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Author Topic: Revolutionizing Vintage: A Community With Authority  (Read 10929 times)
Shock Wave
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« on: June 06, 2008, 10:02:03 am »

Given the latest restrictions and the explanation given for them, an old idea resurfaced for me. This is something that has been discussed before, however as I rehashed the common objections against it, I could not think of any that are unable to be addressed. I'm going to cut to the chase right away:

What if TMD developed a sanctioning body for Vintage? To clarify: what would happen if the Vintage community totally disassociated itself from Wizards?

Now, I can see this being a very daunting challenge for a number of reasons. However, I submit that although it would be a struggle, that the upside in the long run would be monumental for the community. I'd like to list the two major reasons I can see this being beneficial, and then I would appreciate some feedback as to whether or not this is an endeavour worth pursuing.

(1) A sanctioning body for Vintage could be appointed by the community. The body would consist of experienced Vintage players representing our format from around the world. The body would be responsible for overseeing the B&R list and making any changes to it. The format would no longer be dictated by a sanctioning body whose primary concern is to make money.

(2) The community would control all major Vintage tournaments, including the Vintage Championships. We would no longer be at the mercy of random scheduling or venues for our major events. Moreover, we could place the events in the hands of the TOs that have represented our format so well in the past: Ray Robillard, etc.

Does anyone think this is a struggle that would benefit Vintage? Why or why not?
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2008, 10:54:53 am »

A few problems would arise:

1) As people of varying quantities would support both the DCI format and the "TMD" format, there would be two formats to keep up with. This can also really compound people who split their attention to Legacy. This can really make things harder for the PTQ'rs that play this format.

2) Because of #2, there would be an inevitable divide. TMD would have to support both formats in a controlled manner. An already relatively small format would be further fragmented, making tournament attendance lower, tournament reports less relevant, etc.

3) We have way less data to show to WotC. I am fine criticizing WotC if they need it, but I'm definitely not playing chicken with them in regards to how much they support the kings format. If they see Vintage drop off, they might just stop paying attention, truly leaving things to ourselves. If you ever read any Vintage B/R related topic, you know how scary an outcry for a restriction could be if it were to bear fruit.
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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2008, 11:09:44 am »

A few problems would arise:

1) As people of varying quantities would support both the DCI format and the "TMD" format, there would be two formats to keep up with. This can also really compound people who split their attention to Legacy. This can really make things harder for the PTQ'rs that play this format.

2) Because of #2, there would be an inevitable divide. TMD would have to support both formats in a controlled manner. An already relatively small format would be further fragmented, making tournament attendance lower, tournament reports less relevant, etc.

Agreed on both points. Vintage would definitely get worse before it gets better. I'm definitely thinking about long term benefits.

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3) We have way less data to show to WotC. I am fine criticizing WotC if they need it, but I'm definitely not playing chicken with them in regards to how much they support the kings format. If they see Vintage drop off, they might just stop paying attention, truly leaving things to ourselves. If you ever read any Vintage B/R related topic, you know how scary an outcry for a restriction could be if it were to bear fruit.

Is there any indication right now that WotC gives half a shit about Vintage? I mean, does it make them any money at all? I don't see any other reason for them to care. It's not as if they're the ones who actually play this format.
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2008, 11:25:13 am »

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Is there any indication right now that WotC gives half a shit about Vintage? I mean, does it make them any money at all? I don't see any other reason for them to care. It's not as if they're the ones who actually play this format.

I would estimate they give a 10th of a shit, exactly. I would estimate they value (1/10th of a shit) Vintage for the following reasons:

1) We are a force in the secondary market, which does translate in to longevity and sales.

2) It gives them another target audience that they are just now discovering. They are seeing a lot of money potential in MTGO Classic and they want to capitalize on every niche they can. Case in point, they just revealed that the next Masters Edition set is going to have Mana Crypt. With the expect friendly color dual lands (Underground Sea, Tundra, Taiga, Badlands, Savannah), this set is already having people set aside budgets to spend. This is profit on cards ALREADY designed! I don't know what it means for paper players, but I expect with the 15th Anniversary coming up, we might see something we'd actually drop money on.

3) Not all Eternal players are just Eternal players. Many of us Draft, dick with Standard and block if we can, and a ton of us PTQ'd for Extended.
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2008, 11:47:02 am »

Richard,

As well-intentioned as this idea is, I'm afraid that in practice it would not work as hoped. The Vintage community is, at the end of the day, a community devoted to a particular format in a particular game. And were Wizards and us to be separated by this Great Schism, then I fear that the result would be chaotic and difficult to sustain.

First, there comes the simple confusion created by dual restricted/banned lists. We'd need to prepare one way for a local event run by a TMD-TO, another way for Vintage Worlds, and then whichever way SCG opts to hold their events. And once the floodgates for build-your-own format are opened, what is to stop a given TO from creating his own version of "Vintage" with Balance unrestricted because that was his favorite card in 1996?

Another problem comes from the fact that I'm fairly certain our build-your-own Vintage format would end up way off track. As well-intended as we all are, these boards have a steady and constant supply of terrible ideas regarding what is to be done with the B+R list. Remember when Welder was the card everyone wanted to see restricted? No doubt, the community would end up overreacting to a particular deck doing well, and rather than handle the deck, frustrated players would opt to turn to our psuedo-DCI to act like their giant sideboard for them.

Finally, there's the fact that all of these decisions, no matter who makes them, are going to seem 'wrong' and 'arbitrary' to someone. Even if we have a process in place to decide these things at the community level, there will be community members who feel that the decisions we would make are going to be capricious and devoid of proper judgment. To them, those who disagree with the decisions that the Psuedo-DCI makes, those decisions will be as bad if not worse than the actual DCI decisions. At least the DCI is impartial; imagine if instead of WotC, the "good" vintage players got together and had Gush unrestricted, and then started winning tournaments with the Gush decks. How do you think the less successful players would feel?

For all these reasons, WotC needs to keep the reins of the DCI.
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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2008, 12:42:18 pm »

First, there comes the simple confusion created by dual restricted/banned lists. We'd need to prepare one way for a local event run by a TMD-TO, another way for Vintage Worlds, and then whichever way SCG opts to hold their events. And once the floodgates for build-your-own format are opened, what is to stop a given TO from creating his own version of "Vintage" with Balance unrestricted because that was his favorite card in 1996?

Admittedly, this would be something that TOs would have to struggle with in the early going, but the goal would be to eventually consolidate or win the loyalty of the majority of Vintage players. I highly doubt, if given a choice, that Vintage players would opt to support the DCI's B&R list over that of the TMD community. In regards to TOs holding tournaments with modified versions of Vintage, there is nothing currently stopping them from doing so, and in fact, many already do. These tournaments do not have any implication in the grand scheme of things, and are generally well received.

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Another problem comes from the fact that I'm fairly certain our build-your-own Vintage format would end up way off track. As well-intended as we all are, these boards have a steady and constant supply of terrible ideas regarding what is to be done with the B+R list. Remember when Welder was the card everyone wanted to see restricted? No doubt, the community would end up overreacting to a particular deck doing well, and rather than handle the deck, frustrated players would opt to turn to our psuedo-DCI to act like their giant sideboard for them.

Quote
Finally, there's the fact that all of these decisions, no matter who makes them, are going to seem 'wrong' and 'arbitrary' to someone. Even if we have a process in place to decide these things at the community level, there will be community members who feel that the decisions we would make are going to be capricious and devoid of proper judgment. To them, those who disagree with the decisions that the Psuedo-DCI makes, those decisions will be as bad if not worse than the actual DCI decisions.

... but generally, Vintage Adepts and players with experience in this format all agree on what reasonable decisions are. I agree that players are going to whine and bitch regardless, but when it comes time to make a decision, ideally the people with the most knowledge about the environment and the implications of the decision would be calling the shots. Instead, we have a body that seems to make decisions based on business acumen. To me, that is very disturbing.

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At least the DCI is impartial; imagine if instead of WotC, the "good" vintage players got together and had Gush unrestricted, and then started winning tournaments with the Gush decks. How do you think the less successful players would feel?

Here, I think, is the biggest problem. If we have an appointed body of players making decisions, and winning tournaments afterwards, much of the community is going to feel as if there is a conflict of interest. However, there is a way to reassure the community that none of the decisions are biased or knee-jerk. Let's take the latest restrictions as an example. Wouldn't it have been great if WotC had given the community an inkling of what changes were to happen? Imagine if they had opened a thread and said something along the lines of "We are considering the state of the format and the following cards are currently under careful scrutiny: Brainstorm, Flash, Merchant Scroll, Ponder, Gush, etc. We are evaluating their presence and expect changes to be made in the future." Now, people would have a choice. They could start selling off their cards in an attempt to beat the restrictions or hang onto them. However, at least they wouldn't be blindsided by a seemingly ad hoc restriction that substantially devalues their investments. I'm sure you've taken notice of how many players feel ripped off because of the changes.

This would take a lot of trust from the community, and I acknowledge that there would be dissenters. However, I submit the following question to you: How much trust do you feel the community currently has in the competence and underlying motivations of the DCI?

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For all these reasons, WotC needs to keep the reins of the DCI.

I think you've both posed some very relevant concerns. It may be that the community would not be able to sustain a project of this scope. However, my gut tells me that this format, given its amount of knowledgeable and intelligent voices, and the strength of the community, is more than well equipped to make this succeed, it if were to be desired. I acknowledge that this is a long shot, and would be an extremely difficult project, but I think it is a proposal that the community should keep in mind. If not for now, then perhaps for when the DCI really drops the ball (and it is arguable that they already have, but it remains to be seen).
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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2008, 02:11:53 pm »

I really like this idea Rich. We can start with the B/R List prior to this month's ridiculous events and add Merchant Scroll to it. As others have mentioned, there would be several obstacles to get this plan going, but it would definitely yield a better environment.

The key to getting something like this to work would be to get an influential tournament organizer to use it. SCG could play a key role here, since they are pretty much the largest Vintage organizer in the U.S. (lets face it, WotC's support is neglibible).

However, it would be difficult to organize a governing body for this list. My suggestion would be to elect someone who does not actually participate in very many events (to avoid a conflict of interest) as the moderator. The "TMD" B/R list will be posted in a prominent location on this website and SCG (if possible) with other "allied" sites/organizers posting it as well. The general approach to maintaining the list will be to let things be in general, that is to say the moderator will not change things based on just personal preferences. The moderator would have a group of advisors, these would be the leading voices/players in the Vintage community, like Vintage Adepts and other talented players from anywhere in the world (people like you, Shay, Steve, LSV, etc.) We could then talk about action before the next announcement, and add/remove cards as agreed upon by all of those involved. If something does not work well, it can then be immediately readdressed at the next announcement (we can just use WotC announcement day as our own). This way, we don't have to wait six years for something stupid to come off the list or see everything but the enabler restricted (Merchant Scroll vs. Gifts, Gush, Flash).

With all that being said, I nominate myself as moderator  Wink
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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2008, 02:21:59 pm »

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How much trust do you feel the community currently has in the competence of and underlying motivations of the DCI?

I trust the DCI more than I would trust the whim and will of Vintage players about making B/R decisions. Whatever WotC's motivations may be, they can't really be accused of having a conflict of interest the same way that Vintage players could. Are Vintage players going to make B/R decisions with the sole aim of the growth of Vintage? Or are they going to be motivated either by their own pet decks, or worse by their perceived odds of winning more events? There is a good reason that Wizards employees are prevented from playing in Sanctioned events. Could the DCI's system be improved? Yes. Could their communications be improved? Very much so. But I don't believe that they have displayed such incompetence that we ought to abandon them. I believe that doing so would cause much more harm than an overly-terse explanation would.
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« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2008, 03:54:49 pm »

As a TMD Admin, I can't get behind it for the reasons I mentioned above.

Whether it could be justified, or not, I don't like the idea of the Eternal community doing something that drastic without even letting the format take shape.

It's definitely pre-mature. There are potential fallout from it that people are ignoring, as well.  One is causing what minute support we do have slip. I'm happy with the occasional bone tossed our way and having Vintage champs. The second is splintering the Vintage community. Does everyone show up to all Vintage events or just the "format" they like? Lastly, what kind of slippery slope are we creating? What's next - our own Vintage cards.

Five Color was a neat format, I guess.
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« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2008, 04:21:08 pm »

Although the conflict of interest point is a theoretical problem more than a practical problem, I think the bigger issue is the long-term unintended consequences of such a move.  I mean, if we were to run the B/R list, would that weaken Wizards incentives (the few that still remain) to sponsor the format?  Also, even if the community is good at running the lists for some time, what about 10 years from now or 20?  I understand the impulse here, but it's very impractical.
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« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2008, 06:30:38 pm »

Just to throw something in... In the longterm, WotC cannot remain in charge of the DCI if MTG is ever to become an internationally recognised mind sport on the level of Chess, Bridge, Scrabble and so on. That's a massive conflict of interest, but as long as MTG is two-bit, it's not important.
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« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2008, 06:42:22 pm »

If the prize/entry cost is attractive enough and the rules are fair and clear, people will come to play.   That's all there is to it in the end.  You know what?  You don't need the DCI.  I've blathered on and promoted this idea in the past, Rich, and I think it's great.

It's time to divorce the DCI and Wizards.  They really don't care about Vintage or its collectors.  Look at the facts. 

-They staple their Vintage restriction reasoning at the end of a Standard article.

-Said reasoning makes no sense.  (Flash does not actually win on turn ZERO with any sort of frequency)

-They base their restrictions on a proxy-based environment.  This environment directly circumvents their promise to not recreate actual power.  They break their own promise by using proxy based data.  I argue that these restrictions have affected the value of my cards, as a collector.

-Here's the big one.  This small Vintage community that everyone has entrusted Them to care for has not grown at all, relatively speaking, in like, the last 7 years.  Personally, I have just watched Vintage in my area die out completely.  It's sad, don't let it happen to you.


It's time to have faith in our own passion for this format and believe we have the brainpower to pull it off.  It cannot turn out worse than the neglected and wilted state of the format we currently have.  Besides, if all goes wrong, we can always go back to the old ways.  The long-term with what Rich suggests places the format in the hands of the people that not only know vintage but have the zeal and tanacity to make it fun.  The long-term with the DCI can only continue to be maintained by people that don't really care.




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« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2008, 10:44:10 pm »

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If the prize/entry cost is attractive enough and the rules are fair and clear, people will come to play.   That's all there is to it in the end.

Not really - Rich Shay, Menendian, and myself have made pretty good cases against it. That tells me there's more to this.

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It's time to divorce the DCI and Wizards.

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It's time to have faith in our own passion for this format and believe we have the brainpower to pull it off. It's time to have faith in our own passion for this format and believe we have the brainpower to pull it off.

How do you know it is "the time"? There hasn't even been a tournament under the newer rules yet!

The format hasn't even gotten a chance to develop beyond under a week of play-testing and a boat load of theory from blow hards like me and Menendian. Why don't we use our own passion for this format and the brainpower to pull off innovating this metagame as best we can? Then if things are so fucked up without Brainstorm, we can then make a case and show proof to WotC. If things are so bad and WotC just ignores us and lets the format be so unplayable, as every Chicken Little is claiming, then I'll be more sympathetic to the cause.

There's a real risk to Vintage by doing that. I've touched on it in my above post.
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« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2008, 11:47:32 pm »

Just to throw something in... In the longterm, WotC cannot remain in charge of the DCI if MTG is ever to become an internationally recognised mind sport on the level of Chess, Bridge, Scrabble and so on. That's a massive conflict of interest, but as long as MTG is two-bit, it's not important.

I'm curious about this- do you think that if the DCI and WotC were separate MtG would have a chance to be recognized as a mind sport on the level of Chess or Bridge?  I don't think it's the DCI and WotC being the same that's primarily holding MtG back.  I think the problem is that WotC is constantly printing new sets, which, being essential to their business model and part of the real fun of MtG, will never change (collectability could be a problem too but if there was a constant print run of a fixed number of cards, I think it would be less of an issue).  But while I can look at a chess game played a hundred years ago and admire it, MtG is constantly changing.  How many people who started playing in recent years would know the rules for banding?  I don't think MtG will ever become an internationally recognized mind sport because it isn't a static game like chess, and we should be grateful for this fact.

As for revolutionizing Vintage by taking the Banned/Restricted list into your own hands: I think it would be a terrible idea for many of the reasons already articulated.  I'd say that you'd have to expect the format to totally die under the DCI before taking the Banned/Restricted list into the hands of the players would be a good idea.  Fortunately, WotC has at least some incentive to prevent the format from dying and can simply adjust its past decisions over time.  WotC's goal should be thought of as making money; to the extent that creating a healthy enjoyable tournament scene helps them make money, they will run the B/R list fairly well.  Thus, I would predict that taking the B/R list into the hands of the players will not become worthwhile in the future either (though in the event that Vintage dying is inescapable, I imagine a measure like this one might prolong the end). 
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« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2008, 12:49:39 am »

No offense, but I don't particularly see a reason to trust any of you with the Restricted List more than Wizards.  At the very least, we know they have knowledge of the future cards coming and they have a monetary incentive to ensure that the format runs at least relatively smoothly.  I don't agree with you all and I don't trust you all to run the format, especially because of emotional attachments to certain cards.  In a certain sense it makes sense to have people who do not play the format competitively decide what to restrict, both because they don't have incentive to rig it (not that you all would, but there's incentive) and because they probably do not have an emotional attachment to certain decks.

By the way, are TOs that run under this system prepared to offer refunds to players that didn't know?  If I go to a tournament with an altered banned/restricted list because I missed a line in a description or someone did not advertise it well, and I play a deck legal in Vintage but not in Altered Vintage, I'm damn well going to want my money back.
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« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2008, 03:09:01 am »

No offense, but I don't particularly see a reason to trust any of you with the Restricted List more than Wizards.

Well, those who wish to trust Wizards despite indications that their decisions are not sound are free to do so. However, one clear reason to trust a sanctioning body of Vintage players is that they actually play this format and understand it better than anyone else. The issue is not about whether Wizards has done a good job in the past. They have. The issue pertains to the fact that other people could do it better, and have no vested interest other than making the format better for the community. We could argue that the body might abuse their power to try to gain a tactical advantage, but that would be pretty tough to do with a council of 10 people. If 10 experienced Vintage minds can reach a unanimous decision about a B&R change, then I think it is fair to say that it is a good one. Who is making the decisions at the DCI? Do we even know? What criteria, data, or reasoning are they using to make those decisions? Yeah, I don't know either. Now, take a look at the backlash from the community after the recent change. Not only was it a very ad hoc change that has had a negative impact (so far, and it could get worse) on the player base, but the explanation given for it was borderline insulting. A council consisting of Vintage minds that care about the format would have been far more prudent in both their B&R and PR decisions.

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At the very least, we know they have knowledge of the future cards coming and they have a monetary incentive to ensure that the format runs at least relatively smoothly.

We really don't need knowledge of future cards. When they arrive, we can address their impact at the time of their inception.

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I don't agree with you all and I don't trust you all to run the format, especially because of emotional attachments to certain cards.  In a certain sense it makes sense to have people who do not play the format competitively decide what to restrict, both because they don't have incentive to rig it (not that you all would, but there's incentive) and because they probably do not have an emotional attachment to certain decks.

... and they also don't play the format, which can lead to some serious lapses in reasoning. For example, why is Dream Halls still on the restricted list? Time Spiral? I mean, seriously. They've been doing a decent job, but there have been some serious oversights. Was it necessary to restrict Gush with Brainstorm and Scroll gone?

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By the way, are TOs that run under this system prepared to offer refunds to players that didn't know?  If I go to a tournament with an altered banned/restricted list because I missed a line in a description or someone did not advertise it well, and I play a deck legal in Vintage but not in Altered Vintage, I'm damn well going to want my money back.

That's a really odd objection to raise. If someone misreads an advertisement, why should that be the TO's concern?

How do you know it is "the time"? There hasn't even been a tournament under the newer rules yet!

The format hasn't even gotten a chance to develop beyond under a week of play-testing and a boat load of theory from blow hards like me and Menendian. Why don't we use our own passion for this format and the brainpower to pull off innovating this metagame as best we can? Then if things are so fucked up without Brainstorm, we can then make a case and show proof to WotC. If things are so bad and WotC just ignores us and lets the format be so unplayable, as every Chicken Little is claiming, then I'll be more sympathetic to the cause.

I can't disagree here. I think this is the best approach. However, I think this is an important issue to raise because it's time we light a match under the DCI's ass. Without some pressure to act with a higher degree of integrity, then half-ass decisions and explanations is the best this community will ever get. I agree that now is not the time to make such a change, but the DCI should be aware that the gears for this movement have been oiled, and that without a higher degree of commitment to this format, it is only a matter of time before they start to turn.
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« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2008, 03:20:43 am »

If I go to a tournament with an altered banned/restricted list because I missed a line in a description or someone did not advertise it well, and I play a deck legal in Vintage but not in Altered Vintage, I'm damn well going to want my money back.

This is the big problem with the argument that Zherbus is pointing out, at least in my opinion. That being said, I think I'm willing to stake the format on the average Vintage player's critical reading skills. The lists are unlikely to drift significantly apart aside from the restrictions of this month, and possibly the removal of cards like Dream Halls that won't see play even with 4 Brainstorm and 4 Gush. The people we're most likely to use as a result of the confusion are the semi-casual tournament players who play in cheap, local Vintage events in lieu of FNM or on Saturday afternoons. The extreme casual crowd that will periodically play in tournaments is almost 100% Johnny-land, so our more conservative and transparent B&R policy would keep them on our side, especially since our events 1) Happen and 2) Have stronger prize support. Granted, this argument relies on SCG to support the community list, but since their business interests lie more with the Vintage community than with the DCI, they are likely to support it.


What truly baffles me, however, is how  no one has brought up the fact that the DCI only even looks at Vintage quarterly, when it comes time to update the list. The fact that they make their decisions (largely) based on an extraordinarily limited amount of tournament data (that is, the tournament data that exists), I'd actually feel better with people actively involved in the format making decisions that at least reflect extratournament experience and established Vintage theory (which, while underdeveloped, is more easily understood from within the format than from without), even as that theory is being created. Also, since most of us are adults, I have less hesitance with regard to letting actively competing players, particularly if they are elected from the Adepts and TOs by the Adepts and TOs (and perhaps by the Full Members as well) than I would in a format with a lower general maturity level like 1.x or Standard. Unlike those formats, we have a very stable core of players who would be willing to engage in a labor of love like the maintenance of a B&R list and who could be trusted to be transparent and impartial.

After all that, I feel that the best option for the continued harmonious maintenance of the lists is for the DCI to become more transparent (won't happen) and/or include A-level Vintage theorists and players in the decision making process for the format that that admittedly have little to no contact with (possible). As in the community list scenario, our most respected representatives end up having a role in the defense and expansion of the format, and everyone saves face. If that is not an option, however, I feel that we are better off on our own.
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« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2008, 09:41:38 am »

Rich, I would be totally supportive of the idea, but I feel that it just cannot work from a theoretical perspective. I would completely back it if the DCI started to make genuinely poor decisions, but the problem is that have yet to make a decision that didn't have merit.

Here is the problem. It is possible to make a reasonable argument for the restriction or unrestriction of a "controversial" card. It is also possible to generate likewise a reasonable opposing argument for that card. The problem is not that we cannot determine the arguments themselves. The problem is properly evaluating which argument carries more weight - in fact, it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to determine that, because unless we develop some sort of clairvoyance, no one is able to properly predict the short and long term impacts of any of these decisions, not even the vintage "pros". We've had too long of a history of faulty predictions on this site alone over the years when discussing the merits of any B/R change.

For instance, let's take the current round of B/R changes - there is significant backing of the decision by many top players in the format, but there is likewise an outcry from top players as well regarding BS, Ponder, and Gush. What is the objectively correct decision that "should" have been made instead? Was the present DCI decision the correct one? I've always argued that the "objective correctness" is largely irrelevant in this format, and simply change for the sake of change is good enough to keep things fresh and interesting. Even the decision to unrestrict Gush in the first place was positive (after all, it led to the "golden age" of magic, right?), even though it turned out to be too strong in the meta and became part of the engine of choice for all of the top archetypes. The fact is that it took a while to arrive at the optimal builds, so we had the chance for some innovation and exploration after such a controversial decision; once Gush reach the "end" of its journey (optimal strategies were worked out to a large enough degree), it was time to restrict again. Perhaps it would be currently enough to restrict BS and Ponder and leave Gush alone, but then again, what difference does it make? We have a format reset again, which is exciting regardless of the precise actual decision made.
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« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2008, 10:55:46 am »

Another damaging sub-point is that DCI Vintage and Oddball Vintage might not be something that average joe who wants to try Vintage out can discern. We're always taking new players into the fold, and I think part of the successful "sale" is that they know it's a DCI format. People like oddball formats as a break from the norm, but people won't want to invest in a format that's not even globally supported. Again, look at Five Color.
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« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2008, 01:33:21 pm »

Rich, I would be totally supportive of the idea, but I feel that it just cannot work from a theoretical perspective. I would completely back it if the DCI started to make genuinely poor decisions, but the problem is that have yet to make a decision that didn't have merit.

I don't agree there. I think they have made some good decisions, and I think they have made some poor decisions. For example, how about the restriction of Gifts but the unrestriction of Gush? This was clearly a mistake and it did not take long to figure that out. The Gush engine was more powerful than Gifts, making the timing of the restriction absurd, especially since Ichorid and Flash introduced archetypes very punishing and disruptive to Gifts variants.

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Here is the problem. It is possible to make a reasonable argument for the restriction or unrestriction of a "controversial" card. It is also possible to generate likewise a reasonable opposing argument for that card. The problem is not that we cannot determine the arguments themselves. The problem is properly evaluating which argument carries more weight - in fact, it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to determine that, because unless we develop some sort of clairvoyance, no one is able to properly predict the short and long term impacts of any of these decisions, not even the vintage "pros". We've had too long of a history of faulty predictions on this site alone over the years when discussing the merits of any B/R change.

Well sure, you could argue for the restriction of anything. I suppose you could have argued for the restriction of Dark Ritual after the StormX Waterbury, but would that have been a mistake? Why or why not? With every argument, there must exist a line of reasoning that can be followed and appreciated. Otherwise, we're just making restrictions for the sake of making them, and it makes no more sense to restrict Tarpan than it does to restrict Mishra's Workshop. Making restrictions for the sake of change sets a very dangerous precedent, since anything becomes a viable candidate. I don't think that is a good thing.

As for the pros, we've sure made some poor predictions, but with the power to undo them, making oversights would not be such an issue. Now, when the DCI makes a poor decision, we have to wait forever for it to become undone. Control over the format would mean that we would dictate how changes are made and undone, and I think with an intelligent sanctioning body that can weigh the cost/benefit of each decision, that better decisions would be made.

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I've always argued that the "objective correctness" is largely irrelevant in this format, and simply change for the sake of change is good enough to keep things fresh and interesting. Even the decision to unrestrict Gush in the first place was positive (after all, it led to the "golden age" of magic, right?), even though it turned out to be too strong in the meta and became part of the engine of choice for all of the top archetypes. The fact is that it took a while to arrive at the optimal builds, so we had the chance for some innovation and exploration after such a controversial decision; once Gush reach the "end" of its journey (optimal strategies were worked out to a large enough degree), it was time to restrict again.

If there is no such thing as objective correctness, then it would not make a difference to you if Trinisphere was unrestricted, or Flash, or well ... let's go all the way: Black Lotus. I mean, any change is good right? It shakes things up and keeps the format interesting.

... and here's the part where you reply: "Well, changes within reason.", and this leads precisely to my point: Mike Turian is trying to justify the latest changes. This is an indication that there is a thought process and methodology involved in reaching a decision. There are objective reasons for making changes, but we are not in control of them. We don't even know what these reasons are, if they are changing, or when any resulting decisions will be undone. The community has very little influence on any changes that are to happen, and really, they should. We are the ones who play and support this format, and deserve a more intimate connection to B&R decisions, especially those that result in a format upheaval.

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Perhaps it would be currently enough to restrict BS and Ponder and leave Gush alone, but then again, what difference does it make? We have a format reset again, which is exciting regardless of the precise actual decision made.

I think it actually does make a significant difference, that being that it lessens the amount of viable, skill-intensive archetypes that are playable in the format. Optimal construction of the B&R list maximizes the card pool without crossing the line into format degeneracy. Can we honestly say that the current B&R list accomplishes this goal? Yeah sure, we'll survive even though Gush is gone and it probably shouldn't be. We'll survive since Dream Halls and a few other very questionable cards remain neutered. The question is why should we settle for a B&R list that is less than optimally constructed?

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Another damaging sub-point is that DCI Vintage and Oddball Vintage might not be something that average joe who wants to try Vintage out can discern. We're always taking new players into the fold, and I think part of the successful "sale" is that they know it's a DCI format. People like oddball formats as a break from the norm, but people won't want to invest in a format that's not even globally supported. Again, look at Five Color.

There really would be no investment required, since the overlap would be very large in B&R lists. Global support really does not make a difference, since most people in Canada and the US don't travel to Europe to play. What would matter would be consolidating North American Vintage, and eventually gravitating toward global support. I think the TMD community could more than gather enough support to sustain their own format. After all, this is the hub of Vintage. If enough people were to agree on a B&R list, then who is to say that they would not support the events?

I'd like to make it clear that this system is a proposal for the future, and is not an issue I am raising because I feel that the current changes are terrible. I think they are fair, and I am all for a "Wait and See" approach. However, since I do feel that the decisions could have been thought out more clearly and the reasons for the changes communicated more thoroughly, that it is possibly in the future that we could continue to see decisions of this nature affect our format. This to me is unacceptable, and I know a lot of people feel the same. So much, in fact, that the wheels for a project of this scope are in motion, and it would be wise for the DCI to pay better attention to their community before they lose control of it entirely.
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« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2008, 02:03:01 pm »

Someone who felt like doing a little research on this issue should look at the last five years or so and see, on each of the four B&R announcements each year, what the Sentiment of The Vintage Community would have done differently had they been in charge. Would Goblin Welder be restricted? Dark Ritual? Does anyone remember the fear that Tog/Berserk caused? Would Personal Tutor still be restricted? Workshop, Trinisphere? Someone do the legwork here, please.

I don't think the vintage community would do a better job than the DCI, for the record. Also, this latest update hasn't produced nearly the outcry that some past ones (especially this time last year, with Gush, Gifts, Mind Twist, and one or two others I can't remember flipping. It's kind of an unsettling set of restrictions this time, but it's hardly been decried as ragnarok.
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« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2008, 06:24:01 pm »

Rich, I would be totally supportive of the idea, but I feel that it just cannot work from a theoretical perspective. I would completely back it if the DCI started to make genuinely poor decisions, but the problem is that have yet to make a decision that didn't have merit.

I don't agree there. I think they have made some good decisions, and I think they have made some poor decisions. For example, how about the restriction of Gifts but the unrestriction of Gush? This was clearly a mistake and it did not take long to figure that out.

With all due respect Rich, you are peppering your argument with opinionated language. The unrestriction of Gush was not 'clearly a mistake" because according a significant number of players we were in some sort of "golden age" of magic, specifically because of the presence of Gush in the format that empowered the Gush based archetypes and allowed Shop decks to be powerful metagame choices. How can you be so certain in your conclusion then? Do you believe that many players were in fact completely wrong?

But this goes back to my claim - there will be disagreement among us, even between us two, as far as what constitutes an erroneous decision. The only way to know for sure what is decision is right and what isn't is hindsight, and we don't even have hindsight to assist us in evaluating the merits of Gush unrestriction because, apart from Flash perhaps, the format seemed to be acceptable to most with Gush in it. I'm conceding that you can be 100% right in your claims, but we can only verify after the fact.

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Well sure, you could argue for the restriction of anything. I suppose you could have argued for the restriction of Dark Ritual after the StormX Waterbury, but would that have been a mistake? Why or why not? With every argument, there must exist a line of reasoning that can be followed and appreciated. Otherwise, we're just making restrictions for the sake of making them, and it makes no more sense to restrict Tarpan than it does to restrict Mishra's Workshop. Making restrictions for the sake of change sets a very dangerous precedent, since anything becomes a viable candidate. I don't think that is a good thing.

I appreciate that, but the DCI hasn't restricted cards like tarpan yet. They've specifically targeted cards that are of legitimate concern, evidenced by the fact that there is yet to be an instance of unanimous disapproval of any DCI decision. In fact, apart from the initial cries of despair after any significant change, there seems to be a split in opinion regarding their "objective correctness".

And this goes to the heart of the problem; unless the DCI makes a clearly erroneous decision, there's no reason to abandon the DCI yet. What exactly is a "clearly erroneous decision"? I don't know, but I'm hoping we'll know it when it comes, if it ever comes. So long as every DCI decision continues to have enough merit to attract supporters of the decision, there is no 'problem" except on individual bases. That has been the case thus far.

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As for the pros, we've sure made some poor predictions, but with the power to undo them, making oversights would not be such an issue. Now, when the DCI makes a poor decision, we have to wait forever for it to become undone. Control over the format would mean that we would dictate how changes are made and undone, and I think with an intelligent sanctioning body that can weigh the cost/benefit of each decision, that better decisions would be made.

While the sanctioning body might be "intelligent" and would "weigh the cost/benefit" of each decision, I challenge the notion that "better decisions will be made". In fact, I challenge anyone to define what a "bad decision" is, and by what metric it is measured. Keep in mind you CANNOT analyze what happened to the format after the fact (even if you were to establish what the great majority feel about the format, which has yet to occur) if such consequences were not accurately predicted by the vast majority of the "intelligent" T1 players. Hindsight is great but we need to ensure that any body we sanction somehow has enough predictive power to supersede the DCI.

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If there is no such thing as objective correctness, then it would not make a difference to you if Trinisphere was unrestricted, or Flash, or well ... let's go all the way: Black Lotus. I mean, any change is good right? It shakes things up and keeps the format interesting.

Trinisphere and Flash can be restricted based on a simple metrics - they "win" on turn 1 and the "kill" frequency can actually be calculated. These examples therefore fall outside of the scope of the discussion - a sanctioned body of appointed T1 players would likely restrict Trinisphere and Flash (with MUCH protest I might add) but guess what - the DCI made the same decisions. We are more interested in decisions that fall outside the realm of measurement, and will always thus be controversial decisions no matter how individually convinced you are about the brokenness (or lack of) for any one card.

In other words, for me to accept that a sanctioned body instead of the DCI would be a good idea I would need to see direct evidence of:

1) A number of "bad" DCI B/R decisions. You must however define what a "bad" decision is, and offer evidence that we, as a t1 community, clearly collectively felt it was bad and then history vindicated our predictions.

2) Demonstrate that any appointed member or group of such members are capable of discerning between what "good" and "bad" decisions happen to be. Keep in mind that "obvious" decisions involving cards like Trinisphere and Flash, and weak cards like tarpan fall outside of the scope of the discussion, because the DCI never stumbled once on a decision yet regarding "obvious" choices.

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... and here's the part where you reply: "Well, changes within reason.", and this leads precisely to my point: Mike Turian is trying to justify the latest changes. This is an indication that there is a thought process and methodology involved in reaching a decision. There are objective reasons for making changes, but we are not in control of them. We don't even know what these reasons are, if they are changing, or when any resulting decisions will be undone. The community has very little influence on any changes that are to happen, and really, they should. We are the ones who play and support this format, and deserve a more intimate connection to B&R decisions, especially those that result in a format upheaval.

What we "deserve" falls outside of the scope of discussion. This is because whether Turian woke up one morning and tossed a dart at a dartboard to arrive at BS restriction or he pored over the decision for weeks, it wouldn't really matter. He would have no legitimate evidence to offer (because we can't even produce any ourselves unless they practically slap us in the face in their obviousness) apart from a "justification" which is impossible to evaluate against the counter-arguments.


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I think it actually does make a significant difference, that being that it lessens the amount of viable, skill-intensive archetypes that are playable in the format. Optimal construction of the B&R list maximizes the card pool without crossing the line into format degeneracy.

Well, your qualifier is very telling; how exactly is anyone to know what the correct balance of cards on the B/R list should be to maximize the number of skill-intensive archetypes? How can you be so certain that the current decision does the opposite? The only evidence you will have is after the fact, which is too late for practical purposes of what you're proposing.


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Can we honestly say that the current B&R list accomplishes this goal? Yeah sure, we'll survive even though Gush is gone and it probably shouldn't be. We'll survive since Dream Halls and a few other very questionable cards remain neutered. The question is why should we settle for a B&R list that is less than optimally constructed?

How do you propose to definitively demonstrate that it isn't optimal? Likely it isn't, but what evidence do we have that a sanctioning body will automatically do a better job than the DCI, if there is one decision that even strong players have yet to reach a consensus upon?

Rich, you know that no one wants to maximize format diversity and skill-intensiveness of T1 more than me, except maybe yourself. I would welcome your suggestion if I felt there was some clear metric or the setting of clear cut-offs for things like distortion or dominance that we could adopt to make the "controversial" B/R decisions. Unfortunately, I see a devolution into petty squabbling once the decisions are placed into the hands of the sanctioned body where each decision receives about the same amount of disagreement and disdain as any DCI decision.

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« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2008, 09:39:53 pm »

The idea is simply not feasible for the simple reason that even here in the Adept Lounge (as close to an 'intelligent community' as we can provide), we're still arguing over everything. The only other relevant example of player-regulated competitive Magic I can think of is 5-color. 5-color is fairly isolated as a format, so forming a council for them wasn't terribly difficult. But for us? Who do you give voting privileges to? The TOs will naturally want a say, as will the major teams. The Europeans will want adequate representation, and so will the isolated hotspots.

This is precisely the problem, likely insurmountably. Vintage is fractured and factionalized. No matter who you pick, someone is going to stand up and say 'why him and not me?' And should it be a large or small council? 5 or 50? Chosen by merit, community power, or popular vote? Can it even be fairly based on TMD? You can say anything you want about 'oh we can decide that later,' but until I see a completely coherent plan of action that addresses every one of these issues I will personally fight this idea tooth and claw. I simply don't believe the answers exist.

Personally? I may not like a lot of restrictions or lack there-of, but I find comfort in the fact that I can count on the B/R list keepers to update at regular intervals, ostensibly impervious to fickle things like popular opinion. Even if 100% of the community thought the latest round of restrictions was terrible, I'd challenge anyone that even 25% of the community could agree on a single set of restrictions and unrestrictions they would have preferred.
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« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2008, 04:33:28 am »

With all due respect Rich, you are peppering your argument with opinionated language. The unrestriction of Gush was not 'clearly a mistake" because according a significant number of players we were in some sort of "golden age" of magic, specifically because of the presence of Gush in the format that empowered the Gush based archetypes and allowed Shop decks to be powerful metagame choices. How can you be so certain in your conclusion then? Do you believe that many players were in fact completely wrong?

I say it is clearly wrong because of criteria the DCI used to restrict cards in the past, namely Fact or Fiction and Gifts Ungiven, both of which are inferior to Gush. Whether or not Vintage was in a "Golden Age" is debatable, since there's nothing to indicate that a "Golden-er Age" would not have been possible with a different set of restrictions. What I do feel strongly about is having clear restriction criteria, as Steve has taken the time to define according to decisions passed, to consider and evaluate when making a B&R decision. I feel it is important to adhere strongly to those criteria, and to involve the community when making changes to the criteria. I'm not opposed to format upheaval, but I would like to believe that the people who support this format have at least some say in decisions before they are applied. As it stands now, this does not happen. This becomes a serious problem when the sanctioning body makes seemingly haphazard decisions that have a serious impact on the format, and in addition, fail to articulate the reasons behind their decisions. Sure, Mr.Turian will be posting an article, but what exactly is that going to clarify? How will it impact how decisions are reached in the future? I would like to be optimistic for monumental format revelations, however I find it very unlikely.

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But this goes back to my claim - there will be disagreement among us, even between us two, as far as what constitutes an erroneous decision. The only way to know for sure what is decision is right and what isn't is hindsight, and we don't even have hindsight to assist us in evaluating the merits of Gush unrestriction because, apart from Flash perhaps, the format seemed to be acceptable to most with Gush in it. I'm conceding that you can be 100% right in your claims, but we can only verify after the fact.

Agree, we can only verify after the fact. My contention is that decisions affecting the B&R list should involve the people who play this format before they actually happen, not just a sanctioning body who is, at best, minutely affiliated with the intricacies and ongoings of format development and game play.

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I appreciate that, but the DCI hasn't restricted cards like tarpan yet. They've specifically targeted cards that are of legitimate concern, evidenced by the fact that there is yet to be an instance of unanimous disapproval of any DCI decision. In fact, apart from the initial cries of despair after any significant change, there seems to be a split in opinion regarding their "objective correctness".

There will never be unanimous approval or disapproval of a decision by any sanctioning body. What is important though, is that the players have a voice, and are not blindsided by a broad, sweeping change that not only affects the investment of collecters, but has the potential to push people out of the format, and seemingly, already has. I think that if we had 10 strong Vintage minds come together before the last B&R changes to make a decision, the only unanimous decision that would have been reached is that Merchant Scroll had to go and Dream Halls had to come back. That would have been the most rational, even-keeled decision. Instead, the DCI opted for format upheaval, which some believe to be a very rash decision. They chose not to adopt a "wait and see" approach, which has the least potential for disaster.

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And this goes to the heart of the problem; unless the DCI makes a clearly erroneous decision, there's no reason to abandon the DCI yet. What exactly is a "clearly erroneous decision"? I don't know, but I'm hoping we'll know it when it comes, if it ever comes. So long as every DCI decision continues to have enough merit to attract supporters of the decision, there is no 'problem" except on individual bases. That has been the case thus far.

I'll take a stab at defining a clear, erroneous decision: An addition to the B&R list which does not meet previously defined restriction criteria and does not provide new, convincing criteria for restriction. Brainstorm may very well have deserved restriction, but why? Ponder? Why? At the very least, an explanation should be given. Otherwise, we can assume that the sanctioning body of this format operates on whimsy.

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While the sanctioning body might be "intelligent" and would "weigh the cost/benefit" of each decision, I challenge the notion that "better decisions will be made". In fact, I challenge anyone to define what a "bad decision" is, and by what metric it is measured. Keep in mind you CANNOT analyze what happened to the format after the fact (even if you were to establish what the great majority feel about the format, which has yet to occur) if such consequences were not accurately predicted by the vast majority of the "intelligent" T1 players. Hindsight is great but we need to ensure that any body we sanction somehow has enough predictive power to supersede the DCI.

I think that the quality of the decisions would be better based on the processes and procedures by which they are arrived upon. Currently:

- It is unclear as to how the DCI arrives upon their restriction decisions.
- It is unclear as to what level the community is involved in any decisions.
- Decisions are seldom undone without at least a year of evaluation between.

Possible ways to better the decision making process:

- Defining clear restriction criteria and involving the community when the need for new restriction criteria becomes apparent. Formal conditions could also be defined to illustrate when current restriction criteria should be subject to review.
- Reevaluating the impact of decisions on a quarterly basis. For example, given the previous criteria for Trinisphere's restriction, why did it take a year to understand that Flash violated this principle for restriction?

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Trinisphere and Flash can be restricted based on a simple metrics - they "win" on turn 1 and the "kill" frequency can actually be calculated. These examples therefore fall outside of the scope of the discussion - a sanctioned body of appointed T1 players would likely restrict Trinisphere and Flash (with MUCH protest I might add) but guess what - the DCI made the same decisions. We are more interested in decisions that fall outside the realm of measurement, and will always thus be controversial decisions no matter how individually convinced you are about the brokenness (or lack of) for any one card.

The Flash decision, much like the Gifts/Gush decision, contradicted previous restriction logic. Flash satisfied the same criteria which earned Trinisphere its restriction, yet for some reason, it was allowed to remain unchecked for a full year. Gifts was restricted but then Gush was removed. The result was the replacement of one very brutal and efficient combo/control engine with a more powerful version. The metrics for restriction decisions would be difficult to evaluate, but I would prefer those decisions to be in the hands of a council of Vintage minds who are committed to the involvement of the community to the fullest extent possible. My feeling is that they could do a job that is at least as good, if not better than what we currently have. No, I cannot prove it, but since I believe there are clear indications that improvement to current processes is possible, and that there is no indication of any intention of the DCI to ameliorate their processes, that the community would be better served to serve themselves.

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In other words, for me to accept that a sanctioned body instead of the DCI would be a good idea I would need to see direct evidence of:

1) A number of "bad" DCI B/R decisions. You must however define what a "bad" decision is, and offer evidence that we, as a t1 community, clearly collectively felt it was bad and then history vindicated our predictions.

2) Demonstrate that any appointed member or group of such members are capable of discerning between what "good" and "bad" decisions happen to be. Keep in mind that "obvious" decisions involving cards like Trinisphere and Flash, and weak cards like tarpan fall outside of the scope of the discussion, because the DCI never stumbled once on a decision yet regarding "obvious" choices.

We'll have to wait and see. Like I said, I'm not sure if the current restrictions were right or wrong, and I agreed that we would need to wait for some evidence to make such claims. My contention is with the methods, or lack thereof, by which these decisions are reached. I feel that given the magnitude of the restrictions, there is a serious disconnect between decisions and the voice of the community.

As for an example of poor decisions, my nomination is for the restriction of Gush (given the restriction of Scroll and Brainstorm) and the quizzical continued restriction of Dream Halls. Since I feel that the purpose of the B&R list is to maximize the card pool while keeping the format balanced, and since there is no indication that Gush would continue to dominate without Merchant Scroll, I cannot think of a good reason for its restriction. By hitting Scroll first, the format could have enjoyed a broader card pool, and additional changes could have been gradually added if necessary (Flash, Gush). I think format upheaval should be a last resort, and while any changes have the potential to be exciting, format upheavals move into very dangerous, uncharted waters, especially considering the DCI's tendency to maintain their decisions for long periods of time.

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What we "deserve" falls outside of the scope of discussion. This is because whether Turian woke up one morning and tossed a dart at a dartboard to arrive at BS restriction or he pored over the decision for weeks, it wouldn't really matter. He would have no legitimate evidence to offer (because we can't even produce any ourselves unless they practically slap us in the face in their obviousness) apart from a "justification" which is impossible to evaluate against the counter-arguments.

My contention is that by having defined restriction criteria, and involving the community as much as possible when amending restriction criteria, that we can make the format alluring to the largest audience, as opposed to having a 50/50 divide. Don't you think it would be better to at least attempt to define reasons for restriction amongst a group of Vintage players as opposed to haphazardly throwing them out there and hoping for the best? I mean, no amount of preparation and deliberation guarantees anything, but surely some effort and discussion would lead us in the right direction, no?

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Well, your qualifier is very telling; how exactly is anyone to know what the correct balance of cards on the B/R list should be to maximize the number of skill-intensive archetypes?

Well, by adopting a "wait and see" approach. By doing this, you allow the largest card pool and therefore the largest combination of cards available for innovation. You then give the metagame some time to develop (perhaps 3-6 months) and then evaluate tournament data to try to determine if the metagame is healthy. For example, up until the last set of restrictions, indications of an unhealthy format included:

- Flash: Unfun, pushing people out of the format
- Gush engine: dominant and format defining, cripples innovation, etc.

I'd say that most of the community agreed that these were problems, perhaps not unanimously, but close enough that acting on these perceived issues would have been a benefit to the greatest number of Vintage enthusiasts. Now, instead of making the smallest amount of change to the B&R list that would have both addressed the issues and yielded the largest card pool to innovate with, the DCI opted for very broad, sweeping changes that, while certainly addressing the current problems, limited the card pool in a manner that was not clearly necessary. If Merchant Scroll had been the only change, the Gushbond engine would have been less explosive and reliable, and Flash would not be able to enjoy the consistency that made it both a contender and an archetype operating in frequent violation of an acceptable level of player interactivity. Now, let's suppose that hitting Scroll wasn't enough, and 3 months of the metagame yielded evidence that the Gushbond decks were not hindered enough, and that Flash still pooped regularly on its opponents. Then we could have made a case for Brainstorm. We even could have hit Brainstorm and Scroll together, since that certainly would have dented the decks in question enough to create a new environment.

Instead, the DCI opted to make a very bold move, without any reasonable evidence or explanation, to neuter all the elements of the engine, without considering how the individual elements might have functioned without their supporting cast available in multiples.

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How can you be so certain that the current decision does the opposite? The only evidence you will have is after the fact, which is too late for practical purposes of what you're proposing.

I can be certain that a "Wait and See" approach carries less possibility for a Vintage implosion, which I'm sure you can agree is something best avoided. What if Ichorid and Workshop decks rape the environment for a year, and the DCI opts not to make any changes to rectify the circumstances? Is it guaranteed to happen? No. Is it possible that it happens? Very. So why not take the cautious approach and make gradual changes?

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How do you propose to definitively demonstrate that it isn't optimal? Likely it isn't, but what evidence do we have that a sanctioning body will automatically do a better job than the DCI, if there is one decision that even strong players have yet to reach a consensus upon?

There is no evidence that a new sanctioning body would do a better job, but I would love to give such a body that opportunity, because I don't feel that the current body is performing as well as they could. Where definitions and ideas for B&R policies do not currently exist or are difficult to define, I have faith that the best minds in this format could come together to develop standards for a better Vintage future.

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I would welcome your suggestion if I felt there was some clear metric or the setting of clear cut-offs for things like distortion or dominance that we could adopt to make the "controversial" B/R decisions. Unfortunately, I see a devolution into petty squabbling once the decisions are placed into the hands of the sanctioned body where each decision receives about the same amount of disagreement and disdain as any DCI decision.

Perhaps, and perhaps not. It is a possibility I would like to see come to fruition, because there is no way to know unless you try. Alternatively, I would like to see the DCI pay greater attention to the community and give greater insight into their decision making processes. One way or the other, I would like to see the community play a bigger role in the development and change of this format.
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« Reply #24 on: June 08, 2008, 06:21:58 pm »

I don't think the vintage community would do a better job than the DCI, for the record.

This has always been my main issue with this kind of supposed split. How about that restricted Crucible of Worlds, amirite Rich? :<

The problem is no matter how 'wrong' the DCI is (and for the most part they actually aren't that awful at Vintage despite not caring that much) I can't see how the players B/R lists would be any better. Over the years Crucible, Chalice of the Void, Berserk, Goblin Welder, Academy Rector and a host of others have had serious cases made for them to be restricted. 

I'd rather have a list with garbage like Dream Halls (that won't see play unrestricted) still on the list than a playable card that someone overrated or refused to deal with on there instead.
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« Reply #25 on: June 08, 2008, 06:47:12 pm »

This has always been my main issue with this kind of supposed split. How about that restricted Crucible of Worlds, amirite Rich? :<

... and that's why a group of 10 or more would be appointed; so that no one player can make a decision without unanimous support. The fact that you're bringing up my suggestion to restrict Crucible provides an interesting example of how a council would be beneficial. Recall, there actually was a problem with the Crucible metagame, except Crucible was not the culprit. By debating the issue with the best Vintage minds in the format, a fair number of us agreed that Trinisphere was the actual problem and I eventually changed my mind, conceding that Crucible would not be a problem in an environment with Trinisphere restricted.

Nobody is infallible, not even the combined reasoning of the most experienced members of this community. However, I maintain that it is less likely for such a group of people to make a bizarre decision than it is for a sanctioning body that is generally indifferent to what happens in this format.
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« Reply #26 on: June 08, 2008, 08:00:01 pm »

I reiterate my question: what actual, specific, historical differences would we have seen between TMD-vintage and DCI-vintage, had we separated in, say, 2003?

If the major differences would be that we would not be using 4 Dream Halls instead of not using 1 Dream Halls, then who cares? There's no difference. You propose 10ish people on a committee: which of the five cards from last week's announcement would your dream panel have voted not to restrict? Ponder, whee. Shahrazad, big f'in deal.

(Other than Ponder), the latest round of decisions by the DCI are, if not anyone's first choice, not grossly out of touch with what the big names of vintage wanted to see. Since no one who might be on your hypothetical panel of experts is THAT perturbed, calls for splitting from the DCI's B&R list seem less justified now than ever.
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« Reply #27 on: June 08, 2008, 08:23:35 pm »

A hypothetical council of 10 perfect Vintage players might be able to make perfect decisions.  We don't have those 10 perfect players.  Without a specific council to discuss, the discussion is fundamentally limited to theorizing what those 10 perfect players would do.
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« Reply #28 on: June 09, 2008, 12:18:23 am »

A hypothetical council of 10 perfect Vintage players might be able to make perfect decisions.  We don't have those 10 perfect players.  Without a specific council to discuss, the discussion is fundamentally limited to theorizing what those 10 perfect players would do.

I'm well aware of that. This was not a call to arms, as some have interpreted it. It was meant to be a discussion of the cost/benefits of such a project.

I reiterate my question: what actual, specific, historical differences would we have seen between TMD-vintage and DCI-vintage, had we separated in, say, 2003?
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If the major differences would be that we would not be using 4 Dream Halls instead of not using 1 Dream Halls, then who cares? There's no difference. You propose 10ish people on a committee: which of the five cards from last week's announcement would your dream panel have voted not to restrict? Ponder, whee. Shahrazad, big f'in deal.

I have no idea what would have happened then, but I think that given the last wave of restrictions, if a group of Vintage players had been responsible for the decision, that we would have seen only Merchant Scroll (and possibly Brainstorm) added to the list, as opposed to the 5 cards that were added. I think that is a significant difference.

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(Other than Ponder), the latest round of decisions by the DCI are, if not anyone's first choice, not grossly out of touch with what the big names of vintage wanted to see. Since no one who might be on your hypothetical panel of experts is THAT perturbed, calls for splitting from the DCI's B&R list seem less justified now than ever.

I don't think we should have to wait for players to be perturbed to discuss methods by which better decisions can be made in the future. If there's room for improvement, why not strive for it? There are enough people that feel the recent wave of restrictions is very bizarre and without sound justification. I also never said that I was seeking to break from the DCI's B&R list today, or that such an action is warranted because of the recent restrictions. This thread was posed hypothetically, and there is no "dream panel" or blueprint for a plan. This was an idea that was posed in order to get some feedback from the community, above all else. It has been well received from both camps, and that's all I was asking for.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2008, 10:11:24 pm by Shock Wave » Logged

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« Reply #29 on: June 09, 2008, 02:07:48 am »

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I'm curious about this- do you think that if the DCI and WotC were separate MtG would have a chance to be recognized as a mind sport on the level of Chess or Bridge?  I don't think it's the DCI and WotC being the same that's primarily holding MtG back.  I think the problem is that WotC is constantly printing new sets, which, being essential to their business model and part of the real fun of MtG, will never change (collectability could be a problem too but if there was a constant print run of a fixed number of cards, I think it would be less of an issue).  But while I can look at a chess game played a hundred years ago and admire it, MtG is constantly changing.  How many people who started playing in recent years would know the rules for banding?  I don't think MtG will ever become an internationally recognized mind sport because it isn't a static game like chess, and we should be grateful for this fact.

MTG could easily be a mind sport AND still print new sets. The nearly static nature of Vintage and Legacy is quite adequate for mind sport status. Chess opening and ending theory moves about all the time - the rules may be static, but the sport certainly isn't, so there's no need for MTG to remain completely static. Shortening the print runs would certainly help (and MaRo said last week that fewer cards were being made from Shards of Alara onwards), but for mine, make the DCI more independent, and most of the complaints would be gone. That also means that B&R lists would be maintained by specialists which would also be a plus.
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