The Year in Vintage: 2008

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

  1. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    You're making two unwarranted assumptions here, one of which I suspect is right anyway and one of which I know is sometimes wrong. You're assuming that definitions on Wiktionary are contributions by individuals and not group efforts. Most of them probably are. I don't know the exact percentages, but it seems pretty likely that the "gaming" definition of "broken" was the contribution of an individual. However, your second assumption, that definitions in standard dictionaries are written by groups of people, is often wrong. Lexicographers write entries on their own all the time. I'd like to think that editors comb over everything thoroughly, but they don't and even if they did, one writer composing a dictionary entry and one editor going over that entry doesn't really constitute a "group of people deciding on the definition" (and Wiktionary has editors too, for that matter). I'm sure certain dictionary items have some sort of committee discussion, but not being a lexicographer myself, I don't know what protocol are followed or how often this happens.

    Okay, I'm being a bit pedantic again here. What you're saying seems fair enough. But I don't see these "fears." We start off with BB saying that Tezz seems like a card that could be broken, pointing out some possible uses like synergies with affinity, then me pointing out the Time Vault combo followed by discussion for the rest of the first page on the fact that the erratum on Time Vault was indeed changed again.

    Second page starts with me talking about how Time Vault was preemptively restricted and pointing out (because of Ransac's last post on the first page) that a ban in Vintage for power-level reasons is unlikely, then some more discussion of errata and history with the seeming consensus from everyone speaking up that removing power-level errata was a good thing. There's one post where YOU say, "I agree, but along with it being more powerful, presumably there's also more ways of dealing with it. The Vintage scene is fast anyways, right? So getting both pieces of the combo to get extra turns would be good work in itself." That could kinda sorta be interpreted as a "fear that it would be dominating." I don't know. That's not how I interpreted it. Was that what you were expressing?

    Then there's some more about power-level errata and how they're bad for new players. There's a post where I compare Vault/Key to other two-card combos and kind of conclude that it's better than basically all of them (I still think so) and that this was most of the reasoning behind the preemptive restriction, and then I say that Tezzeret, despite being slower and more expensive, does have the advantage of fetching the Vault and untapping it all by itself, noting that "I'm interested to see how well it does." That is definitely not a fear that it will dominate.There's you stating that there's a big difference between a combo with a restricted component and one without any restricted components, which I guess I only tacitly agreed with.

    Then 13NoVa asserted that Tezz was "broken as hell" and then went on to state that "But he's also one of the worst cards in the deck. He definitely is vintage playable, though." While I now realize that you apparently believe dominance is requisite for something to be "broken," it seems clear from the way that 13NoVa phrased things in his post that dominance wasn't what he meant. The statement about it being the worst card in the deck struck me as meaning that it was something of a necessary evil. The deck uses Tezzeret to win, but it's really the other cards in the deck that do actual legwork. I later compared this to the role of Donate in Necro-Donate decks. Anyway, noting that Tezz is Vintage-playable seems to be a pretty good indication that 13NoVa wasn't afraid of a dominance problem. He also cited a decklist he used in a tournament where he made it to the top eight. If it were dominance he were worried about, there'd be more. Like a citation of a top eight filled with Tezzeret decks or a statement that Tezzeret is winning all of the tournaments in his area.

    There's you asking about the Vault/Key combo, me stating that it's used in Tezzeret decks (and it's now being used in another deck that uses stuff like Intuition/Reconstruction to find the combo, by the way) and 13NoVa mentioning that he used Tezzeret's ultimate against Null Rod to bash the opponent for 35.

    The third page starts out kind of silly, with two people comparing Tezzeret to Elspeth. I don't know if they were thinking of a different format or what. The third page kind of drifts into you asking about the "combo" and me not being sure, because of the way you're wording things, if you're asking about Vault/Key outside of Tezzeret decks or not. From there the thread goes to you asking 13NoVa about the 2008 year in review and if he saw it and stuff like that.

    Where were these "fears"? I didn't see them and I still don't.

    On that last one, are you talking about "broken > overpowered"? As for that and the rest of these, I did mention this in my response to BigBlue, but perhaps it's worth repeating...

    "Broken > overpowered" CANNOT be true. It doesn't make sense. Not because that's not how it's used, but because there's no such thing as "greater than overpowered." The word "overpowered" indicates an assessment of something being more powerful than it should be. There is no upper limit on this, no point at which something is so powerful that it is no longer overpowered and needs a new word to describe it. Saying "greater than overpowered" is like saying "more than too much." If you need you one gallon of water and I bring you a half gallon of water, you would say that I brought you "too little water." If I bring you a gallon of water, you might say that it's "enough water." If I bring you five gallons of water, you might say that it's "too much water." If I bring you a trillion gallons of water, you would not say that it's "not too much water." You might modify "too much" by saying that it's "way too much water" or "far too much water" or something of that nature. But those modifications don't mean that it's no longer too much water, they're just specifying the degree to which it is too much.

    If you're saying that "broken" is like that and that it specifies that something is greatly overpowered, rather than just plain old overpowered, then you're saying that "broken" is a subset of "overpowered." In this case "broken > overpowered" is incorrect. Broken IS overpowered, but overpowered is not necessarily broken.

    Oh, and while I'm at it, in the event that "> overpowered" actually was what you meant for the definition of broken (I'm still not sure that it was, but I'm thinking that this is the case), besides not making sense, that's also not a definition. It's just stating something about the word. You would, I hope, agree that "> small" is not an adequate definition for "big."
  2. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    True, but like you said, if that was the only place you could find a definition for "broken" in terms of gaming, it was most likely done by one individual.

    "Sometimes wrong" means "mostly right" (although later you say "often wrong"). I'm not sure how you can say
    when you follow later with
    It sounds like *you're* assuming something there.

    Well, you obviously looked over the thread before posting all of that, so it's more fresh in your mind than mine. I'll agree with your take on the thread - I think it all stemmed from you saying "Vault is broken" and my apparent interpretation of the work "broken".

    I disagree. There's words being used to describe varying degrees of <something> all the time. There's smart, intelligent, genius. There's dumb, stupid, retarded (unfortunately, but it's used).

    And if you don't go for that, it's the 'ol gamer slang of how it has become a term for cards that are, in fact, greater than "overpowered", whether the right usage (in your mind) or not. BigBlue seems to also follow that progression, so that's at least one other player who sees it that way also.
  3. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I figured it probably was. But we don't know for sure.

    "Sometimes wrong" does NOT mean "mostly right." And no, I'm not "assuming something there." I know a little bit about the process of making dictionaries. And I do know that definitions are often written by individual lexicographers. I THINK that there's discussion in some cases beyond informal discussion, but I have no idea what triggers this. A lexicographer might ask for input or perhaps an editor would flag something or maybe certain sections automatically go to committee. If I absolutely had to guess, I'd think that all of those happen, but I don't have to guess, so I won't make an assumption about it.

    None of those words actually specify degree except one and only sort of for that one. "Smart" is one of those weird words that means lots of things even as an adjective (and it can also be a noun or a verb). The definition of "smart" that is closest to "intelligent" is associated with "clever" while "intelligent" is associated with "sagacious." Those two differ in denotation, not degree.

    Genius is sometimes used to specify a great deal of intelligence. But it also means other things, typically referring to one's aptitude or natural talent for something (mathematical genius, musical genius, etc).

    "Dumb" originally meant inarticulate and this survives in ways you might not expect. For example, people still say "dumb animals" more than "stupid animals" or "foolish animals" even though the three are synonymous. "Stupid" is more associated with dullness or lack of sensation, but I know I've never heard it described as more or less than "dumb." When describing a lack of intelligence, the two are virtually interchangeable.

    "Retarded" means "delayed in development." Someone who is mentally retarded might indeed be stupid, but it's not specifying a degree.

    However, your point was that there are words to specify varying degrees of something, and that's true. Like I said, in that case, the word specifying a degree is a subset of the general term that does not specify degree.

    It's not about "in your mind." There really is no "greater than overpowered." There can't be, because this would mean that something is so powerful that it is no longer "overpowered." Once something is overpowered, the only way for it to stop being overpowered is to make it LESS powerful, not more. If we had a language that was based on formal logic, this would have been immediately clear to everyone. The word "overpowered" only specifies that something is more powerful than a certain threshold. What that threshold is may or may not be entirely clear. But once it's crossed, the word applies to ANYTHING more powerful than that threshold. Putting into pure mathematical terms, if this threshold were some value, let's say a "power level" of 50, any card with a power level greater than 50 is overpowered. ">50" is the definition of "overpowered." "Broken" can't be ">>50." That doesn't make any sense. But if broken is ">80" then, while it is specifying a degree, it's a subset of "overpowered" and, once more, anything that it is broken is also overpowered, but not everything that is overpowered is broken.
  4. BigBlue Magic Jones

    While you are functionally correct that gramatically Overpowered is like being pregnant, it's a yes/no thing... That is not what I meant (and presumably not what Spidey meant)
    How about I get rid of the ">" symbol...

    I'd say Cards can be categorized as follows w/ respect to power level:

    Useless - Both Underpowered and Overcost - Pearled Unicorn or Gray Ogre for example... Or cards which hurt you more than help, our Hall of Shame cards...
    Underpowered - Cost may be appropriate, but the value just isn't that good, maybe because of a drawback or similar cost cards with better abilities - Ironclaw Orc (in comparison to Grizzly Bears for example).
    Well Balanced - Grizzly Bears. You get a 2/2 for 2 mana. Nothing fancy - but playable.
    Overpowered - Flying Men, or the like (for 1 your getting a 1/1 w/ evasion).
    Broken - Birds of Paradise or Will o' Wisp - (for 1 you're getting a flier w/ an extra ability to boot)

    These are strictly off the cuff, so don't treat this as a super thought out silver bullet catch all... but they are examples of how I would categorize the power level of cards... I've never thought about making an entire system based on this and categorizing every card into one of them... it's strictly a way to compare cards to one another.

    Now, often these power levels are mitigated by rarity... Cockatrice is "obviously" better than Thicket Basilisk... Rarity doesn't matter to me when comparing cards because you're not comparing rarity (although to me it does come into play when saying something is hall of Shame worthy vs Hall of Fame worthy - but that's a seperate issue.)
  5. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Seems fine to me. Some players would use more categories and some would probably use fewer. But that's not the issue at hand. And I'd say that under your scheme, the current wording of Time Vault is easily in the "broken" category.
  6. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    I disagree, in this context. And frankly, if you're pointing something out that is only "sometimes wrong", it's really quibbling and arguing for the sake of arguing.

    We're talking the "standard" dictionaries here, right? Not the wiki/anyone can contribute dictionaries?

    With the different degrees, you're again quibbling over the definitions vs usage. Yeah, they might *strictly* mean what you're saying, but everyone pretty much knows if you're using the term "retarded", you're meaning stupid. Like I said, it's unfortunate, but that's reality.

    If it'll make you happy, I'll agree with this, but in terms of Magic and IMO, "broken" just goes beyond "overpowered". BB pretty much echoed my sentiment. A broken card may be a subset of overpowered but it's so strong that it got its own designation, therefore it's pretty much in a class of its own.

    You may not agree with it (and probably don't), but let's face it, you're not going to convince me and I'm not going to convince you. So I'm considering this discussion to pretty much be over (which means we'll probably never be able to compare cards again, but oh well :) )
  7. mythosx Legendary Creature-Human

    I was trying to get a view of vintage in 08 here...some how it became an argument on semantics...Whats new in vintage?
  8. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Pretty much ignore this whole thread except the first post and follow the link for that :)
  9. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    No, it's important. Sometimes wrong is still wrong.


    "Retarded" is used all the time without meaning "stupid." I'm not talking about some obsolete historical, but technically correct, definition. It's still used that way. It's also used when the speaker essentially means "stupid" but my point there wasn't that it's not used that way, it's that it's not a word that specifies degree, but a word with different connotations and other possible uses.

    Well, I'm not sure if I agree or not. I think "broken" is mostly used to to refer to cards that are greatly overpowered, rather than borderline cases. It's not always the case, though. Players do refer to cards that only strike them as good as "broken" even if those cards really only have some property that really stands out. Also, it seems that when players refer to "breaking" something, which one would think should mean "use in some way that the card becomes broken" or something like that, what I've seen is that they've made the card competitive in in some environment. So there might be some inconsistency in usage there. Furthermore, I recall many times when a player in Standard would refer to a card being used at the time as "broken" even though the card never went anywhere in "eternal" formats. So perhaps it's dependent on environment. Enough digression, though. I agree that "broken" as I use it and as most players seem to use it refers to cards that are particularly overpowered, in other words, specifying degree and therefore a subset of "overpowered."

    If that's not what you mean, and by "beyond overpowered" you're still talking about "greater than overpowered" I'd say that's wrong. And maybe I can't convince you, but your grasp of language really should be good enough that just thinking about it yourself convinces you.

    And Time Vault, which was what sparked this, is broken, right? I'd certainly add it to the "broken" category in BB's system.
  10. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    You're saying you don't know for sure how a standard dictionary is compiled yet you state that of my two assumptions, one is "sometimes wrong"? That's quibbling.

    Indeed. And it's used all the time meaning "stupid".

    My point is that one of those connotations/other uses IS one that specifies degree.

    yYah, I agree there. Which just goes to show me that those players don't really have a handle on what "broken" means.

    Subset they may be, they still warrant a class distinction by themselves, hence the word "broken" and not "supremely overpowered". You don't call squares "the subset of rectangles with symmetrical sides" - you already have the name for that.

    No, I'd put it in the "overpowered" categeory. I'd also move BoP and Will-O-Wisp out of the broken category and put both in borderline well-balanced to overpowered - they have 0 power! The former is a mana accelerator, always good, while the latter is just a blocker on its own and ties up a mana.
  11. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I didn't state that.

    And what degree is that?

    That seems rather pretentious. It's a slang term and one that applies to "power" in cards, which every player will have a different idea of.

    I dislike that analogy because in Euclidean geometry, squares and rectangles are both extremely well-defined. What is or is not a square or rectangle is absolute, whereas what is or is not overpowered or broken depends on individual players. Survey a bunch of random players on whether certain cards are broken and you'll get a variety of answers. Survey a bunch of mathematicians on whether certain figures are squares and you'll get the exact same answers from all of them.

    But if you want to use it, fine. While most wouldn't call squares "rectangles with symmetrical sides" because they already have a one-syllable word for that, it would still be correct to say that a square is a rectangle and incorrect to say that it is not.

    Actually, I think I'm with you on BoP and Will-o'-the-Wisp. Good cards, but not overpowered ones. I think you're way, way, way off on Time Vault. It was preemptively restricted for a reason and very few other cards have ever been preemptively restricted. It's a total powerhouse and used in a few different decks now. I'd say it's at least on par with Yawgmoth's Bargain or Yawgmoth's Will, but with control instead of combo. The only cards that are even arguably more broken are restricted cards that fit into virtually every deck like Black Lotus or Ancestral Recall.
  12. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    That's what I got out of that particular digression.

    That there are different degrees of "intelligence" or "stupidity".

    <shrug> It's the truth. If there was a standard definition of "broken" already, we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place.

    Preemptively when it first came out or when the untapping-artifact cards came out?
  13. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Well, it may be what you got out of it. But it's not what I said. I know you can read. So if you want to take what I said and just decide that I must have meant something I never said, I don't know what to tell you.

    Huh? How does that answer or even come close to addressing my question?

    Yeah, and since there isn't, it strikes me as pretentious to conclude that one's own understanding of the term is perfect and that other people who understand it even a little bit differently are wrong.

    Preemptively before the latest erratum took effect. Time Vault was unrestricted and it was announced that it would lose its "power level" erratum at the same time the card was restricted, but before the new wording took effect or was even published. That's why at the time of the restriction, I wasn't even sure what the new wording would be. That Time Vault was being restricted suggested that the wording would now be one that allowed it to tap for extra turns without needing to add a counter to it or necessarily skip a turn or any of that, which was the case, although not exactly in the way that I or anyone else might have expected, as the new wording means that one chooses to skip a turn one is about to take in order to untap Time Vault by itself, rather than just skipping a turn at any time. I recall argument elsewhere between players over whether that was appropriate...
  14. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    You're replying a month later when you've been on the other forums in the meantime? :confused:

    Like I said way earlier, there's not much to else to say in this. You see it your way and I'll see it mine <shrug>
  15. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Yes, almost a month later. I've been a bit irregular about which forums I've actually checked and my browser makes anything that's been inactive for more than 10 days hidden, so I didn't see this thread until I looked at the "old" threads.

    But I'm still not even sure how they're different. For a while I thought you were saying that no card is ever broken because apparently the word could only apply to interactions. Then it seemed like you were just saying that broken is an advanced degree of "overpowered" and only the most powerful cards qualify, but it seemed like you still thought Time Vault wasn't in that category, although I'm still not positive on that one...

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