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 Post subject: This Year's Sol Ring Thread
AgePosted: 2017-May-04 1:32 am 
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Joined: 2010-Mar-12 3:20 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
So as a general rule, I've never been a proponent of banning Sol Ring. But the other day my group had an argument (spurred by WoTC's new MTGO banned list) about why exactly the RC bans what it bans. My explanation is that if the *card itself* is often responsible for ruining games (or more rarely, entire metagames), it gets looked at as a candidate for banning. If the responsibility is primarily on the *deck builder*, it usually doesn't.

So while Hermit Druid has more powerful ways to abuse it then Sylvan Primordial does, Sylvan Primordial will often end up wreaking games even if you throw it into a completely random deck. Hermit Druid requires a deck builder to purposefully shape their deck in such a way as to make it broken. So the blame for games ruined by Hermit Druid falls mostly on the deck builder, while the blame for games ruined by Sylvan Primordial fell mostly on the card. And thus, Sylvan Primordial is banned in commander, while Hermit Druid is not.

And now... Sol Ring. It was pointed out to me that Sol Ring isn't a card people include in decks to be degenerate... and yet a lot of games simply go off the rails in ways that would never have happened without the influence of Sol Ring. This doesn't really apply to *other* fast mana, such as Mana Crypt or Mana Vault. Those have very real drawbacks and thus if you include them in a deck you're very likely *trying* to do stuff far earlier then you "should", thus moving much of the blame for problems back onto the shoulders of the deck builder.

Has the RC ever seriously discussed banning Sol Ring? Should they? Why/Why Not?
One of the issues often brought up was that it's in all the Precons... but WoTC's MTGO list didn't seem to care about that, so do we need to?

Anyway... this ended up far longer then intended... sorry about that!
EDIT: Grammer fixes.

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


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 Post subject: Re: This Year's Sol Ring Thread
AgePosted: 2017-May-04 2:48 am 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Palm Springs Area, CA
I think Sol Ring is sorta in the middle between cards and builders ruining games.

I can't recall a time where a Sol Ring was the one card that sent a game spiraling down into the garbage...

But It isn't out of the ordinary to see:
T1: Land, Sol Ring, Signet
T2: Land, Explosive Vegetation... Watch out table I'm on turn 7!

Was that the card? Or was that the builder? Why would you include so much ramp that these plays become, as I said, not out of the ordinary?

Now, in our games these sorts of plays rarely ruin the game. We are generally pretty chill when it comes to early leads. Decks aren't cut-throat, and a mild slow-roll after an explosive start is customary just to make the game worth playing for the others.

That said, I wouldn't care if they banned it. I don't want it so, but I would just switch it out for something else... Maybe more Worn Powerstones or that new really bad/awesome Sol Ring/Gilded Lotus thing from Amonkhet... Pyramid of the Pantheon

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 Post subject: Re: This Year's Sol Ring Thread
AgePosted: 2017-May-04 3:17 am 

Joined: 2013-Jun-23 10:18 am
Age: Elder Dragon
My understanding is that it's legal for two reasons:

1) Avoiding cascading bans with fast mana. That is, if it goes, Mana Crypt definitely has to go too, and probably Grim Monolith, and then...

2) It doesn't- just- "produce too much mana too fast", as in the official banning criterion. YMMV on whether this is a correct assessment.

I'm fully in favour of banning both it and Mana Crypt, for what it's worth. I've seen too many uneven contests because somebody led with one of those cards on turn 1 to be comfortable with them legal. Not to mention the Sol Ring -> further ramp -> massive mana advantage compared to the rest of the table scenario that niheloim describes. I don't much care if you think that's the fault of Sol Ring and Crypt, but it wouldn't be possible nearly as often without them,

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Rubinia Soulsinger (Bant Polymorphs).
Kess, Dissident Mage (Grixis Treasure).
Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper (Jund Apostles).
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 Post subject: Re: This Year's Sol Ring Thread
AgePosted: 2017-May-04 3:23 am 
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Joined: 2006-May-18 5:21 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Sol Ring gets discussed occasionally, but there's not really a lot of new arguments raised.

From our perspective, it;'s not a problematic card in a casual, multiplayer environment (which is what the RC seeks to foster). If you remove either of those qualifiers, it's a horrible card.


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 Post subject: Re: This Year's Sol Ring Thread
AgePosted: 2017-May-04 3:43 am 
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My opinion (as irrelevant as it is,) is that Ring isn't a big deal. It's just part of the format that has to be accounted for. However, I do think at some point that Crypt, Vault and Monolith probably should be banned. Is that stupid? Probably- but here's my bit on the matter.

I used to play a Grand Arbiter Augustin IV deck.. a cuddly one. I got burnt out on mana denial into Planeswalkers etcetcetcetc. But I also had a Mana Vault to go with my Ring- and the usual tutors to get them every game. After joining a new FLGS in the area with some fairly competent players- it became stupid obvious that those of us effectively playing "multiple Rings" had a massive disparity in the power of the game. Then one of our members got Grim Monolith... and then everyone but me had a Grim Monolith (because all of the cash I was using to play Magic went towards playing FNMs at the time.) Simply put, any disparity that Ring/No Ring decks have doesn't just get "kinda" worse with Monolith- it outright decides the power level of plays- making players who have multiple effects able to ramp out a significantly larger number of lands, and snowball into playing 4-5 turns ahead of everyone else. Where players with Vaults had a severe edge, players with Vaults and Monoliths made it impossible for players packing only Rings to really matter in the game at hand (this was back when Crypt had a looney price point.)

Point is, I'm not sure it's right- but I think EDH as a format would be better off if Ring were unique in it's effect on the game- so that $20 doesn't get a player to "level 2", and then another $50 for "level 3", and another $50 still for "level 4" for the complete quad of Ring-like effects. Worn Powerstone, and Basalt Monolith, are accessible, easy to reprint frequently cards that already compliment Ring and don't warp the format in the way that multi Rings do. This is a format where 5 mana wraths are just as good most of the time, and because they're so cheap- at the LGS level, it's easy to hand them out like candy to people beginning their EDH experience. EDH isn't a format without power, but I definitely think that the disparity between "Fast Rocks" and "Fair Rocks" bends the game more than any other type of spell can- and that adversely effects the quality of games unilaterally.

EDIT: Just for clarity, Chrome Mox, Mox Opal and Mishra's Workshop have opportunity costs attached to them that "untap these rocks with effects for value" simply don't. Fast rocks that restrict deckbuilding choices, or involve some kind of minor disadvantage aren't my gripe here.

But, that's just, like, my opinion man.
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 Post subject: Re: This Year's Sol Ring Thread
AgePosted: 2017-May-04 6:16 am 
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Joined: 2006-Dec-31 12:26 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Sol Ring is fine.

First -- Sure, with the situation that niheloim described you can be on turn 7 when others are on turn 3. But you're also probably playing (mostly) archenemy at that point. You are by far the obvious threat at the table. If you have people who would rather attack you than the person who's drastically ahead -- that's more of a player/social issue. While Sol Ring may emphasize it, it's not the cause of it.

Secondly - you can do what Sol Ring does without Sol Ring. I had a game the other day where I did an Animist's Awakening for 3. I think it got me 1 land. Then I played Witness to get it back. Then I cast it for 5 (or so). Then my witness got blinked and I got it back again. Then I played it for 7-8.

That put me many turns ahead of the others. Yes, it wasn't *right* at the start of the game, and there was more time to interrupt it, but it also put me more than 4 turns ahead of the others. The starting of 40 life mean I took probably around 15-18 damage from others swinging at me at the time ... but it never bothered me as it wasn't enough to threaten to take me out. Then I untapped and started impacting the board in much more interactive ways than just ramping.

If it were to be banned - I'd be sad to see it go, but also wouldn't really complain as I understand how it can shape the games. But that early game shaping doesn't have to be a slaughter house. I find it can actually give the game a bit of focus: "I'm going to swing at you, since you're ahead of everyone else." ... it's a pretty clear delineation of who is furthest ahead.

Another game someone went early and had a sol ring early, and then explosive vegetation turn 2 or 3. He was definitely running away with it. He won quickly because we couldn't mount a defense on what he was doing (which was mostly just swinging with dudes.) One player was colour screwed in his 2-colour deck. Drawing a 2nd plains would have let him cast one of the 2 wrath effects in hand. My deck was a new one and still going through tuning .. and that was not a game it put up any early effects. The last person was doing mostly combo where they don't interact with the board much until they win -- so, he wasn't able to help much.

So what did we do? We all agreed it was the Sol Ring into Explosive Vegetation play that put him at such an advantage... and then we shuffled up for the next game since that one went so quickly. Also, that next game, we saw the Sol Ring player from the previous game just crawl ... cuz he didn't have sol ring, and no early explosive vegetation.


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 Post subject: Re: This Year's Sol Ring Thread
AgePosted: 2017-May-04 7:35 am 

Joined: 2012-Mar-31 11:52 am
Age: Elder Dragon
papa_funk wrote:
Sol Ring gets discussed occasionally, but there's not really a lot of new arguments raised.

From our perspective, it;'s not a problematic card in a casual, multiplayer environment (which is what the RC seeks to foster). If you remove either of those qualifiers, it's a horrible card.

Clarification: do you guys discuss it occasionally, or do you mean that it gets discussed on the forums occasionally (which I know it does).


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 Post subject: Re: This Year's Sol Ring Thread
AgePosted: 2017-May-04 8:40 pm 

Joined: 2013-Jun-23 10:18 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Carthain wrote:
Secondly - you can do what Sol Ring does without Sol Ring. I had a game the other day where I did an Animist's Awakening for 3. I think it got me 1 land. Then I played Witness to get it back. Then I cast it for 5 (or so). Then my witness got blinked and I got it back again. Then I played it for 7-8.

That put me many turns ahead of the others. Yes, it wasn't *right* at the start of the game, and there was more time to interrupt it, but it also put me more than 4 turns ahead of the others.


The bold portion is specifically what's wrong with Sol Ring (and Crypt) though. It's not just the mana advantage, but how early you get it that's the problem. For me, you've just highlighted why your sorts of situations are fine and T1 Ring or Crypt isn't.

Also:

Carthain wrote:
Sure, with the situation that niheloim described you can be on turn 7 when others are on turn 3. But you're also probably playing (mostly) archenemy at that point. You are by far the obvious threat at the table...

...the starting of 40 life mean I took probably around 15-18 damage from others swinging at me at the time ... but it never bothered me as it wasn't enough to threaten to take me out. Then I untapped and started impacting the board in much more interactive ways than just ramping.


I see a tension in these statements. Why is it relevant that you're playing archenemy after a T1 Sol Ring if, as you yourself say, it's not possible to significantly threaten a player who does that even if the table teams up against them? Doesn't it make the T1 Ring/Crypt worse, not better, if it's not possible to counter such extreme early ramp with alliances?

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Current Commanders: 6/32.

Daretti, Scrap Savant (Red Artefacts).
Ephara, God of the Polis (Azorius Men O'War)
Rubinia Soulsinger (Bant Polymorphs).
Kess, Dissident Mage (Grixis Treasure).
Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper (Jund Apostles).
Mathas, Fiend Seeker (Mardu Judo).


Last edited by Swmystery on 2017-May-04 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: This Year's Sol Ring Thread
AgePosted: 2017-May-04 8:59 pm 
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Age: Elder Dragon
Really liked Mr Degradation's post. I, personally, wouldn't mind if fast mana was banned.

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 Post subject: Re: This Year's Sol Ring Thread
AgePosted: 2017-May-04 10:17 pm 

Joined: 2012-Mar-31 11:52 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Bruticus wrote:
Really liked Mr Degradation's post. I, personally, wouldn't mind if fast mana was banned.

There also isn't a slippery slope argument. You ban Sol Ring and Mana Crypt. Maybe Mana Vault and Grim Monolith, but outside of decks designed to abuse them they're more like ritual effects.


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 Post subject: Re: This Year's Sol Ring Thread
AgePosted: 2017-May-05 12:16 am 
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Joined: 2017-Mar-11 6:43 am
Age: Dragon
cryogen wrote:
Bruticus wrote:
Really liked Mr Degradation's post. I, personally, wouldn't mind if fast mana was banned.

There also isn't a slippery slope argument. You ban Sol Ring and Mana Crypt. Maybe Mana Vault and Grim Monolith, but outside of decks designed to abuse them they're more like ritual effects.


lol, I wonder how many people actually read it.

The TL;DR is simply that I don't want Sol Ring banned, but I think Vault, Crypt and Monolith should be, because they impose the same power differential as Sol Ring (itself a huge problem because the format encourages longer, more interactive games), on a larger scale, but with increasing accessibility issues. It's the seminal arms race of EDH. It isn't the same as upgrading counter packages, wrath packages, threat packages- because the difference between Grim Monolith and Basalt Monolith alters the flow of a game in far more absurd ways than the difference between Rewind and Cryptic Command or End Hostilities and Wrath of God

TL;DR TL;DR
Ring good, should be unique
Vault/Crypt/Monolith bad, make Ring not unique.

Hope that clarifies my position

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Last edited by Mr Degradation on 2017-May-05 12:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: This Year's Sol Ring Thread
AgePosted: 2017-May-05 12:35 am 
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Swmystery wrote:
Carthain wrote:
That put me many turns ahead of the others. Yes, it wasn't *right* at the start of the game, and there was more time to interrupt it, but it also put me more than 4 turns ahead of the others.


The bold portion is specifically what's wrong with Sol Ring (and Crypt) though. It's not just the mana advantage, but how early you get it that's the problem. For me, you've just highlighted why your sorts of situations are fine and T1 Ring or Crypt isn't.

So... do you *only* object to Sol Ring on T1? What about if it drops on turn 2? or turn 3?

Swmystery wrote:
Carthain wrote:
Sure, with the situation that niheloim described you can be on turn 7 when others are on turn 3. But you're also probably playing (mostly) archenemy at that point. You are by far the obvious threat at the table...

...the starting of 40 life mean I took probably around 15-18 damage from others swinging at me at the time ... but it never bothered me as it wasn't enough to threaten to take me out. Then I untapped and started impacting the board in much more interactive ways than just ramping.


I see a tension in these statements. Why is it relevant that you're playing archenemy after a T1 Sol Ring if, as you yourself say, it's not possible to significantly threaten a player who does that even if the table teams up against them? Doesn't it make the T1 Ring/Crypt worse, not better, if it's not possible to counter such extreme early ramp with alliances?

Umm sure... if you want to use one single example as a counter to my overall general statement. Cuz, statistics and probabilities work that way, right?

The first part I was talking in generalities. The second part was during a specific example. That would be why I separated them. Also note the differences -- as you yourself highlighted, one we are talking about a T1 Sol Ring, while the other is a game where I say it isn't *right* at the start of the game.


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 Post subject: Re: This Year's Sol Ring Thread
AgePosted: 2017-May-05 1:25 am 

Joined: 2012-Mar-31 11:52 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Mr. Degradation,

I did read your post, I simply don't agree with it for two reasons. One, people [generally] don't complain about broken mana in the mid/late game. Sol Ring and Mana Crypt don't have as much of an impact after the first few turns, even when chaining spells off them. They also don't come with an opportunity cost in order to untap them. Second, EDH absolutely is a pay-to-win format, even though this isn't a requirement to play. You want a dual land, you spend a couple of bucks for a checkland. Spend a little more and you can upgrade to a shock. Shell out big bucks and get an ABU dual. Same goes with many other types of cards such as counterspells, tutors, mana rocks, etc. And this is a good thing, because it limits the amount of play these cards get. Why do you think Sol Ring gets a much larger amount of complaints dedicated to it, but the better Mana Crypt doesn't? It's because one costs $3 and one costs $50 (or whatever it's at these days). Sol Ring shows up in nearly every deck, while Crypt isn't that common.


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 Post subject: Re: This Year's Sol Ring Thread
AgePosted: 2017-May-05 3:05 am 

Joined: 2012-Jul-10 4:35 pm
Age: Wyvern
Mana Crypt is even worse. I play in a meta where Crypts are fairly common, especially from the more competitive players. The local competitive Yisan, the Wanderer Bard pilot typically mulligans in a gambit to find Crypt. $50-60 ain't a huge barrier to many folks.

Now, would this be a big deal if everyone were playing in the same spirit as the RC? Probably not.


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 Post subject: Re: This Year's Sol Ring Thread
AgePosted: 2017-May-05 3:14 am 
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cryogen wrote:
I simply don't agree with it


This is a forum, that is to be expected- it wouldn't be worth posting if that were never the case.

My simple issue here is that from my position this all runs fairly contrary to the design philosophy of EDH. Cards aren't banned for their power-level, but on whether they adversely effect the environment in ways that lead to the act of a commander game being less interesting or tense. While yes, Sol Ring is almost strictly more powerful than Vault or Monolith- the simple fact is that as fast mana they are close enough to Sol Ring to effectively be additional copies of the card- (redundancy, being one of those things as we all know that leads to how strong a deck is in EDH.) The effect is a direct shift in the power level of opening hands, game development, and game flow for each additional piece existing in a deck.

Further, Vault and Monolith do have significant support in many decks that make them much stronger than Sol Ring through untapping effects- so while their baseline "downside" implies a lower level of power in the individual cards, the truth is that any EDH deck can support making them stronger (without even mentioning how Monolith just allows you to store 3 mana from turn to turn- making the disadvantage not a disadvantage even without the menagerie of untap support.)

Only after ALL of that comes the accessibility issue- and that is more impacted by the fact that alternatives to these cards exist, and are powerful in their own rights, but aren't functionally moxen- which is a huge distinction about the pacing issue these cards create for the game. A pacing issue which Sol Ring only agitates in negligible ways when it is the sole piece of Moxen-level artifact acceleration which doesn't have a true restriction to it (a'la Lion's Eye Diamond, Chrome Mox, and Mox Opal.) There are multiple tiers of premium rocks below the fast rocks, many fetching similar prices, but also being safe to reprint in supplemental products (and the RC has addressed accessibility as appropriate to determining a card's place on the banlist- as a reason to pull Black Lotus in spite of how poorly it usually stacks against Ring and Crypt.) Accessibility doesn't necessarily boil down to the pricepoints, but it does impact EDH severely- because decks that can mulligan for one of 4 functional Rings are never at a disadvantage against even an entire playgroup with 2 functional Rings in each deck. It isn't the same as stepping up the quality of other type of spells or lands- which are often negligible- and often nice marginal additions.

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