Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R

I agree with most of the points that @ChubbyRain has made. The barrier of costs in the format is limiting the format. Either the power that is restricted will eventually banned due to availability. Or those cards will be reprinted.

The idea of a singleton format just rings hollow to me. There are fast Modern decks that can compete against those. Vintage decks should just beat all other formats.

last edited by moorebrother1

If they are not willing to restrict Workshops and Bazaar why would you think they would ever ban cards that are limiting to the format like Lotus of Moxen? And we know they will not reprint them for legal reasons.

You may not like the idea of 3 of or singleton, but it is at least an option at this point where are where as the 2 you have laid out have been long dismissed by WOTC.

I read though as much of the comments as I could in a reasonable amount of time. I think you did a great job articulating your position Brian.

My focus in this post is not to state my agreement or disagreement with anyone's position, but instead I would like to make some personal observations concerning the format's management and what I would like to see change.

As someone who has played Vintage off and on over a long period of time I have had the chance to see cards come and go. Some things that remained consistent over this time was widespread player complaints and the length of time before action was taken. The length of time before action is taken against certain well known strategies can last years. Myself and many others have quit multiple times for the same reason before action is finally taken.

After more than a decade of waiting for results that are slow to come I have started looking for goals or strategies in managing the format. My opinion is that cards are being printed for most archetypes that allow for an easy to obtain line of play that is very dominant. I believe the goal is to allow new players to cast spells and win easily more often in hopes of attracting more players. If that were the case the intention is good, but just as difficult to tolerate than not restricting cards that were a problem before these newer printings.

As a long term Vintage player I enjoy playing many archetypes. Although I play a certain archetype more often than others I wouldn't care if they restricted the main cards and made it unplayable. I would just play something else and be just as happy. I guess you could say that my goal would be to take action faster. I don't want to go into my personal preferences, but just that some action is taken to address an issue soon after it is identified. I don't even care if the wrong action is taken as long as actions are being taken to improve game play in a timely manner. A competitive game with constant new additions should naturally require constant attention.

Something else I have noticed in long lasting competitive games is the desire for both sides to have the same chance of winning. While this can't be achieved to perfection the paper, rock, scissors effect can be mitigated. I feel that sculpting the format so archetypes are rather evenly matched would create more fun, therefore attracting more players.

Thank you for the excellent response, Jim. I think you hit upon one reason we've gotten to this mess and that is that Wizards's printings have only been strengthening already dominant strategies, making them more degenerate, more consistent, and more resilient. By contrast, in addition to their awful response time in addressing theses problems, they seem incorrigibly incapable of realizing effective countertactics.

Generally speaking, a countertactic by its very nature cannot be degenerate because it can't cause an opponent to suffer or lose the game absent that player's use of the problematic tactic in the first place. IE, you can win the game with a Lodestone Golem, but you cannot beat your opponent down to zero with a Disenchant.

Since countertactics are largely useless absent an original problem tactic, the potential for that impotence needs to be factored into its price resulting in some sort of bargain or additional upside. Tsabo's Web, Teferi's Response, Ethersworn Canonist, and Abrupt Decay are fairly good examples. They're efficient and effective with upside (drawing cards/having a body/flexible + built-in protection). By contrast, Illness in the Ranks is terrible. Not only does it fail to respond the problem it purports to address (leaving token generators themselves entirely off the hook) but it's 100% blank in situations without tokens, doesn't replace itself, is highly vulnerable both on the stack and in play (ie no uncounterable/hexproof/Reality Smasher type clauses/etc.), cannot attack, cycle, or do anything unless you're using it as an embarrassing blank text enchantment to draw a card off of Argothian Enchantress or fuel Serra's Sanctum. Virulent Plague is even worse since it actually costs more than many of the problem makers it purports to address, while still serving as only a half measure.

The ideal solution to problematic strategies & tactics would be for powerful measures to exist within the game providing the types of checks & balances that make it worth playing. It bears noting that mass restrictions or bans were not the first options considered by trigger happy regulators. We have, as you mentioned in your original post, been waiting for an eternity for proper countermeasures with no sign of progress on that horizon.

IE, the current situation results just as much from Wizards's failure to print something like an untaxable answer to taxing, or similar things that truly punish dominant strategies to such an extent that playing them isn't a no-brainer but rather an undertaking that requires a serious cost/benefit analysis. For years, we heard "oh but they can't mess up Standard" and now that they've been printing explicitly Standard illegal sets for over half a decade, that excuse doesn't fly.

There has been no corresponding "answer-creep" to the "power creep," hence we're left with B&R.

last edited by brianpk80


So which of these areas do you think needs to be explored further and more frequently (examples are for illustration, not create a card):

1.) Super Niche, but metagame influenced (Destroy exactly 3 artifacts for 1 life)
1.) Super niche counterantics, but highly rewarding ("Destroy 2CC permanent, draw 2 cards)
2.) Super broad, but deck diluting (Disenchant, FoW)
3.) Super broad, but punishing (Counter any spell for free, but pay 4 life)
4.) Replace themselves if not useful at the time (Fire/Ice)
5.) Punish specific strategies harshly (Destroy target artifact, put x tokens in play for cc, or counter all copies of storm spell, put x/x in play for storm count).

I know these are horribly unbalanced examples, but as I mentioned for illustrative purposes.


1A, 1B, 5, and 4. We have enough broad hate that is either too inefficient, too ineffective, or carries too much dead weight.

Something untaxable (ie land or "reveal this card from your hand") that converts tax into cost-reduction (ie your Thorn becomes my Helm of Awakening) while still having other text would be a fine example. It's not inherently unfair because it can't hurt anyone who doesn't voluntarily decide to use taxing permanents, thus making a real cost-benefit dilemma out of an otherwise no-brainer scenario. When countertactics demonstrate an actual deterrent effect, it is at that point we can say they have been successful.

last edited by brianpk80
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