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 Post subject: Re: What to ban/unban next?
AgePosted: 2012-Sep-23 12:16 pm 
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Age: Elder Dragon
crokaycete wrote:
But those are combos, even if they aren't infinite. (Iona/Servant isn't infinite either!)

When we say combos, we usually mean infinite, instant win, or invincible lockdown. By the loosest definition of the term, Rith and PS is a combo. However, by the context of most people on the forum, combo means something a lot more powerful/degenerate.

Kemev wrote:
I'd like to see a switcheroo where Painter's Servant gets unbanned, and Iona and Grindstone get banned, for pretty much the same reasons everyone else has mentioned. Painter's Servant seems pretty neat, and I think a lot of people would like to play with it. Iona's sort of miserable, and Grindstone doesn't really do anything, so I don't think a lot of players would miss them.

Anyone else getting frustrated with Kiki-Jiki?

Not Grindstone. If PS comes back, then Grindstone would have as much reason to be banned as Knowledge Pool, Pestermite, Triskelion, and cards of that nature do. It's a piece to exactly one weak combo that's an otherwise bad card, the kind of thing that the RC doesn't seem to want to ban anymore. However, the day Iona goes will be heaven for me and my playgroup.

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 Post subject: Re: What to ban/unban next?
AgePosted: 2012-Sep-24 12:07 am 

Joined: 2011-Sep-30 6:08 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Uktabi_Kong wrote:
When we say combos, we usually mean infinite, instant win, or invincible lockdown. By the loosest definition of the term, Rith and PS is a combo. However, by the context of most people on the forum, combo means something a lot more powerful/degenerate.

I don't know who appointed you as the voice of "most people on the forum." You have stated many times that you are basically a Timmy. You have Timmy interests and preferences. You might be a reasonable representative for most Timmies. I'm fine with that claim.

However, I think generalizing that to "most people on the forum" or the vastly more important group of "most EDH players" is groundless.

My definition of a combo card is one that would be unplayable if I removed 5 or fewer cards from your deck or one that, if removed, would make other cards unplayable. Combos may contain cards that are not "combo cards," and may actually contain no "combo cards" at all.

Examples:
Kiki-Jiki - Not a combo card. Just a really good card that has a lot of combos.
Pesternute - Combo card. Unplayable without Kiki/Twin.
Iona - Not a combo card. Just a conditionally powerful effect.
Painter's Servant - Combo card. Unplayable without some number of slots dedicated to exploiting card color tricks.

My definition of a combo is any time you get a highly non-linear power increase by the addition of cards.

I play a lot of combos, but very few combo cards. Ulasht and Cathar's Crusade are both 100% playable in Rith without the other. And they aren't infinite together, but they are a lot better together than apart. You'd probably have a tough time convincing my play group they aren't a combo.

I'm not saying I'm right and you're wrong. We just have different definitions, and I don't think it's obvious that your definition is the better or universally accepted one.

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 Post subject: Re: What to ban/unban next?
AgePosted: 2012-Sep-24 12:41 am 
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
crokaycete wrote:
I don't know who appointed you as the voice of "most people on the forum." You have stated many times that you are basically a Timmy. You have Timmy interests and preferences. You might be a reasonable representative for most Timmies. I'm fine with that claim.

I'm a Johnny, and I agree with Uktabi_Kong's definition. "Combo Winter" doesn't refer to a period in which players used Lure with Thicket Basilisk or other nifty card interactions. It refers to a period in which the game seriously suffered as decks were built to "go off" in massively recursive loops and win the game in the first couple of turns.

Yes, strictly speaking, "combo" just means "two or more cards that work well together". But the word has gained such negative connotation that it really doesn't make sense to use it in that sense. "Synergy" is a better terms for those situation where cards enhance each other without resulting in arbitrarily large (aka "infinite") loops or other forms of insta-wins.

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 Post subject: Re: What to ban/unban next?
AgePosted: 2012-Sep-24 12:49 am 
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crokaycete wrote:
But those are combos, even if they aren't infinite. (Iona/Servant isn't infinite either!)

Yeah, but Iona/Servant is a lockdown which is nearly impossible to get out of, which is just about as bad as an infinite combo. The ones I listed are just useful, not game-breaking.

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 Post subject: Re: What to ban/unban next?
AgePosted: 2012-Sep-24 12:54 am 
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crokaycete wrote:
Painter's Servant - Combo card. Unplayable without some number of slots dedicated to exploiting card color tricks.

I actually wasn't kidding when I mentioned Reaper King tribal scarecrows. I really did build that deck, and it was kind of annoying to have to lose one of the, what, 27? scarecrows ever printed because it was banned for Iona-lock.

In my Gisela everything-is-pro-red deck, too, he would have been a "combo" with about 20 different cards. Color-change effects are useful.

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 Post subject: Re: What to ban/unban next?
AgePosted: 2012-Sep-24 1:10 am 

Joined: 2009-Feb-09 4:00 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Painter's Servant is fine. The case with Iona is no worse than any of a number of other two- or three-card combos that win the game, and it actually has cool uses outside of that. I don't buy, "But it's only a combo card," because in that case, what are Palinchron, Exsanguinate, Mind Over Matter, Animar, Tendrils of Agony, Niv-Mizzet, Kiki-Jiki, and so on still doing loose in the format?

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 Post subject: Re: What to ban/unban next?
AgePosted: 2012-Sep-24 1:39 am 
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crokaycete wrote:
My definition of a combo card is one that would be unplayable if I removed 5 or fewer cards from your deck or one that, if removed, would make other cards unplayable. Combos may contain cards that are not "combo cards," and may actually contain no "combo cards" at all.

I agree, more or less, with this definition of "Combo card." It's actually almost word for word how I explain to players in my group how to determine if a card if a combo card. If you only *ever* want it when you already have another specific card (or one out of a handful), you prolly shouldn't be playing the card.

What I don't agree with is you applying this definition to commanders. They're *meant* to be the corner stone of a deck, they're (almost) always available, and using cards that "only" work well with your commander is very much in the spirit of the format. The majority of decks I've ever seen do this, and it should not be discouraged. Heck, even the precons use cards that are pretty awful without their commander.

And therein is why I also disagree with you on Painter's Servant. Yes, it can very easily be used as a combo card. So can 100s of other cards, many of them less powerful, and some of them more powerful. But it can also, like most of those other cards, be used fairly. In this case, with a commander like Rith or Treva. Frankly put, like other now unbanned combo cards, Painter's Servant caused very few issues when legal, and the ones it did cause were much more often the fault of the player then that card.
People who legitimately want to use the card should not be punished because a few poo heads abused it. The same was the case for LED and WGD, and I haven't heard a single person claim that their unbannings caused any real issues.

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Alesha, She who Smiles at Death.....Atraxa, Praetors' Voice.....Eight-and-a-Half-Tails.....Gonti, Lord of Luxury.....Karametra, God of Harvests.....Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker.....Kozilek, the Great Distortion.....Prime Speaker Zegana.....Rubinia Soulsinger.....Thrasios, Triton Hero + Vial Smasher the Fierce

My general commander philosophy: Using your opponent's degenerate cards against them is far more satisfying than playing degenerate cards yourself.


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 Post subject: Re: What to ban/unban next?
AgePosted: 2012-Sep-24 1:51 am 
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So... next card to go on the list IMO.... Deadeye Navigator and Gaddock Teeg as a commander.

I'm not feeling 100% well at the moment, so Ill save my reasoning why for later when I'm not on "the good stuff" but I will say this, Deadeye Navigator's unfair uses are up there with Primetime & Co, while every time Gaddock Teeg enters the battlefield it turns into a hostile play environment, with who can kill Gaddock Teeg... and who Gaddock Teeg is friends with.

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 Post subject: Re: What to ban/unban next?
AgePosted: 2012-Sep-24 2:00 am 

Joined: 2008-Sep-21 11:51 am
Age: Elder Dragon
lol. teeg as a general banned ? Seriously ? I mean I could see zur, arcum, azami, azuza way before teeg.

Using teeg as a general gets you rolled out of the game fairly fast usually but he's not a game breaker. I mean look at the other banned generals.
Erayo - fliped to break the game
Braids - early lock out of the game
Rofy - fast mana for the early boken game
Koko - will likely be taken off the list ...

Teeg locks out some removal, and ?


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 Post subject: Re: What to ban/unban next?
AgePosted: 2012-Sep-24 2:13 am 

Joined: 2011-Sep-30 6:08 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Every card has innocent uses. If PS in particular were unbanned I wouldn't mind, but I've never been under the full Iona Figure-four Leglock.

I'm also not sure I buy that there is this line between "synergy" and "combo." I didn't play competitively during "combo winter," but Pros-Bloom - probably the most famous combo deck of all time - wasn't infinite. It wasn't even close. It was just big enough.

You say Ulasht + Cathar's Crusade is "synergy?" Sure. It's synergy that will kill the whole table in one turn if left unanswered. Sounds a lot like the synergy between Squirrel Nest and Earthcraft.

What if I spend five turns laying out synergistic pieces and drawing cards, and suddenly go infinite when the last piece falls into place? What if the combo involves attacking with creatures? I worked a lot harder for that combo win than many people do to accomplish their "ramp to Eldrazi" strategies. Would that feel unfair to lose to?

What I'm getting at is that combos have gotten a bad rap they don't deserve. As a result, you can see yourselves trying to manipulate the definition so that combos are only the unfair things, but the equally game-ending two card effects that feel less unfair are somehow just good synergies.

What this suggests is that the problem isn't the combo itself. The problem is when players aggressively tutor for combo pieces (especially ones that lack synergy with the rest of their decks) to win the game out of nowhere without giving anyone a chance to interact or play. In my experience, that's when people feel cheated.

The real problem though is not combos, but dedicated combo decks. And the thing that makes combo decks possible isn't actually the combos themselves. It's tutors. If you think you hate combos, you should probably actually hate tutors. Tutors ruin games. Tutors screw up the format for people who want to "play fair." Tutors are at the heart of basically every cutthroat d-bag strategy out there, combo or otherwise.

If you wanted to get serious about "fixing" this format, you would start by banning every tutor for anything other than basic lands (probably Farseek and friends are fine as well). That would immediately force every combo deck to assemble its combos in a natural, interactive fashion. And a combo you can interact with is not a busted, degenerate thing. It's just a threat you have to deal with.

tl;dr: Combos are actually fine. Tutors are the real BS. Ban Survival of the Fittest.

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 Post subject: Re: What to ban/unban next?
AgePosted: 2012-Sep-24 2:49 am 
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crokaycete wrote:
Every card has innocent uses. If PS in particular were unbanned I wouldn't mind, but I've never been under the full Iona Figure-four Leglock.

I have. It almost always ends up being much less annoying then the currently legal Teferi+Knowledge pool lock.
Funnily enough, the fact that once active the Iona+Servant lock is a more powerful lock actually tends to lead to less grief for all involved.
With the Knowledge Pool lock, you often still have a small chance to win, (you can cast commanders, and Ulamog will break the combo) and many commander players seem to feel like they shouldn't concede if there is still any chance of victory, no matter how small. However (outside of very specific commanders), 99 times out of a hundred the lock player will win, but not until every one else has a completely miserable 20 or 30 turns of just sitting there.
The Iona lock, on the other hand, prohibits commanders and Ulamogs, so the vast majority of decks have no way to interact with it. Because of this, players will usually play maybe a turn cycle or two until it becomes apparent that nobody can kill the Iona player with what they have on the field, and then everyone will just quit, since victory is often literally impossible.

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Current Commander Decks:
Alesha, She who Smiles at Death.....Atraxa, Praetors' Voice.....Eight-and-a-Half-Tails.....Gonti, Lord of Luxury.....Karametra, God of Harvests.....Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker.....Kozilek, the Great Distortion.....Prime Speaker Zegana.....Rubinia Soulsinger.....Thrasios, Triton Hero + Vial Smasher the Fierce

My general commander philosophy: Using your opponent's degenerate cards against them is far more satisfying than playing degenerate cards yourself.


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 Post subject: Re: What to ban/unban next?
AgePosted: 2012-Sep-24 4:27 am 

Joined: 2009-May-05 9:45 pm
Age: Dragon
Location: Acworth, GA
kaldare wrote:
crokaycete wrote:
Every card has innocent uses. If PS in particular were unbanned I wouldn't mind, but I've never been under the full Iona Figure-four Leglock.

I have. It almost always ends up being much less annoying then the currently legal Teferi+Knowledge pool lock.
Funnily enough, the fact that once active the Iona+Servant lock is a more powerful lock actually tends to lead to less grief for all involved.
With the Knowledge Pool lock, you often still have a small chance to win, (you can cast commanders, and Ulamog will break the combo) and many commander players seem to feel like they shouldn't concede if there is still any chance of victory, no matter how small. However (outside of very specific commanders), 99 times out of a hundred the lock player will win, but not until every one else has a completely miserable 20 or 30 turns of just sitting there.
The Iona lock, on the other hand, prohibits commanders and Ulamogs, so the vast majority of decks have no way to interact with it. Because of this, players will usually play maybe a turn cycle or two until it becomes apparent that nobody can kill the Iona player with what they have on the field, and then everyone will just quit, since victory is often literally impossible.



In a way, you just made the case for keeping PS banned. The absolute worst thing you can do in a casual game is drop a "combo" or "lock" that makes everyone concede. That tops all the jerk moves I can imagine, and saying it is OK is laughable. If you make a big play that ends the game by killing everyone, great, as long as it was not too early in the game. If you make a big play that locks everyone out of playing, expecting them to concede because only you can win, but it may take a while, expect some pain in your groin area, and expect to never play a casual game with that group again.

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 Post subject: Re: What to ban/unban next?
AgePosted: 2012-Sep-24 5:10 am 

Joined: 2009-Feb-09 4:00 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Buthrakaur wrote:
In a way, you just made the case for keeping PS banned. The absolute worst thing you can do in a casual game is drop a "combo" or "lock" that makes everyone concede. That tops all the jerk moves I can imagine, and saying it is OK is laughable. If you make a big play that ends the game by killing everyone, great, as long as it was not too early in the game. If you make a big play that locks everyone out of playing, expecting them to concede because only you can win, but it may take a while, expect some pain in your groin area, and expect to never play a casual game with that group again.

This sounds more like an argument for why you shouldn't be a dick in a casual game than for why Painter's Servant should stay banned.

The fact that the worst people can come up with to keep PS banned is a two-card win combo, one half of which costs nine mana (or will require other cards to cheat it into play) suggests to me that Servant is fine. There are already plenty of cards whose best use is being part of an instant-win, or near-instant-win, combo that are already legal in the format, and unlike many of those cards, Painter's Servant has a bunch of innocuous and fun uses with fair generals.

Also, not scooping in response to Painter-Iona seems slightly boneheaded to me. If you (or the combined might of the rest of the table) have the win on board, then the combo doesn't matter. If you can't win, there's no point to making yourself miserable to spite the person who is going to beat you anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: What to ban/unban next?
AgePosted: 2012-Sep-24 7:21 am 
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Buthrakaur wrote:
In a way, you just made the case for keeping PS banned. The absolute worst thing you can do in a casual game is drop a "combo" or "lock" that makes everyone concede. That tops all the jerk moves I can imagine, and saying it is OK is laughable. If you make a big play that ends the game by killing everyone, great, as long as it was not too early in the game. If you make a big play that locks everyone out of playing, expecting them to concede because only you can win, but it may take a while, expect some pain in your groin area, and expect to never play a casual game with that group again.

Umm.. No. There are at least a dozen locks currently legal. Why don't you hear more complaining about them? Because this is a casual format, and most of people aren't dicks, and don't play them. Iona isn't any different. Anyone playing this lock is being a douche, and more ever, KNOWS they're being a douche, and doesn't care. You can't fight those people with banned lists... Like I said, there are other locks.
I was just pointing out, at least if some douche plays this one, you can concede without feeling like you could have possibly won if you didn't. And then you can start a new game without Mr. Douchbag lock player.

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Current Commander Decks:
Alesha, She who Smiles at Death.....Atraxa, Praetors' Voice.....Eight-and-a-Half-Tails.....Gonti, Lord of Luxury.....Karametra, God of Harvests.....Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker.....Kozilek, the Great Distortion.....Prime Speaker Zegana.....Rubinia Soulsinger.....Thrasios, Triton Hero + Vial Smasher the Fierce

My general commander philosophy: Using your opponent's degenerate cards against them is far more satisfying than playing degenerate cards yourself.


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 Post subject: Re: What to ban/unban next?
AgePosted: 2012-Sep-24 8:11 am 

Joined: 2011-Apr-28 9:58 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Damidhol, Tuhel
Ban Cyclopean Mummy. Such horrid art, and all it ever does is attack for two...until it dies. Forever. It was once voted the most hated card in Magic, and I want to see it gone...forever.

I'd also like to see Iona and Time Stretch banned, and Yawgmoth's Will should probably get axed too, even though I'm as guilty of abusing it as any teen pimp. Ban Jhoira as a general.

As for unbanning...I say unban Chaos Orb, but with a catch: if you're gonna use it, you MUST cut it into tiny, tiny pieces before throwing it on the table. No proxies allowed. Actually, I wouldn't mind seeing Black Lotus used this way, too...

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