for Balance
AgePosted: 2009-Oct-26 8:48 am 

Joined: 2009-Aug-03 8:55 am
Age: Elder Dragon
odit wrote:
In theory it's a not brokened card in practice its one of the most unbalanced cards out there.

I suggest you let your play group dork around with it for a bit, then come back with a how effective it is or isn't.


Yep, a mite of playtesting goes a long way.


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 Post subject: Re: The Case for Balance
AgePosted: 2009-Oct-27 5:31 am 
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Joined: 2008-Aug-23 10:03 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: The Netherlands - Hoorn
I suggested it within my playgroup to try and test Balance, I've always been a huge fan of the card and it just flat out s***cks not to be able to play my Beta Balance :( But they're pussies and don't even want to try it. "There is enough removal already and Balance has a far to large effect for it's cost."

Blegh, cry babies.


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 Post subject: Re: The Case for Balance
AgePosted: 2009-Oct-28 2:48 am 

Joined: 2008-Aug-08 6:34 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Rouen, France
Poesjuh wrote:
I suggested it within my playgroup to try and test Balance, I've always been a huge fan of the card and it just flat out s***cks not to be able to play my Beta Balance :( But they're pussies and don't even want to try it. "There is enough removal already and Balance has a far to large effect for it's cost."

Blegh, cry babies.


I can talk to my table and ask them. Not sure how it would go but I know for sure some would be game. I can tell you for free that it would be a complete beating in the Scion deck.

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Sissay 5c Superfriends
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 Post subject: Re: The Case for Balance
AgePosted: 2009-Oct-28 4:57 am 

Joined: 2008-Sep-22 8:04 am
Age: Drake
I've played with Balance extensively in 1v1 matches, and it hasn't been broken there. It's powerful, to be sure, but it's almost always so reactive that it equalizes the game, rather than locking one player out.

A combo that requires Balance, Zuran Orb, a bunch of artifact mana, AND your opponent to fortuitously not have artifact mana is by no means more degenerate than any number of other legal combos I could name. Just because you can concoct a gamestate where Balance is a game-winner doesn't mean that it's bannably broken.

I've play-tested it. Have you?


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 Post subject: Re: The Case for Balance
AgePosted: 2009-Oct-28 5:56 am 

Joined: 2008-Sep-21 11:51 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Quote:
I've played with Balance extensively in 1v1 matches,


most the banned list could be unbanned for 1v1 matches. in all seriousness sway of the stars ? limited resources ? biorythm ? koko ?

I will not say that I've tested balance in a group setting in EDH, I have tested balance ( restricted ) in other group formats, and it isn't that hard to be smart and break the card, at the bare minimum, it's a 2 cost wrath of god , that also hits indestructible critters. to get it to hit lands white isn't the best land ramping color, but you really need to dip into blue to really screw the table, what you're running teferi's veil. all your critters are phased out , and taniwha phased all your lands.. neat 2 artifact mana and you wiped the table ? oh and it all comes back ....


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 Post subject: Re: The Case for Balance
AgePosted: 2009-Oct-28 6:23 am 

Joined: 2008-Jun-20 7:38 am
Age: Elder Dragon
odit wrote:
Quote:
I've played with Balance extensively in 1v1 matches,


most the banned list could be unbanned for 1v1 matches. in all seriousness sway of the stars ? limited resources ? biorythm ? koko ?

I will not say that I've tested balance in a group setting in EDH, I have tested balance ( restricted ) in other group formats, and it isn't that hard to be smart and break the card, at the bare minimum, it's a 2 cost wrath of god , that also hits indestructible critters. to get it to hit lands white isn't the best land ramping color, but you really need to dip into blue to really screw the table, what you're running teferi's veil. all your critters are phased out , and taniwha phased all your lands.. neat 2 artifact mana and you wiped the table ? oh and it all comes back ....


Hell, just Ghostway your board before casting it and have a land sac outlet, and you basically won the game.

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Rafiq, Sharuum, Nekusar, Kresh, Mayael, Kaalia, Maelstrom Wanderer, Ghave, Ruhan, Mimeoplasm, Genju of the Realm, Phelddagrif, Derevi, Oloro, Jenara, Karrthus, Marath, Tariel, Riku, Karador, Numot, Damia, Sliver Overlord, Karn, Silver Golem


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 Post subject: Re: The Case for Balance
AgePosted: 2009-Oct-28 8:52 am 

Joined: 2008-Aug-28 12:34 am
Age: Drake
(no balance play experience)

In 1v1, at best, balance is a 2 mana wrath of god, with some land D and hand discard tacked on. OR it is part of a 2-3 card combo which in the end probably isnt worth it.

I could see balance being ok in a 1v1 format, but I do not think that they will unban it from the EDH multiplayer ban list because it is too swingy, especially for 2 mana.


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 Post subject: Re: The Case for Balance
AgePosted: 2009-Oct-28 11:53 am 

Joined: 2009-Jan-23 11:34 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Slobad wrote:
(no balance play experience)

In 1v1, at best, balance is a 2 mana wrath of god, with some land D and hand discard tacked on. OR it is part of a 2-3 card combo which in the end probably isnt worth it.

I could see balance being ok in a 1v1 format, but I do not think that they will unban it from the EDH multiplayer ban list because it is too swingy, especially for 2 mana.

I think you mean "at worst", not "at best". At worst it's a 2 mana WoG with some random LD and discard.
At best? It's like 2 mana Obliterate which wins you the game.
Forbidden Orchard --> Entomb
Swamp --> Animate Dead
Swamp --> Balance (on the stack) respond with One with Nothing

Hell, I'll reanimate a Putrid Imp so I don't even need OwN, or an cast an Insidious Dreams to stack my library.

With all the tutors Black has, in addition to any artifact accel, I'd say that's pretty reliable.

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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: The Case for Balance
AgePosted: 2009-Oct-28 12:01 pm 
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Joined: 2008-Feb-29 5:57 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Duvall, WA
tempesteye wrote:
Slobad wrote:
(no balance play experience)

In 1v1, at best, balance is a 2 mana wrath of god, with some land D and hand discard tacked on. OR it is part of a 2-3 card combo which in the end probably isnt worth it.

I could see balance being ok in a 1v1 format, but I do not think that they will unban it from the EDH multiplayer ban list because it is too swingy, especially for 2 mana.

I think you mean "at worst", not "at best". At worst it's a 2 mana WoG with some random LD and discard.
At best? It's like 2 mana Obliterate which wins you the game.
Forbidden Orchard --> Entomb
Swamp --> Animate Dead
Swamp --> Balance (on the stack) respond with One with Nothing

Hell, I'll reanimate a Putrid Imp so I don't even need OwN, or an cast an Insidious Dreams to stack my library.

With all the tutors Black has, in addition to any artifact accel, I'd say that's pretty reliable.


thats a 4 card combo...so many better combos are allowed in edh that just outright win it isnt funny.

the real power that balance brings is that it is an obliterate that is so cheap you can float mana.

the best way to use it is to have like 1-2 cards in hand and like 7-ish lands out and go
Balance, float 5 into a baneslayer angel, or any other bomb that costs a medium sized amount, while everyone else has jack squat.

balance is broken, i love the card and i have a sweet unlimited one, but i dont want to see the card around in EDH. Hell, i have a Palladia-Mors deck that would love to play balance so i can float when i wipe the board. but that just isnt fun, and in the end EDH is about fun


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 Post subject: Re: The Case for Balance
AgePosted: 2009-Oct-28 5:54 pm 

Joined: 2009-Jun-21 11:49 pm
Age: Dragon
Quote:
thats a 4 card combo...so many better combos are allowed in edh that just outright win it isnt funny.


And how many of them can be pulled off on turn 3? Not many.

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