The MCC Discussion Thread

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bravelion83
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Post by bravelion83 » 1 year ago

I might have to keep June Round 1 open, we have too few players. The deadline is theoretically tomorrow.

EDIT - In fact I have just done that. I'm still asking myself how is it possible that we've had only 9 entries in a whole week. Have I made a challenge that's too difficult? I don't understand. I need 6 more players at least to have a proper month. Deadlines are there for a reason, to keep the contests moving. They're not there to be ignored. Anyway, please, if you're considering partecipating, please do so asap. I'll post a link to Round 1 again because the round thread has even fallen to the second page now... Seriously, people, if someone is undecided, come join us. We need you.

EDIT June 8th, 7 PM Central European Time
One more player and the round will be closed and brackets posted, "only" two days after the original deadline... I still wonder why it went this way, but it did, and I also have other problems in real life.

EDIT June 8th, 10 PM Central European Time
We got two more players. Ok, one was all I needed. We're only two days late on my original schedule. It didn't go that badly after all... We'll try to recover those two days in later rounds. Brackets and new deadline in the round thread. Happy judging to my colleagues!
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Post by slimytrout » 1 year ago

@void_nothing: doesn't seem like it'll matter in terms of the standings, but Grimdancer shows that the correct language is just "n different counters on it from among..." and doesn't need "type of" or anything like that.

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Post by void_nothing » 1 year ago

Sorry, you're right, I was thinking of Crystalline Giant - I'll change that deduction!
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Post by marioguy3 » 1 year ago

I'm a week late with the response, but a potential reason for the initial lack of members might have had something to do with school/college online finals and studying. For me at least, getting ready to close out the college term on a strong note had higher priority than getting the MCC submission on time.
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Post by Lorn Asbord Schutta » 1 year ago

Sojourner Dusk wrote:
1 year ago
No issues. Nice job stealing rules text from Estrid.
No, not really. It was stolen from Estrid, yes, but there are issues. Mainly it should be "enchanted creature loses all abilities" instead of "that creature loses all abilities".
And does anyone knows, whether the timestamps work? I assumed it was similiar to +1/+1 counters on a creature with modified p/t setting effects.

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Post by Sojourner Dusk » 1 year ago

Lorn Asbord Schutta wrote:
1 year ago
Sojourner Dusk wrote:
1 year ago
No issues. Nice job stealing rules text from Estrid.
No, not really. It was stolen from Estrid, yes, but there are issues. Mainly it should be "enchanted creature loses all abilities" instead of "that creature loses all abilities".
And does anyone knows, whether the timestamps work? I assumed it was similiar to +1/+1 counters on a creature with modified p/t setting effects.
I've had limited time to work on these judgments (because life loves delivering the unexpected), but, as insomnia is my current affliction, I have some unanticipated time.

You are correct about the wording. I've dropped your Quality score half a point.
According to MTGA, a creature under Frogify / Kasmina's Transmutation that has an ability counter placed on it after does gain the ability (Sparky: for testing when you don't have friends). So I will re-assess that your submission when I resume working on the other cards.
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Post by Ryder » 1 year ago

@Sojourner Dusk that judgement was extremely harsh. I won't even bring up the disputable areas. But these:
(2.5/3) Elegance: Clean and clear abilities, but I don't think of lifelink - or granting it- as 'decadent'.
This isn't elegance. That's flavor.
(2/3) Viability: I have no issues with this as a Black Uncommon. That being said...
Just shave a point because you see problems in Balance?

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Post by bravelion83 » 1 year ago

News from me:
• a new Round for June (Round 2)
my judgments for May Round 4 are complete in a rush. I'm sorry for the delay but I just completely forgot about them, taken as I am between hosting June and real life things. Starting tomorrow, I'll be unemployed again, with a moving waiting for me in about ten days. If all goes according to plan, I will end June in the new house.
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Post by void_nothing » 1 year ago

No worries about the delay, and thanks for all the work you do here! I know you're busy, so it's extra appreciated at this time.

Congrats once again to Rithaniel for winning May. Well deserved.
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Post by kwanyeegor-ii » 1 year ago

@bravelion83 Does Zagoth Mamba type effects count as using mutate?
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Post by slimytrout » 1 year ago

I know I'm kind of inserting myself unnecessarily, but:
Ryder wrote:
1 year ago
(2.5/3) Elegance: Clean and clear abilities, but I don't think of lifelink - or granting it- as 'decadent'.

This isn't elegance. That's flavor.
You're right that most judges would tend to put that in the "Flavor" category, but the rubric for elegance says "Is the card easily understandable at a glance? Do all the flavor and mechanics combined as a whole make sense?" so to my mind there's nothing wrong with this deduction.

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Post by Rithaniel » 1 year ago

void_nothing wrote:
1 year ago
No worries about the delay, and thanks for all the work you do here! I know you're busy, so it's extra appreciated at this time.

Congrats once again to Rithaniel for winning May. Well deserved.
Danke schön, Void. It was an interesting month, and a fun one to play. :grin:

Also, kudos to @Sojourner Dusk and @Flatline for the stiff competition. I wasn't sure whether I would be able to win, because they were bringing some strong designs.
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Post by bravelion83 » 1 year ago

kwanyeegor-ii wrote:
1 year ago
bravelion83 Does Zagoth Mamba type effects count as using mutate?
@kwanyeegor-ii I didn't write "design a creature that uses mutates", but "design a creature that has mutate". The creature has to have mutate itself. So no, the Mamba would not pass.
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Post by Kypster » 1 year ago

Hey @bravelion83,

I've been mulling over your judgement and just wanted to clarify your Quality judgement.
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bravelion83 wrote:
1 year ago
Kypster wrote:
1 year ago
Keen Mockingbird 1WU
Creature - Bird (U)
Flying
When you cast this spell, you may choose a first strike, vigilance, or +1/+1 counter on target creature. If you do, Keen Mockingbird enters the battlefield with a counter of that type on it.
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2/3
Quality 0.5/3 - "Three things, all in the activated ability. The first is that "when" making this a triggered ability, which is too late to have the creature "enter the battlefield" with a counter. When the ability triggers, the creature is already on the battlefield, so it can't enter with counters. To do that, "that" should be "as", and the ability not a triggered one but a replacement effect, which "as" is. (Very serious and functional mistake, -1) For the same reason, if this is meant to be a replacement effect with "as", as it should, then there are targeting problems. A replacement effect can't target. Essentially, you can't have "target creature" and "this enters the battlefield with a counter" at the same time if this is a replacement effect with "as" instead of "when" (other functional mistake, the targeting problems, so -1 here too). Third, you can't choose "a (...) counter on target creature". This is a minor thing compared to the previous ones, so -0.5. A wording that could solve all these issues? I'm glad you asked:
As you cast this spell, you may choose first strike, vigilance, or +1/+1. If a creature you control has that kind of counter, Keen Mockingbird enters the battlefield with a counter of that kind.
Voilà! Correct and functional. This is what the triggered ability should have been, aka not a triggered ability, aka a static ability that generates a replacement effect (how you'd say technically)."
For the first criticism, what's the difference between my card and Naya Soulbeast? I always thought that 'When you cast this..." or "When you cast a..." was an ability that went on the stack before the card had resolved. I think, if I may, that my mistake (based on Soulbeast) was that I should have said "When you cast Keen Mockingbird, you may choose..."

I agree and understand on the second point.

For the third criticism, there are cards like Clockspinning and Animation Module that say specifically "choose a counter on target permanent or player." Is making the card specific to types of counters what's breaking it? If so, why is that?

Both of these are just for my clarification and not for any kind of re-review, so no urgency.

Thanks!

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Post by bravelion83 » 1 year ago

@Kypster I'm filling in boxes for my moving, so any detailed answer will have to wait, but just know that I won't ignore your post and will answer in a better moment. In the meantime, be aware that your post and your questions have been noticed.


@Kypster Here we go, while changing my room to a sea of boxes that cause my family to argue like never before in my whole life. All three of us (me and my parents) have the nerves as tense as never before. But these are my own personal matters. Let's go.
Kypster wrote:
1 year ago
For the first criticism, what's the difference between my card and Naya Soulbeast?
Admittedly, nothing. I didn't think that the timing was right, but...
I always thought that 'When you cast this..." or "When you cast a..." was an ability that went on the stack before the card had resolved.
...here you are absolutely right. When the "cast" ability goes on the stack and resolves, the source is still under it on the stack, so you can indeed modify how it enters the battlefield. My bad.
I think, if I may, that my mistake (based on Soulbeast) was that I should have said "When you cast Keen Mockingbird, you may choose..."
No, that's absolutely good after Dominaria. You must use "this spell" now, it's in the Dominaria rules update iirc. That's how it would have been worded before Dominaria.
For the third criticism, there are cards like Clockspinning and Animation Module that say specifically "choose a counter on target permanent or player." Is making the card specific to types of counters what's breaking it? If so, why is that?
"Breaking" is a big word, way too big for this case. In the third point, the problem is not choosing the type of counter, even if I think there is no precedent for that either, but that's simply due to keyword counters not existing before Ikoria. The problem was the use of the word "target" and the timing rules of targeting. I thought that you had to choose the target before choosing the type of counter. I could and probably should check the CR about that, but the many boxes in my room remind me there are more urgent things IRL...
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Post by Ryder » 1 year ago

Ok guys, I've been pondering the MCC rules for a while now, and I came to the conclusion we should clarify things a bit.
This is a revised bracket with some proposed guidelines for ratings:
MCC Rating Guide
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Design
Appeal X/3
Base: 0
+1 if the card is clearly made for Timmy/Tammy, +0.5 if they are only mildly interested
+1 if the card is clearly made for Johnny/Jenny, +0.5 if they are only mildly interested
+1 if the card is clearly made for Spike, +0.5 if they are only mildly interested

Elegance X/3
Base: 3
Grokkability: -0.5 if the card isn't fully understandable at first glance. -1 if the card needs more than two passes to get it. -2 for most confusing cards.
Wordiness: -0.5 if the card has more than five lines of rules text. -1 if the card has more than seven lines of rules text. Reminder text counts. -2 for ridiculously wordy cards.
Finesse: -0.5 if the card is too focused on one thing, -0.5 if the card lacks focus / has too many different effects.

Development
Viability X/2
Base: 2
Rarity: -0.5 if the card feels "off" with given rarity. -1 for each rarity step the card should be, but is away from.
Color Pie: -0.5 if the card bends the color pie (tertiary effects, non-perfect hybrid matches), -1 for each off-color effect.

Balance X/4
Base: 4
Comparison: -1 if the card is (almost) strictly better or worse than any officially printed Magic card.
Limited: -1 if you don't want to get the card in multiples OR it's oppressive (for Limited-level play dynamics); -2 if you feel bad when getting even a single
Constructed: -0.5 for each format this would cause a stir in OR the card would not be played competitively in any format; -1 for each format this would be oppressive in; -2 format-warping OR it's hard to imagine a game state where you'd want to play this.
Casual: -0.5 if the card may easily create an un-fun state of the game.

Creativity
Uniqueness X/3
Base: 0
+1 if the card feels "fresh"
+1 for each completely new aspect of the card
+0.5 for each unique nuance the card has (name and flavor text count as one)

Flavor X/3
3: The card "oozes flavor", Vorthos's favorite
2.5: The card is mildly pleasing.
2: Solid flavor you can't argue with.
1.5: Minor dissonance between name, flavor text and the mechanics.
1: Moderate dissonance between name, flavor text and the mechanics.
0.5: Great dissonance between name, flavor text and the mechanics.
0: The card is ridiculous.

Polish
Quality X/3
Base: 3
-0.5 for minor stylistic mistakes (missing dots, nonstandard templating, etc)
-1 for rules text inaccuracies
-2 for impossible (not easily fixable) rules text

Main Challenge X/1
Base: 1
0 is DQ

Subchallenges X/3
Base: 0
+1 for each subchallenge met

TOTAL /25
This is mostly about the rubric interpretation, but while we're at it, I think we could shift the Development part to be Viability 2 Balance 4 and Main Challenge 1 Subchallenges 3 (the host gives 1-3 subchallenges, points are divided adequately).

Thoughts?

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Post by bravelion83 » 1 year ago

I've tried to make the rubric way more detailed some years ago, only to end up having some people against, and "some" is a euphemism for most. That attempt was exactly what brought another user to heavily streamline it and come up with the current rubric, which I agreed upon. See the guidelines document for more about the current rubric.
And by the way, that's absolutely NOT how I judge. It's only for Quality that I start from 3 and deduct from there. And I have different criteria for most of the areas. For example in Balance, I do 1 point for limited, 1 for competitive constructed focused on Standard, and 1 for casual and multiplayer.
Also, you forgot rules under Viability. Viability is color pie, rarity, and rules, again with 1 point each from me. And I really don't like the 2/4 points division you propose there. It's just so unaesthetic when everything else is 3/3...
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Post by Ryder » 1 year ago

My goal is to reduce subjectivity in the MCC. It's the source of unfairness. We should promote objective values here instead of personal biases, which are fine for CCL. I'd settle for anything that is more detailed than the current guidelines.

BTW, why are we even judging Quality, if you can just ask for help and get an easy 3/3? Here goes another team effort.

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Post by bravelion83 » 1 year ago

Ryder wrote:
1 year ago
My goal is to reduce subjectivity in the MCC. It's the source of unfairness. We should promote objective values here instead of personal biases, which are fine for CCL. I'd settle for anything that is more detailed than the current guidelines.
I was just telling you that I have already tried only to fail miserably. The current rubric was born from a compromise from my extra-detailed one, that was extra-detailed exactly for the reasons you mention, that is to reduce subjectivity. But as I said, my attempt was judged too bold and united with that of another user, much less detailed. From that compromise, the current rubric was born. I could write out the way I usually use to judge as a discussion point. Would you be interested? To see what coincides and what differs from your proposal.
Also, until the discussion here is just me and you, yes, it's better than nothing, but it's not very productive.
Last, I'd really like to hear the opinion of @void_nothing as moderator. Would you be open to a change of rubric towards a more detailed one? If not, what are I and @Ryder even discussing about? Obviously any changes would follow the path that I've detailed in the guidelines.
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Post by slimytrout » 1 year ago

Just my two cents, while we're on the topic of subjectivity: it seems to me that the categories that work best are those that are the least subjective (mostly "Polish" subcategories) *and* those that are the most subjective ("Appeal" subcategories and Flavor to some extent), while the ones where I most often think "Wow, I don't know what this judge was thinking," are in the categories that try to mix subjective and objective criteria, like "Development" subcategories and Uniqueness. I don't have a great explanation of why this is, but it is what I've noticed -- I don't know if other people see it the same way.

Given that observation, I think that the solution (to be clear, I'm not sure such a solution is actually needed) is not necessarily to push every category to be more objective, but rather to figure out how to better separate the judgements that are the most objective -- whether the card violates the rules, color pie, or rarity guidelines, whether its effects exist on existing cards, whether it's under- or overcosted compared to similar effects -- from those that are the most subjective -- whether the card "feels" like the right color combination or rarity, whether it would play in a novel way, whether it would be playable in certain formats. I don't know how achievable that is, but it seems to me like the direction we should be pushing.

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Post by Sojourner Dusk » 1 year ago

There is a simple solution: do away with human Judges and replace them with the MCC AlgorithmTM (patent pending)! Cards will only be able to be judged on Uniqueness, Quality, and Challenge criteria though, as Appeal, Elegance, Viability, Balance, and Flavor are all subjective categories.

Take Chains of Mephistopheles as an example. As far as Appeal, most Ts walk away, but Js and Ss are divided. The card is in no way Elegant with six lines of microtext before errata, and eight lines after. Its Viability is absolute, though its Balance is absolutely not. And I could poll a dozen people in this forum and at least half are likely to disagree with me.

Field of the Dead wasn't considered busted when it was put into the M20 cardfile. Oko, Thief of Crowns was thought to be balanced as a 3 CMC PW with 5 starting Loyalty and two plus abilities,

All card design and reviews are subjective, even when done by professional designers, developers, and playtesters.
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Post by void_nothing » 1 year ago

I'm... fairly busy at the moment, but I have four things to say.

1) I would like to privilege Balance over Viability. That makes sense. Whether a card is playable but still fair should in fact be the single most important criterion. But, there's a lot of inertia, and that would be a major change to the MCC scoring system.

2) I already score cards in a way that is quite similar to the way Ryder laid out. I think it's a good system. But I'm not willing to force it on any other judge, a lot of whom have been doing this a long time and who are accustomed to doing things their way. I think any system is fair as long as you apply the same standards to all contestants.

3) The subjectivity is a feature, not a bug. Things like aesthetics, emotional connection, and a sense of pure fun are important to custom cards.

4) I'm probably not going to back any change to the MCC that bravelion doesn't. He is the person who's most important to this contest.
Psst, check the second page of Custom Card Contests & Games! Because of the daily contests, a lot of games fall down to there.

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Post by Ryder » 1 year ago

There's a direction emerging! Good!

I'm inclined to agree that there's definitely room for subjectivity, we only need to define where it lies. Basically what @slimytrout said. Let's figure it out. @slimytrout, how would you separate objective from subjective?

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Post by slimytrout » 1 year ago

I have two answers to that, since I'm not sure whether you're looking for a broad answer or a specific one:

Broadly, I think there are some questions that need to be asked about an entry that are pretty objective: Does it work within the rules? Does it break the color pie? Have previous cards used the same effects? Would it likely lead to bans in certain formats? And it can be difficult as a judge when you have three points to divvy up between those objective questions and some subjective ones, like: Does this card feel like a blue card? Does it feel new? Would it create fun play patterns? Some of my most difficult moments as a judge are when I've got multiple deductions in the same category (either in one entry or across multiple) and I'm trying to decide how to weight them. To conjure up a very possible scenario: one card would create a busted combo in an eternal format, while another would probably be annoying in limited -- one of those is a (nearly) objective fact, the other is quite subjective, but given the precedent R&D would be more likely to print the former than the latter. Some of this is definitely unavoidable, so I'm not convinced that the rubric really needs to change from its current form. (The only change that I think is certainly for the best is in the Main Challenge, where literally no one judges whether it was "approached in a unique or interesting way.")

In terms of specifics, I don't think the answer is to create a laundry list of criteria that pushes everything towards objectivity, but perhaps to just label questions in the rubric as objective or subjective, which might mean that some questions would need to be broken up. For example:

Viability - Objectively, does the card have any color pie breaks? Does it include effects at the wrong rarities? Does it not function within the rules of the game? Subjectively, does the card feel like it's the right colors? Does it feel like it's at the appropriate rarity? Would it create unintuitive interactions?

That way, at least we're being more honest about what questions can be definitively answered, and which ones can't. Because a big reason for the existence of the rubric (and rubrics in general) is not just so that the graders have a formula but also so that the people being graded know what's expected of them, which I don't think always shines through in the current rubric.

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Post by bravelion83 » 1 year ago

void_nothing wrote:
1 year ago
I'm probably not going to back any change to the MCC that bravelion doesn't. He is the person who's most important to this contest.
Wow, thank you so much @void_nothing! You have no idea how much this simple line matters to me. I have a very low self-esteem, and seeing that others like what you do is just a wonderful feeling to somebody like me, one that I need to feel, especially in this moment of my life. I'll never thank you enough.
And after having just being knighted (yes, Eldraine was several months ago but I like that world too much), let's go for some other answers. In spoiler because it's very long.
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Ryder wrote:
1 year ago
There's a direction emerging! Good!
That's exactly what I wanted to happen, hearing others' opinions besides my own and seeing if, as you said, a direction emerged. It did. Wonderful.
Sojourner Dusk wrote:
1 year ago
There is a simple solution: do away with human Judges and replace them with the MCC Algorithm...
Yes, sometimes I've had that thought too. After all it's the most formal contest we have, so, in my opinion, we have to find the sweet spot between subjectivity prevailing and judges being no more than robots essentially. One very important thing: in the MCC, objectivity should definitely prevail, with some room for subjectivity. If you remove subjectivity completely, you might as well use robots. In that, I think @Sojourner Dusk is right.
slimytrout wrote:
1 year ago
it seems to me that the categories that work best are those that are the least subjective (mostly "Polish" subcategories) *and* those that are the most subjective ("Appeal" subcategories and Flavor to some extent), while the ones where I most often think "Wow, I don't know what this judge was thinking," are in the categories that try to mix subjective and objective criteria, like "Development" subcategories and Uniqueness.
This is a very interesting view, and something I had personally never thought about before. Thank you very much for offering me a new point of view.
slimytrout wrote:
1 year ago
Given that observation, I think that the solution ... is not necessarily to push every category to be more objective, but rather to figure out how to better separate the judgements that are the most objective ... from those that are the most subjective ...
Again, a very interesting opinion, probably the most interesting I've seen so far.
slimytrout wrote:
1 year ago
I don't know how achievable that is, but it seems to me like the direction we should be pushing.
I might agree. For the moment, let's keep the discussion going on.
void_nothing wrote:
1 year ago
I would like to privilege Balance over Viability. That makes sense.
I definitely see how it makes sense, but I'm honestly not sure I fully agree with this. The goal of the MCC is to prize cards that are printable as is. A card can be unprintable because of Balance and power level (see the example about Oko, that should have definitely been balanced better), but it can also unprintable if it breaks the color pie or the rules, or if it's at the wrong rarity, all points that go under Viability. I agree that Balance is probably the most important point in the current rubric, but Viability is a very close second in my opinion.
void_nothing wrote:
1 year ago
Whether a card is playable but still fair should in fact be the single most important criterion.
For Balance, sure. For other areas, I'm not sure.
void_nothing wrote:
1 year ago
that would be a major change to the MCC scoring system
I agree. In fact, that's exactly why we're discussing it here before eventually implement any changes, like the guidelines require. And we also have the option "no changes", let's not forget it.
void_nothing wrote:
1 year ago
The subjectivity is a feature, not a bug.
Here's the main point where I and you don't agree. To me it's actually just an "unnecessary evil", but one that I recognize must be there to a certain degree.
void_nothing wrote:
1 year ago
Things like aesthetics, emotional connection, and a sense of pure fun are important to custom cards.
At the contrary, I fully agree with this. I've already commented on the last point and I can only thank you again for that.
Ryder wrote:
1 year ago
how would you separate objective from subjective?
As I've touched upon before, I think this might be the crux of the "problem", and I might have only a partial answer, but I'm more interested in hearing what the community says, have more opinions to take an eventual decision together, the more shared between us the better. Also, I keep putting the word "problem" into quotation marks because I'm also not sure there are actual problems with the current rubric, though I'd be open to changes and adjustments. In the end, isn't it why we're discussing this here?
slimytrout wrote:
1 year ago
And it can be difficult as a judge when you have three points...
Would having more points in Balance help?
slimytrout wrote:
1 year ago
The only change that I think is certainly for the best is in the Main Challenge, where literally no one judges whether it was "approached in a unique or interesting way."
In fact, this was the other user who made the current rubric with me. If it had only been me, that specific question would most likely not be there.
slimytrout wrote:
1 year ago
I don't think the answer is to create a laundry list of criteria that pushes everything towards objectivity ... (example about Viability follows)
Honestly, now I'm questioning whether using area-specific questions is the correct approach. I could see, and that's what I had proposed years ago, a rubric without questions and with specific points instead. I'm not sure which option is better, and yes, that would be a very big change, but yes, I could be open to it personally.
slimytrout wrote:
1 year ago
so that the people being graded know what's expected of them, which I don't think always shines through in the current rubric.
It doesn't shine because we (I and the other user) absolutely didn't use or think about using that approach while writing the rubric years ago. So it's correct that it doesn't shine. We essentially didn't think about that, or at least not in that way. But I see what you mean, and you're not wrong. It's probably something we should have thought about back then.
And this is all for now. Keep up this discussion while I go back to filling boxes. I feel like even if "no changes" is the final answer, we will have learned important things about the current rubric.
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