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

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Amalgam
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Post by Amalgam » 9 months ago

Of course Double Masters has a Mox Opal reprint now after banning the card. Honestly still think banning this card was a massive issue and there was many other paths they could have taken. They even returned and banned Astrolabe like they should have in the first place anyway
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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 9 months ago

Amalgam wrote:
9 months ago
Of course Double Masters has a Mox Opal ban now after banning the card. Honestly still think banning this card was a massive issue and there was many other paths they could have taken. They even returned and banned Astrolabe like they should have in the first place anyway
They chose to ban around Urza than Urza himself. That's all it comes down to. Mox Opal would be fine, depending on how biased you are toward Hardened Scales.
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Post by TheAnnihilator » 9 months ago

FoodChainGoblins wrote:
9 months ago
Amalgam wrote:
9 months ago
Of course Double Masters has a Mox Opal ban now after banning the card. Honestly still think banning this card was a massive issue and there was many other paths they could have taken. They even returned and banned Astrolabe like they should have in the first place anyway
They chose to ban around Urza than Urza himself. That's all it comes down to. Mox Opal would be fine, depending on how biased you are toward Hardened Scales.
Of all of the things I've seen people say around bans/unbans, I feel like the vast majority of magic players I know hold this same unspoken opinion that Mox Opal is fine and Urza was the real problem. It's odd to me how it sortof feels like common knowledge, though people don't talk about it that frequently.
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Post by AvalonAurora » 9 months ago

TheAnnihilator wrote:
9 months ago
Of all of the things I've seen people say around bans/unbans, I feel like the vast majority of magic players I know hold this same unspoken opinion that Mox Opal is fine and Urza was the real problem. It's odd to me how it sortof feels like common knowledge, though people don't talk about it that frequently.
Probably because there were existing concerns about Opal getting banned, and people were emotionally prepared for it to happen, on theoretical basis of something like Affinity gaining more prominence in the metagame for a while.

Plus anyone who wants it to come back probably doubts now is the time for arguments towards Wizards while Urza is still relatively new, after what they saw with how much it took for Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis to be banned, they likely expect they have to wait till Urza gets banned for some other reason before they can start pushing for Wizards to unban Opal.

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Post by Ym1r » 8 months ago

I am sorry but I fail to see how Mox Opal is not a jusfied ban. I understand the frustration of the people playing artifact decks in general, but, with the exception of Affinity, Mox Opal never allowed for any non-toxic decks to exist.

Mox Opal is a similar case to Probe in my opinion. It was just the easiest enabler for a bunch of degenerate decks (including lantern, KCI, Urza) and it costed 0 mana. It was simply to easy for these decks to meet its conditions so it was basically a Mox for every color. The whole point that some artifacts are either too expensive for what they do or too underpowered for their cost is that they are colorless and can be splashed in any deck. Allowing artifact decks to cheat on mana basically without restrictions was always going to be a recipe for problems.

Even if it didn't hit Urza enough, even if Wizards would had banned Urza, Mox Opal would still had to be banned, then or at another point leading to now because it simply is too good for what it does. Much like Astrolabe had basically no restrictions and was too good of an enabler at the same time, Mox Opal did the same.
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Post by Simto » 8 months ago

Ban or no ban, I'm still tempted to buying Affinity and Hardened Scales cards since the price on stuff like Arcbound Ravager is so low.

I hope we get to see artifact decks like them rise up a bit again, but also not end up broken hehe.

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Post by Tzoulis » 8 months ago

Ym1r wrote:
8 months ago
I am sorry but I fail to see how Mox Opal is not a jusfied ban. I understand the frustration of the people playing artifact decks in general, but, with the exception of Affinity, Mox Opal never allowed for any non-toxic decks to exist.

Mox Opal is a similar case to Probe in my opinion. It was just the easiest enabler for a bunch of degenerate decks (including lantern, KCI, Urza) and it costed 0 mana. It was simply to easy for these decks to meet its conditions so it was basically a Mox for every color. The whole point that some artifacts are either too expensive for what they do or too underpowered for their cost is that they are colorless and can be splashed in any deck. Allowing artifact decks to cheat on mana basically without restrictions was always going to be a recipe for problems.

Even if it didn't hit Urza enough, even if Wizards would had banned Urza, Mox Opal would still had to be banned, then or at another point leading to now because it simply is too good for what it does. Much like Astrolabe had basically no restrictions and was too good of an enabler at the same time, Mox Opal did the same.

While I don;t doubt the power level of Mox Opal, people who have played a lot with it, like me, know that it wasn't really the problem. KCI was bound to be busted Opal or no. Massive amounts of mana, and bypassing typical interaction channels (it being a mana ability) was what made KCI bannable, not Opal.

Opal was banned because the best shell for it was a Simic Urza/Oko combination. Why was it the best shell? Because both Goose AND Oko created artifacts, thus decreasing the required numbers of artifacts in order for Opal to be active by turn 2 by alot. Some even played Tireless Tracker, further increasing the efficacy of Opal without sacrificing anything for this consistency. Rather it increased it because, increasing the number of artifacts you play you add plenty of air in a list. Typical artifact decks that ran Opal needed between 21 and 23 artifacts, while SImic Urza/Oko lists played between 15 to 18 as far as I remember. That's why its banning was a kneejerk reaction to Oko + Urza decks. They failed to show any understanding on why it was the best shell for Opal. For reference, G-Tron (without Karn TGC) plays the around same amount of artifacts as Simic Urza lists,

Furthermore, Emry is a serious problem, She is what gave the deck EVEN further staying power. She is what made artifact destruction/hate irrelevant. In combination with Astrolabe, there was no point in siding in Ancient Grudge or any spot artifact destruction. I distinctly remember when playing Urza Outcome against a Zoo variant (with Eidolons, so a bad matchup) that he had a grudge in hand and didn't even cast it because I'd get extra value out of an Astrolabe and/or Witching Well because I had Emry.

Emry was broken in my Grixis Urza even after the Opal banning. In a deck that had some key artifact pieces like Bridge and Foundry, Emry made spot artifact removal just a tempo play rather than a serious issue.

Emry is what improved the Ascendancy decks. Emry is the centerpiece for the Breach/Grinding Station combo decks. Emry is both a midrange/value play and a combo piece.

So the overall problem wasn't Opal, rather the combination of printings in one set -Eldraine if that wasn't clear- that pushed a deck over the top. While Opal is "just" a mana rock, to fully take advantage of it you need a proper artifact deck. If you print cards that by their mere existence decrease the risk of that restriction, plus a card that makes their counters nigh unusable, then you have some problems on your hands, but you don't fix it by removing the card that you just broke, rather you fix it by removing the cards that removed those restrictions.

Opal was just the card people complained the most, rather than the card(s) that really were (and still are) problematic. The correct way to go about would've been banning Oko and Emry (or Astrolabe) if they wanted to keep Urza around and (most) people would've been fine. They'd still have their artifact decks to play around. Now we have (almost) nothing.

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Post by Mapccu » 8 months ago

I really feel like opal had a target on it well before oko/urza in wotc eyes. They were very cautious with fast mana because it allows you to execute a game plan so much more quickly than other strats.

I don't feel bad for having opal gone, it being prevalent in so many decks is a clear nod to its power level. Affinity, lantern, KCI, and Urza have all been top tier decks at one point in various metas, all made more powerful by opal.

Don't think I'm defending urza, Emory, or oko - I'm not. Those cards are obviously stupid. I'm not going to defend opal to that extent though. The card didn't sufficient hoops to jump through when it's being run by aggro , control, combo, and midrange decks.

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Post by drmarkb » 8 months ago

Why Opal got to live and Chrome Mox not was always odd to me. I love fast mana, but it felt odd to randomly give it to a couple of artifact decks and not others, presumably for fear of combo.

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Post by Aazadan » 8 months ago

Opal had a target for a while, ever since eggs and that usually only played 1. Given their 1 and 2 mana legendaries and mox amber lately though, I think they've created another Opal after enough time.

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Post by blkdemonight » 8 months ago

Tzoulis wrote:
8 months ago
Ym1r wrote:
8 months ago
I am sorry but I fail to see how Mox Opal is not a jusfied ban. I understand the frustration of the people playing artifact decks in general, but, with the exception of Affinity, Mox Opal never allowed for any non-toxic decks to exist.

Mox Opal is a similar case to Probe in my opinion. It was just the easiest enabler for a bunch of degenerate decks (including lantern, KCI, Urza) and it costed 0 mana. It was simply to easy for these decks to meet its conditions so it was basically a Mox for every color. The whole point that some artifacts are either too expensive for what they do or too underpowered for their cost is that they are colorless and can be splashed in any deck. Allowing artifact decks to cheat on mana basically without restrictions was always going to be a recipe for problems.

Even if it didn't hit Urza enough, even if Wizards would had banned Urza, Mox Opal would still had to be banned, then or at another point leading to now because it simply is too good for what it does. Much like Astrolabe had basically no restrictions and was too good of an enabler at the same time, Mox Opal did the same.

While I don;t doubt the power level of Mox Opal, people who have played a lot with it, like me, know that it wasn't really the problem. KCI was bound to be busted Opal or no. Massive amounts of mana, and bypassing typical interaction channels (it being a mana ability) was what made KCI bannable, not Opal.

Opal was banned because the best shell for it was a Simic Urza/Oko combination. Why was it the best shell? Because both Goose AND Oko created artifacts, thus decreasing the required numbers of artifacts in order for Opal to be active by turn 2 by alot. Some even played Tireless Tracker, further increasing the efficacy of Opal without sacrificing anything for this consistency. Rather it increased it because, increasing the number of artifacts you play you add plenty of air in a list. Typical artifact decks that ran Opal needed between 21 and 23 artifacts, while SImic Urza/Oko lists played between 15 to 18 as far as I remember. That's why its banning was a kneejerk reaction to Oko + Urza decks. They failed to show any understanding on why it was the best shell for Opal. For reference, G-Tron (without Karn TGC) plays the around same amount of artifacts as Simic Urza lists,

Furthermore, Emry is a serious problem, She is what gave the deck EVEN further staying power. She is what made artifact destruction/hate irrelevant. In combination with Astrolabe, there was no point in siding in Ancient Grudge or any spot artifact destruction. I distinctly remember when playing Urza Outcome against a Zoo variant (with Eidolons, so a bad matchup) that he had a grudge in hand and didn't even cast it because I'd get extra value out of an Astrolabe and/or Witching Well because I had Emry.

Emry was broken in my Grixis Urza even after the Opal banning. In a deck that had some key artifact pieces like Bridge and Foundry, Emry made spot artifact removal just a tempo play rather than a serious issue.

Emry is what improved the Ascendancy decks. Emry is the centerpiece for the Breach/Grinding Station combo decks. Emry is both a midrange/value play and a combo piece.

So the overall problem wasn't Opal, rather the combination of printings in one set -Eldraine if that wasn't clear- that pushed a deck over the top. While Opal is "just" a mana rock, to fully take advantage of it you need a proper artifact deck. If you print cards that by their mere existence decrease the risk of that restriction, plus a card that makes their counters nigh unusable, then you have some problems on your hands, but you don't fix it by removing the card that you just broke, rather you fix it by removing the cards that removed those restrictions.

Opal was just the card people complained the most, rather than the card(s) that really were (and still are) problematic. The correct way to go about would've been banning Oko and Emry (or Astrolabe) if they wanted to keep Urza around and (most) people would've been fine. They'd still have their artifact decks to play around. Now we have (almost) nothing.
In other words Throne of Eldraine was a set responsible for powerful artifact interactions like Urza block.

Starting to wonder if Darksteel Citadel will eventually be reunited with the rest of artifact lands, either in the ban list or playable.

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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 8 months ago

blkdemonight wrote:
8 months ago
In other words Throne of Eldraine was a set responsible for powerful artifact interactions like Urza block.

Starting to wonder if Darksteel Citadel will eventually be reunited with the rest of artifact lands, either in the ban list or playable.
Of the ideas on Mox Opal on this page, my beliefs line up best with @Tzoulis. Those cards "broke" Mox Opal. Mox Opal was not banworthy for most of Modern, although it could have been portrayed as close many times. Even in broken metas where the other decks ended up getting cards banned, Mox Opal Affinity was always viable. It is one of those decks that has a tough time if people are ready for it, but otherwise you'd better be playing a Twin-type deck or else you're not ready.

With Lantern Control, the deck was very strong and mostly just annoying because no one wanted to side extra cards for it. Nobody wanted to gear their deck toward that deck. How do I know? I had Lantern players that I wanted to actively beat at MNM, mostly because I was tired of having 5 minutes of me playing during our match that went to time every single time. What happened? I crushed them. I don't think I lost a single SB game after gearing toward them. Kataki, Chalice of the Void, decks like Turns that push their poop in, and other cards made life tough for them. Yes, a Thoughtseize/IoK deck will always have a chance against specific cards. That's what makes it extra tough.

Regarding KCI, it was Scrap Trawler that pushed the deck. Trust me, I played Eggs a bit after the Second Sunrise ban with Codex Shredder as the lone win-con and it was just another glass cannon Combo deck. I killed Infect once in a match on turn 3 twice. That felt good. But I also got hated out by Stony Silence AND Rest in Peace a few times as well. Mox Opal is not what made KCI or Eggs. It was Scrap Trawler. If that card was never printed, I am willing to bet my collection that Mox Opal would still be around.

During Hogaak, Scales was a really strong deck. It could beat Hogaak. :o How do I know? I know a few dedicated Scales players, well I should say that they WERE dedicated. Urza was printed and Mox Opal led to quicker Urzas and quicker combo kills. Mox Opal was never banworthy just with Thopter/Sword.

So, there's essentially 2 ways to look at it. You can ban AROUND Urza, similar to the 6 cards limited to 1 in Vintage because you will never be forced to play fewer than 4 Mishra's Workshop. If you really want to push designs in the future and then only ban if there is no older card to ban to keep that new design okay, then Mox Opal is a good ban. If you feel that cards should only be banned based on what they do on their own, then Mox Opal is not a good ban. In my own opinion, I don't think it's a good ban because without some of these things, Urza won't even be playable and that's no fun because you can't play Opal, but you also can't play Urza because everything enabling strong play is banned around him. Another thing to think of is that there was a lot of talk about sideboards going higher than 15 cards. Perhaps WotC wanted to push cards like Shattering Spree, Ancient Grudge, Stony Silence, Shatterstorm, and the ilk out of SBs and see what that opens up. It's definitely an interesting theory.

Based on this, I feel strongly that Mox Opal, Bridge from Below, and several other cards that have been rotting away for years should be brought back. And if power creep goes up, I also feel that Faithless Looting could be unbanned, but at the time, it was an excellent banning, even if for the wrong reasons or not. If Mox Opal is not unbanned, the artifact lands definitely should be unbanned. It would be nice to be able to play Aggro that is not just Burn/Prowess, but right now there's no reason to.
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Post by pierreb » 8 months ago

Well worded, but in the end, your opinion about what should be done is a bit unclear. Especially about what should be banned in their place. Maybe you don't have any definitive opinion on that, which is fine, but then it makes your essay incomplete. As I understand it you propose to:

Unban:
  • Mox Opal
  • Artifact lands
  • Bridge from below
  • KCI (unclear)
  • Faithless loothing (with a maybe)
Ban:
  • Scrap Trawler
  • Urza (unclear)
  • Some other unnamed cards?

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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 8 months ago

I think the main reason it's unclear boils down to this - there are different directions that you can take in Modern. Not everything is black and white. WotC has chosen to go in certain directions, but even THEY have changed that up.

As for my own personal choices, I could even put that in 2 categories - one category where it's possible and probably will happen eventually and another category where I wish it could be. Most people here know how I feel on certain cards anyway because I have a big mouth, so there's no point in restating that (although I certainly will many other times, lol).

I am always going to be pro-unbanning stuff and not pro-banning stuff. But if WotC is not going to unban stuff, then some bans are necessary (like OUaT and AA, among numerous more obvious ones).
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Post by drmarkb » 8 months ago

Ban and unban is just very dangerous for Mtg as a whole, bad for player confidence, and it shows up wotc if it goes wrong, more so than a new card coming along and breaking a format, as by definition if you unban something you know it was banned for a reason. Bans followed by unbans are bad for confidence in formats - hell if you deliberately wanted to kill a format that would be the way to go- and they give even more scope for insider trading. How bad would it feel to trade away a dead deck for a third if the buying price, only for a year or two later unbans bring it back and it is 3x the price?

For this reason I like the historic system and think it should be adapted to paper.
Suspended can have a chance of coming back- you don't sell your deck because a piece got suspended, or if you do, tough, you knew it could come back.
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Cards should be suspended as a matter of course, and bans only issued for key cards, preferably ones around which decks get made. So enablers suspended, but key strategy lynchpin cards like KCI get banned, normally after suspension. If the deck is named after a card, it is the sort of card that needs a ban decision after suspension. Susoension has a benefit of being not as big a decision, and can be more liberally applied. A suspension on cards like Veil, followed by a decision on banning, or continued suspension, is more likely to be justifiable than a straight ban.

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Post by cfusionpm » 8 months ago

drmarkb wrote:
8 months ago
Ban and unban is just very dangerous for Mtg as a whole, bad for player confidence, and it shows up wotc if it goes wrong, more so than a new card coming along and breaking a format, as by definition if you unban something you know it was banned for a reason. Bans followed by unbans are bad for confidence in formats - hell if you deliberately wanted to kill a format that would be the way to go- and they give even more scope for insider trading. How bad would it feel to trade away a dead deck for a third if the buying price, only for a year or two later unbans bring it back and it is 3x the price?

For this reason I like the historic system and think it should be adapted to paper.
Suspended can have a chance of coming back- you don't sell your deck because a piece got suspended, or if you do, tough, you knew it could come back.
Banned - gone forever, everyone knows where they stand, gone, never getting unbanned even if it were safe. No speculation every time there is an announcement of an announcement.
Cards should be suspended as a matter of course, and bans only issued for key cards, preferably ones around which decks get made. So enablers suspended, but key strategy lynchpin cards like KCI get banned, normally after suspension. If the deck is named after a card, it is the sort of card that needs a ban decision after suspension. Susoension has a benefit of being not as big a decision, and can be more liberally applied. A suspension on cards like Veil, followed by a decision on banning, or continued suspension, is more likely to be justifiable than a straight ban.
In my ideal world, this hypothetical suspension list could be a banlist that would "rotate" so to speak. Cards enter the suspended list for X amount of time. When that period is up they are released back for Y amount of time, unless clear, specific criteria are met, which would warrant moving it immediately from suspended to banned. Otherwise, at the end of that evaluation period, they will either be placed back on suspension to be re-evaluated, or outright released back into the wild. Obviously I'm making up an ideal situation that would likely wreak havoc on the paper world, but good thing paper events don't exist right now, eh? This would allow reflection for knee-jerk reaction bans and incorrect targets. It would allow for testing of currently-banned cards to be released during evaluation windows, then be placed either on suspended list, or back on banned list. And it would also allow for more fluidity and speed to act against egregious decks if the X and Y-time cycles are short enough; a problem that has been at the forefront of every format for a year and a half...

But as it stands, Standard is in shambles, Historic is a hot mess express, Pioneer is a combo-laden ghost town, Modern is a swirling pile of chaos (for better or worse), Legacy and Vintage are still RL locked, and Commander is the only format that seems both popular and healthy; likely because it has no sanctioned competitive scene.

Before even considering a drastic change like this (which they will never do, because of the input work needed to make it run smoothly), they need to wrangle in the smoldering piles of wreckage from each and every format they have systematically destroyed over the last two years.

In lighter news, as long as you don't mind losing (or effectively losing) on early turns a meaningful portion of time, it's possible to have some great games in Modern. I would never actually play in a large sanctioned competitive event, but some great fun can be had in practice rooms.

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Post by Ed06288 » 8 months ago

Modern and Edh are doing very well in my area. Pioneer and Standard are kinda put on hold. Haven't seen any Legacy, Historic, or Pauper played by anyone in a long time.

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Post by Aazadan » 8 months ago

Temporary ban lists seem like the worst of all worlds. Because when you remove cards that need to go, you're committing to needing to unban them again in the future. It essentially locks you into format decisions that are going to be known to be unhealthy for the format.

I'm not against unbans either, but most cards that get banned shouldn't be unbanned. Modern has unbanned two cards that were banned after the beginning of the format. One was ok to unban in Wild Nacatl, the other wasn't in Golgari Grave Troll.

Other than those two, every unban has come from cards that started off banned in the format and never had a chance to prove themselves one way or the other.

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Post by drmarkb » 8 months ago

The market would not change much with temporary bans, people would understand when something is suspended and not panic sell . They could gamble on a forever ban.
The main issue is, a ban should be for life, and cards like Nacatyl would never theoretically get to banned status.
Cards like Pod, Twin, Hogy, Kci, Oko might get there, and instead of their fans being disappointed every announcement, they could get some closure, whilst speculation on unbans would be less likely....

I am not sure Historic is anything other than successful, from what I read.
Legacy is a bit battered in terms of fun by the new paradigm, but as strong as ever in paper, devoted players to the last, with no wotc support. Most of the other real constructed formats, EDH, Old, School, Canlander aside, are on fire,

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Post by cfusionpm » 8 months ago

Well, now I understand exactly why Astrolabe was the only ban... :laugh:


Aazadan wrote:
8 months ago
I'm not against unbans either, but most cards that get banned shouldn't be unbanned. Modern has unbanned two cards that were banned after the beginning of the format. One was ok to unban in Wild Nacatl, the other wasn't in Golgari Grave Troll.

Other than those two, every unban has come from cards that started off banned in the format and never had a chance to prove themselves one way or the other.
Let's be clear though, that nothing was inherently broken with GGT, and it actually lived in the format just fine for something like a year and a half without any issue. It was WOTC who chose to re-ban GGT when it broke dredge with back to back to back enabler and payoff additions (Neonate, Cathartic, and Amalgam). Before Creeping Chill was even a concept! GGT never was the problem, it's that WOTC continually printing things that are easily abused by Dredge. Dredge is just an inherently broken mechanic that continues to get broken by new additions. Even with a Looting ban, they just play another 1 mana discard/dredge outlet in Merchant and an amazing card in Ox.

The moral of the story is that they often choose a card arbitrarily (not randomly, but definitely arbitrarily) when hitting a deck. It is almost always the older card(s) in the deck, and almost never the new things. It's often something they simply don't like, or consider a 'mistake'. So because the selections are often seemingly random and arbitrary, it would be nice to have them revisited in a systematic way. Instead of simply locked away and forgotten about. Plus, as mentioned, it would avoid many panic sales or regretful purchases if cards are temporarily suspended. Could also deter those on the fence about plopping down big cash on a "questionable" deck.

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Post by FoodChainGoblins » 8 months ago

Greeksis wrote:
8 months ago
There is not much point for Wizards to discuss about unbans. Some were great hits(JTMS and SFM enables great blue archetypes), some were total fails(GGT). The risk is just too high and if something like GGT is broken, and is rebanned, that's a net negative for the format.

Just imagine unbanning Pod, only to realize it's broken and needs rebanning. They 'd better focus on the upcoming sets.

My view is that cards that hit the Banlist, are there forever, locked and never to come back. And maybe that's the safest thing to do, as we don't have no more Ancestrals and Swords in it. Every card runs the risk of being busted(cards like Twin and Pod could easily be that way). Also, there is no card that poses an upside anymore, after SFM, JTMS and BBE unbannings. Just let the busted cards stay there and focus on the more important things Wizards, I believe.
Golgari Grave-Troll would have been completely fine in Modern since the beginning until it ended up getting banned. It was not a high risk card. It was just the "target" of a possible future dredge list because its dredge number was 1 higher than Stinkweed Imp, nothing else. WotC wanted to make sure no graveyard deck was viable.

When they unbanned it, there was absolutely no problem. Future printings made it too good and then it needed to be banned. Was that a failure? I doubt it. I doubt Dredge (as it stands now is pretty bad) would be better with GGT, but without Creeping Chill. It's not even that good a deck in the current meta.

A card could be printed tomorrow that makes Stinkweed Imp now a bannable card. Should Stinkweed Imp have been banned since the inception of Modern? In 2011, did WotC know about what they were going to print in 2019 and 2020? Do you think anyone would have believed you if you named a few cards? Honestly if there was a card printed that said if "x" goes to the yard from the library, put it into play and make a token copy, x is a 10/10 trample, then Shenanigans will get banned. There won't be any cards allowed to do so because the effect is just so busted. This is an extreme example, of course. But the ban list should always be somewhat fluid at this point, especially even more so with ridiculous power creep simply for the fact that Modern looks and always has looked like FAVORITES are chosen. We need to work more on making that not so.
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 cfusionpm » 8 months ago

FoodChainGoblins wrote:
8 months ago
When they unbanned it, there was absolutely no problem. Future printings made it too good and then it needed to be banned. Was that a failure? I doubt it.
Cathartic Reunion, Prized Amalgam, Creeping Chill and Ox of Agonas are all considerably better for Dredge than Golgari Grave-Troll. GGT was just the easy scapegoat, so they could sell new packs.

I would also argue that Dredge with just Chill and Looting (before Ox was printed) was considerably more powerful than GGT Dredge ever was.

Back on the topic of wonky B&R changes: would I release GGT? Nah. Would I trade it for Chill and/or Reunion? Honestly, probably would.

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Post by cfusionpm » 8 months ago

Greeksis wrote:
8 months ago
GGT was the problem all along. It was a bad unban and that's why it was banned in the process.
GGT was originally one of the pre-banned cards in 2011 and never had a chance to show its power in Modern until unbanned four years later in 2015. Dredge as a whole kind it sat in its Tier 2 status, without any fireworks or any notable success until receiving back to back to back upgrades about a year and a half later (first Insolent Neonate and Prized Amalgam, and the true nail in the coffin: Cathartic Reunion). Other than Neonate (who served as a supplemental Faithless Looting most of the time), the other two cards became instant 4x staples that have never left. It massively increased the power of recurring threats (3/3s instead of 2/1s that can't block). And instead of having your Lootings supported by Discard 1 Dredge 2 times, you're discarding 2 and Dredging 3 times. Those are exponential upgrades compared to the difference between Dredge 5 and Dredge 6. GGT had some bonus power if you actually cast it, but that late game inevitability was basically replaced by Amalgams and Chills, supported by Conflagrate.

To put it in simple terms, let's look at nut draw scenarios between two specific cards:
1) Tormenting Voice pitching GGT - GGT Dredges 6 cards, hits another GGT and Dredges another 6, total Dredge depth: 12 cards
2) Cathartic Reunion pitches two Stinkweed Imps - Imp Dredges 5, 2nd Imp Dredges another 5 and hits another Imp. 3rd Imp Dredges another 5, total Dredge depth: 15 cards.

So the upgrade of Voice to Reunion is way more powerful than the loss of Troll to Stinkweed.

Losing GGT was brushed off quickly, because it was not what made the deck strong or fast. It was the easy pick because it was the easiest target: "repeat offender" and "deck its in is too good." They literally say in the criminally short announcement that Reunion and Amalgam were the causes of it being too good, "bUt ThE rEaL oFfEnDeR iS tHe DrEdGe MeChAniC". If they actually believed that, they would either stop printing things that blatantly abuse Dredge, or ban every Dredge mechanic card out of Modern entirely.

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Post by Aazadan » 8 months ago

Greeksis wrote:
8 months ago
GGT was the problem all along. It was a bad unban and that's why it was banned in the process. If you think cards like Prized Amalgam or Cathartic Reunion are the problem, well, that's wrong. Cards like those ones get printed and will always get printed. The Dredge mechanic is an abomination, especially at the Dredge 6 rate, because it makes up for uninteractive and uninteractable matchups.
The format could handle it when it was unbanned, it's unknown if it could have handled it originally. I lean towards yes though since there were fewer payoffs, and all of the efficient hate now existed back then too. It's pretty clear though that several of the pay off cards added after GGT was unbanned, and enabled them, were too much however.

That's always going to be a problem with an enabler. Take a deck like Birthing Pod, some people argue that the format could handle the card now. But, there's always going to be the issue that they print too good of a payoff for the card and Pod needs banned again. Given the 1.5 to 2 year time we're generally looking at for new cards to see print, it's likely that that's when a reban would happen as they try and print some new payoffs for the unbanned card.

There are only a handful of cards that can even be considered for an unban in the format honestly, and of those that can be considered the risk on each isn't equal.
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Post by ktkenshinx » 8 months ago

Re: unbans
History has shown most of Wizards' unbans were either acceptable upgrades to existing strategies or complete nonfactors. Valakut has been a part of some top-tier strategies, some linear like Titanshift, others more engaging like Temur Scapeshift or BtL flavors. JTMS has exclusively benefited Ux control strategies and given them an added edge in high-powered fields. BBE made Ponza a viable midrange option and continues to be used in Jund builds, with both decks representing viable midrange strategies to this day. As for previously controversial SFM, she has slotted into primarily interactive decks and underrepresented white decks. She does not dominate the format, isn't even a mainstay in any decks using her, and virtually all aggro decks that were viable before her release are still viable. Almost all of the fears surrounding her unbanning were totally disproven. Outside of those unbans, Bitterblossom is a virtual nonentity, Wild Nacatl is a literal nonentity, Ancestral Vision sees fringe play in some fringe decks, and even potentially obnoxious Thopter/Sword wasn't even the best thing its primary Urza shell was doing. The only true unban mishap was GGT, which was largely due to Wizards releasing a series of laughably untested graveyard cards in rapid succession.

Based on this, we're looking at 5 unbans that enabled decks and increased diversity (Valakut, JTMS, BBE, SFM, Sword), three unbans that were largely harmless (Bitterblossom, Nacatl, Ancestral), and one disaster due to forces the community couldn't have predicted (GGT). That's a pretty solid track record and I'd be surprised if there weren't at least a few other cards on the banlist that, if released, weren't overall boons to the format (or just didn't do anything). At the same time, we should be more cautious as we get deeper into the banlist. There aren't a lot of clear Nacatls lurking around anymore and the risks have gone up as we worked through the obvious unbans. For instance, I am confident we could unban at least a single artifact land right now to help lagging artifact strategies without significant risk. Tree of Tales would help both Hardened Scales and some Urza strategies so we could start there.
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