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

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
Wizards doing whatever they want, whenever they want is a "fake news" story in my opinion.

Time after time, they have showed they are doing what they are doing, because of specific reasons and their line of thinking is consistent and well argumentated(most of the times).

1) Win rates/number of 5-0 league results in relation to others. If any deck is having above 54% at a long period of time, and at the same times if it has only good matchups vs the ten(10) most played decks, they are considering a change.
This is where I have my biggest issue. How do we ever show this is the case before WOTC acts? Other than just guessing and hoping? This is literally based on numbers we do not have access to. This means A) Things can break these rules and not be banned, or B) Things can be banned without breaking these rules. And we would never know one way or another unless they make the conscious choice to selectively share with us the numbers they decide best support whatever decision they already made.

IE: They make the decision first, and find the numbers to support. As opposed to looking at the numbers and then choosing to act. I'd love for them to provide clarity on this, or see instanced of that clarity if written about in the past.
A far more likely explanation is that they analyze the format and find a deck with a way above average win-rate and then look deeper. If most top-tier Modern decks have 51%-55% MWP and suddenly a highly played deck has a 60% MWP, that's a red flag. It obviously takes a few months of data to reach any level of significance on this, as well as to confirm it's a trend and not a brief spike. This is a significantly more probable explanation for Wizards bans than them arbitrarily picking a deck to ban that they don't like and then concocting a numeric explanation to justify their ban decision.

I will also note we have successfully predicted multiple bans (and No Changes) using either these numbers or proxies for these numbers. In KCI's case, I and a few Redditors worked together to get a giant MWP project together in late 2018/early 2019 which showed KCI was way above other decks in terms of overall performance. We felt it was in ban territory based on these metrics and, sure enough, Wizards pulled that trigger in January 2019. We also correctly called for an anti-Bridgevine ban in June/July based on just one month of MTGO performance and a single GP (right deck, wrong card), and then again I called for the Hogaak emergency ban after analyzing the PT and GP win-rates from a few events in late July/early August. We repeated this again with an anti-Urza ban (the Oko ban was super obvious and it's not worth celebrating that prediction), and then AGAIN with OUaT by looking at consistent over-performance in MTGO Challenges/PTQs/Premiers.

From my experience with you on the forums over the years, you strike me as someone who values data, numbers, clear communication, and clear benchmarks. Probably moreso than I do because you're actually in education and I'm just a government grunt. I think both of us, you especially, would like 100% data transparency so we can much more easily predict bans to avoid bad financial/emotional investments. I think in your case, this still returns to the hurt of the Twin ban and your reasonable aversion to investing in top performing decks that might be banned. But acknowledging Wizards won't release the perfect dataset, we are still successfully using the data we have to predict these decisions.

To be totally clear, everything I am saying applies specifically to a) Ban decisions and b) Ban decisions IN MODERN. I claim zero expertise or predictive reliability with any other format, Legacy or Pioneer included. I just know we have correctly analyzed Modern in probably 80%+ of cases and maybe even 90% plus; I'd have to go back and check my predictive track record. We can use the data we have to predict these decisions, even if it's not as perfect or accurate as we'd probably like.
cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago
This is not a conspiracy theory, just an observation based on their actions, and following the logic of this supposed process.

Again, I don't want to send a negative tone anyway, just that we realize that format management is not their top priority; making new cards is. They will only act if they have a reason to. And they do not act until there is reasonable public outcry.
What makes it a conspiracy theory is your fixation on this explanation and dismissal of a much more plausible explanation. Here is how I read your explanation (correct me if I'm wrong), and how I believe others in this thread view it:

Your explanation: Wizards decides to ban something based on public outcry or an internal agenda. They then dig up/torture/misrepresent the stats to make a public numeric justification to appease the masses or fulfill their own agenda.

My explanation: Wizards gathers data over a period of time and finds outlying performances/popularity. The public has already noticed this and is already making an outcry. Wizards sees if the deck is violating any other criteria and/or violating the performance measures in a big way, and then acts if needed.

Your explanation mostly makes sense in the Twin ban, as I have argued and agreed with multiple times. But it doesn't make sense in basically every other ban, and certainly every other ban since Twin. By contrast, my explanation aligns more or less with every other ban rationale they've ever printed in Modern, and also aligns with all public R&D communication we've seen. GK has already laid this out above and I imagine it's his explanation as well. This makes the second explanation significantly more likely than your explanation for the vast majority of Modern decisions. Your insistence on the first position comes off as conspiracy-theorizing because it just doesn't have a lot of evidence, whether of intent (i.e. we can't find examples of hidden Modern agendas or suspicious social media claims that suggest bad actors), or of result (i.e. we somehow still predict most changes, suggesting it's much more predictable than you claim).
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Post by The Fluff » 1 year ago

Tzoulis wrote:
1 year ago
Take Emry for example, as The Fluff said, she's awesome in artifact decks. It helps them fight over artifact removal, re-buys useful artifacts and is cheap. A welcome try for a creature, but it enabled several new combo decks and gave even more power to other artifact decks that didn't really need, since they had just printed Goblin Engineer. Banning her insted of Opal would've prevented the Grinding Breach decks from going off on T2-T3, no Jeskai Ascendancy shenanigans and artifact removal and Stony Silence would be way more useful than it is today vis-a-vis Affinity and Scales existing and other artifact decks being more reliant on Opal and in general activated abilities of artifacts.
she's like a genesis on steroids, because the artifacts go back directly to the battlefield and not to my hand, Emry now occupies a slot previously owned by thoughtcast, and no regret replacing the thoughtcast. It's only matter of baiting out removal with other things before I cast her. ;)
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Post by motleyslayer » 1 year ago

I remember I was at GP Montreal last year right after Throne came out, I saw a fair bit of Jeskai Ascendancy decks because there was so much hype around Emry. She's probably lived up to the hype or even exceeded it because she's an insane card

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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
What makes it a conspiracy theory is your fixation on this explanation and dismissal of a much more plausible explanation. Here is how I read your explanation (correct me if I'm wrong), and how I believe others in this thread view it:

Your explanation: Wizards decides to ban something based on public outcry or an internal agenda. They then dig up/torture/misrepresent the stats to make a public numeric justification to appease the masses or fulfill their own agenda.

My explanation: Wizards gathers data over a period of time and finds outlying performances/popularity. The public has already noticed this and is already making an outcry. Wizards sees if the deck is violating any other criteria and/or violating the performance measures in a big way, and then acts if needed.

Your explanation mostly makes sense in the Twin ban, as I have argued and agreed with multiple times. But it doesn't make sense in basically every other ban, and certainly every other ban since Twin. By contrast, my explanation aligns more or less with every other ban rationale they've ever printed in Modern, and also aligns with all public R&D communication we've seen. GK has already laid this out above and I imagine it's his explanation as well. This makes the second explanation significantly more likely than your explanation for the vast majority of Modern decisions. Your insistence on the first position comes off as conspiracy-theorizing because it just doesn't have a lot of evidence, whether of intent (i.e. we can't find examples of hidden Modern agendas or suspicious social media claims that suggest bad actors), or of result (i.e. we somehow still predict most changes, suggesting it's much more predictable than you claim).
Your explanation makes sense if and only if someone already has some trust in WotC. There are many reasons for someone NOT trusting in WotC - Twin, numerous bans in Standard, recent design philosophy, shoving Secret Lairs down our throats (no, not everyone receiving them, but many people paying for them), and anything else someone feels "wronged" by. Yes, it's their company and they can literally do whatever they want, but seeing motivation for even something as simple as a Company trying to make money can often falter with WotC (as it does with other companies as well; no company is a perfect money making machine)

Regarding the Secret Lairs, I don't think it matters when you paid. They are shipping them out in batches and it just completely depends on when CA, USA is going out. I will receive mine when cfusionpm does, hopefully. But it also sucks seeing so many others selling theirs already. I already BOUGHT Thalias from Secret Lair on Ebay and RECEIVED them. This sucks for people who haven't gotten the Secret Lairs BEFORE Thalias. Also, USA customers have higher expectations since WotC is located in the USA, I think Seattle or somewhere North of California. But I've also seen someone say that he didn't get the very first Secret Lair, so then I didn't feel so badly anymore for the ones I ordered. I feel like this is a legitimate complaint because we literally have no idea of when we're getting them - it's just send money to WotC for the Secret Lair and when we get them, we get them. There is no timeline and people like me get %$#% antsy when there is no timeline - it could literally be 1 second. It could literally be 25 years.

*Also, I do hate to not let this go, but Pioneer started on October 23, 2019. Felidar Guardian was banned on my birthday, November 4, 2019. What a birthday present! There was literally no chance for anyone to adapt to Guardian. It was "this and Green Devotion are the best decks; let's kill one and bring the other one down a notch." If it was so broken that they were not going to give any time, then it should have been on the original ban list with the fetches (or did they learn their lesson from Modern?)
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Modern - Amulet Titan, Elementals, Yawmoth Chord, Uroza
Legacy - No more cards, will rebuy Sneak Show when I can
Limited - Will start when paper starts
Commander - Nope

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Post by Yawgmoth » 1 year ago

cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago

As a final side note, resident tool-bag Blake Rasmussen doesn't think fetchlands are necessary because you only need 1 for commander and most players don't need to optimize decks. :thinking:
Wow, this interview is nuts. Around the 12min mark where The Prof asks if maybe the reason the fetches cost so much is because of the demand Blake starts touching his face and getting all fidgety. It's pretty amusing if the whole thing didn't seem so disingenuous.

Blake's comment about, "people only really need fetches for Modern, Legacy, and Vintage, but those each have respectively smaller player pools" (paraphrase). Wow. Maybe the reason there are fewer Modern and even fewer Legacy players is BECAUSE of the high price of cards due to lack of reprints. You can't use the diminishing size of the player base as a reason to not print cards for a format when the diminishing size is in part due to the lack of cards!!! Insane circular logic.

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Post by Aazadan » 1 year ago

cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago
As for the Theros cards, I have not seen people get them, and have instead seen numerous people not getting them.
I ordered mine late in the day on the day they went up. I don't remember what day I got them but it didn't take very long, I had them within a day or two of people reporting they were first getting them. I ordered 4x of the bundles. I got all 40 cards and almost instantly at that. For previous secret lairs, I bought 4x of the bundles of the ones in December, and the rat, and the one after that. I won't be buying anymore unless I really want the card due to a severe decline in quality (my Theros cards all curl extremely badly, as do the rats, the Theros curls are so bad I suspect most of them would not be tournament legal even when double sleeved), but none of my shipments were delayed.

Edit: On the subject of the Theros foil curls, my main magic collection sits in a 5000 count box. It's not completely full, but has a lot of cards in it (I try to not hang onto cards I won't play). Every card in said box is sleeved in a Dragon Shield perfect fit smoke top loader, with the open side facing to the bottom of the card. I can look down in the box in the multicolor section (roughly 800 cards) and with 100% accuracy pull out every single Theros secret lair on my first attempt.

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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 1 year ago

Yawgmoth wrote:
1 year ago
cfusionpm wrote:
1 year ago

As a final side note, resident tool-bag Blake Rasmussen doesn't think fetchlands are necessary because you only need 1 for commander and most players don't need to optimize decks. :thinking:
Wow, this interview is nuts. Around the 12min mark where The Prof asks if maybe the reason the fetches cost so much is because of the demand Blake starts touching his face and getting all fidgety. It's pretty amusing if the whole thing didn't seem so disingenuous.

Blake's comment about, "people only really need fetches for Modern, Legacy, and Vintage, but those each have respectively smaller player pools" (paraphrase). Wow. Maybe the reason there are fewer Modern and even fewer Legacy players is BECAUSE of the high price of cards due to lack of reprints. You can't use the diminishing size of the player base as a reason to not print cards for a format when the diminishing size is in part due to the lack of cards!!! Insane circular logic.
I ended up watching this due to your "recommendation." I don't usually watch the Professor, but his expression ... lol. He looks like he's watching, thinking, "when is this guy gonna spew out something that isn't complete and utter %$#%$#%?" I love his expression, lol.

And you are 100% correct in saying that card price and availability is the reason more people don't play Legacy. Also, WotC does NOT see it like this at all. They are happy with the Vintage < Legacy < Modern < Pioneer < Standard "situation." This is the way they want it. I don't know if it is 100% correct or will stay that way, but it seems pretty spot on.
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Legacy - No more cards, will rebuy Sneak Show when I can
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Post by ModernDefector » 1 year ago

Oh God, the multi-level marketing type corporate-speak by Blake in that video. WotC's actions make more sense now.

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Post by TheBoulderer » 1 year ago

may I make a suggestion here? The thread has developed into an expansive discussion about wizard's general banning strategy/policy/reasoning, its communication, etc and is only tangentially connected to modern anymore.

And while it may be a discussion worth having on some level, I think a lot of people (me included) are entirely uninterested in what I would call the "politics" of MTG.

it may help (psychologically if nothing else) to try and understand WotC's choices, but I think in reality and unless somebody on here has real insider info, it is a futile, time-wasting exercise.

There's a ton of interesting, relevant topics to discuss about modern, like wether viewing Astrolabe's mana-fixing abilities vis a vis fetchlands is a reasonable comparison, wether we think coming sets will include more snow-support cards/payoffs and even more importantly (especially if they don't plan on banning Astrolabe) hate cards to create a downside to going into snow.

Just one example.

And the volume of stuff people are writing on here is so immense it essentially driwns out any coherent discussions about anything else. People are writing small essay after essay here on ultimately kind of intangible stuff. I would respectfully suggest opening a different thread for that.
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Post by drmarkb » 1 year ago

@ktkenshinx
The Nactyl thing was more of a jokey aside at WOTC's expense, rather than a serious point on my part, sorry to bring it up. I agree there are lots of lessons for every ban and unban.
I agree that the numbers are up there as a primary criterion, and I am glad that we both accept they are not the only criterion now that Lattice got the ban. I actually correctly called the T**N ban, back in the day, selling two copies of the deck I had in paper, keeping just 4 tarns with an eye on a move to Legacy, which I made. I certainly failed to predict Probe, I certainly was surprised at Lattice, and that is the real one which shows they don't just look at the frontline numbers, they look at backline numbers. I have called a few incoming bans correctly, and made a chunk of cash doing so. Frankly even though I did not play the card in Modern, that ban more than any other shook my confidence in the format- Modern is now a format I will play, but I am no longer a Modern player. I certainly don't want to play with people who approve of a ban on the grounds of fun (as opposed to KCI or Eggs which have other considerations). I don't want them at my table, I don't want them in my format, and since they have won over Lattice, Modern is not for me any more. It might be Lattice today, but it could be Bridge, Teferi or Moon tomorrow. I was one of the people pushing for my LGS to drop Modern as our attendances were so low and frankly I think it is a matter of when rather than if the format dies worldwide, for reasons we both have laid out previously. I still think surgical bans coupled with design paradigm are the unresolvable issues with Modern. Design is theoretically resolvable over time, but realistically it would take 5 plus years to get the answers and tutoring for answers the format needs. The refusal to completely nerf a deck and disenfranchise X pc of players is an issue because when they try to neuter a deck rather than obliterate it you end up upsetting most players to a small extent and you never quite get the message correct about who a format is aimed at. I understand why they do it, but imagine if all those years ago they banhammered Opal and Tron at the start of the format?

I laugh when people tell me to play Pioneer, too. I have little enthusiasm for it but the rules of the format are clear, we don't end up with as many people who want vastly different things in the format. That said in both Modern and Pioneer I tend to take decks that are off the wall and beat 2 or 3 of the top decks, whilst keeling over to the other pillars.

Frankly I enjoy Legacy more as I feel in a lot of matches I have a chance no matter how janky the deck, and also Canlander has been a breath of fresh air- no bans, only points.

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Post by TheBoulderer » 1 year ago

drmarkb wrote:
1 year ago
ktkenshinx
I laugh when people tell me to play Pioneer, too. I have little enthusiasm for it but the rules of the format are clear, we don't end up with as many people who want vastly different things in the format. That said in both Modern and Pioneer I tend to take decks that are off the wall and beat 2 or 3 of the top decks, whilst keeling over to the other pillars.
Think you are speaking to a huge part of modern players (or people who play modern^^) there. Especially the last part. The problem is that powerful new cards "create" one or more new top decks to fight.

Tbh imo WotC's ban policies is the secondary problem here, or at least derives from the main issue, bad card design.

On the one hand I get that designing cards while keeping in mind modern's huge card pool is very challenging, but it should be possible. They have succeded multiple times in the past. For example, while Uro may be a tad too good, the Escape mechanic was a great addition to the format. What really baffles me is that some mistakes seem so obvious they must have seen them before even releasing a set. For example I clearly remember reading Oko's text for the first time and instantly going "this is messed up". How does that kind of a slip happen? It was so obvious. Every comment section below spoilers more or less knew. It took a while for people to splash oko into everything,but still. A more thorough design process would aotomatically make WotC's ban policies less of an issue, because, well, there would be far fewer bans. Banning, I don't know, a card a year seems totally acceptable and unsurprising given modern's cardpool and it's relatively lower power level to legacy. In legacy stuff like that happens more rarely because the power level is different. What ticks people off and ruins a format is banning 1-2 cards every other month. And the past 12 months have been like that.

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Post by iTaLenTZ » 1 year ago

I haven't paid any attention the past 2 months to Modern. Has Astrolabe completely taken over like everyone predicted?

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Post by drmarkb » 1 year ago

There have been huge cock ups on the design front, but not all the often derided cards are cock ups.

Narset was widely slaughtered in Legacy but is fine. No one complains now about it.
W6 would have been fine if only they had it blow up if you tapped a land for U. They fail to understand that good non blue stuff keeps getting added to U xerox decks in Legacy. In modern it is no issue at all, which shows how hard it is to design for multiple formats.

Karn was fine, for me, and I have no issues at all with Karn/lattice in any format. Karn was brilliant for the Legacy format, yes it screws over LED decks, but that is a good thing, it means they can't just Abrupt decay the hate permanent and go off, they have to diversify the hate or go ff without LED. It is a threat and a control card. I have zero issues with in Modern, nor did I have a problem with Lattice. If there were offenders it was the Tron decks who ramped into it, and that is because tron lands have no business being in a format that does not have Wasteland.

Teferi was fine too, I have no issues with it in Legacy and Modern. I mean it is unsubtle, and not a clever design, it is an asymmetrical city of solitude, which is curtains if you are expecting to control the game with counters. In many respects Teferi and Dovin's veto have improved Legacy, forcing xerox decks to dedicate more resources to fighting each other, although some decry the "he got Tef down first" aspect of the game, if you are a non blue player you are glad that one of their cards is often a 3 cc sorcery draw spell that dies to a mother of runes swinging for 1, for example. Modern's control decks suffer in that they have often been under powered UWx piles, with few prison decks as well, so when anything hurts the Modern UWx deck control mages tend to get upset, but in reality it is a format flaw that so much control is vested in UW and not other strategies that are control- again unlike Legacy with old style Stax variants and Red Prison.

Where they have screwed up- Veil was a tad too good, doing too much, but then again without the draw it is unplayable, I can see how they missed it even if they cocked it up.
Urza was always going to cause issues alongside things like Emry.

Oko was just unforgivable, and labe is just homogenising Legacy and could so easily have been tweaked as Oko could. Even as a dedicated black Pox/Mono B control player I have no issues with Veil in Legacy, and I would be happier if it could not be cast if a land you control could tap for U. Breach was OBVIOUSLY broken in Legacy.
The main issue is not the broken cards, however, but the ridiculous lack of answers, especially to walkers in general. Half the broken cards could have been tweaked to work, and most of them would not have needed banning if we had better police cards.

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

FoodChainGoblins wrote:
1 year ago
Your explanation makes sense if and only if someone already has some trust in WotC. There are many reasons for someone NOT trusting in WotC - Twin, numerous bans in Standard, recent design philosophy, shoving Secret Lairs down our throats (no, not everyone receiving them, but many people paying for them), and anything else someone feels "wronged" by.
I agree Wizards has untrustworthy elements, especially on their marketing/product/spin side of things. I do think R&D is mostly trustworthy insofar as I can trust them not to lie. R&D has competence problems, especially Play Design in their 2019 failure to do the literal job they were created for, but I generally assume their statements are honest. I think players need to separate out different arms of Wizards when it comes to assessing Modern. Wizards might have significant issues with Secret Lair, the Arena rollout, their digital agenda, etc., but that generally doesn't impact our specific ability to predict and discuss Modern bans/issues/changes.
TheBoulderer wrote:
1 year ago
may I make a suggestion here? The thread has developed into an expansive discussion about wizard's general banning strategy/policy/reasoning, its communication, etc and is only tangentially connected to modern anymore.

And while it may be a discussion worth having on some level, I think a lot of people (me included) are entirely uninterested in what I would call the "politics" of MTG.

it may help (psychologically if nothing else) to try and understand WotC's choices, but I think in reality and unless somebody on here has real insider info, it is a futile, time-wasting exercise.
I can't speak to most of the politics of MTG like fetchlands, Secret Lair, or anything like that, but I can speak very plainly about Modern issues. In regards to Modern issues, we are absolutely able to understand Wizards' choices without any insider information. We are also able to influence those decisions through community outreach. I'm all for discussing other Modern-related topics as well, like Astrolabe vs. fetches vs. DRS as reasonable comparisons.
drmarkb wrote:
1 year ago
I was one of the people pushing for my LGS to drop Modern as our attendances were so low and frankly I think it is a matter of when rather than if the format dies worldwide, for reasons we both have laid out previously. I still think surgical bans coupled with design paradigm are the unresolvable issues with Modern. Design is theoretically resolvable over time, but realistically it would take 5 plus years to get the answers and tutoring for answers the format needs. The refusal to completely nerf a deck and disenfranchise X pc of players is an issue because when they try to neuter a deck rather than obliterate it you end up upsetting most players to a small extent and you never quite get the message correct about who a format is aimed at. I understand why they do it, but imagine if all those years ago they banhammered Opal and Tron at the start of the format?
I agree Modern is in serious trouble, but don't think it's because of the set/product design decisions. These decisions have hurt all competitive formats equally, shaking confidence in Standard (typically a ban-free format), Modern, and even Wizards' new baby, Pioneer. Modern's biggest issue now is a lack of clear vision, or at least the community's ignorance about Wizards' vision... if they have one at all right now. Wizards has treated formats like products and marketing platforms for a few years now, not as distinct types of Magic with their own identities and missions. Legacy is incidentally less like this because it has much less support; this has actually saved Legacy from a lot of issues other formats are facing. It's certainly not immune (Legacy-targeted product releases have shaken up the format in big ways and, in some cases, broken it), but it's way better than what we're seeing in Modern, Pioneer, Standard, and even Commander. Bans are just a small piece of this, but it's really a vision failure. This is why my main article this year was focused around format vision, not around smaller format decisions like bans.
iTaLenTZ wrote:
1 year ago
I haven't paid any attention the past 2 months to Modern. Has Astrolabe completely taken over like everyone predicted?
Astrolabe is currently just one of many strong options. It has not yet pushed out non-Astrolabe fair decks, and it has not yet reached problematic metagame levels. It also hasn't even coalesced around 1-2 single types of Astrolabe decks. But any of those things could still happen and the community (probably Wizards too) is certainly monitoring the situation.
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Post by cfusionpm » 1 year ago

FoodChainGoblins wrote:
1 year ago
Also, WotC does NOT see it like this at all. They are happy with the Vintage < Legacy < Modern < Pioneer < Standard "situation." This is the way they want it. I don't know if it is 100% correct or will stay that way, but it seems pretty spot on.
Based on Rasmussen's interview, it's not just this, but rather:

Vintage <<< Legacy <<< Modern << Pioneer <<<<<< Standard <<<<<<<<<<<<< Commander

Now, as a Commander player, I don't hate this. But seeing Blake just blatantly and brazenly ignore eternal constructed formats like we just don't exist makes me hate him even more than I already did (since he has repeatedly been vocal about hating Twin and saying it made "bad play patterns").

People like this being in powerful positions in WOTC definitely make their intentions clear. We are an afterthought. Our support comes from pet projects by the few people that actually do care. We are not their market, we are not their target. Casual players, Commander, and Standard (through Arena) are their priorities. And the worst vibe I was getting from him throughout this interview is: "You are not our priority. There's nothing you can do to change that. Whatcha donna do, stop playing? We don't care. You are small beans."
ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago
I agree Wizards has untrustworthy elements, especially on their marketing/product/spin side of things. I do think R&D is mostly trustworthy insofar as I can trust them not to lie. ... but that generally doesn't impact our specific ability to predict and discuss Modern bans/issues/changes.
I'd like to add that at no point would I ever like to characterize what they do as "lying," but that they do what is convenient by telling selective truths. As long as there is not considerable community pushback, or something obviously egregiously bad, it is often left alone (whether it breaks rules or not). Then when something is acted upon, rules are cited retroactively (likely to try and be consistent with past actions, but not always). And even if they cite exact, specific values for things (like MWP) none of that actually matters as a cutoff point since we are literally incapable of computing those values ourselves for current decks in the current meta. Our ability to spot obvious problems is more a testament of our ability to understand the ebb and flow of the format (probably much better than WOTC does).

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Post by drmarkb » 1 year ago

ktkenshinx wrote:
1 year ago


I agree Modern is in serious trouble, but don't think it's because of the set/product design decisions. These decisions have hurt all competitive formats equally, shaking confidence in Standard (typically a ban-free format), Modern, and even Wizards' new baby, Pioneer. Modern's biggest issue now is a lack of clear vision, or at least the community's ignorance about Wizards' vision... if they have one at all right now. Wizards has treated formats like products and marketing platforms for a few years now, not as distinct types of Magic with their own identities and missions. Legacy is incidentally less like this because it has much less support; this has actually saved Legacy from a lot of issues other formats are facing. It's certainly not immune (Legacy-targeted product releases have shaken up the format in big ways and, in some cases, broken it), but it's way better than what we're seeing in Modern, Pioneer, Standard, and even Commander. Bans are just a small piece of this, but it's really a vision failure. This is why my main article this year was focused around format vision, not around smaller format decisions like bans.
Amen to that, especally the parts in bold. It is what I have argued for some time, the vision- who is it for, what should it be, why should people play it, how competitive is the format, is it for FNMs or Pro tours?- that is the biggest problem of all. Set design is lower down the scale....Bans are a symptom of many things, but not the cause. Vision is the issue. I would rather they establish clear parameters, and I can decide for myself if I want to play it. I have 6 or so Pioneer decks, worth very little cf Vintage/Legacy, and none are my deck- just things I can lend out- copies of big red, mono b, mono g, mono u tempo, spirit tempo, etc. I have them because Pioneer may end up being a biggish format locally- the format is cheap and I may get the itch. With Modern just one or two top decks can cost a similar amount, and for that money I can buy a Tabernacle or even Ancestral that will double in price in five years, rather than get reprinted to annihilation, all of which I can play in Canlander or in the case of the former, Legacy.

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Post by Yawgmoth » 1 year ago

TheBoulderer wrote:
1 year ago
There's a ton of interesting, relevant topics to discuss about modern, like wether viewing Astrolabe's mana-fixing abilities vis a vis fetchlands is a reasonable comparison, wether we think coming sets will include more snow-support cards/payoffs and even more importantly (especially if they don't plan on banning Astrolabe) hate cards to create a downside to going into snow
Idk if you saw my comment a few pages back but I proposed doing exactly that: making snow-specific hate rather than banning astrolabe. For example, "destroy target snow permanent" seems like a great effect to reign in snow abuse.

Modern Horizons two would be a perfect vehicle for printing effects like that too.

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Post by Tzoulis » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
So, is Modern finally crystallizing around two big Astrolabe decks? That should be super worrying and it would be what several people were telling at this forum(@Foodchains, me, etc).

Moving forward, you should expect the metagame to become 100% solved and those decks becoming the clear cut best decks among Titan and Tron variants.

Mix all of this with Dredge maybe moving up to Tier 1 and you have an awful Modern metagame, outside of those Snow fair decks(at least, this is a reason to cheer for in an otherwise awful field). Dredge seems to be so high, because this and Amulet are the only bad matchups for Snow control.
You got that over one challenge?
gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
Look that I am not dismissing everything, there is a reason to be happy, and that's snow. But it you want to be fair and happy, it's Snow or go home. We all know Jund is Jund and it's winrate is below-par. It also loses against Snow, E-Tron, G Tron, Amulet, Dredge. It seems to be a bad metacall, but some people are playing it, because that's their deck and they are testing out Kroxa. Expect this to fade out shortly, as this is already the case.
You say you don't dismiss anything, but boy does the last part about Jund seem like dismissal (and empty speculation) to me. Also, you're ignoring the Shadow and that weird Simic Reclamation deck.

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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 1 year ago

Yawgmoth wrote:
1 year ago
TheBoulderer wrote:
1 year ago
There's a ton of interesting, relevant topics to discuss about modern, like wether viewing Astrolabe's mana-fixing abilities vis a vis fetchlands is a reasonable comparison, wether we think coming sets will include more snow-support cards/payoffs and even more importantly (especially if they don't plan on banning Astrolabe) hate cards to create a downside to going into snow
Idk if you saw my comment a few pages back but I proposed doing exactly that: making snow-specific hate rather than banning astrolabe. For example, "destroy target snow permanent" seems like a great effect to reign in snow abuse.

Modern Horizons two would be a perfect vehicle for printing effects like that too.
But that won't actually do that much. Ice-Fang Coatl and Arcum's Astrolabe have already drawn a card by then. It would have to be something like 1 generic mana to do what you said and draw a card, cycling for 1 generic. It would have to be something really hateful like Snow permanents don't untap like usual for 2 mana.
Standard - Will pick up what's good when paper starts
Pre Modern - Do not own anymore
Pioneer - MBA, UB Inverter
Modern - Amulet Titan, Elementals, Yawmoth Chord, Uroza
Legacy - No more cards, will rebuy Sneak Show when I can
Limited - Will start when paper starts
Commander - Nope

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Post by ktkenshinx » 1 year ago

gkourou wrote:
1 year ago
So, is Modern finally crystallizing around two big Astrolabe decks? That should be super worrying and it would be what several people were telling at this forum(@Foodchains, me, etc).
I'm not sure why this is super worrisome on its own. Most top Modern cards just have a few top-tier decks that use them. It's not like T3feri is used in a lot of top decks. Or Expedition Map. It's a potential warning sign on its own, because Astrolabe could "theoretically" enable a variety of different snow decks, but nothing too serious. Far more serious warning signs are if this happens AND we see non-Astrolabe fair decks disappear AND/OR we also see Astrolabe decks take up a significant percentage of the winner's tables. Homogenization to just Bant Snow Control and Temur Urza isn't the end of the world as those decks aren't exactly negative for the format experience as a whole. At least, until they also violate the other benchmarks.
Moving forward, you should expect the metagame to become 100% solved and those decks becoming the clear cut best decks among Titan and Tron variants.
I'm pretty sure the top-tier of Modern has been solved for most of Modern's history at any given point in time. I just think people, perhaps yourself included, don't like Modern's current top tier so they view this as a negative thing. Currently, Modern's top tier is Bant Snow Control, Temur Urza, G Tron/E Tron (unclear if E Tron can translate MTGO success to paper success, which it has historically struggled with), 1-2 Titan flavors (Amulet and Gx Ramp), Dredge, and some combination of Burn/Prowess. Jund seems to be up there in terms of popularity but we lack clear MWP metrics now to know if it's there in terms of performance; this is one area where I acknowledge CFP's argument about a lack of stats that prevent us from knowing a deck's positioning. Even without Jund, however, that's a pretty strategically balanced top tier. But I think many players find something distasteful about the gameplay in this top-tier, which feels exceptionally powerful and swingy. Additionally, unlike in previous points in Modern history, the power level feels much higher than any lower tier decks. As others have noted, the gap between Tier 1 and Tier 2 feels HUGE right now.

All of that is to say, I don't think the problem is Modern having a solved top tier. Basically all formats, even healthy ones and healthy metagames, have such a solved top tier. The problem is a) the top tier is way above the rest of the format, and b) the top tier doesn't have the most enjoyable gameplay and play patterns for a lot of people. There are no easy solutions to this outside of sweeping bans at the margins and even at the core of decks. 2019 design was just so polarizing for all the decks that could best abuse the new cards.
Over-Extended/Modern Since 2010

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Post by Yawgmoth » 1 year ago

FoodChainGoblins wrote:
1 year ago
Yawgmoth wrote:
1 year ago
TheBoulderer wrote:
1 year ago
There's a ton of interesting, relevant topics to discuss about modern, like wether viewing Astrolabe's mana-fixing abilities vis a vis fetchlands is a reasonable comparison, wether we think coming sets will include more snow-support cards/payoffs and even more importantly (especially if they don't plan on banning Astrolabe) hate cards to create a downside to going into snow
Idk if you saw my comment a few pages back but I proposed doing exactly that: making snow-specific hate rather than banning astrolabe. For example, "destroy target snow permanent" seems like a great effect to reign in snow abuse.

Modern Horizons two would be a perfect vehicle for printing effects like that too.
But that won't actually do that much. Ice-Fang Coatl and Arcum's Astrolabe have already drawn a card by then. It would have to be something like 1 generic mana to do what you said and draw a card, cycling for 1 generic. It would have to be something really hateful like Snow permanents don't untap like usual for 2 mana.
If you read my original post I actually suggested exactly that.
Yawgmoth wrote:
1 year ago
Alternatively they could make a lock artifact/enchantment which prevents all snow permanents from untapping.
[/quote/]

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Post by Yawgmoth » 1 year ago

However, I think a "destroy snow permanent" 1 or 2 cmc instant spell would be very good. Blowing up basic lands is a pretty powerful ability and it would allow you to take Astrolabe/Snake offline.

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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 1 year ago

Yawgmoth wrote:
1 year ago
However, I think a "destroy snow permanent" 1 or 2 cmc instant spell would be very good. Blowing up basic lands is a pretty powerful ability and it would allow you to take Astrolabe/Snake offline.
Oh, my bad. I just assumed it was "non land permanent." Too many years of playing...

Yeah, that would be really solid and could be a way of "hurting" Snow permanents from Snow decks, as well as Snow permanents from Field of the Dead decks. I'm sure that WotC (well I hope so) can put multiple minds together to make something even better. They just gotta remember, don't make the solution a problem all on its own or actually played with the solution. :unamused:
Standard - Will pick up what's good when paper starts
Pre Modern - Do not own anymore
Pioneer - MBA, UB Inverter
Modern - Amulet Titan, Elementals, Yawmoth Chord, Uroza
Legacy - No more cards, will rebuy Sneak Show when I can
Limited - Will start when paper starts
Commander - Nope

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Post by Yawgmoth » 1 year ago

No worries! I think something like that could go a long way to balancing snow decks without any collateral damage. I think the ability to destroy basic snow lands would be a very interesting angle because right now there is literally no downside to running snow basics but lots of upside.

I'd much rather see them print some answers rather than banning more new cards. Astrolabe is a good way to reduce the cost of playing multiple colors in Modern and that's not a bad thing. The prison/snow hate could even be printed in White, both for flavor reasons and also because white could use some love!

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Post by iTaLenTZ » 1 year ago

I was going to buy into a Snow deck just when the Coronacrisis started. I need to spend 350 euro but I am going to postpone this until the Coronacrisis is over because I can't play anywhere anyway for the upcoming 2 months at least so I am in no hurry. Also I just don't see Astrolabe stay legal by the end of the year.

Also the OUaT ban doesn't seem to have improved the format. It just removed the creature based decks from the metagame and left the Astrolabe and Tron/Amulet decks basically untouched. This was exactly what i feared.

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