[Classic] Bannings, Errata, Oh My!

Some background on this post:  First of all, it’s weird to call something classic that I just posted.  I’m using the classic tag to denote comments elsewhere that are copied here.  In truth, I’ve pretty much said all of the things below at one time or another.  Then, this V:EKN.net post was in a thread on bannings vs. errata that arose due to there being a perceived lack of ongoing management of V:TES.

If you want to call Magic’s rotation system massive bannings, I guess no one can stop you, but it’s not particularly accurate and not terribly relevant to CCGs such as this one that don’t support set-restricted formats.

Here is a link for Magic’s banned lists, btw, Magic Banned Lists.

Sure, block constructed has banned cards, unlike Standard and Extended.  Sure, like V:TES, Vintage bans ante cards, and then goes crazy with the bannings by banning a card that creates subgames (and that can be used to create infinite subgames) and a card that requires throwing a card into the air.  Legacy is a format defined by cards being banned that are restricted in Vintage.

Anyway, not that I see much point in reiterating these sorts of comments since they get ignored all the time, but errata and banning are both tools that can be used to improve games.  To think that CCGs, some of the most complex competitive games in existence are somehow lacking in flaws is a view I can’t comprehend.  The reality is that most of the cards for a given CCG at a given time are essentially banned from competitive play due to being obviously inferior to other cards.  Sure, can always play a card as a joke, but a deck gets strictly better by not playing the card.  In V:TES, this isn’t as important since the multiplayer nature serves to mitigate strength and weakness, especially in V:TES unlike, say, Babylon 5, a CCG where there was no requirement to interact with opponents.

Banning a card may, for all intents and purposes, “unban” a lot more cards that weren’t worth playing because of the banned card.  That’s probably a good thing.

Is it desirable that cards exist that can’t be played?  Nope.  Is it desirable to have to remember that the text on a card isn’t how the card plays?  Nope.

It’s also not desirable to have cards that so warp the play environment that too many strategies are nonviable.  What is too many?  Judgment call.

It’s also not desirable for a CCG to have an unfun environment.  What is an unfun environment?  Judgment call.  How do CCG managers make these judgment calls?  Player feedback.  Hopefully, good feedback, not the tirades that a tiny minority of people make on forums that most players pay no attention to.

Want to argue that no such thing as an unfun environment exists in CCGs?  I’m sure thousands more would dispute such a belief.  Want to argue no such thing exists in V:TES?  Well, I can see that argument being a lot easier.  I would argue that there are plenty of unfun things about V:TES at this moment, from Imbued to Events to the increased hoser mentality to ubiquity of far too many cards printed in the game’s earliest days, but YMMV.

Yes, a CCG, especially a multiplayer one can deal with cards that are too powerful, cards that cripple strategies, cards that do incredibly stupid things.  Metagaming is prevalent.  That doesn’t mean the game is more fun because such cards exist.  Note that we are only talking about tournament play.  People who play in tournaments should be aware of banned lists, restricted lists, and card errata.  Sure, tournament players will typically adapt their casual games to tournament rules, but they don’t actually have to if they don’t want.


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