@maximumcdawg said in New Companion Errata:

You've been all over people (like me!) who mis-use the term "Power Level Errata" in the past. Now you're mis-using it? Shame on you, brah

The companion rule is written on the cards. It is a card rule, not a game rule like how phases or damage work. This is 100% a power level errata.

The game is littered with examples of cards that were hamstrung by rules changes: Interdict, Piracy, Citadel of Pain, Spectral Searchlight, Master of Arms....

One difference this time is that the rules were changed specifically to nerf Companions, rather than Companions getting nerfed incidentally as a consequence of a rules change whose intent was something else (such as streamlining the rules). I do agree though that the reaction of Steve et al. have a hint of special pleading.

The companion rule is written on the cards.

In the strict sense of "written," but it was reminder text. Reminder text isn't and never has been rules text. In fact reminder text is often purposefully an incorrect reflection of the actual rules, even at the time of printing (see Madness for instance).

last edited by evouga

@maximumcdawg said in New Companion Errata:

@smmenen Waaaait a minute here, Steven.

You've been all over people (like me!) who mis-use the term "Power Level Errata" in the past. Now you're mis-using it? Shame on you, brah.

Power-level errata, as the School of Menedian taught me, means issuing errata to change card text for the express purpose of reducing its power level. Now, usually it's misapplied by people who apply it to a change that is justified by original intent or original function but has the practical effect of reducing power level.

It seems like you're doing the same thing, but abusing a different part of the definition. Wizards is not issuing errata for card text like they did in the Power Level Errata era. Instead, they're changing rules. This is something that happens all the time. Hell, remember the Mulligan rule changes? Remember that cluster? Damage on the stack? Lotus-freaking-Vale? Rules changes are not the same thing as card errata and you know this.

I think the calm version of what I'm trying to say is that it's alarming to me to see someone who has always been so calm and clinical about the application of errata policy essentially break out the pitchforks over this one.

I didn’t actually say anything. All I did was post to snarky photo to be funny.

In any case, I actually do think this qualifies as power level errata. The express purpose of this change is to power down the companion mechanic.

It’s true it’s just a rules change. But it’s not a rule change with an incidental byproduct. The effect is the purpose.

It’s true that makes it different from most cases of power level errata, but not all.

To get technical about it, power level errata is a change to functionality that differs from the original ruled and intended functionality for the express and primary purpose of lowering a cards power. But that can occur by changing a cards text or by changing the rules. In almost all instances in which rules have been changed it’s because there has been a systemwide change. In this case it’s a targeted change in the mechanic with very few cards printed so far.

@smmenen said in New Companion Errata:

https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/latest-developments/power-level-errata-b-gone-2006-07-14

alt text

This is my main issue with it. I find it very disturbing that they'd choose to go this route after all this time. This is just weird and opens up a very bad precedent.

I mean, if you plot a chart of the admitted mistakes, bannings and restrictions and errata they have had over the past few years, and put it against a chart of the increase in releases the game has had, it's pretty much a direct correlation. I honestly just think this is them getting sloppy and being too relaxed about the corrective measure they have. I don't know what staffing looks like over there but I genuinely just believe they need more to do all the testing and QA work.

This kind of change is going to be more and more possible in the future as Magic shifts to digital formats. There, you can easily perform power level errata on cards. Bad Presidents indeed...

@Protoaddict

Even if they were sufficiently careful such that their attempts to ratchet up the power level of Standard didn't lead to mistakes that require bannings within Standard, the additional synergies and lines of attack available in eternal formats means that any attempt to push Standard's power level makes mistakes in non-Standard formats nearly inevitable.

That would be true even if Wizards did their best to test and QA for those formats, and let's not forget that Mark Rosewater has publicly stated that Wizards does not "have the means to test older formats".

@necrogeist said in New Companion Errata:

@Protoaddict
Even if they were sufficiently careful such that their attempts to ratchet up the power level of Standard didn't lead to mistakes that require bannings within Standard, the additional synergies and lines of attack available in eternal formats means that any attempt to push Standard's power level makes mistakes in non-Standard formats nearly inevitable.
That would be true even if Wizards did their best to test and QA for those formats, and let's not forget that Mark Rosewater has publicly stated that Wizards does not "have the means to test older formats".

Are you suggesting that adding more testing would not catch issues and that everything is inevitable? I disagree.

It took the communities of these formats all of a week to not only solve the new cards but to determine what was bannable. Even in previews, go back and look at what people caught the very day some cards were spoiled. I very much remember looking at Mystic Forge day 0 and saying this would be restricted in vintage. We can also look at a number of recent cards and see how quickly they were called out as staples such as Breach.

Testing is not infallible but to think that because it is not perfect they should not do more is foolish.

Video games have been using a concept called an "Open" beta for years to test the balance of their games on the general populace, and make the necessary adjustments before the real release. There is really no reason that this couldn't be done using MTGO or Arena.

@vaughnbros said in New Companion Errata:

Video games have been using a concept called an "Open" beta for years to test the balance of their games on the general populace, and make the necessary adjustments before the real release. There is really no reason that this couldn't be done using MTGO or Arena.

I work in software development. If my 25 man company can test out a multi-functional application against multiple form factors, devices, and browsers from 10 years ago and at the least know where the breakage points are, then I fail to see how a multi-million dollar company cannot test out the obviously problematic cards in a few playtest session against the formats they purportedly support.

@protoaddict

First, I think mistakes are inevitable, especially with a card pool the size of Magic's. Adding more testing would not catch every issue. But I agree that adding more testing would catch more issues.

My point was that they are trying to push Standard, and their attempts to do so via new printings (rather than bringing back old staples like Bolt, BoP, StP, etc.) could be expected to have ripple effects in eternal formats even if they were taking seriously their duty to test cards for Standard. [12:40 PM Edit: And they obviously aren't.]

Moreover, Wizard's statements have at least suggested that they don't test for eternal formats at all, both now and in the years past when there were fewer mistakes. If that's true, it would be erroneous to say that the increases in bannings and restrictions stems from them getting sloppy or too relaxed when it comes to testing for eternal formats, because there would be no difference in the amount of testing between the past (0) and the present (0). And if that is correct, it's difficult to tell whether the increase in mistakes in Vintage can be attributed to the failure to adequately test for Standard or simply to the push to increase Standard's power.

last edited by Necrogeist

@vaughnbros said in New Companion Errata:

This makes all of them +1 card for 3 mana. So if it really was just about +1 card for 3 mana, then here you have it.

+1 card for 3 mana is Divination. Divination is not a playable card.

@necrogeist said in New Companion Errata:

it's difficult to tell whether the increase in mistakes in Vintage can be attributed to the failure to adequately test for Standard or simply to the push to increase Standard's power.

We know that historically for most cards to make it into the Vintage world, they have to be pushed because vintage already has all the pushed cards. This is not at all a matter of them pushing because the power level on many of these cards is moderate in standard. Mystic forge was never going to be a power house in standard, and the cards that are strong in standard almost never transition to eternal formats.

The issue is that they are not pushing power so much as they are pushing mechanics in new directions. Companion was very much a new mechanic that did not have any real parallels in magic. Planeswalkers with enchantment like statics was very much a new mechanic. Even cards that are problematic elsewhere like once upon a time were new mechanics. That is not to say they are not also pushed in power, but there were not a lot of if any comparable cards to compare them too.

Have a look at the rehashed old mechanics. We don't have any cards that are issues because of cycling, because they know some of the upper and lower limits of that. Amass was a fancy token generator, plenty of cards that do that.

I'll use the development example again. I have a line of copy in my webpage. I want to change the color of it. I know from experience that there are only so many things that can wrong, so I do not need extensive testing to make sure it works everywhere, as I can with a high degree of confidence be sure it will.

Same example, but instead of a color change I want to make the line of copy display color dynamically, by using javascript to detect the users device and then swapping out the element. There are any number of things that can go wrong in this example, and it would require more testing. Even if i have ever done this before I know because I have never done it before. To the end user the result is the same though.

It behooves me as someone who makes a product to undertake the proper amount to testing I need to take to make sure that product is supported on all the other platforms that my company supports. If you think about the various official and sanctions formats of magic, those are in effect the companies platforms. Shouldn't it behoove them to either drop support for the format that they are not properly supporting anyway, or to test for it at a rudimentary level?

@protoaddict said in New Companion Errata:

I mean, if you plot a chart of the admitted mistakes, bannings and restrictions and errata they have had over the past few years, and put it against a chart of the increase in releases the game has had, it's pretty much a direct correlation.

Ok, that's an interesting question so I looked into it.

Here's a plot total unique card printings over time, along with the cumulative number of cards that have been banned or restricted in Standard (or whatever the Standard-equivalent format was at the time):

0_1591130499597_restricted.png

The rate of new printings has been slowly increasing throughout the game's history. Despite this, the rate of Standard restrictions plummeted to nearly zero, until something went wrong starting in 2017.

I manually scraped the restriction data from the MTG wiki timeline. Tabulating the number of new printings over time was surprisingly annoying; I wrote a script to compute this using the Scryfall API.

last edited by evouga

@boerma

Divination is a great card when your hand is empty at the end of the game.

@evouga This is a good analysis. I would actually argue the metric to track is not number of cards over time in total (unless I am misinterpreting this) but rather new cards released per year, or perhaps product releases per year.

The reason I say that is because first and foremost, cards that are designed already do not necessarily make the design process more taxing. When they designed the 275ish cards in Ikoria the fact that alpha exists probably did not affect the level of effort.

The thing about the graph you put together is that there are MANY years where there were 0 B&Rs but you maintain the level they are at. It's not about current sum total but rather the difference year to year in how many they have had to make.

My contention of course is that the more new products (not just sets) they try to release, the more mistakes they are making disproportionately to when we had a fairly static 4 sets + maybe a commander release a year. Size of the sets probably also factors in as designing Ikoria with a partner Commander release was well more taxing than designing just a stand alone, but there are any number of ways to shake out the metric.

@boerma said in New Companion Errata:

+1 card for 3 mana is Divination. Divination is not a playable card.

if you could give up a sideboard slot for a once per game ability to pay 3 mana at sorcery speed to draw a random card, would you?

@blindtherapy said in New Companion Errata:

@boerma said in New Companion Errata:

+1 card for 3 mana is Divination. Divination is not a playable card.

if you could give up a sideboard slot for a once per game ability to pay 3 mana at sorcery speed to draw a random card, would you?

Not if people still play dredge. Keep in mind you’re also giving up Mentor and/or Tinker.

last edited by Guest

@desolutionist said in New Companion Errata:

Not if people still play dredge. Keep in mind you’re also giving up Mentor and/or Tinker.

i was talking about companion as a mechanic, not lurrus and its restrictions specifically. is your 15th sideboard slot worth more or less than being able to pay 3 once a game to draw a card? i think so, if it was drawing a random card from your vintage deck. if that card is a 3-5CMC creature and your deck has constraints, that may change the answer. but i think for the generic form of the question the answer is yes, but likely not for the specific questions.

Against dredge putting a card back in your hand might not be a bad thing in some board states. Especially since dredge can't deal with lands and once they're out of disruption they're generally spent and all in on their combo. If you can force a board state where no player has any action/graveyard, but you have a companion, then a Luttri could be decent.

last edited by John Cox
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