Suprise January 9, 2017 Banned/Restricted Announcement

Discussion in 'CPA/WOTC Magic Issues' started by Melkor, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. Melkor Well-Known Member

    They moved up the announcement a week:

    That's a pretty heavy hand on Standard and a pretty light touch on Modern with the bannings. Also announces a more frequent B&R List update schedule. One would hope that the increased frequency might make them more willing to un-ban possibly safe cards, knowing that they could stick em back on pretty quickly but I'm not holding my breath.
  2. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    As much as I want to wax philosophical about some of the underlying issues here, that's really more something that should be the subject for an article. There's a lot I want to say and it's only tenuously connected to this particular announcement. Most of it is stuff that I've been thinking about for a long time, and not tied to the announcement at all. I will say, though...

    1. They didn't even bother to announce "no changes" for Legacy and Vintage. I don't want to make this seem more significant than it actually is, but I've increasingly seen Legacy players accuse WotC of not understanding the format, not liking it, not knowing what to do with it, and generally trying to sweep it under a rug. The barrage of "no changes" banned list announcements has helped fuel this controversy. Whatever their actual intentions, it really highlights how out-of-touch they are that they now don't even bother noting the existence of Eternal formats at all.

    2. Modern is hopeless. I've toyed with the idea of actually getting into the format, and this announcement goes a long way in convincing me that I've been right not to. Having seen "no banned list Modern" I've come to the conclusion that it is a more fun format than actual Modern. It's not that WotC is anti-fun. They just fail to understand the concept of fun in the first place. It eludes them. Considering that they are intelligent professionals, or some of them are anyway, this is surprising. It seems implausible, but it's also the conclusion to which all signs unerringly point. They have lost their way and Modern is the showcase for their embarrassed bewilderment.

    3. This is some pretty heavy-handed banning. If Standard is broken, that's one thing, but in Modern cards ostensibly never rotate. Since they're making more frequent announcements anyway, it would make sense to ban just once card and observe the changed environment. But that would be out of character.

    4. As an "Eternal" player seeing all this, it's feeling pretty good to be an outcast right now. I've seen the sentiment from others before: if WotC ignores our format, then they can't mess it up.

    5. Three bans in Standard. Three. So they've already tacitly admitted that they've messed up and messed up badly. It'd be nice if they could figure out why, but yeah, like Melkor, I'm not holding my breath.
  3. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

  4. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Well, that explanation only really talks about Standard (also touching on Modern kinda-sorta), so I'm not sure how much I care, but it seems well thought-out, at least.

    That explanation makes it clear (although I suppose it already was) how they rely on MTGO to track trends. I wonder what people think about that. I'm torn on the subject, myself. On one hand, with MTGO, the powers-that-be can potentially have population-level statistics, rather than there being any data-collection concerns. In other words, they have (I assume) all of the numbers. They don't need to try to get data and then wonder if their data isn't representative. On the other hand, MTGO isn't paper Magic. While I've seen some MTGO enthusiasts attempt to downplay the distinction, it is a huge gulf. Maybe it's not so bad in Standard as in Eternal formats, but I'm suspicious.
  5. Melkor Well-Known Member

    So in addition to there being not even the announcement of no changes for Vintage or Legacy, Gatherer no longer indicates whether a card is Vintage, Legacy or Commander legal (though it is supposed to be a glitch).

    Definitely seems like MTGO is the source of a lot of Wizards data, hopefully it is representative of the rest of the community.
  6. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    It's difficult to know what to read into and what not to with this stuff.

    [rant]Ultimately, I have thought for a long time now that it is a weird sort of business interest for WotC to give Vintage at least some token form of acknowledgment, but that they don't want to do anything more substantial. It's not a format that does much to directly move sealed product for them. But it does help fuel the secondary market (somewhat) and that does indirectly help them make money. As long as they have Vintage, anyone can point to it and say, "Look, there is an officially sanctioned format where you can play with the old cards, all the way back to the beginning of the game, even the iconic Power 9 and other such relics." And if they were to foolishly leave that behind, they'd be abandoning a 23-year legacy as the first CCG and one of the most extensive, developed tabletop games ever. To the extent that this is even still true, the company is relying on a dedicated community of Vintage players, nearly all of whom, I'd bet, first got into the game in a year that started with the numbers "199." Players who are still invested in Vintage or Legacy are essentially carrying the game's connection to its roots for the company that makes it. Sever that connection and you're left with the most bloated, esoteric rules system of any game in history, an update schedule that is too intense for most players to keep up with, playtesting that is apparently inadequate (despite the presence of employees who have been at this whole cardmaking thing for 20+ years) for competitive play and must be shored up with bans, all in the only card game in the world that includes "mana screw" as a way to lose. It's a popular game with a lot of momentum, so perhaps severing all ties to the game's true depth and history wouldn't kill it in a year, but it would probably kill it in under five. Now, I don't remotely believe that anyone at WotC is stupid enough to want to break that connection, nor do I even know how they'd go about doing that if they were so inclined. But at least "no changes" in the announcements was some form of respect, however mild. It's a minor detail, but if it's an indication that they've forgotten where they came from, then the bigger details shall eventually follow, and they'll be in for a rude awakening.[/rant]

    One of the more obvious points of contrast, which I've heard mentioned elsewhere, is with the Bomberman deck in Vintage. In paper, the deck can play normally and, once it finds its combo, promptly demonstrate the loop and win. Playing out the finish takes mere seconds. The MTGO client isn't set up for it, so the finish takes a whole bunch of clicking for each iteration of the loop, and you eat up your own clock (unless your opponent is generous enough to concede) to the extent that the deck is unplayable online. Now, Bomberman is not particularly prevalent in Vintage at this time, but it is viable. From what I've seen the real differences run much deeper, but the case of Bomberman is flashy and easy to understand, demonstrating something definitive about the difference.
  7. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Despite my greater interest in formats that apparently no longer warrant mention, my interest is a bit piqued. Magic sets were better back when they were willing to take a risk and print stuff that they might later have to ban. At the very least, maybe bans in Standard are a sign that new sets are finally going to have some guts again.

    This new set has some real combo potential to it, and they even mentioned not banning Felidar Guardian (for now). I am hopeful that they're easing up on their tacit anti-combo stance and that they're now more open to creating more dynamic and potentially powerful cards, balancing Standard with more regular bans if necessary. On the other hand, who am I kidding? Like all the other cynics have already said, they didn't put that two-card combo in Standard on purpose and they really did do that poor of a job testing their product. Preemptive bans are lousy for sales. They're only holding off because they have to.

    And I know they've been doing it for years and years, but this predictive, narrative-based approach to banning cards is getting really old. I forget just how many announcements I've seen where it came up, but this is as good an example as any. "We decided we needed to ban card A. But if we only banned Card A, then Card B would overrun the format, so we had to ban it too. But banning Card B would have wide-ranging effects on the format and Deck X would be too strong, so we also had to ban Card C..." No one has sufficient prescience to be making those claims. The system is far too complicated. And even if I were to grant the possibility that someone out there could predict the shifts in the game that accurately, I certainly wouldn't think that it would be the same company that failed so spectacularly failed in their recent fortune-telling endeavors when they introduced the damn cards in the first place.
  8. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I find this article to be a compelling take on the issue. a lot of what I'd say echoes these sentiments.

    Minor nitpick: Magic does not have an "analogue nature." The author meant "analog" and not "analogue." Different word, and what he meant is wrong anyway. Since people generally recognize that analog is the opposite of digital and these days the word "digital" is used as a vague umbrella term for anything that happens on electronic devices, it's easy to understand why someone would get confused.

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