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15400 Posts in 1164 Topics- by 506 Members - Latest Member: smoovla
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Author Topic: Banned&Watch list changes 10/2018    (Read 3972 times)
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« on: 04-10-2018, 11:36:16 PM »

 after reading anouncement, one thing crossed my mind regarding Scapeshift issue. What is real offender in Scapeshift deck? Is it Scapeshidt itself or the fact, that it tutors Valakut that insta-kill the opponent. I have never seen using Valakut in RDW as a tech for manaflood situations and I gues, that any other deck can't even think about including it. On the other hand Scapeshift itself has some interesting applications. It can tutor tech lands, enable land synergies, landfall triggers, Dark Depths combo, Urborg & Cabal Coffers, Glacial Chasm lock... All above mentioned is quite fun and can bring interesting games. What is currently not so fun is the fact, that resolved Scapeshift ends the game without much possibility for opponent to interact with it.

Would you reconsider swapping Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle for Scapeshift on the Watchlist?
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« Reply #1 on: 05-10-2018, 09:42:03 PM »

Ok. If nobody wants to respond I'll do it.

You got some good points there, Jan, and sure, I could imagine to swap "Scapeshift" with "Valakut". But to understand, why we decided to put Scapeshift on the list requires to understand the train of thought we had in the last weeks. I try to explain it in 2, maybe 3 words. ^^
In the council sits 8 strong persons with 8 strong opinions. Each of us has different solutions of current situations. And each of us thinks different about the current state of the format.
My banning votings for this season were:

The whole point of this votings is, that I think that the amount of tutors (Demonic, SFM, Fetch Lands), cantrips etc gives the format a lot of constancy. It allows (within certain limits ofc., it is still a 100-card singleton format.) relatively same processes with a high success frequency. Even if I see, that Midrange and Control players argue in favor of this constancy (mostly to beat specific scenarios, which are felt as "overpowered"), the biggest beneficiary is still Combo. A resolved Demonic in a Midrange deck is mostly a solution, in Combo it feels often like a Win. Tutors are, especially in a singleton format, very strong. They are always the best card for your situation or simply the best card in your deck.
Here we have Scapeshift. A big part of the community gave the feedback, that this deck is way too constant atm. It feels unhealthy flexible and it has not just striking presence but also impressive tournament results. In local tournaments as well as on a larger basis.

I want to be honest.
1. For me Scapeshift is not a Combo deck. It is a controlish midrange deck with a Combo add-on. The easiness of searching for the Combo makes Scapeshift-Valakut often the main plan, but the deck could just as easily switch to Control deck or throw creatures in the opponent's face. It is strong because it is flexible.
2. On the other hand I think Scapeshift is NOT a 1-card-combo as many people says. Yes, you "only" need Scapeshift. Yes, the other cards do not need much effort for integrating in your deck. But you still need to look for this specific card. You still need to build around this card. And you still need to plan around specific situations (e.g. life gain of the opponent, number of remaining mountains in the deck and previous "fetching", a well-placed Wasteland (or Assassin's Trophy if you insist), counter-backup, etc.). You still need time. That it feel that easy is also a thing we owe to the constancy. Scapeshift itself is under this point of view more unimpressive.
3. I think that, after we would ban the shit out of Scapeshift, we had a similar situation with Reanimator. Not that constant, but very explosive. Especially with cards like Entomb in the format.

With this line you can maybe already imagine that MY way to go is not banning Scapeshift (or Valakut). I would cut off the constancy. I really hoped for a Demonic ban and even if it was really close it still stays in the format. The unban of Seal only beats in the same notch and was completely unnecessary for the already tutor-spoiled format. Even if I think that the whole Combo with and around Scapeshift is not banworthy, it's constancy and the emerging displeasure plays me very much in my antipathy for the tutors. It would take a lot of constancy out of the deck and also prevent the potential threat of Reanimator. It would also allow us to keep a lot (and maybe more) Combos in the format.
We had a lot of discussion and a lot of different ideas. An interesting idea (and maybe a point to make Bring to Light on the WL more comprehensible) was, to remove Demonic Tutor and Bring to Light in this banning session. An idea I heard from several guys in my local store. It makes sense if you see the banned list not as a "meet and greet of MtG best cards", but as a fixing of current potential discrepancies in the format. Wizards do not only ban cards under this point, when you lay the focus on competitive formats. They ban for balancing reasons. Even if this mean to cut unimpressive cards out of the format. In this case this would be Bring to Light. Of course it is much different for Eternal formats, mostly because the maintenance and love of them is much less profitable and therefore balancing less relevant. This, compared with the opinion, that "emergancy"-bans and -unbans should always an absolute exception, sounded as a nice temporary solution. But in the Council this idea met with little favor and was quickly rejected. Therefore, at least for me, Scapeshift as a representative of the eponymous deck, was a logical consequence as a candidate for the watchlist. Regardless of whether I would ever ban it, the deck may be watched and cropped if the community experiences it as disturbing. Therefore, it does not really matter to me whether it should hit Scapeshift itself or Valakut. I, personally, would rather play Valakut more than Scapeshift and can better imagine some cute and fair "3 in your face" interactions with it. I doubt Scapeshift will ever see games if Valakut is banned (tbh vive versa, too...). But overall I do not really care, because both are not banworthy for me.

I know, that this opinion do not reflects everybody's opinion and many surveys shows, that each wished outcome of each person would offend a lot of other persons. That's why you should treat this as that what it is: a personal point of view and not the opinion of the council as a whole. In this case, with this comment, I am not a representative of the council. However, leaving your question completely unanswered would also have been strange and so you have at least my views.
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