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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2020 8:15 am 
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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2020 11:30 am 
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Oh man, if they make you put your companion in your hand Thought Erasure is going to make a comeback. Bonus points when you have black Leyline out.

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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2020 3:36 pm 
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So, guessing Companions will go in the hand now so you drw 6 cards and a companion. That would make a difference imo...the free card was just too good.

As far as standard, I am guessing they will go after Yorrion decks. The question is what they will ban. Yorrion is a possibility, but IMO, it may not be so bad if he is in hand. Still, two of the top decks feature Yorrion. Fires is another possibility as it really works out kinks in the deck and lets it have an explosive turn, and it also is in two top decks. I don't think they will ban Lukka as I think that is a card they want to see used "properly" and with the Yorrion deck reduced in power, it may get a chance. that least to Agent of Treachery. that could go because it does annoy a ton of people, but IMO, Agent has only been an annoyance until Lukka.

I think a slight chance something from the cycling deck gets banned. Honestly, if they banned Fires and Fox, the playing field opens up for a ton of decks. I don't think they will actually ban those two cards, but if they do I can understand why.

As for Yorrion, I am getting sick of it. I was high mythic but had a bad steak, tilted and started to experiment with decks...which made my streak even worse. I stabilized at around low 90's, but have not been about to work my way back up. I would say in that range I am seeing between 30%-70% Yorrion. I am about 50% now with current deck vs it, but these are also not top players w/ top builds of it. I am just sick of seeing it every other match. I am almost happy to lose to something besides Yorrion...although i do get a great amount of pleasure when I do win vs Yorrion...but the games are so tense, and not in a good way.

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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2020 5:06 pm 
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My personal hopes for the changes:

-Companions will now replace a card in your hand rather then be an extra one - Lowers their power level while keeping them still a solid payoff for the right decks instead of just being a free card, and also makes them vulnerable to discard which is more fair


Standard

- Agent of treachery is banned - I've been having a lot of fun with Winota but it's pretty clear that the deck shouldn't be killing on turn 3-4 this consistently, combine that with agent also being a part of the tier 0 Lukka deck it seems fair that this card should be nuked from standard

- Teferi, time raveler is banned - Card is just the complete opposite of fun, and is really warping the meta - counterspell control decks should be murdering these greedy decks but teferi singlehandedly killed that entire archtype, and it punishes any aggressive or midrange deck in standard for running creatures that cost 3 or more that don't have an ETB effect, which is dumb - Bonus points for instant speed discard effects, and randomly being able to bounce artifacts and enchantments so even janky decks can't have a good time. CTRL alt delete this card plz

- Fires of invention is banned - Probably the most controversial one here but Fires basically forces any midrange deck to either play fires or just get crushed by other fires decks, WOTC have had an obsession with enchantments that double your mana for 4 straight away (Wilderness reclamation looking at you as well) and this ones downside doesn't balance out the fact you can spend 15 mana on turn 5. The thought of Fires being around for another year and a half doesn't make me too excited if they do keep it around.

Not really sure about Historic, i imagine something from Lukka/Winota will be hit there as well, i'd honestly hope they hit Teferi, but probably will be Winota herself and either Lukka or Agent

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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2020 6:03 pm 
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At this point I'm 90% certain that Companion gets nixed across all Constructed formats and sees a 10+ on the Storm scale.
For something that seems meant to be a one-format-deal, the implications on the Constructed formats are too grievous. Even if there was a stroke of genius on how to balance the machanic, it still basically enables 1-card combos by itself and has a grave impact on play patterns; thus severely limiting future design space. I get what they were trying to do with the mechanic, and the concept of it is fun, but it played out in an absolutely horrendous fashion.

As for other cards, I think Agent of Treachery is the most likely ban by quite a bit; even without Companions Winota and Lukka can cheat the card out too easily, and if Wizards wanted to be consistent in their decisions in any way, they'd HAVE to remember banning a winning combo on turn 4 not even in Standard, but in Modern not too long ago (Splinter Twin). I'd also think Agent gets the axe over Lukka and Winota because both of those are potentially fine without Agent, though it's possible Winota gets the axe alongside Agent.

I could see arguments for the format-defining Fires of Invention, Teferi, Time Raveler, Wilderness Reclamation, Witch's Oven or Elspeth Conquers Death, but I'd think they want to see how the meta shakes out without Companions and not have everyoe start from ground 0. Also, to be quite frank: Given how they had more than sufficient chances alreay to ban the former four and apparently thought they were fine, there is little reason to believe this is any different now; especially given how none of them benefitted that much from Ikoria as a set (besides Companions, in case of Fires and Oven).
Out of these cards, I happen to think Fires has the highest chance of being banned, ECD has outside chances, Teferi and Wilderness are likely to stay if only because they'll rotate this Fall and have shaped the metagame for the past year, Oven has almost nothing going for it.

My dark horse for a Standard ban is actually Zenith Flare simply because it's THE cornerstone of the Cycling deck which doesn't lose much if you ban basically any other card from it and because it seems like somewhere around that card a design mistake happened.


I actually don't play Historic enough to take a qualified estimate, my shot in the dark would be banning Agent and possibly Winota.

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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2020 6:46 pm 
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Noxious has an interesting take on companions. It’s worth listening to - I think he’s really savvy on game design and understands things well on a conceptual level - but essentially his take is they’re good conceptually and not fundamentally broken, but this initial batch was executed poorly (too easy to cast with hybrid costs and too powerful in stat lines). I found it persuasive and think they should scrap these 10, but I wouldn’t mind them retrying in another set.


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2020 9:00 pm 
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My personal feeling about the companions isn't that the extra card is too good - after all there are plenty of companions that never see play, and having an extra Jegantha in e.g. Modern Tron where it really is just an extra 8th card with no synergies isn't a big deal. The big problem with companions is that their power level is too good. Yorion for example is a must-counter because otherwise it's easily a 3-for-1 or better. Lurrus, if it stays in play, pretty much means drawing two cards a turn for the rest of the game. Similarly Keruga will often draw 3+ cards, Obosh is practically a must-kill threat, and so on. To go along with all these they are all limited bombs even if not run in the companion slot - indicating how high power level they have. Based on this the "you must return one card to your deck after mulligans if you run a companion" fix seems pretty sensible.

As for other bans I'll be a bit sad if Agent of Treachery is banned, since after all for quite a while I played Bant Mass Manipulation which also revolves around stealing opponent's stuff. But the Mass Manipulation deck wasn't attempting to cheat with Manipulation. If the decks casting Agent really did try to get to 7 mana and cast it, it wouldn't be a problem. As it is Jeskai Winota is silly because of how much of a coin flip it is (ala Aetherworks Marvel), and Lukka acts the same way.

For other bans ... Teferi is something I dislike and would rather see it gone, but it is quite close to rotation and there's an argument that Teferi is the only thing keeping Wilderness Reclamation in check (no longer that true, since Shark Typhoon is very good against Teferi, but making a big-enough shark to attack Teferi off the board is not easy). If Teferi is banned I expect to see Wilderness Reclamation banned too. Not so sure about Fires of Invention. Granted it is a very powerful card, but it's removable, stops you from interacting on their turn, the 2-spells-a-turn limit is quite harsh, and Fires decks tend to function quite poorly if they don't draw Fires or if it's removed. Last season Jeskai Fires was a good deck, but a beatable one. Still, the Fires mirror was stupid since the side that draws Fires wins, and if both players draw Fires then the side on the play wins. If it's banned, so be it.

I don't expect Zenith Flare to be banned because Cycling does not feel overpowered. You can beat it by gaining life, countering it (they can't counter back), even graveyard hate. But turn 1 Fox is very annoying because of how fast it grows out of range of damage-based removal, and if Teferi's getting banned then that's one fewer easy answer to Fox. I really hope Wizards stops making cards that snowball so quickly. Witch's Oven should be OK. Sacrifice is an annoying archetype to play against, but objectively it isn't broken. ECD ... I dislike this card because of how much value it provides, maybe it should've been six mana, but it's somewhat hard for me to see it banned. It's a good card, but when compared to the likes of Agent of Treachery it seems pretty mild.

Finally, I don't suppose we'll see Oko, Once Upon a Time or Veil of Summer unbanned - all three of those cards were quite silly. T2 Oko on the play was lol, Veil simply owns counterspells & discard too hard.


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2020 11:48 pm 
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Banedon wrote:
My personal feeling about the companions isn't that the extra card is too good - after all there are plenty of companions that never see play, and having an extra Jegantha in e.g. Modern Tron where it really is just an extra 8th card with no synergies isn't a big deal. The big problem with companions is that their power level is too good. Yorion for example is a must-counter because otherwise it's easily a 3-for-1 or better. Lurrus, if it stays in play, pretty much means drawing two cards a turn for the rest of the game. Similarly Keruga will often draw 3+ cards, Obosh is practically a must-kill threat, and so on. To go along with all these they are all limited bombs even if not run in the companion slot - indicating how high power level they have. Based on this the "you must return one card to your deck after mulligans if you run a companion" fix seems pretty sensible.


Would that really fix it if the issue is related to their power level? You’re still guaranteeing to have the card in when you need it. Most of these decks generate so much card advantage anyways that I don’t see 6 card starting hands as enough to balance them (*especially* where you pick the one to put back, but even if you don’t get to look at 7).

I thought Nox was particularly persuasive on the issue of stat line power level being the problem with them. His take (similar to what you’re saying) was the 8th card is NOT why they’re a problem - sets have increasingly upped the ability to draw extra cards in recent years and card advantage has become ubiquitous. The problem as he sees it as the cards are too aggressively stated and too easy to cast (and penalties too easy to work around) - not only are you getting a high impact synergy piece on command, they’re hybrid casting cost for easy inserting and fine bodies for their costs.

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2020 1:38 am 
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After watching Noxious' video, the main point that caught my attention is his central assumption that Wizards 'eventually wanted every deck to have a companion'. At first, this thesis seemed absolutely bizarre to me. If they wanted the mechanic to be accessible, wouldn't their first instinct be to not even bother with deckbuilding restrictions for them and start out at a much lower power level, like Shivan Dragon power level?

After thinking a bit about it, the idea made more sense to me. It's very possible they actually started like outlined above, felt it didn't have enough of an impact on the game and ended up with the Companions we now have before us, and they balanced out fairly well in Standard playtests; however they broke Limited. In a desperate attempt to fix the format they included the restrictions they figured would probably applied to them; couldn't think of good ones for Lutri and Yorion and threw some random requirements onto them.

Seeing the companions in this light, what would happen to them?

-Yorion's deckbuilding restriction turned out to be the de facto easiest to meet in Standard, which is why he is seen so much and has little counterplay. On the other hand, the restriction essentially mechanic-banned it in EDH/Commander.
Also, him being a 3-for-1 isn't that bad at face value - Lurrus and Lutri are immediate 2-for-1s, Keruga is a fairly easy 3-for-1, Gyruda ca easily be as well. The most broken things about it are its interactions with Agent of Treachery and Elspeth Conquers Death, the former likely being banned anyways, the latter could maybe be worked with?

-Lurrus, Obosh, Gyruda and Keruga, while you'd still want to build decently close to their restriction, suddenly do not exclude half of the cardpool (Lurrus in older formats still seems broken though)
-Lutri, instead of killing virtually any consistency a deck has, would actually be a strong Standard playable (good addition to Wilderness decks) as well as being a decent Companion in EDH/Brawl instead of being mechanic-banned.
-Umori would enjoy more flexibility; maybe EDH/Brawl would have to watch out for it
-Jegantha will not break Standard anytime soon (EDH/Brawl might have to watch out for it though)
-Kaheera is suddenly companion-able; still not too strong since you probably want to be close to its requirement anyway, but you can actually add Humans to the deck now
-Zirda is suddenly companion-able and a nice addition to aggressive decks (you'd have to watch out for the interaction with Winota and some older formats)

It feels weird to balance the mechanic this way, but it does make some sense to me.
In this case, I believe Agent of Treachery still has to go, and Fires/ECD/Winota would jump up in my ban ratings by quite a bit.

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2020 1:50 am 
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I feel the a possible mistake about companions might have been that wizard wanted them to both be good as companions and reasonably exciting rares to open if you didn't want to use them as a companion to reduce the feelbads for kitchen table players that open them(yes, jenangha is terrible, but still reads exciting)

So they basically had to balance 2 modes at once with the only way to nerf a side without touching the other being a limited pool of verifiable deck construction rules.
Something like casting the card from the side deck also requiring a variable cost(eg,nothing, or 1 mana, or even 2 depending on the companion) could have helped in making them more easily to fine tune.

Having some of them at uncommons could also have allowed to make the front side a lot less exciting I think.


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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2020 11:37 am 
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What companions would you play in a deck if they were not companions? How many would you play? IMO, that tells the story of how powerful they are.


I DO see some of them being at that power level. Main ones I see as competitive are Lurrus, Yorrion, Keruga and Obosh, but not sure I would go 4 ofs or even 3 ofs on most. So, about 4 out of 10 are high powered rares with the rest being fringe cards if they were not companions.

IMO, the overall powerlevel is around where you expect a Rare to be, but having it on demand and only having to run 1 of it (because you know you will have it when you need it) is what makes them so powerfu.

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2020 12:38 pm 
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Wintervoid wrote:
What companions would you play in a deck if they were not companions? How many would you play? IMO, that tells the story of how powerful they are.


I DO see some of them being at that power level. Main ones I see as competitive are Lurrus, Yorrion, Keruga and Obosh, but not sure I would go 4 ofs or even 3 ofs on most. So, about 4 out of 10 are high powered rares with the rest being fringe cards if they were not companions.

IMO, the overall powerlevel is around where you expect a Rare to be, but having it on demand and only having to run 1 of it (because you know you will have it when you need it) is what makes them so powerfu.


How many of them would look out of place at rare without companion tho? I'd argue none of them would, Jenangha would be a really bad rare, but the effect is still splashy enough.


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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2020 1:24 pm 
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Jegantha, the Wellspring is really good in Commander. There's a CEDH deck with Sisay, Weatherlight Captain as Commander and Jegantha as companion which is quite good.

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2020 1:36 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:21 am 
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I've come to agree with modulo, Agent of Treachery is the single biggest offender in the current meta. The most un-fun games are those where Agent hits the battlefield on turns 3-5. Being able to hit literally everything including lands - nothing can come back from being hit by Agent this early.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 10:17 am 
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Agent and Fires are banned in Standard and suspended in Historic. Companions now cost to put into your hand at sorcery speed.

The Standard bans are not too surprising. Agent was the biggest offender and Fires being banned because of design space limitations makes some sense as well.
No qualified opinion on the Historic suspensions; many people seem to think it didn't hit Historic's biggest offenders though.

The most interesting point to me is how they changed the Companion mechanic, because now you actually have a real opportunity cost in the game to get your Companion from the sideboard. This means that you'll only get your Companion past the developmental stages of the game and only if it has a severe impact on the game.
Ironically, the two Companions that I think can stomach this impact the best are the 'known offenders' Lurrus and Yorion. Yorion serves as a top-end threat to Bant Ramp or Azorius Control; both are decks that can potentially stomach the mana to make sure to not run out of gas, while Lurrus decks retain a manasink for their lategame (play a 2-drop and fetch Lurrus on one turn, play Lurrus and something from the GY the next).
What about the others? Lutri, Jegantha, Kaheera and Zirda saw no Standard play anyhow, Gyruda and Umori lose their biggest draw (being a tempo-swing), Obosh cannot be stomached by aggressive decks now, Keruga loses too much tempo (especially when losing Fires).
Overall, while the change to the Companion mechanic does help alleviate its problems, it also takes away most of the playability of the 'non-problematic' Companions while still having no guarantee that a Companion won't grant slower decks inevitability. The change to me feels more like a 'duct-tape-and-prayers' solution than a final fix.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 1:22 pm 
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^yeah, agree. It seems like a pretty klugey solution which is mainly gonna hit companions that were already off-meta. Shame because I really liked playing with companions in limited.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 1:54 pm 
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I don't mind getting rid of AoT - I've been slacking off this past season, summer and IRL obligations to blame.

I was in bottom of Diamond on the last day, and figured I'd go out on Mythic as usual and the fastest deck for that was either RDW or WW (Winota Wins, not White Weenie).

I slapped together a Winota deck, stuffed it with cheap stuff and AoT's and let loose. 4 hours later, I hit Mythic and went out to fire up the BBQ.

Was it a perfect win-streak? No. Opponent turn 1 Grafdiggers Cage = concede and on to the next one. Opponent with cheap removal removing just the non-humans. On to the next one. Opponent with counter-flash deck. On to the next one.

But I still got to mythic in 4 hours. I didn't record the winrate, but it felt like 70% or more. On the play, opponent taps out to play a 2-drop. Neoform to Winota, hit 2 agents on the triggers and steal both lands. Opponent conceeds. (I would too)
And that happened more than I thought it would.

The companion change is ... hmm ... I'll have to think it over, but they have been rather dominant. Not sure if it was the right move. But maybe. Will need to play some games after June 4th.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 1:58 pm 
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^That's why Magic is at its best in a Bo3 format. You're always gonna run into degenerate decks that can win when they're not being stopped by a sideboard plan.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 4:58 pm 
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Generally I like the changes. Don't get me wrong, banning Fires is a bit depressing since it's a deck I've played a lot, but that card is really constricting on design space since it works with literally every expensive card.

Companion change is good too. 3 mana is very substantial and don't forget it can only be paid at sorcery speed. If you don't cast the companion at once then it's vulnerable to discard, or your opponent will know it's a good time to hold up countermagic. To fetch & play Lurrus on the same turn is already 6 mana - not something easy to do at all. It's true that the ramp decks will be able to pay the tax easier, but they're ramp decks, they will have ramp payoffs. Paying an extra 3 mana to cast Yorion vs. paying a Hydroid Krasis as a 6/6 for example, both are inevitability, both are strong 8-mana plays. It doesn't sound that different. If there is an advantage it's that ramp decks will always have access to at least one payoff so they can run more ramp, but that might still be balanced, I'll need to wait and see. It's true that this change hurts companions like Zirda and Jegantha, but that should be OK. After all Magic has always had good and bad cards. The existence of Thorn Lieutenant makes Grizzly Bears unplayable for example - but it's still fine.

The one thing that worries me most about this announcement is that Temur Reclamation & Temur Clover were not affected in any way. Those two decks were already competitive with the best ones before the bans, and they're only going to get better. Maybe there are ways to keep both of them in check though - Teferi is a well-known answer to Reclamation but there's also Narset which is almost as good. Not so familiar with Clover, but my experience playing against it is that the Clovers are very important which should make the deck vulnerable to artifact hate (Embereth Shieldbreaker in particular).

Looking forward to new meta :)


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