Topical Discussion of the Official Multiplayer Ban List

Vertain
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Post by Vertain » 11 months ago

RxPhantom wrote:
11 months ago
If you honestly expect them to take these things into account and do something as extreme as a ban, then I'd say you're being, at best, unrealistic and at worst, willfully obtuse. Your expectations of them are a bridge too far.
I didn't expect them to ban those cards. Based on their actions (or, more accurately, lack thereof) in the past, I expected them to do exactly nothing while saying "we heard you, but, you know, just use rule 0", which is exactly what happened.
RxPhantom wrote:
11 months ago
Simply put, these cards to not meet the criteria for a ban, no matter how reprehensible the product itself is (and it is). Banning cards just to teach WotC a lesson would be petty, and would undermine the integrity with witch the RC has carried itself thus far. To be fair, part of me wanted to see a ban because I would want to stick it to WotC, but it wouldn't serve the greater good. The RC took the best course of action and I think the community will agree in time.
They don't meet the criteria anymore because the RC made sure of that. Most of my ire comes from that, in fact. Had "perceived barrier to entry" never been a thing in the first place, I would have seen them indifferent to this subject and be fine with that. But actively abolishing such a principle at a time price speculation was already rampant shows they just didn't want to have to eventually talk about such issues and remain in their ivory tower. That, to me, is contradictory to one of their often quoted center pillars of the format: inclusivity.

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Post by Airi » 11 months ago

I didnt really expect the RC to act on these cards, but I honestly have never been more disappointed in both them and WotC.
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Post by JWK » 11 months ago

Airi wrote:
11 months ago
I didnt really expect the RC to act on these cards, but I honestly have never been more disappointed in both them and WotC.
I'm not really disappointed in the RC. Their rationale makes sense. I would have liked these things to be banned before they even go on sale, but expecting the RC to police WotC business practices is a bit much.

WotC, on the other hand... well, I don't really bear them any good will at all right now. This whole thing was a bad idea from the start, and their response to the pushback has been everything from tone-deaf to condescending to straight-up lies and gaslighting. Yes, the player base thought Secret Lair was about alternate art versions of existing cards instead of all-new cards because *that is explicitly what we were were told it was about.* We've gotten only statements that we "could" see functional normal-MtG versions of the cards, not confirmation that we will, or when or where, and I've seen no statements that they recognize this sort of thing is a bad idea and won't continue the practice. Until or unless we get such statements, I won't be purchasing any Secret Lair projects. I hope others will do the same, and I would love it if this SL ended up selling very few units, but I don't have faith that many players will put the health of the format ahead of their desire for new toys.
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Post by Airi » 11 months ago

JWK wrote:
11 months ago
I'm not really disappointed in the RC. Their rationale makes sense. I would have liked these things to be banned before they even go on sale, but expecting the RC to police WotC business practices is a bit much.
Well, there is a difference in that I am merely disappointed in the RC, and I can't express my full feelings on WotC without violating several forum rules, so there is that.

But they had a chance to step in and actually advocate for their players (I consider the "We've added our voices to yours" line about as effective as our collective voices have been to WotC in the first place), and did not. And while yeah, it's their choice to run their format, I am going to be severely disappointed in that decision as I disagree with their reasoning.
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Post by Legend » 11 months ago

I just wish the community was this upset about Rule 13. Get it... "wish"? :rimshot:
Also, if card availability / perceived barrier to entry is no longer criteria for banning, it's time to take a card or more off of the ban list.
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Post by toctheyounger » 11 months ago

While this didn't swing the way I'd have liked it to, I'm not disappointed in the RC. I can be fairly certain they at least discussed the matter through and through and passed on what knowledge they have of the issue to Wizards. Ultimately I think even if they did try to really twist the thumbscrews the corporate side of Hasbro was still going to push for this and will continue to do so, so it was probably a fait accompli before we even knew the cards existed from the perspective of seeing this sort of betrayal of the customer base. I've worked for companies that have done precisely this in different contexts, and no matter how much logic and rhetoric you throw at the situation, corporate cannot, and will not, look past projected sales and profit. It's a downward spiral, but they're more than happy to ride a brand for every dollar until it collapses into the dirt. Then they'll just look for the next big thing.

As far as whether they're banned or not, I honestly don't think it's going to make a huge difference to me. If I see the cards at a table, it probably is best I just not play that person, I doubt I could keep quiet. But given I live in Middle Earth I think the likelihood pretty slim.
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Post by onering » 11 months ago

toctheyounger wrote:
11 months ago

As far as whether they're banned or not, I honestly don't think it's going to make a huge difference to me. If I see the cards at a table, it probably is best I just not play that person, I doubt I could keep quiet. But given I live in Middle Earth I think the likelihood pretty slim.
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Post by onering » 11 months ago

Legend wrote:
11 months ago
I just wish the community was this upset about Rule 13. Get it... "wish"? :rimshot:
Also, if card availability / perceived barrier to entry is no longer criteria for banning, it's time to take a card or more off of the ban list.
Rule 13 is divisive though. Some people hate it, some people like it, some don't care. Response to TWD has been pretty unified. Nobody likes it, and lots of people hate it.

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Post by toctheyounger » 11 months ago

onering wrote:
11 months ago
toctheyounger wrote:
11 months ago

As far as whether they're banned or not, I honestly don't think it's going to make a huge difference to me. If I see the cards at a table, it probably is best I just not play that person, I doubt I could keep quiet. But given I live in Middle Earth I think the likelihood pretty slim.
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Ha, yeah. There'll probably be a few about, but I generally don't play with collector types so I probably won't see em. As someone who definitely plays with budget constraint (I can afford a few bits but I can't just throw money at the game), I'm not sure I'd be able to remain quiet about it.
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Post by Snes » 11 months ago

toctheyounger wrote:
11 months ago
Ha, yeah. There'll probably be a few about, but I generally don't play with collector types so I probably won't see em. As someone who definitely plays with budget constraint (I can afford a few bits but I can't just throw money at the game), I'm not sure I'd be able to remain quiet about it.
I'm curious whether or not you feel similarly when an opponent plays a card from the reserved list. Do you voice any objection when another player plays an ABR dual land? Or casts Wheel of Fortune? Or Gaea's Cradle?
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Post by duducrash » 11 months ago

Snes wrote:
11 months ago
toctheyounger wrote:
11 months ago
Ha, yeah. There'll probably be a few about, but I generally don't play with collector types so I probably won't see em. As someone who definitely plays with budget constraint (I can afford a few bits but I can't just throw money at the game), I'm not sure I'd be able to remain quiet about it.
I'm curious whether or not you feel similarly when an opponent plays a card from the reserved list. Do you voice any objection when another player plays an ABR dual land? Or casts Wheel of Fortune? Or Gaea's Cradle?
Why would someone have a problem with a original magic card that was distributed worldwide? comparing a premium product exclusive and cards that were avaliable in packs is comparing two different things

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Post by Snes » 11 months ago

duducrash wrote:
11 months ago
Why would someone have a problem with a original magic card that was distributed worldwide? comparing a premium product exclusive and cards that were avaliable in packs is comparing two different things
Because they're both products with artificial scarcity, If your objection is "I'm a budget player, so I would object to someone having access to these cards just because they can pay more," then that objection should still hold for cards on the reserved list. Even more so, as they have said that functional reprints of the TWD cards are a possibility, but they're never printing another Gaea's Cradle.
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Post by toctheyounger » 11 months ago

Snes wrote:
11 months ago
I'm curious whether or not you feel similarly when an opponent plays a card from the reserved list. Do you voice any objection when another player plays an ABR dual land? Or casts Wheel of Fortune? Or Gaea's Cradle?
Frankly, no. Being totally honest, the RL games I do play are mostly with folk who have a similar sort of collection to myself; some format staples, few RL goodies. So, even footing. The online games I play, which are far more frequent, I could be up against anyone and they potentially could have anything. It's taught me to be a lot more tolerant for cards I don't own and cards I'm fighting uphill against. I'll mostly go up against anything and see it as a challenge, so long as I have a fighting chance. So I've got thick skin with fighting down fairly savage decks and I like to think I can hold my own pretty well.

The difference here is that, while ostensibly I did have an opportunity to buy these cards, the price is so high just for shipping, customs taxes, exchange rates and WotC's extortionate pricing for 5 cards, the opportunity was so fleeting and minimal it basically didn't exist.

While RL cards are still quite scarce, the difference here is that I'm paying no capital on top to get them. I pay a lot, sure, but a) it's for strong cards that I know will hold their value and can be used in a multitude of scenarios, and b) none of what i shell out for the cards is being spent on extraneous costs just to get the cards into the same physical space that I'm in. I think when I say I wouldn't stay quiet about it, I less mean that I'd give someone grief for playing the cards and more try to discuss with them enabling corporate greed. As a budget player, I probably already shell out more money than I ought on the game, so I'd be hard pressed to stay quiet on the issue sitting down to play against someone with these cards in play.
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Post by ISBPathfinder » 5 months ago

I am not really surprised at the no changes comment from the RC and the why. I feel like Hullbreacher likely might be one of the ones they were referring to given the timing of said comment (I cant think of anything else in the last few months that would really cause that thought).

I guess we will see. I sort of assume that we likely won't get any action next set either assuming they do something I would expect that we are 2+ sets out before any action on any cards that came out during covid happen.
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Post by RowanKeltizar » 3 months ago

https://articles.starcitygames.com/sele ... orizons-2/
Modern Horizons 2 reinforces that Wheels are the unhealthiest thing in Commander, with cards like Dauthi Voidwalker and Sanctifier en-Vec (and Gaea's Will, I suppose). This is of deep concern to me, and is going to undergo a great deal of thought. Banning an entire class of cards is awkward at best, potentially politically suicidal at its worst. I know that folks love Wheels, so it gets even more difficult. There seem like no good answers at the moment, but I'd really like to look for them. Hey, you asked for more transparency, so there's a good window into my head (note that the rest of the RC may not share my views on this particular subject).
As someone who has always loved wheels in commander and actually owns a Wheel of Fortune and a Time Spiral, this statement has me worried. Banning wheels as a solution to this problem, is like cutting off the foot of someone who has a stubbed toe.

I can only hope that Sheldon is just trolling us, but as part of the RC, these kind of statements hold weight. Who the hell thinks wheels are the "unhealthiest thing in Commander?"

Dauthi Voidwalker and Sanctifier en-Vec have marginal synergy with wheels. I can think of about 1000 more broken synergies than this, let alone infinite combos that just win the game on the spot. What about those? What about all the broken commander cards wizards has been printing for the last couple years?

Hullbreacher and Narset, Parter of Veils are much more problematic, albeit still not the worst thing that's still legal in commander.

Are we at place now where we ban every strong synergy, every infinite combo, every unpleasant effect and then turn a blind eye to crap like the The Walking Dead Secret Lair, insane new commanders like Chulane, Teller of Tales , Smothering Tithe, etc, etc....? Why not ban the entire reserve list according to this way of thinking.
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

Sheldon has been known to deliver some hot takes through the years, such as encountering a turn five Sorin Markov in a game and spending a few paragraphs discussing whether it was healthy for the format (in 2019!). It's also unfortunate that the article makes mechanical mistakes about two of the first three cards in his list work. Still, the RC is four people, and has a further satellite body in the CAG. I'm curious how the response to these musings will affect transparency.

That said, he's not entirely wrong. Wheel plus draw stuffer is a line of play that tends to gain footing across the format when new cards encourage it, and there have been a few of those in the past couple of years (Hullbreacher being the obvious one that comes to mind). Leovold's window of legality coincided with me playing against randoms, and that deck was everywhere. I hardly went a game without seeing one, the very possibility of it brought out the spiky side of a lot of people I did not suspect of pursing that sort of build. Guess people are having those synapses fire again because of recent printings.

While I think draw stuffing is still an important thing to do to keep certain strategies in check, I think the wording on future cards should limit it to sources controlled by the player doing the drawing. This would serve the primary function while no longer weaponising wheels.
 
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Post by pokken » 3 months ago

I can't say I disagree with him tbh. Wheels are a stupid effect that creates stupid games. I can't remember it ever being a good effect on the game.

In the "fair" form of a wheel, where someone casts it and isn't breaking symmetry somehow, the typical scenario is: "Ok, everyone let's roll dice and see who wins."

In the unfair form of a wheel, there's a spectrum from "OK I win right now" to "Ok, you all lose but gimme a few minutes to show you how."

(To the absolute worst of "hey you all lose but watch me breakdance for a half hour")

None of these are good things. Wheels are dumb.

(I will say that I think there *is* an easy solution: you ban every wheel enabler that is goodstuff on its own without wheels. Right now that's basically Hullbreacher and Notion Thief)

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Post by Mookie » 3 months ago

Wheels are a class of card that push the format from 'high-variance casual' to 'singleton Vintage'. The most basic play pattern - dump your hand and cast a wheel to refill - gets significantly stronger when you're running a pile of fast mana. Simultaneously, it encourages playing stuff like Hullbreacher to make the wheel asymmetric... and if you're playing in a meta where everyone is playing wheels, you're even more incentivized to play those effects. None of this is a particularly fun play pattern.

....on the other hand, the casual play pattern of 'my hand is empty/bad, let's refuel everyone' tends to be significantly more engaging. It's very possible for a wheel to backfire, since the caster generally won't be the first person to have access to all of their mana post-wheel. This has a side effect of making cheap wheels like Timetwister and Wheel of Fortune significantly stronger than more expensive wheels, since having access to more mana post-wheel is really valuable. That's a bit of a different topic though. Either way, if people other than the wheel's caster get to benefit from the wheel, it generally leads to an interesting game.

Anyway, I won't necessarily agree that wheels are the least healthy thing in commander, but I will agree that they can push the format in an unhealthy direction.

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Post by illakunsaa » 3 months ago

IMO the idea of a banlist is pretty silly in commander. If you don't like x card(s) you can just ask people not to play them. It's really that simple. I play a lot online and I label my lobbies with "casual" and most people get what that means.

Banning cards always create feelbads and sometimes decks need "problematic" cards to function.

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Post by pokken » 3 months ago

The banning of Sylvan Primordial created a lot fewer feelbads than playing against the thing literally every single damn game. :P

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Post by BeneTleilax » 3 months ago

I would not be opposed to a ban on Hullbreacher and Narset, Parter of Veils, while Notion Thief would be a bit of a stretch, I have no particular love for it either. Notion Thief has largely ceased to function in its intended function, as a check on large draw spells, with the rise of repeatable draw in the CZ over those large draw effects, and into a synergy piece to bring out the worst in wheels. I don't even afford Narset and Hullbreacher the same benefit of the doubt, both of them seem designed first and foremost to make wheels miserable in play. At some point, there will be enough of these effects in blue to let players rely on them, and this irksome synergy with wheels, at which point I have no doubt that deck will become the next Leovold.

There is too much collateral damage in banning wheels themselves, as they are also solid enablers for graveyard and discard-focused strategies. Refueling the table late in the game can create interesting second wind moments as well, which I would miss. There are also far more wheels, and will be far more wheels printed, than there are wheel asymetrizers. Thus the asymetrizers should also be the ones to catch the ban for the interest of banlist brevity.
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Post by onering » 3 months ago

Mookie wrote:
3 months ago
Wheels are a class of card that push the format from 'high-variance casual' to 'singleton Vintage'. The most basic play pattern - dump your hand and cast a wheel to refill - gets significantly stronger when you're running a pile of fast mana. Simultaneously, it encourages playing stuff like Hullbreacher to make the wheel asymmetric... and if you're playing in a meta where everyone is playing wheels, you're even more incentivized to play those effects. None of this is a particularly fun play pattern.

....on the other hand, the casual play pattern of 'my hand is empty/bad, let's refuel everyone' tends to be significantly more engaging. It's very possible for a wheel to backfire, since the caster generally won't be the first person to have access to all of their mana post-wheel. This has a side effect of making cheap wheels like Timetwister and Wheel of Fortune significantly stronger than more expensive wheels, since having access to more mana post-wheel is really valuable. That's a bit of a different topic though. Either way, if people other than the wheel's caster get to benefit from the wheel, it generally leads to an interesting game.

Anyway, I won't necessarily agree that wheels are the least healthy thing in commander, but I will agree that they can push the format in an unhealthy direction.
I think that's a bit backwards. Wheels don't make people more likely to play things like Hullbreecher, things like Hullbreecher make people more likely to play wheels. I don't think people are starting off with decks running a bunch of wheels and then seeing Narset and Hullbreecher as great synergies and adding them, I think they're either starting with the intent on abusing that synergy or running Hullbreecher because its just really good and then deciding to run wheels because of the synergy with him.

Even in a deck with no wheels, Hullbreecher is a staple level card. Its an efficient creature you can flash in to shut down a big draw spell and make a ton of mana. Its on par with Dockside Extortionist as a mana generator just being played fairly, and on top of that it serves as one of the stronger hate bears in the format. At that point, it just makes sense to add a half dozen wheels to your deck to take full advantage of him, and then Narset and Notion Thief as backup to make the strat consistent. Hullbreecher is the nexus around which this %$#% rotates.

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Post by onering » 3 months ago

pokken wrote:
3 months ago
I can't say I disagree with him tbh. Wheels are a stupid effect that creates stupid games. I can't remember it ever being a good effect on the game.

In the "fair" form of a wheel, where someone casts it and isn't breaking symmetry somehow, the typical scenario is: "Ok, everyone let's roll dice and see who wins."

In the unfair form of a wheel, there's a spectrum from "OK I win right now" to "Ok, you all lose but gimme a few minutes to show you how."

(To the absolute worst of "hey you all lose but watch me breakdance for a half hour")

None of these are good things. Wheels are dumb.

(I will say that I think there *is* an easy solution: you ban every wheel enabler that is goodstuff on its own without wheels. Right now that's basically Hullbreacher and Notion Thief)
I disagree, wheels have fair uses that don't just randomize the game. Yes, making everyone toss their hand and draw a new one upends the balance of the game and can randomly give someone who was losing a great hand or screw over someone who had a good hand before the wheel, but on average the effect should be mostly neutral when it comes to card quality. Wheels also don't effect the board, so you can't just dismiss the importance of board state before a wheel.

The archetypal use for a wheel is in decks that can dump their hands quickly and then use the wheel to restock. This is completely fair and helps those decks press an advantage without overextending by refueling their hands, while providing disruption to the crafted hand of their opponents, with the drawback of potentially refueling their hands. This is completely fair and reasonably powerful.

Another potentially strong and typically fair use for wheels is to fuel draw and discard triggers. I'd consider Nekusar decks to be a fair use of this, if only because it takes enough setup to land the required enchantments to make it actually work, and can be disrupted, but there are plenty of effects wheels enable that are fair and fun and pack a solid amount of power, the sort of big plays this format is made for. I hate The Locust God because its a depressingly easy deck to build and pilot, and while wheels are disgusting in it that's a problem with The Locust God's design, as pretty much everything that deck does is easy mode linear bs.

Wheels simply weren't a problem in this format until the trio of Notion Thief, Narset, and Hullbreecher, and really even with just Notion Thief they weren't an issue. They were at their most annoying in Nekusar, and if that's the worst it just shows how unproblematic they really are. There's a reason Timetwister was the only Power 9 card not to be banned.

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Post by Vertain » 3 months ago

Leovold, Emissary of Trest has been legal for nine months while being the fastest ban in the last several years, so I highly doubt Hullbreacher will be going anywhere in 2021

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Post by duducrash » 3 months ago

Vertain wrote:
3 months ago
Leovold, Emissary of Trest has been legal for nine months while being the fastest ban in the last several years, so I highly doubt Hullbreacher will be going anywhere in 2021
Lutri, the Spellchaser was banned before it's release...

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