TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

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TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby Graham » 04 Apr 2015, 21:46

We discuss the latest "Tuck rule" changes to Commander, and Graham talks about the DTK streamer-only preview draft.
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Re: TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby Gildan_Bladeborn » 04 Apr 2015, 22:42

Commander damage is something a lot of people don't seem to have a firm handle on, and I can tell that the folks at LRR are among them because you keep getting it wrong when you bring it up on TTC: Commander damage is combat damage only. Ruric Thar, the Unbowed or Nekusar, the Mindrazer may damage you for casting non-creature spells or drawing cards, but that in itself will only kill you if it makes you hit 0 life - you only ever lose the game due to receiving a lethal amount of commander damage if a single commander actually hit you for a total of 21 points of damage in combat over the course of the game. Outside of bizarre circumstances ain't nobody dying to commander damage from Nekusar, he's a 2/4 that doesn't exactly lend itself to suiting him up and swinging, those decks just kill you by making you draw cards and thereby taking you to 0.

The fact that Purphoros was mentioned as problematic has nothing to do with commander damage, it's because shocking everyone simultaneously over and over is just very good all by itself, and he's difficult to remove due to being indestructible and only conditionally a creature. The decks that use him as a commander also tend to be very fast (most people basically just build goblins).
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Re: TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby iceaxe852 » 05 Apr 2015, 02:01

yeah, Gildan is right. It's rule 13 on the official site linked here.
http://mtgcommander.net/rules.php

Also, I prefer to use Purphoros as one of the 99 instead of the General. He works great in both Krenko, Mob Boss and Norin the Wary decks as well as plenty of others that I'm probably missing.
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Re: TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby LokiTheLiar » 05 Apr 2015, 02:34

I think you managed to sum up the problem with EDH at my LGS with one sentence: "It's not supposed to be budget Vintage". Because that's basially what this format turned into where I play. People are running decks worth about 2000$ with original dual lands, Time Spiral, Force of Will and also fun cards like Winter Orb, Tangle Wire etc.
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Re: TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby Kapol » 05 Apr 2015, 08:26

I think "EDH is like Smash Bros" is my new favorite comparison. It feels like it's designed to just be a fun group game, but has enough depth that people play it competitively. Compare that to a lot of other fighting games/formats where they can be played casually, but are tuned more towards competitiveness, and it makes even more sense.
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Re: TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby Mono_Snorsh » 05 Apr 2015, 15:50

I've never been in favour of removing tuck effects. Things should have answers not just momentary delaying effects even if they are the distinctive feature of the format and in turn there are answers to tuck effects.

"You can houserule it" is irrelevant. You can house rule everything. The point of official rules is not to tell you how to play but to establish a standard that people can rely on.

I'm somewhat concerned about the possibility of the existence of those BS oversized commander cards having influenced this decision slightly.

I think it's better for the format if people can use certain cards as their commander and also some of the other people in the play group can sometimes knock them out of the game for an extended period than if those cards eventually get banned.

Yes, it would be good if every colour had it's own solution to everything within it's slice of the pie. Mtg isn't built that way though and it's just an intrinsic problem that EDH has to deal with.

One of the strengths of EDH is it can be approached both from "I get guarantted access to one card, so let's build around the mechanics of that card" and "I have the most fun with mtg when I have access to x, y and z effects, so let's find a commander that lets me have all of those in a deck". Another strength is that as a format intended for multiplayer it lets people balance raw power and how much heat they will draw. That allows one person to be playing a silly tribal deck and another person to be playing a highly efficient deck in the same play group.

EDH is still dominated by individual playgroups so it's important that one guy choosing to run x as his commander doesn't totally warp the meta. Either by the person dominating all the games or by every game turning into everyone beating up on them and then turning on each other.

The entire concept of a casual format is absurd. Formats are not and practically cannot be casual. Communities can be casual, but an interesting format attracts all sorts of players even if the rules committee keeps repeating that it's a casual format. The rules committee are deluding themselves if they think rules can promote casual play. Rules can promote cards, mechanics and situations that casual players demographically enjoy, but that just shifts the incentive structure. It doesn't keep people from playing with those things because they have now become effective as opposed to because they always wanted to and now have an excuse to.

And of course, Mox are banned in EDH.
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Re: TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby VectorZero » 05 Apr 2015, 17:26

Thank you for correctly pronouncing Melbn ;)

This episode kinda highlights why I don't want to get into Commander. Worrying about playing something unfun seems counter to the idea of deck building. Just my opinion, and it's cool hearing about funky stuff people pull off, just not for me.
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Re: TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby Lord Chrusher » 05 Apr 2015, 17:49

I also got a slight chuckle from Graham pronouncing Melbourne as an Australian would.
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Re: TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby Spartan_N30 » 06 Apr 2015, 08:55

Is it possible to be both for and against this rules change?

I mean on the one hand, i do love that this gets rid of the occasional conversation of "you cant have your commander in a different color sleeve to find it easier" But on the other hand, i feel that this just makes commanders with built in damage effects and tutor effects that much better, Purferos, Captain Sissay, and bird wizard being the 3 that i'm thinking of right now
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Re: TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby Eric the Orange » 06 Apr 2015, 10:54

@mono_snorsh

The one thing I see that you didn't refute is the Idea that Commander is about playing with your commander. In that if their is a way to effectively remove a commander from the game than that is against the spirit of the format.

And about formats not being casual, I'd disagree. take for example Momir a format almost entirely based on luck. Sure if you wanted to you CAN be competitive about it, but it seems strange as most games would be decided mainly by luck. It would be like being a competitive dice roller. That being said how you approach a format is up to the individual, but it's possible to create a format that caters to the casual players play style, which is the definition of a casual format. And if someone wants to approach that format from a competitive perspective they can but the IDEA of the format is still casual.
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Re: TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby Mono_Snorsh » 06 Apr 2015, 12:17

Well it's impossible to disprove that. That said I can make a couple of observations.

First of all, from a historical perspective EDH started with people playing elder dragons who didn't even exist in the command zone but were played as normal cards. That isn't a recipe for making generals integral to their decks. After that people mostly picked generals based on their colours. The "commander as cornerstone of the deck" idea evolved later.

Second there's a difference between playing with something and always being able to recast something as long as you have the mana. Mtg is about playing spells, but it also has creature removal besides bounce effects. There's room between commanders always either being on the board or ready to cast and people not getting to play with their commanders at all.

As for Momir (which is straining the bounds of being a format), tell that to people thinking about what basic lands to include or at which mana points to summon creatures. Casual is a mindset, it's not something rules can encode systematically. You can encourage concrete things that are found in combination with that mindset but it doing so their context changes and they can start appealing to noncasual players. Personally I don't think it's useful to think of EDH as being a casual format just because it was intended for casual players. There are lots of things that people intend for their formats, but when I say a format is interesting I mean it interests me, not that it was intended to be interesting. Likewise I think something is only a casual format if the format itself encourages casual play and casual play itself instead of the ephemera associated with casual play.
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Re: TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby Kapol » 06 Apr 2015, 16:47

Mono_Snorsh wrote:The entire concept of a casual format is absurd. Formats are not and practically cannot be casual. Communities can be casual, but an interesting format attracts all sorts of players even if the rules committee keeps repeating that it's a casual format. The rules committee are deluding themselves if they think rules can promote casual play. Rules can promote cards, mechanics and situations that casual players demographically enjoy, but that just shifts the incentive structure. It doesn't keep people from playing with those things because they have now become effective as opposed to because they always wanted to and now have an excuse to


You can't have a format that's exclusively casual, but you can have one where the point of the format is to be casual. You seem to be taking the statement as "this format can't have competitive players at all" rather than "this format is designed for non-competitive players." That's not the case. As you've said, there'll always be people who want to play it with a more competitive mindset. But it's up to the people who are creating the format if they want to focus on the more casual playerbase rather than the competitive side.

And that's exactly what's happening. The rule committee is focusing on catering their format towards the people who play it more casually. That doesn't stop the people who want to be competitive from fine-tuning their decks and making them as optimal as possible. But it does put emphasis on what they're trying to do. They're adapting the format towards the player-base they're more focused on.

You say that casual players the rules committee are deluding themselves if they think the rules can promote casual play, and then go on to mention exactly what rules can do promote casual play. It's true that they can't just lock out competitive players entirely. Nor does that seem to be something they want to do. But they can make the rules promote casual play and make it more fun for casual players. And in doing such, attempt to draw in a larger casual playerbase.

Or, to put it another way, the idea of a competitive format is just as absurd as a casual one. People play different ways and get different things out of playing, as you said. If you're going to state that there can't be a casual format because there will always be competitive players, it goes the other way as well. There can't be a strictly competitive format either. Every format has casual players. Standard, modern, legacy, and even vintage all have people who play it fairly casually. Most people tend to sweep them under the rug as playing 'casual' Magic. But casual isn't a format. They're playing casual versions of existing formats. The people who player the more casual versions of any given format are just as important as those who play competitively.
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Re: TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby Mono_Snorsh » 06 Apr 2015, 18:57

Kapol wrote:Or, to put it another way, the idea of a competitive format is just as absurd as a casual one. People play different ways and get different things out of playing, as you said. If you're going to state that there can't be a casual format because there will always be competitive players, it goes the other way as well. There can't be a strictly competitive format either. Every format has casual players. Standard, modern, legacy, and even vintage all have people who play it fairly casually. Most people tend to sweep them under the rug as playing 'casual' Magic. But casual isn't a format. They're playing casual versions of existing formats. The people who player the more casual versions of any given format are just as important as those who play competitively.


Precisely. Formats cannot be casual or competitive (well... without engaging in very divergent formats. You could of course choose winners based on things like group consensus on how cool your plays were, how flavourful your deck was or how tightly you played. Ironroot Chef is a format that makes at least some attempts at actually encouraging casual playstyles themselves.). When it comes to formats like EDH, Highlander or Legacy "casual" and "competitive" are simply invalid descriptors. You can encourage the mechanical ephemera associated with casual play in one format in a different format, but that is not the same thing as encouraging casual play itself because you have changed the context of those things. You can also repeatedly tell people that a format is a casual format and that can help produce space for casual players to interact with each other, but that's a result of social engineering surrounding a format not the format itself.
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Re: TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby Loslomo » 07 Apr 2015, 01:50

So, talking about the latter half of the episode. I was up in Seattle working Norwescon this last week and ended up attending a draft. Highlights from the draft: The collective sharp intake of air when the pool opened their Fate packs, "So, is just no one drafting black?", going 3-0 with a "Dromoka shake" deck, having the tourney Spike dead to rights after throwing down a well timed Crux of Fate.
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Re: TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby Eric the Orange » 07 Apr 2015, 07:27

@mono_snorsh

Ah, I think what we have here is a difference in definition.

If I understand you correctly, you would say a casual format is a format that is only playable or fun for casual players.

Where as I would say a casual format is one that is created with casual play as it's intended focus.
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Re: TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby MowDownJoe » 07 Apr 2015, 12:27

So, someone on reddit recently linked to an interesting article about how Nintendo's games follow Mark Rosewater's theory of Lenticular Design, particularly Smash Bros. And that got me thinking of Alex's whole "Commander is like Smash Bros." comment. And the more I think of it, the more that really applies to the situation. Now, come with me on Mr. Sakurai's Wild Ride for a minute. We will explore the history of Smash, and lessons seemingly learned, and how that all applies to commander...

Now, the gold standard for competitive Smash has been, and seems like it always will be, Melee. There's a Smash club on my campus that only looks at Melee. Apex infamously had crowds cheering for Melee during the Smash 4 finals, upsetting many in the broader Smash community. And there's a good reason: the game is almost 15 years old, and there's still tiny little nuggets of hidden techniques being found. Even in its earliest days, people argued over message boards if Wavedashing was cheating, essentially creating the earliest divide between the competitive crowd and the more casual crowd.

It's widely speculated that Sakurai wasn't super fond of the competitive Melee scene. The whole "1v1, Fox only, no items, Final Destination" wasn't the way he wanted the game to be played, even if it's a gross oversimplification of competitive Melee. So, when Brawl came around, a lot of the hidden techniques from Melee disappeared. No more Wavedashing. No more shield canceling. Air dodging completely reworked. But the most infamous of changes was tripping. Tripping was a mechanic where every time a character changed direction, there was a chance he'd trip and fall. This would leave players vulnerable, and you would be punished just for moving. This was added to attack the practice of dash-dancing in Melee, where you'd just dash back and forth in a single spot so that you could keep moving without committing to anything. But tripping affected players outside the competitive scene. And losing because of tripping was just such a bad feeling. Now, the competitive players would also complain about the general slower speed of the game, but if you ask anyone about the thing they hate most about Brawl, tripping will be mentioned. In fact, Brawl's probably more known in the Smash community as "that thing you need to install Project M". (Project M being a mod for Brawl that started as a way to create a more Melee-like experience out of Brawl, but has evolved into its own thing.)

After Smash 4 was revealed, news was released that said that the Smash 4 team was working with the team at Namco-Bandai that worked on the Tekken franchise. Now, no one thought at the time that this would lead to Pac-Man being added to the game, though it did, but people did see this as the beginning of an olive branch to the competitive Melee players who were burned by Brawl. And sure enough, when the game came out, there were in fact many changes that were made to cater to the competitive crowd. For Glory mode in online play, Omega Stages, and the removal of tripping are the most visible. However, they also reduced the number of moves that relied on RNG and changed those to have set patterns. Transformations were removed due to the 3DS's hardware limitations, which allowed the people that mained Sheik to not worry about accidentally hitting down-B and switching to Zelda midmatch, wasting precious time on the transformation animation. Edgehogging was removed, but this did create a new system with a pretty surprising amount of strategic depth. And the game was overall faster paced than Brawl, even if it still isn't at the same blistering speed as Melee. While Melee purists will still look down on anything that isn't Melee, Smash 4 has certainly gathered a respectable competitive scene. On top of that, there's still plenty of the more chaotic multiplayer shenanigans that Brawl tried to encourage. Hell, they added 8-player fights for just that reason.

So, what does this have to do with Magic and Commander? Well, let's go back to the article I mentioned at the beginning of this post. One of MaRo's big principles of Lenticular Design is "Let players play the game that they want to play." With Melee, people found this deep, fast-paced fighting game hidden in what was ostensibly supposed to be a much lighter and relaxed game. And seemingly, Sakurai didn't like that. So he got rid of it in Brawl. Ultimately, this violated that principle and made Brawl a weaker game. So, he went and made some changes in Smash 4 to cater to the Spikier crowd. It didn't abandon the non-Spikes for the Spikes. It still had stuff for non-Spikes. But it was willing to reach out to Spikes.

Sheldon and the Commander Rules Committee are in the Brawl phase right now. They saw a trend in the Spikes that play Commander and sought to squash it. They saw what was happening as not the game they wanted being played, instead of letting players play the game they want to play. I see the removal of tucking as akin to the adding of tripping: something done to solve something that was mainly only perceived to be a problem by the creator, and something that will cause more harm than good. While you can argue that the creator may know best, anyone who's listened to Drive to Work will know that MaRo has learned over the years that the people who play your game are much smarter than the people that make your game. And like Brawl is largely only looked at as a tool to play Project M, you have to notice how there are now forks of Commander (Duel Commander is making headway at my LGS, and of course there's Tiny Leaders) that happen to be gaining popularity now that the ability to answer Commanders has been removed. (I will concede that the surge in popularity of Tiny Leaders isn't solely caused by the tucking rule change. But it probably did contribute a bit.)

Magic has always been good about one thing: as large of a game as it is, everything has an answer. This fact has made for a better, healthier game overall. Now the rules committee of the Commander format have went and removed answers for the trademark of their format. While they haven't removed every answer, since that would require adding a huge chunk of new rules, removing answers is probably going to cause harm to the format overall.

So... yeah. Just some random thoughts on game design and Commander. I'm honestly against the changes, and maybe that shows with my rant. (No tl;dr. Just read the whole thing.) But it is interesting to think about from a game design standpoint.
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Re: TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby Mono_Snorsh » 07 Apr 2015, 14:03

Eric the Orange wrote:@mono_snorsh

Ah, I think what we have here is a difference in definition.

If I understand you correctly, you would say a casual format is a format that is only playable or fun for casual players.

Where as I would say a casual format is one that is created with casual play as it's intended focus.


To qualify as a casual format, for me, a format needs to intrinsically encourage or function better for casual play. It doesn't need to only work well for casual players. Being made by people in a casual mode or being intended for casual play or being inspired by how casual play works in other formats isn't enough. For example, I'd like to build a "strictly worse" cube inspired by Friday Nights. The desire to play with bad cards is generally a casual thing. However nothing about the resulting format would actually encourage either casual or competitive play. People will just approach it based on their inclinations and the standards that develop in the community that surrounds the format.
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Re: TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby Jwoodz » 08 Apr 2015, 21:56

Its ok cams only common legendary blue black choices were the pirate and sevitri scarsam, and whichnof those two is better? :wink:
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Re: TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby Lancer » 11 Apr 2015, 22:26

The problem with Derevi is it's usually used as the commander in a Stax deck, to great effect. So even if you encrust it, turn it into a 0/1 indestructible insect, or turn it into a forest, they'll probably just sacrifice her and get her back in the command zone.

Still, I'm all in favor of the rules change. Hell, Duel Commander made the change ages ago.
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Re: TTC 80 - Commander Rules & DTK Preview Draft

Postby BenMarc » 16 Apr 2015, 02:42

Oh, you guys. Thinking in such small terms for a Purphoros EDH. I mean, Dragon Fodder? Only two tokens? Nono, you need to be running stuff like Goblin Offensive, Firecat Blitz, Tempt with Vengeance, or Chancellor of the Forge. And keep in mind that you have access to artifacts, so you can run stuff like Orochi Hatchery. Also, Norin the Wary is a thing.
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