Discussion in 'CPA/WOTC Magic Issues' started by Oversoul, Apr 16, 2018.
No changes to any format (of course).
Even before the announcement, this Twitter stuff was getting some attention...
I find this frustrating for a few reasons...
"Pillar of the format" was slang from the website TheManaDrain used to categorize competitive decks based on the unrestricted cards they used for mana acceleration. At the time, most competitive Vintage decks either used Mishra's Workshop to rush out artifacts, used Dark Ritual to set up combo kills, or used Mana Drain to disrupt opponents and retort with some big bomb. Very few decks could compete without doing one of those three things and very few decks did more than one of those things, so it was an elegant system for classifying the competitive archetypes in the format—for about five minutes. Then the format evolved so that the concept no longer applied cleanly. People still tried to make it work. But it's quite the leap from some cards being "pillars of deck construction within a format" to "pillars of not-allowed-to-be-banned within a format." I'm actually opposed to a Workshop restriction, but I am far more opposed to the notion that some cards are inherently exempt from action because they've been informally designated "pillar" status. I think that's a bad, bad, bad, bad idea.
Workshop in Vintage is not comparable to Brainstorm in Legacy by any "saturation metric." There probably isn't enough realistic data for Vintage to actually get real stats anyway. But it's not even close. If Workshop were half as prevalent in Vintage as Brainstorm is in Legacy, people would just start bringing pure artifact hate decks to tournaments and succeeding.
This might be my own bias talking, but a lot of the anti-Workshop talk seems to be coming from a crowd that just hates the archetype and has for years. Regardless of whether the card should be restricted or whether that eventually happens, there were already people who just considered the whole concept of a successful artifact-based prison deck to be an affront to their experience of the game—something that simply shouldn't exist. In contrast, a lot of us in Legacy, myself included, like the card Brainstorm (and have been playing with it since before Legacy existed), but are unhappy with the current dominance of the ubiquitous Brainstorm/fetchland/Ponder engine.
Aaron Forsythe's reply to Sam Black is particularly disheartening. It strikes me as tantamount to saying, "We at Wizards of the Coast are not interested in new players for Eternal formats." While there's been a bit of a cynical attitude among Eternal enthusiasts that WotC don't care about the formats and won't because the formats ostensibly don't move booster packs and therefore don't make money, I counted myself among those who thought WotC cared at least somewhat about their official formats, even if they were usually on the back burner or whatever, even if their vision for the formats might not have matched my own. I figured at least they cared, even if they didn't show it much. But man, it's hard for me to be charitable enough not to interpret Aaron Forsythe's statement here as saying that the formats are basically relics, something for old players who were already invested in them, that the current lack of support isn't just a circumstance but a deliberate choice meant to stand in perpetuity.
If transgressive stuff needs a place to live, then why do WotC persist in leaving so much chaff on the Legacy ban list? Earthcraft doesn't have a place to live! Mind Twist doesn't have a place to live! And so on. I know I've brought this stuff up before, but the situation hasn't gotten better! Unban stuff already!
Magic is in the process of changing from what we have known or dying. Not being cynical, nor do I have any sense of which will end up the case. I think your points touch a major theme though - the time of Legacy and Modern is slowly passing, and right now Brawl and Standard are looking like all that are on offer to replace them officially. Time will tell.
Seeing the Quick Draft announcement for Arena made me realize that I was overlooking Wizards focus on Draft...and then a vision came together.
I think Wizards long term plan is to move packs and define the game by Limited Draft, Constructed Standard, and Casual Brawl. Move all the focus of what Magic as a game means, from player expectation to their own resource allocation, to a rotating three channel usage of the most recently sold cards.
I suspect that Aaron F is framing that vision for players currently focused on the other formats, the mantra that eventually, Magic will be divided by official Current Standard and not officially supported Outside-Standard-Is-Nostalgia-and-Informal-Casual only.
Solves the problems of eternal formats by retiring them, makes Hasbro happy by focusing Wizards just on the primary market of the moment, makes clear the workload for Design and R&D. They know, thanks to Commander, that the community will keep interest in the Outside of Standard world propelling the secondary market without any oversight on their part.
All Standard as "What Magic officially means" is a strong strategic choice. I could be misreading by a lot, though my hunch is feeling strong at the moment.
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