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 Post subject: Decklist points tournament report
AgePosted: 2012-Dec-16 12:39 pm 
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Joined: 2008-Nov-08 5:27 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Canberra
Hi all,

I created a tournament based on a subjective system to encourage players to bring socially acceptable decklists instead of searching for loopholes to find the most broken combination.

The tournament design was discussed at length here: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=12346

The tournament details are here: http://www.mediafire.com/view/?9u1yk5m7nsg53nr

The tournament system was highly praised by the players on the day. It went very well.

I had 14 players all up, I was very unlucky as there was a GP Trial on the same day. I split the players into four tables, 2x4 and 2x3.

Firstly, the system was extremely successful in modifying decklists before the tournament even began.

The 14 decklists points were:

The Mimeoplasm: 10
Ghave: 12
Riku: 14
Sharuum: 16
Isperia: 18
Mayael: 19
Jarad: 19
Teneb: 19
Kresh: 20
Avacyn: 21
Darien: 22
Linvala: 24
Norin: 25
Jenara: 26

What is critical here is that the two players that turned up with the 10 and 12 decklists both generally play extremely broken decklists with infinite combos and extra turns. Both of these decklists had made significant concessions for this tournament and therefore this system had the effect that their opponents had somewhat more fun than they would have otherwise.

As a side note, not a single extra turn was taken throughout the whole tournament, even though the penalty is quite small (at -1 point). Why ban extra turns when you can create a disincentive for them?

As another side note, a player did show up with worldslayer. He did have an opportunity once to hit with worldslayer. He chose not to.

The player that brought the decklist I gave 12 points (Ghave) ended up winning all 3 of his matches, however it wasn't a walk in the park for him. He's actually a really good player. The players that brought decklists I gave 10 and 14 points only won 1 of their matches each.

A player that brought a decklist I gave 21 points (Avacyn) ended up winning twice and coming second once, and he won the tournament. The player with 12 decklist points came second. Third place was the player with 24 decklist points (Linvala), and fourth was the player with 26 decklist points (Jenara).

Seeding was complicated. I placed the most importance on players not facing the same opponents. Basically everyone had one other player they faced twice, but all their other opponents only once. Second round was easy as I grouped the winners together and second place together. Third round I deliberately sat the players on the second round winner's table of 4 different tables. Basically I had given up trying to swiss-seed.

Overall the variance in the game points was very high compared to the decklist points. The decklist points did switch the standings around somewhat, but not by a large amount. Doing well in game was still the most important thing to do to get into the top 4. The top 4 had 6 wins and 6 seconds between them, in other words none of them ended in the bottom 2.

Happy to answer questions, please ask them.

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 Post subject: Re: Decklist points tournament report
AgePosted: 2012-Dec-16 12:42 pm 
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Joined: 2008-Nov-08 5:27 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Canberra
I had to make on-the-spot rulings six times from memory. In other words, there were loopholes that I could close because everyone understood I had the last say and I always made the judgement based on common sense and not the letter of the law.

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 Post subject: Re: Decklist points tournament report
AgePosted: 2012-Dec-17 1:07 am 

Joined: 2011-Sep-30 6:08 am
Age: Elder Dragon
onlainari wrote:
Overall the variance in the game points was very high compared to the decklist points. The decklist points did switch the standings around somewhat, but not by a large amount. Doing well in game was still the most important thing to do to get into the top 4. The top 4 had 6 wins and 6 seconds between them, in other words none of them ended in the bottom 2.

I think this is important to understand in more detail. Did the players who won the tournament do so because they won games or because they did things to get them extra points on the way to victory? Did they also actively avoid negative modifiers?

Was the fact that 1 & 3 were 20+ point lists due to you incorrectly rating them, or were they simply especially well suited to a meta-game that has no extra turns and very few combos?

When winning games = winning tournament, your players will quickly start ignoring other elements of the points system.

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 Post subject: Re: Decklist points tournament report
AgePosted: 2012-Dec-23 3:06 pm 
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Joined: 2008-Nov-08 5:27 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Canberra
crokaycete wrote:
onlainari wrote:
Overall the variance in the game points was very high compared to the decklist points. The decklist points did switch the standings around somewhat, but not by a large amount. Doing well in game was still the most important thing to do to get into the top 4. The top 4 had 6 wins and 6 seconds between them, in other words none of them ended in the bottom 2.

I think this is important to understand in more detail. Did the players who won the tournament do so because they won games or because they did things to get them extra points on the way to victory? Did they also actively avoid negative modifiers?

Was the fact that 1 & 3 were 20+ point lists due to you incorrectly rating them, or were they simply especially well suited to a meta-game that has no extra turns and very few combos?

When winning games = winning tournament, your players will quickly start ignoring other elements of the points system.

The two players that came 1st and 2nd are definitely the two most experienced players in the room. One of them brought a soft list and the other brought a hard list, but overall I can't stop a player getting to the top spot if they are just extremely good at the game, even with a hard list.

I believe my system stops players getting to the top just by bringing a hard list and walking over their opponents. The system is designed so that the best player wins, not the best loophole finder.

In this case one of the players with a hard list just performed really well. Of course he won, he won all his matches, but that's not that easy. He played against all the other hard lists as well, and additionally went for the bonus points and did well in getting them. None of his wins were cheap, and were won through good play of a strong decklist.

On the flip side of things, the player that came first had a much weaker decklist. The basics of the decklist are he started out with a huge weakness, that of being mono white, and added as many cards as he could to generate card advantage. He had to go to extra lengths than blue, black, or green would to draw cards. What he managed to do was play very well with the deck. The nature of the deck means he won't be the biggest threat at the table for most of the game, and when he is it is probably too late. This player has built 10 EDH decks so he knows how the game works, and he used that to his advantage to come first twice and second once.

It's hard to prove I marked the decklists correct without providing some of them. I was pretty sure 4th place deserved their 26 points at the time, I wasn't expecting them to ever win with it. They ended up coming 2nd 3 times. I'm actually guessing that the winner just left them for last each time? I wasn't watching. It was a terrible deck. This might be a flaw in the system, but it also might be a random event that won't happen again.

I don't know if I've managed to answer your question properly, let me know and I can talk about it more.

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 Post subject: Re: Decklist points tournament report
AgePosted: 2013-Jan-01 7:47 pm 
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Joined: 2007-Jan-05 12:58 am
Age: Elder Dragon
By coincidence, I'm going to be starting up a Commander league at my LGS later this month. I'm going to be using a modified version of your scoring system, which lends itself quite well to an ongoing league. Here's my first draft of the rules document, if you don't mind taking a gander:

Scoring Rules
Each player enters the league with 50 points.

At the beginning of each match, each player antes 10% of their current league score, rounded up. Ante points will be awarded at the END of each MATCH. If multiple players are eliminated simultaneously, each award that could be applied is shared equally among them. All awards and antes will be rounded UP to the nearest point.
Three player pod: Winner gets 67%, second place gets 33%
Four player pod: Winner gets 60%, second place gets 25%, third place gets 15%
Five player pod: Winner gets 55%, second place gets 21%, third and fourth each get 12%

The following bonuses and penalties will be awarded for various actions during the match. Each of these will be awarded at the END of each MATCH:

Bonuses
Kill an opponent with Commander combat damage: +2pts (4)
Cast a Commander from the Command zone a third time: +5pts (5)
Cast a spell with CMC 8 or more from hand by paying the mana cost: +1pt (3)
(TO ruling) Clear the board of 20 or more non-land permanents in one turn: +1pt (1)
(TO ruling) Help an opponent out with a draw spell or ability: +3pts (3)

Penalties
Eliminate the first player of the match: -2pt (-2)
Take an extra turn: -1pt (-10)
Take control of an opponent's turn: -3pts (-9)
Cast a noncreature spell with CMC 10 or more: -4pts (-12)
Remove an opponent's mana-ability only land: -1pt (-10)
(TO ruling) Win the game through infinite combo: -8pts (-8)

Each player's decklist will be rated during the event and awarded between 1 and 30 points based on creativity, interactivity and fun.
Decklists can be submitted ahead of time via the Facebook (deliver to Alex Kenny) or the Commander forums (http://forum.mtgcommander.com/, deliver to Ban Ki-moon). Any decklists not submitted ahead of time will receive a 1 point penalty.
Decklist points are awarded at the END of each EVENT.

Game Rules
Matches will follow the official Commander rules, which can be found here: http://mtgcommander.com/rules.php

No sideboards will be allowed. The “Partial Paris” mulligan will be used. No additional cards will be banned or unbanned for the first league season, though an altered ban list will be considered for future seasons and any suggestions are appreciated.

In all other situations, games will follow the regular MtG comprehensive and tournament floor rules.

On collusion
Multiplayer Magic is a naturally diplomatic enterprise, full of alliances, table talk, coercion and betrayal. That doesn't mean that collusion or team work is appropriate in an individual-based competition, however! You should never feel restricted from any course of action that you feel will give you the best chance of winning the game, but keep the following rules in mind as you play. Play honestly, watch the king-making, and you'll be fine.

1.You should always play so that you maximize your own score and ranking in the league, or in the game you are playing.

2.You should not engage in cross-gaming. That is, you must not give favours to another player in exchange for assistance in earlier games or for the hope or promise of assistance in later games. Every game is a new one and should be treated as such. You should not try to take revenge for any actions that occurred in any other game.

3.You should never attack or ally with any other player purely for your relationship with that player.

4. Suspected cheating will be investigated, and given sufficient evidence game losses or event disqualifications may be issued. Extreme or repeated cases may require disqualification from the league.

Prizes
Event prizes will be awarded to the players with the greatest net gain in points at the end of each week. The amount of prize support and the distribution of the prize support will depend on attendance of that week.

League prizes will be awarded to the players with the greatest number of league points at the end of the eight week season. The amount of prize support and the distribution of the prize support will depend on attendance during the entire league season.

Special Thanks
To Steven Clarke, Sheldon Menery and the European Diplomacy Association, from whom I cribbed liberally in the creation of this document.


It still needs a lot of additions for philosophy explanations and a faq similar to yours to clarify what certain concepts really mean. I adjusted some of the bonuses and penalties to suit me more. Also, what I'm particularly proud of, I added a points-ante system instead of a straight bonus for winning a match. This addition is intended to reduce the importance of attending every single event during the league, as well as reward players more for defeating opponents who are doing better in the league (presumably more skilled opponents).

I also included a bit about collusion, in an effort to discourage it before it begins. Did you have any issues with unwanted teamwork during your event? Do you think you'd expect any to crop up if you had these events regularly?

I'm really glad that your tournament went well, and it looks like the scoring system did what it was supposed to. You said that it was well received as well, but did you hear any complaints about it?


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 Post subject: Re: Decklist points tournament report
AgePosted: 2013-Jan-11 2:24 pm 
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Joined: 2008-Nov-08 5:27 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Canberra
I haven't had any complaints about the system, but I haven't yet been able to have a deep and meaningful with the person that came second. They should provide me some further insight.

I do think it's fantastic you've taken on board my ideas for your league. The ante system in particular is really clever. I noticed where the points and values were changed and I do have two suggestions.

I ran my tournament with the CMC limit effectively only for X spells, and it was at 13. After the tournament, I now want to pump it to 14, because 13 was too low. You have it set to 10 which is even lower and probably makes some fair spells unplayable.

There was too much variance when players did or did not cast their Commander 3 times, so I also suggest to reduce that to 4 points.

There were no issues with teamwork. The most unhappy player on the day was unhappy because he was in a 4-pod first round, then a 3-pod second round still with one of his opponents, and then third round he was controlled by a player while a third player was getting ahead because of that control. It was a tricky situation that third game, because if the controlling player concentrated on the third player (who was actually the person that came second), then this unhappy player could have theoretically won out of nowhere. It's a bit of a problem when the control stopped him doing anything but removing the control meant he could just win. Personally though I think that's just part and parcel of playing EDH.

Cheers.

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 Post subject: Re: Decklist points tournament report
AgePosted: 2013-Jan-12 6:57 am 
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Joined: 2007-Jan-05 12:58 am
Age: Elder Dragon
The final draft of the league rules went up on Thursday. If you want to see everything I wrote you can check it out at http://facebook.com/group/tsbcommander, but here is this list of gameplay awards I settled on:

    Bonuses:
    Kill an opponent with Commander combat damage: +2pts (4)
    Pay 9 or more mana to cast a Commander: +3pts (3)
    Cast a spell with CMC 8 or more by paying its mana cost: +1pt (4)
    (TO ruling) Clear the battlefield of 20 or more non-land permanents in one turn: +1pt (1)
    (TO ruling) Assist an opponent with a card advantage generating spell or ability (you may not earn this bonus if an opponent earned it by assisting you this game): +3pts (3)

    Penalties:
    Eliminate the first player of the match: -2pt (-2)
    Counter two or more spells during one opponent's turn: -1 (-5)
    Remove an opponent's mana-ability-only land (lands that produce three or more mana and lands that have more than one card type are exempt from this penalty): -1pt (-6)
    Take an extra turn: -1pt (-10)
    Take control of an opponent's turn: -3pts (-9)
    Cast a noncreature spell with CMC 10 or more: -3pts (-12)
    (TO ruling) Win the game with a combo: -8pts (-8)

And for reference, here's yours:
    Kill an opponent with Commander combat damage: +2pts (6)
    Cast a Commander from the Command zone a third time: +5pts (5)
    Cast a spell with CMC 8 or more from hand by paying the mana cost: +1pt (3)
    (TO ruling) Clear the board of 20 or more non-land permanents with 1 card: +1pt (1)
    (TO ruling) Help an opponent out with a draw spell or ability: +3pts (3)
    (TO ruling) Help an opponent out by saving them from immediate death: +3pts (3)

    Take an extra turn: -1pt (-10)
    Take control of an opponent's turn: -3pts (-6)
    Cast a spell with CMC 14 or more: -5pts (-15)
    Remove an opponent's mana-ability only land: -1pt (-16)
    (Conditional) Set an opponent to 10 with Sorin Markov or Magister Sphinx: -3pts (-3)
    (TO ruling) Win the game through infinite combo: -8pts (-8)

Changes:
- I lowered the max bonus for Commander kills to 4 per game.
This still strongly encourages attacking with the Commander, but I also wanted to make sure that it's never "wrong" to try to eliminate a player in a different way. You can get the bonus for eliminating two or your opponents, but it gives you the option of killing the third (or fourth) in whatever manner you like. I was afraid that with three bonuses available, players would feel forced to wait to attack with their commander instead of playing more naturally. My main goal with these awards is to reward playstyles that you'd expect from Commander without altering players' game decisions too much.
Quick question about this one: Did you intend this reward to be given only if the player is eliminated by 21 general damage, or any time a player is eliminated through combat that a commander is involved in?

- Changed the repeat commander bonus mechanically and lowered the bonus to 3 points.
The way I've set this award up works identically to yours if your commander costs 5 or 6. This method, however, rewards players for playing beefier commanders, which I think is a positive thing. As you noted, I felt that 5 points was too many, so I lowered it to 3. I also didn't want it to be such a large incentive as to make people switch from Sedris to Thraximundar or similar.

- Bumped the max bonus for CMC 8+ spells to 4.
Just because. It plays nicer with my harsher penalty to even-larger spells.

- Removed the 1 card clause from the clear the board bonus.
I didn't really understand why that clause was in there, so I took it out. I feel that destroying everything with Death Pits of Rath + Pestilence or just casting Barter in Blood 4 times is at least as cool as a Wrath of God. If that was there for a specific reason, please enlighten me!

- Added a once-per-game restriction on the helping bonus, and changed the wording to make it more clear.
I think that the intent of this bonus includes effects beyond just "draw some cards," so I removed the word "draw" from the bonus. I also didn't want to have it be a common thing for players to go "If you Compulsive Research me I'll Compulsive Research you," so I made it so that if you benefit from this bonus you can't earn the bonus yourself. I feel that it won't have too much of an impact on people playing it fairly, since if you're in need of the help you shouldn't often be in the position to offer it also.

- Removed the "save an opponent's life" bonus.
Thinking about it, I don't think I'd like the effect on gameplay that this would have. This touches on my philosophy that these bonuses shouldn't make players play in ways they otherwise wouldn't. There are lots of situations where you might want to save a player for political/power balance reasons, but most of the time it's just weird.

- Added "kill the first player" penalty.
This is to replace the "save life" bonus, and I think it serves the same role in a better way. Someone will have to earn this penalty every game, which is slightly awkward but I think it could often turn into a fun brinksmanship mini-game as well. The main thing it does is prevent people from eliminating a weak opponent early in the game, "just because I can". The penalty is small enough that it's easily worth eating if you're about to win, but large enough that you don't want to earn it if it doesn't guarantee you victory.

- Added an excessive counterspell penalty.
This is something that you didn't have, which I think adds to the game. Counterspells are extremely valid, but something that many players strongly dislike. This penalty allows you to counter one spell every turn (which is still a lot), but prevents you from shutting down one player completely.

- Reduced the max Armageddon penalty to 6 and changed the definition of mana-ability-only ("A “mana-ability-only land” is a land with one or more mana abilities and no other activated ability," with an exemption for lands that produce 3 or more mana and lands with more than one card type).
At -6 this should be functionally identical for people just looking to Strip Mine a Mountain or two, but it's less harsh against people hell-bent on building Raziageddon. At -6 it's still probably not worth it to play, but I feel Armageddon decks are less egregious than combo decks and the penalty should reflect that. It's definitely still not worth it to cast Obliterate because "you were about to kill me!"

My definition of mana-ability-only is much broader than your own (yours technically allows people to kill a Golgari Guildgate without penalty). I didn't want people free to kill Ravnica bounce lands. It's not perfect, the penalty awkwardly applies to people killing Valakut, Emeria, or Hall of the Bandit Lord and does not apply to Lotus Vale or Scorched Ruins, but it's the cleanest way of defining it I found without adding a list of exceptions.

- "Take an extra turn" penalty was unchanged.

- "Take control of an opponents turn" max penalty bumped to -9.
I can't remember exactly why I changed this, but whatever, it fits. There's no reason to be recurring Mindslaver, especially in a timed round. This could be -900 for all I care.

- Made the too-big penalty much harsher, but reduced the negative points. Only applies to non-creature.
Changed it to non-creature, since all of the huge creatures (aside from maybe Maga) are fine. None of the 10+ cmc non-creatures are fine (aside from maybe Storm Herd (Blinkmoth Infusion and Aladdin's Lamp are inoffensive too, but their alsy rly rly badd). Obviously you realize this already, but note that this penalty is actually -2, thanks to the +1 8cmc bonus. I wanted an extra disincentive to play crummy bologna such as Time Stretch, Soulscour and Primal Surge. What spells do you feel are made unplayable? I rarely see X spells going for more than 8 unless they're killing a player.

- Changed only the wording on the combo penalty.
Combos aren't necessarily infinite, so I didn't want the penalty to suggest that. Teferi-Pool and Hive Mind-Pact are no good either, and judging from your faq you meant it this way as well.


- Added this section to each of my rules documents:
Quote:
Special Thanks
To Steven Clarke, Sheldon Menery and the European Diplomacy Association, from whom I cribbed liberally in the creation of these documents.

Thanks again for inventing this cool thing.


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