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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Feb-03 11:25 am 

Joined: 2009-Oct-28 10:55 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
urielxvi wrote:
Oh wait, its not a blue card, you kids only hate blue.


Way to throw around unnecessary accusations. What you have here are a bunch of blue-loving magic players saying that it's way, way stronger than Cabal Coffers. It's broken, that's not even a question. It's just not quite broken enough to be bannable.


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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Feb-03 12:07 pm 

Joined: 2009-Oct-10 8:13 am
Age: Hatchling
urielxvi wrote:
1) It can't be used in every blue deck
2) It's legendary
3) Strip Mine, Wasteland, Tectonic Edge can be tutored for just as EASY, if not easier, in ANY deck

...

I don't see any threads on Cabal Coffers
1) It can be used in EVERY black deck, or ANY deck with urborg
2) It's NOT legendary
3) It can generate just as much mana, if not more, and it can't be shut off by a shatterstorm


Oh wait, its not a blue card, you kids only hate blue.


Yea, I hate blue, yet my current standard decks are grixis control and turbo fog- the only viable blue decks right now. The reason nobody's crying for Cabal Coffers to be banned is because You can't jam-pack your deck full of swamps the same way you can with artifacts and still win. I'm being hard-pressed to find an artifact that is less powerful than a swamp. Also, you need two mana to activate. TA is infinitely better than Cabal Coffers, much like Black Knight is infinitely better than Scathe Zombies.
And maybe you didn't read, but there have been plenty of arguments over the difficulty to actually kill something in EDH if a player wants to keep it.

Oh wait, that isn't a real argument, its just somebody throwing around childish accusations. (""C wut i did thar???"")
-*-
Now that I'm done with the silly arguing, I'll put forth my personal opinion. Yes, TA is very much borderline ban worthy, and pretty much every time I see it, its very often making upwards of six mana on turn three. TA has very little investment required for a very large benefit, and yes, it doesn't win games by its lonesome because "its only a mana producer," the fact that it is often the headliner in any deck that plays it. Lets face it, nobody throws the Academy in a deck that isn't going to abuse it, and the fact is that its ridiculously easy to abuse.
That being said, it is rather easy to stop the card from being efficient, but often I've only seen decks beat it if they are actively built with Academy artifact decks in mind, and it isn't impossible.

TL;DR, I'd love to see a ban on Tolarian Academy, but I understand why it isn't.

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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Feb-03 12:16 pm 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
BigShow wrote:
TA is awesome

Agreed. I love T & A. Not sure what this has to do with ED... OH! Tolarian Academy... right... well... :oops: anyhoo...

urielxvi wrote:
I don't see any threads on Cabal Coffers
1) It can be used in EVERY black deck, or ANY deck with urborg
2) It's NOT legendary
3) It can generate just as much mana, if not more, and it can't be shut off by a shatterstorm

Coffers requires a ton of swamps to produce lots of mana, and you have to pay 2 to generate mana with it, so it's not helpful unless you have at least 4 swamps out. So you're pretty much either;
Mono black - in which case, yes it's the shizzle
Tutoring for Urborg every game so it's worth having the coffers.

Academy (and for that matter the cradle) are very powerful, but not really banworthy.

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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Feb-03 1:27 pm 

Joined: 2009-Dec-17 4:27 am
Age: Dragon
Location: Stockholm
@urielxvi: Tolarian Academy produces 6 mana around turn 3 and none on turn 1, Cabal Coffers produces 6 mana around turn 8 and none on turns 1-3. Furthermore, Tolarian Academy is generally paired with cards like Minamo, School at Water's Edge for twice the fun. The cards are not on a similar level of power.


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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Feb-03 2:23 pm 
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Joined: 2008-May-04 1:02 am
Age: Dragon
Location: Orlando, FL
Slivermannen wrote:
@urielxvi: Tolarian Academy produces 6 mana around turn 3 and none on turn 1, Cabal Coffers produces 6 mana around turn 8 and none on turns 1-3. Furthermore, Tolarian Academy is generally paired with cards like Minamo, School at Water's Edge for twice the fun. The cards are not on a similar level of power.


All theses numbers are just assumptions though, TA produces 0 mana on its own. That fact alone should keep it from being banned.

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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Feb-03 2:46 pm 

Joined: 2009-Dec-17 4:27 am
Age: Dragon
Location: Stockholm
urielxvi wrote:
Slivermannen wrote:
@urielxvi: Tolarian Academy produces 6 mana around turn 3 and none on turn 1, Cabal Coffers produces 6 mana around turn 8 and none on turns 1-3. Furthermore, Tolarian Academy is generally paired with cards like Minamo, School at Water's Edge for twice the fun. The cards are not on a similar level of power.


All theses numbers are just assumptions though, TA produces 0 mana on its own. That fact alone should keep it from being banned.


No card exists in a vacuum, any bannings need to be made with consideration to how the card interacts with other cards in the format. That's how it's done in EDH as well as the sanctioned formats.

As for the numbers being assumptions: Yes, that's true. They are however, reasonable assumptions based on observations of Tolarian Academy in actual games.


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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Feb-03 3:34 pm 
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Joined: 2008-Oct-14 7:43 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
urielxvi wrote:
1) It can't be used in every blue deck
2) It's legendary
3) Strip Mine, Wasteland, Tectonic Edge can be tutored for just as EASY, if not easier, in ANY deck

...

I don't see any threads on Cabal Coffers
1) It can be used in EVERY black deck, or ANY deck with urborg
2) It's NOT legendary
3) It can generate just as much mana, if not more, and it can't be shut off by a shatterstorm


Oh wait, its not a blue card, you kids only hate blue.

Coffers is engineered so that it can only work in the late stages of the game. Compare Temple of the False God, Gauntlet of Power, etc. Fast mana tends to be degenerate only when you get it early on, and counting your lands gives Coffers a built-in restriction that keeps it out of the early game.


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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Feb-03 5:27 pm 
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Joined: 2008-Mar-24 12:14 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Oakland, CA
urielxvi wrote:
TA produces 0 mana on its own. That fact alone should keep it from being banned.

You lose a lot of credibility by spouting such obvious nonsense. Metalworker produces 0 on its own. It's bannicated. Ancestral Recall can't draw a single card until you're able to add at least a U mana to your pool. It's bansied. Biorhythm will actually lose you the game if you resolve it without any creatures. It's completely bannified.

Academy has a lot more power than Coffers. Even in an Oona deck with U,ToY, I think trying to maximize Academy is probably going to be easier and more effective.

That said, I'm not convinced Academy really deserves to be banned. It's one of those obviously overpowered cards that is relatively safe in the format, like Skullclamp.


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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Feb-04 7:23 am 

Joined: 2008-Jun-20 7:38 am
Age: Elder Dragon
intreped wrote:
urielxvi wrote:
That said, I'm not convinced Academy really deserves to be banned. It's one of those obviously overpowered cards that is relatively safe in the format, like Skullclamp.


Seconded.

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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Feb-04 10:52 am 

Joined: 2010-Feb-02 6:45 pm
Age: Wyvern
Tolarian Academy is just below the top tier of mana acceleration for any deck running blue.

Most decks hoping to advance quickly are running at least a few of artifacts (Sol Ring, Sensei's Divining Top, etc.), so at the very least, it's on the same sort of power curve as Sol Ring/Mana Crypt.

Now, one of the large problems when attempting to evaluate any card for banning is that there are many levels at which to evaluate the card. Let's take a look at some examples:
  • 1v1 Competitive - Academy is pretty much a gamebreaker in terms of sheer speed and advantage, especially with the current mulligan rules. Combine this with generals that are specifically available and designed to facilitate such a deck and you have the recipe for a whole world of hurt. However, Rofellos is able to shut down the game nearly as quickly and effectively. Arcum, Zur, Clique, and Erayo all have the ability to run the Academy and very good reasons to use/abuse it.
  • Multiplayer Casual - Academy is a big splashy play that has as good chance of ending the game as any other big, splashy play. However, the setup for Academy to crank out enough mana to swing a game against multiple opponents is easy to achieve. An opponent with a couple of mana artifacts and a Top in play can suddenly go from "not a threat" to "all but won the game" in a single turn that starts with "Untap, Draw, Tolarian Academy". Sure, there are answers to this play but, often enough, the play can just happen with no telegraphing at all.
  • Multiplayer Competetive - There are so many permutations of a "win by turn 4" that can be made with a properly constructed deck that rely on fetching up and playing an Academy into an infinite combo without major disruption that the likelihood of it happening in a game with only a single Academy player approaches 50%. That tends to shove the game into a Academy/anti-Academy metagame.

Just looking at that, the easy choice becomes "Ban Academy". But is that the right choice?

Let's evaluate the reality of how EDH as an environment exists:
  • 1v1 Competitive - EDH was never really designed for this sort of format. Frankly, it's sort of the anti-thesis of what formats like EDH or prismatic were originally perceived as, publicly. Any sort of "large-deck" format with strict construction restrictions was generally perceived as a format full of slow development, fat creatures, and big, flashy plays. What happens in 1v1 play is that you are essentially starting with an 8 card hand where the 8th card is gas. For that reason, the game is incredibly accelerated. The top generals will max out at 4 mana with the rare exception being a general that is used as part of a game-ending combo (Shaarum) or a 5-color general used almost exclusively to be able to lift deck restrictions.

    What do competitive 1v1 EDH decks look like?
    • Rofellos - Keeps a starting hand with 3 forests, and either an infinite combo (Staff of Domination, Umbral Mantle) or an LD effect (Plow Under, Reap and Sow, Acidic Slime) and either win out on T3 or start setting you back constantly until they can roll you easily.
    • Vendillion Clique - Assorted bounce and countermagic that plays draw/go while having a recurring CQA engine that doubles as a win condition. You'll likely never land a relevant spell against this sort of deck.
    • Arcum Daggson/Zur the Enchanter - These guys don't really care about an opening hand so much since they are pulling their wins out from the deck, but if they are allowed to untap with an active general, it's brutal to try to climb back out from the crushing advantage that these generals provide. They don't go for cute. They blow up your lands, draw a full grip of cards, and prevent you from actually playing your deck in an assortment of ways. Their decks are full of as much disruption as possible to keep you from interacting while their general tightens the noose.
    • Erayo - Obvious.

    These decks are no less ruthless, efficient, and brutal than your typical legacy or extended Pro Tour deck. That's because in a "competitive" (read: "tournament") scenario, the goal is to win and you don't get prizes for being cute.

    Trying to adjust the format to accomodate these decks is virtually impossible. You'd have to ban at least 5-8 generals to get the format to slow down enough to resemble standard. Then you'd just start to see a lot of 5-color "goodstuffs" at which point it is less EDH and more "5-Color 2.0".
  • Multiplayer Competitive - The only way to ensure a win in this format is to play blatantly over-the-top, monstrously powerful combos. Once the power creep sets in, everyone at the table is a potential kingmaker and the first person to flinch or make a mistake usually sets in motion the chain of events that determines the winner. That means that any such event is more about being the right person at the right time.
  • Multiplayer Casual - Since there's no benefit to winning except bragging rights until the next game, this is where the heart of EDH is. Sure, you could play an Erayo deck here, but you are liable to get smashed before you can do anything. Or people will just choose to not play with you. The social and political aspect here is the defining quality of the game.

So, what does that have to do with Tolarian Academy? Well, we've already established some things.
  • 1v1 EDH can't be balanced. Small nudges can be given, but it really isn't in the best interest of the Rules Council to spend an inordinate amount of time fixing it. Academy is probably powerful enough in this format that it would warp the environment if the generals themselves hadn't already bent it out of shape. But, unless decks with Academy can be shown to be outpacing Rofellos/Clique/Zur decks that aren't using it, it's probably not relevant.
  • Multiplayer Competitive - This is where Academy is arguably the strongest as the cards in your deck start to outpace your general in terms of power. If this were the sole format worth considering, it would be an easy call to ban it.
  • Multiplayer Casual - Academy is strong here. But, this is the realm of house rules and altered banned lists. If someone brings a competitive deck here, they will find themselves getting dealt with using the existing socio-political system.

Very few of the cards on the banned list would be present there if the sole consideration was their power level as determined on a Multiplayer Competitive level (which, of course, has been the only environment that has been established as being both balanceable and to which a banned list would be particularly relevant). However, most of the cards on the the banned list are there because of their impact on the Multiplayer Casual scene. For the cards not banned based on some arbitrary "cost" measurement, the cards on the banned list are generally there since any time one of them would come down, the game would cease to be fun for anyone else very quickly (and that they are relatively easy to play).

So, does Tolarian Academy make such a big splash and become such a game-changing event in Multiplayer Casual? Probably not.

Is it so overwhelmingly powerful in Multiplayer Competitive that it should be banned anyway? Probably.

The only other cards I see on the banned list that fall into this class are Metalworker and Panoptic Mirror. Academy's power level is miles above either. I can't see a reason to let Academy in if the others are not.


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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Feb-04 1:34 pm 

Joined: 2008-Sep-22 8:04 am
Age: Drake
Insightful post Toshimo. Your analysis of the 3 different formats is spot on, though I'm not sure I agree with your conclusions.

The rules committee has stated that they don't take 1v1 into account at all when considering the banned list, so those sections aren't very relevant to this discussion. (Although, as an aside, I do think 1v1 EDH can be balanced, just not with the multiplayer list. There's a French list intended for 1v1 that's actually works very well. The format is still closer to Legacy than to Standard, but that makes sense, considering the card pool.)

Furthermore, I'm not sure that I agree with you that the banned list is mostly intended for multiplayer casual games (though you could be right). Plenty of unfun cards are legal, and most of the cards on the banned list are banned because of their power level when abused. The way I see it, if something is strong enough to be worth banning in the competitive format, it's strong enough to be banned in casual too. Just because casual playgroups can deal with it altering the rules so that the problem card isn't played (this is equally true for any banned card), doesn't mean that they should have to. The banned list in this format is basically a list of suggestions, and a card that is ban-worthy when people try to break it probably deserves to be on that list.

As such, I agree with this part of your statement:

Quote:
Multiplayer Competitive - This is where Academy is arguably the strongest as the cards in your deck start to outpace your general in terms of power. If this were the sole format worth considering, it would be an easy call to ban it.


...except that I think that Multiplayer Competitive probably is the sole format worth considering, and so I do think it's a fairly easy call to ban it.


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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Feb-05 11:22 am 

Joined: 2010-Jan-06 11:40 pm
Age: Drake
[sarcasm]Why is ancestral recall so bad? It only gives a player 2 more cards than they would have otherwise, and they have to pay mana to do it! It can be countered, etc etc.[/sarcasm]

Being powerful is a reason all in itself to ban a card. It doesn't matter if the card can be answered. It goes good in about any blue deck, etc etc. The Reasons to ban it are plenty, the reasons to keep it legal? People like seeing powerful stuff? I don't know. The arguments presented in the Academy's defense seem silly.

There are other cards that ought to be examined for banning as well, and these are the cards that are used to justify keeping the Academy unbanned. Sol ring is an auto-include in any deck and can even mana accelerate the turn it comes into play and even fits into the expense criteria for banning (Now, $12 doesn't sound like a lot, it does add to the pocketbook intimidation for someone wanting to get into EDH).

Keep in mind, for casual play, banlists can be ignored or altered, so banning Academy may not even affect your group.


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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Feb-05 11:25 am 

Joined: 2009-Jun-09 11:56 am
Age: Drake
Slivermannen wrote:
@urielxvi: Tolarian Academy produces 6 mana around turn 3 and none on turn 1, Cabal Coffers produces 6 mana around turn 8 and none on turns 1-3. Furthermore, Tolarian Academy is generally paired with cards like Minamo, School at Water's Edge for twice the fun. The cards are not on a similar level of power.


I've wanted to stay out of this argument but I couldn't help say that I've used TA effectively on T1 with Sharuum. Mana Crypt > Grim Monolith > Cloud Key > TA > Windfall. Saying that however you can't really plan to abuse it T1 but that's not the argument here. The point of that statement is that TA can easily produce 'significant amounts' of mana starting T2/T3.

In comparison of TA/CC, CC requires more work in either finding it and Urborg or takes time to play each swamp in Mono-Black. TA is efficient at generating mana off artifacts that are already good themselves at an earlier period of the game.

As for whether it should be banned I'm on the side that says no. I can understand if it does but to me the playgroup is responsible for moderating what's going on if there's a perceived problem. Playgroups can make house rulings.

In 1v1 I worry more about Clique even if I am accumulating cards for it and in multiplayer players should adapt to the metagame whether by including more hate or by expressing their concerns that it's ruining the enjoyment of the majority.

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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Feb-09 3:48 pm 
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Joined: 2009-Jul-09 11:26 am
Age: Drake
Location: Cookeville, TN.
yawg07 wrote:
No, actually I can't. I feel the banning of Metalworker was TOTALLY unwarranted.
But the reason he is better in some cases is that when he comes down on turn 2-3, he makes 10+ mana ... academy probably makes 1-2.

However at the same time they banned Metalworker ... they unbanned Rofellos as a general ... WHAT!? Unban the one that starts in your hand every game, okay xD
But, I digress, this is not the topic for this.


Metal worker was banned because he was 10-14 mana on turn 3 ritualistically.

Rofellos was unbanned as a general because you're mono-green at that point good luck doing anything really degenerate with all your green mana.

I run academy because it's nice on the few occasions someone lets it generate 3 mana. but more often than not in EDH academy sits around as a legendary island because of the prevelance of Disk, O-Stone, and Akroma's Vengance in EDH. If you're playing multiplayer might as well swap it out for a island.

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 Post subject: Re: A Healthy Discussion on Tolarian Academy
AgePosted: 2010-Feb-09 5:13 pm 

Joined: 2009-May-10 2:56 pm
Age: Wyvern
Glassthegrey wrote:
I run academy because it's nice on the few occasions someone lets it generate 3 mana. but more often than not in EDH academy sits around as a legendary island because of the prevelance of Disk, O-Stone, and Akroma's Vengance in EDH. If you're playing multiplayer might as well swap it out for a island.
There is definitely a disconnect between the way that you utilize academy and the way that others utilize academy. The vast majority of the players that run academy do so specifically because it will always generate more mana than is reasonable. It is highly unlikely that disk, o-stone, or vengeance come down fast enough to have any effect on the how much mana academy can produce. Empirically speaking, academy is never just a legendary island or as mildly effective as you portray it to be.


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