@ajfirecracker It isnt, because you dont need perfect enforcement to make it worthwhile to have a rule. But this is a case where you cant really enforce it at all, so its a no-go in my book.

Ive been involved with other games where thinga like this can happen, no one ever seemed to care.

I can understand your concern, but MTGO is a very different game. Some of this has to do with the shoddy interface, and some of it has to do with sitting at a computer. The latter is what I think you are missing.

When someone is sitting at a computer there is a nearly infinite source of information that they can tap into at a moments notice. There are number of advantages I'll specifically point to:

  1. I can google my opponent's name to find out what decks they play.
  2. I can look up a strategy guide, or my own notes in the middle of a game.
  3. I could be having conversations with other individuals.
  4. I could technically ghost my opponent if they are streaming.
    So on so forth. Where do you draw the line? What is fair and what is not? I'm not quite sure the exact answer.

I recall there being a thread about infinite combos, whether you should scoop or not on MTGO, or let your opponent use up a ton of their clock trying to complete the combo. Is that moral? In paper, you would just be dead because there are rules to allow you to display a loop.

I've also had opponents get furious about a misclick that caused them to lose games. Should I scoop to my opponent who has made a misclick?

MTGO is such a different animal from paper, applying the same blanket rules doesn't seem correct to me.

What I will say on this particular topic is that I enjoy Vintage streams where I can actually interact with the player. As a viewer, I'd be much less inclined to tune in if I wasn't allowed to say anything about the game. The reality is that this a game, and people are playing it for fun. No one here in the Vintage community is making a living off just playing. I don't see an issue with people trying to enhance the fun of the game, and in fact it should be celebrated (as it usually is).

@ajfirecracker I suppose you could say it's critical of all rules, since no rule can be applied perfectly. If we want to be serous though, we should say that it is critical of all rules exactly in relation to how well they can be enforced. Of course we wouldn't say that we shouldn't enforce a ban on murder just because we can never catch all murderers...

But again, in the real world, there is some point where unenforcibility renders a rule terrible. Unless I'm missing something, this rule would just be awful. Some people would comply. A very few people would cheat it and get caught. And anyone who wanted to cheat the rule and avoid detection, would just do so easily, and they would gain a competitive advantage over anyone following the rule and anyone foolish enough to get caught. In a best case scenario, a vast majority of players would comply and be disadvantaged. In the worst case, a majority would just easily circumvent the rule... and either way, any effort put into this rule would be a complete waste. In short, this rule would be practically terrible, because it can never be enforced in a way that makes it anything else.

Actually, I realize I've been thinking about these concepts quite a bit lately... what an odd day.

last edited by Topical_Island

@Topical_Island That same logic (that it provides an advantage) is why there should be a rule in the first place. If tournaments are all about who can assemble the best brain trust, that's even worse!

@ajfirecracker I think you're missing the point that the rule wouldn't do what you want it to do.

@ajfirecracker To be fair, the entire internet is your brain trust. Youre playing Rich Shay and Co., but you have access to them too through their writings!

I think youre assigning way too much value to any advantage they might have. They give up a tremendous amount by streaming.

@rikter That's a separate issue. People can have teams and not stream, or can have teams and stream, or can not have teams and still stream. I fall into the last category.

There isn't going to be a rule. The lack of community consensus makes that pretty clear. It's also clear that no one would really know if anyone was following it. So accusations could still fly and no one would feel "safer" because there was a "rule."

I've spent a lot of mental time over the years on issues of morality, ethics, the law, enforcement, and impartiality of enforcement. Most people here seem to agree that certain behaviors are immoral, but there is also a lot of disagreement on other behaviors.

That said, if you want to make moral arguments, feel free. If you want to make rule or enforcement arguments, feel free. But let's please not conflate them. The argument against the difficulty of enforcing a rule is not: "But what they're doing is wrong!" It is, "Here is how we might craft and enforce such a rule." And if you can't figure out a way to enforce the rule... well, the discussion is kind of over.

How many online tournaments where Pro Tour invites are on the line may have involved a player 1) scouting out opponent decklists online, 2) taking notes or consulting strategy articles, 3) ghosting someone's stream, 4) getting advice from a bunch of good players, or 5) something I haven't even thought of yet? We will never know.

And I've already spoken about what I've learned about paper Magic from some players. Even at the Pro Tour, there are routinely unethical things going on that are not against the rules--specifically things that benefit big teams or players with a support network of agents who scout decks.

Yeah, no rules since unenforceable, ethical guidelines only. I'll propose a few:

  1. No ghosting. Check video feed later.
  2. If you stream, and you receive helpful information, you have an ethical responsibility to determine if you would have come to that helpful information on your own violation. If clearly you would not have done so, then you can note it, but should not use it. If you are not sure, then you can check with your conscience, but I don't think the guidelines should go further than that admonition.
  3. (If streaming) Don't ask for immediate help. For example, when sideboarding, make your changes, then ask and see what others would have said (helpful for future rounds, maybe games). Don't make immediate changes if you asked for help.
  4. Internet searches for match information are fine.
  5. Timing out your opponent is fine (I wish we had 30 minutes though!).

Yeah, no rules since unenforceable, ethical guidelines only. I'll propose a few:...

Yeah, and if a frog had wings his ass wouldn’t bump the ground.

I think AJ's angst is misguided. But I'm equally surprised by the handwaving and straw men on the other side. All you need to say is, "Yes, I wanted help in a competitive event, but it's ok, because it's allowed."

@Morbid-Spec The hand-waving on my part is a direct result of the fact that the only possible ToS issue involves collusion. But a group of people participating in a session by looking over their buddies shoulder is not collusion. Collusion is multiple people enrolled in the event working together, by sharing draft picks, by throwing matches or otherwise conspiring to manipulate pairings, etc. So the type of behavior being complained about does not fall outside the rules.

Ghosting someones stream, as lame as it is, is also not against the rules. WotC even put a caveat in the ToS stating as much. So even if you got caught ghosting, its not a ToS. We could probably all agree that it is lame, and I wouldn't do it because it could have the effect of discouraging people from streaming, but its certainly not unethical to stream cheat. Immoral maybe, but not unethical.

Lastly, I seriously doubt that @THE ATOG LORD needs help in a competitive event. Its not about "I wanted help in a competitive event, but its ok because its allowed", its "I wanted to do something together with my friends, that is completely within the rules, and that I cannot understand why peoples panties are in such a bunch over it"

Edit to add that I can't tag Rich in this post, did he leave or something?

last edited by rikter

Collusion...Ghosting

Sorry, more straw men; this isn't AJ's point.

Lastly, I seriously doubt that @THE ATOG LORD needs help in a competitive event

A non-trivial portion of Pro Tour winners have been found out as cheaters. What makes Rich so special?

Note here that I'm not saying his behavior is cheating. I just think it's clear that player quality, if you think Rich is a good player, is irrelevant to the evaluation.

In the tradition of Pascal I will attempt to keep this short.

I have nothing but respect for both Rich Shay and Brian. I find them to be erudite and entertaining individuals.

I tuned into the stream of the challenge. Billy shennanigans aside,, during one match Brian was walking through the steps of a turn and Rich was disagreeing with him. It was very obvious that attempting to discuss the line with Brian, while reading the Twitch chat, while putting up with the myriad other distractions going on in the basement were plainly taxing Rich's thought process as he attempted to herd the radioactive cats.

That said- I was discomfitted by it because as a paper player I ran face first into the cognitive dissonance that says "you aren't allowed to do that."

Do I think Brian was navigating Rich through anything that Rich did not see? No, and in fact, I think the amount of input from Brian, the Twitch chat, plus the additional distraction of friends made for a much harder tournament for Rich than if Rich was just streaming in his office.

And no, I'm not weighing in on whether or not the rules or community guidelines should change. But it did feel wrong, even though I fully understand that it is not, due to years of "that's not how this works" from the non-digital format.

That said, I would also have no issue playing Rich if Brian were in the room kibbitzing/commenting/telling him to sac a thorn to ravager during the game- so there is that.

For sure they could discuss the correct line of play or even how to sideboard correctly few times.
Some points I wanted to raise, do whatever you want with that 🙂
1- who knows if their opponents are not doing it? I've been drafting
2- MTGO is not tournament paper MTG. Remember you can see all of your picks during a draft (and even sort those as you wish:!)
3- Their brainstorming is good for (almost) all players so we all get more knowledge about those decks/match up/situations
4- The only thing I regret (MTGO issue) is that some starting hands were mulliganed because we almost knew what opponent were playing. This is where I don't like it but well, that's a MTGO topic... if anyone who know me play against me in any tournament, they can be sure I'm playing shops.

last edited by CwaM

It's just something that can, but most likely doesn't happen a lot on MTGO with events.

You can't know so there is no point in stressing about it.

Sure, there's always that chance some of the VSL contestants, or power 9 players, or other format leagues do this but I seriously doubt it, and especially at the higher levels.

If I'm playing against Rich Shay and he has a friend behind him discussing plays, do I care? Not really as I was likely going down anyway.

For what it's worth, I never talk to anyone during VSL matches. I shut down chats and don't check anything while I am playing in that (outside of the chat that coordinates the games).

last edited by The Atog Lord

@The-Atog-Lord Sorry if it came across as I was implying VSL players do it, I tried to say the opposite.

@The-Atog-Lord said in MTGO Outside Assistance:

For what it's worth, I never talk to anyone during VSL matches. I shut down chats and don't check anything while I am playing in that (outside of the chat that coordinates the games).

So you recognize that there is some sort of fairness principle at play?

This post is deleted!

I will admit to not really watching a large swath of different MTGO streams, but do the consistent streamers observe "ghosting on their behalf", where the chat offers comments on an opposing streamers hand or thought processes?

It is a fine line that the popular streamers have to walk between offering a product entertaining enough that folks come back, while maintaining the integrity of the game. The notion of even a single player offering comment/advice on a live game in a competitive Paper tournament goes against some of the most fundamental notions of competitive paper magic (not to mention that that sort of behavior often has serious repercussions in paper events). Chalking this up to MODO is MODO and Paper is Paper is fine, as long as we all remember that Metagame analysis and ultimately banning/restrictions will continue to be heavily based on MODO data.

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