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 Post subject: Thought Experiment: Maximum Price of Unbanned Cards
AgePosted: 2018-Jan-13 6:50 pm 

Joined: 2015-Dec-22 4:41 am
Age: Drake
Some recent discussions have made me wonder if there is a threshold of value for certain unbanned staples in the format, particularly the ones on the reserved list. I realize that, when it comes to banning a card, a high price is not the unum necessarium. For example, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale is not banned at $1200-$1500 because, as oppressive as it is in stax, control, and land strategies, it is not everyone's kind of card. However, if it were to become say...$100,000, surely a discussion of its potential banning would not only be merited but obligatory, even if the ultimate decision just barely landed on the "keep it legal" side of the line.

I invite comments on the above premise, but assuming for the time being that I am right, I'd like to know what you all think the value threshold is for each of the following cards:

1. The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
2. Timetwister
3. Bazaar of Baghdad
4. Gaea's Cradle
5. Candelabra of Tawnos
6. Mox Diamond
7. Underground Sea (and effectively each of the other 9 OG duals)

One note: a card like Mox Diamond may be compared slightly with the five Power 9 moxes. It has the obvious downside of forcing you to discard, but that just means that its value threshold has to be higher (under the above premise).

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 Post subject: Re: Thought Experiment: Maximum Price of Unbanned Cards
AgePosted: 2018-Jan-13 10:06 pm 

Joined: 2011-Feb-15 7:09 am
Age: Drake
Everyone has their spending limit, but that shouldn't bear on legality. Underground Sea is currently top of my want list, and is above the amount I'm prepared to pay outright from my entertainment budget. I'm going to get one by selling parts of my collection, and it's going to take me months (my biggest purchase to date was tropical island which took me 5 months to save for that way). I think it's worth the time and patience to improve my decks. So we've established I'm happy to pay 200 euros for this.

Where is my limit? It's hard to say. I think I would feel a little silly paying 5000, but it's the kind of thing that I could make into a talking point, I think I might. 50,000 would buy a (small) house, I definitely won't go that high.

I do feel there's too much price manipulation in the secondary market, and some traders are using their privileged position to hype demand. There ought to be more regulation. The pauper format is being pushed right now and the price of MTGO commons in short supply has shot up. Ash Barrens is $8, Palace Sentinels is $10. When the fad for pauper inevitably ends or wizards reprint, a lot of people are going to feel they were conned.


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 Post subject: Re: Thought Experiment: Maximum Price of Unbanned Cards
AgePosted: 2018-Jan-17 5:58 am 

Joined: 2014-Sep-13 7:28 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I already dislike any affect prices have to do with banning.

But as the ban list is run right now, i don't think that $100k Tabernacles would be banned. It's not a card that belongs in nearly all decks. I only think it would be banned if it became something that seemingly (or factually or in practice) every deck needed. Bazaar is kind of bad in regular gameplay. Candelabra's best effect is color fixing with Thran Dynamo if you don't have a combo deck that does something very special with lands/artifacts and untapping Coffers or Cradle is still a 2 card combo, and, while great, is not really a bannable offense imo.

Same applies to all these actually. In a 'fair' 'normal' deck, some of the cards are actually kind of just bad.

Stuff like Underground Sea, while powerful, i don't think is remotely necessary to gameplay because there are other great options still. I have all of these cards in EDh decks (except Candles, card is harder to combo with than it originally looked) currently and i still lose to people who don't even own cards that cost $70. That's anecdotes, sure. But U Sea is not going to win me enough games more than a similar/same deck without it to warrant a ban regardless of price.

Mox Diamond does not really compare the original 5 Moxes (or a few of the other 0-1 cmc mana rocks that are legal).

Just in general, i have a hard time calling these cards staples for the most part.

A couple problems i see. Decks that play Volcanic Island and Underground Sea are probably objectively better than decks that play Plateau, but on their own they are same cards. If U Sea becomes $1000 and is then banned, do we ban Plateau when it's only $180 in comparison? RW does not need the mana fixing/fetchable lands more than UB or anything like that. If we make that argument though, can we ban Bayou and Tropical when they are $800? Surely the amount of ramp spells in green give them more color fixing and a suite of fetches/duals is far less necessary.

It doesn't seem to me that any of the 7 have exploded in price *only* due to edh, although if edh never took off they would probably be less. What if a card reaches price N, and is banned for being that pricey? And then it tanks because only EDH propped the price up? Now it's N-x price which is not bannable. Still banned?

Does it matter if it's on the reserve list? in modern history, there is no non-reserve list card that cannot be obtained for less than $200 (unless you go for beautiful Korean foils, you get my meaning). If it is not on the reserve list but reaches a bannable price, should it just stay unbanned anyway, since it will likely be reprinted?

If, like Tabby, it's only $1k due to Legacy, and is banned in EDh for price, but becomes banned in Legacy (miraculously), and tanks (miraculously) to $30, should it now be unbanned in EDh once more?

Do they have different values? Should we ban Tabby once it's $2.5k because it's not suuuuper highly used in EDH, but ban U Sea once it's only $1k since every UB deck *should* play it?

It's a little bit of a mess but overall i get you, and it could be codified. Do you think it is worth the effort? Do you think any of those should be banned?

OldVig wrote:
I do feel there's too much price manipulation in the secondary market, and some traders are using their privileged position to hype demand. There ought to be more regulation. The pauper format is being pushed right now and the price of MTGO commons in short supply has shot up. Ash Barrens is $8, Palace Sentinels is $10. When the fad for pauper inevitably ends or wizards reprint, a lot of people are going to feel they were conned.

This is due to the shitty mistake of creating the Reserve List.
There isn't any way to regulate the secondary market without reprints.

MTGO commons is a different story. That is less of WOTC faults and more an effect of interest in those products online. There isn't any way to make Sentinels *not* $10 online, if people are willing to pay that. WOTC has to either open a market on MTGO and sell Sentinels for $.50 so that no one on the secondary market has to pay more than that, or they have to gift everyone these cards. Both of which have a lot of problems too. But the fact is Sentinels is a lot of money because it's in high demand and there is a very low quantity; not a lot of Conspiracy was opened to keep it at $.10 and it's just too new (and special) to have seen reprints already (combined with no power or foresight to assume and manage it's future price spike).


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 Post subject: Re: Thought Experiment: Maximum Price of Unbanned Cards
AgePosted: 2018-Jan-17 10:16 am 
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Joined: 2012-Feb-07 4:15 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
The only card on that list that I could even come close to calling a staple is Cradle. All of the other ones can easily be replaced in any deck with a card that's at most 10% its price. Especially the goddamn dual lands, which I'd argue aren't even the best dual lands in EDH. Fetchlands are clearly better and can do their job fine with the existence of shocks and bicycle lands, and even some others like the painlands have some pretty massive advantages over the duals. Shivan Reef can't be Islandwalked, can't be destroyed by Red Elemental Blast, and can cast new Kozilek. Not to mention the plethora of playable great rainbow lands like Command Tower or Mana Confluence.


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 Post subject: Re: Thought Experiment: Maximum Price of Unbanned Cards
AgePosted: 2018-Jan-17 11:29 am 
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Joined: 2008-Mar-24 12:14 am
Age: Elder Dragon
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Uktabi_Kong wrote:
Shivan Reef can't be destroyed by Red Elemental Blast

Maybe you meant Cryoclasm?


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 Post subject: Re: Thought Experiment: Maximum Price of Unbanned Cards
AgePosted: 2018-Jan-17 1:35 pm 
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Joined: 2012-Feb-07 4:15 pm
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Active Volcano is what I had in mind, which my brain keeps telling me is also a functional reprint of REB.


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 Post subject: Re: Thought Experiment: Maximum Price of Unbanned Cards
AgePosted: 2018-Jan-18 12:42 am 

Joined: 2015-Dec-22 4:41 am
Age: Drake
Sovarius wrote:
Mox Diamond does not really compare the original 5 Moxes (or a few of the other 0-1 cmc mana rocks that are legal).
I'd like some clarification on your point here. Mox Diamond is just as ubiquitous in competitive edh as any power nine Mox would be no matter what strategy is involved. This at least indicates the general irrelevance of Mox Diamond's downside even if you draw a distinction between competitive play and casual play.

Quote:
Just in general, i have a hard time calling these cards staples for the most part.

A couple problems i see. Decks that play Volcanic Island and Underground Sea are probably objectively better than decks that play Plateau, but on their own they are same cards. If U Sea becomes $1000 and is then banned, do we ban Plateau when it's only $180 in comparison? RW does not need the mana fixing/fetchable lands more than UB or anything like that. If we make that argument though, can we ban Bayou and Tropical when they are $800? Surely the amount of ramp spells in green give them more color fixing and a suite of fetches/duals is far less necessary.
They don't all need to be banned. I just lumped them together in my OP to make it simpler. Chop that up to my OCD.

Quote:
It doesn't seem to me that any of the 7 have exploded in price *only* due to edh, although if edh never took off they would probably be less. What if a card reaches price N, and is banned for being that pricey? And then it tanks because only EDH propped the price up? Now it's N-x price which is not bannable. Still banned?

Does it matter if it's on the reserve list? in modern history, there is no non-reserve list card that cannot be obtained for less than $200 (unless you go for beautiful Korean foils, you get my meaning). If it is not on the reserve list but reaches a bannable price, should it just stay unbanned anyway, since it will likely be reprinted?
I never thought price was especially affected by edh. I think it has mostly to do with scarcity. If they are so scarce that players who love a particular strategy that is popular in the format but can't perfect the strategy without a $5000 card, I'd say that card is about as banworthy as a $1000 card that can improve any popular strategy.

And yes, the reserved list matters. Imperial Seal used to be $900. Now you can get a judge promo for $130. Mana Crypt was $150, and now it's about $70-$90. As long as the looming possibility of a reprint exists, price will never be an issue for a card.
Quote:
If, like Tabby, it's only $1k due to Legacy, and is banned in EDh for price, but becomes banned in Legacy (miraculously), and tanks (miraculously) to $30, should it now be unbanned in EDh once more?
Perhaps. I'm not sure it is banworthy in Legacy, though. Good point, nonetheless.

Quote:
Do they have different values? Should we ban Tabby once it's $2.5k because it's not suuuuper highly used in EDH, but ban U Sea once it's only $1k since every UB deck *should* play it?
That is the point I would like to explore, yes.

Quote:
It's a little bit of a mess but overall i get you, and it could be codified. Do you think it is worth the effort? Do you think any of those should be banned?
It's only a thought experiment. I do think a ban on Gaea's Cradle and Mox Diamond will eventually be necessary. It is the very nature of reserved list cards that their average price will only increase overtime as they become more scarce.

Personally, I find it hard to regard the decision behind the reserved list as a mistake. I'm not saying the reserved list is necessarily a good thing, but it was a decision that WotC felt was necessary to survive their real mistake of reprinting cards too early and often. I'd rather they respect their promise than cave to the demands of the covetous masses at the expense of their most loyal fanbase, but if the reserved list goes away, I hope it doesn't mean the death of the game and WotC's credibility as a company.

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 Post subject: Re: Thought Experiment: Maximum Price of Unbanned Cards
AgePosted: 2018-Jan-18 2:48 am 
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Age: Elder Dragon
Not owning any cards myself with a value above two figures, I wouldn't bat an eyelid at a price cap.

The last time I saw Gaea's Cradle, it was a proxy. Someone said they had a few proxies in their deck, asked if that was OK, gave Elspeth (a $10 card) as an example, and we okayed it on the basis they didn't have things like Moxes in there. Then we found out they had a Doubling Season and a Gaea's Cradle proxied too, which we weren't okay with — that was way above the impression they'd given us. (Thankfully we found out because they got exiled from their library.)

I won't miss out on Gaea's Cradle if that falls over a price cap and gets banned, and we have Growing Rites of Itlimoc now anyway.

On the other hand, lots of cards more powerful are only worth two or three figures because they're not reserved and they're reprinted in eternal/modern masters sets. So banning for price is kinda like, well, ABU lands are not the problem in this format, and I don't mind not accessing them.

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Beloved precons: Atraxa, Praetors' Voice; Saskia the Unyielding; Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury.


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 Post subject: Re: Thought Experiment: Maximum Price of Unbanned Cards
AgePosted: 2018-Jan-18 5:51 am 
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Joined: 2006-Dec-31 12:26 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
MMLgamer wrote:
I'd like some clarification on your point here. Mox Diamond is just as ubiquitous in competitive edh ... even if you draw a distinction between competitive play and casual play.

So far as I've been here - the concept of "Competitive Commander/EDH" has been one where "Sure, you can do it - but we aren't going to try to keep it fun/balanced for you."

We haven't really ever concerned ourselves with what people do to try to make Commander competitive - there's other sites out there for that.

So - while competitive people may find the downside of Mox Diamond irrelevant - that doesn't have any bearing on how things are banned here, even as just a thought experiment.


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 Post subject: Re: Thought Experiment: Maximum Price of Unbanned Cards
AgePosted: 2018-Jan-18 6:01 am 
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Joined: 2012-Dec-03 3:16 am
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This keeps coming up, I have been playing for a while so I do have several cards that fit into this category. I acquired them when they were not nearly as expensive. I remember buying a set of Dark Confidants for $20. I sold several of my Gaea's Cradles but I still have 2. I have at least one of all the original duals, I have 3 of all the U/x ones. If these cards got banned due to price only I would be more upset that I generally am when cards get banned. (Yes I am one of the ones that is pretty much upset when every card gets banned. I spent time/money acquiring these cards. I get pretty upset when that time is wasted.) A big draw to the format is playing cards that I own and have enjoyed but cannot play in Standard or Modern.

I have played many games where my deck was worth 10x what my opponents decks were and lost horribly. In fact just last night a guy was bragging about how he stomped me with the Atraxa precon when I had close to $2k worth of cards just on the field not counting the rest of the deck. Volcanic Island is better than Highland Lake in 99% of the situations, but having one over the other won't generally give you the edge to win a game you would lose if you didn't have that upgrade. Do I play with my Volcanic Island? Yes of course I do, why not? out of the 13 or so decks that could use it, I only have 3 so the rest have to play Highland Lake or something similar. Are the decks with the Volcanic Island going to win more games? maybe, maybe not. It is more likely influenced on the other 98 cards.

I don't own any The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, but if I did it would not go into any EDH decks. It's not a type of deck I enjoy playing. Would I miss it if it got banned? Probably not, as I don't know anybody that plays it IRL. But I do know people that have them and play them not in EDH, and if they got banned here, they would likely drop a little in price. How much is hard to say, but it might be enough to lower it below the "Maximum Price" threshold, thus causing an unbanning. Then a likely banning again, etc. With that much fluctuation how many people would stop caring about the official ban list? I know I would lose a lot of respect if the RC kept reversing decisions.

Cards have value, much of that value is based on how much and what types of games you can play. Banning or unbanning cards based on the price is wrong. Magic is not a Pay-to-win game. I know some games have felt like that in Legacy or Vintage, and even to an extent in Modern or Standard, but when you have 2-4 opponents it is very difficult to crush people with your wallet alone. Often just dropping an expensive card is enough to turn it into a 3v1. If you want to win, playing Volcanic Island can often cost you more than the slight edge you get from Highland Lake.

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With perfect mana, reasonable removal, disruption, and card advantage, we're back to pitchforks and torches. And it's about to get worse for those who do not enjoy the game as Richard Garfield intended, playing as few win conditions as possible and prompting concession after all hopes (and spells) are lost. - Shaheen Soorani


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 Post subject: Re: Thought Experiment: Maximum Price of Unbanned Cards
AgePosted: 2018-Jan-18 6:05 am 
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Age: Elder Dragon
Carthain wrote:
MMLgamer wrote:
I'd like some clarification on your point here. Mox Diamond is just as ubiquitous in competitive edh ... even if you draw a distinction between competitive play and casual play.

So far as I've been here - the concept of "Competitive Commander/EDH" has been one where "Sure, you can do it - but we aren't going to try to keep it fun/balanced for you."

We haven't really ever concerned ourselves with what people do to try to make Commander competitive - there's other sites out there for that.

So - while competitive people may find the downside of Mox Diamond irrelevant - that doesn't have any bearing on how things are banned here, even as just a thought experiment.

Not to mention that Mox Diamond is usually run for the purpose of redundancy. Take it away, and it'll just get replaced by a Llanowar Elves variant or Jeweled Amulet or something. It's the same situation as the ABUR duals: sure adding it will (usually) make the deck better but it's far from necessary.


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 Post subject: Re: Thought Experiment: Maximum Price of Unbanned Cards
AgePosted: 2018-Jan-18 1:13 pm 

Joined: 2014-Sep-13 7:28 am
Age: Elder Dragon
MMLgamer wrote:
Sovarius wrote:
Mox Diamond does not really compare the original 5 Moxes (or a few of the other 0-1 cmc mana rocks that are legal).
I'd like some clarification on your point here. Mox Diamond is just as ubiquitous in competitive edh as any power nine Mox would be no matter what strategy is involved. This at least indicates the general irrelevance of Mox Diamond's downside even if you draw a distinction between competitive play and casual play.

I agree, almost completely. But the fact that they would (presumably) be equally ubiquitous does not itself mean one is better than the other. Mox Diamond has potential to be very rough on land-light decks and be more of a dead card than a land. And i *do* draw a distinction between competitive and casual, because Diamond plays a bit different in the fields. The card disadvantage in a casual deck is not likely to be worth the tempo based ramp. I don't know if i'm making the correct deck building decisions, but i have never played Diamond in a casual edh deck and don't really intend to. But it *is* great in a couple competitive decks i have played, especially AdNauseam bs (but not something like my Mishra deck, which doesn't play enough lands to make it worth it).

MMLgamer wrote:
Personally, I find it hard to regard the decision behind the reserved list as a mistake. I'm not saying the reserved list is necessarily a good thing, but it was a decision that WotC felt was necessary to survive their real mistake of reprinting cards too early and often. I'd rather they respect their promise than cave to the demands of the covetous masses at the expense of their most loyal fanbase, but if the reserved list goes away, I hope it doesn't mean the death of the game and WotC's credibility as a company.

Hindsight is 20/20, much of the WOTC staff regrets the list. I dislike the policy but i understand why it stands and agree that it must stand as well. It would be a terrible business decision to repeal the list and start reprinting the cards after 20 years.

spacemonaut wrote:
On the other hand, lots of cards more powerful are only worth two or three figures because they're not reserved and they're reprinted in eternal/modern masters sets. So banning for price is kinda like, well, ABU lands are not the problem in this format, and I don't mind not accessing them.

I don't know what the last part of this means, but i have to agree that i find the most powerful cards in the format are not on the reserve list, and some are very accessible.

Inkeyes22 wrote:
Often just dropping an expensive card is enough to turn it into a 3v1. If you want to win, playing Volcanic Island can often cost you more than the slight edge you get from Highland Lake.

I have lost to this before, on occasions where i was not the current threat nor likely to be the most powerful deck/competent player. I gave it a lot of thought, and it has caused me to omit duals from a couple of my casual decks now, which is especially fine since they have no real need of that level of efficiency.


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 Post subject: Re: Thought Experiment: Maximum Price of Unbanned Cards
AgePosted: 2018-Jan-18 11:16 pm 

Joined: 2015-Dec-22 4:41 am
Age: Drake
Sovarius wrote:

Inkeyes22 wrote:
Often just dropping an expensive card is enough to turn it into a 3v1. If you want to win, playing Volcanic Island can often cost you more than the slight edge you get from Highland Lake.

I have lost to this before, on occasions where i was not the current threat nor likely to be the most powerful deck/competent player. I gave it a lot of thought, and it has caused me to omit duals from a couple of my casual decks now, which is especially fine since they have no real need of that level of efficiency.
Vive la révolution?

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 Post subject: Re: Thought Experiment: Maximum Price of Unbanned Cards
AgePosted: 2018-Jan-19 1:25 am 
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MMLgamer wrote:
Sovarius wrote:

Inkeyes22 wrote:
Often just dropping an expensive card is enough to turn it into a 3v1. If you want to win, playing Volcanic Island can often cost you more than the slight edge you get from Highland Lake.

I have lost to this before, on occasions where i was not the current threat nor likely to be the most powerful deck/competent player. I gave it a lot of thought, and it has caused me to omit duals from a couple of my casual decks now, which is especially fine since they have no real need of that level of efficiency.
Vive la révolution?

A while ago I took my ABUR duals out of my commander decks because I was certain I didn't need them. And I don't. I've never missed them. Never thought "Oh, if only one of these lands was the original dual..."

Others in my playgroup still use them - and I never feel like I'm being slowed down or restricted because I don't have them in my decks.


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 Post subject: Re: Thought Experiment: Maximum Price of Unbanned Cards
AgePosted: 2018-Jan-23 3:20 am 
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To put it simply... there is no maximum price. Nothing currently legal is getting banned because it increases in price. The point of banning Moxen/Lotus/etc for price/ubiquity reasons was simple... if those were legal when the format was getting off the ground, it would have been seen as a "Rich Person's Format" and likely would have died in it's infancy. And now that the format is established, there simply isn't any real incentive to *unban* something that could have a negative impact, and would most certainly only have a positive impact for at most a very tiny number of people.

On the other hand, there are players who obtained some of the cards on your list specifically *for* commander. Banning the cards doesn't really do anyone any good and does cause a great injustice to the people who obtained them for that reason.

To sum up... changing the status quo on Price/Ubiquity bannings is a big risk and has no real benefits. So it;s going to stay as it is, likely for as long as commander exists.

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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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