August 28th, 2017 Banned/Restricted Announcement

Discussion in 'CPA/WOTC Magic Issues' started by Oversoul, Aug 29, 2017.

  1. Oversoul The Tentacled One

  2. Melkor Active Member

    #FreeMindTwist
  3. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    It seems like I've been rather critical of most of these updates (and I think rightfully so). Well, for a change of pace, I'll say that I think this one is pretty good.
    • The thing about Eternal Weekend is awkward, but at least they acknowledged it. They seem to be thinking in practical terms about this. I suspect that the decision came down from on high based on what they want for Standard, and when the timing with Eternal Weekend was brought up internally, they came to a consensus that they'd just have to deal with it. Hopefully by October, Vintage is in good shape.
    • Disappointed with the continued lack of unbannings in Legacy. By now, WotC must be aware of the unsanctioned test tournaments that people in the Legacy community have conducted. It's become abundantly clear that several cards on the Legacy Banned list are safe.
    • I think that their reasoning about Mentor is probably right. The card is relatively tame in other formats (strong in one Legacy deck, but not broken). But Vintage has so many cheap card selection spells that the consistency of the Mentor token-generation plan is so strong it drives almost everything else out of the format. A strange case, and I worry that we'll see other, similar problems in the future. But I do think that the restriction was a good one.
    • Workshop decks were dominant. Something had to be done. With Lodestone Golem, Chalice of the Void, and Trinisphere already restricted for the sake of reining in Workshop, it does strike me as awkward to continue sacrificing innocent artifacts on the altar of keeping Mishra's Workshop unrestricted. I'm not a Shops hater and I own a playset of the card myself and had a deck sleeved up, but trying to be objective, it does seem strange. I hope that restricting just the one more artifact is the right call. I really want it to be.
    • Restricting Thorn over Workshop itself is a muddled issue that touches on the format's history and circumstances beyond. But restricting Thorn over Sphere is pretty much a strict metagame analysis issue. Many players felt that Sphere was the better restriction because restricting it would let aggressive decks slide their creatures in under Thorn, whereas restricting Thorn just leaves Shop decks with the stronger card. The side effect of gutting Eldrazi-based aggro decks, which relied on Thorn and not Sphere, is another consideration. WotC seemed to understand these factors and weigh them, but come down on the side of restricting Thorn based on the idea that leaving it unrestricted would allow Workshop decks to slide their own creatures under their own Thorns and beat people down, which Sphere cannot do. Both of those problems are properly identified: Thorn really does enable Shop decks to drop creatures and beat people down better than Sphere, and Sphere really does make it harder for opposing creatures to make an impact. I'd have thought that Sphere was the better restriction, but I don't think that it's really possible to say because there's a strong possibility that this moves Shop decks away from the MUD builds that have been dominant lately and back toward decks that splash colored spells, at which point too much is up in the air.
    • While I ordinarily dislike multiple simultaneous changes in Vintage, this was an exceptional case and something needed to be done. Perhaps if they'd taken more deliberate steps earlier, it would not have gotten to this point, but that was then. This time, they made a good call and finally put a stop to the duopoly.
    • I'm excited for the Bargain unrestriction. The timing of the Magic Memories thread was a coincidence. I'd mostly seen people bring it up in the context of Legacy, but some Vintage in there as well. The accumulation of such cases over time inspired me to write about it.
    • Sadly, I've seen almost no discussion of Bargain as a potential new Vintage archetype. It's still very early, though. Understandably, the discussion has been more focused on the restrictions and on the new rules change to planeswalkers. People don't seem to think that Bargain will be important.
    • In the announcement, they noted that they had also considered Windfall. That's interesting because while Windfall is ordinarily the weakest restricted draw-7 spell, the special case in which it overtakes the others is when it is used alongside Yawgmoth's Bargain. I don't necessarily think that this unrestriction will mean much for Windfall. Magic has changed a lot since the card was originally restricted in the heyday of Combo Winter Academy-mania. I've tested Windfall. It really is a lot weaker than Wheel of Fortune in most cases. And while Windfall under Bargain is a neat trick, if you have an active Bargain and the mana to bother with Windfall, you're already winning anyway. However, I do think that the Vintage community has gotten comfortable with the smaller card-drawing spells and their power, while undervaluing draw-7 spells. This is a nuanced issue that could really be its own article, but the short version is that most of these spells are bad, the good ones are just slightly different but are extremely powerful, but there are only a few of them and they're all restricted, so most Vintage players have no experience with playing under circumstances when big draw spells reach a critical mass and can power a deck. This combined with other circumstantial sidelining of the sorts of decks that actually do use these spells has led to a gradual sort of dismissal of the whole draw-7 concept. I don't know if unrestricted Bargain is enough to turn that around, but I'm going to give it a shot.
  4. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Seriously. I don't know if you've seen any of the results, but some of the less prominent tournament organizers have put on unsanctioned tournaments where some of the banned list chaff isn't banned. Earthcraft, Frantic Search, and Mind Twist all show up and have been underwhelming. All the ones I saw were while Top was still legal, so of course some players just went with Miracles and dominated (because Earthcraft, Frantic Search, and Mind Twist aren't actually as good as the cards that are already legal in the format). And I didn't even hear of Goblin Recruiter making a showing, although I'd guess that someone at some point tried it.
  5. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    I was out yesterday :)
  6. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Well, it's still very early, but MTGO results are coming in and Vintage isn't looking too surprising. Paradoxical Outcome seems prevalent, and I'm still not sure what to make of the card. At least one Bargain deck went 5-0, and even that deck used Paradoxical Outcome. All that's with the caveat that it's MTGO, where data is artificially constrained and the potential for different archetypes probably doesn't perfectly line up to what is good in traditional Magic.

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