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Author Topic: A very well written article that includes solid points on Academy ban    (Read 244 times)
Remi
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« on: 17-11-2020, 08:49:37 PM »

Written by Paul W.

http://metagamemasters.eu/2020-an-early-retrospective?fbclid=IwAR10vDduNmrAAt3419GqgAY8kfi-aA7qJBAMyRqRN_-hzy3Sc7bUYGt7RRI


"The straight-up ban of Tolarian Academy made me sad for various reasons. First off, it severely reduces the overall deck diversity in the format. Apart from Academy Combo (which also had at least two main iterations), there were Affinity-Brews developing left and right that drew on Academy as a boost helping them to compete against more established decks. Their overall viability has now noticeably decreased.

I am also not an expert, but I don’t think this ban has a large fall-out effect to constrain the Oracle-Breach deck, if this was an intention behind the decisions. Another factor is the apparent unwillingness of the broader playerbase to respond to the Academy deck, both in terms of expanding their knowledge of the functioning of the deck as well as their overall deck- and card-choices.

For how good Academy Combo was, it was always underplayed, and I wonder how the format would have adapted like if more people had picked it up. On a related note: structurally, decks that are generally weak to combo are now after the ban not better off than before. Yes, they have one less bad matchup, but their overall position in the metagame hasn’t changed in respect to the balance between deck-archetypes.
I realize that the Academy deck was “unfun” to play against (whatever that means – too many nutdraws even if your deck is geared towards beating it?). However, if the council were to pursue a more visionary and structural approach in curating the banlist, we could actually decrease the amount of bannings we would need to force through (and trust me, under the current model, there will inevitably follow more bans as the format gets watered down more and more).

As of late, the strategy behind each individual round of bannings seemed a bit like banning the most oppressive cards in that respective timeframe. But if we do not tackle the structural issues inherent to the current banlist, we will remain trapped in this pattern of pulling the plug from entire decks by banning their centerpiece, and I think this is undesirable.
The solution I put forward is twofold: first to unban a few cards in order to make other archetypes more viable and attractive, and second to ban generically playable tutor spells (such as Demonic Tutor and Tainted Pact) to decrease the consistency of combodecks to a level where more decks can actually compete. Especially now where tournament play is not happening and people can test in controlled local environments with literally no competitive stakes, we could attempt such an experiment and create grassroot knowledge about the format."





This text seals many extremely valid points so well and clearly, that I wanted to share it on few places (like this) after i red it.
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« Reply #1 on: 18-11-2020, 04:41:52 PM »

Just to give another point of view on this article or whatever this is ...

The straight-up ban of Tolarian Academy made me sad

Which "straight up" BAN? 'Tolarian Academy' was on the BAN WATCHLIST for how long? 1 year, 2 years or longer?
That is what I already said in the other thread about the BAN is coming really late but deserved.



First off, it severely reduces the overall deck diversity in the format

Banning out oppressive Combo-Decks opening up the format for more "fair" decks, so in the end it offers more deck diversity.
In my opinion there are some more who need to go ... this was just the beginning, I hope so.



there were Affinity-Brews developing left and right that drew on Academy as a boost helping them to compete against more established decks

Affinity decks relying on 'Tolarian Academy' as keycard? As far as I know Affinity trying to operate on a very little amount of mana. Are you sure, you aren't talking about Stax builds?



I am also not an expert, but I don’t think this ban has a large fall-out effect to constrain the Oracle-Breach deck

'Thassa's Oracle' and 'Underworld Breach' are already on the BAN WATCHLIST, the future will show if they will remain in the format.



if the council were to pursue a more visionary and structural approach in curating the banlist, we could actually decrease the amount of bannings we would need to force through (and trust me, under the current model, there will inevitably follow more bans as the format gets watered down more and more).

In my opinion BANNINGS are not bad for a format. They just need to be done correctly to protect the format from decks which use an oppressive playstyle or enforcing players to play specific cards to be competitive.



first to unban a few cards in order to make other archetypes more viable and attractive

The first point I can agree to a lttle bit. Cards like 'Mystical Tutor' and 'Treasure Cruise' are not BAN worthy cards in my opinion. If you want to hurt the BLUE dominance BAN cards like 'Dig Through Time' and 'Mana Drain' Some long time BANNED cards should be reconsidered again, too. For example 'Strip Mine' or 'Umezawa’s Jitte'



second to ban generically playable tutor (such as Demonic Tutor and Tainted Pact) to decrease the consistency of combodecks to a level where more decks can actually compete.

Here I disagree again. You hurt more different decks with a BAN of certain tutor cards than you hurt with the specific keycard BANs. In my opinion BANs need to be as specific as possible to take out or hurt the least amount of decks in the format.



This text seals many extremely valid points so well and clearly, that I wanted to share it on few places (like this) after i red it.

For me this text shows only a bias point of view. I don't see any valid points for an UNBAN of 'Tolarian Academy' here.


In the end I would like to say that I'm not against Combo-Decks in general, for example at the moment ProteanHulk-Combodecks or Reanimator-Decks are totally fine because most of the time they are slower and easier to disrupt than a turn 3-4 kill from an Academy- or Hermit-/Oath-Combodeck. My wish for the future of the format is "make it fair again".
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« Reply #2 on: 18-11-2020, 11:43:45 PM »

Hi,

I am the original author of the article. I am thankful for any kind of feedback, so I feel the urge to respond. I will try to reply to most of the points you raised in chronological order.

Quote
Just to give another point of view on this article or whatever this is ...

"This" is an excerpt of an article I have written for metagame-masters.eu, a website that for a long time now has been publishing many interesting articles about EU-Hl and for which I have also written in the past. The original article is much longer, and this take on the bannings is just a tangent to the actual topic. I am under the assumption that you haven't read it in its entirety, because some issues you have would have been resolved if you had read them in the context in which they belong. The creator of this threat has just copy-pasted this passage because they seem to like it; i have no relation to her/him/them and did not ask for it to be posted here.

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Which "straight up" BAN? 'Tolarian Academy' was on the BAN WATCHLIST for how long? 1 year, 2 years or longer?

I am aware it has been on the watchlist for a long time. But this is kind of the point i want to make - in those two years, no one thought of an alternative to weakening a supposedly "oppessive" deck other than banning its namesake card/ centerpiece? Like, aren't there other ways to make the deck less powerful instead of outright dropping the hammer on it?

Quote
Banning out oppressive Combo-Decks opening up the format for more "fair" decks, so in the end it offers more deck diversity.

So tell me, then: which fair deck is now better off in the format? Does one less bad matchup automatically lead to increased playability of your deck, especially if the restricted deck was so infrequently played as Academy Combo? If you think it through, banning one combo deck in particular does not restore the balance between combo and the remaining archetypes. Hermit Druid,  Oracle Breach and also Reanimator are still more powerful and consistent than most decks people bring to a tournament and expect to be competitive. On the other hand, there are decks that regularly beat up on them, so its definitely possible to do so.

Quote
Affinity decks relying on 'Tolarian Academy' as keycard? As far as I know Affinity trying to operate on a very little amount of mana. Are you sure, you aren't talking about Stax builds

Yes, I am aure that I am not talking about stax-builds for i haven't seen this archetype ever in my life. Having Academy/ Expedition Map allows these small aggro decks to gain a lot of tempo by dumping their whole hand of attackers on the board early, which sometimes enables them to effectively race other strategies. Academy also powers up Ballista and what have you.

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'Thassa's Oracle' and 'Underworld Breach' are already on the BAN WATCHLIST, the future will show if they will remain in the format.

Again. I would love to have this and other combodecks in the format, a point that i stressed earlier in the article. The only issue I see is that unless you really commit yourself to beating them, they are too consistent. So unless we adjust their consistency level to a point where more than tempo decks and other combo decks can compete with them, we will just keep banning combo deck after combo deck.

Quote
In my opinion BANNINGS are not bad for a format. They just need to be done correctly to protect the format from decks which use an oppressive playstyle or enforcing players to play specific cards to be competitive

This is such a general statement that its not even debatable. I wouldn't and in fact do not argue against it, if you read the piece carefully.

Quote
The first point I can agree to a lttle bit. Cards like 'Mystical Tutor' and 'Treasure Cruise' are not BAN worthy cards in my opinion. If you want to hurt the BLUE dominance BAN cards like 'Dig Through Time' and 'Mana Drain' Some long time BANNED cards should be reconsidered again, too. For example 'Strip Mine' or 'Umezawa’s Jitte'

The way blue is played currently, Mana Drain is rarely more than a glorified Counterspell and Dig Through Time often a bit slow/ resource-intensive for what it actually gains you in terms of card quality. I do like Strip Mine/ Jitte though.


Quote
Here I disagree again. You hurt more different decks with a BAN of certain tutor cards than you hurt with the specific keycard BANs. In my opinion BANs need to be as specific as possible to take out or hurt the least amount of decks in the format

Which deck would cease to exist because you take away Demonic Tutor? Correct, none. "I need DT to find my hatepiece against combo" is basically no argument, because unless you get lucky and draw DT (so a 'two-outer', very low probability of actually happening), you don't match up to their consistency. The discrepancy in powerlevel between DT in a Combo deck and DT in a non-combo deck is extremely wide, and I would argue that all the established combo decks are already pretty saturated on deck-specific tutors that they don't also need the best generic tutor at their disposal.

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For me this text shows only a bias point of view. I don't see any valid points for an UNBAN of 'Tolarian Academy' here.

of course it's a biased point of view- is a thinkpiece, an opinion. You are equally prone to being biased and subjective, so this is no accusation that invalidates my point.

Quote
My wish for the future of the format is "make it fair again".

Or just make combo a bit less "unfair" overall and/or the fair decks a bit more "unfair".


Again, thank you for engaging with my article, but I couldn't let this stand as is. Maybe our philosophies regarding the format are simply incongruent, which is a positive and productive observation!

Have a good one

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« Reply #3 on: 19-11-2020, 12:22:22 PM »

Quote
I am aware it has been on the watchlist for a long time. But this is kind of the point i want to make - in those two years, no one thought of an alternative to weakening a supposedly "oppessive" deck other than banning its namesake card/ centerpiece? Like, aren't there other ways to make the deck less powerful instead of outright dropping the hammer on it?

As I already posted this in another thread ...
In my opinion you could justify the BAN of 'Tolarian Academy' just with it's own power level, this is why I think the BAN is still coming a few years too late.
... but still deserved


Quote
So tell me, then: which fair deck is now better off in the format?

I quote myself again ...
In my opinion there are some more who need to go ... this was just the beginning, I hope so

One BAN is not enough yet to make that kind of impact I would like to see.
Examples of decks I kind of miss in the format right now are more creature based aggro decks (Naya, Jund, ...) and midrange decks (UGX, Goodstuff, ...). These kind of decks struggle a lot at the moment especially against these kind of combo decks.

In my opinion combo decks in highlander shouldn't be allowed to combo so early and being hard to disrupt at the same time, like destroying a land ('Tolarian Academy') or enchantment ('Oath of Druids').
For example there is a reason why 'Flash' is already BANNED and will never be UNBANNED, because you barely can disrupt that fast pace combo, too.



Quote
Which deck would cease to exist because you take away Demonic Tutor?

The approach I would prefer is answered before ...
You hurt more different decks with a BAN of certain tutor cards than you hurt with the specific keycard. In my opinion need to be as specific as possible to take out or hurt the least amount of decks in the format.



So the conclusion is our opinions on the approach of BANNING cards specificly cards for oppressive combo decks differs in the way that you would try to weaken these decks with BANNING out cards around which can also have effects on other decks too and I prefer to shut them down with BANNING the key card(s) and the least amount of impact on other decks as possible.

Your approach could have the desired effect but also could have no effect at all on the problem. Solving the problem step by step takes a lot of time with only two BAN announcements per year.
My approach completely deletes a deck from the format which lower or increase the diversity of decks. Solves the problem instantly for a quick change of the format,
Pros and contras on both sides ... we will see which way the council will take in the future.

With the BAN of 'Tolarian Academy' and in my opinion hopefully more BANs of cards like this coming with the next BAN announcement we will see if european highlander will change in the best way for the format and community. But I think we all can agree the current state is not the best so it needs changes nonetheless.

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