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Restrictions and bannings: how to nerf a game into oblivion

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#41
dboeren

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Creative deckbuilders will find replacements for those cards and still have fun, or they may even - in a casual setting - ignore the restricted list. (As an aside, this is another barrier which some players impose on themselves which is unnecessary in a casual setting. "If I just had access to this card for my deck," they say, "it would be so much more fun." Does your play group care or even have knowledge of the restricted/banned list? Then play it. Have fun.) This is what the RL is for, to force creativity and hard choices at the expense of the easy choices in a competitive setting, and thereby to keep the game fresh.

 

This is a bit of an alien view to me.  The Restricted list is part of the rules of the game, so in my mind that's kind of like saying "Does your group even know the rules exist?"  I can imagine that people exist who play casually and don't look at online resources, I've seen them on BGG for instance, or brand new players who hadn't found it yet, but in general it feels weird to me to consider that people play with half the rules and ignore the other half.  But then again, I've never been one for house rules in any form.

 

That said, we did have a discussion on whether we should still use the Restricted list when playing Highlander format.  I hadn't thought of it but Lee brought it up.  At the time we decided to enforce it that night because I had built my decks to be compliant but we will talk about it again sometime for future Highlander events.



#42
Mulletcheese

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I can't help wondering, is Tom capor a scrub?

He imposes rules on the decks he uses, whether it's his personal ban on Houdini, his decisions about Y-Train or the decide my deck threads on this forum. Worse, he imposed his rules on the rest of us when he influenced the adding of resources ramping cards to the restricted list.

Surely that's the very definition of a scrub ;)
But he also happens to be the best CoC there has ever been, despite his scrub like tendencies nobody can say he's not a good player and he's not a top Tier competitive player.

I think Tom is a good example of how having personal restraints does not make a player any less competitive and does not automatically mean their decks are worse than other hyper competitive players... just different.


I think CoC is in a great place right now, for 4 reasons.

A deep and balanced card pool, multiple good decks can come from any combination of factions. Even factions missing deluxe boxes can make strong decks.

A small, but generally useful, restricted list.

The lack of a strong global meta. I'm sure we would all prefer more players and a larger online community but the lack of one means the top X decks aren't common knowledge (Y-Train excluded). This leads to more innovation in deck building as its harder to predict the meta or to netdeck tier 1 decks.

A slowly changing card pool, CoC doesn't get monthly additions to the card pool evenly spread across factions.
A couple of boxes a year, targeted at specific factions, is what we get. We were even able to skip a FAQ this year to keep the card pool more static. When you build a deck you get a lot of time to refine your deck with the same card pool and restricted list, there is no silver bullet lurking just around the corner. You can play an entire OP season with most factions having little or no changes to the card pool. Sometimes this means the ban hammer has to hit harder in CoC because you can't rely on new cards to fix problems, but overall new decks get more time to shine than in any other LCG.

#43
Karrius

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I can't help wondering, is Tom capor a scrub?

He imposes rules on the decks he uses, whether it's his personal ban on Houdini, his decisions about Y-Train or the decide my deck threads on this forum. Worse, he imposed his rules on the rest of us when he influenced the adding of resources ramping cards to the restricted list.

Surely that's the very definition of a scrub ;)
But he also happens to be the best CoC there has ever been, despite his scrub like tendencies nobody can say he's not a good player and he's not a top Tier competitive player.

I think Tom is a good example of how having personal restraints does not make a player any less competitive and does not automatically mean their decks are worse than other hyper competitive players... just different.
 

 

Petitioning for the rules of the game to change is not being a scrub. Insisting everyone playing by your made-up rules is. Arguing with a game designer to nerf a card is fine. Arguing that somebody who played a deck you don't like is "dishonorable" or a bad person is not. Scrubbiness is the second, and it's a terrible behavior.

 

Also, Tom always plays to win. The question is, what is the game? For a major tournament you can bet your ass he's going to build the biggest, most broken deck he can find, no matter who insults him over it, which is something that happens a lot.  With the DMD stuff, though, the game is no longer the tournament - it's to build a community. He thinks that's the winning move on THAT game, and it seems he might be right. Even within those restrictions, however, he still ends up trying to build the best deck he can with them, abusing some really powerful interactions when need be.



#44
kamacausey

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I'm just now hopping in and I haven't read all the previous pages in this thread but I will say this: the game is not in a very good place right now mullet cheese. Quite the opposite actually. Y train isn't a hit or miss deck. It's a very successful brutally efficient deck that goes off turn 3 the majority of the time and it can do it even quicker than that. Jeremy(last years worlds winner) got the nuts draw against me and beat me before I got a third turn at gencon this year! And this was after I put 2 of his interstellar migrations on the bottom of his deck! Granted, that particular game he got really lucky but the fact that the deck was even able to pull that off just shows you the power level it's on. If built and played right there is next to nothing that can stop it. It's beatable but at the cost of sacrificing a good portion of ones deck just to combat it which dilutes your deck against everything else in the meta. And even then you still can lose to its nuts draws! I'm starting to think we're just going to have to fly all of the euros out here to the states and line you all up one by one(including graham with all his calculations and compressions) and have you play against Tom's yithian deck until you see how ridiculous yiths can be.

#45
dboeren

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I think we're talking about a post-Yithians world under the assumption that FFG will be fixing it as they have said.  Without them, how do you find the meta?



#46
kamacausey

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I think we're talking about a post-Yithians world under the assumption that FFG will be fixing it as they have said.  Without them, how do you find the meta?


Oops! :-| Carry on then. Don't mind me.

#47
Mulletcheese

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I'm just now hopping in and I haven't read all the previous pages in this thread but I will say this: the game is not in a very good place right now mullet cheese.


If your just hopping in I should probably point out that I don't really class TC as a scrub, it was in response to earlier posts, as an example of using self imposed rules doesn't mean you aren't a good deck builder / competitive player.

Yes, I was talking post Y-Train. FFG will fix this before world's (apparently) but they could just be talking about new cards in sleeper. I live in the UK where the Y-Train is rarely played and interstellar migration is banned, this is what the future looks like and it's really good.

#48
Jhaelen

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I can't help wondering, is Tom capor a scrub?

He imposes rules on the decks he uses, whether it's his personal ban on Houdini, his decisions about Y-Train or the decide my deck threads on this forum. Worse, he imposed his rules on the rest of us when he influenced the adding of resources ramping cards to the restricted list.
 

You can be sure he's not. He wouldn't ask anyone what he should play in an official tournament, and he's playing the Y-Train although he apparently doesn't actually enjoy it.

 

So, I'd say Tom is one of the rare creatures that is able to switch modes and either play for fun or to win B)



#49
Jhaelen

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And if you cannot think of a deck that would allow you to win with a certain degree of consistency against the Yithian deck with the current restricted list in place, then who's problem is this? It sure isn't a problem I have.

 

Oh, but I can. Although, admittedly, I haven't come up with a deck yet that wins consistently against a Yithian deck _and_ other poular strong deck types.

My real problem is a different one, though: I don't _want_ to play or play against Y-Train. I consider it a waste of my precious time that I could spend better by playing something I consider fun.

 

And if your idea of 'variety of choices in strategy' is decks like the Y-train, or the 'Glimpse of the Void' deck, then you're right, I don't particularly care about such choices being available to players. Call me hypocritical if you like :)

 

There have been several articles from FFG's designers which stress that they want the game to be focused on the story phase. IIRC, they've also given that as the reason for some of the banned/restricted cards. And that is exactly what I'd like the game to focus on, too.



#50
GrahamM

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I'm gonna call you on that one, Jhaelen. Maybe you can consistently beat A Yithian deck, but I doubt you're consistently beating THE yithian deck that people are getting to top 8 gen con with. Feel free to prove me wrong, though.

#51
Danigral

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You can be sure he's not. He wouldn't ask anyone what he should play in an official tournament, and he's playing the Y-Train although he apparently doesn't actually enjoy it.

 

So, I'd say Tom is one of the rare creatures that is able to switch modes and either play for fun or to win B)

I've venture to say that most people can adapt to the setting, not just The Mage. It is a very rare creature that can turn-1 mill little girls and old men at a CoC demo night with no ruth or remorse.


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#52
Yuggoth

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I think the designers have been great at keeping the power level of cards without creeping too much, unlike many other card games.
But when they do print something a little misscalculated, I do not mind that it get restricted, it still spawns various new decks (but some restricted cards makes me wonder why they where restricted). I prefer cards getting restricted rather than banned so they might still see play.
Eventually the restricted list might become something like a short introduction into some of the competitive deck archtypes for new players.

In my opinion the most important thing is to avoid power creep so the game will not lose depth or eventually become a completly different game. "even" power levels increase variety in deck building.
But there is a difference between pushing boundaries and pushing boundaries. Some mechanics and such are more powerfull in some card games.

Example;
Offcourse milling will be more powerfull against 50 card decks with atleast 2 cards drawn each turn, than it was in card games that use the 60 card standard and draw one card each turn.

So it might not always be easy to predict how your card designs might impact the game if you do not play extensivly. So I am glad they listen to _experienced_ players opinions.
Restricting should be judged by deep analysis of mechanics, power level and "broken" combos (winning turn one in any game is not good design), vage terms of "unfun" should not be taken into consideration, as it is a highly subjective opinion.

They seem to have learnt alot from the first printing (only played with the first set though back in the day, so I can not speculate too much about that, but I noticed some differences between the card pools, mechanics, costing and such).

But I recently got into the game so I have not played most of these decks being discussed.



#53
Jhaelen

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Eventually the restricted list might become something like a short introduction into some of the competitive deck archtypes for new players.

That's a good point. Actually, when building decks for our casual game group, that's exactly what I've done: I've built at least one deck around each of the restricted cards. Almost all of them worked fine (a notable exception being 'Broken Space, Broken Time', which somehow doesn't seem to be that strong with the current card pool).

 

I'm gonna call you on that one, Jhaelen. Maybe you can consistently beat A Yithian deck, but I doubt you're consistently beating THE yithian deck that people are getting to top 8 gen con with. Feel free to prove me wrong, though.

Well, that's entirely possible. I haven't been following recent developments of the deck. It didn't take more than two games using the original Y-Train to decide I absolutely hated the whole thing and wouldn't want to ever have something to do with it again.

 

Is there a decklist of _THE_ yithian deck somewhere?



#54
jeermaster

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This should at least be somewhat close to the current top list

 

http://www.cardgamed...c-migration-r24



#55
ibell

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A fasinating and civil thread. It sent me to Sirlin's book which is consequently fresh in my mind. I've not attended any CoC LCG tournaments or played any skilled opponents but have some form as a game designer. My uninformed view is that because CoC is a LCG with new cards coming out it is inevitable that some cards will unbalance the game and reduce it's complexity and turn out to have been misguided. The argument that expert players will find a counter within the old card pool still means the new card is driving the game, perhaps into a less interesting playspace, The Designers have lost control to an important degree, If the new card can't be banned or restricted from "Official" play, then the onus is on FF to release new "counter cards" to remedy the mistake and again the new card is driving the evolution of the game in a path of damage control rather than positive thematic and/or strategic development.

Obviously one can argue about whether particular banned or restricted cards are sufficiently imbalancive to warrant having been banned or restricted but I think banning should remain an option.


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#56
Zephyr

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IMO Sirlins point applies only to players who want to be tournament successful - it says stop trying to "redesign" the game and start playing the game abusing as much as you can within the rules to win. Making house rules that "improve" the game will not make you a better tournament player and most of the time no one should respect your house rules anyway, because everyone else is playing with official rules.

 

IMO it doesn't affect designers that much. Bans are legitimate tool to use for designers. Especially when the metagame shifts to territory that designers don't want the game to go and there is no better way of fixing the state. 

 

The biggest problem IMO is who is the targeted audience, what meta should be most important. Its especially problematic with games like CoC where the size of competitive scene is limited, so more casual player experience is much more important. Also healthy tournament scene could benefit of many players playing many tournaments, so there is enough opportunities to test innovation. IMO in case of CoC its not really the case, so any strong strategy will take much time to be tested enough to really prove it too strong, not just beatable if you try different approach.

 

I like that FFG trust their players and left them some time to try beating the deck. But when even top tier players say its too hard too beat, not fun to play with or against, and whole communities house rule ban it EBR hammer is justified and frankly necessary to restore healthy meta.


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