Pauper: The New Bans, PFP's Communication & Accepting Reality
09/20/22 0 comments
My thoughts on the latest Pauper bans, the media adopted by the Format Panel, and the arduous need to accept things for what they are.Edit Article
Pauper Format Panelannounced this Monday an update to the format's banned and restricted list - Aarakocra Sneak, Stirring Bard, Vicious Battlerager and Underdark Explorer are banned! I'll leave the video here in case you want to watch it, and also because the ideas shared on it will be essential to building my perspective on the format and bans in this article. Without further ado, let's get straight to the point.
To the Pauper Format Panel: Communication is essential
it doesn't help a bitwhen some of these members' arguments are similar to the famous catchphrase
get good, as it just demonstrates unnecessary arrogance. I can easily imagine how exhausting being on the committee of a community as vocal and — given the competitive structure — as aggressive as Pauper must be. But when you're a part of what defines what should stay or leave the format, I suppose there's a decorum to maintain, even if to just avoid further backlash. That's why Twitter seems like the worst possible place to post your thoughts regarding the format and the work you do to regulate it.
"What do you suggest then?"Exactly the kind of announcement made by
Good Morning Magic: a clear audiovisual speech (and preferably with an alternative to reading), which demonstrates with an argumentative and analytical basis its points and its vision about Pauper in a unison and which manages to express the panorama they envision for the format — This should be more frequent. By making these statements a common occurrence that happens once every X months (for example, from one Standard release to another), the Pauper Format Panel links to the community's incessant feedback while presenting the reasons why they don't think certain actions or bans are required. In addition to also ending the hate speech that "they don't care".
Communicationis the most important part of Magic: The Gathering—in and out of the game—and understanding
whysomething isn't banned is just as important as understanding the reasons that lead to a ban from another card or strategy. The PFP apparently has the autonomy to do so, and could organize and mobilize in a more uniform way to establish a clear and objective link with the community.
much better and more productivethan words-limited posts by its members on a social network designed to trap us in an endless spiral of debates.
If one of the Panel members eventually reads this article, I hope you might consider this humble advice from a media student.
The bans' target was Turbo Initiative
a lotof space for opposing interaction — either by destroying the enchanted land with Cleansing Wildfire, or with Counterspell, or dealing with Arbor Elf, etc. There is a lot of room for interaction if we elaborate on the strategies that Gavin proposes for Avenging Hunter. But what about non-traditional means, as was the case with
Monarchwith Initiative and see how far this can go. Conspiracy's mechanics are often best applied to reactive propositions and/or for those that establish a powerful board position to then get recurring value with an extra draw per turn, so trying a "Turbo Monarch" might be a horrendous option given that you'll have more difficulties keeping the crown and/or establishing an irreversible short-term advantage with it in that shell, but I suppose the next step of these abilities has something to do with trying to merge them on a single deck.
Nothing good will ever come from Rituals, but we shouldn't ban them
Magic: The Gatheringhas nearly thirty years of history, and
a lothas happened in that time — even preventive bans like Memory Jar — and a hundred lessons were learned both in the competitive landscape and event organization, as well as in card designs. One of those lessons is that
free mana for a low cost is a problem— so there are no longer Rituals with the same standards as those that emerged in the game's first and halfway of the second decade.
usually win the game on their own.
absolutely nothing good will be done with them in the format, just like in any competitive Metagame where they are legal— they will be present in archetypes like Storm, or in mechanics that win the game on their own as was the case with Turbo Initiative, or they will speed up mana for Infect if it ever becomes more consistent, and so on — simply nothing healthy will come from their existence in Pauper, and no
fairstrategy is interested in its use. That said, I agree to
avoid banning them yet. Unlike Gavin, not because I believe Dark Ritual and the like are an iconic piece of what makes the format what it is, but because outside those occasions normally created by new spells and/or broken mechanics, rituals are either bad or appear in unique and fun archetypes like
Cycling Storm. Depriving a portion of the combo-loving community of decks that aren't consistent enough today by banning their enablers to preserve cards from more recent releases that are the real problem and threat to the format isn't an admirable proposal to deal with an unbalanced Metagame — and yes, the same goes for the
Affinity: There was a lack of clarity and data
Affinity. Since Modern Horizons II came out, it has become the absolute best deck in the format, has endured two rounds of bans while still held its title as the best viable strategy in the Metagame despite a barrage of hate from the rest of the format, such as the inclusion of four copies of Dust to Dust + Hydroblast on Sideboards. In summary, it is the best midrange in Pauper today and accumulates tons of Card Advantage for few mana, while establishing one of the best clocks, and all that coupled with a consistent manabase which allows it to play with three colors without suffering so much for this decision, allowing you to access the best draw in the format today (Deadly Dispute), the best removal (Galvanic Blast) and still work with a consistent Sideboard plan for each matchup
in addition totaking out Aggro decks with Krark-Clan Shaman. Therefore, the community longs for a ban on what made Affinity what it is: the Bridges.
althoughits maindeck slots are usually on
Boros Bully, which can turn them into discard fodder with Faithless Looting and Thrilling Discovery. One way to interpret this is that Affinity is such a force in Pauper that we need linear answers in abundance to deal with it. Another way is to consider that players care so much about this archetype that they bet too much on targeted hate to have a decent matchup. But at this point, more than a year after MH2, I think that if there were more efficient means to improve this matchup without having to resort to 4+ hate pieces, players would have already developed the Metagame to the point where this deck would become just another one among the main competitors, without the need for so many spells dedicated only to it.
To the community: The Pauper you knew no longer exists
People have this habit of wanting to ban everything they don't like and/or that makes their favorite strategy unfeasible in tournaments. I really believe that this is a long, serious, complex subject that deserves its own article explaining my point of view and what exactly this means for the format, but let's address it objectively here: Power creep happens, and whatever deck you miss playing, it won't come back anytime soon.
Pauper has changed, and no matter how much you loved the format in 2016, 2018, or early 2020, it's gone. This is true for all competitive levels of Magic. And if you want to get back to playing that strategy you love so much, your best bet is to wait for future downshifts and new cards to power them up at some point. I have a saying that goes,
"We should accept things as they come, not the way we would like them to be. It saves you a lot of stress and disappointment."— maybe, one day, your Elves deck, or your Stompy, or until your Tron gets a new inclusion that makes it a great competitor in the Metagame again. But today, we see an entirely different Pauper from that time when your favorite archetype shone in tournaments, and that happens. Power creep is a reality in any game. The same goes for Modern, Pioneer, Legacy and even Standard. Nothing in Magic is forever, and if you don't feel good about these changes, just don't play the format. There are thousands of amazing ways to play MTG, some of them not even going through tournaments and just having fun with your friends, so
why cling to the format like you own it?Things happen outside our existence all the time, and it's no different with Magic: The Gathering. Releases will keep coming, powerful new cards will be available, and looking at these things through
nostalgia glassesisn't going to help anyone understand what's really going on and how fast the game is changing. And your only options are to
accept things as they are even if it means you don't want to play Pauper or Magic anymore, or
live in a denial that will only make you gradually more frustrated— There's no going back to a glorious time that exists within your mind. The sooner we accept that this is the
Pauper and Magicwe know in 2022 and that it will continue to
evolve and changewith new cards in 2023, the better our judgment will be in assessing how healthy our relationship with the game is. That's all for today. Thanks for reading.