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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 6:04 pm 
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In some of my drafting friend groups, there's the notion that Pacifism just doesn't cut it any more for white common removal. How far it too pushed?

The most obvious pushed version is to make it cheaper and see if efficiency helps get it there:

Weigh Down -
Enchantment | C
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature can't attack or block.

There's always the option to put it on a creature:

Binder of Foes -
Creature - Human Cleric | C
When Binder of Foes enters the battlefield, choose target creature you don't control.
The chosen creature can't attack or block for as long as you control Binder of Foes.
2/2

Thoughts on these designs? What would you add?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 6:56 pm 
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What does your playgroup think of cards like Lignify and Darksteel Mutation? What about Murder? Asking because it would help me get a feel for whether it is the fact the creature stays on the battlefield, or the CMC 3.

Personally, I feel as though Prison Term and Oppressive Rays are really good starting points for Pacifism.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 7:32 pm 
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BelangiaJo wrote:
In some of my drafting friend groups, there's the notion that Pacifism just doesn't cut it any more for white common removal. How far it too pushed?

the way white removal is costed indicates that your drafting group is incorrect. as far as I know there has never been a strictly better pacifism and they seem to keep printing worse ones.

:duel:

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 7:37 pm 
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Yeah I thought over the last few years the trend was to push the cost of removal from 2 to more like 6. And I don't even think a 6 mana pacifism would be unplayable in limited


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:00 pm 
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The argument is that keeping a creature on the battlefield has become an increasingly less relevant form of “removal” as creatures have become more and more designed to gain immediate value (thru ETBs that provide 2 for 1s, triggered abilities, and mechanics like party that value the body irrespective of its condition onboard.) There’s a similar critique of blue removal.

Outside of Theros Beyond Death (where Dreadful Apathy was among white’s top commons), when has the white Pacifism variant been an excellent form of removal? Meanwhile, the other colors (maybe save blue, but even it has gotten high quality tempo cards at common) has gotten more and more efficient removal at common as the result of Wizard’s FIRE philosophy to push commons to make limited higher power for enfranchised players (but still approachable for new players.) Examples include Ob Nixilis’s Cruelty, Roil Eruption, Ram Through, even Bubble Snare wins on efficiency/flexibility.

While I’m 100% sure that Weigh Down isn’t the answer, I do think that white needs higher power level removal at common to contend with the other colors. My group also has shared that an “overpriced” Journey to Nowhere wouldn’t be out of place at common fwiw.


Last edited by BelangiaJo on Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:01 pm 
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Pacifism has been top tier removal in any draft environment I've played it in.

Not sure what to contribute to this conversation, but questioning your friends' judgement.


Last edited by Knifethrower on Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:02 pm 
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No one is saying you shouldn’t play it. When it’s the only option, it’s a good option. The argument is that it’s lost it’s value over time.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:55 pm 
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Pacifism is a top pick in most limited environments idk what you are talking about

Sorry apparently this was already said 3 times lol

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 9:29 pm 
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Weigh Down is fine though if they wanted to print it. Pacifism isn't played on curve, so costing 1 mana less isn't a big deal


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 9:30 pm 
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If a creature has an enter the battlefield ability, then pacifism is no worse than regular removal. Only counterspells can stop ETBs. If a creature has a death trigger, pacifism can be better than regular removal


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 9:47 pm 
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pacifism but you can disobey it if you want
Enchantment - Aura
Enchant creature
At end of turn, if enchanted creature attacked or blocked this turn, destroy it.

not sure if that effect already exists

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 10:09 pm 
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There are a few things to think about with pacifism effects: (1) How well do they halt creatures from having an impact, (2) how important is it to halt creatures getting into combat, and (3) how easily can an opponent utilize a pacified creature for some other benefit? Let's look at the Standard pacifism effects and whether they were great, good, or okay.

In Zendikar Rising, Nahiri's Binding is our pacifism effect. At , it also gets to Arrest creatures and occasionally take out a planeswalker. (The planeswalker thing barely matters; their few, mythic, and frankly not as dominating in this limited environment as others.) Some pros have pointed to white as one of the weaker colors in the format; WG and WU are two to the least drafted color combinations in this format, and that hampers Binding a bit in its effectiveness. There are two big facets about creatures in this format that also hurt Binding. The first is party: leaving a body on the battlefield is a big detriment to stopping the opponent's plans. The other is kicker. It may not seems like it matters, but creatures with kicker either (1) come down for cheap and are vanilla bodies, making Binding a bit wasteful on them, or (2) they come out kicked and get their impact in a way Binding doesn't affect. This is a problem for other removal in the format, but cards like Roil Eruption have versatility and cost on their side.

In Core 2021, we didn't get a common pacfism, getting a reprint of Faith's Fetters instead. The card is classically strong in limited, utilizing the life-gain to great controlling effect while getting occasional flexibility to hit other card types. It was great in this format: the life-gain gave you one of the only reliable ways to trigger effects in the life-gain deck, the speed of the format meant that the gain 4 was sometimes worth an entire card, and it was able to handle so many of the tough bombs and reanimation targets. The only card it couldn't handle was Teferi's Tutelage!

In Ikoria, we had good ole classic Pacifism. And it was... solid. The biggest reason why? Mutate. Even if players were getting value out of mutate stacks, Pacifism was able to shut down the attacking threat. But Ikoria was also high synergy and very proactive: removal often had the problem of being able to stop one thing (giant mutate pile) and not another (Valiant Rescuer). For instance, despite Pacifism being effective removal, you'd hardly ever want more than one in your cycling deck.

In Theros Beyond Death, we had Dreadful Apathy. The exile clause was a nice bonus (especially if you could set up Flicker of Fate combos), but it wasn't all that necessary to make the card good. The existence of escape made it good. The format was largely about big threats that returned from the graveyard. Killing those things just didn't get the job done; Apathy did. It also stopped creatures that were piled with auras, which was extra good here since some of the best auras also had escape. There was also the enchantment bonus: a set built on enchantments, triggering constellation, getting to utilize Heliod's Pilgrim; that all was a huge boon. Add onto to that the presence of devotion and suddenly a pacifism style removal is extremely good to have.

In Throne of Eldraine, they gave us a weaker pacifism effect, going with the flavorful Trapped in a Tower. Giving us the arrest bonus just wasn't enough; at the end of the day, fliers are too important for a removal spell to miss. Good removal hits evasive creatures because they're the ones we can't deal with otherwise, and this one just didn't do that. Add to this that Faerie Guidemother was actually a very playable card that randomly killed Tower whenever it wanted and you have the recipe for an underwhelming card.

Conclusion: Pacifism is fine. Moreso, it's actively good for the game. The quality of Pacifism in a format is often an indicator of what that format is about, and it's nice that something so simple can say so much about the format. With the exception of Trapped in a Tower, pacifism mechanics have been effective enough in recent formats, and have sometimes been the best white commons. (If not the best overall.)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 10:10 pm 
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That’s cool but the problem is that once a creature blocks, it’s usually already done its job (unless it’s a 1/7 or something)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 11:21 pm 
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Think we’re getting at the same conclusion, Rush. I’m not saying Pacifisms are bad. They just aren’t as good as they used to be and there’s potentially room to reconsider how they’re handled / what white gets at common.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 11:27 pm 
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You usually have some idea of whether you want to be the aggro or control deck, maybe we can split it up into two cards: “enchanted creature can’t attack” and “enchanted creature can’t block”. I was originally thinking of letting these cantrip but then they might be too good for constructed!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 11:46 pm 
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BelangiaJo and Rush_Clasic are both right. Pacifism is just very dependent on the format and it's been very marginal in recent ones.

In ZNR, individual creatures are less impactful (the party dudes are almost all within the same band of 1/1 to 3/3) and letting them stay on the field to tick up party sucks. I do disagree with Rush in that I think Pacifism was very weak in IKO because mutate still generated a bunch of value but also because sacrifice was a huge part of IKO. On the other hand, in THB, putting creatures in the graveyard was a worse form of removal because they could escape and/or fuel escape, enchantments trigger constellation, and enchantments staying on the field fed devotion.

I think the most basic upgrade to Pacifism is:

Forced Retirement
Enchantment
When Forced Retirement enters the battlefield, exile target creature an opponent controls until Forced Retirement leaves the battlefield.

Similar cards at 2 have restrictions, like Glass Casket, Silkwrap, and Seal Away, but I think this would pass in a high-power format.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 11:56 pm 
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I forgot about the sac deck in Ikoria. Pacifism had clout, but was very inconsistent from matchup to matchup, so I think you're right.

BelangiaJo wrote:
Think we’re getting at the same conclusion, Rush. I’m not saying Pacifisms are bad. They just aren’t as good as they used to be and there’s potentially room to reconsider how they’re handled / what white gets at common.

But I think it's more format dependent than anything. In Ikoria, for example, if they had made Cycling Pacifism for 2W, it would have been much better for the format. But Snare Tactician was such a dominant removal spell that cycling pacifism wouldn't have overcome it as the best white common. I think the best way to tackle this is to figure out whether your format wants pacifism to be great or okay, then design around that. I think they made Nahiri's Binding with the specific understanding that it'd be worse against party decks because that was more interesting for the fornat.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 12:00 am 
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Largely Nahiri’s Binding was an Arrest at common because the impact was lesser with Party as a key mechanic.

I’d be interesting to see them designed to counter the primary set mechanic, not be worse by them. Dreadful Apathy serving as a good example because it countered Escape so well.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 12:15 am 
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Set in Stone
Enchantment - Aura (ZNR - C)
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature is a Wall. It can't attack.

Lifeless Obstacle
Enchantment - Aura (ZNR - C)
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature can't attack or block.
Enchanted creature has "Kicked spells you cast cost more to cast."

Lack of Motivation
Enchantment - Aura (ZNR - C)
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature can't attack or block.
Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may attach Lack of Motivation to target creature.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 12:17 am 
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neru wrote:
Forced Retirement
Enchantment
When Forced Retirement enters the battlefield, exile target creature an opponent controls until Forced Retirement leaves the battlefield.

Similar cards at 2 have restrictions, like Glass Casket, Silkwrap, and Seal Away, but I think this would pass in a high-power format.

We had that once (with less modern templating) in Journey to Nowhere, but yeah, R&D has clearly been targeting a lower power level for that effect since then. I wouldn't be surprised to see a new Journey to Nowhere someday. Would it be at common? Maybe! Really depends on the limited environment.

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