B&R Announcement - May 18, 2020

Most of this discussion seems to be theory or just based on the notion that nothing can every be banned in vintage. Has anyone in here played vintage or legacy online since companions were released? It's miserable. I love both these formats and if they don't make a change (bannings) i have no desire to play them.

@Illig719 I have not played Legacy with Companions, since I would normally play in paper. However, my understanding is that Lurrus is the new Brainstorm: a powerful tool being shoved into lots of different shells. Is that really a big problem?

The format is changing, set after set. Decks look different than they did a year ago, different than they did 5 years ago, different than they did 10 years ago. What kills formats is when they become homogenized or consolidate around very few strategies - Affinity, Caw-Blade, Oko, etc... When players have few competitive options, a significant percentage will not enjoy those options or will get bored of them quickly.

Vintage has undergone considerable selection bias so that the current player base either tolerates or likes Force of Will, the Power 9, Shops, and Bazaar. Legacy has a similar issue with Brainstorm, LED, and Chalice. Wizards has said they maintain the B&R for Legacy and Vintage for the current players in those formats and that's why they don't hit those cards. They've essentially been grandpersoned in. It doesn't make it right, but bringing this up every friggin time there is a B&R discussion changes nothing when it's clear WotC isn't going to change their stance and there's not a really compelling reason for them to do so.

New cards don't get the same consideration. They are untested in the context of Eternal formats, and untested cards don't deserve a certain period of time to breath when it comes to a game, especially since B&R is the mechanism Wizards has proposed for fixing these problems. Some cards just have interactions that after a few actual reps in the format are clearly problematic, and MTGO can generate considerable data very quickly. We already have 1387 matches from the weekend Challenges over the past 3 weeks and we missed one of the challenges. This ignores how quickly cards and decks get iterated in between challenges during the leagues.

I would also add that Wizards can't hope to match the Hive Mind when it comes to testing. Play design is 9 members split across Standard, Draft, and Sealed? Who knows what other obligations they have as well. Even if other teams are responsible for testing, they are still having to ban cards in Standard, like Oko, Veil, Field, and Once upon a Time. These are cards that emerged pretty quickly as overpowered, the critical flaw in Oko being that the teams underestimated the power of Oko's +1 ability (Melissa DeTora metioned that on stream). Similarly, the Companion mechanic was a missed attempt to balance the deckbuilding restrictions with the benefit- you can comb Maro's tweets for that. It's hard to balance for three formats, let alone all formats, especially with the current approach to card design.

I think we have to accept these limitations and recognize that, in the absence of large beta testing like other games have, cards will get restricted or banned (hopefully in other formats and not Vintage again - Companion is a rather unique example). The goal should be to expedite the process and promote transparency (would love to see Wizards data and design process for the cards).

@MaximumCDawg no wouldn't describe it as the new brainstorm in legacy. It's a card that you know op has every game and if you want to be competitive you also have it every game in a zone that can't be interacted with. After you play a couple matches you'll see its really more of a chess match to see who can deplete the others resources and stick lurrus. Whoever does that will bury the the op in card advantage and win at some point afterwards. Then start over and repeat.

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

@Illig719 I have not played Legacy with Companions, since I would normally play in paper. However, my understanding is that Lurrus is the new Brainstorm: a powerful tool being shoved into lots of different shells. Is that really a big problem?

If Brainstorm was printed today, wouldn't it be banned? DRS, Wrenn, and Top were powerful tools that were shoved into different shells and they all got hit. Astrolabe and Veil are cards that people have mentioned as possible bannings (along with Oko).

Lurrus is only on par with Brainstorm on power level. It's more comparable to DRS, Wrenn, and Astrolabe in other regards (Like, it's a 3/2 B/W likelinking value engine - how many unique decks can it generate?). Also, you'd be ignoring that Delver is winning pretty much every event and represent the majority of all these "different" Lurrus strategies.

last edited by chubbyrain1

The current B&R methodology hasn't been working, every good printing causes anywhere from weeks to months to sometimes even years of an unbalanced format before they take action on some cards then we go through a few more weeks, months, sometimes even years, watching the format try to "stabilize" itself, only to often get another broken printing and/or more B&R action taken. Continuing to use a method that has basically been proven to not work does not inspire any confidence of the format reaching a healthy state anytime soon. Stating that we should just "accept" this as the methodology is the equivalent of saying just "accept" that the format will never be balanced and in a constant state of change. I don't imagine that these are admirable qualities of a format to most players.

As for one of the previously stated goals of Vintage/Legacy and other eternal formats, there is one that your deck does not need constantly change constant. That has not really been the case for the past few years as the power creep continues in the format, and we have already hit the critical mass of powerful singletons to go with the cards that will never have action taken against them. If people enjoy what is essentially "super" standard, that is fine, but it is very different from what the format once was and certainly different from what the format could be.

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

As for one of the previously stated goals of Vintage/Legacy and other eternal formats, there is one that your deck does not need constantly change constant. That has not really been the case for the past few years as the power creep continues in the format, and we have already hit the critical mass of powerful singletons to go with the cards that will never have action taken against them.

I disagree with this in part. One of the stated goals for the game of Magic is that it is in a constant state of change with new pieces added all the time, that is it's whole selling point of the game from its nascency.

There will always, always be change and if anything WOTC has knowingly accelerated that in the past few years, going from a release schedule of 1 large set, 2 small sets, and a mostly reprint set, all the way up to a year that contains 4 large sets of mostly new cards, a commander set, 5 commander theme decks, Jumpstart, game night decks with unique printings, and probably more that I am forgetting. There are just so many more cards being printed it is inevitable that we see new cards hit the format.

Now, I think it is fair to argue they need to control the amount and the flow of new cards and how much they influence the current meta. I don't think it is at all fair to assume that your deck archetype becomes a fixed part of the format and viable for tourney play. I would actually argue that in a few more releases you may even see one of the pillars like Dredge fall from grace simply by the sheer number of better and better incidental grave hate cards we get, and that is without really taking any direct targeted steps.

@protoaddict

To clarify, I think the stated goal was more specifically "need", not "should". Changes to the B&R list make it so that you need to change, while new printings make it so that you should change.

As for archetypes, I don't think Dredge will ever cease to exist, but it certainly feels borderline unplayable in the Lurrus metagame as your opponent can just recur any number of hate pieces on you.

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

As for archetypes, I don't think Dredge will ever cease to exist, but it certainly feels borderline unplayable in the Lurrus metagame as your opponent can just recur any number of hate pieces on you.

This is the point I was trying to make as well. A large part of the hate towards Lurrus and new printings often stem from it affecting the sacred cow cards people hold up as untouchable in the format. Same was true with Narset.

@protoaddict That's not true at all. While there might be differences based on individual contexts, almost every format is on fire in some way based on recent printings.

last edited by chubbyrain1

@chubbyrain1 said in [B&R Annou

Some cards just have interactions that after a few actual reps in the format are clearly problematic, and MTGO can generate considerable data very quickly. We already have 1387 matches from the weekend Challenges over the past 3 weeks and we missed one of the challenges. This ignores how quickly cards and decks get iterated in between challenges during the leagues.

That's actually my biggest concern here. For paper magic players, this is close to a pre-emptive ban. The card isn't even legal in paper yet in North America, Europe, etc.

There have only been three bannings for power level reasons in the history of the format. I don't have an objection to Lurrus getting banned, but I am shocked and somewhat bothered by the speed at which they appear to be making this decision.

If you played in 10+ leagues and 4+ challenges in the last month, I can see how this could get old quickly. But for those of us (the vast majority) who can't participate in the evolution of the Vintage metagame at that clip, I think this is disturbingly too fast.

I mean, check out the date stamps here:

alt text

Within the space of 10 days, you went from saying they should wait a while, to saying they needed to ban it.

I do think that Wizards should wait at least a few months before banning a card in Vintage, or at least until people get a chance to play it a few times in paper. And I don't care how much MTGO data has been accumulated in the interim, a thousand matches or a million. One month isn't nearly enough time to ban a card in a 30 year old format.

Doing that is catering to the needs of online players who have the luxury of time and life circumstance to begin attacking a format literally the day the cards become legal.

I think Vintage should be managed in a more balanced way, rather than one that is superficially neutral, but actually disenfranchises people who don't grind virtually every day, or are primarily paper players.

I would also add that Wizards can't hope to match the Hive Mind when it comes to testing. Play design is 9 members split across Standard, Draft, and Sealed? Who knows what other obligations they have as well. Even if other teams are responsible for testing, they are still having to ban cards in Standard, like Oko, Veil, Field, and Once upon a Time. These are cards that emerged pretty quickly as overpowered, the critical flaw in Oko being that the teams underestimated the power of Oko's +1 ability (Melissa DeTora metioned that on stream). Similarly, the Companion mechanic was a missed attempt to balance the deckbuilding restrictions with the benefit- you can comb Maro's tweets for that. It's hard to balance for three formats, let alone all formats, especially with the current approach to card design.

I completely agree with this. The idea that mistakes wouldn't happen if some sort of Vintage advisory board reviewed card design is silly, at best.

last edited by Smmenen

@smmenen You cherrypicked a 9-tweet post on the first one that basically was trying to give players time to adapt to them. It became clear that that adapting meant playing Lurrus and the only outcome was the dominance of one companion. In the span of 10 days, Lurrus rose from 40% to 60% of the metagame and it's win rate stayed at 60%. It swept an entire weekend of top 8's. With that said, the card is still being banned after 1 month of play. It wasn't banned immediately.

You are also acting like this wasn't a unique circumstance brought on by the COVID epidemic. This entire circumstance is incredibly usual and failing to point that out is very disingenuous.

Edit: Almost like when you look at this post in context, it has a different meaning than you suggest.
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last edited by chubbyrain1

I remade my account to let @Smmenen know that paper Vintage tournaments have been allowing Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths since its street release in Asia. I commentated one, the Vintage Quarantine Bonanza, where Lurrus Breach had a 100% MWP in non-mirrors. The “won’t someone think of the paper players” talking points make me sad because I’ve always considered Steve to be better connected to the Vintage community .

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

I remade my account to let @Smmenen know that paper Vintage tournaments have been allowing Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths since its street release in Asia. I commentated one, the Vintage Quarantine Bonanza, where Lurrus Breach had a 100% MWP in non-mirrors. The “won’t someone think of the paper players” talking points make me sad because I’ve always considered Steve to be better connected to the Vintage community .

That's why I specifically said "North America, Europe, etc." I know alot of paper players who have the same reservations I just mentioned about this likely banning, for the reasons I just stated. Maybe they just don't want to be as public about sharing them.

Welcome back to both you and Matthew.

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

@smmenen You cherrypicked a 9-tweet post on the first one that basically was trying to give players time to adapt to them. It became clear that that adapting meant playing Lurrus and the only outcome was the dominance of one companion. In the span of 10 days, Lurrus rose from 40% to 60% of the metagame and it's win rate stayed at 60%. It swept an entire weekend of top 8's. With that said, the card is still being banned after 1 month of play. It wasn't banned immediately.

You are also acting like this wasn't a unique circumstance brought on by the COVID epidemic. This entire circumstance is incredibly usual and failing to point that out is very disingenuous.

I didn't cherry pick anything. I literally juxtaposed the only tweets in which you explicitly stated something should or should not be done about Lurrus that I could find.

And, again, I'm not saying there isn't data to support a banning. But you are misrepresenting the problem in many ways.

First, "lurrus" isn't a strategy like PO or Oath. The two best Lurrus decks are incredibly different strategies. And they exist just fine without Lurrus existing at all, as they preexisted Lurrus, and will presumably exist as upper tier decks without Lurrus.

So, the data you are deploying on Lurrus's "dominance" and "win rate" is massively misleading. That would be like if I conflated Oath and PO decks as a single archetype just because they shared Force of Will and Black Lotus.

PO and TX Breach appear to be dominant. And they appear to be given a boost by Lurrus, but unless you can disentangle exactly how much of a boost, then we can't know whether banning Lurrus is actually the right thing to do to address these deck's individual performance. Instead, perhaps restricting something else is better to address the problem of the dominance and win rates.

Your main complaint, so far as I could tell on twitter (not what you stated here), was the "monotonous" experience created by Lurrus. That's completely different than a complain that Lurrus' win rate is too great, or that it is strategically dominating. That's a concern that it creates tactical play patterns you find boring. Fine, that's a legitimate complaint, but it's quite different, and you are conflating them to serve your preferred outcome.

I don't have a problem with banning Lurrus, but a month is way too fast, IMO. Even if it were legal in paper before now, Wizards is allowing the MTGO grinder cycle to dictate B&R policy. And for something as momentous and far reaching as a banning, that's too fast too soon.

@Smmenen

It was a North American event.

last edited by Guest

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

@Smmenen

It was a North American event.

Yes, I'm aware of the event you are referring to, and even helped promote it. Just because people have been playing it, doesn't mean it's technically legal yet. Because it's not until Sunday.

In any case, that's not even the main point: which is that banning a card in a 30 year format that has only ever banned a card for power level reasons 3 times before, and the last time in 1996, should take more than a month of experience, IMO, before such a momentous decision.

last edited by Smmenen

@smmenen You used my tweet out of context as I specifically described the issues and concerns I had in the rest of the thread, which were realized as the metagame adapted. You didn't even link to the original tweets. That is incredibly dishonest, and it's not worth engaging with you. Seriously, fuck off Steve. I'm not playing shady lawyer with you.

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

@smmenen You used my tweet out of context as I specifically described the issues and concerns I had in the rest of the thread, which were realized as the metagame adapted. You didn't even link to the original tweets. That is incredibly dishonest, and it's not worth engaging with you. Seriously, fuck off Steve. I'm not playing shady lawyer with you.

You are tripping, dude.

@smmenen

Then which paper players are you referring to? Just because players didn’t get to use real cards doesn’t mean it’s not real paper play. That probably delegitimizes 99% of paper vintage due to its reliance on proxies, which makes your mysterious paper players have no voice in the matter anyway.

last edited by Guest

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

@smmenen

Then which paper players are you referring to? Just because players didn’t get to use real cards doesn’t not make it real paper play. That probably delegitimizes 99% of paper vintage due to its reliance on proxies, which makes your mysterious paper players have no voice in the matter.

I have been told by at least a half a dozen long time players that they feel that banning Lurrus right now is too soon, including Montolio (one person I'll name because he posted that in a public chat during the Team Serious invitational). But Brassman also said on the Team Serious Invitational broadcast he thought it was too soon (another public comment, so I can cite it here).

last edited by Smmenen
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