The Year in Vintage: 2008

Discussion in 'General CPA Stuff' started by Spiderman, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    It was more that the distinction isn't a normal part of the use of the word, so it's a potential subject for confusion. It reminds me of the apocryphal story of two characters arguing over whether a tree falling in the forest when no one is around to hear it (ignoring animals and such for the sake of the argument) will make a sound. One party defines "sound" as the movement of pressure waves and so he says that the tree does produce a sound. The other party defines "sound" as the sensation of hearing and so he says that the tree does not produce a sound. They don't actually disagree about what's happening to the tree. They're thinking differently about what constitutes the word "sound" simply because the word did not evolve with the distinction in mind.

    It seems that I am defining "broken" to mean generally overpowered, while you are defining it to mean overpowered in a specific format, including the effects of bans and restrictions. So I would call Channel broken, but you apparently would not. I would call Contract from Below broken, but you apparently would not. However, I'm willing to acknowledge that the real problem is that we're thinking of "broken" differently. You seem to want to insist that your definition is the only "right" one.

    Firstly, Time Vault doesn't take an extra turn by itself. It doesn't do anything by itself. It needs mana from other cards to come into play, and those count as interactions. That's why I asserted that Dryad Arbor is the only card that does anything by itself. But saying that no card is broken is pushing the concept to an absurd level where all of the countless times I've heard players call cards broken, they had to be wrong because they weren't specifying interactions. Secondly, taking an extra turn is pretty powerful and not necessarily "fine" if it's undercosted.

    I don't doubt that you have. But it's certainly not what I've always said. And it's not what I've usually encountered. I've seen cards described as broken far more often than combos.

    What? You mean as a consequence of banning or restricting individual cards?

    Who died and made you the arbiter of slang?

    But that doesn't mean that my take on the distinction is wrong and that yours is right. Sure, they're mutually exclusive, but I maintain that the problem is in the evolution of the word itself.
  2. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    No, I wouldn't call those cards broken. Because by themselves, they don't cause you to win a game. It's what you do afterwards, after they resolve and which will usually mean another card, which causes the "combo" to be broken. I can use Channel to put out a Dragon Whelp, does that mean Channel is broken? Of course not. But it's a valid use for it.

    We certainly are thinking of "broken" differently :) I am not insisting that mine is the right one, though. Merely that how *you* happen to be using it is incorrect.

    Which, to recap, is you saying a card is broken and me saying it's not the card, but how the card is used in conjunction with *other* cards, which means the combo.

    How it comes into play is inconsequential. It could be from mana or free. But the actual ability of the Vault makes you take an extra turn.

    Again, they're all using the shorthand for the interaction. Which I already agreed to above. Strictly speaking, they ARE wrong because once again, the card by itself isn't going to win the player a game; you can't put the card in any and every deck and win.

    Taking an extra turn is powerful, but by itself, it's not likely to make you win more games than not. You need to forfeit your next turn to untap it! So you gain a turn and you lose a turn, effectively giving your opponent two turns in a row.

    As a consequence of how those cards all interact with either each other or cards not on the list.

    I just call it like it is.

    If the problem is in the evolution, then one way is correct or not. Either a card is broken as defined by the evolution or not. It's way too late to correct the evolution though.
  3. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    But no cards (with one exception) can ever win a game by themselves. You're assuming that broken means "wins the game by itself." That's not how I see it used.

    I did already say that "broken" is slang. I really don't know the etymology of this usage, but I think I have some idea. "Broken" can mean that machine or device does not function properly, that it does not work the way its designer intended it to. I think that this is where "broken" in the gaming context came from. Obviously a card that doesn't do what it was designed to because what it actually does is underpowered won't get much notice. But a card that actually does something MORE powerful than what the designer originally had in mind certainly will be noticed.

    I'd say most cards players call "broken" fit this description pretty well. But even if that is the origin of the term, it's since come to mean "overpowered" and might even have done so before Magic was around, for all I know. There are some cards where I can't imagine how the designer didn't realize how incredible they'd be, particularly ones from later sets where there was already a full decade of the game's history to look back on. Skullclamp is an example of this. And some cards do exactly what they must have been meant to, but the designers underestimated just how powerful the effects were. Time Walk is a good example of this.

    The fact that you COULD use Channel to play Dragon Whelp is not really an argument that Channel isn't broken. You're so stuck on specific interactions that you're losing sight of the big picture. Channel can be used with numerous cards to do something that wins the game or makes the game easy to win. Most of these other cards are fair enough when Channel isn't available to do its thing. Channel is rightfully considered the "broken" component of all these interactions. That's why it's been banned so much. Sure, it could be used with any number of bad cards, but being able to pay 1 life for 1 mana is just too good.

    Ugh. I was trying to be reasonable about this. Fine. Let's do some Google tests.

    My search for '"Magic: the Gathering" broken card' gets about 458,000 results. I've checked out the first few pages. Some of them seem to be broken links or irrelevant, for example, one of them is about the card "Broken Ambitions." One of them refers to Academy as a "broken decktype." The rest refer to individual cards being broken.

    I tried "Necropotence broken" (it seemed like a good card because I've heard it called broken a lot and it's not something that will be getting lots of results that aren't Magic-related). It was about how I expected. The top results were people calling Necropotence broken. In some of them, people called Yawgmoth's Bargain more broken, and they weren't specifying interactions that made this the case. The only reason given was that Bargain lets you get cards right away instead of waiting until the end of your turn. But no mention of what the cards are. That's because it's implied that you'll be using these cards to do something that wins the game. It's understood by everyone, except apparently you, that when a card is referred to as "broken" it means that the effect is has is overpowered in general and that it will still take some sort of interaction with other cards for this card to actually do anything. There might be dozens or hundreds of possible interactions that are really good. We don't list them all. Even if we had the time to, we'd probably forget some. We just peg the card that has the property or properties that makes these interactions degenerate as "broken."

    You're setting up a strawman here. Maybe you have been for a while and I just now caught onto it. You did say that it's not the card itself, but how the card is used in conjunction with other cards. This implies that I think it's just a card by itself. That is not my position and I've already said as much. Cards don't do anything on their own. They need other cards to interact with. Some need more specific things to work with than others. But it's not the specific interactions that are commonly called broken. It's the cards that are deemed responsible for these interactions being particularly powerful. That's why I called Time Vault broken (lots of cards untap artifacts and with most artifacts that's fine, but with Time Vault, it's cheap extra turns and potentially a large number of them). That's why lots and lots of Magic players call cards broken. That's why the DCI bans cards instead of banning specific interactions.

    It's very consequential. As you've made abundantly clear, you think that it's interactions and not cards broken, because cards don't do things by themselves. This concept extends to playing cards. You need two mana to play Time Vault, and that mana has to come from one or more other cards. You also need something that untaps Time Vault, which will also require mana from other cards. And you need a win condition, which also requires at least one more card. The case you've been making is that because cards are useless without interactions, no card is broken. And yet that's exactly how I've seen the word used countless times. And it's a slang term too. If a whole bunch of people are using a slang term in a way you insist is wrong, maybe you should think about the possibility that they aren't referring to the same thing you are because it is, after all, slang.

    Since when did we agree that "broken" meant "you can put it in any deck and win." I certainly never said that was what "broken" meant. Neither, for that matter, did you.

    Yes, but anything that untaps an artifact allows Time Vault to give you extra turns without skipping any. These effects are cheap. Extra turns are very good. I can't believe that I'm explaining to you why Time Vault is a good card. You know this. Are you playing dumb here?


    Yeah, I'm a pedant too. But I remind myself to be sure that I am right before actually being pedantic about something. That's why I try not to be pedantic about slang. It's too shifty.

    What? That doesn't make any sense.
  4. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    <sigh> We're just going around in circles here. At some points our circles cross and most others they don't.

    This pretty much is the crux of the matter and I'll agree with you here. Certainly no one's saying that any card interacting with, say, Dwarven Pony, is going to a dominating deck (barring future releases or Ransac is holding on to some secret tech). Some cards have more powerful effects than others, 'tis true.

    But what I'm saying is that the card itself is not broken - I can throw 4 Time Vaults in a deck with Pearled Unicorns and Grizzly Bears and not deck is not certain to be dominating. I might win maybe because my army can attack twice in a row, but that's no guarantee. What raises a deck with Time Vault in it is other cards that untap it for free, like the Key. Put those in my deck also and *now* I might gain infinite turns and infinite attacks. Take out the Vault and leave the Key and I've got nothing. So yes, the Vault is the stronger card due to its effect but needs the other card(s) to make it work.

    By banning/restricting the cards, they're doing the same with the interactions.

    Everything else doesn't really need to be replied to, no offense... it's just repeating the same stuff, pretty much.
  5. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    And that's what the whole "broken" thing is all about. Or at least it is when people are talking about broken cards. I'm sure I've heard references to broken combos and broken decks too.

    This issue is most of what I was getting at in my last post. You're assuming that "broken" necessarily means that one can throw it into any deck and dominate. That's not how the term is generally used and is completely different from a simple "overpowered" definition. We both agree that cards need other cards in order to do overpowered things. It seems simple enough to note that one or more of the cards in a particularly powerful interaction is doing something extraordinary or just much too cheaply. It's especially the case that when one such card has sundry interactions that are so powerful, that card is singled out as "broken." No one means by this that the card does everything by itself. But the card is recognized as a "problem" card. There might be lots of really good interactions or only a handful that are just too powerful. In some cases, trying to count or catalog them might be impractical anyway. It's not every single possible interaction that's being looked at when it comes to a card being broken. It's the properties of the card that lend themselves to degenerate strategies (providing cards for life, mana for life, extra turns for untapping effects, mana for free, and so on).

    Furthermore, your own notion of only interactions being broken doesn't hold up to this "can be used in any deck and dominate" standard. Think of the most powerful interaction between cards you can. Flash/Protean Hulk? Channel/Kaervek's Torch? Fastbond combos? Draw7 engines? Time Vault/Voltaic Key? Oath of Druids/Forbidden Orchard? Whatever you want. It still can't go into just any deck and dominate. Every combo needs a deck that makes it accessible.

    Stop pretending that this is contrary to what I've been saying. I've acknowledged it multiple times now and pointed out that Time Vault is not unique in this respect. All other cards need other cards in order to do anything good.

    Yes, but only a percentage of the countless interactions are a concern. If the focus was really on interactions, they'd ban the ones that were deemed problems. It's more practical and more sensible to just determine which card is the problem (which one is broken) and ban it.
  6. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Which is stronger/more powerful, the term "broken" or "overpowered"?

    To me, it's the former. If a card is broken, it's an overwhelming factor, it's simply dominating. It "broke" the deck. Any usage meaning otherwise or referring to cards not like that means the term got watered down and is now diluted. Which doesn't excuse it - just because the term is being used that way now doesn't mean it's correct.
  7. BigBlue Magic Jones

    Spidey - I'm probably as guilty as anyone of throwing around words which really ought to be reserved... Broken > overpowered...

    Overpowered cards are cards where they seem to have a greater effect than similar cards for the same cost...

    Juggernaut, for 4 mana you get a 5/3 which can't be blocked by walls... It's overpowered compared to other 4 CC artifacts. But, I wouldn't call it broken... If it came with Shroud or Trample, it'd be broken.

    Broken cards are overpowered cards and/or those which are extremely undercost. They also tend to break/bend the traditional rules. Like Strip Mine...

    Broken cards usually would make any deck in that color better - regardless of the theme...

    Demonic Tutor - is it broken or overpowered? On it's own, I'd say it's just overpowered, you're wasting a cardslot to simply get a card - although it's always the card you need at the time... And, when it allows you to fetch broken restricted cards it becomes truly broken.

    Vampiric Tutor - is it broken or overpowered? Very similar to Demonic Tutor - 1 mana cheaper (replaced by 2 life lost)... but, you don't get to put the card in your hand, so it's not an extra draw. So, it's weaker than Demonic Tutor, but probably still broken.

    Ring of Mahruf - is it broken or overpowered? More powerful than Demonic Tutor because you can get any card you own, not just one of those in your library... but, it costs a lot more to use it - you spend 10 mana and it replaces a draw (like Vampiric Tutor). To me, I'm not really sure it's broken, plus in a tournament setting it only gets you a card from your sideboard.

    So, here's some stuff for Oversoul to tear apart since he likes breaking down posts word by word... Line by Line. :) I'm not going to take offense and none was meant, it's just what he does.
  8. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    I think there are broken combos but yeah, certain types of cards lend themselves to abuse in the right deck... the search or Tutor cards certainly fall in that category, but if you're just using Demonic Tutor to get a Sengir Vampire, it isn't broken, just a strong card to get an answer.
  9. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    They're synonymous. Or at least roughly equivalent.

    How would it be incorrect? It's a slang term, as I've been saying. Language in general isn't immutable and this is especially true for slang. And I've seen no evidence that "broken" originally meant that something was above "overpowered" on some hierarchy. We don't even really know where it came from, so it seems pretty bold to insist that it was "watered down." Incidentally, I do tend to think of "broken" as being more than just a little overpowered. It's not so simple as "broken > overpowered." I guess anything that is broken IS overpowered, but things that are only moderately overpowered (if that even makes sense) probably aren't broken.

    Also, you've been contending that it's not cards that are broken at all, but interactions. So when you say, "If a card is broken, it's an overwhelming factor, it's simply dominating" what does that mean? Can cards be broken after all?

    But it seems from what Spidey's been saying that he would contend that Strip Mine is not broken. It's banned in Legacy, so it can't be used there, doesn't produce any dominant decks there, and therefore isn't broken. It's restricted in Vintage, doesn't produce any dominant decks there, and therefore isn't broken.

    I don't know. I consider Timetwister to be broken, but not every blue deck would use it. For control decks, it refills your opponent's hand, which could be bad. But for combo decks it's a godsend.

    I'd call the tutors broken. It is true that if you put them in some format where only bad cards aren't banned, they wouldn't do much good, but in general, what they do is really powerful. Ring is overcosted and I'd only use it in really casual games.
  10. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    And that pretty much sums up our disagreement.
  11. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I quoted the Wiktionary definition in post #8 and it took you until now to say that you disagreed with it?
  12. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    <shrug> I missed the connection then.
  13. BigBlue Magic Jones

    I don't care about Wiktionary...

    And I agree w/ Spidey that they aren't equivalent... In terms of Magic at the very least.

    Strip Mine isn't "overpowered" - it's a 1 for 1 land...

    But I would say it's broken - because it bends rules as uncounterable, unrespondable land destruction. Yes, you can respond to the activation.

    I don't agree w/ Spidey if his assertion is that because it's restricted or banned it isn't broken anymore... The reason it's banned or restricted is because it is broken. There are plenty of overpowered cards which aren't banned or restricted. Spiritmonger is overpowered - for 5 you get a real Beast of a creature with amazing abilities. Never been banned or restricted that I know of. Masticore is another card I'd call overpowered, but never restricted or banned that I'm aware of. I don't know that either of those cards is Broken (Masticore's upkeep cost seems to make up for his ability).
  14. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    That's not my assertion. I've never said that.
  15. Ransac CPA Trash Man

    Deep Analysis' flavor text will disagree with you. :D

    Ransac, cpa trash man
  16. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I wasn't trying to convince anyone to "care" about Wiktionary. I only used it because other dictionaries don't include the particular "gaming" usage of the word as it's not mainstream enough. This all started because Spiderman cited 13NoVa and myself as referring to individual cards (Tezzeret in 13NoVa's case and Time Vault in mine) as "broken." But because it seemed that the Tezzeret deck in Vintage wasn't dominating, he took issue with this. He said, "If someone using the term 'broken', usually that means that the deck is pretty dominant/overwhelming/nothing-can-stop-it-so-everyone's-playing-with-it-or-against-it" and "Calling a card 'broken' doesn't really mean anything unless the card's in a deck."

    That was what caused me to bring up Wiktionary's definition. I was looking for a way to establish some common ground in the discussion. Since "broken" is something of an oddball slang term (and kind of obscure, actually), I wanted to define it in more commonplace language. Wiktionary was the first dictionary I found that included a relevant definition and "overpowered" seemed pretty close to how I've usually understood broken. I will say that they're not COMPLETELY interchangeable, but that can be said of almost any pair of two words. They are, however, similar.

    If Spiderman had, after I posted that, said that he disagreed with the definition or that he considered it to be incomplete, we could have perhaps continued to try to find some common ground or figure out what our disagreement on the use of the word actually was. But he didn't do that. Instead he pursued this line of argument that "brokenness" is all about interactions and individual cards aren't broken because by themselves they do nothing. Those posts and my responses to them and his responses to my responses took up the rest of the first page, and ALL of the second page except for one post by you before he finally made it clear that he disagreed with the "overpowered" definition of "broken" in the first place. To me this says that all those posts were basically irrelevant because I was talking to him under the false assumption that we at least partially agreed on this one thing. I think it also suggests that Spiderman can't even decide what he wants to be pedantic about.

    Oh well, it's too late now anyway. But that was the point of the Wiktionary thing. It wasn't that I think Wiktionary is a good dictionary. If the OED had addressed that particular use of the word, I'd have referred to it first.

    Then how would you define "broken"?

    That just means it isn't overpowered in terms of card advantage. There's more to it than that. Strip Mine also taps for mana, compounds the effects of other land destruction cards, can color-screw an opponent, can be recurred for multiple uses, has synergy with Black Vise, can increase the effects of an existing tempo advantage, can block Counterspell or Mana Drain, can hit valuable lands like Tolarian Academy or Mishra's Workshop, and can do these things instantly at your decision for no mana with no chance to stop it barring Stifle or something like that. Given the totality of what Strip Mine can do, I would indeed say that it's overpowered.

    In that case, maybe you and I disagree on what constitutes "overpowered" rather than on what constitutes "broken." I think the things about Strip Mine that make you call it broken are the same things that make me call it overpowered.

    I guess it depends. They probably are broken in some formats. I don't think of them as broken, personally. I don't think of them as overpowered either, just particularly powerful. Maybe borderline overpowered. Certainly overpowered when compared to most other cards that cost the same mana, but mostly they're just good cards.

    As a side note, Masticore's upkeep can be annoying, but he's good friends with some enchantments that mitigate it, like Survival of the Fittest, which usually gets Sqee going early in the game. Squee will keep Masticore's upkeep taken care of forever. And Rofellos can provide plenty of mana for Masticore to shoot blockers. Masticore smash!

    But really, and this had nothing to do with the subject at hand, I think that there used to be a lot more focus on cards like Masticore. Spiritmonger was another and so was Morphling. They were beefy creatures that could be put on the board mid-game and do it all: attack, block, and use multiple abilities. Don't get me wrong. They're good cards. They're being used in some Legacy decks now, which can't be said for a lot of other popular cards from that era. But I remember people saying things like, "OMG Morphling is the most powerful card from Urza's Saga" and thinking, "Not Tolarian Academy or Yawgmoth's Will?" These guys were and are good, but the even among creatures, the real stars are usually creatures that do one thing very well, rather than trying to do everything.
  17. BigBlue Magic Jones

    My point about Wiktionary was that I wouldn't call it an "authority". It's a contribution dictionary, and only as good as it's contributors. I could contribute to it and reverse a definition there to my liking. :)

    I guess I'd like to think of them as seperate. You hit it yourself when you call them "borderline overpowered" in your categorization. If Broken = Overpowered, then you need some way to define "borderline overpowered". If broken > Overpowered, then you can simply call those cards overpowered, but not broken.

    A broken card to me is one which is overpowered +. The plus is it's either extremely cheap - or it breaks a traditional "rule"...

    Apologies to Spidey for tying him to the comment on Rest or Banned makes a card no longer broken, I got that from OS who attributed it to you. So if not you, then anyone know who held that belief?
  18. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    I think the same way about any of the "wiki" stuff.

    Beats me who held that belief. I didn't think *anyone* said that in our discussions :)

    I was saying that from the article, the deck didn't seem to be dominating. I also qualified those statements with a) perhaps not all data was included in the article - the author didn't go to every Vintage tournament or cull data from every tournament and b) perhaps it was "broken" - the deck to beat - in 13NoVa's area.

    Similar but NOT the same. Broken trumps overpowered.

    Indeed and that is my fault.


    False, as I was operating under one assumption and you were operating under another.
  19. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    The implication is that a "standard" dictionary would be an "authority." That's not really what dictionaries do. Well, maybe some really pretentious dictionary-makers somewhere think so. But dictionaries are supposed to chart how words have been and are used, not tell us how to use them.

    Okay, now here's where I get to be pedantic. :rolleyes:

    This "broken > overpowered" notion does not work. The word "overpowered" is not self-limiting. There is no point at which something is so powerful that it stops being overpowered and starts being something we need a different word to describe. The same goes for other "over-" words. If I say that a river is "overflowing" this does not mean that it could be anywhere from just exceeding the edge of the riverbed to creating a small flood, with a large flood no longer eligible as "overflowing" and needing some new word to describe it. The word "overflowing" necessitates an excess, so there is some sort of minimum, but there's no maximum.

    Now if you mean that "broken" is a subset of overpowered including only greatly overpowered things, then fine, but that's not "broken > overpowered." That's "broken = very overpowered." This seems like an acceptable definition, but conflicts with what you said about some cards being broken, but not overpowered (obviously in that case, broken isn't a subset of overpowered).

    I don't recall attribution.

    Wikis can be good resources if you know what you're doing. But since you apparently disagree with that definition, how would you define "broken"?

    But the deck isn't dominating. Right now, no deck in Vintage is. It is, I suppose, a first tier deck, and therefore a deck to beat. But it's not THE deck to beat because there isn't just one.

    What does "trumps" mean in this context?

    What assumption where you operating under?
  20. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    True, but there's a difference between one person writing the definition for a dictionary vs a group of people deciding on the definition (which is presumably what happens with a "standard" dictionary)

    Right. And the article implied that. It was in contrast with the Tezzeret thread for fears that it WOULD be dominating.

    "Trumps" = ">"

    That broken and overpowering meant different things.

    I already defined it back somewhere on the first 30 posts.

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