MTG Commander/Elder Dragon Highlander

Ban Vote: Survival of the Fittest
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Author:  Genomancer [ 2006-Jun-08 2:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Ban Vote: Survival of the Fittest

An as-yet unofficial vote to gather information on the suggested banning of: Survival of the Fittest

Arguments in favour of banning:
In a format designed to promote diversity of draws and thought provoking play, Survival provides repetitive tutoring for cheap... leading to the same cards being played again and again. Its cost to play and to activate are both small, requiring little commitment to a colour, and its instant speed risks delaying the game each time a search is performed. Reanimator is already one of the most popular engines in EDH decks, and Survival gains further power from the fact that it fills the graveyard.

Arguments against banning:
Survival is fairly inexpensive (from a money perspective), and is one of the most potent cards that a budget/introductory player can acquire, lowering the barrier to entry.

Author:  epeeguy [ 2006-Jun-09 6:12 am ]
Post subject: 

Maybe I've just been on the receiving end (and certainly the initiator) of a few more dangerous things than Survival. Certainly, being able to tutor for some creature every turn can be pretty nasty, especially with some of the recursion that is available. But, I think there are other cards out there that are a bit more dangerous than Survival (it's not like Scepter, which gives you a Vampiric every turn, or some other wackiness). I think the standard for actually banning a card should be relatively high, and I just don't see that standard being met here.

Author:  Cod [ 2006-Jun-09 11:37 am ]
Post subject: 

Looking at the EDH banned list, I do not see any significant similarities between those cards already banned and Survival of the Fittest.

Survival is not a piece of power, and as mentioned it is a rather potent card that can be had for cheap. The card does not win the game outright, as Biorhythm or Test of Endurance does, is not a silly combo card like Worldgorger Dragon and Panoptic Mirror + Time Walk, Time Warp, Time Stretch, Beacon of Tommorrows, etc. etc. etc. and is not incredibly disruptive lke Shahrazad, Sway of the Stars, and Upheaval is. It certainly powers a potent reanimator deck, but reanimation in and of itself is not a back-breaking strategy; there is tons of graveyard hate out there (and should be), and tutoring for creatures is not dangerous to game integrity as every single deck packs creature removal of some sort, if not board sweepers. The 'delay of game' argument also holds no weight, as the same argument can be made for Weathered Wayfarer, Journeyer's Kite, Captain Sisay, and the combined total of library search effects in any given EDH deck in the form of one shot tutors, fetchlands, land acceleration creatures and spells, and the like. But these cards are not considered ban-worthy on the merits of slowing the game down this way. It would be up to the player piloting the deck to make sure that his/her tutoring, no matter which card is doing the tutoring, is done in a timely manner.

There are other cards I would like to see banned in this format before Survival. I vote no.


Author:  Nicholas [ 2006-Jun-11 4:48 pm ]
Post subject:  No.

As previously stated, there are unbanned cards in the format with a higher power level. As far as tutor effects go, there are several -- Demonic Tutor, Enlightened Tutor, Mystical Tutor, and Vampiric Tutor, along with Tinker -- that I would sooner ban than ban Survival of the Fittest.

Regarding the argument that Survival of the Fittest is an easily-acquired card and, as such, an easy entry point for most players into EDH, I would suggest that a card's secondary market value ought to have no bearing on its legality in this format (or any other, for that matter).

Author:  TigTigger [ 2006-Jun-11 6:10 pm ]
Post subject: 

Maybe I'm the only Johnny player in everyone's playgroups, but, I'm surprised that people aren't more concerned with this card.

Yes, Survival is very effective massive reanimation strategy, although it does give players a few turns to react to it before the game's won. Yes, you can also just win due to tutoring up an extra creature card every single turn with Squee or Genesis. Yes, you can just win due to getting the creature you need, when you need it. But, the most powerful use of Survival in a slow multiplayer format is the ease that someone can piece together an infinite combo with it- and trust me, I know.

The easiest combo is just Academy Rector (for Enduring Renewal), any 0cc creature and any number of cards to plug it into (you'll need to pick one to fit the colors of your deck). If you use red instead of white, you could try one of the many unbound combos with Kiki-Jiki. Think someone might blow up the Survival of some of your other stuff while you're setting up? Go get a Genesis and/or an Eternal Witness. Think someone might interfere? Go get Dosan. And this is not even counting the tools you will otherwise have access to. It's very resilient to just about anything short of an Akroma's Vengeance followed immediately up with a Tormod's Crypt-ing. There are literally dozens of unbound combos you can assemble, which only need a few slots in your EDH deck (I'm assuming you aren't planning to win with it unless you draw it or tutor for it), and you ONLY need the Survival to start a few of them up.

I'm also really not sure why anyone would think that allowing Survival helps newer players at all. The Survival in in the newer player's deck is only marginally useful, while the Survival in the experienced player's deck turns the game on its ear when it's played. No new player is having a favor done for them by having it legal in the format.

The quesiton, really, is the acceptable power level that people want for EDH games, and there are certainly differing opinions on what that is. Some people might find it acceptable for players to quickly assemble unbound combos and end the game with them, in which case, Survival is the poster boy. I don't agree- I like my games to be more interactive and not decided just because one player got card X. I'd vote for it to be banned.

Author:  matthew [ 2006-Jun-12 8:43 am ]
Post subject: 

TigTigger wrote:
The quesiton, really, is the acceptable power level that people want for EDH games, and there are certainly differing opinions on what that is.

That Experiment Kraj - Morphling - Horeshoe Crab thing that Paul did on Friday was pretty terrifying. While the format seems to want to encourage fun and just general wackiness, people are still going to find ways of making life terribly difficult for everyone else, Survival of the Fittest or not.

I removed Yawgmoth's Bargain from my deck since that card is clearly cheating with the amount of life you start with. I think that SOTF is just as bad for a format where mutual fun is ultimately the goal, at least, as far as I understand it.

Author:  MadWombat [ 2006-Jun-13 7:10 pm ]
Post subject: 

Pfft. I won that game because of Memnarch and Galina... Kraj and Horseshoe Crab was just the finisher (admittedly, a pretty good one). :)

Author:  Ban Ki-moon [ 2007-Jan-05 1:49 am ]
Post subject: 

It seems to me that this issue has long been resolved, but I wanted to chime in with some generic banning philosophy.
Survival of the Fittest is not a ban-worthy card. When we are playing 100-card-highlander, nothing is reliable. You put in as much redundancy as you can to make your deck better, but it's impossible to rely on one card. Sure, it's swingy, but this is EDH. Generally, every time I draw a non-land card (one that I can play), the game swings considerably in my favor, as is the nature of the format.
In addition, since this is generally a multiplayer environment, if one player becomes much more powerful than the others they tend to get punched right in the life total. Even with a solid combo deck (excluding unbound shenanigans), it's hard to fend off three or more players of reasonable skill, no matter what turn it is.
Lastly, again on the note of reliability, there are generals who perform similar tasks (Vig and Sisay spring immediately to mind). If you've got a tall stack of mean combo, a good general is a much better enabler than the seventy-fifth card in your deck.

I was going to talk about the current banned list, but I was just challenged to a game of EDH.
Perhaps I'll start a new thread later.

Author:  Sheldon [ 2007-Jan-12 5:56 am ]
Post subject: 

I'm strongly against banned SotF. The primary argument is that it's not an auto-win card, which some folks have already pointed out, and is the primary danger with cards. You can argue that Bargain isn't an auto-win, but I'd stare at you and make you recant. 8)

You're not going to be able to keep some folks from creating nearly tournament-worthy decks, or broken combos. Simply ask them not to, and remind them it's a casual format (although I understand that casual groups can get very internally competetive, and when one member of your group starts comboing, then the environment changes to stop him). The best method of keeping EDH fun is social and peer pressure. For the EDH-ethos, Infernal Genesis is a much better card than Vampiric Tutor.

For me, a resounding BOO! to the EDH combo player. Be more creative; be more interesting. Or the rest of us are going to get you! :D

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