B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020

@vaughnbros said in B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020:

Drawing conclusions from as little as 2 games as to the better player/deck is extremely fault when each game itself has as much variability as it does in a game of Vintage Magic.

I'm not sure that is actually the point of a match though. We are not trying to derive who is the better player, and "better" is a very loaded and subjective term. We are only trying to determine who won. If we wanted to know who the better player was then yes you are correct, we would play a larger series, but in a world where we can quantify who is "better" do we want to play a game where the better player always wins? Not a very compelling reason for a lower skill player to want to join the game. In this regard some variance is welcome and needed.

@vaughnbros said in B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020:

The existence of companions in a format greatly reduces variation as there is no variance as to whether or not you have access to that companion. Imagine guaranteeing a land, or guaranteeing any other non-companion card. Companions themselves are just a very small subset of cards (literally 1 card in Vintage's case for the past month prior to this).

The addition of companions has no positive bearing on how good the mana in your opening 7 will be, as you are still drawing from a deck that does not include your sideboard cards, of which you had full control over in building. Players already have agency in this regard as they can choose which mana sources and how many they would like to include.

If smoothing out the opening hand and reducing the number of non-games was WOTCs goal, as it has been for some time, then companion does nothing to affect the first as you are still drawing 7 and no companion actually touches your mana, and goes a hell of a way for the second by ensuring you have access to at least one card that is relevant at some point in the game. The interaction Lurrus has with Black lotus could be argued, but there is still variance in that you need to draw lotus.

So companion does reduce variance, but just not in the way all the other moves have done in the past. It literally adds what is in-effect a new game zone for players to interact with. The point I am trying to drive home here however is that the printing of the Zendikar fetches, the new mulligan rule, the continued printing of differently named redundant effects, all these things have had a far more prominent and relevant effect on the games variance than companion has in my estimation, and it has been moving in that direction for some time.

@evouga hahaha that's pretty cool. Although Commander is the most popular format in the game, which completely disproves that theory. Also, as someone mentioned here, a LOT of other cardgames go with the "starting Hero/Tribe/Faction" card and work. L5R is a good example (in fact, it's a perfect example since their "sensei" were introduced to the game after it was already alive, just like companions to Magic.
Of course, none of those games is as famous as Magic, so maybe they're doing it wrong. I just don't see how Companion ruins variance. It just changes it - and I can't be sure if it's for the best or worse if the game became a companion game (with companions being printed almost every set). I'd agree it's probably worse, but who knows.

last edited by fsecco

@protoaddict

Yes, hands light on mana are still mulligan worthy, but not necessarily hands heavy on mana.

last edited by vaughnbros

@maximumcdawg said in B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020:

Uh... are you sure this is meant to be a story that actually happened? It seems pretty clear to me that it's just a fable being made to make a point.

Yes. Like in many of Mark's articles, the ideas and points he's making are serious, but the window-dressing is obviously not. My guess is that he designed the mechanic in Tempest as claimed, and then decided himself (after some playtesting with colleagues) that it wasn't panning out.

@fsecco said in B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020:

@evouga hahaha that's pretty cool. Although Commander is the most popular format in the game, which completely disproves that theory. Also, as someone mentioned here, a LOT of other cardgames go with the "starting Hero/Tribe/Faction" card and work. L5R is a good example (in fact, it's a perfect example since their "sensei" were introduced to the game after it was already alive, just like companions to Magic.
Of course, none of those games is as famous as Magic, so maybe they're doing it wrong. I just don't see how Companion ruins variance. It just changes it - and I can't be sure if it's for the best or worse if the game became a companion game (with companions being printed almost every set). I'd agree it's probably worse, but who knows.

Well, these are interesting points. I don't know enough about either cEDH, or L5R, to say anything meaningful, though I think for (normal) Commander the social contract is a very significant regularizing force in preventing abuse of the most degenerate commanders and strategies. If a deck is too consistent and becomes played-out within the player group, players readily and voluntarily switch to something else.

last edited by evouga

To those comparing Companions to EDH: there's a big fat difference between the rise of EDH and this new nonsense. When EDH was invented as a community format, there were already dozens (hundreds?) of generals to choose from. It was a junk rare format, letting you pull out cards that you otherwise would not use, particularly old Legendary creatures, and put them to work.

Perhaps, if they printed 100 Companions, we could equate the two. But, they only printed ten of them and development will be slow on more. I don't think a format with so few commanders is fun to play and I bet most of you don't either. It's like if the college football teams all had to share ten mascots.

@desolutionist said in B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020:

So these young interns who have spent their entire lives studying, applying, working part-time jobs, taking loans, and navigating the waters of internship landed a dream job that requires testing games of magic for research and development. They were so offended by a game mechanic under development that they threw away their careers just after dramatically writing a detailed message with lipstick on a two-way mirror?

Rosewater's credibility just went to zero in my book.

Er, you realise this isn't a real story, right? It's just a fun way of telling us how a past version of development went?

@hrishi

So the above is how a past version of development didn't go in an alternate universe in the back of Rosewater's mind. Okay got it. Thanks for clearing that up.

@maximumcdawg said in B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020:

To those comparing Companions to EDH: there's a big fat difference between the rise of EDH and this new nonsense. When EDH was invented as a community format, there were already dozens (hundreds?) of generals to choose from. It was a junk rare format, letting you pull out cards that you otherwise would not use, particularly old Legendary creatures, and put them to work.

Perhaps, if they printed 100 Companions, we could equate the two. But, they only printed ten of them and development will be slow on more. I don't think a format with so few commanders is fun to play and I bet most of you don't either. It's like if the college football teams all had to share ten mascots.

True, but let's not pretend like there are not best decks and strategies in that format either. People do not play them as often because of the social contract, and because the balancing factor they have that we do not is that it is multiplayer and if you reveal a clear threat commander your are playing a 3v1 game. But all things considered there are a select few commanders who are considered the best and with good reason. Money on the line in a major even, you are going to be bring a well tuned deck that you think will win, end of story.

As with any mechanic, there needs to be a critical mass of these things for there to be any hope of multiples rising to the top and the format not being stagnant. Look at any given card type or mechanic in the game and how many of them see competitive play? Under 1%? People play lightning bolt for a reason and if you saw lightning bolt in a deck you wouldn't start questioning why other burn spells don't rise up to compete with it, people pick the best out of the 100s of burn options. I am certain if EDH started out as a competitive format the field would have been dominated by a handful of decks and cards.

Also, there is a threshold with them, a fine balance point between playable and unplayable where maybe there is a deck built around them but they don't push out other decks without a companion, I'm just not sure we have found it. Banning Lurrus is going to open up the meta for Zirda. I have high confidence she will get banned as well come next cycle. Once she is banned, maybe we hit the proper point, or maybe Lutri steps up to the plate, or Gyruda. I have no idea what the equilibrium point is but I'm sure it is there because the companions as they stand now range from bannable to utter trash.

0 people in this format will ever play Keruga, the Macrosage or Jegantha, the Wellspring, and if they did it would 100% not be a problem. Likewise If a creatureless deck existed and they wanted to play Kaheera, the Orphanguard I don't think the +1 card would send the format into a tailspin. That is honestly not all that unrealistic if you eliminate the companions at the top, but the existence of a creatureless deck that can cast a 3/2 vigilance for 3cmc once per game is not going to be the thing that knocks shops or dredge out of viability. That is Force of Wills job.

@protoaddict said in B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020:

... the existence of a creatureless deck that can cast a 3/2 vigilance for 3cmc once per game is not going to be the thing that knocks shops or dredge out of viability. That is Force of Wills job.

If you are implying that force of will is played to combat dredge and shops, then I think you have severly misunderstood the format.

last edited by Tittliewinks22

@smmenen said in B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020:

There is alot of nuance here, and I agree with much of it. But that underscores one of the reservations I have about this banning. It feels like the problems in the format right now aren't actually Lurrus caused or even Lurrus significant, but rather Lurrus is an ephiphenomenon, that is a symptom rather than the cause. We'll see what happens now, but if Breach and PO continue to perform at those levels, or near to it, then maybe Lurrus wasn't really a "problem" so much as those two decks were problematic.

I think this is accurate. There wasn't a "Lurrus deck" any more than there is a "Black Lotus deck" or a "Mox Emerald deck." Dying to Deathrite Shaman on Turn 6 against an optimal (and hence patient) player running Lurrus is a very different scenario from Lurrus fueling the tactics whose degeneracy predated him. He was at his worst when providing the otherwise elusive consistent bridge from opener to resolving Paradoxical Outcome or making Underworld Breach recursive.

It feels very much like the Gush v. Mentor debate. Granted, they were both dealt with in the end, but many people projected Mentor's problems onto Gush, mistakenly in the first instance.

Setting aside differences on relative fault between Gush & Monastery Mentor, yes, the comparison works as an analogy.

I appreciate the affirmation about my concerns, but on the point about Matt's tweets, I don't believe I misrepresented anything.

You're welcome. You portrayed him as inconsistent and contradictory by omitting sections where he specifically made allowances for the facts that he both reserved the right to evolve and predicted it would happen. It is water under the bridge though.

@tittliewinks22 said in B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020:

If you are implying that force of will is played to combat dredge and shops, then I think you have severly misunderstood the format.

A) Force is certainly a tool used against shops. It is one of many.

B) This throw away line is what we call in the industry, a zinger. It's highly sardonic and uses humor to underlie a greater truth. If that is all you took away from my post I recommend you reread it.

@desolutionist said in B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020:

@hrishi

So the above is how a past version of development didn't go in an alternate universe in the back of Rosewater's mind. Okay got it. Thanks for clearing that up.

I don't know if you're trying to be snarky? But I'm going to assume you're not in order to be charitable.

Citing a semi-hilarious semi-embellished story about MTG development and using that as a basis to say Rosewater's credibility went to zero in your book seems like a bit of an over-reaction, unless you're under the impression that was a real story.

last edited by Hrishi

@brianpk80 said in B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020:

I appreciate the affirmation about my concerns, but on the point about Matt's tweets, I don't believe I misrepresented anything.

You're welcome. You portrayed him as inconsistent and contradictory by omitting sections where he specifically made allowances for the facts that he both reserved the right to evolve and predicted it would happen. It is water under the bridge though.

I didn't make any such portrayal, nor indicate that was my purpose.

In one of the tweets, he clearly stated that he felt they should be "given some time," no matter how many caveats he may have offered to that. And 10 days later, in another tweet, he said that he would like to see Lurrus banned.

I didn't juxtapose those two tweets to suggest that he was contradicting himself, or else I would have hidden the date stamp (which would have been misleading).

Rather, I juxtaposed those two tweets to illustrate how quickly he changed his mind. In that sense, it was "inconsistent," especially since he said we should "wait some time," but that wasn't why I presented them. I wasn't trying to portray him as inconsistent.

Quite the contrary. I presented the juxtaposed tweets to illustrate the speed with which someone could change their opinion on something like this, because of how much they were playing online and data was being generated, serving my larger point about the different segments of the Vintage player base and how they experience Vintage.

In fact, if I were being snarky, I would have posted the juxtaposed tweets with the phrase "Vintage comes at you fast. Nationwide is on your side."

I don't really see the big deal. People are allowed to change their mind when getting more or new data. So the fact that he was so defensive and angry and vitriolic about it was quite puzzling, and makes me wonder what was going on there.

It also suggests that people are hyper-sensitive about B&R discussions.

I said on one of the SMIP episodes that there is a huge continuum of players in Vintage in terms of their opinions about what should be done in Vintage, with you (Brian Kelly) at one end and Nat Moes at the other. And pretty much everyone falls somewhere in between.

In truth, such a continuum only illustrates one dimension of B&R policy: how many cards should be restricted and/or banned, with Nat wanting to unrestrict20 and with you wanting to ban and/or restrict more than probably anyone else I've read express a well-formed opinion on the matter.

But there is another dimension which that continuum does not map, or at least, does not map well: how insistently or strongly felt our opinions are, and how unhappy the current B&R list makes us, and how quickly we would like to see change.

While you, Brian, have consistently (going back more than a decade) expressed a desire to restrict and/or ban a greater quantity of cards than anyone else, you've always matched or counter-balanced that preference with a willingness to let things play out or settle more than others, such as Matt.

In other words, while you might be at the extreme end of the spectrum in terms of quantity of cards you'd like to see restricted and/or banned, you've always demonstrated a considerable degree of patience in seeing DCI policy reach your preferred policy goals.

Matt, on the other hand, has always been one of the first or earliest voices to suggest restriction and/or outright call for one. My purpose for saying this is not to psychoanalyze him (or you, or Nat), but I do think that psychological profile stands in for a subset of Vintage players, primarily MTGO grinders, who become more quickly disenchanted with the current state of affairs.

Which serves my larger point, and original point, that players who are playing a larger than normal amount of games on MTGO may have a greater than usual tendency to experience, and also express, dissatisfaction with dynamics in the format.

last edited by Smmenen

@smmenen What exactly did you think I meant by "give them some more time?" How long did you think I meant, especially based on my previous history which you are aware of as you are "psychoanalyzing"?

I think a heavy handed restriction list might as well be highlander since individual restrictions just necessitate other restrictions.

I’ve heard Brian say that Phyrexian Revoker is a restriction candidate while in U20, Phyrexian Revoker is not even a playable card. No one is racing to put 4x Channel into their deck either.

It’s also glaringly obvious that Paradoxical Outcome is a dominant card in U20, yet completely untouched in regular vintage.

There are errors with the current regular vintage restriction list to say the least.

edit Phyrexian Revoker might be a playable card in u20. I was just pointing out that there are so many cards you that could play instead, and thus the restriction isn't warranted.

last edited by desolutionist

@chubbyrain1 said in B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020:

@smmenen What exactly did you think I meant by "give them some more time?" How long did you think I meant,

Short answer: More than 10 days, before determining that something would need to be done.

Long answer:

The first tweet I posted was 4/19, which was a Sunday. The second tweet was 4/29, a Weds. Only two Challenges over a single weekend had elapsed between those dates, this one, and this one.

I don't think anything you said in the original tweet was proven untrue in that short period.

especially based on my previous history which you are aware of as you are "psychoanalyzing"?

To be clear, I meant to say "not" psychoanalyzing, which was a mistake on my part, but I hope some folks may have inferred my intended meeting based upon the structure of the sentence (followed by a "but...").

Now a question for you:
Why did you get so emotionally vested in wanting to see cards restricted and/or banned? Why do you get so upset and unhappy with certain Vintage environments? Why do you feel it so deeply?

It's not that others don't care as much as you. But it doesn't seem so transparently emotional in other cases.

I didn't attack you. You made assumptions about my post, what I was trying to do, that were incorrect, and very angrily lashed out. Why?

last edited by Smmenen
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