Login | Register


All times are UTC - 7 hours


It is currently 2019-Jul-17 1:05 am




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 237 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 16  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: The Case for Banning Iona
AgePosted: 2016-May-02 7:55 pm 

Joined: 2013-Jun-23 10:18 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Hey guys,

So, I've been doing some thinking. I've long been of the opinion that Iona, Shield of Emeria warrants a ban, but I didn't really have anything new to add that hadn't been covered. Now I think I do. Inevitably, this probably won't be new to some of you, but bear with me here.

Let's take a look at the format banning criteria. I'm using Sheldon's 2012 article- http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/comm ... ophy.html- so it may be a bit out of date, but based on comments the RC has made here and elsewhere I think it's more or less still on point.

I believe Iona violates the following (existing) banlist principles: Creates Undesirable Games/Situations, Interacts Badly With the Structure of Commander.

The first one should be obvious. I'll be nice and not even cover the "worst" case of Iona being reanimated in the early game and locking people out, because that's self-evidently miserable and probably a player issue anyway.

If you're playing a mono-coloured deck and Iona drops (at any point of the game) naming your colour, you're twiddling your thumbs hoping to draw a colourless answer- assuming you have one. "Run more answers" doesn't even begin to apply to a card that locks you out of coloured answers and hinders you from finding your colourless ones. I mean, you might be able to beat the Iona player to death if you have a board state...except Iona is a 7/7 flyer, and is therefore rather good at holding the board steady when they can play spells and you can't. And nobody who doesn't share a colour with you has any reason to help you aside from charity.

This situation (beat the Iona player to death, sit there and hope to draw a colourless answer, or die) is, to me, a very undesirable type of game. Especially so in a format that's both casual and social, where interaction is the stated aim.

This type of issue also extends beyond merely mono-coloured decks. Suppose I'm playing Rakdos and Iona drops on black. Now, I'm not necessarily completely crippled, but I have very few ways of getting Iona off the board (think Chaos Warp or Blasphemous Act), and, assuming I run them, I can't even draw or tutor for them. This problem applies to a lot of the two colour combinations- Boros, Golgari, Izzet, Gruul, even Azorius- so I'm not merely cherry picking the worst option here.

To be clear, the point is not that Iona is unanswerable. Everything up to Emrakul is answerable. The point is that the universal answers to Iona are too specific and nobody should be forced to run them or (functionally) lose to Iona.

Now the second criteria. I have, in fact, put this to Sheldon before here- http://www.starcitygames.com/article/31 ... ilbag.html.

Sheldon wrote:
Certainly one of the most talked-about cards in the format, Iona doesn't interact any differently with the format than it does with any other. With devoid now being a thing, Iona is even a little weaker. It's a very expensive creature (and yes, I'm aware that it can get cheated into play) that changes the nature of a game when it hits play.

My current experience with Iona (both playing locally and reading about the games you folks are playing) is that it's a bit of a bogeyman. It seems more like a potential threat than an actual one. Are people playing it so much as to make it oppressive? I don't see significant evidence. I could be convinced otherwise.


I don't agree with the bolded portion. Whilst, in a strictly mechanical sense, Iona does the same thing in EDH as it does in, say, Legacy, this is also true of a lot of cards on the banned list (best examples: Worldfire, Sway of the Stars, Erayo). Those cards are still banned because although their effects are the same, the rules of the format make them worse than they are in normal Magic. I think Iona falls into this category.

Specifically, I think the specific colour identity rules of the format are what make Iona interact badly with EDH's structure. In any other format, I can diversify the colours of my answers to Iona. In any other format, I can just play more answers to Iona.

If I'm playing a mono-colour deck, the first option isn't possible because of EDH's rules. I can't just splash another colour to get access to Path to Exile or whatever unless I change my commander, and the answer to Iona being a problem really, really can't be "don't run mono-coloured decks then." To tell someone they need to change their commander is nigh unacceptable anyway, and here it's just ignoring the problem rather than fixing it.

As for the second option, as previously discussed I can, in a strict sense, play more colourless answers to help against Iona. But there is a good chance I will be dead before I can draw/cast them no matter how many I play (because I cannot do anything else). Only so many of them are playable (depending on the power level of the format- personally, I don't see Iona show up in "weaker" groups).

And, most importantly perhaps, every one of those slots is a slot I can't devote to a card that's on theme, or that I just love playing, or a removal spell I need to play to answer something else I might have to face. Iona may not literally interact badly with the structure of EDH- although I believe it does- but it definitely interacts badly with the philosophy of EDH. The philosophy that encourages you to play the stuff you want to play, interact with your opponents, and make sure everybody has a good time.

I don't see how that can be squared with a card that can easily arrive on T2 (or T20, it makes no difference) and lock me out of the game, specifically, because I happen to be playing mono-blue Serpent tribal or whatever. It seems to punish people for doing the kinds of things the rest of the format is designed to encourage, and it makes no sense to me that a card like that should be legal.

Based on the last bit of Sheldon's response to me, I figure that the RC realises Iona isn't a card that really belongs in the format, it's just not played frequently enough to warrant being banned. This is a respectable position, especially if you want a minimalist banned list (I don't, but I think a case could be made either way). But in that case I do want to know, genuinely and with no hyperbole intended- if that's what it is, how many more games will Iona need to ruin before it gets booted out? Do cards need to get to Prophet of Kruphix and Sylvan Primordial levels of wreckage before we put a stop to it? Surely not. In essence- how much data would need to be provided before the RC decides Iona is actionable?

And if it's not that- if Iona is deemed a healthy card for the format- then the question becomes: why? When has Iona, realistically, made a game more fun or enjoyable for the person on the receiving end of it? What positive things does it add? I don't know how much play Iona sees across the format but I know every time I've seen it, it's just been a fun suck. I'm not being flippant here- if Iona has genuine uses that can't be replicated by other cards, I want to know them.

The most common response to the bad situations Iona creates is that it's a griefer issue, not a card issue. That if Iona is banned the people who use her to lock out mono-coloured players would just switch to something else and nothing would really change. I don't accept this because although they will indeed keep griefing, they won't be able to do it with Iona. Iona's effect cannot be easily replicated, and even if they switch to locking out everyone that's still a lot better than specifically locking out the one poor sod who showed up with his Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath deck.

I could go on and on, but this is already turning into a wall of text. So I'll just end by saying that I do not believe that people should be punished, in this format, purely for the colours (or number of colours) they play. In a world of awesome tri-coloured commanders and all the cool gold cards, being mono-coloured is enough of a weakness in itself. Note: colours. Not their manabases, not their card choices, just their colours. Few cards do this. Fewer still are as playable and attractive as Iona is.

This is a point about which reasonable people could disagree. I do not think reasonable people could disagree that Iona's type of "punishment" is far more excessive than is warranted.

Thus, it needs to go. Thank you for reading.

_________________
Current Commanders: 6/32.

Daretti, Scrap Savant (Red Artefacts).
Prime Speaker Zegana (Simic Voltron).
Rubinia Soulsinger (Bant Polymorphs).
Kess, Dissident Mage (Grixis Treasure).
Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper (Jund Apostles).
Tariel, Reckoner of Souls (Mardu Judo).


Last edited by Swmystery on 2016-May-03 7:22 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Case for Banning Iona.
AgePosted: 2016-May-02 11:51 pm 
User avatar

Joined: 2013-May-29 9:57 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Atlanta, GA
A very good breakdown. Of particular note is how you mention that Iona not only hoses single-color decks, but multicolor ones as well by naming colors that are more likely to answer her. Two things to add:

1. As far as specific interactions with the format go, UK made a very good point in one of the last threads that as long as Iona names a color on the board, someone at the table is going to be prevented from casting their Commander.

2. Something I've seen newer players get confused on (on both sides of the table from the card) is that Iona's effect is asymmetrical. I believe this is a major factor into why her ability is so difficult to replicate.

I'm all for a conservative, small as possible banlist, but Iona just hits a nerve for me. It has become the one card that I will refuse to play with or against and I've had plenty of games where one player drops it, they get to play the game, and the rest of us just draw-go hoping we get the one Spine of Ish Sah or wtfe we are running to kill it. It has gotten to the point where no matter how far I am ahead, I would rather scoop than play against the card just because playing against Iona is never fun, never has been fun, and I struggle to imagine a situation where it will ever be fun.

There are plenty of cards I wouldn't like to see banned, but wouldn't miss them if they were gone. Iona is not one of them. She needs to go.

_________________
"Expect nothing but scorn, flattery, and lies. And never turn your back on him." - The Northern Paladin

Bladewing the Risen - MTG: Blood Dragon - OST by Powerglove
Dosan the Falling Leaf - Mono-Green Accelerator
Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter - Feed it to Vish
Toshiro Umezawa - Budget Creatureless
Prossh, Skyraider of Kher - Combo Jund
Marath, Will of the Wild - Beast-Mode Tribal
Scion of the Ur-Dragon - Mortal Combat Dredge
Kamahl & Jeska - Tag Team Voltron


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Case for Banning Iona
AgePosted: 2016-May-03 1:55 am 
User avatar

Joined: 2010-Mar-12 3:20 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
The case for Banning Iona:
Read Iona. Seriously, that's all it should take. Case closed.

Iona being legal is, at this point, just one of commander's odd little quirks. It makes no real sense, and it'll be fixed someday, but it's been that way forever and inertia will likely keep it that way until something comes up to make the RC actually fix the issue.

_________________
Current Commander Decks:
Alesha, She who Smiles at Death.....Atraxa, Praetors' Voice.....Eight-and-a-Half-Tails.....Gonti, Lord of Luxury.....Karametra, God of Harvests.....Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker.....Kozilek, the Great Distortion.....Prime Speaker Zegana.....Rubinia Soulsinger.....Thrasios, Triton Hero + Vial Smasher the Fierce

My general commander philosophy: Using your opponent's degenerate cards against them is far more satisfying than playing degenerate cards yourself.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Case for Banning Iona.
AgePosted: 2016-May-03 1:57 am 

Joined: 2015-Apr-23 11:27 pm
Age: Drake
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Zirilan of the Claw wrote:
I'm all for a conservative, small as possible banlist, but Iona just hits a nerve for me. It has become the one card that I will refuse to play with or against and I've had plenty of games where one player drops it, they get to play the game, and the rest of us just draw-go hoping we get the one Spine of Ish Sah or wtfe we are running to kill it. It has gotten to the point where no matter how far I am ahead, I would rather scoop than play against the card just because playing against Iona is never fun, never has been fun, and I struggle to imagine a situation where it will ever be fun.


+1

It's a sad, sad meta when this card needs to be banned. It's simply impossible to both do an effort to create fun, interesting games and play Iona.

Thank your deity of choice I never see it in our (casual) playgroup, you'd probably get beer showered for playing it and deserve every drop of it.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Case for Banning Iona
AgePosted: 2016-May-03 4:23 am 

Joined: 2014-Sep-13 7:28 am
Age: Elder Dragon
That's an excellent post!

Swmystery wrote:
I don't see how that can be squared with a card that can easily arrive on T2 (or T20, it makes no difference) and lock me out of the game, specifically, because I happen to be playing mono-blue Serpent tribal or whatever.

If it's turn 20 the game should be well past ended. If you like 20-turn games, you should have prepared for the inevitable fact that Iona will come down at some point due to the length of the game.

I think she is pricey enough in casting cost she should have an incredible effect on your opponents and doesn't really need to be banned, but on the other hand, i really don't think she actually makes sense in commander.

In regular magic, even if it were legacy reanimator, you can at least attempt to sideboard next games. Vs Iona in commander, you mostly have to counter it or have a kill in some color not named.

I think it's a card, that even if your color was not named, you still go after that person to instill a message that the card is egregiously hateful and outside the normal realm of control. When people do stuff like this, i tend to remember that it could always happen to me at any time, and i don't want to give any quarter i don't have to. Although, maybe that means they wanna name your color next time...

Semi-related note - how do you feel about Void Winnower? I mean it doesn't lock anyone out of a color, but more or less half their deck. I think it's easier to get around with removal since you can still play any color removal and you probably have odd and even cmc removal. But, it's still roughly half your spells can't be cast and half your creatures can't block.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Case for Banning Iona
AgePosted: 2016-May-03 4:49 am 
User avatar

Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire
Sovarius wrote:
Semi-related note - how do you feel about Void Winnower?

I hate that card. It's only hit the table once in games I was in, and I happened to have an StP handy, so it lasted all of 3 seconds. Still terrible.

I'm of the mind that while strictly speaking Iona doesn't need a ban, it seems like something that SHOULD be banned in a format that is supposed to encourage interaction, because "please, please, please let me out from under Iona guys" is not the kind of "interaction" or "social behavior" that improves the game or makes people want to play again.

_________________
"The President's job - and if someone sufficiently vain and stupid is picked he won't realize this - is not to wield power, but to draw attention away from it." -- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide tot he Galaxy Radio Transcripts predicting the future.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Case for Banning Iona
AgePosted: 2016-May-03 5:15 am 
EDH Rules Committee

Joined: 2006-May-18 5:21 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Swmystery wrote:
And nobody who doesn't share a colour with you has any reason to help you aside from charity.


Why aren't you giving them a reason?

It's a big, splashy, political card. If you don't like political cards, then yes, you won't like Iona. It's also weaker in multiplayer play than in heads-up, because of the alliances you can form.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Case for Banning Iona
AgePosted: 2016-May-03 5:56 am 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Palm Springs Area, CA
The problems with Iona only occur in some types of games. Ones where decks are not diversified. Yes this hoses mono colored decks... but I just don't see Iona coming down against a mono green deck over something far more dangerous like a mono black or blue. And speaking of blue- if clone effects are at all played, NOT naming blue is a sure way to get that chick cloned or stolen.

Yes, she's a crappy card sometimes. But I feel she's far more of a liability now that she can't combo with Painters servant, which is probably why she isn't seeing tons and tons of play.


I would contrast Iona with Avacyn. Iona reads like a jerk card, but doesn't get played that way. Avacyn read like all upside but can easily be paired with something that turns that the game sour. I would sooner see Avacyn banned than Iona.

_________________
3DH4L1F3


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Case for Banning Iona
AgePosted: 2016-May-03 10:09 am 

Joined: 2013-Jun-23 10:18 am
Age: Elder Dragon
papa_funk wrote:
Swmystery wrote:
And nobody who doesn't share a colour with you has any reason to help you aside from charity.


Why aren't you giving them a reason?

It's a big, splashy, political card. If you don't like political cards, then yes, you won't like Iona. It's also weaker in multiplayer play than in heads-up, because of the alliances you can form.


I am not giving them a reason because, if I'm under an Iona lock, there's nothing I can offer them until they remove Iona for me- at which point, they have no guarantee I will keep my word. Much better for them to just keep me neutered. Given my ultimate aim is to eliminate both the Iona player and the other players who'd help me, this is only logical. After all, they don't have much reason to let me out of the cage unless they can't tackle the Iona player without me.

I adore political cards. But I do not think Iona promotes political play, because no savvy player who isn't being affected by Iona themselves will (or should) help other players under Iona- again, except out of charity.

Lest you think I'm being hyperbolic, let me give you an actual example that happened to me:

I'm playing mono-green (Yeva, Nature's Herald). Iona comes down T8 or so, I don't remember exactly. Bit of ramp involved but not excessive. It names green. I do what you suggest- I try to make alliances to get somebody else to kill it for me. The response? "If we let you out from under that thing, you'll kill us all."

Eventually, some number of turns later, some kind soul killed Iona. I then proceeded to win with Craterhoof Behemoth. The dead are, understandably, feeling vindicated in their Iona-ing. Can you see why it's not as simple as "giving them a reason" here?

Thank you guys for the kind words. I'll come back to the rest of the points tomorrow.

_________________
Current Commanders: 6/32.

Daretti, Scrap Savant (Red Artefacts).
Prime Speaker Zegana (Simic Voltron).
Rubinia Soulsinger (Bant Polymorphs).
Kess, Dissident Mage (Grixis Treasure).
Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper (Jund Apostles).
Tariel, Reckoner of Souls (Mardu Judo).


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Case for Banning Iona
AgePosted: 2016-May-03 10:54 am 

Joined: 2012-Apr-11 7:17 am
Age: Elder Dragon
papa_funk wrote:
Why aren't you giving them a reason?

It's a big, splashy, political card. If you don't like political cards, then yes, you won't like Iona. It's also weaker in multiplayer play than in heads-up, because of the alliances you can form.
What kind of reason could someone actually give them? If the person with an answer isnt affected, or minorly affected, they have no reason to deal with it unless it comes at them. If they have an answer, their best political move is to make a deal WITH Iona to kill you, then he answers. You know after I go do something else besides cast spells.

I like political cards, I don't like cards designed to stop people from casting spells based on color, in a color limited format.

_________________
sir squab wrote:
My... history of buying Magic cards is probably a tapestry of bad financial decisions >_>
niheloim wrote:
No, I think he's right. I'm just all butt-hurt over prophet.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Case for Banning Iona
AgePosted: 2016-May-03 11:29 am 

Joined: 2016-Feb-13 2:14 pm
Age: Drake
Location: Orlando, Florida
niheloim wrote:
I would contrast Iona with Avacyn. Iona reads like a jerk card, but doesn't get played that way. Avacyn read like all upside but can easily be paired with something that turns that the game sour. I would sooner see Avacyn banned than Iona.

You can't compare the two. One protects your permanents while the other prevents people from playing the game. You could say that Iona protects your permanents, but the manner in which she does so is against the spirit of the game.

It's like comparing Blazing Archon to Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. They both prevent your opponents from attacking you, but one of them does so by preventing your opponent from playing magic.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Case for Banning Iona
AgePosted: 2016-May-03 12:09 pm 

Joined: 2011-Sep-30 6:08 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Marit Lage wrote:
You can't compare the two. One protects your permanents while the other prevents people from playing the game.
Tell that to anyone who has had an opponent cast Armageddon or a similar mass LD spell with Avacyn on the table. (This is something I have seen more often than Iona living through 2 turn cycles.)

Sheldon is exactly right. Iona is a bogeyman. Literally every time we have this conversation, it goes the same way.

Group A: "Iona needs to be banned! She could do all these nasty things. It happened one time in my play group and now everyone refuses to play with her!"

Group B: "Iona is fine. Most people play mutli-color decks and removal anyway. People actually play her in games in my group, and she just dies to normal removal within a couple turns almost every time."

Which is exactly why the card does not need to be banned. Group A doesn't actually play her. Group B is fine with her. Working. As. Intended.

_________________
Spectrar Ghost wrote:
Cryocerete (sp?)


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Case for Banning Iona
AgePosted: 2016-May-03 12:33 pm 

Joined: 2014-Sep-13 7:28 am
Age: Elder Dragon
papa_funk wrote:
It's a big, splashy, political card. If you don't like political cards, then yes, you won't like Iona.

He wasn't implying he doesn't like political cards, and therefore Iona. You can like political cards and not Iona or all political cards ever.

Also, i don't really think that's political. it just stops certain players from doing certain things. Maybe you try to politic your way into getting Iona killed on your behalf when you can't... But that is also true of every threatening thing, if you want it to be. That does not make them political cards, that just makes Iona something you either play enough of a variety of removal for or hope you can politic your way out of when shut down by it.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Case for Banning Iona
AgePosted: 2016-May-03 2:38 pm 
User avatar

Joined: 2012-Feb-07 4:15 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
crokaycete wrote:
Marit Lage wrote:
You can't compare the two. One protects your permanents while the other prevents people from playing the game.
Tell that to anyone who has had an opponent cast Armageddon or a similar mass LD spell with Avacyn on the table. (This is something I have seen more often than Iona living through 2 turn cycles.)

And in this situation it's Avacyn that's the problem? Not the MLD spell?

Sorry, in this situation Avacyn is not the problem; she's making the actually bad cards worse.

crokaycete wrote:
Group A: "Iona needs to be banned! She could do all these nasty things. It happened one time in my play group and now everyone refuses to play with her!"

Group B: "Iona is fine. Most people play mutli-color decks and removal anyway. People actually play her in games in my group, and she just dies to normal removal within a couple turns almost every time."
Ho. Lee. Strawman.

The multicolor and removal argument has already been addressed, so repeating it without refuting the points being made is a waste of energy. Not to mention "hoses monocolor" is but one of the arguments made against Iona. As for the other half of what group B says:

crokaycete wrote:
Group A doesn't actually play her. Group B is fine with her. Working. As. Intended.
In other words, "Group A's experience doesn't match up with mine, so they must not know what they are talking about."

Do both sides of the argument a favor and try not to be so blatantly condescending and dismissive next time. It's not like you, and it doesn't add anything to the conversation.

_________________


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Case for Banning Iona
AgePosted: 2016-May-03 3:08 pm 

Joined: 2011-Sep-30 6:08 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Uktabi_Kong wrote:
In other words, "Group A's experience doesn't match up with mine, so they must not know what they are talking about."
No. That's not at all what I'm saying. I'm saying that Group A is self-reporting that Iona is very rarely appearing in their groups, meaning that they don't actually have a problem with Iona ruining many games in their meta. And B is self-reporting that Iona is more frequently played but that their meta can handle her, which also indicates that Iona isn't ruining games in their meta.

So we have two sides of the argument, each of which is actually observing a very small number of games ruined by Iona. Although Group A dislike Iona and Group B don't mind it, they actually tell a consistent story with regard to banning: it just isn't needed.

_________________
Spectrar Ghost wrote:
Cryocerete (sp?)


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 237 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 16  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 46 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: