[Free Article] Menendian's Suggested Banned and Restricted Lists (2018)



  • @smmenen Perhaps my reply was too terse. Your final point about thorn and (potentially) chalice being unrestricted is what I was getting at. These restrictions were anything but tailored--they nuked archetypes to save workshop from restriction. That's what makes the situation different from restricting Trinisphere instead of shop.

    The most broken reasonable-to-achieve hand from modern workshops is shop, inspector, mox, and lock piece. The odds of having 4 mana for this sequence go down significantly if you restrict workshop. I don't have a problem with a fast affinity aggro deck in vintage. The problem is that the workshop buys the deck too much tempo with a lock piece or two to kill the opponent before they can regain control. The fact that it makes bigger ballistas to mow down a board of helpless humans is the other half of the problem.


  • TMD Supporter

    @diophan said in [Free Article] Menendian's Suggested Banned and Restricted Lists (2018):

    @smmenen Perhaps my reply was too terse. Your final point about thorn and (potentially) chalice being unrestricted is what I was getting at. These restrictions were anything but tailored--they nuked archetypes to save workshop from restriction.

    Perhaps the DCI was acting to save a sacred cow, but in my framework presented in this article, 'saving workshop from restriction' is not an end in and of itself. Rather, the value of Workshop is instrumental to format diversity, in that it supports the existence of a range of archetypes and strategies that would not, presumably, exist without it. At least, that's likely how I would have viewed it were I the DCI deciding to restrict Golem.

    The most broken reasonable-to-achieve hand from modern workshops is shop, inspector, mox, and lock piece. The odds of having 4 mana for this sequence go down significantly if you restrict workshop. I don't have a problem with a fast affinity aggro deck in vintage. The problem is that the workshop buys the deck too much tempo with a lock piece or two to kill the opponent before they can regain control. The fact that it makes bigger ballistas to mow down a board of helpless humans is the other half of the problem.

    I wasn't arguing that restricting Workshop wouldn't have any effect. A narrow tailoring inquiry just tries to match the means to the ends in a narrowly tailored way to minimize collateral effects. Thus, any narrowly tailoring process needs to have a 1) a clear definition and understanding of the problem, and 2) a theory or prediction about the effects of any particular intervention.

    Suppose that my facts are right, and that Shops is about 30% of the metagame, 25% of Top 8s (which it was in the April, 2018 Challenges), and 55% win percentage, and we all agree it's still too good. What is the goal we are trying to achieve? (I actually believe that Workshop underperforms in the post Champs to present metagame relative to it's 'actual' power, which I expect to be similar to last year's NA Vintage Champs.) But we have to be clear about our goals, because narrow tailoring is all about means-end fit.

    Suppose that two things are true:

    1. Restricting Ravager would cause Workshop Aggro to fall, to say, 27% of the metagame, 22% of Top 8s, and a 53% win percentage

    2. Restricting Workshop would cause the Ravager Aggro archetype to fall to 17% of Top 8s and a 52% win percentage.

    Both seem plausible. Obviously, there is a wide range of possibility around both predictions. But supposing that those are decent forecasts. What is the more narrowly tailored option?

    Narrow tailoring assumes that there are multiple means by which you can achieve the same ends, and you take the least collaterally damaging path. Unless you tie the restriction of Workshop to the possible unrestriction of multiple cards, based upon those assumptions, restricting Ravager seems like the more narrowly tailored choice.



  • I didn't read the entire article, but I wanted to join the discussion. I'm not opposed to theorizing ideals for Vintage, so I do appreciate this type of article. I am of the opinion that keeping the format very competitive is a positive objective. I actually think the restricted list should continue to grow without anything coming off of it right now. Wasteland is probably the only card I would be interested in seeing restricted at the moment. It has been showing up as a three of in many decks other than Shops, and it just makes some games turn into games of chance. I am unsure how Shops would proceed without four Wastelands, but I think if it were able to continue as a strong deck it would be a very positive change for the format.

    Your speculation on Fastbond is interesting, but it seems like a card that creates so many strange games such as gaining millions of life with Crucible of Worlds and Zuran Orb among other combos. I feel that this does not increase the competitive level of the format, and that is why I am personally not in favor of it.



  • @Smmenen we have known each other from the original TMD since I joined in 2003/4, and you know how I feel when you want my Workshop cards restricted, especially when most shop decks don't run Crucible main and Blue decks got arrogant aND stopped running Strip/Waste

    All jokee aside, in this case, I would agree 100% that Ravager is absolutely worthy of being Restricted. Especially with Traxos just having come out, being able to ramp up counters and toss them on a massive trampler seems insane

    After that however, I don't want anything touched. I hate brainstorm more than anyone, but I'd rather see it unrestricted than have vintage neutered to the point a card like Phyrexian Revoker can ever be considered restriction worthy. If our only answer to Dack and other walkers is Spyglass it will be miserable

    Everything aside it was extremely well written as always, and I am glad you are still active in promoting vintage



  • @yespuhyren said in [Free Article] Menendian's Suggested Banned and Restricted Lists (2018):

    Especially with Traxos just having come out, being able to ramp up counters and toss them on a massive trampler seems insane

    I find some unstated irony in the fact that you have issue with Ravager putting counters on Traxos but not the land that lets you play Traxos consistently ahead of schedule.

    I disagree with ravager.

    1 - I cannot tell you how many times I had heard the following from people on these boards: "Workshops may need to be restricted, but lets restrict Lodestone and see what happens".... "well, workshops is still too powerful, Workshops may need to be banned but lets add Thorn to the list" .... "well workshops is still too strong but lets add ravager to the list and see what happens."

    At what point do we stop moving the goalposts for this one card? I've said it before and I think I'll say it again, I don't think there is any other non restricted card in the format that has caused as many restrictions as Workshops.

    2 - Ravager has answers that workshops does not. Stifle is actually a powerfully demoralizing play against the modular trigger. The issue there becomes that stifle sees no play because of Mental misstep right now and is something the workshops deck can handle because of sphere effects which are powered out but, you guessed it, workshops.

    At the end of the day I just don't see ravager being that big of a deal. The deck was strong before anyone used ravager and the decks it faced were very similar to what the field looks like now.

    I'm ok with fastbond in the abstract, less so because your justification for it includes the prominence of Mental misstep. If MM gets to the point where it needs to go (as some very openly speculate it will) then I suspect Fastbond would have to go as well.



  • @Smmenen As a returning vintage player,(played early 2000's food chain goblins) I'm having a hard time deciding what deck to play in Vintage. My main concern is the uncertainty of Vintage moving forward. From the outside, it seems as though Workshops is the dominating deck.
    The question I have is if the DCI were to make another fine tailored restriction to the shops deck, how does help with diversity? I think for this to work we would need to see the unrestriction of some cards as well. I'm unsure of what those cards should be but I think executing it during this down time would of gave the community ample amount of time to test and see the results in order to move forward.



  • @diabeticnj said in [Free Article] Menendian's Suggested Banned and Restricted Lists (2018):

    @Smmenen As a returning vintage player,(played early 2000's food chain goblins) I'm having a hard time deciding what deck to play in Vintage. My main concern is the uncertainty of Vintage moving forward. From the outside, it seems as though Workshops is the dominating deck.
    The question I have is if the DCI were to make another fine tailored restriction to the shops deck, how does help with diversity? I think for this to work we would need to see the unrestriction of some cards as well. I'm unsure of what those cards should be but I think executing it during this down time would of gave the community ample amount of time to test and see the results in order to move forward.

    Trying to predict what decks will take off after a restriction is like trying to play the stock market, and that is not even considering what new sets may bring.

    Personally I think I would look at some tier 2 decks that have been pushed out of the format recently and see if any of them were pushed because of shops. If ravager were actually restricted I am not sure that it would necessarily help something like delver/pyromancer since it removes a faster wincon, not specifically the spheres that hold you back or the balista that can ping your guys out of the air. Now if Shops is the card restricted that's a whole new ballgame and honestly it is anyones guess. For all I know shops may have been the thing that prevented Fish or Burn from entering the format.



  • The article is good, and I also like your banned and restricted list better than WotC's. That said, a few points:

    (1) Interactivity

    You mention that this is hard to define, but you don't actually give us your definition. It feels like you're using the old definition of "interactive = creatures" in your reference to slow and durdly decks.

    What makes more sense is to talk about "interactivity" as being a scale that gets set based on the two decks at issue. The question is: what vectors are the decks using for resources or as a win condition? Creatures on the battlefield? The graveyard? Life totals? Cards left in your library? No single deck is ever "non-interactive" in a vacuum. It is only "non-interactive" if it is paired against a deck that is ignoring its preferred vector.

    Example 1: Dredge is non-interactive if any only if the opponent is not interacting with the graveyard. If you're full of graveyard-relevant effects, like a in post-side board game, the deck is very interactive.

    Example 2: Vintage combo decks are non-interactive if and only if the opponent is not able to interact with or clog up the stack. If you're full of counterspells and/or sphere effects, then the game is very interactive.

    What I see too often is people hand-wave the word "interactive" to mean "decks that don't interact using creatures on the battlefield." I think people do this because (1) creatures are central to the design of the game, and (2) creatures automatically interact with other creatures. So, there's a bias in decks towards making sure the creature vector is covered.

    So, I'm having a hard time with your discussion of Trinisphere as "non-interactive." As you point out, big mana / midrange decks or decks with first turn countermagic interact with it just fine. Are you not really saying that you simply don't want a format where people have to pack Artifact Blasts or Annul? I'm not saying these are bad things to want, but anytime you ban something as "non-interactive," what you're really doing is saying "a format that interacts primarily on this vector is not a format I want to play."

    (2) Ravager

    I don't like your reasoning here, which basically mirrors WotC's reasoning that they want to keep restricting the best card out of shops until it stops being a good deck. This sounds like a giant exercise in futility. Every time you restrict the best card, the deck just re calibrates and gets a new best card.

    Here's a serious question: can you build Highlander Shops? I'd love to see someone try this out because I suspect that you could. And, if so, that pretty much blows up any idea of trying to control the deck through restrictions.



  • @maximumcdawg Non-interactive, for me, is a deck that ignore most of what you're doing, except for a few key interactions. So either you have an specific, hard to get interaction with it, or you're dead right now. Trinisphere fits that bill perfectly. Either you have Force of Will turn 1 (and only FoW matters) or you're dead. Dredge is also like that: either you have GY in your first 2 turns or you're dead.
    Uninteractive cards and decks thrive on exploring these scenarios. And the less cards they need to do that, the less interactive the game/deck is. Trinisphere only took itself to make the game uninteractive. Nowadays Shops needs 2 or 3 Spheres to do that.



  • Annnnnd, cue thread-lock.



  • @fsecco said in [Free Article] Menendian's Suggested Banned and Restricted Lists (2018):

    @maximumcdawg Non-interactive, for me, is a deck that ignore most of what you're doing, except for a few key interactions.

    Right, but that's completely relative. A dredge deck can "completely ignore" Noble Fish in the sense that Noble Fish's usual game plan of deploying creatures and grinding out advantage while beating down is not interacting on the same vector as what the dredge deck is doing. A dredge deck cannot "completely ignore" a deck that plans to win using Leyline of the Void + Helm of Obedience.

    So either you have an specific, hard to get interaction with it, or you're dead right now. Trinisphere fits that bill perfectly. Either you have Force of Will turn 1 (and only FoW matters) or you're dead.

    Again, this is relative. Take Infect. Either you have a way to stop a 1 drop from swinging into you or you are potentially dead on turn 1 or 2. The difference is that there are more decks in the metagame with creatures or ways to interact with creatures, that's all.

    In the Trinisphere example, sure, Force of Will interacts with Trinishphere on the stack vector. So does Artifact Blast or Annul, really. You could also use a midrange deck that uses Sol Lands or Spirit Guides to power out 3/4 drops to the exclusion of cheaper spells. Again, the "interactivity" of Trinisphere is totally dependent on what kind of decks it is facing.

    We only think of cards that stop decks like dredge as "specific" and "hard to get" counters because the decks running them would not normally do so except for the need to hedge. That's as much a complaint about how those decks are constructed as it is against the allegedly "non-interactive" deck.

    Possible Future @fsecco objection: "Don't try to defend Trinisphere, that card is garbage."

    I agree, but not based on "interactivity" in a vacuum. Rather, I think the question is: If you create a metagame where decks have to interact on a particular vector, is the resulting format healthy and fun? That's a fair question to ask, and I think it, it's the right one.

    So, we restrict Trinisphere not because it is "un-interactive" but because we realize that it leads to a format that we don't like. Games between Trinisphere and Force of Will become coin flips - we don't want THAT much variance in the games, do we? Hypothetical midrangey decks sound like they'd be complete dogs to decks running cheap Vintage cards, which would go under them. That'd lead to a silly Rock-Paper-Sissors game that I don't think we want.

    Why do I care? Because the argument about a deck being bad because its "non-interactive" is easy to expand to any deck you don't want to have to sideboard against. Dredge? Non-interactive because I don't want to interact with the graveyard vector. Shops? Non-interactive because I don't want to interact with cost-increasing effects.

    See the danger there?


  • TMD Supporter

    @maximumcdawg said in [Free Article] Menendian's Suggested Banned and Restricted Lists (2018):

    The article is good, and I also like your banned and restricted list better than WotC's. That said, a few points:

    (1) Interactivity

    You mention that this is hard to define, but you don't actually give us your definition.

    Intentionally. In my view, "interactivity" is a folk taxonomy, like "race," which can't actually be scientifically defined in Magic, or it quickly begins to break down. I wrote several articles about this many years ago for starcitygames. I won't recapitulate them now, but you can find them easily using google.

    So, what I'm really capturing when I say "interactivity" as a factor, is the situations, decks and circumstances that most people regard as non-interactive, to such a degree that it merits DCI intervention. I don't have a definition from that - it emanates from the crowd. And I don't think it can be parsed in a scientifically defensible way.



  • @smmenen Doesn't that kind of cut against what you are trying to do, though? I thought you were looking for objective and consistent metrics, not mob justice, when it comes to the B&R list?

    Related:
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  • @maximumcdawg said in [Free Article] Menendian's Suggested Banned and Restricted Lists (2018):

    Possible Future @fsecco objection: "Don't try to defend Trinisphere, that card is garbage."

    I don't even understand what this means, so I'll just laugh along. But anyway, I think when people say a deck is not interactive they mean that either they have that specific answer or they just lose immediately. Dredge and 4 Trini/Stax and a bunch of glass-cannon decks are meant to not interact. If they interact they probably lose. Randy's VSL Oops All Spells deck is exactly that. It wants a non-interactive game to just win. If the opponents has a way to interact, they win. I don't think this is hard to see.
    You analysis of vectors is interesting and can be applied to a lot of stuff, but it doesn't tell me what's interactive or not - Oops All Spells being an example of an uninteractive deck that uses both the stack and the gy. Anyway, I agree with Steven that this is not a metric that's absolute: it changes from person to person, but in my book the least players are allowed to interact, the less interactive a deck is. Almost ridiculous but yeah...



  • If you look at recent B&R explanations, Wotc has moved away from the term "interaction" to the term "counterplay".

    In the banning of Aetherworks Marvel, Aaron Forsythe says,

    The best games of Magic are ones that involve counterplay on both sides.

    Now this is still somewhat subjective, but I think it is a better descriptor of what games of Magic should be like than "interactivity". It gets past the argument that "prison pieces are interactive, just not on the stack". It gets past the false dichotomy of "is there any difference between locking an opponent out and countering every spell they play?" (both are undesirable play patterns). It means both players should make relevant decisions in a game of Magic, beyond whether or not to mulligan to find Force of Will or "relevant hate piece X". Now eliminating broken plays isn't the point of Vintage - however, reducing or minimizing them is a reasonable goal. It's what gives me pause when it comes to unrestricting potentially broken cards like Fastbond or restricting cheap interactive cards like Mental misstep.



  • I like focusing on the aspect of decision making. Ideally, in my opinion, games of Magic should allow both players to make decisions that impact their board and the decisions the opponent is making.



  • @smmenen said in [Free Article] Menendian's Suggested Banned and Restricted Lists (2018):

    @maximumcdawg said in [Free Article] Menendian's Suggested Banned and Restricted Lists (2018):

    The article is good, and I also like your banned and restricted list better than WotC's. That said, a few points:

    (1) Interactivity

    You mention that this is hard to define, but you don't actually give us your definition.

    Intentionally. In my view, "interactivity" is a folk taxonomy, like "race," which can't actually be scientifically defined in Magic, or it quickly begins to break down. I wrote several articles about this many years ago for starcitygames. I won't recapitulate them now, but you can find them easily using google.

    So, what I'm really capturing when I say "interactivity" as a factor, is the situations, decks and circumstances that most people regard as non-interactive, to such a degree that it merits DCI intervention. I don't have a definition from that - it emanates from the crowd. And I don't think it can be parsed in a scientifically defensible way.

    One way to scientifically define interactivity is this: an interactive decision point is one where cheating by looking at your opponent’s hand will improve your probability of winning.

    A game with zero interactive decision points is basically a game of solitaire - all your decisions are independent of your opponent’s plans.

    Increasing the expected number of interactive decision points, and increasing the associated expected winning probability improvements, would satisfy those wanting more interactivity.



  • @dshin I'm not sure hidden information is the right litmus test for interactivity. I would consider a complex board state with many deep lines available to both players "interactive" even in the absence of any hidden information.


  • TMD Supporter

    I can't fathom any format where Power Artifact and Demonic Consultation both exist where it's correct to restrict the two mana blue permanent before the one mana black instant.


  • TMD Supporter

    Well...

    It depends on how you define "correct." My preference for restricting Power Artifact over Consult in Old School '96 is a perfect example of a counter-intuitive narrow tailoring approach.

    As I said above

    Narrow tailoring assumes that there are multiple ways to solve a problem (which is usually true when it comes to B&R policy), and that the means by which you accomplish that end should be that which has the least collateral harms. Therefore, narrow tailoring will often lead to restrictions that seem facially absurd, in the sense that the restriction target is a less seemingly 'powerful' or salient card.

    Demonic Consultation is used by a number of Old School decks in Old School formats with Ice Age. It makes Reanimator more consistent in Old School '95, and MaskNaught more consistent in Old School '96, thereby diversifying both metagames. It boosts mono black decks and a number of other decks that tend to be homogeneous as well.

    On the other hand, Demonic Consultation makes Power Artifact combo decks too good (and even better in Old School '96, when Force of Will is available). Restricting Consult instead of Power Artifact collaterally harms Reanimator, MaskNaught and other decks unnecessarily. The more narrowly tailored choice is restricting Power Artifact, which is the best thus-far-proven use of Consult in environments with Necro restricted, and which used to be restricted in Swedish Old School anyway.

    It's possible that Consult is so good that other decks can become too good by abusing it. If it were proven true, then the calculus would shift, and I'd prefer to see Consult restricted instead. But I haven't seen that to be the case in Old School '95 of '96 tournaments. And, part of my methodology is evidence-based decision-making rather than theory crafting around the power of a super-efficient black tutor. I invite folks to try to abuse it, and make a deck that is too good. If they do, then I'd restrict Consult instead. But until then, I'll go with the choice that maximizes strategic diversity while minimizing the number of cards restricted.


 

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