I propose we come up with a purely taxonomic system first, based only around what cards are and aren't included. This will be rough of course, but that's going to be true of any taxonomy that gets imposed over an organic system. There are going to be oddities. (Leopards and Jaguars can interbreed and produce a viable offspring... sometimes, but they exist on different continents, so for facility's sake) But doing this for Vintage decks would be useful, if for no other reason than tidiness of threads on this website. To the extent that its made clear that that system is purely taxonomic, we can put to bed the fruitless discussions that conflate taxonomy and function and do nothing but chase their own tails.
This is no-doubt useful. It also has little difference to the pillar system of classification that the original mana drain site used for navigation. I too would like to put fruitless discussions to bed which is why I would like to construct a common means to empirically measure strategic classification. Both are useful and both are empirically measurable so they'll both help put fruitless discussions to bed. So I agree, let's use both.
Thanks for the reply. In answer, I would have to measure the count of each card type based on the dimensions described. Currently my goal is not so much to change the classification system that has stood for so long but instead to measure it imperially so that unbiased comparisons can be drawn from it. So, what I would do is count each card in the main deck according to the multi-dimensional classification system and then use your own classifications as labels to mark the regions of n-dimensional strategy space that those decks fall into. The more decks that are classified based on historical accounts the better defined each region becomes. Part of the source of the disagreement is that people have different opinions about where those boundaries should lie for the purpose of labeling a deck as control, aggro, or combo. This won’t really solve that by its self but I hope it can act as a common basis for comparison when analyzing strategies.
- UW Landstill list
1 Ancestral Recall V C
1 Brainstorm V vc
1 Decree of Justice C W
1 Dig Through Time V C/vc
1 Strip Mine
Reactive 16 (only affecting things that have already occurred):
1 Flusterstorm C
4 Force of Will
2 Mana Drain
2 Spell Pierce
3 Swords to Plowshares
3 Mental Misstep
Proactive 17 (only affecting the future):
2 Crucible of Worlds C S
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor V C/vc W
3 Mishra's Factory vc W
2 Monastery Mentor C W
1 Ponder V vc
1 Preordain V vc
1 Sensei's Divining Top V vc
4 Standstill V C
1 Time Walk V
Purely Mana Production 17:
1 Black Lotus
1 Misty Rainforest V
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
2 Polluted Delta V
2 Scalding Tarn V
Total Reactive: 25 (9+16)
Total Proactive: 23 (9+17)
Total Velocity: 18 (attained by counting V)
Mana Dependance: 56/42=1.333 (average minimum mana cost)
Synergy: 2 (Crucibles are the only cards that do nothing alone)
Card Advantage: 14 (counting C)
Virtual Card Advantage: 7 (counting vc)
Win Conditions: 8 (counting W)
I've excluded the dimensions that I deemed subjective and thus not strictly empirical such as interactivity (as Steve pointed out), fundamental turn, and fundamental cards. Virtual card advantage seems the most debatable metric in this model currently. I may decide to move Wasteland and Strip Mine to strictly reactive since it's only proactive action is as mana and the other mana sources were not included in the list of proactive cards.
Fenton Oath list in the OP of this thread:
UWR deck piloted to 2nd at a 20 man tourney last month:
Gush Mentor decklist found here:
I just pulled the few decklists I either found or that popped into my head. Again, the purpose is just simply to demonstrate how your own personal categorization system works.
I’ll model the others some time in the near future (perhaps as an edit) unless someone else would like to give it a try. I largely agree with your descriptors and the way they are used in tandem and I suspect others do as well. We can use them as a basis for labeling.
I'm using Interactive and Reactive as titles for empirical sets of the model. They seem fairly easy to define and agree on for the purpose of counting and classifying individual cards. Why have you found them to be inherently flawed?
As I said, there was a HUGE thread in the old forums on this subject started by MTGFan, but the gist is that there is no objective and empirical way to distinguish, at the tactical level, between a card that is being interactive and a card that is being non-interactive.
Consider, for example, that a Force of Will stopping Necropotence appears interactive, while a Force of Will defending Necropotence appears non-interactive. Yet, they are both the same tactic. Only when we widen the lens to the strategic context, does one appear interactive and the other not.
I see both of the examples you've presented as being reactive since they are both "acting in response to a situation rather than creating or controlling it". I don't think that my previous post disagrees with any of the statements you've made here but I didn't strictly define "non-interactive" except as the inverse of interactive which I see now is difficult to define. I can agree that all game actions are interactive by virtue of the nature of the game being interactive but if we apply a filter by only considering the changes in state within a single turn there is still useful information to be gained by that consideration.
Force stopping Necropotence is interactive because it involves the decisions of both players within that turn. It is reactive because it is a decisions made after the initial action of casting the Necropotence that turn. It is not proactive since it is not the action being performed first in the turn.
Force stopping the Force stopping the Necropotence is interactive because it involves the decisions of both players within that turn. It is reactive because it is a decisions made after the initial action of casting the Initial Force of Will targeting Necropotence that turn. It is not proactive since it is not the action being performed first in the turn.
In both cases the result is the same, It is a reactive card in either case. It's the Necropotence which is proactive. An example that I would consider to be only proactive would be attacking a player with a Ball Lightning when there are no blockers. It's a rare event but the only interaction is with a player's life total instead of other cards. By ending the game a player is ending interaction. It's necessary but not sufficient to the game. The game collapses to have no more strategic consideration than war (the card game) if all plays are proactive. The goal of the model is to classify cards and use them to classify decks so individual game actions are not as important as the set of possible game actions involving individual cards. A creature with no abilities other than to generate or change power and toughness on the board could be counted as proactive without being considered in the model as interactive or reactive. At this point though I'll concede that defining "interactive" may not be as sound of a resource for empirical measurement. It may not even be necessary.
The simpler, and perhaps better, approach could be to only consider reactivity and proactivity of cards. reactive, and proactive have overlap but are well defined concepts. Their dictionary definition appears readily applicable to actions taken in games of Magic such that they can be counted/measured.
Proactive: Creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.
Reactive: Acting in response to a situation rather than creating or controlling it.
Assault and battery would be an example of a card that could be counted as both proactive and reactive since it can be played both in a way that is "acting in response to a situation rather than creating or controlling it" but also in a way that is "creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened".
Or a Sphere of Resistance to lock a player out seems non-interactive, while doing so to slow down an Academy combo deck (Mike Flores example in his article on interactivity) appears interactive. Trinisphere is both the epitome of non-interactivity and ultimately interactivity.
Agreed, it is interactive but the action taken is proactive since it is "creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened". The Sphere of Resistance happens first and the actions it interacts with happen later. A counter example would be Swords to Plowshares since the spell can only be played once a creature is on the battlefield. It requires a game action to happen first before it can happen. Of course playing land and adding mana have to happen before anything else but the mana dimension can be left out of determining whether a card is to be counted as reactive and/or proactive. It is, after all, accounted for along another dimension of the model.
I'm not interested in getting into a debate on this point, but I don't believe that interactivity, as distinguished between non-interactivity, is logically defensible. I think all magic cards are inherently interactive.
Agreed, all magic cards are interactive on some level since the game involves an interaction between two people at its simplest. So, perhaps it is best to not use this as a metric since it is not as well defined in a game that is inherently interactive to begin with.
Reactivity suffers the same problem, but worse. Is the Force of Will stopping Necro reactive? If so, why isn't the Force of Will countering the Force on your Necro? Sure, you can give me the common sense answer, but I can reply ad infinitum challenging that answer as lacking an objective basis. We can create crazy hypotheticals that can disprove any broad rule that can be developed.
I don't see how that is the case. The definitions for proactive actions and reactive actions can be defined by which of them happens first, relative to the point of decision, for the purpose of this model. People may disagree with it; however, it would still be meaningful and consistent. If we use the dictionary definition of reactive and proactive for the model then the claim that it is lacking objective basis would be difficult to defend without compromising the defenses' definition of objective. To say that it is lacking objective basis would be implying that the dictionary is not objective which, while true, is not necessarily pertinent. It would be similar to argue that a person is wrong simply because perception is un-provable and thus there is no such thing as knowledge. Ultimately I have the utmost faith that swaths of magic players will inevitably find a way to wholeheartedly disagree with the dictionary; however, this force of nature will not dissuade me from using it as an objective basis for a modeling tool.
The first thing that comes to mind as something that someone would present as an argument against using these definitions is to say that Sphere of Resistance and Force of Will are both intended to prevent actions of the opponent. I would agree with that assessment; however, there is still a distinction between the two that I find relevant. Similar to the distinction between classic control and prison. "Preventativness" may be difficult to measure empirically though so fitting it in an empirical model may not be possible. Channel Fireball for 20 on turn one also prevents a lot of game actions the opponent may have been planning
This reply went a little longer than I thought it would and I’ve noticed that can sometimes be taken as adversarial so allow me to qualify this post by saying that I appreciate all of your input and that I hold your opinions in high regard.