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Banning and Errata
By Tom Bergmann
TomBStoneS
by
Tom Bergmann


There are 3 ways to deal with an insult. The first way is to ignore it. If you can't ignore it, then make a joke out of it. If you can't do either, then it was probably deserved.
-unknown


Disturbing talk making the rounds this week.

Everybody is talking about the "Trix" deck, and how WotC's got to do something, and quick, to fix the Extended environment, or it'll be a repeat of "Black Summer" (well, sort of), where once again a Necro-powered deck will dominate. It's even making the rounds here, on the CPA Bulletin Board, where us casual players come to talk.

I find it disturbing because we players, as a group, are once again looking for WotC to solve our deckbuilding woes by banning the key cards (namely Donate and/or Illusions of Grandeur) instead of trying to build something that will beat it consistently.

Apparently, we'd rather whine about it.

Someone even mentioned the old Chris Pikula quote (rather comically, I might add) about how WotC should ban everything until Necro is good again, then they should ban Necro.

I think that's nuts.

Insert a little background here.

I started hanging out around the tournament scene when Chaos Orb was still legal in tourneys, 4 Black Vises were a fairly common sight in a deck, and Channel/Fireball was always a possibility. I still remember the 2nd tourney I ever played in, when some nerdy guy got up out of his seat right at the beginning and announced that if any of his opponents played a Chaos Orb on him he would "get up and leave".

Call me twisted, but my first thought in response was 'I wonder if I've got enough cash with me to buy one right now'.

See, the way I always figured it, if a card or a combo is that tough to you, you should go out and get it for yourself. If you don't like it enough for that, you should try to design a deck that can beat it and still be competitive against other decks. And if you won't/can't do either of the above, you probably deserve to lose to it.

Kinda' like the quote about insults.

Maybe I'm goofy, but I think banning is bad for the game. I think it's wrong for players to be (effectively) penalized for using their imaginations to come up with incredibly good uses for otherwise lousy cards, like Illusions of Grandeur, for example. To have an idea no one else thought of, put it into a deck, and beat people with it is the essence of what we're trying to do when we construct a new deck.

For those other people to run to WotC and cry out for banning in response is just plain wimpy, and when WotC responds by appeasing the whiners it has the effect of discouraging innovative deck design. Why try to invent something special when it'll just be taken away anyway? Isn't it better to just modify a Dojo deck and play with that?

Errata is almost as bad. While the cards themselves may still be legal for play, by neutering them they're essentially banned, since no one was using them before the new deck appeared, for the most part. How many Waylays have you seen in competitive play since the errata was announced? How about Great Whales? Lion's Eye Diamonds?

I'm betting the answer is none. And I'm thinking that, if I was the one who thought of using these cards in innovative ways, I'd be pretty discouraged about the whole thing. I think I'd probably be a whole lot less likely to go out of my way again to try and create something different.

Remember that the next time you play someone in a tourney with a Dojo deck. Remember that, and don't complain, because you bring it onto yourselves.

Tom Bergmann
TomB on the CPA BB
CPA Member

"I do not teach. I simply reveal."
-Daudi, Femeref tutor

TomB11061@aol.com

Read More Articles by Tom Bergmann!

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