[Official] State of Modern Thread (B&R 01/13/2020)

Aazadan
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Post by Aazadan » 2 months ago

cfusionpm wrote:
2 months ago
Kind of hard to sell a deck that to someone who wants to play lots of cantrips, counters, removal/direct damage, and hates Ensnaring Bridge. It's one of the best examples of how much I hate the fact that spells stapled to creatures are better than spells as spells.


Fair enough, but if you don't want any board presence at all, you're probably not going to find anything you like in Magic going forward anymore. Vintage, Legacy, Modern, Pioneer, Standard, Limited, Cube... creatures and planeswalkers are dominant in all of them.

I guess the deck closest to what you want if you just want lands and non permanents is probably Scapeshift, possibly of a RUG variety.

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Post by Amalgam » 2 months ago

Tomatotime wrote:
2 months ago
Amalgam wrote:
2 months ago
You are also playing an incredibly polarizing deck that generates insane amounts of value and crushes decks that try to play fair. Niz Mizzet is a pure meta deck and might not be the best example of a deck to discuss fair vs unfair decks. Niv Mizzet is designed to crush other fair decks with insane amounts of value so of course it will struggle with decks that go under it.

The meta changes and different fair decks can be viable at different points in time, even on going back 3 months or so Niv Mizzet was winning endlessly online until the meta changed.
I'm not sure we can in good faith call 5 color Niv a polarizing deck while giving Tron a pass. Also not to get into the nitty gritty, but the deck doesn't really generate that much value, I get to draw an average of 3 cards per Niv, I'm not lattice locking people or going infinite with thoper/sword, so lets keep this in perspective.
Generating value and swamping your opponent in card advantage is literally the entire point of the deck. It is not a good example of a fair deck and yes it does have polarizing matchups, it's why it either does incredibly well or terribly depending on the meta. A deck can both be fair and polarized.
Tron is another example of a polarized deck just on the other spectrum just like you mentioned

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Post by drmarkb » 2 months ago

Aazadan wrote:
2 months ago
cfusionpm wrote:
2 months ago
Kind of hard to sell a deck that to someone who wants to play lots of cantrips, counters, removal/direct damage, and hates Ensnaring Bridge. It's one of the best examples of how much I hate the fact that spells stapled to creatures are better than spells as spells.


Fair enough, but if you don't want any board presence at all, you're probably not going to find anything you like in Magic going forward anymore. Vintage, Legacy, Modern, Pioneer, Standard, Limited, Cube... creatures and planeswalkers are dominant in all of them.

I guess the deck closest to what you want if you just want lands and non permanents is probably Scapeshift, possibly of a RUG variety.
Legacy is not a creature format in the way standard is or Pioneer will be. Playing creatures is not the same as creature decks to my mind. Take turbo depths or Lands- no creatures, then bam -20/20 -dead that turn, probably. No assessing combat- wondering if I should attack- you have a 20 you attack 99.9 % of the time, basically. You might have won with a creature but you did not win with five successive combats, you do not consider combat tricks or if the opponent is holding wrath, which is what proper creature decks feel like. It would be like saying the dreaded Twin is a critter deck, it is not what people think of. I am ok with someone Show and Telling Emrakul t2, they never actually attack with it because it is answered or its GG. A reanimated Grissel dude t1 does not feel like a creature deck, as you had to cast a bunch of spells to cheat it. Similarly elves is not really a creature deck when it combos t3- it draws its deck and then you scoop- no assessing combat as the field is a bunch of enormous elves. That is not the same as a tribal or stompy deck in Pioneer, say. Whilst they are not all top tier a lot of Karn decks do have a sneaky habit of dropping a t1 3 sphere and then preventing the opponent ever casting a spell with a wastelock. Delver and d n t are both fine decks, RUG was nuts, but they are a part of a healthy meta, one where fringe decks can grindstone kill you, or rip/helm, and a Jace and counterbalance can win the game with a bunch of basics and blue spells in hand. You will never remove walkers or critters totally, it is more about how a deck feels regarding creatures than whether it has them. I mean technically bomberman and dredge have creatures, but most Legacy players don't think of them as a creature deck in the way Merfolk or some delver decks do. Pure storm type combo is not going to happen suddenly, sure, but there will be plenty of decks that avoid the patter of dude/spell/dude/spell/dude/sweep, dude spell etc. I am not really concerned as to what people call the decks, it is more about how they feel,

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Post by Aazadan » 2 months ago

[mention]drmarkb[/mention]

According to the metagame breakdown post a couple pages ago, well over 50% of the format was actual creature decks (not counting decks like S&T as creature decks obviously). And that's typical of Legacy. And over time, the percent that are creature decks is rising.

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Post by idSurge » 2 months ago

Aazadan wrote:
2 months ago
I guess the deck closest to what you want if you just want lands and non permanents is probably Scapeshift, possibly of a RUG variety.
Actually is that at all viable? Thats something I've always wanted to play but worried it would get banned out (4 mana sorcery = win game).
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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 2 months ago

idSurge wrote:
2 months ago
Aazadan wrote:
2 months ago
I guess the deck closest to what you want if you just want lands and non permanents is probably Scapeshift, possibly of a RUG variety.
Actually is that at all viable? Thats something I've always wanted to play but worried it would get banned out (4 mana sorcery = win game).
I will preface this by saying that I haven't played RUG Scapeshift for many years. I will say this though. I think it's probably fairly viable. To be fair, I don't think anything is viable outside of Sultai Urza or Amulet right now. But after that, sure, it's viable. RG Titanshift is the better Scapeshift deck right now. It's better to be proactive, blah blah (you've heard it from every member here and it's true). I think you can build a SB to at least have nearly a 50% matchup vs. the decks you intend to face, at least if you don't have a super varied metagame.
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Post by Tzoulis » 2 months ago

idSurge wrote:
2 months ago
Aazadan wrote:
2 months ago
I guess the deck closest to what you want if you just want lands and non permanents is probably Scapeshift, possibly of a RUG variety.
Actually is that at all viable? Thats something I've always wanted to play but worried it would get banned out (4 mana sorcery = win game).
The 4-5c version for bring to light and general sideboarding options wreck Urza decks also.

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Post by idSurge » 2 months ago

Yeah, I'd stick to RUG, not out of a question of competitiveness, but just for aesthetic reasons. :p
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Post by drmarkb » 2 months ago

Aazadan wrote:
2 months ago
drmarkb

According to the metagame breakdown post a couple pages ago, well over 50% of the format was actual creature decks (not counting decks like S&T as creature decks obviously). And that's typical of Legacy. And over time, the percent that are creature decks is rising.
You mean the GP breakdown by True Name? That depends on how you classify some decks, decks like d n t or goblins are really prison decks, d n t was often known as white prisin. I often scoop with quite high life against them, which does not happen with Burn, for example. There are a lot of tempo or tempo hybrid decks in the format which is where the critters come into the format, even decks like maverick run the depths combo, lots of different angles exist- red prison is sometimes a stompy deck. If you want to make Pioneer or Modern like that I would be happy. I don't see them popping Wasteland et al into the format, sadly and it is cards like that that allow hybridised decks, I would like decks to hybridise more as in Legacy.
Of course after 6 months of rug, things are in flux.

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Post by Tzoulis » 2 months ago

drmarkb wrote:
2 months ago
Aazadan wrote:
2 months ago
drmarkb

According to the metagame breakdown post a couple pages ago, well over 50% of the format was actual creature decks (not counting decks like S&T as creature decks obviously). And that's typical of Legacy. And over time, the percent that are creature decks is rising.
You mean the GP breakdown by True Name? That depends on how you classify some decks, decks like d n t or goblins are really prison decks, d n t was often known as white prisin. I often scoop with quite high life against them, which does not happen with Burn, for example. There are a lot of tempo or tempo hybrid decks in the format which is where the critters come into the format, even decks like maverick run the depths combo, lots of different angles exist- red prison is sometimes a stompy deck. If you want to make Pioneer or Modern like that I would be happy. I don't see them popping Wasteland et al into the format, sadly and it is cards like that that allow hybridised decks, I would like decks to hybridise more as in Legacy.
Of course after 6 months of rug, things are in flux.
D&T and Goblins being prison decks in no way shape or form change the fact that they are playing 25+ creatures and win by turning creatures sideways. They are creature decks through and through.

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Post by The Fluff » 2 months ago

drmarkb wrote:
2 months ago
The Fluff wrote:
2 months ago
Is there a problem with a Standard deck with.... ten critters? I'm curious on the reason for this.
Yeah, one sixth of the deck is creatures. Lots of tapping creatures sideways sounds like midrange with a few reactive spells tacked on.
Miracles is a UW control deck and runs/ran maybe 3 snappy and a couple of mentor, and about half the wins were Jace ultimates.
Rip helm versions use combo too.
Pox is a control prison deck and runs, 1-4 manlands, and a Nether spirit, maybe one or two more in the board, maybe a Phyrexian Totem main in the odd build.
The biggest issue I have with standard control decks is they seemingly almost exclusively win with combat. When someone says UW control I sort of expect 4 creatures and not 10, 12 etc. Just my preconceptions and definitions, but enough to make sure I never darken Standard's door again.
oh, I see. just your personal preconceptions and definitions.

I thought there was something seriously wrong with control decks having 10 creatures.
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Post by Aazadan » 2 months ago

drmarkb wrote:
2 months ago
You mean the GP breakdown by True Name? That depends on how you classify some decks, decks like d n t or goblins are really prison decks, d n t was often known as white prisin. I often scoop with quite high life against them, which does not happen with Burn, for example. There are a lot of tempo or tempo hybrid decks in the format which is where the critters come into the format, even decks like maverick run the depths combo, lots of different angles exist- red prison is sometimes a stompy deck. If you want to make Pioneer or Modern like that I would be happy. I don't see them popping Wasteland et al into the format, sadly and it is cards like that that allow hybridised decks, I would like decks to hybridise more as in Legacy.
Of course after 6 months of rug, things are in flux.
That doesn't stop them from being creature decks.

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Post by idSurge » 2 months ago

The Fluff wrote:
2 months ago
drmarkb wrote:
2 months ago
The Fluff wrote:
2 months ago
Is there a problem with a Standard deck with.... ten critters? I'm curious on the reason for this.
Yeah, one sixth of the deck is creatures. Lots of tapping creatures sideways sounds like midrange with a few reactive spells tacked on.
Miracles is a UW control deck and runs/ran maybe 3 snappy and a couple of mentor, and about half the wins were Jace ultimates.
Rip helm versions use combo too.
Pox is a control prison deck and runs, 1-4 manlands, and a Nether spirit, maybe one or two more in the board, maybe a Phyrexian Totem main in the odd build.
The biggest issue I have with standard control decks is they seemingly almost exclusively win with combat. When someone says UW control I sort of expect 4 creatures and not 10, 12 etc. Just my preconceptions and definitions, but enough to make sure I never darken Standard's door again.
oh, I see. just your personal preconceptions and definitions.

I thought there was something seriously wrong with control decks having 10 creatures.
Depends on what you call control.
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Post by Yawgmoth » 2 months ago

Tzoulis wrote:
2 months ago
D&T and Goblins being prison decks in no way shape or form change the fact that they are playing 25+ creatures and win by turning creatures sideways. They are creature decks through and through.
I think people may different conceptions of what makes a "creature deck."

For example, I don't consider Goblins to be a creature deck., Goblins use lots of creatures and attack to win but they are not just a 1 dimensional aggro deck. They work through synergy, interaction, combos, and sequencing. They also offer multiple win conditions depending on the board state. Combat is one way to win but it isn't the only. You can also lock down the board and win through non-combat mechanisms (ie sacrificing goblins to Sling-Gand Lieutenant and Pashalik Mons ). I did this in response to a lethal attack by Amulet Titan and won on the spot, super satisfying.

Ironically, I don't like to play with what I call "creature decks" but I love playing with Goblins. It's literally my favorite deck to play with. I'm not sure how best to describe what I mean by "creature deck" but in my mind it's a deck that just plays big creatures and beats you over the head with them. Goblins use lots of creatures but "beating you over the head" is only one of many options. "Creature decks" are more unidimensional in terms of strategy.

I would consider my Mardu Deaths Shadow deck more of a "creature deck" than my Jund Goblins because of how linear and dependent on attacking turn after turn the game game plan is. To me, Mardu DS is basically a creature deck with hand disruption. If I can't attack with Shadow or Fishy then I cannot win the game. Jund Goblins is literally four decks in one and I can completely change my strategy as the game state requires.

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Post by drmarkb » 2 months ago

Aazadan wrote:
2 months ago

That doesn't stop them from being creature decks.
If Wotc want to populate Pioneer or Modern with a bunch of them I would be happy. I am not complaining about such decks. I pointed out how I don't want to play critter decks as defined by me, not you, and whilst I am happy to clarify what I mean I am not going to discuss whether my definition is what you define as a creatute deck or vice versa. You are welcome to view Legacy d n t as a critter deck, or as an aggro deck, I will view it as a prison deck and neither of us is wrong. I just want to be clear, that is all.

Those decks stop people playing, which is good in my book, makes for a better format with more axis of attack. I would love a death and taxes prison deck to be more viable, I used to contribute hugely back in the day to forum in Modern. Sadly cards like Hushwing, Thalia, Arbiter et al don't form a strong enough shell to compete in Modern. Maybe with Port and Wasteland they would.

I dislike matches where both players play creatures whose sole ability is to smash face, whose abilities just make combat better or redyce the opponent's life or advance board position, but which don't interact with the opponent's ability to cast spells or perform actions. Those I like.

Debating what is a deck type is not much use, as long as we are clear I have no reason to want to change anyone's definitions.
Ditto my desire to not play Standard because control decks with double figure creature counts don't feel like control - my feelings, my descision and no desire to make others either follow my lead or accept my definition of control. Simply my own explanation.

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Post by ktkenshinx » 2 months ago

I had a few responses drafted throughout the week, but ultimately discarded them because I think they needed more context. All of this discussion drew me back to my longstanding project of trying to quantify/grade the core qualities of decks, i.e. where decks sit on the linear<->nonlinear, unfair<->fair, and noninteractive<->interactive spectra. I'm trying a few scoring systems, but need to test the systems against widely understood perceptions. So for everyone here, what are some examples of these different decks? This will help me score a bunch of decks using different systems and see how many false/true negatives/positives they create.

To be clear, here are my definitions:

Linearity (the linear to nonlinear spectrum): How many different decision trees does a deck pose in any given game/match? (Of course, this might be matchup dependent)
Fairness (the unfair to fair spectrum): How far ahead of the one card per turn, N mana on turn N, and N mana in total spells does the deck get?
Interactivity (the non-interactive to interactive spectrum): How frequently/infrequently does or can the deck interact with resources on the other side of the board?

So what are some examples of decks on these spectra? Here's an example of what I'm looking for:

UW Control: Very nonlinear, moderately fair, very interactive
G Tron: Very linear, very unfair, not very interactive
Burn: Very linear, very fair, not very interactive

Thoughts and classifications?
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Post by Yawgmoth » 2 months ago

[mention]ktkenshinx[/mention] I like what you are trying to do with this classification system. I would suggest trying to reduce dimensionality to only two dimensions if possible. Doing any sort of analysis will be must easier if you only have two dimensions and it will still give you lots of different subtypes (9-12 by my count). If you have three dimensions you will end up with a system where all of the major archetypes have their own subtype which gives your model zero explanatory power.

Two things;

I would suggest collapsing linear and interactive. My reason being that linear decks do the same thing each game regardless of what the opponent does, this is very uninteractive.

You could consider changing the term "fairness" with efficiency. People have different views of fairness but mana efficiency is indisputable. Basically 0 would be on curve +1 would be most efficient possible (ie Tron lands) -1 would be least efficient/unfair.

Thoughts?

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Post by Tomatotime » 2 months ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
2 months ago
To be clear, here are my definitions:

Linearity (the linear to nonlinear spectrum): How many different decision trees does a deck pose in any given game/match? (Of course, this might be matchup dependent)
Fairness (the unfair to fair spectrum): How far ahead of the one card per turn, N mana on turn N, and N mana in total spells does the deck get?
Interactivity (the non-interactive to interactive spectrum): How frequently/infrequently does or can the deck interact with resources on the other side of the board?

So what are some examples of decks on these spectra? Here's an example of what I'm looking for:

UW Control: Very nonlinear, moderately fair, very interactive
G Tron: Very linear, very unfair, not very interactive
Burn: Very linear, very fair, not very interactive

Thoughts and classifications?
By your metric I assume most combo decks would immediately fall into the unfair category to some extent? I suppose for this to go any further we would need a control of some kind to compare to. If I were to give a historic example, perhaps Pod would suffice, Pod (mostly in earlier interations) played the melira combo which required 3 separate creatures to be on board simulateneously to occur, all of whom were soft to bolt, if we were to compare that to combos that are prevalent today, most far exceed this danger. For instance, if we were to look at a typical Urza deck, it too requires 3 pieces, being Urza, sword, and thopter foundry, however 2 of those permanents are not creatures, and the one creature is not soft to bolt.

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Post by Ym1r » 2 months ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
2 months ago

UW Control: Very nonlinear, moderately fair, very interactive
Just to comment on the control variant, particularly UW. It definitely is very interactive, counters, removals sweepers. However, at the same time it is not VERY nonlinear. Most of the time it just tries to do the same thing, counter cards, remove creatures, land big PW or win with collonades. I have played hundreds of games with the deck and I can't say there are particularly many different ways to win. Yes post board some lists bring in say, Monastery Mentor, but in principle the game plan is more or less the same, and moderately adjusts on what the opponent is doing (i.e. focusing more on removing or countering). For that reason I would say moderately nonlinear is more correct.
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Post by Aazadan » 2 months ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
2 months ago
Linearity (the linear to nonlinear spectrum): How many different decision trees does a deck pose in any given game/match? (Of course, this might be matchup dependent)
Fairness (the unfair to fair spectrum): How far ahead of the one card per turn, N mana on turn N, and N mana in total spells does the deck get?
Interactivity (the non-interactive to interactive spectrum): How frequently/infrequently does or can the deck interact with resources on the other side of the board?
[mention]ktkenshinx[/mention]
I want to write a bit about decision trees, because this is something I actually looked at rather in depth a couple years ago. People may (or more likely, may not) remember some of my writings back on MTGS where I went about making a somewhat rudimentary AI that could take lists of cards and play Magic. I would have two decks play each other with various deck lists, then analyze them for what cards over/under performed in each list. Decisions were made by a heuristic of clock speed, essentially, winning before your opponents estimated turn to win. This only worked for non combo decks (aggro, midrange, and control all handled this heuristic very well), but it gave a lot of insight into decision trees.

As I would look over the data from matches, there would naturally be decisions on each turn. Where you had various sequences of plays available, each of which could lead to different results on the heuristic. Most decks that I examined, followed a pattern of having their number of good options gradually increasing as the turns went by until about turn 4 or 5 (it has been a while so I don't remember the specific turn in detail). At that point mana would cease to be the limiting resource and card rate would instead become the limitation. As such, the decisions that needed to be made shifted from making plays from your hand, to attacking and blocking.

After realizing this, I started playing a lot with the idea of card velocity. Certainly not a new concept by any means, but I would brew decks that essentially would focus on trying to play a lot of low mana cards each turn that could replace themselves, plus some ramp to actually get there. I played with this concept a lot in Nic Fit in Legacy but tried it in Modern too with Experimental Frenzy in both Jund and Affinity to good success.

So, I want to apply this to the definition here of being linear and how you best measure that. Think of the game like a tree, lets say that an opening hand is 3 lands (fetch, shock, basic), 2 1 drops, a 2 drop, and a 3 drop. So your turn 1 decision is playing a land, which leads to 3 decisions, and a 1 drop (for the sake of simplicity lets say both 1 drops can be cast by the basic), or no play. So you have 3 decisions for the land, 2 decisions for the 1 drop (I'm going to ignore the no play option). So turn 1 for that deck results in 6 distinct outcomes.

At some point I built a spreadsheet and some formulas to measure score in this form. I called it a complexity score, based off of the idea of decision trees. It's modeled fairly closely on the game complexity idea, which can be read about here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_complexity.

Actually, while I was doing this, I had emailed MaRo at one point (I used to email him about Magic AI all the time) and even had a short private discussion on this concept (he usually doesn't respond to emails but he did to this one), and it turns out that internally Wizards has these metrics on cards/decks to some extent though I'm unaware as to how much they use them, or how they're measuring it.

This probably wouldn't help much as far as the fair and interactive criteria go, but linear by the definition provided is something that very much can be quantified, meaning that statistics can be compiled on it and it can be measured.
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Post by Aazadan » 2 months ago

idSurge wrote:
2 months ago
Aazadan wrote:
2 months ago
I guess the deck closest to what you want if you just want lands and non permanents is probably Scapeshift, possibly of a RUG variety.
Actually is that at all viable? Thats something I've always wanted to play but worried it would get banned out (4 mana sorcery = win game).
I forgot to answer this, sorry. I think the RG decks are better positioned in the meta because they leverage Primeval Titan a lot better. That said, RUG ends up being a better choice when interaction is needed. RUG or a Bring to Light version should remain competitive against any tier 2 and lower deck. I doubt you would see the deck take down a GP or anything, but at an FNM level I think it's plenty powerful. We have a guy locally who does very well with a RG version (though he doesn't show up much these days), so I know the basic strategy is viable.

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Post by Aazadan » 2 months ago

drmarkb wrote:
2 months ago
If Wotc want to populate Pioneer or Modern with a bunch of them I would be happy. I am not complaining about such decks. I pointed out how I don't want to play critter decks as defined by me, not you, and whilst I am happy to clarify what I mean I am not going to discuss whether my definition is what you define as a creatute deck or vice versa. You are welcome to view Legacy d n t as a critter deck, or as an aggro deck, I will view it as a prison deck and neither of us is wrong. I just want to be clear, that is all.
Creature decks are not necessarily aggro decks though. You're advocating for creature decks in your post, but calling them by something else. I understand what you're getting at, but the definitions you use most likely cause confusion from time to time when you discuss this with people.

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Post by ktkenshinx » 2 months ago

Yawgmoth wrote:
2 months ago
I would suggest collapsing linear and interactive. My reason being that linear decks do the same thing each game regardless of what the opponent does, this is very uninteractive.
That's not a bad idea. I struggle to think of decks that are linear and interactive, and I imagine those measures (if separate) would be highly correlated. I'll probably collapse them or just keep them focused on measuring interaction.
You could consider changing the term "fairness" with efficiency. People have different views of fairness but mana efficiency is indisputable. Basically 0 would be on curve +1 would be most efficient possible (ie Tron lands) -1 would be least efficient/unfair.
I don't mind this idea, but I also really want to define terms that are frequently used. "Fair" vs. "Unfair" represents terminology we see ALL THE TIME online. It's rampant and often meaningless because we typically have different definitions. I'd like to try and build off this shared language, but just clear up the meanings. That said, I do think efficiency is a good way to explain the concept, although I think it's tough to call any deck "inefficient;" even something like Jund efficiently uses mana. They just don't cheat their resources with too many cost reducers and 0 costers.
Tomatotime wrote:
2 months ago
By your metric I assume most combo decks would immediately fall into the unfair category to some extent? I suppose for this to go any further we would need a control of some kind to compare to. If I were to give a historic example, perhaps Pod would suffice, Pod (mostly in earlier interations) played the melira combo which required 3 separate creatures to be on board simulateneously to occur, all of whom were soft to bolt, if we were to compare that to combos that are prevalent today, most far exceed this danger. For instance, if we were to look at a typical Urza deck, it too requires 3 pieces, being Urza, sword, and thopter foundry, however 2 of those permanents are not creatures, and the one creature is not soft to bolt.
Some combo decks are definitely unfair. Storm, for instance, generates way more mana, draws way more cards, and casts way more spells on a combo turn than any other deck is capable of. Something like old UR Twin, however, is a lot "fairer," as its combo win comprises a mere 3 mana and 4 mana card. It's slightly unfair in that it uses the mana at the EOT to get "ahead," but not nearly as ultra-efficient as Storm. Pod is another example, although it does cheat the curve by Podding the creatures into play early. I'll have to score decks to see what the results are.
Ym1r wrote:
2 months ago
Just to comment on the control variant, particularly UW. It definitely is very interactive, counters, removals sweepers. However, at the same time it is not VERY nonlinear. Most of the time it just tries to do the same thing, counter cards, remove creatures, land big PW or win with collonades. I have played hundreds of games with the deck and I can't say there are particularly many different ways to win. Yes post board some lists bring in say, Monastery Mentor, but in principle the game plan is more or less the same, and moderately adjusts on what the opponent is doing (i.e. focusing more on removing or countering). For that reason I would say moderately nonlinear is more correct.
That makes sense. I'd just qualify this to say the following. UW Control has a relatively linear gameplan of counter/kill everything and draw cards/land win con. That's like, 3-4 plans total. But the decision about what to counter/kill and how to sequence stuff is where the decision trees explode relative to something like Burn, which is a lot more binary on most board states.
Aazadan wrote:
2 months ago
So, I want to apply this to the definition here of being linear and how you best measure that. Think of the game like a tree, lets say that an opening hand is 3 lands (fetch, shock, basic), 2 1 drops, a 2 drop, and a 3 drop. So your turn 1 decision is playing a land, which leads to 3 decisions, and a 1 drop (for the sake of simplicity lets say both 1 drops can be cast by the basic), or no play. So you have 3 decisions for the land, 2 decisions for the 1 drop (I'm going to ignore the no play option). So turn 1 for that deck results in 6 distinct outcomes.

At some point I built a spreadsheet and some formulas to measure score in this form. I called it a complexity score, based off of the idea of decision trees. It's modeled fairly closely on the game complexity idea, which can be read about here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_complexity.

Actually, while I was doing this, I had emailed MaRo at one point (I used to email him about Magic AI all the time) and even had a short private discussion on this concept (he usually doesn't respond to emails but he did to this one), and it turns out that internally Wizards has these metrics on cards/decks to some extent though I'm unaware as to how much they use them, or how they're measuring it.

This probably wouldn't help much as far as the fair and interactive criteria go, but linear by the definition provided is something that very much can be quantified, meaning that statistics can be compiled on it and it can be measured.
This is an interesting idea and I really like its potential. I think I remember your work on this during the MTGS days, and it seems informative here. I think this gets very tricky, however, when we start making decisions with the interactive cards. For instance, let's say it's T2 and you have land in play, land in hand, Tarmogoyf, and Thoughtseize. One model would count this as three decisions: land--> Goyf, land--> TS, land --> nothing. Technically you'd also have a fourth decision of not playing the land, but I'll ignore that for now. But those three decisions really jump up when we separate land --> TS into all the possible TS targets in an opponent's hand. If they have 4 nonland cards, our decision tree suddenly increased by 4. This same issue arises when we consider countermagic, which forces us to make multiple decisions every turn: hold up mana or spend it, and then what to counter. I'm going to read more about game complexity and see how we can potentially capture these issues.
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Post by The Fluff » 2 months ago

Aazadan wrote:
2 months ago
cfusionpm wrote:
2 months ago
Kind of hard to sell a deck that to someone who wants to play lots of cantrips, counters, removal/direct damage, and hates Ensnaring Bridge. It's one of the best examples of how much I hate the fact that spells stapled to creatures are better than spells as spells.


Fair enough, but if you don't want any board presence at all, you're probably not going to find anything you like in Magic going forward anymore. Vintage, Legacy, Modern, Pioneer, Standard, Limited, Cube... creatures and planeswalkers are dominant in all of them.

I guess the deck closest to what you want if you just want lands and non permanents is probably Scapeshift, possibly of a RUG variety.
Speaking of creatures in legacy... I remember an old reddit post I've seen months ago.. it wants Gurmag Angler banned in legacy. Though I'm not sure if it's a joke or serious post. Makes me wonder if zombie fish is too strong there that someone want it banned? Well, the zombie fish price did get upgraded from 15 cents to now 1 dollar each in scg.. so the card must be doing something good.
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Post by Yawgmoth » 2 months ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
2 months ago
You could consider changing the term "fairness" with efficiency. People have different views of fairness but mana efficiency is indisputable. Basically 0 would be on curve +1 would be most efficient possible (ie Tron lands) -1 would be least efficient/unfair.
I don't mind this idea, but I also really want to define terms that are frequently used. "Fair" vs. "Unfair" represents terminology we see ALL THE TIME online. It's rampant and often meaningless because we typically have different definitions. I'd like to try and build off this shared language, but just clear up the meanings. That said, I do think efficiency is a good way to explain the concept, although I think it's tough to call any deck "inefficient;" even something like Jund efficiently uses mana. They just don't cheat their resources with too many cost reducers and 0 costers.
Using current terminology makes sense, I just wanted to make sure I understood what was meant by "fairness." Sounds like we are on the same page. I think we could quantify Fairness/unfairness based on the actual price paid versus CMC of all the spells in a deck. I'm not entirely sure how to operationalize this but maybe this will get the ball rolling.

For example Tron is able to cast spells much cheaper/earlier than they should assuming they gained 1 mana per turn (let's assume that is the average or "fair" rate). So if Tron is able to cast a 6 CMC spell on turn 3 then it would have a (un)fairness index of +3. (Unfairness Index = (Price paid) - (fair price)). Thus a deck that is paying the fair price would have a UI of 0 and very inefficient decks would have a negative score. We would expect to see very few negative scores so you could just make it 0 to 1 but you get the idea.

If we had an AI model of each deck goldfishing it would be pretty easy to calculate their unfairness in an objective fashion.

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