The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring



  • (If you are only interested in the data set of substitutes for RL cards, scroll to the bottom)

    One of the most difficult topics to discuss in the Magic community is the Reserve List. It is difficult and rightly maligned as a topic of conversation because it’s the kind of thing that everyone and their little brother has a strong opinion about regardless of whether they have any idea what they are talking about. So, conversations quickly devolve along several predictable lines.

    Someone will complain that the Reserve List is a tool to help big retailers keep profits. Someone will explain they already own all of the cards on the Reserve List but they want it removed anyway because it stifles the growth of Vintage and Legacy. Someone will point out that Wizards could get sued if they do violate the Reserve List. Someone will proclaim they want to see more counterfiet cards to “force” Wizards to do so anyway. And it goes on, with people retreading the same old arguments until they’re angry with each other and a moderator steps in to cut off the discussion.

    What has always struck me as strange about these discussions is how narrow the perspective becomes. That is, for the most part, people do not argue about accessibility to Legacy or Vintage as such, but instead argue about how they want to own (or want others to own) very specific cards: Tundras, or Libraries of Alexandia, or Black Lotuses. Often the argument boils down to the thought that old formats need more of these particular cards to survive in paper, and if they don’t get them, then the formats are doomed to a slow and doddering death.

    And yet, that is clearly not the case. New printings can and do influence older formats in a way that helps the formats survive in spite of the Reserve List. They can do this in two ways. First, they can provide effects as powerful as Reserve List cards without needing them. Dredge in Vintage, for example, requires essentially none of the Power Nine or even dual lands. Sure, Bazaars are expensive, but that was not always the case; they got expensive as a result of the Dredge deck. In Legacy, Eldrazi emerged as a contender and is built almost entirely with cards that are not on the Reserve List.

    The second way that new printings can influence older formats is by providing alternatives to Reserve List cards. The Reserve List is very specific; it only prohibits reprinting cards in a “functionally identical form.” This is defined as follows: “A card is considered functionally identical to another card if it has the same card type, subtypes, abilities, mana cost, power, and toughness.” That is, so long as a new card has a different subtype or ability, for example, it is not prohibited by the Reserve List. No, you can’t print a Snow Dual because that’s a supertype change only; but yes, you can print a Mox Sapphire that pings everyone for 1 when it enters the battlefield.

    My argument here is that Wizards can, and does, print cards that are suitable substitutes for those on the Reserve List. They even render some of them obsolete. Below, I wanted to share the data I’ve compiled so far to prove that Wizards can and does print cards that match or even exceed the utility of Reserve List cards. There is a concept that Wizards mentioned in the distant past called the “Spirit” of the Reserve List, but that means whatever you want it to mean and is a useless concept for discussion. More to the point, it has not traditionally stopped Wizards from printing non-functional substitutes for Reserve List cards.

    I hope the reader will take away from this the idea that arguing about whether the Reserve List is good or bad, should stay or go, or is a vast conspiracy, is a pointless excercise. (Spoiler: It’s not going anywhere.) Instead, the hope of eternal rests in printing new cards. We, as a community, should be putting our efforts and dollars towards convincing WotC to keep printing new cards that substitute for or compete with Reserve List cards, not complaining about the policy.

    Link to data set:
    https://www.docdroid.net/8k2fl9o/rl-substitutes.pdf


  • Administrators

    @maximumcdawg said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

    What are you trying to get out of this post. Is this active trolling? I'm noticing a pattern where you make long posts on controversial topics while preemptively insulting people who might respond.

    everyone and their little brother has a strong opinion about regardless of whether they have any idea what they are talking about.

    Is there are specific vintage-related point you're trying to make, or change you're trying to campaign for? TMD is not a great place to campaign for change, but it seems from your post that you are not interested in that sort of thing. Is there a question you're trying to answer?

    How were you hoping this thread was going to play out?





  • @maximumcdawg said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

    That is, for the most part, people do not argue about accessibility to Legacy or Vintage as such, but instead argue about how they want to own (or want others to own) very specific cards: Tundras, or Libraries of Alexandia, or Black Lotuses. Often the argument boils down to the thought that old formats need more of these particular cards to survive in paper, and if they don’t get them, then the formats are doomed to a slow and doddering death.

    ...

    Link to data set:
    https://www.docdroid.net/8k2fl9o/rl-substitutes.pdf

    You've brought this argument but I think you've done a poor job dismissing it. Of these three examples, the average scores for substitutes are, out of six, 2.75, not listed, and 2.67. The best card you've listed as a replacement for any of these examples is only a 4. I think this further strengthens the argument against your argument.

    Edit: read some scores wrong.



  • Honestly, I could care less about the reserved list since vintage/legacy is so easy to play on MTGO. I acknowledge that my definition of playable is broad; no, bomberman/worldgorger/other combos? aren't playable, assigning flusterstorm triggers sucks, etc but for the most part it seems fine. Especially recently with the introduction of weekly challenges and competitive leagues. Why would I care about owning power/RL in real life when I can currently jam leagues whenever I want or play in a largish Swiss tournament every week if I wanted to? I know a lot of people would say they miss the community, but I hang out and occasionally post on TMD and the FB group every day and get a pretty good dose of community that way.


  • TMD Supporter

    @brass-man said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

    What are you trying to get out of this post. Is this active trolling? I'm noticing a pattern where you make long posts on controversial topics while preemptively insulting people who might respond.

    You're doing God's work for those of us that are off-put when the Wall of Text™ posting style is used for heated topics.



  • @brass-man said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

    @maximumcdawg said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

    What are you trying to get out of this post. Is this active trolling? I'm noticing a pattern where you make long posts on controversial topics while preemptively insulting people who might respond.

    everyone and their little brother has a strong opinion about regardless of whether they have any idea what they are talking about.

    Is there are specific vintage-related point you're trying to make, or change you're trying to campaign for? TMD is not a great place to campaign for change, but it seems from your post that you are not interested in that sort of thing. Is there a question you're trying to answer?

    How were you hoping this thread was going to play out?

    Wow, yikes.

    No, I'm not trolling anything. I'm advancing a specific point, which is that Reserve List discussions should not fixate on the specific cards on the List, but rather should focus on lobbying WotC to make new cards that don't violate the list.

    I made an effort to make sure this was really clear and completely explained and I spent some time building a chart to prove that WotC actually does print cards that substitute for RL cards.

    Brassman, this is your forum. If you consider this kind of post "trolling," then I'll follow your lead. But, I'm really surprised that you would have that kind of reaction. It might be that you've got a gut reaction to the post simply because it mentions the Reserve List at all -- even though the whole point is to talk about the negative space around it, not the list itself.

    EDIT: What is this pattern you are referring to about actively insulting people? I'm surprised by that, too. Are you talking about the posts I made over on the Errata policy forum where I provided a dump of the background data for the discussion?

    @thecravenone said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

    You've brought this argument but I think you've done a poor job dismissing it. Of these three examples, the average scores for substitutes are, out of six, 2.75, not listed, and 2.67. The best card you've listed as a replacement for any of these examples is only a 4. I think this further strengthens the argument against your argument.

    It depends on what the argument is. I never suggested Wizards has, in fact, reprinted totally acceptable substitutes for all RL cards. Obviously they have not.

    All I am saying is that they can, and they are willing to do so as we can tell from many other cards which do have suitable replacements. In other words, the RL as such is not a barrier to printing substitutes. (Power level concerns certainly are.) And, if that is the case, wouldn't it be better to work towards getting more 5s and 6s on the chart rather than fixating on the specific RL cards themselves?



  • I actually kinda like what you are putting together; here's what I'd add but obviously it's your list so it's at your discretion:

    I know it's off color but I feel like you could add Twincast under Fork.

    Also maybe Lotus Petal under the Mox section.

    Hedge Troll was a tribute-version of Sedge Troll ... again off color though I know.

    ... and that's all I got!



  • @themonadnomad Those are absolutely good additions; thanks!



  • @MaximumCDawg thank you for starting this. I wanted to do something similar but didn't know where to begin and with very minimum free time between family and work, I got overwhelmed and just dropped the project.



  • This post is deleted!


  • @MaximumCDawg Just another addition: Plague Sliver and Grinning Demon are Juzam Djinns :)



  • @rageflash Plague Sliver is basically the same card (the interaction with other Slivers not being reasonably probable in relevant circumstances), and Grinning Demon is probably more like a 4... more power and more pain mean you probably need to build a different deck with it.

    All that said, you're totally right. These guys are not on the list yet because I have not gone beyond ABUR yet. I plan to do that, though, so the list eventually goes over the entire Reserve List.



  • @hierarchnoble Amen on the wall of text thing! It goes without saying that the wall of text is my go-to shtick. I am NOT-O-K with people trying to horn in on my angle. That goes for everyone around here. Just watch yourselves.



  • @topical_island Yeah, can't have too many people putting thought into their posts. I mean, our President has shown us that you only need 128 characters for anything worth saying, amiright?



  • @maximumcdawg i just realized that you haven't gone beyond ABUR; sorry man. : ( Other additions (i hope i get this right this time) are Concentrate and Harmonize for Ancestral Recall and Time Warp for Time Walk


  • TMD Supporter

    @maximumcdawg

    I do love my brevity, but so many passionate words have been thrown at the reserved list, banned and restricted list, errata, and other unsolvable topics that I don't know what another few paragraphs will accomplish.

    As for the reserved list, Aaron Forsythe is on record on Twitter saying Reverberate is too close to Fork's functionality by WotC's current standards, so keep that in mind when doing your evaluations. I can't tweet at work so the digging for proof would be cumbersome, but I'm sure the internet has it somewhere.



  • @hierarchnoble I understand. It's a risky topic. I actually don't think anyone has been too fired up in this thread, which is awesome! Let's talk data!

    And you are remembering correctly about Reverberate. It happened on October 8, 2013. Here's a link for ya:

    http://markrosewater.tumblr.com/post/63443937621/hey-while-were-talking-about-the-spirit-of-the

    But, just a few days prior, Mark also said: "The Reserved List actually says we won’t print identical cards."

    http://markrosewater.tumblr.com/post/63119125714/were-trying-not-to-break-the-spirit-of-the

    And, more recently, Mark is at least willing to play around with the concept and consequences of non-functional substitutes as shown here: (FN)

    https://twitter.com/maro254/status/812042770957275137

    The "Spirit" of the RL, to the extent it's even a thing, appears to be applied in an ad-hoc way and is not subject to strict definition. As far as I can tell, it's a feeling-based test about whether a card is just "too close" to another. But, as examples like Helldozer show, even that is not a barrier to printing reasonable substitutes (even improvements) on RL cards.

    FN = You can tell he's being glib and talking off the cuff because his idea, Snow Duals, actually does violate the stated RL policy. So, we don't take this TOO seriously, I don't think. He's just thinking out loud.



  • https://twitter.com/maro254/status/812042770957275137

    Do Snow Duals fix the problem or do the best decks just have both?

    They have some sort of strange internal deliberations that they refuse to discuss outside WotC at all, but MaRo has said repeatedly that he hates that Reserve List. If he's asking the question in the first place, advocating specifically and directly for snow duals is almost certainly the best place to focus your energy if you want the List circumvented.



  • @ambivalentduck said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

    advocating specifically and directly for snow duals is almost certainly the best place to focus your energy if you want the List circumvented.

    Exactly! Kind of. The place you need to put your energy is into new cards that substitute for RL cards. That is precisely the point I'm making in this thread!

    However - Snow Duals specifically don't work. They violate the printed text of the RL. Remember, it says:

    A card is considered functionally identical to another card if it has the same card type, subtypes, abilities, mana cost, power, and toughness

    So, if you add the supertype Snow to a Tundra:
    Does it have the same card type? Yep.
    Same subtype? Yep.
    Same abilities? Yep.
    Same mana cost? Yep.
    Same power and toughness? Yep, and yep.

    The supertype never enters into it.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to The Mana Drain was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.