Yeah, especially in hindsight, it seems weird to let Tinker run amok for so long. Even when it wasn't broken it was "just" very good. PT: New Orleans really demonstrated how nuts the card was. The card was always such a ridiculous design combining the most broken mechanics- cheating on mana AND tutoring. Like, what? I guess the weird history of the Extended banned list, Tinker was somewhat overshadowed by Necro which had been around for longer and had that historical dominance so a lot of the bans were just "ban cards to put The Skull back in line", banning Hippie, Rit and Vault before finally banning Necro and Consult. It's also really difficult to figure out what was actually broken at the time, even with hindsight: they printed a lot of really fucked up cards in the first decade of the game so there were Necro decks, Academy-based decks, other combo decks based on other broken cards, Tinker decks after the fact, Oath decks (which really aren't problematic till Orchard is printed but it's banned at the same time as Recruiter) Gobbo Combo decks with a bunch of ridiculous cards, etc etc etc. So I'm a willing to give them a benefit of the doubt that, at the time, I can see why they did what they did. Still, I think something like Monolith and Oath didn't need to be banned. Monolith IMHO was possibly overkill and Oath was able to be combated by the decks that existed and even with the addition of Orchard over the next few years could have been combated and maybe even a healthy part of the metagame, able to combat the rising Affinity menace that surfaced only a few months later.Blast from the past. Reading that takes me on a tangent I was kind of already going to go on anyway, which is how I don't think that the handling of the Extended format back then really made sense, and how that later influenced the Legacy ban list, sometimes in ways that persist to this day. I don't like the decision to ban Goblin Recruiter, but the more egregious issue is the strange leeway granted to Tinker. It's one thing to have a knee-jerk response to the success of FCG, especially after banning Goblin Lackey seemingly didn't diminish the results for Goblin decks. But Tinker being left unchecked for so long is pretty weird.
I do not mean this about Tinker as a mere hindsight thing. There are more broken artifacts in existence now than there were back then. Tinker is banned in Legacy and restricted in Vintage. Despite the restriction, in Vintage Tinker is one of the most dominant forces even now. But I remember a consensus among players that Tinker was broken stretching all the way back to the first printing of the card. There was the Memory Jar deck, but decks abusing Tinker to cheat out Phyrexian Colossus were highly successful right away, and Tinker continued to gain more payloads from there. Tinker decks pretty much dominated Standard when the card was legal. And it was even stronger in Extended. They even nicknamed Pro Tour New Orleans "Pro Tour Tinker." Looking at the history of Extended bans, it seems that between 1999 and 2003, four or five cards were thrown on the altar of "ban this instead of Tinker" in Extended. It baffles me that Tinker wouldn't have just been banned right away. I suppose that there was a period in the middle there where Mana Vault was banned and Tinker decks didn't have as much speed to compete with stuff like PandeBurst, Reanimator, etc. But artifact lands pushed Tinker over the top again. And I guess Tinker did get banned pretty soon relative to Mirrodin came out, but the timing of the Pro Tour really made the potency of the card apparent.
I've griped about banning cards in waves before and I don't want to turn every thread into a version of that complaint, but I guess here we are again. Tinker ruled the format, and instead of just banning Tinker, they also banned Goblin Recruiter, Grim Monolith, Hermit Druid, Ancient Tomb, and Oath of Druids. There's no way that they could have been justifiably confident that all five of those cards would be problems in an Extended format with Tinker banned and Mirrodin cards available. No one has that level of predictive power.
Honestly, this is super off-topic but what the fuck Tinker? Even after the recent Initiative craze in Vintage Tinker is still the top deck and has been, mostly, that way at least since around Mirrodin block. At least when the egregiously broken Gush isn't legal as a 4-of. Which says a lot about that card. anyway.
But I agree that big waves of bans are generally not great. I think it's understandable in Urza block Standard/Extended/Vintage and Mirrodin Block/Standard Affinity that those were warranted but even then they might have been able to take a less heavy-handed approach.
Nice find! What a blast from the past! I'm glad these sort of things still exist somewhere. But it illustrates a great point- basically just be sure to put a Ringleader every 4th card, draw like 16 cards or something and kill your opponent. The "time constraints" meme needs to die. The order of the cards doesn't really matter. If you kill your opponent next turn it doesn't really matter if you took a minute or two to stack your deck lol. This should be pretty obvious but this stupid idea keeps getting parroted everywhere and it annoys me to no end. There is no official announcement of anything like this being an issue or any evidence of people playing the deck (myself included) of that being a problem.Here it is: http://www.archive.themanadrain.com/index.php?topic=15231.0;wap2
The primer is not too long and is, if you care about FCG, well worth the read. Seeing the primer again for the first time in a while, I'm reminded that it illustrates a point I hadn't been thinking about at all when I started this thread, but which might be worth reiterating while we're on the subject of the Food Chain Goblins deck.
This is absolutely revisionist history. Though IIRC I remember seeing arguments about not unbanning Recruiter before Top's ban based on logistical issues (on The Source) so it might have been around for even longer. I think the "time" arguments are just garbage. Any large tournament is going to run to time each round, doesn't matter if Top exists or not. People love taking a million years to resolve Brainstorm and Ponder and add in DRC it is just obnoxious. I don't think trying to combat these sorts of issues is very productive because it is a player/skill issue and not really a problem with the cards. Top was just broken with Mentor and Miracles. It's that simple. You don't (and SHOULDN'T) invent reasons (other than they're just not true and don't reflect reality) to strengthen your argument to ban cards because they have all sorts of knock-on effects like muddying the waters for the discourse of banning cards. The "logistical" issues has bled out into every single argument about whether or not you should ban or unban something. Not good.When Sensei's Divining Top was banned in Legacy, WotC overtly emphasized logistical concerns in their explanation.
The implication there seemed to be that the dominance of the Miracles deck wasn't enough to warrant a ban and that the tendency of Sensei's Divining Top to eat up game time and effect tournament delays also wasn't enough to warrant a ban, but that both factors taken together were enough to warrant a ban. This sparked some controversy, but it did communicate to the players that the tendency of a card to draw out the length of games could, at least when in conjunction with powerful performances, cause a card to be banned in Legacy. It was only after this announcement, never before, that I saw players describe Goblin Recruiter as a card that had been banned for this same reason. And I think that this is revisionist history spouted by players who never actually played with or against the Food Chain Goblins deck. FCG did not have a reputation as a deck that bogged down tournaments due to time issues when the deck was prevalent, and WotC did not make any such statement when the card was banned. Their blurb about the card when it was banned in Extended simply stated that the deck could achieve second-turn kills, and that this was too fast for the format.
100%. Recruiter basically always kills you. Whether its quickly (like vs aggro or combo decks) or slowly (like control) you are dead all the same.And when Goblin Recruiter was banned in Legacy, it was lumped in with other card that were banned because they'd already been banned in Extended, and back in 2004 the notion was that Legacy would initially look a lot like Extended. No mention of tournament delays, and if that had been a concern, it's strange that it wasn't mentioned for Goblin Recruiter or any other card, for that matter. So I view the tournament delay interpretation of Goblin Recruiter bans as a presumption based on conflating it with Sensei's Divining Top. Sure, both cards stack the top of your library, but they're entirely different in all other respects.
Yeah the piles are pretty inconsequential and as long as you have a Ringleader hitting a Ringleader it doesn't matter how you stack 'em. If you're getting disrupted its a little bit more tricky. But these days it wouldn't matter because Recruiter only needs to be a Worldly Tutor. If you expect weird things you can just put more Recruiters in the stack or more Snoops. Recruiter into Kiki, 1 million Snoops and finally Recruiter into Sling-Gang. EZ PZ. It's about the same as Doomsday or even more compact. But, anyway, control decks can't really beat Snoop regardless. Two draw-4 Ringleaders is enough to put 'em in the trash.But I think that the primer should make my point for me. The piles that Josh Silvestri lists are between 6 and 18 cards deep. Because the piles are repetitive and follow similar patterns, they're easy to memorize. And 90% of the time, it's going to be almost the same exact cards anyway, so pulling them out of the library to set up piles isn't too slow of a process either. I didn't practice with FCG that much myself, but I'd estimate that it took me about 5 to 10 seconds to pull out the goblins for building my pile, another 10 to 20 seconds to stack the card for the pile, and then another 30 seconds or so for shuffling once the Recruiter pile has been set up. This is not egregious. Now, if opponents had disruption and tried to use instants to save themselves once the Ringleaders started getting cast, that could complicate things and the game might or might not move quickly from that point, depending on a variety of factors. But that could happen anyway, in almost any matchup!
That's probably too much focus in this thread given over to my complaints about Goblin Recruiter being banned, but before I move on, one more point. WotC emphasized the potential for second-turn kills as a reason to ban Goblin Recruiter, but they banned Ancient Tomb, the very card that boosted speed and changed third-turn kills into second-turn kills, in the very same announcement. The Extended version of FCG wasn't going to be scoring second-turn kills without Ancient Tomb.
I'm not super annoyed they banned Recruiter and Tomb at the time in Extended because I had a decent amount of success against decks with just Vial Goblins. I think the deck was pretty good. Better with Recruiter for sure but it wasn't unplayable at least.
Though I must say I never considered them banning fewer cards during late 2003. All those cards are broken but maybe they could have balanced the broken decks yet to come? An interesting idea, at the very least.