October 17, 2017 Banned & Restricted announcement

Cool that I'm not the only one who favors a Wasteland restriction.

@brianpk80 Although I disagree with the great majority of those restrictions, I find it interesting that someone is giving thought to a different approach to the banlist. I'm still (and probably will always be) on the "restrict only if it's dominant" camp, but I wonder how the format would be if what you say was implemented.

The only thing I agree is that every set that gets released gets us closer to having a banned list in the format again.

Undercity Informer but not Balustrade Spy or the other no-land full-mill cards?

How much of a stretch would it be to call your ideal format Legacy with Moxen?

@ajfirecracker About as much of stretch as that stupid diversity argument...

@brianpk80 said in October 17, 2017 Banned & Restricted announcement:

@smmenen said in October 17, 2017 Banned & Restricted announcement:

@brianpk80 said in October 17, 2017 Banned & Restricted announcement:

@smmenen said in October 17, 2017 Banned & Restricted announcement:

I disagree both with your view that more restrictions are better, and with the claim that all the past restrictions we've endured were necessary. In particular, it's exceptionally difficult to justify the restriction of Gitaxian Probe, based upon the logic the DCI presented, with Mentor restricted.

I use a different metric than many which as you know is not primarily wedded to a given metagame at a given point in time. Gitaxian Probe fails the outrage test for me both in a vacuum and in context (particularly Storm). Some other cards that fail the outrage test entirely independently of the current metagame are Show and Tell and Pact of Negation. It's not worth the persuasive capital to campaign vocally against either right now, but restricting them at any time sounds reasonable to me.

Wow. Out of curiosity, in addition to Pact of Negation and Show & Tell, what other cards would you like to see restricted? If you had command over the DCI to dictate B&R policy for Vintage, what would you Restrict &/or Ban?

I would ban Monastery Mentor, Trinisphere, Dig Through Time, and Treasure Cruise. I would restrict Phyrexian Revoker, Sphere of Resistance, Walking Ballista, Thought-Knot Seer, Cabal Therapy, Show and Tell, Wasteland, Preordain, Dack Fayden, Mox Opal, Paradoxical Outcome, Undercity Informer, Pact of Negation, and possibly Oath of Druids and Dark Depths. If Mental Misstep were restricted, Voltaic Key and Dark Ritual would be reasonable restrictions. I don't really need to or care to see many of them restricted right now, but I don't think any would be unreasonable by most metrics that aren't solely focused on a given metagame at a given point in time (ie power level, imbalance, degenerate play patterns, un-fun quotient, "health" of the game).

I appreciate and respect your candor. I have no doubt that you are aware that putting your full and honest opinions out there, especially regarding the scope and strangeness of some of your desired restrictions (like Undercity Informer), will be perceived as eccentric at best. That takes courage.

That said, while you, like myself, have been participating in forum debates about what should be restricted or not for more than a decade, I do feel it is worthwhile to offer at least one response that, while not entirely original, is sufficiently so to merit mention. But to make it, I first want to quote a few zinger's you've made in the past to sharpen both your perspective and my retort.

In 2013, you wrote, in response to me and an episode of SMIP the following:

What appears to be driving your position is not good stewardship of the format, but unrestriction fetishism, the abnormal belief that reducing the percentage of cards restricted or banned even by a few hundredths of a decimal point is a source of joy in and of itself, more than playing the game,

Then, more pointedly, that same year, you wrote:

I don't buy into the myth that a small restricted list makes a better format. There are well over 10,000 Magic cards; the difference between having 0.032% and 0.031% of them restricted isn't going to make anyone lose any sleep. If someone overheard a guy saying: "We were getting so close. There were only 42 cards restricted after years of effort and now... in the blink of an eye, it's all gone. Back up to 47! All that work... all in vain."

That's a damn good point. And it sounds persuasive. Except for one thing.

The reason that the difference between a 40 and 50 card Restricted List is not mere fetishism is because those 10 cards, could, in theory, mean 10 more possible viable decks.

The entire point of the Vintage format is that it's the last place to play all of your cards, and to the maximum extent possible. This isn't just my view of the format. The DCI said this several times: Regarding the Restricted List, "we'll keep looking for things to take off the lists with the goal of having them be as short as possible."

I think the most important goal for the DCI is not to maximize a perception or feeling of interactivity, but to maximize the quantity of possible viable decks and promote metagame diversity. That is the prime directive, and anything else, should be subsidiary in my opinion, including complaints about game play. I would prefer to have players make meaningful deck choices than meaningful in-game choices, if confronted with a Hobson's/Sophie's choice like that.

To put it in extreme terms to illustrate the point, as between a Vintage format with one viable deck that is deeply interactive and engaging (a format of Keeper mirrors, say), or a format with many decks, but many of which are largely non-interactive or "outrageous" according to your standards, I would prefer the latter to the former. Meaningful deck choice is the most important choice in the Vintage format.

I prefer a format with outragenous decks like Dredge and Prison and Oath and Show and Tell and Storm to a format where such outrageous decks are excised in the interest of "interactivity."

It follows from those starting principles that desiring a 40 instead of 50 card restricted list isn't fetishism. It's a logical conclusion derived derived from first principles, which seeks more viable deck options for each player.

Now obviously not every restriction renders a deck unviable, but restricting cards like Doomsday or Oath of Druids plucks decks out of the environment that give Vintage flavor and make it interesting. Those strategies rely on 4-ofs, and can't function with a single Oath or Doomsday, since so much of the deck is constructed around it. Restricting those cards renders those decks effectively non-viable.

Your policy preferences, if implemented, would lead to much more format homogenization, I believe, and it would be a much less ferocious, but less high-intensity format, and have a bias towards control decks, which are less likely to exhibit the "outrageousness" you decry.

last edited by Smmenen

@brianpk80 And here I thought your list would include everything with the word discard. 🙂

@smmenen I regret that it's taken me so long to acknowledge your well-processed response. I haven't been checking in on this site very frequently in the past two months and seldom sign into Twitter.

I'm not sure if I clarified that I don't have a fervent or passionate desire to see most of the enumerated cards regulated. I simply meant that under an outrage/power-level metric, I would see those cards as reasonable restrictions. But few of them move me to begin a movement campaign. I'm not unhappy with the format right now. Despite a few rough edges, it's better now than it was last year at this time owing to the restrictions of Monastery Mentor, Thorn of Amethyst, and Gitaxian Probe. Though a member of the conspiratorial cabal of Keeper revivalists, you may recall I was the most ambivalent and least vocal about Gush, even asserting in Summer of 2016 that any action needed taken to be delayed because of how gratuitously cruel it would have been to a valued community member (you) upon the release of your book at that time.

I would note though that with each passing month, reviving the banhammer becomes more and more appealing. IIRC, both you and diophan suggested removing Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time, both of which are reasonable. I would switch the framing of the mushy sounding "fun factor" to "misery factor" and excise Trinisphere and Monastery Mentor on that account.

Sorry for the necro, but is there any predictions for the RIX B&R announcement? I'm hoping something comes off.


I think anything other than 'No Changes' would be shocking. The metagame has shaken out to be largely healthy, and nobody has really pressing complaints.

Would be interesting to see some of the "why?" cards on the restricted list--Windfall comes to mind as the most likely to be non-event if it comes off the restricted list--come off, but I don't see any upside to the format for doing that.

I would not restrict anything this round based upon data I compiled. I would unrestrict Fastbond if I were the DCI.

@smmenen I'd rather see channel first over fastbond, given fastbond's much wider range for abuse. Still, I too would like to experiment with it off the list. Kudos for proposing something most would be shocked at.

Yeah Fastbond would not have been my first choice, but it's certainly an interesting one that I'd like to see! I can't see any restrictions but I can definitely hope for some cleaning up of the list.

I would have fixed some of the past mistakes by unrestricting Gitaxian Probe again.

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