Jump to content

Welcome to Card Game DB
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!
Photo

Restrictions and bannings: how to nerf a game into oblivion

- - - - -

  • Please log in to reply
55 replies to this topic

#1
konx

konx

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 114 posts
Pre-writing disclaimer: this is going to be a very long post. Moreover, this is going to be a very difficult post to write, because the matter at hand has a very high probability to be interpreted in the wrong way and cause flaming. On the other hand, I feel like I have to express this feeling at some point because I love this game, the mechanics and the flavor. Add to this the fact that I am not a native English speaker and you see how the probability of being interpreted in the wrong way is high.
 
So, before starting on the subject, I invite you (before rage-flaming) to read every sentence with in mind the fact that I mean no offense to anyone. Moreover, what I write here is of course an opinion, so take it exactly for what it is. My opinion.
 
End of pre-writing disclaimer.
 
Introduction
 
I came across Sirlin website quite some time ago but only now I had the time to read almost completely his book, completely available online, titled "Playing to win". You can find the book here: http://www.sirlin.net/ptw

Since I consider myself a competitive player (which doesn't mean I am a good player, to be clear), I started reading it. And the more I read it, the more I found written out clearly some concepts that I was trying to make in some posts on the boards.
 
I decided then to use his work to complement my ideas, in the hope that now they would result more clear.
 
1) Playing to win: what does it mean?
 
I don't want to write too much here and I will let Sirlin speak in stead of me. I encourage you to read the Prologue and the Introduction.
 
Prologue: http://www.sirlin.ne...w-book/prologue
 
Introduction: http://www.sirlin.ne...ducingthe-scrub
 
meaningful quotes from the prologue
 

 

Imagine a majestic mountain nirvana of gaming. At its peak are fulfillment, “fun,” and even transcendence.
....
There are a few, though, who are not at this peak, but who would be very happy there.
......

“Playing to win” is largely the process of shedding the mental constructs that trap players in the chasm who would be happier at the mountain peak.

A lot of people get rubbed the wrong way by this stuff because they think I want to apply “playing to win” to everyone. I don’t. It’s not that I think everyone should be on this particular peak or that everyone would even want to be. There are other peaks in life, probably better ones. But those who are stuck in the chasm really should know their positions and how to reach a happier place.

 

 

2) Who is the scrub? (Attention: content at a high level of flammability, please read the entire chapter)
From Sirlin introduction:
 

 

The derogatory term “scrub” means several different things. One definition is someone (especially a game player) who is not good at something (especially a game). By this definition, we all start out as scrubs, and there is certainly no shame in that. I mean the term differently, though. A scrub is a player who is handicapped by self-imposed rules that the game knows nothing about. A scrub does not play to win.

Now, everyone begins as a poor player—it takes time to learn a game to get to a point where you know what you’re doing. There is the mistaken notion, though, that by merely continuing to play or “learn” the game, one can become a top player. In reality, the “scrub” has many more mental obstacles to overcome than anything actually going on during the game. The scrub has lost the game even before it starts. He’s lost the game even before deciding which game to play. His problem? He does not play to win.

The scrub would take great issue with this statement for he usually believes that he is playing to win, but he is bound up by an intricate construct of fictitious rules that prevents him from ever truly competing. These made-up rules vary from game to game, of course, but their character remains constant.
.......

A common call of the scrub is to cry that the kind of play in which one tries to win at all costs is “boring” or “not fun.” Who knows what objective the scrub has, but we know his objective is not truly to win. Yours is. Your objective is good and right and true, and let no one tell you otherwise. You have the power to dispatch those who would tell you otherwise, anyway. Simply beat them.

......

The scrubs will play “for fun” and not explore the extremities of the game. They won’t find the most effective tactics and abuse them mercilessly. The good players will. The good players will find incredibly overpowering tactics and patterns. As they play the game more, they’ll be forced to find counters to those tactics. The vast majority of tactics that at first appear unbeatable end up having counters, though they are often quite subtle and difficult to discover. Knowing the counter tactic prevents the other player from using his tactic, but he can then use a counter to your counter. You are now afraid to use your counter and the opponent can go back to sneaking in the original overpowering tactic.
...........

The scrub has still more crutches. He talks a great deal about “skill” and how he has skill whereas other players—very much including the ones who beat him flat out—do not have skill. The confusion here is what “skill” actually is.
...............

I once played a scrub who was actually quite good. That is, he knew the rules of the game well, he knew the character matchups well, and he knew what to do in most situations. But his web of mental rules kept him from truly playing to win. He cried cheap as I beat him with “no skill moves” while he performed many difficult dragon punches. He cried cheap when I threw him five times in a row asking, “Is that all you know how to do? Throw?”(My note: he is talking about Street Fighter here) I gave him the best advice he could ever hear. I told him, “Play to win, not to do ‘difficult moves.’” This was a big moment in that scrub’s life. He could either ignore his losses and continue living in his mental prison or analyze why he lost, shed his rules, and reach the next level of play.

I’ve never been to a tournament where there was a prize for the winner and another prize for the player who did many difficult moves.

 
I apologize for the fairly long quotes, but I prefer to try to expose the point of view of Sirlin in a comprehensive way.
 
And now, coming to the main part of this post:
 
3) Bannings: there is a chapter of his book dedicated to banning

http://www.sirlin.ne...hould-be-banned
 

 

What should be banned?

The world is full of players who think everything under the sun should be banned. The scrub believes that any tactic or maneuver that beats him should be labeled “cheap” and consequently banned. In actuality, very little ever needs to be banned.

............

How does one know if a bug destroys the game or even if a legitimate tactic destroys it? The rule of thumb is to assume it doesn’t and keep playing, because 99% of the time, as good as the tactic may be, there will either be a way to counter it or other even better tactics. Prematurely banning something is the scrub’s way. It prevents the scrub from ever discovering the counter to the Valle CC or the diamond trick (my note: read the entire entry of the book if you want to understand what they are). It also creates artificial rules that alter the game, when it’s entirely possible that the game was just fine the way it was. It also usually leads to an avalanche of bans in order to be consistent with the first. When players think they have found a game-breaking tactic, I advise them to go win some tournaments with it. If they can prove that the game really is reduced to just that tactic, then perhaps a ban is warranted. It’s extremely rare that a player is ever able to prove this though. In fact, I don’t even have any examples of it.

 

And the main point is:
 

 

“It’s Too Good!”

Only in the most extreme, rare cases should something be banned because it is “too good.” This will be the most common type of ban requested by players, and almost all of their requests will be foolish. Banning a tactic simply because it is “the best” isn’t even warranted. That only reduces the game to all the “second best” tactics, which isn’t necessarily any better of a game than the original game. In fact, it’s often worse!

4) Call of Cthulhu: point in case.
 
Now, if you have read up to this point you all might think that I am thinking about the infamous Yithian deck and that I am advocating for not banning it. Well, you are wrong.
 
The point here is that the entire chain of bannings we have seen so far in Call of Cthulhu has caused now the "necessity" of banning the Yithian deck.
 
Step 1: the beginnings and Agency/Hastur dominance
 
Let's start from the beginning: when only the Core Set and the first AP cycle was out there was the infamous Agency/Hastur deck. This deck was playing 8 copies of Alaskan Sledge Dogs, Magah Bird, the usual removals and Endless interrogation.
 
Was this deck ban-worth? yes. Why? because there was no possible strategy to counter that deck. Either you were playing it, or you were losing. I want to focus here on a concept: the concept of strategy. That deck was implementing a strategy (cheap characters which were extremely powerful combined with a full board thanks to Magah Bird) which was simply not possible to counter given 1) the game mechanics 2) the card pool at that point.
If you want,you can see this as a bug in the game.
 
Solution: restrict the Dogs to 3 copies, ban Magah Bird, ban Endless Interrogation. End of the Agency-Hastur dominance.
 
Step 2: the Logan-Necronomicon combo.
 
After a relatively long period of "normal" stuff, the Shub Necronomicon came out. This is a great example, I think. Necronomicon came available I think 1-2 weeks before the Euro tournament.
 
(personal story: I was preparing the tournament with a friend. He saw the Necronomicon, and built a basic deck with it which crashed mine, making it completely worthless. I went to the tournament anyway and lost badly due to poor preparation. Sad stories :P)
 
At the euro tournament (I believe it was with 20-25 players) at least 5 different players came up with a version of a Logan-Necronomicon-combo deck. None of them won the tournament (I think the most notable was Graham, considering that he won every other euro championship tournament where he showed up!).
 
What happened? people started complaining --> Logan combo was nerfed.
Notice: I do not recall ANY tournament won by the Logan Combo. The combo itself is very fragile and easy to disrupt. Nevertheless, the presence of this particular combo made sub-par decks not available, which is where the entire "scrub" point comes into place. Forget that those decks where sub-par even without the combo. The idea behind claiming the ban is that since the "pet-deck" is not available anymore then we should ban that.  But the point is that a sub-par deck will never be available at tournament level.
 
What is changing is just the perception: Logan-combo manages to win even before the sub-par deck gets to put a char into play or put some tokens on a story. So, the player of the sub-par deck is convinced that is all because of the combo. Without the combo, the sub-par deck still loses, but now it might manage to win a story here and there and then that player can blame the "luck" for his loss.
 
Step 3:
The acceleration.
 
At some point, Tom has won a tournament with a deck playing big-AOs and some acceleration in the form of Twilight Gate plus some other shub stuff.
 
All hell break loose. We have to ban acceleration because it let's you play big fatty guys too soon!
 
What happened? all the acceleration cards are banned.
What is the result? you are taking away strategic depth from the game. Acceleration is not the problem. Acceleration is just a tool which you use to craft a strategy. That strategy can be the strategy that allows you to put into play big fatties by turn 2, but it can also be the strategy that allows you to answer those fatties.
 
Notice: if you take a metagame with Logan-Combo in it, you might have simply solved the problem of AO-turn-2 deck. You put into play an AO-turn 2? well, I mill you to death on turn 3.
 
Also: both decks (logan combo and fast-AO) are playing Twilight Gate. So, a single card, is enabling 2 different strategies and in turn enables deck variance. The problem? see step 2.
 
(on the "problem" of acceleration there are also "nice", similar, stories coming from the old CCG era, but I spare those details)
 
Step 4:
 
Yithian and R&D.
 
You can basically copy here what I said about Logan and fast-AO. Yithian seems to be a beast. R&D is developed. One tournament where you can play both: they both go to the final. R&D loses, after beating Y. in the Swiss.

Result? Ban R&D and now ban Y.
 
Restrictions just have taken away good strategies because they make other strategies sub-par, without even letting the community the possibility to think about a solution. Solution that doesn't come in form of a single card, but in the form of a strategy that a deck can use to beat another deck.
 
The net result is that the player base is not "forced" to try solutions to problems because they know that if someone says "this is a problem" the ban-hammer falls down on it.
 
On a side note, let me say clearly one thing: the restriction of the Ravager WAS A JOKE. I don't know who complained about that card, I don't know who took the decision of putting it in the restricted list but it is simply a big, big JOKE.
 
Step 5: the future.
 
I predicted that Shocking would have been put in the restricted. Confirmed.
 
I now predict that at some point Flooded Vault will end up in the restricted. Because it is the nature of how this game has been handled.
 
Something used to search for stuff? ban it. Acceleration? ban it. Every single card that does something? ban it.
 
Another point: the restriction of more and more cards is making some cards just disappear from seeing any play.

===================
 
Summary: right now, the competitive deck creation is being dumb down by banning/restrction.
They are taking away choices from deckbuilding by removing any tool which makes the game different from a "play character/play removal" type of game.
 
Banning the "perceived" best strategy/deck, will only lead to a surface of he next "perceived" best strategy/deck, for which again ban will be called. It is an endless spiral.
 
We, as players, have to stop to think of solutions in term of cards and start thinking of solutions in terms of strategies. But we also need the time to do that. After I saw R&D in action I fell in love with the deck because it was a perfect craft. But I never got a chance to play it, leave it aside study how to beat it, because it was immediately banned. (yes, as anyone else I tried to re-build it using the limited card pool, but it feels a lot clunky with respect to the previous incarnations, besides the fact that it becomes a bit too inconsistent)
 
Plus, has anyone notice how R&D made a bunch of cards that never saw play before it, playable? How many people played Artifact of the lost cities? how many people played Obsessive Insomniac? or Professor Morgan?
 
Same goes for Yithian: some of the Y cards were in there just because they were Yithians...and I am really curious to see how many of those cards will see play, if the Y-train becomes not playable anymore.
 
I want to make clear a point: I am not telling you how you should play, or which decks you should play. I have no interest in that.
 
But since a lot of people complains because "Yithian is a NPE experience" or "Logan-combo is too good, it can kill on turn 2, thus is NPE"...well, let's look at the other side of the medal: the game how it is being shaped right now, is becoming a NPE for people like me that likes a different approach to the game.
 
 
 
 
Now, this was a very long post, so please, please, please: before starting the flame-rage, read it twice and take a break before posting. I am trying to have a civil discussion and as I said: I don't want to offend anyone and if by chance I did, I apologize. On the other hand, this is also what I think a game should be, so I don't see any reason why I should not express what I think.
 
Since I know that Graham has similar ideas, I invite him explicitly to write here his take on the subject.
 

thanks for reading.

 

Konx


  • Danigral, HappyDD, Cadavaca and 3 others like this

#2
norwegiangeek

norwegiangeek

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 102 posts

Maybe I'm not understanding the post here, but the issue I see with certain combos, and the Y-train specifically, is the same issue as the Agency/Hasteur issue from Step 1. It's not that it's too powerful, it's that there isn't a strategy that beats it so you're either playing it or losing.

 

I think netrunner on the other hand however has done a great job, where there a handful of tier 1 decks, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. It's clear that one of them will be the winner, and most likely the top 8 will all be some form of these decks, but it's not 1 single deck that is the best for runner or corp.

 

Thanks for the long post though!



#3
konx

konx

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 114 posts

Maybe I'm not understanding the post here, but the issue I see with certain combos, and the Y-train specifically, is the same issue as the Agency/Hasteur issue from Step 1. It's not that it's too powerful, it's that there isn't a strategy that beats it so you're either playing it or losing.

 

 

The post is not about Y. and that is why I wrote this:

 

 

 

Now, if you have read up to this point you all might think that I am thinking about the infamous Yithian deck and that I am advocating for not banning it. Well, you are wrong.

 The point here is that the entire chain of bannings we have seen so far in Call of Cthulhu has caused now the "necessity" of banning the Yithian deck.

 

Yes, right now probably Y. need to be banned. Why? because we have been stripped away of the tools to mitigate it.

 

Try to play a bunch of games R&D-pre ban vs Y. and you will see that even without specific anti Y. cards the deck is just capable of winning. Winning all the game? probably not. Winning a good chunk of it? yes.
 

Is R&D the only deck capable of doing this? probably not, but if restrictions keep putting away tools for the players, we will never know.

 

But again, the post is not about Yithian.

 

Thanks for reading it up, though! :)

 

Konx



#4
Danigral

Danigral

    Advanced Member

  • Small Council
  • 1358 posts

Konx, I appreciate your perspective on the restricted list. I agree with you that too often the LCG community (CoC is no exception) often relies too much on virtual pitchforks instead of trying to craft an answer within the meta. I for one appreciate that FFG actually gave the community time to try to answer Yithian mill. The fact that it also gave y-train players time to refine their deck was a side-effect of that. Coupled with the fact that the community didn't really and truly understand y-train as a whole - because of the perceived socialization against it - is a perfect example of how some players handicap themselves. However, I agree that y-train does need to be hit, at least until they release cards that can deal with the problem of making the discard safe-zone more vulnerable. We already see some momentum behind that with cards in the Cthulhu box like Even Death May Die.

 

I also am curious about what the game would look like in a restricted-lite environment. Your example of restricting resource acceleration cards is interesting because it was supposedly done to slow the game down, when really it just made a lot of card less playable in a competitive setting. Logan never sees play because Agency is weak...you know what else would disrupt the combo? Just restricting Shocking and Necronomicon; or just the errata to Altar. Logan would still be unplayable but for different reasons. (And then they go and print something like Plague Stone...the irony.) Giving other factions ways to get bigger guys in play to combat turn-2 AOs would make the game more interesting imo. But I digress.

 

I also agree that we as a community struggle to find top-tier decks because our community as a whole does not have access to them. As soon as one proves to be top-tier it is nerfed. It's almost as if FFG wants the community to be casual.


  • konx likes this

#5
konx

konx

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 114 posts

However, I agree that y-train does need to be hit, at least until they release cards that can deal with the problem of making the discard safe-zone more vulnerable. We already see some momentum behind that with cards in the Cthulhu box like Even Death May Die.

 

 

Thanks a lot for your post.

 

I want to answer on the point above. Even death may die is indeed a fine card to answer Y. (even more since you can pair with Flooded Vault to find it in a more consistent way).

 

Now, let's take a look at some cards which can anyway help with Y.:

 

- Gregory Gry

- Trophy room

- Atlantis

- The stone on the peak

- Elder Thing

- Forgotten shoggoth

- Isaac Miles

- Snow graves

 

I don't know, they look like a lot of tools to me (and I probably forgot something). Then, it's also clear that if you play only hate-cards you are going to lose on the long run. Which is why I was trying to show with the Agency-STL that you can play a deck without direct tools and still be able to win a good percentage of games.

 

Anyway, the problem is supposed to go away so...^^

 

thanks again

 

Konx


  • Danigral likes this

#6
dboeren

dboeren

    Advanced Member

  • Contributor
  • PipPipPip
  • 2834 posts

Obviously opinions will vary and different people have different visions of what they want the game to be like.

 

But personally I think that after the Yithans are addressed the game will be in a very good state where a wide variety of different decks can be competitive.  To me, that variety is a big plus - I've never been a fan of the idea that a few archetypes should dominate the game at any given point.  It also (to me) plays well with the unusually open deck building of Cthulhu.  What would be the point of being able to freely mix cards if only a very few combinations were actually competitive?

 

You've made some points about how certain cards or combos have been restricted or errataed, but I don't feel that your claim of "into oblivion" has much behind it.  If the way that the game is currently being handled (again, post-Yithans) is producing an interesting and highly varied meta then how is that ruining the game?


  • Danigral and Reckoner like this

#7
Danigral

Danigral

    Advanced Member

  • Small Council
  • 1358 posts

Thanks a lot for your post.

 

I want to answer on the point above. Even death may die is indeed a fine card to answer Y. (even more since you can pair with Flooded Vault to find it in a more consistent way).

 

Now, let's take a look at some cards which can anyway help with Y.:

 

- Gregory Gry

- Trophy room

- Atlantis

- The stone on the peak

- Elder Thing

- Forgotten shoggoth

- Isaac Miles

- Snow graves

 

I don't know, they look like a lot of tools to me (and I probably forgot something). Then, it's also clear that if you play only hate-cards you are going to lose on the long run. Which is why I was trying to show with the Agency-STL that you can play a deck without direct tools and still be able to win a good percentage of games.

 

Anyway, the problem is supposed to go away so...^^

 

thanks again

 

Konx

 

Yes they are all toolbox cards which imo are bad in isolation; the only ones that saw much play were cards that were more effective against a variety of decktypes and strategies, such as Snow Graves and maybe Isaac Miles and Atlantis (as much talk as I heard of Forgotten Shoggoth I never saw it). I also think that EDMD is not a great card in and of itself. But the beautiful thing with such a vast cardpool is that when we have a watershed of such toolbox cards in the environment, the inherent risk of a combo deck like y-train encountering some of those cards decreases its overall viability in a tournament setting (arguably more so in the swiss where there is more variety of decks).

 

 

Obviously opinions will vary and different people have different visions of what they want the game to be like.

 

But personally I think that after the Yithans are addressed the game will be in a very good state where a wide variety of different decks can be competitive.  To me, that variety is a big plus - I've never been a fan of the idea that a few archetypes should dominate the game at any given point.  It also (to me) plays well with the unusually open deck building of Cthulhu.  What would be the point of being able to freely mix cards if only a very few combinations were actually competitive?

 

You've made some points about how certain cards or combos have been restricted or errataed, but I don't feel that your claim of "into oblivion" has much behind it.  If the way that the game is currently being handled (again, post-Yithans) is producing an interesting and highly varied meta then how is that ruining the game?

 

It's clearly hyperbole, but that aside, it is disturbing how there is a widely-held assumption that after large tournaments the top decks will be nerfed. It happens in many of their LCGs, not only CoC. That perception, even if it isn't real (although in this case it is), prevents a lot of experimenting because players cannot play with or against top decks which will no longer be the same in months time. It leave the entire meta in limbo.



#8
dboeren

dboeren

    Advanced Member

  • Contributor
  • PipPipPip
  • 2834 posts

I admit that I don't follow the tournament scene for all the games, but my feeling is that if a deck wins Gencon or Worlds that's fine.  If the same deck makes up most of the top 4 or 8, then it probably warrants a look to see if there is an issue.  Sometimes there is, sometimes there isn't.  But just being the winning deck is not really indicative of anything by itself.



#9
HappyDD

HappyDD

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 236 posts

One of the things that Sirlin's writing relies on is a healthy tournament scene that can quickly disseminate results to the internet and allow for different strategies to catch on. Street Fighter tournaments happened all the time, all you needed was a Street Fighter machine somewhere you could access. So technically you could have multiple tournaments in small cities any day. The spread of ideas and counters and all that happened fast. The invisible hand of deck building strategy does not have enough observations (tournaments) to work in most LCGs. I think Netrunner has a really healthy tournament scene, but what else does? CoC certainly does not. Not only that, but for many reasons local playgroups for this game tend to be small barring exceptions where motivated individuals build communities. 

What happens with CoC? YIthian mill is popularized, sort of, but how many tournaments are there where this deck can be abused into the ground? Most tournaments are feel-good affairs for some promos and fun with friends. If I want to be friends with the 5 people who play CoC locally I'm not going to crush their mono-Hastur-4-cost-events-are-cool deck with a deck that competes at the highest level. Why not? If I do the next tournament will be a 1 person tournament.

 

If we step back even further, competitive LCG players are a really small group driven mainly by personal interest in the game. I would contend that the majority of players who play in LCG tournaments are scrubs. Why? Because there is no developed system for people to progress in meaningful intervals towards becoming a good player in most instances. Super competitive people are not drawn to most LCGs, they want to compete so they need a big pool of people to compete against. If someone wins a five person local tournament are they good or just okay? If people are having fun trying lots of different things, talking about decks, building a vibrant community, and then some deck none of them ever thought of comes along and ruins all of that, then it is in their best interest to soft ban it. It is in everyone's best interest, even the strong players, to ban it when local communities can completely collapse if one group of friends decides they don't want to play because of NPEs.

 

You could say that you are only talking about real pros playing at high levels being the real victims here by being handcuffed to sub-par decks. That could be true, but the vast number of LCG players (1) don't care because they will never bother to travel to such events, and (2) actively despise the maximin approach of competitive players. I consider myself competitive, I like a loss if it teaches me something about the game. But FFG likes having people play their games, and if the majority of those people are scrubs, then they can simply ban a problem card and move on. For them it isn't about having players explore all the niches in a game and hit nirvana, it's about playing CoC rather than giving up for some other easy substitute. 

 

So in the end I guess I don't like bans but I understand them. Having a huge card pool helps mitigate the pain people feel when a card they like gets banned or restricted. 


  • Danigral, Mulletcheese, jasonconlon and 2 others like this

#10
dboeren

dboeren

    Advanced Member

  • Contributor
  • PipPipPip
  • 2834 posts

Nirvana is a subjective place.  To my mother in law, a cabin in the woods is Nirvana.  For me it would be relaxing for a couple of days at best, then I'd miss civilization.  In the context of card games, one person might like games where they can design infinite combos to win in a single turn.  For me, this would be a turn-off.  Fortunately there are also multiple games that can cater to different audiences, desires, and playstyles.  If Cthulhu isn't the game you want it to be, it's worth considering that it IS the game many other people want and that what YOU want may just be in the next box over on the shelf.

 

For instance, I not a big Thrones fan.  I feel very restricted in deck building due to the tax of mixing factions, many times too few deck archetypes are viable, there are cards which are nearly "must have" in almost any deck like Valar, and there is for me too much emphasis on an engine.  By that I mean that most good Thrones decks rely on the interaction between a set of cards that combo off each other and there are easy ways to guarantee that you can search for those few key cards and get your engine set up early through the Plots.  Not saying every deck is like this, but for my personal taste this circumvents some of the things I like in card games.  However, it's important to note that this is MY PERSONAL TASTE.  Lots of other people like Thrones and how the game works.  So rather than complain in the Thrones forum about things that are unlikely to change, I just play games that do match up with my preferences.



#11
mnBroncos

mnBroncos

    Advanced Member

  • Small Council
  • 3801 posts

i also hope negotium gets restricted again....it is just to powerful. If yithians are basically banned then you almost have to play a slower deck with that card because when it is out it destroys rush decks. Now i understand wanting to slow the game down but that card is to much, in my opinion. 



#12
Danigral

Danigral

    Advanced Member

  • Small Council
  • 1358 posts

Hello, my name is Dan and I'm a scrub.


  • HappyDD, Jhaelen, jasonconlon and 2 others like this

#13
GomJabbar

GomJabbar

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 66 posts

Hello, my name is Dan and I'm a scrub.

 

Hello Dan, glad you joined us.  My name is Gom and i'm a scrub.

 

EDIT: And BTW, that is why i'm playing casualy with friends, no tournaments, because that let me build decks I will enjoy playing instead of fitting in the mold and playing what is considered good or best.


  • HappyDD likes this

#14
Mulletcheese

Mulletcheese

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1048 posts
My name is Ian and I'm NOT a scrub, I'm a good player :)

Like any issue that divides opinions you get extremists on the fringes at both sides.

At one end you have scrubs, players who are no good and will never get any better but always give it their best shot. These are generally nice people who love gaming, it just might not be the right game for them. And yes, they usually play by their own rules.

At the other end of the spectrum you have hyper competitive players, it doesn't mean they are good/successful but a large percentage of this group will be. However a hyper competitive personality is not an attractive trait, it's not something I'd like in my friends/colleagues/opponents/myself.

The other 95% of players fall in the middle, these are the good players. They play to win but have fun doing it.
It's these players that FFG target the game towards, and who the banned/restricted lists support.
This is where I place most of the people on this forum.

It often seems that when a hyper competitive personality refers to a scrub, they are referring to all non-HC players and not to true scrubs. Also the definition is defined by not playing the best possible decks, a rule imposed to define good vs. Bad players while accusing scrubs of defining their own rules on how the game is played.

My gaming nirvana is to have as much fun as possible, win or lose, if that ever changed to win as many games as possible (regardless of fun) then I'll risk becoming a HC player. I hope that never happens.
  • Cumber likes this

#15
Karrius

Karrius

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 74 posts

It's worth noting that Sirlin's suggestions apply to tournament organizers and players, not game designers. He thinks game designers should be updating and errataing games as often as they can. A game designer changing already released cards if it improves the gameplay experience is something he is in favor of, and has done many times before.

 

I am pretty disappointing in the community in their response to "Let's not play yithians, and you're bad if you do", and some even outright saying people should be banned from every tournament for playing the yithians in a major tournament. Things have been getting BETTER, but that sort of attitude is still pretty deplorable.

 

It's also worth noting that recently a lot of cards have become unbanned and unrestricted, so things are looking up. Right now, a big part of the restricted list is just the resource ramp, which weren't a problem on their own, just a problem because they were all together - the LCG model is honestly the one to blame, here, with the constant need to add new cards, have new cards that new players can pick up that fit a theme (shub's ramping), but also have a giant back cataloug that never goes out of rotation.

 

I don't think all of the criticisms are valid, even if the kernel of truth is there. Stuff like the Logan loop should be banned - turn 1 or 2 instant wins just are not good for the game. When a combo can instantly win the game before your opponent has even had a turn, things are messed up. It's not like there aren't current infinite loop combos out there that can win the game or do other amazing effects. If a game comes down to LITERALLY no interaction, it's no longer a game. It doesn't matter if it wins tournaments, if it can win AT ALL without involving the other players, it needs to go away. Tournament wins are certainly something to pay attention to, but they aren't the only thing.

 

 

 

Plus, has anyone notice how R&D made a bunch of cards that never saw play before it, playable? How many people played Artifact of the lost cities? how many people played Obsessive Insomniac? or Professor Morgan?

 

I've seen ALL of these cards used before R&D was a thing. These are not some rare, obscure cards - they're hardly A-list, but solidly B-tier, and show up in decks every so often, to the point where I can remember what most of them do offhand.

 

 

Same goes for Yithian: some of the Y cards were in there just because they were Yithians...and I am really curious to see how many of those cards will see play, if the Y-train becomes not playable anymore.
 
Displaced and Return to Yith weren't much played in the mill to begin with, Keeper of the Great Library might still be useful if you need a draw engine, Scholar from Yith still has an amazing, repeatable card-blanking effect that puts Invulnerable and Toughness creatures on notice, and Scientist from Yith is in an awkward position and isn't too great.
 
If interstellar migration was up and removed today, you see Scientist getting less use, Scholar being useful in some decks as a form of blanking (which is a meta-dependent power), Keeper of the Great Library and Lost City still being a SUPER solid draw engine that can work fine with only Yithian Scouts and each other, and Scouts, Peaslee, Dark Passenger, and Study still being all really good, if not TOO good cards. So like, one card really gets to be less useful. 

  • Reckoner likes this

#16
Obtuse

Obtuse

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 601 posts

I think a healthy conversation about the CoC restricted list could take place here if it wasn't wrapped up in the incendiary nonsense of what a "scrub" is. No offense to the OP, I'm hip to what you're saying but I think you veered off course with the Sirlin blowhard tryhard article. An arena for competitive play and casual play can exist within any game and it baffles me why these two groups of players always have to be at odds.

 

I've actually been meaning to make a thread myself to pick the brain of the community on the restricted/banned list; what do you think should be on it that isn't (if anything), what do you think that's on it should be taken off (if anything)? I feel the tournament scene could survive James Logan being let out of jail. I don't usually devolve into internet shorthand, but the decision to send Ravager to the restricted list seemed so absurd that my only response is "lolwut?" Temple of R'lyeh...really? There seems to be more than a few cards that the restricted list has basically been a death sentence for, and I feel that's kind of a shame. What do the rest of you think?


  • GrahamM and Reckoner like this

#17
MagnusArcanis

MagnusArcanis

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 335 posts
Preface: Content herein are not flames, meant as insults, or meant to offend anyone. I’ll be typing some of this with a bit of frustration in my heart only cause I feel like I’m repeating myself. Also, for the most part, while they may seemingly in direct response to konx… they shouldn’t be. I can’t promise 100% accuracy for that, and I apologize in advance should I mess up. I’m attempting to address all readers, not one person specifically.
 
Second Preface: Konx has and has quoted some good points. However, I feel there are many false, misappropriated, and completely wrong ones as well. This isn’t a slight against him or anyone who shares his opinions (currently?) on the matter. However, I believe a lot of these ‘opinions’ are being transformed by ‘assumption’ into something resembling a ‘fact.’
 
I’ve been lucky enough to have the privilege of having a ton of non-public information about some of the behind the scenes thought process about some of the decision of what some cards were BRE’d. I’m here to shed a bit light on some of the points with my own first-hand experience. Granted, just because I know some things, doesn’t mean I know the whole story. The point I’m mostly making is that there is a lot more that goes into the decision of how to handle a problem in the metagame. I shall attempt to remain from stating any assumptions or opinions of my own. I’m attempt to only pass what knowledge I have of the behind the scene  Like above, I can’t promise 100% accuracy for that as I am typing on the fly, and I apologize for that in advance should I mess up.
 
Third Preface: The term BRE. I will be using this as an acronym for Ban/Restricting/Erratta-ing a card.
 
 
4) I’m starting here simply because this is where Konx’s post actually starts. 1-3 only seems to set up the reader with a specific mindset and prepare people for his following points.
 
The point of “cthulhu’s past BRE is took away our checks and counters to Yithians, so it now must also be BRE’d” is quite plausible. I hold many reservations about that being accurate though.  But more on this later.
 
“Step 1” – Here have the first misappropriation. Cards listed in his ‘solution’ were not soley done in response to Agnecy/Hastur deck of lore.  Banning of Endless Interrogation? Yes, that was. Banning Magah Birds? Nope, while the deck didn’t help it’s case, FFG members at the time decided that a 3 for 1 for 1 put too much offense into the game for the other factions to handle. It was a major proponent of any Hastur based deck at the time, even including those not running Endless Interrogation. Add that on top of the popular deck of the time… and that likely gave FFG enough of a reason to ban it. However, I am also certain it wasn’t a light decision, and there may of  been other evidence that went into the decision that I am not aware of. Limiting Dogs to 3 per deck? Nope. Again the top deck at the time, didn’t help, but Alasken Sledge Dog dominated deck presence for 2 years. And eventually devolved into whoever drew the most dogs, regardless of deck, would win the game. Checks and counters to the dogs existed and more were on the way, but deck building of the day became stale and stagnant. With a 3x reprint of the pack it was in on the horizon, the Dog’s created another problem for the game as well. Due to the printing and packaging process of the new AP’s, 8 copies of a card wasn’t easily feasible. So, FFG decided to kill two problems with a single, justifiable, errata.
 
“Step 2” – Everything was good until the following statement. “What happened? People started complaining -> Logan Combo was nerfed.”
 
While it’s true that people did complain, and that it never did win a major tournament. The notion that the those are the only two possible factors in BRE-ing a card is false. Of course, I’m not saying Konx doesn’t know this or that is what he is implying, but I wanted to really point this out because that is how this section reads.  I personally had a couple conversations with those in charge at the time at FFG submitting deck lists containing infinite combos. Which, more than one of them involved the Logan + Necro combo. Some of which, had a staggeringly consistent, early game, path to victory. Of course, none of this was in a direct result of any tournament or player pandering. Most often they were rules questions. Now, it was never communicated to me that his had any part of their decision making process, but I know it did give them some math and practical lists to use in any internal testing. Then, of course, the combo was revealed and there was a flurry of complaints. I’m not sure of what specific reasons lead to it’s BRE, but thinking that a way to win on the first turn is, in anyway, not one of the worst things you can have in a game like Cthulhu… I will argue with you all day.
 
“Step 3” – You can actually blame the hits to ramp/acceleration cards on me if you want. Believe it or not, the post worlds (the one I won with AO’s) FAQ didn’t have a thing that touched ramp. It wasn’t till a later FAQ did anything happen to ramp. However, the reason I say you can blame me, is because that before that FAQ during one of the playtest conversations for in what later became Terror In Venice, I had brought up the topic about ramp. I’m going to try to avoid breaking NDA here so I apologize for a bit of vagueness. At one point in TiV’s card pool existed, I think 2-3 cards, that facilitated ramp/acceleration. Being one of the few people who witnessed cost reduction and ramp ruin the CCG version of Cthulhu I spoke out. In a very long and detailed email, I explained how ramp was not only upsetting the balance of the game, but it was impacting future design as well. Ultimately, it lead to the revelation that game was evolving in such a way that not only certain strategies but entire factions were being phased out. With the only recourse was make incredibly overpowered low cost cards (ie, things not unlike Alternative Historian). Which, leads to a power creep that would spiral out of control… Just like how it did in the CCG era. Since that conversation, FFG has decided to consciously make efforts to slow the game down back to its proper speed. A large part of this was to limit the abuse potential of ramp cards.
 
So to summarize, the ramp didn’t go away just because I won with a ramp deck. The deck was just a single proof of concept of a much larger problem that, in my opinion and seemingly factually, NEEDED to be fixed.
 
Also, I’d like to point out… taking away a few dominant strategic options doesn’t take away strategic depth. In fact, it does the exact opposite! It actually INCREASES strategic depth! If anyone would like that explained in further detail, let me know, but this is getting pretty lengthy as is.
 
“Step 4” – Konx made another good point here, if the guts weren’t ripped out of R&D perhaps Y-Train 3.0  wouldn’t be a thing. Personally I have some reservations about that being true, as a lot of things that made Y-Train 3.0 viable would’ve been the things that I would tried to use as a way to counter the R&D matchup with R&D 2.0. Still, I the odds of Y-Train being a tier 0 deck would have certainly been decreased. Then again, I would likely still think Y-Train should be dealt with regardless.
 
However…   with what happened to R&D… While, a lot of the cards that were affected, in my opinion, deserved some attention in their own right, I hesitate to say that the deck’s performance was the only cause. In fact, I would go as far as to say that there were indeed other reasons as to why those cards were affected. Alas, I can’t prove that as I had no input nor was made privy to the situation, but no one other than FFG can prove that what their reason(s) were. So the assumption that the reason they were BRE’d was because the community couldn’t come up with a solution is essentially mere speculation.
 
The BRE solutions are always bad, but their done in regards to maintain the health  and expectations of the game. A “problem in the meta” of this nature aren’t for the players to solve. Players adapt to the meta all the time (if they’re of the mindset) and will work with whatever card pool that is laid before them. However, when the actual meta (not just what you see in tournament reports) shapes into a bottleneck instead of something resembling a circle... it's time to adjust the game for the players. 
 
"Step 5" - I see what Konx is feeling when he says "something used to search for stuff? ban it.." line. Sometimes it does kinda feel that way, and for some of the choices FFG has made... I kinda feel the same (though this is getting pretty rare for me).  But it's ultimately why I'm making this post. There is a lot more in their decision making process than what they're projecting. You/we might disagree with the result, but I'm attempting the allay the view that expressed often not only in this thread, but throughout the community history.
 
"Dumb down, and removing tools" - This kinda took me for a different turn. Is this whole post's actual point to bring back combo? If so, there are still viable combos out there in the card pool. Only the OP ones that create a non-play experience or negative play experience are being touched. (ie, the ones that can win on turn 1/2, or warp the meta into a extremely narrow card pool). But again, removing dominant strategies/cards creates more options, not less. 
 
"Endless Spiral" - This is actually a valid point Konx has made. Using the ban hammer all over the place won't get you very far and will destroy a game.  I've stated before that I don't like every one of FFG's decisions, but... as the point of my post... they're not slinging around the Banhammer without careful consideration. 
 
"Start thinking of solutions" - I agree with the sentiment of not whining for the sake of 'I can't deal with this.' In fact this was a major point in my Y-Train opt-out post a short while back. 
 
'Love for R&D' - the next few comments here are expressing the feels for R&D. I can relate. In fact, I'm sure several people could tell you how much I miss my 2012 deck.  Sometimes a deck just clicks for you and it sucks to have it taken away. However, I think the mindset more players need to adopt is to not use those decks as a crutch and evolve with the card pool. Becoming too familiar with a deck often limits your scope and creates mental barriers (pointing towards some of the quoted material in the first 3rd of Konx's post).
 
"How is the game being shaped right now?" - One of the few benefits we got out of this year's tournament season is a peek at what it would look like if Yithian Mill wasn't in it. IT WAS AWESOME! Most factions were well represented and had a very diverse span of different strategies that were also varying in speed and style. It was a thing of beauty. I felt like I could put any 1 or two factions together and make 2 or 3 competent decks that I feel I could do well with. That's is the greener pasture I expect the game to be come worlds this year. 
 
I suppose that is the main difference between mine and Konx's view on the matter. He sees a few options being taken away, while I see a ton of options that were previously deemed useless, become viable again. 
 
Conclusion - Matching long posts with long posts! ah ha! I hope I remained civil and didn't offend anyone. My goal was to be as informative as possible and to bring light to the fact that while FFG often looks like they don't care... they're putting more thought into it than they're being given credit for. I also hope that I've some eyes to a better approach to how you cthulhu.
 
Also, I hope I'm not coming off as a fanboy. I'm not one. To this day I remain rather critical of FFG. However, I believe them to be moving in a *mostly* positive direction. Sure, I have my gripes, but my expectations of the gaming industry has been lowered to... "I'll settle a net positive trend. Thanks." Also, giving a little bit of a voice to an otherwise defenseless entity. Unless of course this thread was started with the intent to push FFG into a response. In which I apologize, but there are better avenues. 
 
If you guys have other questions regarding FFG's side of things, I'll attempt to get to them, but expect a delay in my response as I'm gonna be busy for the next few days.  However, as I leave I do have a final question for Konx/the community.
 
Is this thread about the theories and impact's of BRE-ing cards in general or meant to be us discussing our personal beliefs on current card pool for Cthulhu?
 
 
EDIT: PS. If I'm wrong, and it turns out that FFG is not using their careful judgement when making decisions on whether to BRE or not... I reserve the right to flame FFG into oblivion and rage quit due to their stupidity and irresponsibility. ;)

  • Jhaelen, Mulletcheese, HomerJ and 5 others like this

#18
konx

konx

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 114 posts

Most tournaments are feel-good affairs for some promos and fun with friends. If I want to be friends with the 5 people who play CoC locally I'm not going to crush their mono-Hastur-4-cost-events-are-cool deck with a deck that competes at the highest level. Why not? If I do the next tournament will be a 1 person tournament.

 

If people are having fun trying lots of different things, talking about decks, building a vibrant community, and then some deck none of them ever thought of comes along and ruins all of that, then it is in their best interest to soft ban it. It is in everyone's best interest, even the strong players, to ban it when local communities can completely collapse if one group of friends decides they don't want to play because of NPEs.

 

You could say that you are only talking about real pros playing at high levels being the real victims here by being handcuffed to sub-par decks. That could be true, but the vast number of LCG players (1) don't care because they will never bother to travel to such events, and (2) actively despise the maximin approach of competitive players.

 

Thanks for the answer.

 

You see, I understand what you mean here, but do you notice the contradiction?

 

On one hand, the casual player and his friends want to play whatever deck they like without being worried about the deck being competitive, so they locally soft-ban some cards among them. Perfect.

 

On the other hand, they want to go to tournament...and have the same expectations??? Even if they don't care about being competitive? Or even better: they don't go to tournament, but still feel that the mere presence of a deck they decided to soft-ban in their local community is a threat to the game??

 

Do you see the contradiction here?

 

I don't care if with your local group you (generic you, of course) want to play the hastur-4-cost-event-deck.

 

What I do care is that after you play in a tournament you don't complain because "OMG, that-absurd-combo beat me on turn 3, and I didn't have a chance to play my events, we should ban it".

 

because the point here, is that with this approach in mind at some point we will have to start banning cost-1 characters because if unopposed they win the game in 2 turns.

 

I mean, where do you set the bar of "that deck is creating a NPE and is not letting me play my deck?"

 

cheers

 

Konx



#19
konx

konx

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 114 posts

I think a healthy conversation about the CoC restricted list could take place here if it wasn't wrapped up in the incendiary nonsense of what a "scrub" is. No offense to the OP, I'm hip to what you're saying but I think you veered off course with the Sirlin blowhard tryhard article. An arena for competitive play and casual play can exist within any game and it baffles me why these two groups of players always have to be at odds.

 

Yes, I agree. The two arenas can co-exists.

 

The point is that right now building a competitive arena is becoming impossible, since any combination which is perceived too powerful is insta-banned.

 

The point is that, IMO, they are trying to make the casual play the center of the tournament play. That's my concern.

 

Konx



#20
konx

konx

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 114 posts

 

Second Preface: Konx has and has quoted some good points. However, I feel there are many false, misappropriated, and completely wrong ones as well. This isn’t a slight against him or anyone who shares his opinions (currently?) on the matter. However, I believe a lot of these ‘opinions’ are being transformed by ‘assumption’ into something resembling a ‘fact.’

 

Well, of course I am probably wrong (mainly about the way FFG handles bannings). On the other hand, I work with the information I have. And the information that the general public has, right now, is the following: a deck wins a major tournament (usually, worlds or euro) --> deck gets banned. More on this later.

 

 

Also, I’d like to point out… taking away a few dominant strategic options doesn’t take away strategic depth. In fact, it does the exact opposite! It actually INCREASES strategic depth! If anyone would like that explained in further detail, let me know, but this is getting pretty lengthy as is.

 

I cut away all the behind the scene elements about bannings simply because I have nothing to say there, since I don't have any information on that.

 

The only remark I have is the following: I would have loved to see those combo decks play a couple of tournaments. Basically, you are telling me that people create decks, they send them to FFG and FFG decides which decks can live or not based on their internal testing/reports/math.

 

Well, to me this seems counter-productive. Why? because is taking away responsibility from the players. Do you want to know how I interpret this process you just described? "the players are too stupid to figure out a solution to this problem, let's take away the problem before they realize there is one".

 

Notice: I don't think FFG thinks we are stupid. But hey, what about letting us at least TRY to deal with the problem?

 

You see, I don't think that FFG makes the banning based solely on people complaining. BUT

1) from the outside it feels like that

2) sometimes, some bans don't make any sense.

 

 

"Dumb down, and removing tools" - This kinda took me for a different turn. Is this whole post's actual point to bring back combo? If so, there are still viable combos out there in the card pool. Only the OP ones that create a non-play experience or negative play experience are being touched. (ie, the ones that can win on turn 1/2, or warp the meta into a extremely narrow card pool). But again, removing dominant strategies/cards creates more options, not less.

 

I think we have to agree to disagree, here.

 

Unless there is a deck for which you either play that deck or you lose (which was never the case in any of the bannings, barring Y. AFTER all the other bannings) removing dominant strategies REDUCES the options. What is INCREASED is just the number of cards that are allowed to be played, simply because the good cards cannot be played anymore.

 

Right now the game feels like this to me: take two factions, put into the deck the auto-includes, flip the cards. The one which draws better wins.

 

I don't call this strategic depth. Playing different characters and different removals, is not strategic difference, is just card difference.

 

And no, it is not (only) a matter of combo being in the game. Even though, in a classical "rock-paper-scissor" scheme which in Cthulhu can be translated to rush-combo-control, we are currently missing one piece. I would argue that we are also missing control, but there the definition of control is a bit controversial so I leave that out.

 

In a classical sense, combo beats rush, rush beats control, control beats combo.

 

Notice now that while yes, there are combo out there, if they cannot beat rush in a consistent way (which is, turn 3 at most) the combo is simply not viable.

 

 

 

I suppose that is the main difference between mine and Konx's view on the matter. He sees a few options being taken away, while I see a ton of options that were previously deemed useless, become viable again.

 
Well, I am eager to see all these options available and all the different strategies. As I said before, right now what I see when I make a new deck is just different characters with different removal/protection schemes.
 
Thanks a lot for the post ^^
 
Konx