November 18, 2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement

@trius said in November 18, 2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

I think that encapsulates the unhappiness perception. Vintage frequently doesn't feel like the vintage we're used to playing.

I agree entirely, but don't forget that "the vintage we're used to playing" is pretty ambiguous. I got into the format around 17 years ago, and back then there were plenty of players who were upset that their 5-color Keeper control decks couldn't keep pace with the bleeding-edge new style of play brought about by Fetchlands and Quirion Dryad. The game is constantly changing year over year, and almost by definition you're going to love the version of the Vintage that people played when you first became passionate about it (because if you didn't love it, you never would have gotten hooked). So almost by definition, as it changes you're going to run into patches where you enjoy it less than you used to. People tend to interpret this as a steady decline from some golden age, but it seems more like a sampling problem to me.

@protoaddict The problem with those examples are bad card design.

Narset: hate against blue...but one-sided and give it to blue???
Karn: Hate against activated artifacts...one-sided and a combo in itself?
Misstep: This card was not a problem so much as it was annoying and it countered itself, so it caused all decks to run 4-of. If it were a phyrexian mana spell snare or nix, it would have still been annoying, but wouldn't have required decks to run 4-of to counter the opponent's missteps.
Thorn: I don't think this was the card needing restricting - sphere of resistence is more of an offender. Fish decks would love to have this back, but they got Thalia at least.
Trinisphere: This was not hate. This was a card playable in a deck that can turn-1 it off a single land drop and could shut out the opponent from the game for 3 turns. It wasn't hate vs decks with no top end as it stopped EVERYTHING for 3 turns and then any land destruction made a hard lock - it was just a terribly designed card for a format with strip/waste/workshop. Vintage wasn't in mind at all for this card.

Good hate is things like Thalia, collector ouphe, RiP, Stony silence, deafening silence, etc. Efficient and symmetrical, but punishes broken and is easy to handle for "fair" decks. Moves the format towards "fair." Making "hate" like the examples you gave are akin to saying ancestral recall is hate against decks with no card draw because you out CA them. Broken cards (trinisphere) or poorly designed/color-assigned cards (narset) and asymmetrical affects are far too easy to abuse and become a strategy in themselves as opposed to the needed function of stopping opposing broken.

@thewhitedragon69 said in November 18, 2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

Good hate is things like Thalia, collector ouphe, RiP, Stony silence, deafening silence, etc. Efficient and symmetrical, but punishes broken and is easy to handle for "fair" decks. Moves the format towards "fair." Making "hate" like the examples you gave are akin to saying ancestral recall is hate against decks with no card draw because you out CA them. Broken cards (trinisphere) or poorly designed/color-assigned cards (narset) and asymmetrical affects are far too easy to abuse and become a strategy in themselves as opposed to the needed function of stopping opposing broken.

There is a razor thin line in my mind between what you qualify as a hate card and what is just a playable card with other applications. I only used the term hate because it was used earlier but in the context i think could could also consider them counter-strategical cards. Thalia and thorn are counter strategies to storm strategies for instance.

Just because a card is a hate card though it does not mean it cannot have utility outside of being one, which is actually the issue with most of these. Thalia is absolutely a card that can be in the main deck of some decks and function as a hate card in others out of the board. In that regard Narset and Karn are both things, and ultimately got restricted for mistakes made.

Karn is a great example. Karn lattice is a 1 card combo by most standards. It was much worse when you could have 4 karns, but even with just 1 the genie is out of the bottle. Virtually any deck in the format that sees itself getting to 5 mana can play the combo, and where as it did not exist at all in the past it will now exist in the format forever.

Now take that example and make it more extreme, karn costs 1 and latice costs 1. Even with restriction, you now have something in the format that means one in every so many games is going to be determined by if a player drew a 1 cards "I WIN" combo before you opponent could do anything. How do you fix that with the restricted list? Is printing hate even viable?

@protoaddict

I think you can still balance it with new hate. Things like "B, Enchantment: This spell cannot be countered. When ~ enters play, name a planeswalker type. Planeswalkers of that type cannot use activated abilities."

THAT is hate. It stops an opposing strategy. It's only goal is to stop an opposing strategy. It does nothing great other than stopping the opposing strategy. And it stops a very specific strategy in a way that it can't be abused. Trinisphere may have been intended to be hate, but it never really was because it was more easily abused as an offensive strategy (lock my opponent out on turn 1) than fighting "storm." Hate should be something that fights a specific strategy very well but is not a huge threat in itself. Ouphe and thalia are "threats" about as much as grizzly bears is a threat. They are effective hate, though, and their hate effect is not a threat that can be abused.

I do think that, given the vast, growing card pool, even proper hate could become problematic. I'm tinkering with an erayo deck right now that uses deafening silence. Being so cheap, I can drop land, mox, mox, erayou, deafening and be a hard lock (outside of abrupt decay) on turn 1. However, that's a 2-card combo that needs 2 moxen on turn 1...so there's that.

Overall, I think effective, narrow hate will be a good way to answer problem cards/strategies. WotC just has to be cautious and make hate that's actually just hate and not a bomb in disguise.

@thewhitedragon69 said in November 18, 2019 Banned and Restricted Announcement:

I can drop land, mox, mox, erayou, deafening and be a hard lock (outside of abrupt decay) on turn 1. However, that's a 2-card combo that needs 2 moxen on turn 1...so there's that.

That is a 5 card combo, really.

The hate card you proposed literally only works though if you go first and name karn as a counter to the hypothetical I laid out. In that situation force of will still works. It does not address the fact that the combo still exists in the format now and forever and some games will just be turn 0 win.

erayo/silence also isn't a hard lock in that you can cast multiple spells as long as all but 1 are creatures.

Yes, point being that well-designed hate can mitigate a lot of the broken and push the format towards fair decks. We don't necessarily have to get into a format where everything is singleton broken.

I disagree, but even if I took that as the truth what you then wind up with is a format that is basically being crafted by WOTC that is just silver bullets against mistakes.

Eventually you get to a point where either the power dynamics of the format have to shift in such a way that you can remove some cards from the restricted list to keep it from being oppressively large, or you have to layer on another balance solution, similar to the points system in Canadian highlander. The thing is that as long as the format has sacred cows that will not be banned like workshops and bazaar then the splash damage from that means cards like Gravetroll and lodestone will always be on the list, so it is likely to just continue to grow.

Willingness to errata cards makes Hearthstone a much more enjoyable game to play. They probably though they were doing good pushing the power level of Planeswalkers there and ended up having to ban/restrict a bunch of them. But if they could make slight adjustments to the text and mana cost these cards would be fine.

A “hate” card by definition is only supposed to be good against a subset of decks, and bad against the others. The problem is that Vintage doesn’t contain the full spectrum of decks available to it. Every deck has become some Control + Combo hybrid, or Control + Aggro hybrid. Pure combo decks get destroyed by the restricted list. Pure Aggro is not fast enough. Pure control doesn’t finish decks off fast enough either. These weird hybrid decks cause all sorts of fundamental issues of almost every deck bwing affected by what should be narrow “hate” cards.

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