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Samantha: “Matt, the deck lost to Merfolk.”
Matt: “I don’t build decks to beat Merfolk. In any format.”

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posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

This should have also been written to prevent lands from drawing cards.

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@blindtherapy said in [WAR] Tomik, Distinguished Advokist:

someone in wizards R&D keeps losing to legacy lands on their mtgo alt

LOL. It's pretty funny how in-your-face nakedly against Lands this card is.

I don't think it's too relevant in Vintage at the moment but one day, something could happen that makes this a relevant sideboard card.

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

Congrats on the successful finish and I was glad to read the report and description.

posted in Vintage News read more

I really enjoyed the podcast. I'm cautiously pessimistic about the implications of the new rule. It seems to make the already overpowered Vintage decks even more powerful. And the counterargument is that "well it's okay if Deck B gets more degenerate because Deck C gets even more degenerate." I'd prefer movement in the other direction. Always-Finds-Bazaar v. Always-Finds-Leyline is not good Magic.

posted in Vintage Community read more

@protoaddct said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

@brianpk80 said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

And to be clear, Hollow One would not need to be restricted were it not for Bazaar of Baghdad, which has zero mitigation unlike Mishra's Workshop, which has four instances (Chalice, Lodestone, Thorn, Trinisphere).

I'm not sure that is true. Bazaar is so powerful that we have not seen people try other options in vintage because why bother. But if you look at any other format where it sees play, it gets play with faithless looting, street wraith, and a number of other strategies. Survival plays some number of hollow ones along with vengevine and Rootwalla and god knows what else. If Tortured existence ever got a list, and it is truly powerful enough an effect to do so one day, Hollow One would see play there too.

It might still be a very popular and played card without Bazaar, but in all the cases I can think of, investing something (greater than {0}) to get Hollow One into play is fine; after all we can cheat all sorts of things into play at relatively low cost. Bazaar of Baghdad is the problem, and would be easily restrictable if not for its iconic status implied by the Forsythe tweet, it would be removable. Since it isn't, all we have left are mitigating measures.

posted in Vintage Community read more

@trius said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

I really appreciate this article because it is looking to modernize and improve upon a game we love.

If you are reading this thread, I’m sure you love Vintage. As such, you should always be open to opportunities for improvement. If you are not open, you may be overlooking the change that takes the game to the next level.

Thank you Trius. That was a great analogy, very persuasive.

@aeonsovarius said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

We both know what compare means and that anything in the world can be compared.

You're right. I read your question as asking whether the two could even be compared in the first place. I did not mean to imply that either of us didn't know the meaning of the word and regret that it could have been read that that way.

@aeonsovarius said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

One of the major commonalities between the 2 is the creature type but i know which i'd rather my opponent have 4 of in their deck. (and to be clear, i don't necessarily believe Lodestone should be restricted, just that one is better on average and the deck it belongs to performs better on average).

Lodestone is stronger in play but it actually costs mana to play. Given Workshop (the reason it's restricted) shaves two off its cost, we can say that "in context with Workshop" it functionally costs {2} mana. That's a huge steal but a comparable and somewhat better creature for {2} is sill a long way off in terms of efficiency from one that costs {0}.

Being a 4/4 creature is not a problem. Being a 4/4 creature for {0} is radical efficiency indicating an extreme power level imbalance. And to be clear, Hollow One would not need to be restricted were it not for Bazaar of Baghdad, which has zero mitigation unlike Mishra's Workshop, which has four instances (Chalice, Lodestone, Thorn, Trinisphere).

posted in Vintage Community read more

"Fair" isn't useful as a precise metric since adding a Mox Pearl to a Standard deck makes it inherently "unfair."

It's useful though as a broad generic term to differentiate loosely between decks that can win swiftly, degenerately, and with negation of the opponent's existence contrasted with ones that thrive on "value" and grinding out opponents.

posted in Vintage Community read more

@reb said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

@brianpk80

100% agree with everything in the OP (including bannings) and it's refreshing that some of the iconic humans of vintage have thoughts that align with mine, coming from the little guy. The only reason I still play vintage despite heavy disdain for the format is that I play my own brew and get to play FB: a clearly more egregious card than PO 😉 . If I didn't have that passion, I'd have left a long time ago due to - like you mentioned - player agency being at an all time low.

Thank you, reb.

One other thing that I think you slightly imply but don't state explicitly is that, at least imo, vintage would be a better format overall if the power of the format came from effect uniqueness rather than just rather than just sheer cost:reward reductions. For example, cards such as Gush, Standstill, Tezzeret, Doomsday, etc promote agency and decision making that is not present anywhere else in magic while still making you feel as though you're doing something incredibly powerful.

I hadn't thought of a uniqueness angle per se, though cards with more sophistication like Standstill, Ravager, Forgemaster, Trinket Mage and so forth are certainly more interesting than vomiting a bunch of 4/4's on the table for {0}.

@aeonsovarius said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

Lodestone has 1 more power and makes your opponent cast less spells.
Windfall draws 6 or 7 cards but they can be anything instead of requiring a deck of moxes.
Are all of these truly comparable?

They're comparable. Comparisons are made between two subjects that share attributes but are not identical. Golem/Hollow One and Windfall/PO share many attributes without being identical. Hence the comparison.

@aeonsovarius said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

If bazaar is arguably more overpowered, what do you think accounts for the meta share and win rates/Top8's of Shops vs Dredge?

Bazaar generates more value with less investment than Mishra's Workshop, regardless of what players subjectively decide to play on any given weekend. There's an example above illustrating how much it yields contrasted with the trivial investment of tapping a land. Regarding tournaments, if a dozen players randomly decided to play Sky Diamond instead of Mox Sapphire and those players outperformed the ones running the Sapphire, it wouldn't make Sky Diamond a better card. This notion of players' subjective deck/card choices influencing results further makes relying on that data inherently suspect.

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@joshuabrooks said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

@brianpk80

Brian,

I made a post a year or two ago that attempted to discuss whether certain cards should become sacred cows or not (at the time saying, "should the printing of a new card like Hangarback, be able to precipitate the restriction of an iconic card like Workshop").

I remember that.

One of my favorite things about Vintage is the ability to form long term relationships with certain cards.

I think this is why you, personally, can justify banning a card like Dig Through Time, but not Demonic Tutor or Force of Will. Our memories of Dig Through Time are short. Our memories of Demonic are infinite (just like Workshop vs. Foundry Inspector). I don't think too many people would bemoan the loss of a "newer" card in favor of preserving an old one.

Yes, exactly. Nothing from Khans has the kind of legacy as the pre-2000 defining cards in Vintage. Arguably a few things from last decade are close, like Crucible of Worlds, Dark Confidant, certainly fetchlands, Sensei's Top and so forth. And Mentor/Dig/Cruise/Ballista are light years away from even those, let alone Demonic Tutor as you mentioned.

I think this is why looking at B&R strictly through empirical data is difficult (as you seem to agree), as the presence of Sacred Cows dilutes much of that value. If we were being honest, half the B&R is probably being propped up by our affinity to certain cards.

I think there's a lot that keeps a few cards unrestricted including price factor, which is not an unreasonable concern as far as paper goes. I care about Vintage players who collect and are invested in the hobby and it would extremely cruel to dictate a loss in the four or five (or even six) figures as well as counterproductive to the goal of sustaining and broadening the format.

Most of the cards that receive great affinity are at least restricted however.

I know in the past you have supported Sacred Cows. How do you recommend we do that and by what criteria? For many years, Bazaar was synonymous with Dredge. Nowadays, you could hit 2-3 varied archetypes.

I would put it up for a vote. Bazaar and Workshop are the two most obvious auto-includes but it's not for me alone to say whether this definitively extends to Mana Drain, Force of Will, Dark Ritual, Null Rod (once called a "pillar"), or others.

How do you reconcile empirical data with "feel" data and what would be the best way to do that aside from committee? Right now, it just comes down to decibels (frequency and volume). Do you preserve cards or decks? And how?

That is an excellent question. The fear with elevating too much "subjectivity" is a spree of aimless and irrational decisions. I think two methods can alleviate this and another point I'll raise helps put more perspective on that concern.

First, there's always the democratic route. If the purpose of the format is to make the player base happy, some method of assessing player desires which is as maximally inclusive/representative as possible can be coordinated and executed.

Secondly, we could trust in a body of humans, in this case the DCI, to make judgment calls openly taking into consideration things that are difficult to quantify mathematically. We don't need a dissertation with 5,000 graphs, Venn diagrams, statistical regressions, and a quantum physics proof to know that Trinisphere is not fun.

And on that note, trying to use the current pretentious faux-math based approach has in fact led to results that are just as irrational and aimless, arguably even more so, than openly considering non-quantitative factors. We have a restricted list with Ponder but not the arguably superior Preordain. Lodestone Golem is restricted for its efficiency with Workshop while Hollow One is not for its efficiency with Bazaar. Windfall is restricted but Paradoxical Outcome is not. Four cards are restricted specifically to mitigate Mishra's Workshop and zero are restricted to mitigate the arguably even more overpowered Bazaar of Baghdad. Lotus Petal is restricted but Mox Opal isn't.

Given the above, it looks like we'd actually end up with a more coherent and "rational" result using an approach that openly acknowledges the qualitative and subjective factors that go into gameplay rather than the absurdities that result from relying on metagame %'s and "balance," regardless of how diseased each part of that balance is.

@khahan said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

The only argument ever presented against this that I have seen is that it could be too confusing for new players. What new players?

🙂 I wouldn't oppose that change.

@macdeath said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

I would like to see some changes, can't lie that I felt a little disappointed when I saw "no changes" in the latest B&R announcement (and I'm sure I'm not the only one).
But I think some of the solutions listed in this thread are a little too drastic. On one hand, some people are advocating to restrict everything that is deemed "unfair" (even advocating for Banning cards) and on the other hand, people want to massively unrestrict.

This was an excellent post from top to bottom. Though I'm a bit more gunshy on Flash, all of your recommendations accomplish the goal of improving the quality of Vintage matches, very efficiently.

@moorebrother1 said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

@brianpk80 I really respect your analysis and points. I have danced around some of these points myself. There is a very big challenge here there you are not addressing and that is the player base itself.

Thank you, moorebrother.

To be clear, the suggested changes are much less important than what precedes them. I wouldn't expect universal agreement on every suggestion I made, nor would I want to shove them down the throats of an unwilling player base. However, I believed and still do that there should be more written on the school of thought that elevates play experience and game quality, subjective as they may be, to the height of importance that they should occupy being that this is a game played for fun. The stagnant math-only approach is riddled with its own subjective biases, hasn't worked and isn't working.

@moorebrother1 said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

I like your premise and I like several of your points but I do disagree with the recommended actions.

I'm glad to hear that. It's better to have shared goals and disagree on the means of achieving them than it is to have widely divergent goals. IE, I don't subscribe to unrestriction fetishism, where "A small restricted list helps someone sleep better at night, gameplay be damned."

@moorebrother1 said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

I have found that most people like Vintage the way that it is.

I have had different experiences. I hear constantly about malaise with the certain aspects of the format from current and ex-players. However, it's not apocalyptic. Vintage is still the best format by far, IMO, but almost everyone I know wants to see at least some thing(s) change. I know people that bitterly loathe Paradoxical Outcome (the card, not the deck), same for Mental Misstep, etc. And our VSL audience of course hates Workshop.

@nedleeds said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

Well thought out article and I agree with much of your diagnosis. I don't agree with all of your prescriptions but I'm not off by much. The best thing that can happen for Vintage at this point is to create a Vintage B&R for however many more years MTGO lasts and a Type 1 B&R for paper.
Also, always, always restrict Misstep in all formats.

Thank you, Sean. Whether to split paper/MTGO would make a good unscientific poll inquiry to get a rough assessment of how popular it would be. Appreciate the suggestion.

@protoaddct said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

Part of the allure of the game is that it is ever changing, and anyone who dislikes change at that level should consider another game in my opinion because it was always the promise of Magic that it would be ever evolving.

Well stated.

@protoaddct said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

I do not believe any card should be sacrosanct enough not to be considered for restriction.

A lot of people share that view, which is not unreasonable. For now, it does appear that the Forsythe tweet simplified things by foreclosing that debate entirely for all current practical purposes.

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@chubbyrain said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

At what point do you start looking at creating a player run format instead of violating the core principles of Vintage? If you feel the only way to save Vintage is to ban cards based on power level, or if you feel the only way to save Vintage is to unrestrict almost every card, why can't you create those formats and try to gather interest there? If you feel 3 cards is a better maximum than 4, if you feel WotC is taking Magic in the wrong direction and want to limit the card pool, why not create that format.

I'm guessing this is directed at anyone who suggested a change since I didn't suggest things like reducing the maximum # of cards from 4 to 3 or unrestricting everything. I also never said Vintage desperately needed to be "save[d]." It's not atrocious and unplayable; there's just a lot of room for improvement, a statement that garners much agreement even while the particulars may diverge.

Drastic change risks alienating the people who do play the format, with unpredictable returns.

And that's why they've never restricted Mishra's Workshop or Bazaar of Baghdad. But they've mitigated Workshop without the sky falling and there's no reason to believe some mitigation of Bazaar would cause the sky to fall.

Restricting the obviously restriction-worthy Paradoxical Outcome is not an earth shattering or unforeseeable change, nor is putting Preordain in the same box as Brainstorm and Ponder. And Mental Misstep going sounds like it would be regarded as a cause for celebration, not anxiety and flight.

The bans would be the most ambitious change, but likely enjoyed in retrospect for years to come. Restriction hasn't sufficiently contained the damage from printing two more Alpha-level restricted cards in Cruise + Dig. Land, Trinisphere, good game, is unacceptable in the era of digital spectators. And frankly, the world is a better place without Monastery Mentor. There's no way to quantify obscenity; as the Court once said, you know it when you see it. 🙂

If you are the DCI, why would you do such a thing when you look at the hard data and you see the format is balanced, events are firing, and tournament attendance on MTGO is actually increasing?

You realize it's possibly to enjoy Vintage and play it often while still wanting to see it improve. Supermajorities wanted Mental Misstep and Paradoxical Outcome restricted last time the question was polled, many respondents being active players.

If I had to imagine the DCI's approach to Vintage, it begins with a sigh like an obligatory chore. "Do the numbers still look good on paper, great, moving right along, let's talk about Modern."

@hrishi said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

Very well-written piece and I enjoyed reading it, even though I disagree with most of it.

Thank you, Hrishi. I'm glad you asked insightful tough questions and will attempt to meet the stress test.

@hrishi said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

I find it interesting that Rich proposes a major spring cleaning of Vintage when he's talked about how disastrous the restrictions of 2008 were to Vintage many times before. What makes him think the same thing won't happen again?

Although I can't speak on his behalf directly, my understanding is that he believes it was simply the restriction of Brainstorm that was negative for the format, not the quantity of cards axed or even the identities of the others.

Personally, I don't think the 2008 restrictions were bad for Vintage. I was happy to see them. I think Vintage festered afterwards because the event was immediately followed by the horrible errata change to Time Vault coupled with the printing of Tezzeret the Seeker. Magic never had an inherent "defense" against "infinite turns" the way it has built in answers to losing life, being decks, discard, counterspells, anything and the abrupt out of nowhere ends to games without even a "storm" preceding it was demoralizing.

@hrishi said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

As far as I've seen, I understand attendance in the Vintage challenges is fairly high.

With respect, this confuses actively playing Vintage with unqualified support for every attribute of its current form. I play Vintage frequently, as does Rich, as do many people who would like to see some quantity of changes occur. One can even host and produce an entire show or podcast devoted to Vintage while still desiring some form of change.

@hrishi said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

if a company tells me that I can no longer play something I currently enjoy, but substitutes it with something else, I'm probably not going to want to play that something else.

Two points. First, one may enjoy playing Magic without enjoying a metagame with 4 Monastery Mentors. Second, changing the experience is exactly what happens with every change restriction, ban, unban, and unrestriction. Unrestricting Regrowth "substitute[d]" something that may have been enjoyed with "something else." So did printing Memoirs of Ravnica Part VII and Theros, which we both agree was terrible.

@hrishi said in Quality of Experience - An Alternate Take on B&R:

The DCI does indeed care about the size of the restricted list and endeavors to make it as small as possible.

There's a difference between wanting players to have great freedom and unrestriction fetishism, which is the belief that unrestriction is good for its own sake, without regard to its impact on the quality of gameplay. The DCI is not blithely unconcerned about game quality unlike a diehard unrestriction fetishist.