August 26, 2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement

@Khahan

I would love to hear a justification for Workshops and Bazaar remaining legal that doesn’t involve “feelings” because every objective measure seems rather clear...

I would also encourage you to look at qualitative research as you and many others don’t seem so understand that feelings and experiences have value in many professions and can be the basis for decisions.

@chubbyrain I gave you an explanation that said Workshop are tempo-wise important in the format. You just don't like that explanation. Bazaar I kinda agree, it's broken and generates a bunch of mana and CA with each activation. I don't think Bazaar and Shops are in the same place of restrictability. Bazaar plays a different Magic game. Shops just helps aggro/prison keep up tempo-wise with Ancestral and Time Walk and Tinker etc.

@chubbyrain said in August 26, 2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

@Khahan

I would love to hear a justification for Workshops and Bazaar remaining legal that doesn’t involve “feelings” because every objective measure seems rather clear...

Every objective measure? That can't possibly be true.

For starters, Bazaar has never put up the consistent Top 8 metrics or even win % metrics that would justify it's restriction. So, not only am I skeptical that "every" objective metric would support these restrictions, I'm having trouble thinking of a single such metric.

last edited by Smmenen

@chubbyrain said in August 26, 2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

@Khahan

I would love to hear a justification for Workshops and Bazaar remaining legal that doesn’t involve “feelings” because every objective measure seems rather clear...

I can think of a few thousand reasons. They're green and have pictures of dead folks on them.

I was tongue-in-cheek referencing Aaron Forsythe's tweet...

The actual point of my tweets from context have been that Wizards has been using qualitative measures for B&R policy likely forever. And for game design. And for other things. Arguing that there shouldn't be a subjective element in B&R or that this new approach is different is wrong. You would have a much better case to the DCI if you argued in favor of your own preferences than why they should take actions against their best interests as a for-profit game company.

@fsecco I don't think you are providing as compelling of an argument as you think you are by comparing Mishra's Workshop to a bunch of restricted cards then saying it shouldn't be unrestricted.

@Smmenen ...This was a riff on "Every saturation metric we could ever invent would point to it being banned".

@thecravenone Man, that would certainly create a lot of bad feelings. Which again, is not wrong. That is my whole point...

last edited by ChubbyRain

@chubbyrain said in August 26, 2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

I was tongue-in-cheek referencing Aaron Forsythe's tweet...

The actual point of my tweets from context have been that Wizards has been using qualitative measures for B&R policy likely forever. And for game design. And for other things. Arguing that there shouldn't be a subjective element in B&R or that this new approach is different is wrong. You would have a much better case to the DCI if you argued in favor of your own preferences than why they should take actions against their best interests as a for-profit game company.

There is a difference between acknowledging that there is a subjective element to B&R management (which I have always done), and between saying that it's all subjective. I agree with the former, but disagree with the latter.

I have always acknowledged that there is a subjective element to B&R management. (I derive my framework from explicit statements by the DCI, and adopt that criteria, including subjective criteria.)

But what people have gotten tripped up over lately is thinking that presence of subjectivity renders all B&R management entirely subjective. They think it's all just infinite subjective regress. I'm not saying you are doing this, but I have read some recent statements online to this effect.

In doing that, people are confusing objectivism, in philosophical terms (or the idea of objective truth), with objective standards (contextual, pragmatic objectivity in Bernsteinian terms).

Even for matters that are seemingly entirely subjective, such as food criticism, there are widely used standards: cleaniness, quality of the ingredients, originality of the recipes, politeness of the staff, etc.

Similarly, for Magic, there are widely used objective standards that help define what makes a format a "good" or "healthy" format: breadth and range of competitive options, competitive balance, degree of counterplay, frequency of Turn 1 or 2 wins, etc.

Sure, there is subjectivity in the weighting and applying of these criteria to the facts, but that doesn't render any attempt to appraise one format as better or worse - or to making judgments about a format - as 'merely' subjective. Rather, the resort to standards creates space for pragmatic, contextual objectivity, which includes professional expertise and judgment.

What I find frustrating are comments that people make like "Well, that's just my subjective opinion," and "it's all just subjective anyway." Fine, but given that there are well worn standards, people can both hold their own opinions, and subjectively weight which criteria they feel are important, while still articulating, framing, and describing the bases for their opinion in terms that are familiar and relating to standards that are objective.

To extend the food critic analogy, it would be great if people could say: I don't like the food, but the recipes are original, the food staff polite, etc. Instead, people don't even bother to defend their opinions on grounds that we all agree on - and instead just say: "It's just my opinion." That's just intellectually lazy.

This is very common in law. For example, the standard for negligence in tort law is the 'reasonably prudent person standard.' It's an objective standard, but requires subjectivity in applying the facts. That makes subjectivity part of the formula, but doesn't render it all 'merely' subjective.

last edited by Smmenen

@Smmenen I'm confused - are you arguing or agreeing with me? Because if you're arguing with me, you've basically restated my position back to me, just adding a bunch of unnecessary metaphors...

@chubbyrain said in August 26, 2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

@Khahan

I would love to hear a justification for Workshops and Bazaar remaining legal that doesn’t involve “feelings” because every objective measure seems rather clear...

I would also encourage you to look at qualitative research as you and many others don’t seem so understand that feelings and experiences have value in many professions and can be the basis for decisions.

Reading back I dont think I was as clear as I intended to be - it sounded good in my head but I think it didn't translate as well as I meant to (sorry, its difficult to think straight when your wife wont stop chattering to you as you type). Feelings should not be the only or even the main focus of reasons. It can be a part of the decision making process. Or more to the point it could be the trigger that starts a hard look at the decision making process. But too many times people come out and all they can do is say, "I dont like playing against this. Its unfun for me. "

Well that's great. But its a lot of fun for me and you want to take away my toy just because. My point is that the B&R list should NOT work like that. If enough people come out and say, "Its unfun," then its time to take a closer look at some hard data. There are other reasons to look at hard data as well.

Feelings are a personalized agenda and unfortunately for people who want to use feelings to stump for their B&R additions, the list is a community list, not a personal list.

@khahan I agree and am glad you took the time to elaborate.

Look at Grim Monolith. Would you restrict something that has 2 copies in an entire 68-person event? No, because even if players find such decks unfun they are unlikely to encounter them very frequently. And a restriction will have almost no effect. Similarly, LSV had a post about Narset, which set off Twitter, but if you look at the data, things become more concerning: Narset was in 50% of the top 32 decks last week, 56% of decks this week. It's the fourth most popular card in Vintage according to Goldfish (which has it's flaws, but such prevalence seems insane for a Planeswalker). And fundamentally there are issues with the card - one of the best ways to draw cards without drawing cards is Narset, which leads to the Misstep problem of playing Narset as an "answer" to Narset. Now, I must stress this, the format is still young and two events is a small sample size, but these two situations aren't really comparable because of the data involved. If you dislike playing against Narset, you are very likely to play against her, and that might ultimately drive players away from the format. I knew several players that wanted nothing to do with Vintage while Karn Forge was a thing.

As for the quality of arguments, I know. I've tried really hard to provide data to the community and I really want that data to be used. But I also think that players are entitled to their subjective opinions. I routinely try to run polls on twitter, as limited as that is, to gauge such opinions (like should mistep be restricted, do you like the recent restrictions, etc.). It's pretty clear though that arguments are more persuasive when they are supported by data and facts. If LSV had mentioned that he faced Narset in over half of his matches, rather than he simply disliked the card, would it have made more of an impact?

@chubbyrain said in August 26, 2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

@fsecco I don't think you are providing as compelling of an argument as you think you are by comparing Mishra's Workshop to a bunch of restricted cards then saying it shouldn't be unrestricted.

You're missing the point. A blue deck will play with a bunch of tempo-advantageous cards. The fact they're restricted is not the point. For example: if you play with Ancestral, Time Walk, Tinker and FoW, you already have 7 tempo boosting cards in your deck. Workshop just helps brown decks have that tempo consistency. Once you take that out, it becomes very difficult for anything that isn't blue to overcome that amount of tempo gain. That's why I think Shops are crucial for the format and not even comparable with Lotus or whatever.

As I said, Bazaar I think is something else. Although I agree with @Smmenen that it never had results to warrant restriction, I believe it's because you have to dedicate hate towards it. The CA Bazaar generates in unsurmountable in any aspect. Steven himself once theorised that one way to evaluate a card's power is to count how many zone changes it provides (for example, Ancestral Recall is 3 zone changes from library to hand, etc). Count what Bazaar does in 1 activation and you'll see how it's bizarrely broken. I wouldn't be against restricting it because I don't think it keeps anything in place. It's just a monster we're used to dealing with. I have no formed opinion on whether I personally would restrict or not, but I see merit in discussing it, while I don't see merit in doing that for Shops.

last edited by fsecco

@fsecco said in August 26, 2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

As I said, Bazaar I think is something else. Although I agree with @Smmenen that it never had results to warrant restriction, I believe it's because you have to dedicate hate towards it. The CA Bazaar generates in unsurmountable in any aspect. Steven himself once theorised that one way to evaluate a card's power is to count how many zone changes it provides (for example, Ancestral Recall is 3 zone changes from library to hand, etc). Count what Bazaar does in 1 activation and you'll see how it's bizarrely broken. I wouldn't be against restricting it because I don't think it keeps anything in place. It's just a monster we're used to dealing with. I have no formed opinion on whether I personally would restrict or not, but I see merit in discussing it, while I don't see merit in doing that for Shops.

OK so with GGT restricted Bazaar puts 2 Stinkweed Imp into your hand then back into your graveyard, and you discard a card which is favorable in the very early game but unfavorable as the game goes on. So the only clearly favorable zone change is that you mill 10 cards. Of those 10, you're looking at about 4 that actually do something meaningful from the graveyard (i.e. free creatures and spells). So Bazaar "draws" 4 useful cards per turn but you start with 0 useful cards in the graveyard and on average something like 3 useful cards in hand, and Bazaar doesn't advance your board state until the second activation, and even then there's some inconsistency in terms of hitting dredgers.

So by the end of Turn 2, you should have something like 3ish useful cards in hand (or played from hand) and 6ish useful cards from the graveyard. That puts you one card ahead of a deck with literally no ability to generate advantage, and most Vintage decks do not fall in that camp. By the end of Turn 3 you should have something like 15 useful cards in all zones, which is certainly good but on the other hand the countermeasures available to fight this whole deal are roughly a million times stronger than anything available to fight any other strategy. I think a Vintage deck getting a strong advantage by about Turn 3 if the opponent can't find any counterplay (when many strong options exist, including the simple Wasteland) is pretty fair by Vintage standards.

I’m into Magic since T1T and IMHO the format right now is boring and too slow. I believe these restrictions are not great, since they will make it even slower. In general, restrictions are not the best way to go. I’d much rather give alternatives to the other decks. For instance, Karn decks pre-restrictions were very powerful, but why? Because there are not so many powerful decks to keep Karn in check. Since Gush was restricted there has been no real blue based instant-speed combo control deck. Sure, there are many PW decks, but they’re not EOT instant-speed decks built around the ordinary blue strategy of counterspells, baits, and forcing the opponent to make difficult decisions (Gifts anyone?). The fact that this game plan is not viable anymore is really sad, IMHO - probably the worst thing in Vintage right now. Also, the progressive disappearance of black storm decks is also very sad. Of course, I’m very happy that right now a few aggro decks are viable, but I’m not enthusiast when that happens because others are dead or on their way to the grave. Many people say Mishra's Workshop is the real problem, but I disagree. Let’s take a look at the pillars of the format.

Mishra’s Worskhop
Mana Drain
Dark Ritual
Bazaar of Bagdad

It’s been this way since at least T1T. IMHO restricting one of these cards is equal to changing Vintage forever. It's like a house of cards: if you remove Shops, suddenly blue becomes insane. An alternative solution to restrictions is unrestrictions.
These are my considerations:

Cards that should never be unrestricted because they are stupidly powerful one-card combos or because they’d break the format in 4x

P9
Channel
Balance
Yawgmoth’s Will
Tinker
Monastery Mentor
Mind’s Desire
Stripmine
Efficient Tutors (Demonic Tutor, Demonic Consultation, Vampiric Tutor, Imperial Seal, Mystical Tutor, Merchant Scroll)
Library of Alexandria
Lion’s Eye Diamond
Lodestone Golem
Fast mana acceleration cards
Tolarian Academy
Treasure Cruise
Dig Through Time
Efficient Draw 7
Trinisphere

Cards that should be unrestricted to balance the format, keep some decks in check, and make new archetypes available

Windfall (why not? It would not dominate the format.)
Karn, the Great Creator (Jace is more powerful, yet it’s unrestricted)
Mystic Forge (finally artifact decks have a draw engine, hurrah)
Chalice of the Void (the solution to make it playable is to print cards so that those decks that are affected have side strategies)
Brainstorm (it makes the game more skill-oriented and helps blue combo decks)
Ponder (preordain is already more powerful)
Gush (keeps Karn in check, a fun deck to play, it would make Gush a new pillar of the format. Probably, though, it’s Gush or Fastbond, not both of them)
Necropotence (an unsafe unrestriction, I know, but it’d make the black storm decks great again)
Yawgmoth’s Bargain (not played very much, it would help black storm decks to become a great alternative to Gush decks )
Golgari Grave Troll (the problem is not that Dredge is too fast, it’s that it’s not interactive; restricting Golgari doesn’t really help)
Mental Misstep (keeps Brainstorm, Ponder, Fastbond, and Dark Ritual in check)

Cards to be printed

Useful gy hate (by useful I mean such as Eidolon against Storm or Collector Ouphe against powered decks. Something that could be played in your main and not just as sideboard hate)
Useful fastbond hate (such as Ankh of Mishra but better. Also, there should be more cards like that to keep Fastbond decks in check)
Mana-expensive blue draw cards (Drain decks should get an alternative game plan to slow, boring PWs)
Broken aggro cards (to survive in a metagame of Gush, Karn, and Storm, aggro cards should be exponentially more powerful than the new cards printed nowadays)
Broken artifact aggro cards (to make Ravager shops a viable alternative to Karn)
Broken burn cards (it would be fun to play Burn again, I can’t see why it should be such a shame. Aggro must be a thing. Also, knowing when to burn and when to blast creatures/PW requires skill)
Much much more red cards for card advantage such as Light up the Stage (right now, there is an insane color imbalance in Vintage and Red has the short end of the stick)

Aims

Make Karn viable again
Make Gush viable again to keep Karn in check
Make non-Gush instant-speed drain-based combo control decks a-la Gifts viable again to keep Karn and Gush in check
Make Ritual decks great again
Increase the presence of aggro decks in the format (with new, efficient, and powerful cards that impose the aggro game on the opponent)
Make Burn viable again

In summary, these are the decks that IMHO should be viable in the format

Karn
Ravager Shops
Control Slaver
Gush
Drain-based non-Gush decks
Black Storm
Fastbond decks abusing land recursion
Dredge
Oath
Aggro
Burn
Eldrazi
Bears
PW

TL;DR: The solution to fight against powerful artifact decks and Dredge is not to restrict stuff, but to make available a few alternative decks to keep them in check, such as Gush, Gifts, Storm etc. Also, aggro decks should not be feared because they’re full of hate, but because they impose their game on the opponent. Aggro decks lacks a staple card to make them a pillar of the format, such as a Mishra’s Workshop for creatures alone. Plus, aggro lacks powerful cards. Let me make myself clear: by powerful I don’t mean powerful hate cards, which nonetheless are necessary for aggro; I mean cards such as Oath, cards that, in other words, make your opponent play faster as you’ve just gained the upper hand. Aggro will never be a thing if we rely on hate cards alone. After all, no hate deck has ever been a consistent winner in the format - other than, of course, LSG decks and Trinisphere decks back in the days, but those cards ended up restricted, and not for nothing.

@ajfirecracker first activation Bazaar changes 5 cards from zones. 2 draws, 3 discards. From there it not only generates card advantage by putting cards in the graveyard where you use, but also mana and board presence in the form of Ichorids and Narcomoebas, which then generate more playble cards, etc. I'm not saying the decks is broken, since the numbers clearly say it's not. I'm saying the card Bazaar of Baghdad is, more than anything unrestricted currently. And look, I'm not even saying it should be restricted.

So One With Nothing is also very powerful, right? It moves 6 cards into a different zone on the first turn

@ajfirecracker Hahahahaah you guys are taking this too seriously. It's not foolproof and just a way to look at it. Bazaar generates a lot of "mana" and "ca", that's for sure 😉

@John-Cox I don't think exile counts 😛

I think Monolith/Opal should be restricted for being the primary enablers of KarnForge, PO, and future decks to come. The recent Belcher deck is just an example of the type of product deck that these cards enable. The types of decks that benefit from Opal/Monolith cause uninteresting gameplay by (effectively) winning the game on turn one. By restricting cards that make effective turn ones less consistent, you leave the door open for more types
of decks and high level interaction to be at the forefront of the format.

last edited by desolutionist

@desolutionist said in August 26, 2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

By restricting cards that make effective turn ones less consistent, you leave the door open for more types
of decks and high level interaction to be at the forefront of the format.

I find this argument very frustrating. Everyone plays this game for different reasons and we all want something different from the it.

No one wants to just lose a game without doing anything, I get that, I really do. But it is very exciting to figure out the mechanics of a turn one or turn 2 win.

The other view is that I play a spell you counter it, I play another spell and you counter it then you play a Narset and somehow this is better because there was interaction. I disagree.

There needs to be a balance in what keeps the format fun.

@psychatog said in August 26, 2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

Cards that should never be unrestricted because they are stupidly powerful one-card combos or because they’d break the format in 4x

P9
Channel
Balance
Yawgmoth’s Will
Tinker
Monastery Mentor
Mind’s Desire
Stripmine
Efficient Tutors (Demonic Tutor, Demonic Consultation, Vampiric Tutor, Imperial Seal, Mystical Tutor, Merchant Scroll)
Library of Alexandria
Lion’s Eye Diamond
Lodestone Golem
Fast mana acceleration cards
Tolarian Academy
Treasure Cruise
Dig Through Time
Efficient Draw 7
Trinisphere

Cards that should be unrestricted to balance the format, keep some decks in check, and make new archetypes available

Karn, the Great Creator (Jace is more powerful, yet it’s unrestricted)
Mystic Forge (finally artifact decks have a draw engine, hurrah)
Chalice of the Void (the solution to make it playable is to print cards so that those decks that are affected have side strategies)

@Psychatog;
I can agree with you for most of your reasoning, except for the 3 unrestrictions Karn, Mystic and CotV.
These 3 cards unrestricted would make any other workshop deck inferior to the deck playing these 3 cards. Furthermore, I believe the power lvl of these 3 cards is to high even when you play only 1 of the 3 in a deck.
Karn was also not only played in Workshop (although mostly), but if you looked at the Tournament in Japan, it was played as a 4x in Ritual combo to be able to fetch TV+Key for the win. If a card is able to be placed in every deck regardless the strategy and be off an impact that wins you games after you have resolved him, it should not be unrestricted imho.

I do agree with the fact that Brainstorm and Ponder do not belong on the restricted list. If these would unrestricted, Mana Drain is able to be relevant again (Gifts, Slaver Style with Thirst and Welder).

But as much I love Gush, I don't know if this card could be unrestricted, at least not with 4 Fastbond available.

Necro is something which should be tried imo, but I could not forsee the impact of it.

Mental Misstep is format wrapping, when available as a 4 off, you need to play him to be able to fight him, this makes deck building more constrained then it already is because you have so many auto includes, furthermore, Dark Ritual can't be a Pillar if Mental Misstep is unrestricted.

Greetz Arjan

I'll take a crack at defending unrestricted Bazaar: it's a unique card that opens up a lot of deck design space. It has a powerful ability that comes at a steep cost. Dredge is the broken part of the interaction.

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