[Official] State of Modern Thread (B&R 07/13/2020)

iTaLenTZ
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Post by iTaLenTZ » 1 year ago

Simto wrote:
1 year ago
iTaLenTZ wrote:
1 year ago
Simto wrote:
1 year ago
iTaLenTZ wrote: ↑
2 hours ago
Waster Land

: Destroy target non-basic land

Way too brutal if serious hehe. Field of Ruin already exists and is good.
Field of Ruin on the draw is too slow. The 1 mana requirement means you equally trade tempo which would IMO balance the card.
1 mana for a repeatable land destruction card is insanely overpowered though. And even if you have to sac it, it's still too strong.
Field of Ruin is still dope
I forgot to mention that. You need to sac it ofcourse or it would be pretty broken.

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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

idSurge wrote:
1 year ago
Exactly true. First they tried to hide the true meta with forced '5-0' diversity, a step like this would mask things completely.
I'm lucky enough to be in a financial situation (for the moment) where deck prices don't matter to me. But I remember what it was like before. Information breeds format confidence because putting all other benefits aside, it allows people to buy the cards they want and have a reasonable degree of certainty that it won't be banned, and has a certain spot in the meta, or to at least be informed of the risks of buying those cards.

The more information that gets hidden, the less players can be confident. Furthermore, it fuels ban mania when echo chambers and perception overpower reality, and mobs form to ban cards without strong arguments with datapoints. Thereby leading to incorrect information when purchasing cards based on possible bannings.

In a game where people are meant to buy/sell/trade cards, you need a secondary market. Without information, such a market cannot exist in a healthy state.

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Post by Tomatotime » 1 year ago

My view on the data publishing changes is that ultimately it's nothing new, they have been scaling back data releases for years, though initially it was more of a Standard specific policy due to the shear ease of solving such a smaller format, even on a rotating basis.

What I think the effect of this tightening will be is that teams with resources will simply be at a greater advantage over the competition than they already are on the basis of them having an edge in information. After all, nothing in the new policy stops data collection, I don't think Wotc even could stop the data collection even if they wanted to, what stops is the public publishing of said data which random joes would take advantage of, the data will still absolutely be used though.

In terms of long term bannings and how it relates to the updated data policy, that is a little more troubling. Normally, when a deck outperforms others by leaps and bounds, it is clearly marked for death by the community and people who pay even remote attention know not to buy into the deck for fear or losing some money in the event of an inevitable ban, this information is normally relayed via this data.

With less data floating around, I see two major outcomes:

1. People get totally blindsided by bans they did not see coming due to the availability of data being constrained. This will most likely impact local scenes the worst.

2. Having obfuscated the existence of problem decks, Wotc takes full advantage of it and changes the actually banning practices by not banning decks that probably deserve it, and no one will be able to argue otherwise if Wotc is monopolizing the data that would prove the deck's guilt in the first place.

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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

#2 is the most likely outcome. If something it T1 or T0 but everyone is playing T2 or T3, it's not apparent the game is unbalanced and they can hide the necessity of a ban.

On the other hand, this also makes it hard to buy into anything with confidence. The way I equate this is what the SCG tour used to be like for the first couple weeks of Standard. It would get decks, have a meta form, and then everyone would be blindsided by what the PT showed, and then everyone would realize things weren't as they seemed. Except now there isn't that info dump.

Also, not including the initial bannings when Standard was having it's rule set solidified and things like the T1 bans were carried over, between 1995 and 2016 Standard had 9 bans. From 2017 on, it has had 17 of them. And they have been getting progressively more frequent as information has gotten harder and harder to come by. Data embargos first began in 2014 and Standard, likely not coincidentally, entered a long period of awfulness culminating in endless bans.

It's a good argument using the games history that withholding data makes bannings worse and more frequent rather than the opposite. Especially when there's really unbalanced stuff out there.

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Post by Tomatotime » 1 year ago

Aazadan wrote:
1 year ago
#2 is the most likely outcome. If something it T1 or T0 but everyone is playing T2 or T3, it's not apparent the game is unbalanced and they can hide the necessity of a ban.
Agreed, especially in the context of local scenes.
Aazadan wrote:
1 year ago
It's a good argument using the games history that withholding data makes bannings worse and more frequent rather than the opposite. Especially when there's really unbalanced stuff out there.
I'm not sure if that is exactly true, obviously the withholding of data isn't helping Wotc make a better format, but it also isn't resulting in cards like Oko or Hogaak, those are the product of developers who either lack experience, or they have experience but chose or forgot to actually apply it to their work.


I agree though with your other points, back then (~4 years ago) the actual consequences of the data withholding within Standard weren't actually all that dire since the very idea of bans in Standard was laughed at, so hiding the T1 deck(s) came with less of an actual risk.

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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

Cards like Oko or Hogaak that aren't being promoted as heavily, aren't going to be adopted quite so fast. Wizards can then try to sneak in metagame answers in future printings before things spiral out of control.

Or, they can do what they did when Skullclamp was in Standard, and hope that they can be quiet about it long enough, that rotation solves their issues. If a card is in Standard for 18 months, and they can suppress it's metagame warping for 9 of that, then they only need to worry for 6 before players just say "whatever, it's gone with the next set". And they can probably ride out 6 months of a card in most cases, because they do that all the time already.

That doesn't quite work for Modern, but since we're a larger format, they can try to suppress broken things by promoting the idea that several decks are secretly broken. And then curate the results they publish to reinforce that perception.

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Post by AvalonAurora » 1 year ago

I don't think this will work out as well as they think it will. Not only will players be more afraid of investing in decks because they can't be sure of ban targets, but they'll be afraid of playing at all knowing there might be secret T0 decks out there that they don't stand a chance against that Wizards doesn't want to ban, and they'll assume all the decks that beat badly enough are that deck, especially if they don't like the play-style of it, and decide they hate the game.

I suspect part of this decision is to protect internal politics at Wizards, which has probably taken a hit recently with how many cards are getting banned, and the not dealing with criticism well sensibilities of the type to design such cards. They want to avoid, or at least delay, bans, not just because of consumer confidence, but because of internal conflict it generates, and perhaps blame the data analysts for spreading or 'creating' broken decks, rather than blaming themselves for creating imbalanced cards. They seem to want players to play more like their internal playtesting leagues do.

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Post by Tomatotime » 1 year ago

AvalonAurora wrote:
1 year ago
I suspect part of this decision is to protect internal politics at Wizards, which has probably taken a hit recently with how many cards are getting banned, and the not dealing with criticism well sensibilities of the type to design such cards. They want to avoid, or at least delay, bans, not just because of consumer confidence, but because of internal conflict it generates, and perhaps blame the data analysts for spreading or 'creating' broken decks, rather than blaming themselves for creating imbalanced cards. They seem to want players to play more like their internal playtesting leagues do.
This is actually pretty plausible as after watching Wotc for years at this point, it actually seems like the kind of trap they would fall into.

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Post by Tomatotime » 1 year ago

AvalonAurora wrote:
1 year ago
I don't think this will work out as well as they think it will. Not only will players be more afraid of investing in decks because they can't be sure of ban targets, but they'll be afraid of playing at all knowing there might be secret T0 decks out there that they don't stand a chance against that Wizards doesn't want to ban, and they'll assume all the decks that beat badly enough are that deck, especially if they don't like the play-style of it, and decide they hate the game.
Another good point to be sure, in a world where data is limited, at what point do player simply start chasing phantoms if they sense an imbalance. For me personally, I don't really have a dog in that race, I have always lobbied for bans on the basis of fun and not data myself, but I think I just have enough overlap in views with enough people in this thread to get along, especially since all I care about is the results, the means are of no consequence to me.

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Post by drmarkb » 1 year ago

Bottom line is that people like power. Purely and simply, powerful cards that feel powerful. If you played with giant growth, and then the next giant growth costs 2, you feel neutered. I myself have scornfully filled in the wotc surveys scoffing at the weak standard. This means they have driven towards powerful cards in design, and with so many of their buyers now EDH players, this is not an issue for the most part.
Of course, WOTC don't want powerful answers, only threats, and there lies the issue. Field of the dead is not a nutty card in an environment with Wasteland, I know I have played Legacy for ages and not one person in the entire format complains about field of the dead. However, the card is obnoxious in formats with no landkill. Context is key.
So they
*want powerful threats over mulitple formats
* do not want broken decks
* don't want powerful answers - cards that say "no" rather than "pay one more".
* want face cards to sell sets, specifically walkers and creatures

The upshot is a broken environment in 2020. But had these cards been about in 1995 they would have been no issue- no internet- no spread of information- a powerful threat like Urza is only powerful when built right. Make everyone sit in their bedrooms and jam and suddenly nobody builds anything "right". That is why they want to limit data, becuase they can't print the answers needed to allow format self- correction, and they want to print powerful cards, because let us face it for the majority of players over the last 20 years- a mana dork costs 1, a wrath cost 4 and a targeted discard 1.

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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

Tomatotime wrote:
1 year ago
Another good point to be sure, in a world where data is limited, at what point do player simply start chasing phantoms if they sense an imbalance. For me personally, I don't really have a dog in that race, I have always lobbied for bans on the basis of fun and not data myself, but I think I just have enough overlap in views with enough people in this thread to get along, especially since all I care about is the results, the means are of no consequence to me.
That's definitely an issue, but worse than that is that bad data leads to bad conclusions about what sorts of cards are and aren't ok to print. If Wizards deliberately messes with players abilities to make decisions, that eventually leads back to Wizards making bad decisions over what cards to make.

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

This thread sure took a turn for the gloomy over the past few pages, and although I think some of that criticism is unwarranted (e.g. this notion that Modern is unsaveable), a lot of it is legitimate. Wizards' recent doubling-down on data restrictions is a particularly worrisome way to start of 2020. It impacts multiple formats and suggests they are displacing blame for 2019's multi-format bannings to players and data, not to their own awful design decisions. This is almost certainly going to become the future topic of a Fixing Modern article. At the same time, I acknowledge Modern still has other issues that need addressing, and want to make sure the next article reflects present threats.

In that spirit, I threw together this strawpoll to get Moderner input on the next Fixing Modern topic:
https://strawpoll.com/pzxcwerf

There are seven options on that list in a randomized order. Pick as many as you want, which can help guide the next article. If you think there's something I missed, please just @ me with another idea.
Over-Extended/Modern Since 2010

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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

@ktkenshinx

I responded to the poll but I think the choices really fall into just a couple of categories. Specifically, it's all about bans, reprints, and data. For example, reprints for price really aren't much different than reprints or new cards to improve the format. In particular, Wizards prefers the second option because it doesn't mean reprinting to devalue cards, and instead gets people to buy more stuff.

This is certainly something to address, but it's really all the same topic. Bans are similar in that it's all related.

Also, this furthering of data embargos does not have me optimistic for the future.

Oh, one other idea... I know they've been controversial, but it may be worth discussing Secret lairs in the context of being a reprint vehicle for certain cards the format needs. They seem to be a quick turnaround time, with few restrictions on what can be reprinted, while also being relatively controllable in how many are printed (they can limit the max order size per person, and already have other limitations). They require little overhead to produce compared to set a set as well, so offer the ability to include far more relevant cards for the time invested.

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Post by Tomatotime » 1 year ago

I chose "Identifying a single Wizards point of contact for Modern" it just seems like the absolute minimum for our efforts to even mean anything in the first place. Without a consensus, we have no message, without a message, Wotc has no reason to act.

I remember years back when Wotc cut Modern from the pro-tour, within a weekend the response was so overwhelming and extreme they completely 180'd their position, that is a good example of what can be achieved when the community is actually aligned and why I think that must necessarily be the first priority.

The Reddit monopoly must end.

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Post by idSurge » 1 year ago

Point of Contact and Data.

But you missed define Modern.
UR Control UR

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cfusionpm
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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

The data issue was already handled really well (and with a couple thousand words) a while back on goldfish. The specifics have changed a bit, but the core idea (and arguments) are exactly the same.

https://www.mtggoldfish.com/articles/wi ... a-insanity

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Post by Yawgmoth » 1 year ago

Aazadan wrote:
1 year ago
Oh, one other idea... I know they've been controversial, but it may be worth discussing Secret lairs in the context of being a reprint vehicle for certain cards the format needs. They seem to be a quick turnaround time, with few restrictions on what can be reprinted, while also being relatively controllable in how many are printed (they can limit the max order size per person, and already have other limitations). They require little overhead to produce compared to set a set as well, so offer the ability to include far more relevant cards for the time invested.
Ive had a similar thought over the past few weeks. In all of the Masters sets and Modern Horizons there was always this tension between (re)printing needed format staples and making a fun/balanced draft environment.

In theory, Secret Lair could allow WotC to print whatever individual cards are needed for Modern without requiring you to buy several hundred random common cards you don't. Meanwhile, they could create "draft booster packs" which are optimized for drafting without the random 3 color commander cards or chase rares aimed at constructed players.

This might actually be a win win for constructed players and drafters and be a major step forward. Right now the main vehicle for getting cards to players is through booster packs and for most players 90% of any pack is uninteresting but fir different reasons depending on the player.

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Post by AvalonAurora » 1 year ago

Yawgmoth wrote:
1 year ago
Aazadan wrote:
1 year ago
Oh, one other idea... I know they've been controversial, but it may be worth discussing Secret lairs in the context of being a reprint vehicle for certain cards the format needs. They seem to be a quick turnaround time, with few restrictions on what can be reprinted, while also being relatively controllable in how many are printed (they can limit the max order size per person, and already have other limitations). They require little overhead to produce compared to set a set as well, so offer the ability to include far more relevant cards for the time invested.
Ive had a similar thought over the past few weeks. In all of the Masters sets and Modern Horizons there was always this tension between (re)printing needed format staples and making a fun/balanced draft environment.

In theory, Secret Lair could allow WotC to print whatever individual cards are needed for Modern without requiring you to buy several hundred random common cards you don't. Meanwhile, they could create "draft booster packs" which are optimized for drafting without the random 3 color commander cards or chase rares aimed at constructed players.

This might actually be a win win for constructed players and drafters and be a major step forward. Right now the main vehicle for getting cards to players is through booster packs and for most players 90% of any pack is uninteresting but fir different reasons depending on the player.
There is a key issue with that idea. The financial penalty of drafting increases if the cards in it are less likely to be also constructed viable. Also, Wizards probably makes a lot more money if people can't easily get what they want and have to go through a lot of draft chaff opening packs. They'll still want do do some pre-constructed products with specific things of course, since that attracts a different kind of spender, and if they keep the power levels from getting to high or too low, it helps start off new players easier.

Booster packs have a nice potential of value hitting twice, both in the getting to play a limited event with them, and with the resulting cards that can then be used for constructed (or cube or something). Making a portion of the packs filled with stuff useless to constructed makes it easier to sell more packs, but not putting enough stuff in them good for constructed makes people more reluctant to purchase them, due to not being able to trade or re-sell or use the stuff and effectively making the limited more expensive as a result. They try to hit the sweet spot of what people will buy the most packs for, not discouraged by too much limited only worthwhile stuff, but not so full of value that they finish collecting what they want sooner and forces them to buy more packs.

The problem with this strategy is it starts to fall apart if limited or constructed environments fall below a certain fun level, and even worse if it happens to both, which makes this strategy hurt more by bad game design and balance and poor format management unless you over-rely on collector impulses, rather than player impulses.

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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

AvalonAurora wrote:
1 year ago
There is a key issue with that idea. The financial penalty of drafting increases if the cards in it are less likely to be also constructed viable. Also, Wizards probably makes a lot more money if people can't easily get what they want and have to go through a lot of draft chaff opening packs. They'll still want do do some pre-constructed products with specific things of course, since that attracts a different kind of spender, and if they keep the power levels from getting to high or too low, it helps start off new players easier.

Booster packs have a nice potential of value hitting twice, both in the getting to play a limited event with them, and with the resulting cards that can then be used for constructed (or cube or something). Making a portion of the packs filled with stuff useless to constructed makes it easier to sell more packs, but not putting enough stuff in them good for constructed makes people more reluctant to purchase them, due to not being able to trade or re-sell or use the stuff and effectively making the limited more expensive as a result. They try to hit the sweet spot of what people will buy the most packs for, not discouraged by too much limited only worthwhile stuff, but not so full of value that they finish collecting what they want sooner and forces them to buy more packs.

The problem with this strategy is it starts to fall apart if limited or constructed environments fall below a certain fun level, and even worse if it happens to both, which makes this strategy hurt more by bad game design and balance and poor format management unless you over-rely on collector impulses, rather than player impulses.
Other than being higher power level though, reprint sets have been a poor method of drafting, because draft themes and what needs reprinted don't necessarily align. It also requires investing substantially more development resources into making and testing the set. Plus, $40 Masters drafts haven't exactly been ultra popular. Something like Horizons with new cards can still offer that draft value.

There's another downside you didn't mention, which is that Secret Lairs, especially lots of them, will hurt LGS's a lot, and they're already struggling. Those of us who play in paper and want the reprints still need places to play with that paper. Lairs are dropping the value of existing stock (or would on high dollar reprints), while also robbing the LGS of the sale for a time. It puts a lot of pressure on their inventory. I know stores in this area won't even buy cards anymore, they only sell what they open from sealed product. This is due to them being terrified of price fluctuations.

That said, an occasional well targeted lair, especially as a rapid response method to target spiking cards could be a good way to introduce some price stability, and let Wizards cash in on temporary card popularity.

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Post by AvalonAurora » 1 year ago

Aazadan wrote:
1 year ago
That said, an occasional well targeted lair, especially as a rapid response method to target spiking cards could be a good way to introduce some price stability, and let Wizards cash in on temporary card popularity.
I don't recall the exact details, but I seem to recall stuff on some other forum noting that this kind of behavior from Wizards would actually be illegal, related to some of the laws surrounding how things like booster packs of trading card games and things like baseball cards became legal. Basically, the makers of the cards can't actually know officially or noticeably react to secondary market prices if they want to also produce randomized products. This is part of why reprints tend to heavily focus on 'availability' rather than prices.

I'm not entirely sure of this, or if I understand how it works properly.

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Post by Tomatotime » 1 year ago

AvalonAurora wrote:
1 year ago
I don't recall the exact details, but I seem to recall stuff on some other forum noting that this kind of behavior from Wizards would actually be illegal, related to some of the laws surrounding how things like booster packs of trading card games and things like baseball cards became legal. Basically, the makers of the cards can't actually know officially or noticeably react to secondary market prices if they want to also produce randomized products. This is part of why reprints tend to heavily focus on 'availability' rather than prices.
But the actual reprint portions of the secret lairs aren't actually randomized, in the first round, the only random elements of the lairs were which stained glass walkers you got.

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Post by pierreb » 1 year ago

Tomatotime wrote:
1 year ago
But the actual reprint portions of the secret lairs aren't actually randomized, in the first round, the only random elements of the lairs were which stained glass walkers you got.
That's not what he's saying. He's saying you cannot have both a randomized product and then reprint the select few high-value cards to extract more money from these. The reprint must look like they were selected for reasons other than their value.

(I don't quite understand the logic behind this, if true.)

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Post by Tomatotime » 1 year ago

pierreb wrote:
1 year ago
That's not what he's saying. He's saying you cannot have both a randomized product and then reprint the select few high-value cards to extract more money from these. The reprint must look like they were selected for reasons other than their value.

(I don't quite understand the logic behind this, if true.)
Ahhh I see, my bad. I suppose a clever workaround would be reprinting the Zendikar fetches via Secret Lairs but using the Expedition art in non-foil to actually create a relevant distinction and purpose for the product in the same way that Kess was put into Modern Horizons which represented the only non-foil method for getting the card.

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Post by drmarkb » 1 year ago

I would say 'define Modern'. And by that I mean Wotc doing the defining, not us. Their definition, regardless of whether I like it, is what I want to hear.

Data restriction is high on my list, but I I think reprints and new cards needed to bring a suite of hard and nasty answers into the format, as well as a new colour (white).
Specifically answers that can make playing a play set of the best planeswalker or a playset of Tron lands a bad choice.

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Post by Simto » 1 year ago

drmarkb wrote:
1 year ago
or a playset of Tron lands a bad choice
Me no like, but understand hehe.
At the same time, like it or not, with Pioneer being what it is, Modern is pretty much THE Tron format, so nerfing tron too hard would be no bueno.
That being siad, they just %$#% affinity decks up which I'd say was one of the big modern decks too, so nothing's sacred really hehe.

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