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 Post subject: Why Metalworker should be unbanned.
AgePosted: 2010-Apr-14 10:03 pm 
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Location: Monmouth, OR
First: I really didn't want the Tolarian Academy thread to be hijacked, so might as well start a thread just for Metalworker since that discussion surfaced there.

Second: Please don't turn this into the trainwreck of a thread that was the Recurring Nightmare thread. I would like to discuss this kind of stuff without getting at each others' throats with ad hominems and flames.

That being said...

It has been over a year since Metalworker was banned, with Rofellos simultaneously being unbanned as well. This move has baffled me ever since then, and I have really been trying to figure out what on earth Metalworker did to warrant a ban. That being said, I believe the ban list should ban as few cards as possible -- this is a format that is primarily balanced through politics and social control.

1. Metalworker is inferior to other unbanned mana producers.
Probably my biggest beef with Metalworker being banned is the fact that it isn’t the most broken mana producer by far in the format, yet it’s the one that gets the boot. Both Rofellos and Tolarian Academy completely outclass Metalworker, but the first two are free to do whatever they please in EDH. Rofellos as a general is so ridiculously more consistent and faster than Metalworker. Rofellos will always hit play turn 2, while Metalworker probably will not be seeing play on turn 3 since it’s a singleton in your deck. While Metalworker is buried in your library somewhere, Rofellos is ready to untap on turn 3 to give you six mana to work with. Not only is Rofellos so much more consistent than Metalworker, but it’s also a full turn faster than it.

In terms of mana production, Rofellos generates wads of mana at an obviously fast pace. Having six mana on turn 3 is already crazy enough to begin with, and the total mana production increases by two each turn. Not only is Rofellos able to produce a huge quantity of mana in the early game, but he only gets stronger as the game goes on. Most typical EDH decks get blitzkrieged by Rofellos simply because he is too fast and going silly things on turn 3 when the rest of the table is still just trying to build up their board position and getting their ETBT lands out of the way.

Tolarian Academy is free to play, uncounterable, and produces the mana immediately. These are significant differences that make a part of why Tolarian Academy is such a ridiculous card. When a deck has a choice between getting Academy or Metalworker, 99% of the time it's Academy. Sharuum decks don't tutor for Metalworker, because they know they can break Academy that much harder than Metalworker could ever hope of dreaming to be.

Most of what I could have said about Academy is primarily covered from what Khymera said in this post below, where he takes multiple sample starting hands and shows that Academy produces more mana on average on turns 4-5 than Metalworker:

viewtopic.php?p=46003#p46003

Also is Cervid's quick sample size of mana production with Academy in his Sharuum deck:

viewtopic.php?p=46019#p46019

It should also be noted that Cervid mentioned that "were Metalworker to be unbanned, I probably wouldn't even put it back into my deck." I also know Khymera enough to know that while he probably would play Metalworker, he would not make any effort really at all to actively dig for it. He simply tutors for Tolarian Academy instead.

2. Metalworker is much easier to answer than other unbanned mana producers.
Metalworker is *both* an artifact and a creature -- the two types of cards that are the most liable to be killed in EDH. This makes Metalworker very easy prey for practically any EDH deck. This is further compounded by the fact that Metalworker has summoning sickness. It can feel like an eternity waiting as turns go across the rest of the table and hoping that Metalworker will even survive as he immediately paints a target on your forehead. Metalworker does not suddenly end games like something such as Coalition Victory, and it does not punish you for killing it (i.e. Protean Hulk). Most decks are able to adequately answer a Metalworker, especially when you have a much greater chance of that happening with additional players playing.

3. Metalworker gets weaker over time instead of getting stronger.
This is a notable factor in a format that has longer games than normal Constructed formats. Metalworker starts out strong in the very early game, but then very quickly dwindles down in mana production. Conversely, both Rofellos and Tolarian Academy get stronger as the game goes on. One thing’s for sure -- I wouldn’t want to be topdecking a Metalworker.

4. Metalworker requires an extreme commitment to artifacts, which greatly limits the number of decks that can really play him.
Aside from Rofellos being playable as a general, he is a very powerful singleton in any green-based deck. Tolarian Academy is quite an easy fit in practically every blue-based deck, as most blue decks run a fair amount of artifacts to make it at least an above-average card if it isn’t being abused. Because Metalworker demands such an enormous density of artifacts in your hand, this will in turn result in a massive amount of artifacts having to be stuff into the entire deck. There are realistically only a few decks that can meet the demand of having so many artifacts: Sharuum, Arcum Dagsson, Karn, and the Eldrazi titans. If Metalworker was not as restrictive in the decks it’s effective in and was much more universal in its utility, then it might be a potential problem... but that is not the case.

Counterpoint #1: Metalworker produces explosive amounts of mana.

Genomancer said that Metalworker is a problem because it produces 4-5 mana on turn 4, which is considered by the RC to be a problem.

Khymera showed in his testing that Tolarian Academy also crosses this threshold as well, and is much more consistent overall than Metalworker. Rofellos will also have 4 mana generated by turn 4 as well, given that Rofellos decks basically run just Forests for their lands.

Both Rofellos and Academy not only outclass Metalworker in the late game, but they also have the explosive starts to back that up as well (especially in Rofellos, due to its constant access). Yet for some other odd reason, Metalworker is the card that is banned.

Counterpoint #2: Metalworker produces infinite combos.

The same infinite combos that work with Metalworker (Staff of Domination, Umbral Mantle, Sword of the Paruns) also work with Rofellos as well. As already mentioned, Rofellos is not only FAR more consistent than Metalworker, but a whole turn faster as well. If the Rules Committee really thinks Metalworker is problematic due to the infinite combos created, then the actual combo engines like Staff of Domination should be banned instead -- they are fueling the fire.

That was a really long read, but I have been extremely against the banning of Metalworker ever since it was banned. I am NOT arguing that Rofellos and Academy should be banned. What I am arguing however, are the inconsistencies in banning a card that is vastly outclassed by its other counterparts in terms of mana production/acceleration. If you guys want to keep Rofellos and Academy legal, I am totally fine with that. However, Metalworker should stay legal as well.

I hope you guys in the RC please seriously take this into consideration going into the June ban list update. Metalworker's unbanning is long overdue.

-- Surging Chaos

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 Post subject: Re: Why Metalworker should be unbanned.
AgePosted: 2010-Apr-15 12:24 am 

Joined: 2009-Nov-19 7:25 pm
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I agree. I love that EDH "goes long", but I equally enjoy it when decks can play strong games early on. I feel like Metalworker helps this and I feel that you've made good points.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Metalworker should be unbanned.
AgePosted: 2010-Apr-15 4:38 am 

Joined: 2010-Apr-15 4:35 am
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Completely agree, Metalworker should in no way be banned while Rofellos or Tolarian Academy are allowed to run free.


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 Post subject: Re: Why Metalworker should be unbanned.
AgePosted: 2010-Apr-15 5:47 am 

Joined: 2008-Aug-08 6:34 am
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Location: Rouen, France
Arew wrote:
Completely agree, Metalworker should in no way be banned while Rofellos or Tolarian Academy are allowed to run free.



Now that's just a silly comment!

You're not allowed to run in the corridors in the Academy and Rofellos is an elf so he flounces and skips, he never runs!!

:oops:

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 Post subject: Re: Why Metalworker should be unbanned.
AgePosted: 2010-Apr-15 7:00 am 
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And metalworker shouldn't be running either, but working instead? :p


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 Post subject: Re: Why Metalworker should be unbanned.
AgePosted: 2010-Apr-15 7:14 am 
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Well, when considering Metalworker, it must be remembered that while it does require a strong artifact backing, it also doesn't require any investment beyond deckbuilding. Once you land it and get it active, it's gonna make mana if you've built around it. That being said, only a handful of decks, I believe, would use this to their advantage.

But, the issue comes with what decks would use it. In my mind, I see Sharuum, Arcum, and Karn, and Eldrazi decks using Metalworker, and most others ignoring it. While Karn decks can be quite good, I don't think that another tool for them would be a bad thing. And the Eldrazi, while seemingly quite impressive, are also unknowns at this point. But Sharuum and Arcum both are very good generals and very good decks that have the ability to dominate games pretty quickly as is, and it seems like Metalworker would only make that happen more consistently.

The existence of the Eldrazi also makes Metalworker's situation a bit awkward, since powering out Eldrazi really quickly doesn't seem much fun for the people not doing it.

I'm on the fence about Metalworker. I think it could be unbanned, but if it is, it could certainly wind up banned again at the next available time.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Metalworker should be unbanned.
AgePosted: 2010-Apr-15 7:42 am 
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I think metalworker is more of a problem than Rofellos because of the type of deck it tends to go in (blue-based artifact decks which would also run the academy). In such a deck it is easily tutored for and broken in half for infinite colorless mana. I had a friend who used to run a metalworker-based non EDH deck and if it came down it was pretty much "kill it now or scoop" because as soon as it lost summoning sickness he went infinite and locked out the table. By comparison, Rofellos, though he makes metric buttloads of mana, has less to actually DO with it - unless you have the combo piece in hand, you're not tutoring for it in green, and if you're playing multiple colors to allow tutors then he isn't your general and your forest count is by defenition lower, making him far less busted. So while I can understand the comparison of metalworker to rofellos in a vacuum, I can support Roffy being unbanned while the worker is not.

TA is a little tougher to justify. It is obviously VERY powerful and fits into the same sort of deck as the metalworker - mainly Arcum Daggson or Sharuum. TA also makes BLUE mana instead of colorless, so it's possible to power out expensive colored stuff, not just artifacts. I think it's slightly harder to abuse for infinite mana, and slightly harder to tutor up (only slightly though).

So....
Scout wrote:
Well, when considering Metalworker, it must be remembered that while it does require a strong artifact backing, it also doesn't require any investment beyond deckbuilding. Once you land it and get it active, it's gonna make mana if you've built around it. That being said, only a handful of decks, I believe, would use this to their advantage.

But, the issue comes with what decks would use it. In my mind, I see Sharuum, Arcum, and Karn, and Eldrazi decks using Metalworker, and most others ignoring it. While Karn decks can be quite good, I don't think that another tool for them would be a bad thing. And the Eldrazi, while seemingly quite impressive, are also unknowns at this point. But Sharuum and Arcum both are very good generals and very good decks that have the ability to dominate games pretty quickly as is, and it seems like Metalworker would only make that happen more consistently.

The existence of the Eldrazi also makes Metalworker's situation a bit awkward, since powering out Eldrazi really quickly doesn't seem much fun for the people not doing it.

I'm on the fence about Metalworker. I think it could be unbanned, but if it is, it could certainly wind up banned again at the next available time.

What he said.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Metalworker should be unbanned.
AgePosted: 2010-Apr-15 8:01 am 
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To copy the most salient point from my post on MTGS:

Rofellos binds you to mono-green (i.e. forests), and Academy Ruins only works well after significant (i.e. Fracturing Gust/Disk-able) board investment.

Metalworker requires only the board investment of Metalworker and X cards in a hidden zone to generate crazy mana.

Whether Academy Ruins can do it in the same turn-timeframe is irrelevant. What is relevant is that it's theoretically possible to have Metalworker generate 14 mana when he's the only permanent remaining on your side of the table.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Metalworker should be unbanned.
AgePosted: 2010-Apr-15 8:08 am 
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kayvee wrote:
Whether Academy Ruins can do it in the same turn-timeframe is irrelevant.

If you make 14 mana by abusing Academy Ruins somehow, you're my new hero.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Metalworker should be unbanned.
AgePosted: 2010-Apr-15 8:16 am 
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kayvee wrote:
To copy the most salient point from my post on MTGS:

Rofellos binds you to mono-green (i.e. forests), and Academy Ruins only works well after significant (i.e. Fracturing Gust/Disk-able) board investment.

Metalworker requires only the board investment of Metalworker and X cards in a hidden zone to generate crazy mana.

Whether Academy Ruins can do it in the same turn-timeframe is irrelevant. What is relevant is that it's theoretically possible to have Metalworker generate 14 mana when he's the only permanent remaining on your side of the table.


So a card should be banned because there's a very narrow situation in that you can sculpt an absolutely perfect hand with Metalworker that is realistically almost never going to happen?

This isn't theorymagic. Cards shouldn't be banned because of "But what about this crazy scenario that will happen like 1 in a 1000 games???"

Also, you're underrating mono-green from what I inferred from your post. Sure, it's not as silly as something blue-based, but Rofellos has all sorts of dick maneuvers it can do outside of the three infinite combo pieces.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Metalworker should be unbanned.
AgePosted: 2010-Apr-15 8:18 am 
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No, what I'm suggesting is that were Metalworker unbanned, the ratio of artifacts to coloured spells in any deck would almost certainly shift dramatically in order to make Metalworker "worth it". Hence, "format warping"

Artifacts in EDH are like little nuclear bombs. No blue deck is broken without artifacts. I, for one, would like to run more actual blue cards in my blue deck, but 1/4 of the spells pretty much need to be grey to make the deck "good" (hence my new general is Hakim). The shift towards artifacts would almost certainly ruin the diversity of the format, and I honestly think it's a very real possibility.

Copied from MTGS again:

Seriously though, the more I think about it, the more dodgy this seems.

Dozens of people are waging war, spending HOURS of their time, talking about "forming committees", in order to get Metalworker unbanned so that THEY CAN USE IT PLEASE RRRGH I WANT TO MAKE CRAZY MANA ...

... and you still don't think the card fits the definition of "format warping"?

The proof is in the heroin-laced pudding, kids.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Metalworker should be unbanned.
AgePosted: 2010-Apr-15 8:26 am 
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kayvee wrote:
No, what I'm suggesting is that were Metalworker unbanned, the ratio of artifacts to coloured spells in any deck would almost certainly shift dramatically in order to make Metalworker "worth it". Hence, "format warping"

Artifacts in EDH are like little nuclear bombs. No blue deck is broken without artifacts. I, for one, would like to run more actual blue cards in my blue deck, but 1/4 of the spells pretty much need to be grey to make the deck "good" (hence my new general is Hakim). The shift towards artifacts would almost certainly ruin the diversity of the format, and I honestly think it's a very real possibility.


But if decks started to run more artifacts in their decks, then those decks are better off just playing Tolarian Academy instead. Tolarian Academy is much easier to abuse with artifacts than Metalworker is, and it is a land. That's part of what makes Academy so good. It dodges so much removal that would otherwise take out Metalworker and generates blue mana immediately.

Sharuum players don't use their first tutor on Metalworker. They will almost ALWAYS tutor for Tolarian Academy instead. That says a lot about the power level between those two cards.

As for the last comment that you posted on MTGS as well, I run Sisay, Sakashima, and Volrath as my multiplayer generals. None of those three have any hope of abusing Metalworker because I run so few artifacts in Sisay/Volrath, and a moderate amount of artifacts in Sakashima that makes Metalworker far from worth putting in that deck. I could, however, easily insert Tolarian Academy into Sakashima and instantly make the deck that much better if I decided to drop the cash to do so.

So I do not want Metalworker unbanned so I can then personally abuse it. I want Metalworker unbanned because it has been unjustly banned for over a year now.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Metalworker should be unbanned.
AgePosted: 2010-Apr-15 8:34 am 
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Quote:
generates blue mana immediately


And can only be played in a deck that uses blue. Notwithstanding the fact that blue is the most used colour for EDH decks because of its crazy interactions with artifacts and the gamestate, unbanning Metalworker would be format-warping.

Note how I'm not saying "more powerful", and instead I'm saying "format-warping". Sheldon & Co. are probably fine with insane power cards in a format full of insane power cards.

It's not relevant whether your already-established decklists wouldn't run Metalworker. It'd be somewhere in the top-5 most desirable artifacts, and that fact alone would irrevocably influence how people build their decks in the first place, which is likely the thing that the RC wants to specifically avoid.

Again, the proof is, ironically, in the pudding, in that you're spending a huge amount of energy attempting to drum up support for the unbanning of what you're then describing as a card that "isn't degenerate" and "wouldn't go in my decks", like the guy pleading for cash on the street so he can "make some phone calls".

Were I Sheldon, I would be giving Metalworker very dodgy looks BECAUSE of the furious efforts some people are making to make it available.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Metalworker should be unbanned.
AgePosted: 2010-Apr-15 8:37 am 

Joined: 2007-Apr-03 12:06 pm
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@kayvee,

But you want to ban Channel because someone might have it and Worldly Tutor in their opening hand? It also requires them to play green, just like Academy requires them to play blue. I don't necessarily disagree, but it seems a bit inconsistent to call for banning Channel but pseudo-defend Academy.

I am indifferent about Metalworker. I mean, it's woefully inconsistent to have it banned when Rofellos and Academy are fine, but I also don't think having an additional huge mana producer available is really a positive. I mean, are you going to use Metalworker fairly? Of course not; that's the whole point of the card.

It suffers from a similar issue that Painter's Servant has: it's really only going to be used in comborific fashion, often degenerately. Now I, personally, think that the logic for banning Servant instead of Iona/Grindstone is a little silly; Iona/Grindstone do not have "other applications". Each card only does one thing: Grindstone mills, and Iona locks people out of the game; that is about as linear as a card gets. However, most people are going to use Painter's Servant with those cards, not with things like Scalplexis, Martyr's Cry, Spinal Villain, etc., so I can still at least follow the reasoning, even if I don't agree. Metalworker is similar in that you're still going to use it in degenerate fashion, so why should it be unbanned, aside from consistency's sake?

Again, I can see both sides of the argument, but unbanning Metalworker to add more degenerate combo pieces to the format isn't the solution. Just my thoughts.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Metalworker should be unbanned.
AgePosted: 2010-Apr-15 8:41 am 
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Quote:
But you want to ban Channel because someone might have it and Worldly Tutor in their opening hand? It requires them to play green, just like Academy requires them to play blue.


For reference, immediately after I posted that, I mentioned how it actually might make more sense to ban Emrakul, for pretty much identical ("format-warping") reasons as I can understand the banning of Metalworker. I'd provide the link, but you know where the thread is.

So neh, I don't feel like I'm being inconsistent. :)

Not to venture into the ad hominem, but Surging Chaos, on the other hand, did seem more in support of banning Channel, for the same rea- ... oh no, wait. :|

Surging Chaos wrote:
It's like Painter's Servant all over again. Kill the true engine of a combo, so you don't have to potentially ban additional cards in the future.


I fail to see how Channel is more of a "combo piece" than Metalworker.

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