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 Post subject: A Case Against Extort in Mono decks.
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-14 4:21 am 

Joined: 2016-Jul-14 3:17 am
Age: Egg
(This is primarily addressed to the RC because I'd like to hear from them, but please feel free to discuss)

First, let me start by saying that I understand what the rulings are that allows Blind Obedience to be in an Iona deck or a Crypt Ghast to be in a Sheoldred deck (specifically, rule 207.2 stating that italicized text has no game function).

However, I completely disagree with that ruling dictating color identity rules, especially in the case of Extort.

Rules 702.1 and 702.100a are the crux of my argument on this.
702.1. Most abilities describe exactly what they do in the card’s rules text. Some, though, are very common or would require too much space to define on the card. In these cases, the object lists only the name of the ability as a “keyword”; sometimes reminder text summarizes the game rule.
702.100a. Extort is a triggered ability. “Extort” means “Whenever you cast a spell, you may pay {W/B}. If you do, each opponent loses 1 life and you gain life equal to the total life lost this way.”

Because Extort means "Whenever you cast a spell, you may pay {W/B}..." rather than printing on the card "Whenever you cast a spell, you may pay {W/B}...," it is able to subvert the color identity rules.

Here's a for instance that is admittedly a little far-fetched, but shows where my frustrations come in.

So, let me show you an old school
http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=25555

This card has the phrase "Attacking doesn't cause Serra Angel to tap." (or if you look back far enough, "Does not tap when attacking.") We all know the later incarnations, but for proof, here's the most recent physical printing of
http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=413369


Now, imagine for a moment that Vigilance was a triggered ability that meant something like, "Whenever you start your combat phase, you may pay {G}. If you do, attacking doesn't cause this creature to tap." I know, that would be a crazy world, but there is no other keyword ability in existence that has an innate cost built into the keyword ability, so we have to just picture it. Anyway, that would mean the first Serra Angel would have the aforementioned phrase on the card in regular text and would have a color identity of WG, while the later printing with the keyword ability being listed as Vigilance would put the phrase in italicized text, pushing the identity to W.

Let me also curtail the people who would want to say, "Oh, he's just butthurt because he's lost to a Sheoldred with a Crypt Ghast in it," or "He thinks an Isamaru deck with Blind Obedience is too strong." I feel like Extort is an extremely powerful mechanic in a format focused primarily on multiplayer, but I don't think any are too powerful in any deck (with the exception of the extremely rare Pontiff token deck that is literally built around Extort, but even that's manageable). I just feel like it goes against color identity rules by using a ruling loophole.

A further gripe is that this could have been avoided easily. If they had printed them like they printed Inspire or Kicker or other keyword abilities that have mana costs associated with it (specifically, listing the cost next to it or not using italicized text for the cost), this loophole would have never existed. That being said, hindsight is 20/20, and it's highly probable that R&D wasn't thinking of Commander when these cards were being designed.


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 Post subject: Re: A Case Against Extort in Mono decks.
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-14 5:25 am 

Joined: 2011-Aug-18 3:35 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
MasterCaura wrote:
That being said, hindsight is 20/20, and it's highly probable that R&D wasn't thinking of Commander when these cards were being designed.


Maro takes personal issue with the RC's handling of hybrid mana symbols. He designed the effect to be an OR and the RC treats it as an AND. The italicized text was very much done with commander in mind. /tinfoilhat


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 Post subject: Re: A Case Against Extort in Mono decks.
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-14 6:32 am 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Palm Springs Area, CA
extort is just another flavor fail. its an Orzhov mechanic, and Orzhov is BW.

but i isnt too much different than other monocolored cards that squarely guild related.

I wont play it in mono... but I dont care if someone else does.

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 Post subject: Re: A Case Against Extort in Mono decks.
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-14 7:34 am 

Joined: 2012-Mar-31 11:52 am
Age: Elder Dragon
The closest comparison we have is firebreathing and the shade "mechanics". If those ever became keywords then there would be justification for revisiting Extort. As is stands, if I recall correctly the RC agrees that Extort is a flavor fail but making it work the way it " should" will cause a case of "the rule is this, except in this case" exception that they dislike. So it is easier to just make a single rule defining CI and stick to it with no exceptions.


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 Post subject: Re: A Case Against Extort in Mono decks.
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-14 9:31 am 
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Joined: 2010-Jul-18 9:59 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Please feel free to suggest a rule that doesn't issue card level errata (because the RC have said they're not interesting in that), which stops people playing Extort, but allows them to play Charmed Pendant, Trinisphere, or other cards which have mana symbols in their reminder text.

I don't disagree (or agree, really) with your basic point - Extort in a Mono-W deck is weird - but the issue is that there isn't a nice clean rule which can be written that excludes Extort but still includes other cards with mana symbols in reminder text.

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"- if this spell is played ten times in a given game then I suggest you warm up the tar and pluck some chickens" - tarnar

The internet's great at making noise, and poor at operating pants. There's gonna be half-dressed mobs screeching half-assed arguments for the rest of the 21st century - Kemev


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 Post subject: Re: A Case Against Extort in Mono decks.
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-14 11:22 am 

Joined: 2012-Apr-11 7:17 am
Age: Elder Dragon
MasterCaura wrote:
A further gripe is that this could have been avoided easily. If they had printed them like they printed Inspire or Kicker or other keyword abilities that have mana costs associated with it (specifically, listing the cost next to it or not using italicized text for the cost), this loophole would have never existed. That being said, hindsight is 20/20, and it's highly probable that R&D wasn't thinking of Commander when these cards were being designed.
Just like Mtenda Lion makes no sense as U/G, simplicity trumps flavor now and then.

I agree with Viperion, I would love to see an elegant rule that make extort W/B, but many have tried.

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niheloim wrote:
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 Post subject: Re: A Case Against Extort in Mono decks.
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-15 12:52 am 

Joined: 2015-Apr-23 11:27 pm
Age: Drake
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Viperion wrote:
Please feel free to suggest a rule that doesn't issue card level errata (because the RC have said they're not interesting in that), which stops people playing Extort, but allows them to play Charmed Pendant, Trinisphere, or other cards which have mana symbols in their reminder text.

I don't disagree (or agree, really) with your basic point - Extort in a Mono-W deck is weird - but the issue is that there isn't a nice clean rule which can be written that excludes Extort but still includes other cards with mana symbols in reminder text.


Extort cards, technically allowed or not, are a flavor violation IMO (very related to off color fetches, but let's not go there).

I would just see reminder text as a part of CI. Trinisphere and that poor little lion would get screwed over that way, but I'd be okay with that.

Offcourse, that creates a new problem when some printings of a card have the reminder text, and a print in another set of the same card does not... lets just politely ask WotC never to recycle this ability :)


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 Post subject: Re: A Case Against Extort in Mono decks.
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-15 1:42 am 

Joined: 2012-Mar-31 11:52 am
Age: Elder Dragon
How viable would a rule like "if a keyword ability has text that is linked to a mana cost, the associated color is incorporated into the overall CI of the card"? I'm just shooting from the hip and it could be worded better, but it would make Extort a W/B color identity, exclude Trinisphere and friends, and have protection against Wizards making another Extort ability or keywording something existing (like firebreathing).


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 Post subject: Re: A Case Against Extort in Mono decks.
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-15 4:25 am 

Joined: 2011-Sep-30 6:08 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Honestly, you are trying to write a generic rule where there is just no need. There is no second mechanic like Extort, and Magic rules can refer to keyword abilitys.

"Cards with Extort have Black and White color identity in addition to that granted by mana symbols and basic land types."

The question is whether this is worth making a rule about. My opinion is no (and not close.)

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 Post subject: Re: A Case Against Extort in Mono decks.
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-15 6:33 am 

Joined: 2012-Mar-31 11:52 am
Age: Elder Dragon
crokaycete wrote:
Honestly, you are trying to write a generic rule where there is just no need. There is no second mechanic like Extort, and Magic rules can refer to keyword abilitys.

"Cards with Extort have Black and White color identity in addition to that granted by mana symbols and basic land types."

The question is whether this is worth making a rule about. My opinion is no (and not close.)

"Needs" and "worth" are different to different people. The first thing we should be asking ourselves is whether the RC consider the color identity of Extort to be a flavor fail. Assuming yes, then we should ask whether they would fix the rule if they had an elegant solution. Again, assuming yes, we should determine what is preferable, a rule which fixes the current problem, or one that prepares for the unknown. Personally, while I believe that both our solutions work, I would prefer that we make one permanent rule rather than one which might require changing if this scenario popped up again.


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 Post subject: Re: A Case Against Extort in Mono decks.
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-15 8:33 am 
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Joined: 2006-May-18 5:21 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
It's a flavor fail no matter which way you go. Crypt Ghast is clearly a mono-black card.

You could write a rule to make it work, but it starts involving phrases like "keyword abilities" and "intrinsic printing" and you end up with something that only serious rules gurus understand. That's not worth it.


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 Post subject: Re: A Case Against Extort in Mono decks.
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-18 7:14 am 

Joined: 2013-Aug-20 4:37 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Boston
papa_funk wrote:
It's a flavor fail no matter which way you go. Crypt Ghast is clearly a mono-black card.

That's because extort is a monoblack ability that they decided to shoe-horn into white's color pie.


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 Post subject: Re: A Case Against Extort in Mono decks.
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-18 1:23 pm 
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Joined: 2009-Jun-12 7:46 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Viperion wrote:
Please feel free to suggest a rule that doesn't issue card level errata (because the RC have said they're not interesting in that), which stops people playing Extort, but allows them to play Charmed Pendant, Trinisphere, or other cards which have mana symbols in their reminder text.

"Mana symbols appearing in keyword text counts towards a card's colour identity."

The text on Trinisphere is not keyword text and therefore does not count towards the card's colour identity. The rules definition of Extort does include a mana symbol and, therefore, does count towards the card's colour identity. In fact, given the number of cards with Extort on them compared to cards that just show an unrelated mana symbol in reminder text, there are a lot more cards with Extort.

crokaycete wrote:
Honestly, you are trying to write a generic rule where there is just no need. There is no second mechanic like Extort, and Magic rules can refer to keyword abilitys.

Yet.

JJackson wrote:
That's because extort is a monoblack ability that they decided to shoe-horn into white's color pie.

No, it is a BW ability, that falls clearly within the BW overlap, such as it is. There is not too much distance, colour-pie wise, between Extort and a creature with lifelink.

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 Post subject: Re: A Case Against Extort in Mono decks.
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-18 2:03 pm 
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Joined: 2010-Jul-18 9:59 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
cheethorne wrote:
Viperion wrote:
Please feel free to suggest a rule that doesn't issue card level errata (because the RC have said they're not interesting in that), which stops people playing Extort, but allows them to play Charmed Pendant, Trinisphere, or other cards which have mana symbols in their reminder text.

"Mana symbols appearing in keyword text counts towards a card's colour identity."

Cards never refer you to the Comprehensive Rules, a document both Mark Rosewater and Matt Tabak agree is something that no one should have to read.

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"- if this spell is played ten times in a given game then I suggest you warm up the tar and pluck some chickens" - tarnar

The internet's great at making noise, and poor at operating pants. There's gonna be half-dressed mobs screeching half-assed arguments for the rest of the 21st century - Kemev


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 Post subject: Re: A Case Against Extort in Mono decks.
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-18 2:55 pm 
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Viperion wrote:
Cards never refer you to the Comprehensive Rules, a document both Mark Rosewater and Matt Tabak agree is something that no one should have to read.

And fortunately for us, the words for the mechanic are often shown to the player's in the form of reminder text. This reminder text is just to "remind" players what the real rules for the mechanic are, just like the reminder text of Flying or Hexproof does, as opposed to the reminder text of Trinisphere which is just there to provide an example.

Also, don't forget that nothing on the card during a game cares about colour identity, so this is just a deck construction rule, so I don't think it is too much of a burden to require players to know what Extort does before they put it into a deck and that it carries with it an intrinsic B/W colour identity.

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