B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020

@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

@smmenen Because, again, you blatantly misrepresented my post. Your argument was constructed on a lie. You could have made that argument without involving me but you did, so I feel obligated to push back and call out your deceit.

I operate as a scientist. I collect data and form my opinions based on it. When the data is obvious, I call it as I see it. The pattern was concerning from the first week but not certain and my 9-post thread was meant to reflect that, but over another week of league results and weekend of challenges, it was clear that countermeasures weren't sufficient and Lurrus was going to continue to increase in prominence. And it did. You asked me for my opinion and I gave it to you. Was I wrong? Lurrus almost hit 80% of the metagame before the banning.

Now this is something that makes me uncomfortable because I have imposter syndrome and I don't actually view myself this way. But you yourself looked at data from the challenges and said I had an over 70% winrate and even remarked "maybe you might be ChubbyRain good". My win rate in the challenges has been about consistent, even in metagames I don't enjoy. My success tends to come from my ability to analyze and anticipate metagames, not really from technical play. My lists are almost never refined and sometimes they are arguably suboptimal in omiting Black Lotus.

I don't think it takes much to look at metagames, play a few games, analyze data, iterate, and reach accurate conclusions. I apply this to B&R. You'll note I'm never one of the first ones to yell for a PO restriction after Narset or Karn or whatever gets hit and I said I didn't think Breach would warrant anything close to restriction when it was printed. I don't look for cards to restrict. But I call it when I see it.

This is the last I'm going to say on it. You are attacking me in these last couple of posts under thin veneer (If I were to be snarky, I would do this...really, Steve?) and I'm not going to turn this into a battle of ad hominens.

Hypothetically, instead of banning Lurrus, why didn’t the DCI try unrestricting cards that would disincentivize the use of Lurrus? (Such as Necropotence, Tinker, Mentor, Lodestone, Karn, Narset, etc.) Wouldn’t the allure of playing those cards present a more diverse metagame that isn’t dominated by Lurrus?

They have said recently they’re interested in experimenting with the restriction list but It doesn’t seem they even considered it here.

edit I actually just emailed wizards customer service about this issue. They're the only ones with the answers.

"In the weeks following the release of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths on Magic Online, we've observed a rise in the popularity and win rate of Vintage decks using Lurrus of the Dream-Den as a companion. Because of the nature of Vintage's wide card pool and powerful restricted cards, the deck-building cost imposed by Lurrus is less restrictive relative to the payoff of having Lurrus as a companion. As a result, the win rates of several archetypes using Lurrus have surpassed 55% in Magic Online league play, and collectively decks using Lurrus are representing too large of a portion of the metagame with no indication of a shift away from this trend. Therefore, Lurrus of the Dream-Den is banned in Vintage."

Since you can't play Mentor/Narset in the same deck as Lurrus, wouldn't unrestrictions solve the issue they've outlined in their explanation?

Steve, do you recall the announcement when they said they would use unrestrictions as a way of tailoring the metagame?

last edited by desolutionist

@desolutionist The main issue I see with the unrestrictions of things like lodestone, karn, narset is that perhaps people start picking those back up as a 4x instead of running Lurrus. Now we're right back to the same meta with 4x karn/4x narset and what? We have the same problematic WAR meta we had a year ago, as if Lurrus didn't exist and 4x narset decks reign supreme again? Golem/Karn shops just rule again? That doesn't actually solve the current issue, it just backs the clock up a few years to another problematic time.

@thewhitedragon69 said in B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020:

@desolutionist The main issue I see with the unrestrictions of things like lodestone, karn, narset is that perhaps people start picking those back up as a 4x instead of running Lurrus. Now we're right back to the same meta with 4x karn/4x narset and what? We have the same problematic WAR meta we had a year ago, as if Lurrus didn't exist and 4x narset decks reign supreme again? Golem/Karn shops just rule again? That doesn't actually solve the current issue, it just backs the clock up a few years to another problematic time.

What is the "current issue"? That Lurrus is popular and prominent but not at all critical to the core strategy in a number of decks that are doing well. I still take issue with this as being the issue in need of addressing.

Shops and dredge being out of favor right now is not because of Lurrus, it is because of a number of things that have rose to prominence over the past few months. Lurrus was the icing on the cake. If every deck uses the graveyard, everyone is going to use grave hate. Dredge cannot exist in that meta.

I was in the midst of assembling a monored Bloodmoon/Null rod list at this time last year in order to play something different (was short on City of traitors at the time). That deck was UTTERLY pushed out of the small fringe of the meta it lived in because it cannot exist in a world with 4x Force of Vigors, end of story. Maybe one day there will be a good inclusion that can deal with FOV and bring it back but until then that deck went from tier 2-3 to tier 9. Where was the outcry that Force of Vigor was too prominent and warping the meta? If I remember correctly that card was basically in every deck that could adequately support its green card requirements. Dredge totally reshaped itself into pitch dredge once Modern Masters actually settled into the format.

@protoaddict FoV is bonkers. It totally should have been GG and a disenchant (maybe even 1GG and exile rather than destroy), not double disenchant.

I never really thought Lurrus was a problem either, but people think there's an issue. Whether their really is or not, reversing time to go back to when there certainly were issues (4x golem, 4x karn, 4x narset, 4x mentor, 4x trinisphere) does not help anything.

last edited by Thewhitedragon69

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

@smmenen Because, again, you blatantly misrepresented my post. Your argument was constructed on a lie. You could have made that argument without involving me but you did, so I feel obligated to push back and call out your deceit.

What lie? What did I misrepresent, exactly?

What do you think my argument was?

The only point I was trying to make was that players who were playing on MTGO most frequently were more likely than other players to prefer faster DCI intervention. That was my argument, and your posts nicely illustrated that.

You over-reacted. I don't think there is really any reasonable way anyone could read your posts and think otherwise, with the angry and venomous name-calling, etc.

last edited by Smmenen
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