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It's Time For Us To Talk About The Community's Attitude Towards Bans

Where we’re going we don’t need bans. Okay, we may not need bans. Anytime a deck pops up, regardless of format, if it is doing something different from the norm or is a powerful deck everyone calls for bans. I am not saying that we never need to ban cards that are too powerful in relation to their given format, but I am saying that we need to at least wait and see if it is something that is needed or if the format can adjust. The outrage that arises when the want for bans becomes the topic of discussion, on social media or not, needs to calm down on both sides of the argument. Throughout my history in the game I have seen this issue from both sides of the fence and argued for or against cards that have been banned or unbanned in the past. This is going to be a more indepth look at the different approaches that we can take when it comes to such a topic.

Patience My Young Padawan

Make no mistake, it sucks when cards get banned. What we need to stop and think about is that if that if you don’t care if a certain card gets banned or not, someone else cares. I guess I’m suggesting that we be a little more empathetic when it comes to our “knee-jerk” reactions to the topic. There is a loss of confidence in WOTC to an extent and generally a monetarial loss as well and no one likes wasted money.

I have found myself wondering where the innovative spirit of the Magic community has gone as of late. Is it a product of the constant flow of information that surrounds the game? Is it the pressure to succeed within the game or certain tournaments? Is it the lack of time that players are able, or willing, to put into preparation? I believe that it is a combination of all three of these factors. As content consumers we are near constantly inundated by more and more information that is more and more up-to-date than the previous article or bite of information. If you’re anything like me, I want to try every other deck that I see and there just simply is not enough time for that. While Magic the Gathering Arena has helped with this problem, most of the player base have other obligations that require their time and attention. I would imagine that this leads to some of the clamouring for bans so that the time that those players are allocating to the game is used as productively as possibly, or at least is enjoyed as much as possibly since they may not have to time or resources or be willing to put the work in to test for solutions to problematic cards or decks. I guess I ended up covering the first and third point I made here.

If you are a competitive player, or a Spike, then your primary focus when attending a tournament is to win. When I read my previous sentence I would imagine that a lot of people would assume that I am speaking solely of the players that grind on the Star City Games Tour or the MagicFest Grand Prix circuit, but I am not. I include those Spikes that religiously attend Friday Night Magic at their local game stores, whether they have higher aspirations or not. This is a stranger source of the banlist argument, wouldn’t you think that those wanting to win would simply play the perceived “best deck” or  test out new strategies in an attempt to defeat that deck? Sometimes we forget that Magic players are human and humans, by nature, are slow and resistant to change. We’ve all been in the situation where we’re found a deck or archetype that we love to play and we learn the ins and outs of the deck only for something to come along and break the format, thus invalidating our deck or cause our cards or strategy to be banned. It’s not fun. This applies more to the players who specialize in a specific deck in eternal formats, such as Modern or Pioneer. Players are generally attracted to strategies that they enjoy playing and whenever a ban effects that deck or something more powerful arrives in the format, players don’t like it and that is okay. What is not okay is assuming that something needs to be banned without first exploring all of the options. We can try different, but similar, decks to see if we can adapt before the ole ban hammer has to come down. Yes, this may take time, therefore we must be patient.

You Gave Him What He Asked For. I Gave Him What He Needed

Magic the Gathering Arena has thrust the game into a different spotlight than some of us “seasoned” players are used to. There are so many more players playing Magic now than there were when I began and that will directly translate into more eyes on the game. More players will eventually equate to less time beginning required to find the “broken” combos or archetypes in a given format.

With Magic having the social media presence that it does, there are always going to be a lot of voices throwing out their opinions. Players, regardless of status, are going to demand certain things when it comes to perceived problems in formats. I firmly believe that those within WOTC who are responsible for the ban and restricted announcements have the games best interest at heart. I will concede that sometimes they take a little longer to ban or unban what we believe needs to be, but they do eventually get around to it after information is gathered and all options are considered.

“To err is human; to forgive, divine.” This is a quote taken from English poet Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Criticism (1711). This is something that we need to remember in all aspects of our lives. In regards to the topic at hand, WOTC is comprised of human beings and they will make mistakes and it is up to us to remember the love we have for Magic and forgive them.

I have begun to live my life by an interesting rule that occurred to me during an FNM at my LGS. That rule is whenever something happens in something that I enjoy doing, be that a hobby or television show/movie, I ask myself if I’m going to continue to play the game or watch the show/movie. If the answer is yes, then I don’t worry myself with the thing I don’t like or am unhappy with. If the answer is no, then I leave or turn it off and move on.

Because He's the Hero Gotham Deserves, But Not the One It Needs Right Now.

I would ask all of you to just sit back and think the next time someone asks your opinion on something being banned. Is it worth it? Is it deserved?

In a similar vein, what deck or what type of deck are we okay with being the top deck or a top deck. As of late it seems like the moment that something rises to prominence the ban talk starts. We can do better.

This is something that has been on my mind for awhile, a lot more as of late. We all want to play with the cards that we own or that we want to play with, but sometimes adjustments must be made.

I do hope that I have given you something to think about and you’re welcome to disagree with me and we can discuss it further. You can find me on social media and I will respond to any comments below.

Good luck, I hope you lose.

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