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 Post subject: Bannings
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:45 am 
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Is it a poor design and thus a defeat for the dev team when a card is banned?


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 Post subject: Re: Bannings
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:15 am 
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I would rather them push things. Sometimes I think they play things too timidly and dial back the power. I know they have mentioned JTMS, Liliana, and Inquisition are cards that they thought about reprinting but didn't. Those reprints would of helped prices a lot.


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 Post subject: Re: Bannings
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 10:24 am 
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Cauchy wrote:
Is it a poor design and thus a defeat for the dev team when a card is banned?
Perhaps, but its a success for the players when they figure out how to break a card badly enough to result in it getting banned.

As time goes on and the Modern card pool grows larger and larger, design gets more difficult?


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 Post subject: Re: Bannings
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 10:41 am 
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Keep in mind, bannings happen for multiple reasons and USUALLY not because of an inherent imbalance in the card design. I say this excluding the earliest examples because at some point WOTC started conscientiously designing cards with balance in mind and since then their record on hits vs misses has improved dramatically. They may do a lot of things I don't care for (approve of) but they seem to have design down pat in terms of mechanics. I think their storyline creativity gets sucked into a big vacuum sometimes but that's a different issue.

The other reasons (aside from inherent imbalance) why a card may see a ban in a given format:
- the card creates too much synergy in the format in combination with other cards and that synergy creates an oppressive environment (Jace, the Mind Sculptor which is quite fair in Vintage/Legacy but tends to be broken in more modern formats)
- the card is an essential part of a combo deck that takes an otherwise fair card or cards and makes them unfair (Summer Bloom, the storm cards, Cloud of Fairies in pauper)
- the card is an essential part of a popular deck that (arguably) overshadows the format (Stoneforge Mystic, Birthing Pod, Splinter Twin)

And sometimes WOTC bans a card to ban a deck they don't want to be in the format because it inhibits the use of new cards (CF: Saffron Olive's latest article on the subject.) This means that they know the card is fair but is a hindrance to more creative deck ideas (Land Destruction in standard falls into this category in a general sense and Splinter Twin and Birthing Pod both had this effect in Modern)

Well that's my take on why certain cards see bans.

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 Post subject: Re: Bannings
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 3:13 pm 
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It is a success for the players to break a card and getting it banned. That is in a way cool. But I still think that bannings of cards from recent sets, like Splinter Twin is a design failure.

I don't see much difference between the reasons for a banning that Winter-Wolf lists. I mean I can see that the reasons are in fact different :) but since the outcome is the same I see all the various ways of getting their as failures. Perhaps the last reason that WotC wants to shake up the format and ban a card from the most popular deck (no matter what deck it is or how large a fraction of the meta the deck takes up) is the most difficult to avoid from a design perspective. I mean that if WotC per default bans a card from the most popular deck then bannings cannot be avoided even for perfectly designed cards.

The other situations are the results of poor play testing.


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 Post subject: Re: Bannings
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 4:28 pm 
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Cauchy wrote:
It is a success for the players to break a card and getting it banned. That is in a way cool. But I still think that bannings of cards from recent sets, like Splinter Twin is a design failure.

I don't see much difference between the reasons for a banning that Winter-Wolf lists. I mean I can see that the reasons are in fact different :) but since the outcome is the same I see all the various ways of getting their as failures. Perhaps the last reason that WotC wants to shake up the format and ban a card from the most popular deck (no matter what deck it is or how large a fraction of the meta the deck takes up) is the most difficult to avoid from a design perspective. I mean that if WotC per default bans a card from the most popular deck then bannings cannot be avoided even for perfectly designed cards.

The other situations are the results of poor play testing.

Poor play testing of thousands of cards? Even former pro tour vets have failed to foresee how the player base develops the top tier decks. Seems like there is some inevitability of brokeness built into the format (that had over a dozen decks with turn 3 and under kills before the first ban list came out.)

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 Post subject: Re: Bannings
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:20 pm 
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Sure, it is a daunting task to play test thousands of cards. But it is possible. If you fail to foresee a certain combination, well, then that is a failure.

Play testing can seem very difficult but I guess that the dev team get paid to do exactly this? If my entire professional career evolved around making non-broken cards then I guess I would take it as a defeat if the cards I developed later got banned (because they were broken).

The broken cards are usually rare or mythic. So it is not like they were unaware of the power level in the first place. Making sure that the rares and mythic are not broken is maybe less of a daunting task.


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 Post subject: Re: Bannings
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:35 pm 
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Here I buy the argument that if they can test and solve it, then the format will be boring. Also. Constructed is a poor second wheel to Limited, and I really couldn't care less about bannings in some obscure niche of the draft machine otherwise known as MtGO.

(I still own four Pods and four Twins. And four or five complete Pauper decks. I just can't bring myself to play constructed. So boring.)

Also, I've been known to exaggarate slightly for efect, now and then.

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 Post subject: Re: Bannings
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:45 pm 
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If you consider a banned card a failure for the dev team, then what do you consider it if later on the card is un-banned? I suppose the answer depends on why it was un-banned...

From my perspective in the software world, bugs are pretty much inevitable and expected. As long as they are infrequent, not very disruptive, and easy to resolve, its not really a failure to me. At least they've gotten it to the point of infrequent and scheduled adjustments to the banned/restricted lists.

When was the last time there was an emergency banning (anything since Memory Jar)? That's what I would consider a failure.


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 Post subject: Re: Bannings
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:50 pm 
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Zlehtnoba wrote:
Here I buy the argument that if they can test and solve it, then the format will be boring.

It will also be boring if the dev team cannot "solve" the format and let the players do it instead. I don't see much of a difference between the format being solved with or without broken cards. As soon as it gets solved after release it becomes boring which is usually very fast (and independent of brokenness).


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 Post subject: Re: Bannings
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:56 pm 
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pcjr wrote:
If you consider a banned card a failure for the dev team, then what do you consider it if later on the card is un-banned? I suppose the answer depends on why it was un-banned...

From my perspective in the software world, bugs are pretty much inevitable and expected. As long as they are infrequent, not very disruptive, and easy to resolve, its not really a failure to me. At least they've gotten it to the point of infrequent and scheduled adjustments to the banned/restricted lists.

When was the last time there was an emergency banning (anything since Memory Jar)? That's what I would consider a failure.


Emergency bannings are definitely on top of the failure list.

I have to sleep on the un-banned-stuff. But my feeling is that it still counts as a failure :) Un-banning a card is most likely linked to a power-creep elsewhere?


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 Post subject: Re: Bannings
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 12:16 am 
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Cauchy forgive me for saying this but your posts on this issue feel grumpy and inflexible. Sleep IS good. Do that. And come back with some perspective. Formats get "solved" and unsolved at the speed of the internet. As I recall, Tempest Block went through 4-5 periods where it was "solved" and then not so much. But what makes a format boring is when no one challenges the consensus that the format IS solved. Imho you can't both be angry at WOTC for failing to deliver an exciting and exhilarating set that defies easy solutions and for not being perfectly adept at weeding out the overpowered cards. Choose one. Because you are asking for dragon eating unicorns with free pots of gold for all Neutral Good Hobbits. And that **** is just not going to fly.

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 Post subject: Re: Bannings
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 6:18 am 
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I don’t buy into your fairytale analogy.

Any format gets solved. The speed with which it gets solved by players is independent of whether or not the format contains broken cards.

Playtesting by WotC in order to avoid broken cards and bannings thus has nothing do due with how interesting a format is. And by interesting I mean how fast it gets solved (stale).

Your logic seems to imply that broken cards and a minimum of playtesting results in a fun format. I disagree.


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 Post subject: Re: Bannings
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 6:26 am 
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Fairytale analogy? Wow we went from conversation to **** you in no time.

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 Post subject: Re: Bannings
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:08 am 
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Because you are asking for dragon eating unicorns with free pots of gold for all Neutral Good Hobbits. And that **** is just not going to fly.


I am sorry that I misread this as a fairy tale analogy. Maybe you could go more into detail with your argument?


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 Post subject: Re: Bannings
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:30 am 
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Cauchy wrote:
Any format gets solved. The speed with which it gets solved by players is independent of whether or not the format contains broken cards.


This is the part I don't agree with.

Standard is a rotating format. Its current power level dictates the power level of cards that will enter the format from a new release. R&D pitches cards at roughly this power level, and tries for a diverse environment where there is no clear best deck. So everybody who's interested in Standard can find a competitive deck suited to their playstyle. If the power level of the new cards is too low, there will not be enough change in the format to make it interesting. But if they push the envelope, sometimes a card ends up broken. Point being, the higher the number of powerful cards they design, the harder the format is to solve, and the possibility of a broken card slipping through increases.

I personally don't think they designed a broken (format-warping) card in the last few years. A few close misses, but nothing really broken. Standard seems quite healthy, with the best deck changing frequently. But I'm not a constructed player, so this is all second-hand wisdom. Maybe you have some candidates in mind?

You might argue that Rhino caused the Pod ban, but (even though I lost some money there) I agree that Pod was putting too many constraints on the design of new creatures, so the format is better off without it. And this seems to be the general philosophy: we develop for Standard, and fix any eternal problems with bannings. If you accept this, than their track record is perfect since JTMS.

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 Post subject: Re: Bannings
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 11:23 am 
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That is some lofty play testing goals you have there. They should of play tested a card for a format that would not even exist until a year after the card is released for sale? Then the card does not get banned for being degenerative but more so gets banned because they like to shake things up and see what people will do.

Their main focuses are draft and standard. That sell the most product. It also allows for the smallest card pool to test things out. Even then the numbers game for possible testers they have versus the number of customers is impossibly against the odds. My gut feeling is probably within a week there is more testing done through their customers with the help of the internet than they could possibly get done in time. Either you would see sets getting knocked down to one new set every two years or you would have to pay $20k per pack to pay for all the play testers. Both those options would kill the game.

The problem is that a lot of the bans are not for broken interactions but fall into one of two buckets. The first bucket is things people complained about when the card was in standard so they are not even letting it in to the card pool. These are things like Stoneforge, JTMS, the artifact lands, and Jitte. The other bucket is too many people are enjoying playing a deck and they want those people to start brewing other things. They are trying to use the bannings as a way to mix up the format rather than making new cards that mix up the format.


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 Post subject: Re: Bannings
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 11:53 am 
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Cauchy wrote:
Because you are asking for dragon eating unicorns with free pots of gold for all Neutral Good Hobbits. And that **** is just not going to fly.


I am sorry that I misread this as a fairy tale analogy. Maybe you could go more into detail with your argument?


Having completely forgotten that I wrote about fairy tale creatures in my "Pie in the Sky" analogy I have to apologize now in chagrin. I assumed you were dismissing the whole thing (since you c/ped the whole thing/yes I know this is automatically done by clicking on quote but still assumed intent to be snarky.)

Yeah when I said all that, what I meant is you want too much from WOTC which is after all a bunch of people who from all accounts get along better than MOST groups of people but still don't see eye to eye on many, many things. (Which is why they have stuff like NWO to guide them.) My assumption is if they pull one lever, another lever has to move too. So...cards that are good for Standard, may not (and probably won't be) good for some other formats. They can do some balance testing for the major formats but they are GOING to miss some because they can't predict all possible ways in which players will attempt to break formats.

Also in regards to fun I think Modern has to be one of the least fun formats available at this time. Even less so now that I expect Tron and Affinity to be top dogs. Nothing says "unfun" to me like a format full of brown. I think in that sense, I agree with you that WOTC has failed the casual community (the fun lovers) because Modern is not casual or fun the way the average player plays it. It COULD be fun and I think the NO BAN LIST Modern format that Bhueler has been hosting is just that. Wacky and terrifying but fun.

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