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By: SpikeBoyM, Alex Ullman
Jul 07 2008 9:51pm
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PDC is an all player run format on Magic Online. It consists of competitive games using exclusively commons cards. Games can be found in the "/join pdc" room and events can be found on the Magic Online official message boards. For more information please visit pdcmagic.com.

Let me drop some knowledge on y'all.

Back in 2005, there was only one PDC event, and it was called “PDC.” If you wanted to play and you lived on the East coast of the United States, you gave up your Saturday night and the early morning. Obviously, this got in the way of some of my more collegiate activities during my Junior year. Back then, every four weeks everyone who could would gather in a chat room before that week's event and have what was called the PDC Forum. Here, decisions about the format and tournament structure were discussed and decided upon. Everything from the number of points in season standings to the Banned and Restricted List were fair game, and anyone could raise a concern. This, of course, led to some odd requests, such as the banning of the Circles of Protection. Cooler heads prevailed on that particular issue.

It was in these forums that the decision was eventually made to neuter Affinity. The Artifact lands were restricted to one of each and Cranial Plating was outright banned. These decisions were put in place to slow down the Machine to a level that was competitive yet beatable. The Plating decision was a ban because when Affinity played the equipment, if there was no answer on the other side, the game was more or less immediately over. Restricting this card would place more emphasis on who could draw this card, or the answer, first. And then the first PDC explosion happened. Other events started popping up and with in a few months, the Forums became antiquated due to the fact that one forum would not be able to cover every event. Message boards, first those run by Wizards, then Tom's boards, followed by PauperMagic.com and currently PDCMagic.com have taken the place of these forums. Community decisions now had a location that was not dependent on time zones. The message boards brought unity to the community eventually, through conformity in the Banned and Restricted list discussed above, commonly called the Euro List, becoming the standard for PDC Classic and later, PDC Extended.

With the move from open discussion in real time to forum discussion, the scheduled debates about the format never took place. As such, we have been with the so called Euro List for over two years, without finishing a discussion. For a long time, I was on the side saying we should not revise the current list as I remembered Affinity for what it was: a dominating and metagaming warping force. During these discussions I was worried that other decks would not have the tools to keep Affinity in check- PDC only has commons after all. I, like many other Paupers, felt that unleashing Affinity into Classic would be bad because Affinity was too good.

I'm switching sides- I'm the designated hitter.

In Classic PDC, we should unrestrict the Artifact Lands.

Classic has grown stagnant recently. With the advent of Modern MUC, there is a new deck that is “too good” and yet many people are ardently opposed to adding any more cards to the restricted list. Perhaps letting the Machine play again would be just what the doctor ordered to shake up the format. I am only advocating the removal of the Artifact Lands from the list, not Plating. The equipment is still the equivalent of drawing a card that says “I win.”

Here is a short list of reasons I feel the lands should come off the list:

1) Since the Euro List first went into effect during Summer 2005, there have been 14 sets released online. 14 sets of commons that have been added to the format in Affinity's absence. Simply put, the impact of these sets on Affinity's former dominance is unknown, but given some of the cards released it seems that Affinity would have a harder time competing in the modern Classic landscape. What follows is a list of cards that either drectly attack Affinity or impede its game plan that were not previously available online:

Ravnica Block: Faith's Fetters, Last Gasp, Pillory of the Sleepless, Seal of Doom, Stinkweed Imp, Sundering Vitae, Tin Street Hooligan

Time Spiral Block: Ancient Grudge, Aven Riftwatcher, Fury Charm, Molder, Seal of Primordium, Tendrils of Corruption, Thornweald Archer

Masters/9th/10th: Lightning Bolt, Demolish, Dust to Dust, Exile

Coldsnap: Gelid Shackles, Icefall, Martyr of Ashes, Skred

Lorwyn/Shadowmoor Block: Deglamer, Eyeblight's Ending, Gleeful Sabotage, Ingot Chewer, Nameless Inversion, Oblivion Ring, Smash to Smithereens

This is only a list of commonly played removal spells and cards that specifically target Artifacts. That's nearly 30 cards, not counting other niche removal spells such as Dark Withering and Ichor Slick. With all these potential hate cards floating around, as well as others, Affinity would not likely be at its pre-Euro level of dominance. These are all cards that would hinder Affinity's chance over overwhelming early. This also does not take into account other cards that might see increased play if the Artifact Lands were unrestricted, such as Echoing Ruin.

2) The other decks have evolved at a much faster rate than Affinity. Even in PDC, Affinity remains largely a block deck that reaches into other sets for a few “refill” pieces such as Rush of Knowledge. Yet, outside Mirrodin block, it has not gained access to any core spells and the biggest innovation recently has been the addition of Ravnica bouncelands. While some people have also added Springleaf Drum to their builds, this has not been enough to make Affinity a consistent contended in Classic PDC. MUC has adopted Force Spike and a strong defensive curve and Burn Deck Wins can currently goldfish faster than Affinity during its heyday.

Affinity is today what it always has been: a very fast deck based on a pushed linear mechanic. Very few tools have been released to make this deck better, aside from the aforementioned Drum. It is the great white shark of PDC- unchanged, while the humans of the world learned how to use spear guns and bigger boats.

3) With the advent of the “Future Extended” format (that is, Extended after the October 2008 rotation, after which it will “Present Extended” or just Extended), there are places for players to escape from the specter of Affinity. Back in the day, there was just Classic PDC- nothing else. There was some fear that unleashing Affinity would mean players would just migrate away from PDC en masse for other formats and diversions. Now with other healthy PDC formats, the hosts of Classic PDC events do not have to worry about losing their player base totally. Instead, it is likely that if people do not like a format where Affinity is strong, they would gravitate to another PDC format that did not allow such a deck. If this were the case, and Classic attendance rates dropped off significantly, then those in charge could simply “switch back” without a significant problem.

That is another reason why it would not be the end of the world if the Artifact lands were unrestricted. Unlike the DCI, PDC can enact format changes at any time it sees fit (with regards to the historic emergency ban). If these cards are so detrimental to the format, there is nothing to say that the hosts of Classic PDC events do not just undo what they have done.

4) Taking the Artifact Lands off the restricted list would allow for more innovation in deck building. Yes, it would require certain concessions to be made to account for the potential prevalence of Machines, such as Dark Banishing over Terror, it would also open up a new class of deck which could really function based on Trinket Mage packages. Currently, the Blue Grey Ogre is best served in PDC fetching a singleton land or a poorly placed piece of equipment. However, in a world of unrestricted lands, Trinket Mage decks could take on a true Aggro-Control feel, and may provide diversity inn possibilities for deck builders.

Similarly, the changes to the list would force players to make innovations in their decks. Far too often in Classic PDC, decks tend to stagnate and tech is hard to come by. While this may be a selfish point, unleashing these lands into PDC would make the subsequent metagame shifts much more interesting to watch and cover for this here site.

5) With PDC now being a healthy community, it would be okay for it to have an official best deck. I seem to recall some trepidation about having a so called “best deck” back in season 3, but since that time there have been cycles of best decks in Classic, and all told, it helped the format. Part of the backlash to Affinity, I feel, has always been its dominance in other traditional PDC formats. “It was strong enough for WotC to neuter, so we should do the same.” Except PDC is a very different game from so-called traditional Magic. The best decks in Classic are dominant for 6 weeks at a time, until another deck is uncovered that does that whole winning thing better (in metagame cycles). In the time since Affinity was taken down a peg, the following decks have been considered “best” in Classic PDC: Top Deck Red/Burn Range, Angel Stompy, UW Cogs, MUC, MBC, and Orzhov/Blink. Each of these have had their time in the sun and each deck also has numerous foils. It makes sense, to me at least, that allowing Affinity would mean that deck would have the chance to do well on some weeks, and when the pendulum swung the other way, would do pretty darn bad.

6) The closest paper format from which PDC draws its paper population, Peasant, has no such restriction on Affinity. Similarly, paper tournament organizers that have run pauper events place no such restrictions on the Artifact Lands (but to be fair, they have more Gorilla Shamans out there). As PDC continues to grow, it makes sense for the online and paper versions of the format to line up.

While admittedly this is the weakest argument, it still holds merit. Much as Wizards is currently focused on acquisition, PDC has always been concerned with increasing popularity and growing the payer base. Having a paper format where players could migrate online with relative ease could help with player acquisition and retention.

7) Finally, Magic Online will have two of the most overpowered blocks released to the aether in the coming years:Tempest block and Urza's block. These blocks will help push certain aggro decks over the top and also help control decks with some old, a slightly overpowered countermagic. Sure, Myr Enforcer is scary, but so is a GW Sliver deck running eight crusade effects. While Looter il-Kor is annoying, imagine a block where Shadow creatures were actually aggressive and strong- Dauthi Slayer anyone? Mogg Fanatic at common is also pretty good beats. This is an evolution of point 2: Affinity will remain strong, but the decks around it will get consistently stronger and new decks will continue to arise. What does Affinity get in the future? It gets Lotus Petal. While this card will help Affinity, it might force the deck to sacrifice a mid-game in exchange for a more explosive start.

This is simply my opinion. Classic PDC could stand a change, and I feel that taking the Artifact lands off the restricted list could be just what the format needs. However, this is all moot until the bug that prevents Tin Street Hooligan from working properly is remedied. At that point, it may be time for a change.

I encourage this point to be debated and discussed both here and at PDCmagic.com. I know my opinion; I want to hear yours.

Keep slingin' commons-

Alex

0 Comments

by authenticsimpsonian at Thu, 07/10/2008 - 10:43
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Just so you know in some Peasant Magic tournaments artifact lands actually have been banned in addition to Sol Ring and Skullclamp, mostly in events that happen in Paris, France. Though for some reason they never banned Cranial Plating, so I guess it's a different approach to banning cards. I just thought you might want to know that since you mention the format in your article.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) 24.183.138.210 (not verified) at Thu, 07/10/2008 - 20:13
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personally i just see the mana curve getting completely bent by doing this however keep the lands restricted and curve intact then allow one plating there's still more then enuf removal in the game to deal with it. (more ways to remove a single artifact then to remove a horde of tokens for example....)

by SpikeBoyM at Fri, 07/11/2008 - 03:53
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I'm sorry, but I have no idea what the first half of your post said.  The mana curve of what gets thrown out of whack?  PDC?  Do you mean the fundamental turn? Because right now, your post makes very little sense.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) 24.224.96.149 (not verified) at Wed, 07/09/2008 - 13:50
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i think this mention of color resources brings up a good point, maybe affinity in the current meta would be less powerful than before, simply because more pilots would try to maximize the amount of artifact land greatly reducing the number of blue sources.  I have tried playing around with all the arti-lands before and if you max out your manabase with them and someone focuses on taking out the blue sources, you are much more pressed not to just die a few turns in when you no longer have access for mana to draw cards.  This may be a random way out there point and i have no real understanding but it seems to me like it may be a viable point.

by Me5794 (Unregistered) 167.88.178.70 (not verified) at Wed, 07/09/2008 - 12:25
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While i am not actively playing now, i do think that now is as good of a time as any to take an action on Affinity and Artifact lands.

 @Evu While i may not be as much as old timer as you, i do feel like that this issue has been talked about many times before. Each time a small group of players try to test decks against affinity. Both with Decks that are unprepared and decks that are prepared. The Past few times there has been a feeling that an unrestricted affinity (by that i mean a full compliment of Art lands) could potentially be safe to throw back into the meta.

 What Hasn't been done is a live test of the deck. Put it in hands of the unskilled or new players. Put it in tournies where you don't know if that is the next deck around the corner or not. We can test in a control enviroment till we are blue in the face, but until its been put out there we do not know what will happen. I will only consider it adequate when it has shown up unrestricted a few times at CPDC

Spike mentioned that 14 sets have rolled into pauper classic since the decision has been made, every color has an answer to affinity.  And other decks have become tuned enough that they can beat Affinity with a properly prepared (by prepared i do not mean have all of the anti-artifact cards in the board, but someone who has actually play tested a deck and know how to successfully pilot the deck)person.

SO in short. bring back the artifact lands and put them on a 30-90 day review. Cranial plating is still bad. Do it before tempest comes out so things are muddled up.

 

 I like the idea of shaking things up and if we are going to do it, i would do it before tempest comes online.

by SpikeBoyM at Wed, 07/09/2008 - 06:33
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Why do something like this which makes the B&R list even more convoluted?  Also, I highly doubt unrestricting Citadel would do anything, since it would eat valuable colored mana sourcs.

-Alex 

by Evu at Wed, 07/09/2008 - 07:46
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Spike and I have discussed this issue in the past, but I'll post my thoughts here so they're public.  It's possible that some of these are a change from opinions I've published before.

First, on principle I dislike the idea of having any banned cards in an eternal format.  If we are going to relax the B&R list, I would rather restrict Cranial Plating before we unrestrict the artifact lands.  Yes, it's an "I win" card, but so is turn-2 Myr Enforcer.  At least with a restricted Plating you only have to worry about one copy of it.

Second, I think several of the cards on the list in point 1 don't belong.  Trading 1-for-1 with a creature (or, more likely, a Welding Jar) on turn 4 doesn't address why Affinity wins.  Some of those cards can't ever kill Enforcer or Behemoth.

Third, I don't think that there's anything wrong with the Pauper Classic format that needs fixing.  With regard to Affinity in particular, I've played it a couple of times recently and found it to be in fine shape.  That said, I think we can expect to have Lotus Petal by the end of this year, and that will provide a good opportunity for a re-examination of the B&R list.  I'm in favor of postponing this whole discussion until then.

But I can tell you from experience that JMason is right: this discussion will never cease.  No matter what we decide.  Not that I don't understand why, but, from my old-timer's perspective, it's frustrating to hear people always wanting to "test" something that, in my mind, has already been adequately tested.  How often is too often to shake up the banlist?  If we try unrestricted Affinity now, then ban it again, how long before we repeat the cycle?  A stable banlist has its own benefits that need to be weighed against whatever benefits we'll get from changing it.

by LulThyme (Unregistered) 74.57.111.133 (not verified) at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 20:24
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Suprised no-one has mentionned this before:
http://www.pdcmagic.com/forums/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=683
we had a thread to test some slightly modified current "top" decks against affinity with unrestricted land.
Spike and I did quite some testing and then stopped from lack of time.
 
The preliminary results were that a few decks couldn't deal with it, a few simply crushed it (MBC, Burn range, RG aggro for example) while most were about par. 
 
IMO, unrestricting lands would leave a changed but still balanced meta (whatever that means). 
 
It would probably make "random" unprepared decks lag even more behind but that is what happens when you pit them against any top unforgiving deck (Burn Range, MUC etc..) and not a huge concern of mine, as long as there is room at the top.
 
 
By the way, Gorilla Shaman is good but not even necessary. Red has many other options against Affinity.
by Kingritz (Unregistered) 74.232.108.245 (not verified) at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 22:16
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We're falling off-subject, but your post was a direct response to me, so I am going to respond to it:

I flatly reject the faulty logic that you can take away the player who had the BEST results with a top-tier deck and say that it's "[no better] than any other high-level deck." That's just a ridiculous, statistically unfounded way to evaluate decks. Take any solid, high-level deck and add in more wins than any other player has ever had with any single deck in history, and I bet you'd get something ridiculously dominant. MUC has had very few pilots. It's a hard deck to pilot. If it just happens that its ridiculous, utter dominance is highly concentrated due to those factors, it still doesn't make that dominance any less "real."

by hamtastic at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 20:08
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Not your fault at all... I've been having an inordinate amount of foot-in-mouth disease lately.  :p

PDC arguments about Affinity?  There weren't a lot really.  There was a lot of concern at the time regarding the health of PDC.  You mentioned most of it.  PDC was budding.  Affinity was really strong and very 'unfun' because of its overwhelming power in comparison to the rest of the field.  There was some cry to allow CoP: Artifacts but instead Affinity was neutered and pretty much everyone was okay with it.  I recall a few vague people who wanted to give it more of a chance to be beaten, but by and large, the community backed the decision to tone it down.

But as you also mentioned, a lot has changed since then.  There are more tools to fight an early Affinity hand, and more decks have more answers at their disposal than they did when Affinity got the smack down.

If it were a vote, I'd vote for Artifact lands to be unrestricted, and leave Cranial banned.  Give it a full season of support and time to prove itself and to let the counter-strategies come after it.  Maybe it's not that great anymore.  Maybe it's better than ever.  There really is only one way to find out though. 

by BubbaCUofA (Unregistered) 71.238.100.34 (not verified) at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 20:23
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All six of the artifact lands are restricted, right?  If so, why not start off by unrestricting Darksteel Citadel?  It has a downside (colorless) that the other lands don't have, so I think a good argument could be made for not treating it like the other artifact lands.  That would give three additional artifact lands to Affinity decks; not a huge improvement, but an improvement nonetheless.  Test the waters a bit, rather than just jumping head first into complete unrestriction. 

by SpikeBoyM at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 15:21
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I meant do you remember any other arguments surrounding Affintiy in PDC, not Affinity in general.  My mistake on not being clear.

by Boin (Unregistered) 24.6.152.191 (not verified) at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 15:54
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I think the trial is a good idea since we can then see how good affinty is with the artifact lands unrestricted. I would favor the unbanning unless every deck is more or less forced to run maindeck hate and the meta turns into affinty v. anti affinty.

muc by jaknife (Unregistered) 71.224.158.7 (not verified) at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 17:17
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to correct a misconception that has been stated numerous times in the comments:

MUC is not the dominant Classic PDC deck right now nor has it been for at least 5 seasons (the time I have been involved in PDC). Its excellent numbers are due to the high skill level of the main player that plays it. Beyond his statistics it puts up no more victories than any other high level deck. To that end, it should not be considered to be the equal of Pre-Restriction Affinity and not nearly a "dominant" deck.

As for unrestriction, i'm fine with it on a trial basis. If nothing else, it can breathe some life into Classic where largely this can stagnate from time to time.

by SpikeBoyM at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 15:20
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Your points are all valid, but I think you undervalue all of the good turn one removal out there, including Lightning Bolt, the formerly commonplace Electrostatic Bolt, the potentially strong Sunlance and Skred, and a myriad of other cards that can answer a turn one creature.  This is to say nothing of the numerous cards that can nuke an Artifact on turn one.  I think you are also focused too much on the TPDC metagame, where Thresher is more common than on Saturday.  That being said, some new decks at CPDC also could give Affinity trouble, like Red Husk with its seemingly endless stream of blockers, and UR control with strong counters and removal.
You are correct about the ability to refill, and yet there are cards to help keep Rush in check, such as the splashable Negate.

It seems that your argument takes the stance of "not playing narrow cards" such as E-Bolt, Overload, Ingot Chewer, and others.  Yet, in the past and even now there are cards in decks that are designed to answer specific threats: Force Spike in MUC to answer aggro and historically Kami of Ancient Law in Wx aggro to combat Orzhov Blink.  Is this your point or not? 

Also, it would really be helpful to know who you are, since you have been around for a while and the veteran perspective is valuable to the community.

_Alex 

by SpikeBoyM at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 13:34
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Thanks to everyone for commenting.  I hope we can keep this dicussion going both here and at PDCmagic.com.
A few points I want to respond to-
First, the "trial season."  Why not just have a regular season and label it something like, AE, for Affinity Era?
Eric: I was in fact referring to the limited availablity of Gorilla Shaman on MTGO.  This is what is most worrisome, so here I make an impassioned plea to Worth: Please please please put Mox Monkey in MED2 at a common or uncommon slot- it would make us paupers very very happy.  Also, Eric, do you remember anything else from the original banning talks that I missed?
Thopter vs Walker: Thopter is much better because of the presence of Arcbound Ravager in regular Affinity.  In PDC Affinity, Walker helps to enable Ninja's and picks up a Bonesplitter.
And yes, I want to keep Plating on the banned list- it is simply too much of an "I Win" card for the format, in my opinion.

-Alex 

by Kingritz (Unregistered) 74.232.108.245 (not verified) at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 11:26
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Sure there are 'Thopters. We just call them "Phyrexian Walker."

by Kingritz (Unregistered) 74.232.108.245 (not verified) at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 11:34
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What Spikeboym said is that there are "more" Gorilla Shamans in the offline Pauper community. This is surely true. Last I checked, which was admittedly months ago, it cost over 3 tickets per Shaman online, given their scarce availability only in under-purchased precons of an under-purchased set. Unlike PDC staples Terminate and Armadillo Cloak, few Paupers probably own Shamans, and Shamans have no real use outside of reactive play against Affinity. Having to drop 12 tix to build the deck of your dreams is not really the same as having to drop 12 tix just to keep that deck from being abjectly crushed by Affinity every time you bring it out. Shamans' price might even go up if Pauper restrictions changed, because PDC provides what I assume to be a substantial subset of the market for an old common like Gorilla Shaman. And even if price isn't supposed to directly be an issue in PDC, it could hypothetically be a metagame issue if most Paupers are unwilling to run out and blow a chunk of change on suddenly-in-demand Gorilla Shamans, in turn leaving Affinity running that much more unchecked through Classic PDC metagames.

This doesn't change my "on the fence" position about Affinity unrestrictions in Classic (but NOT in Fut Ext/Extended), but it does support the idea that Spikeboym had a legitimate point in mentioning Gorilla Shamans as an issue.

by hamtastic at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 12:45
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I agree completely, but with only one caveat: we don't *know* that Affinity would be the best deck anymore.  It certainly was, 14 sets ago.  Is it now (with restrictions)?  Would the unrestricted arti-lands push it over?

I dunno anymore.  Maybe it would?  Maybe it would unseat the current best control decks.  Maybe it would still not have the resiliency needed to be the top deck.  The only way the format will know is to try it.  It's obviously a fast and powerful deck when unrestricted.  But is it *that* much better that it can't be controlled?  Again, IdunnO, and as I no longer play the format like I used to I can't really say that you all need to try it, but I would be very interested in hearing about the outcome if it was tried. 

by hamtastic at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 13:58
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There have only been a few 'big' ones that come to mind.  The first is the crux of this article (affinity) and what to do.  The next biggest one I recall was the Time Spiral Purple cards and how to handle them.  The decision went to allow them as proxies only for other online commons.  There was some discussion about PPS switching from Prismatic rules to Singleton rules so that the transmutes were still allowed as well.  But by far the biggest hubbub in PDC has been Affinity and its amazing brokenness since day 1.

...

And I think more Gorilla Shamans would be a good thing for Classic PDC as well.  I realized I misunderstood your comment after I posted my reply.  It's a big ticket common, and that's without it hosing a major PDC deck.  I'd expect higher prices if they were being run against a top deck in the format.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) 24.60.119.104 (not verified) at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 15:06
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Having played affinity  before and after the restriction I can say this is a valid idea, however i feel the result will be too dangerous.  Affinity with only 6 artifact lands still has those draws that completely overwhelm non-teir 1 decks (Teir one being MUC, Cloak, and probably RG Thresh).  Even those teir 1 decks are way behind and likely lose to affinity's broken start.  The only thing keeping affinity in check at the moment is the inconsistency of its draws.  If it hits only 1 or even 2 artifact lands it still has to play fair in casting its cards at normal points in the game. I have personally been on the recieving end of the demoarlizing multiple 2/2s and 4/4s on turn 1 and 2s of games, the most important reason to keep artifact lands banned is that those games simply aren't fun.

If we can for a minute discuss the cards proposed as hate, there are maybe 4 or 5 cards on that list that are fast enough to compete with affinity post artifact lands.  3 or 4 mana is ALOT to pay to remove 1 creature, when affinity will likely have 4-6 more power of creatures on the board at that time.  Additionally, those fast enough to compete are way narrow, smash to smithereens for example just hits artifacts.  Fact is that unbanning artifact lands will make it nessecary to play quick narrow artifact removal, which limits decks to being forced to play strategies that can fit that in, ultimately limiting deckbuilding room.

As for affinity's speed compared to RDW, it was never affinity's speed that made it strongest.  It was its speed backed up by its resiliency.  Thoughtcast and Rush of Knowledge give affinity a viable lategame plan, combined with its explosiveness make it a complete monster.  Affinity can be held incheck by removal until it resolves a rush of knowledge, which is essentially game over, because the amount of removal cards, and the mana efficiency necessary to keep up with affinity means no card advantage.

 Additionally, comments about removal in all decks to combat sligh/thresh are all but null due to spike's comment in point #4, the shift from terror efficency to dark banishing efficency, which is a substansial change to make, when you look at how removal comes down. turn 2, turn 3, 2 on turn 4 if its a 2 cc (blatant generalization) as opposed to turn 3, turn 4.  This means affinity will have hit you atleast twice with frogmite/frogmites and probably once with a somber hoverguard or myr enforcer.  I'm not saying it will be impossible to beat Affinity, it is just that it will hurt the format for so much main deck removal to be necessary, and basically make viable decks, Affinity, RG aggro,removal heavy control

by Anonymous (Unregistered) 24.129.85.56 (not verified) at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 11:15
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I would say springleaf drum isn't as good in pauper. there's no thopters

by Kingritz (Unregistered) 74.232.108.245 (not verified) at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 11:24
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I am getting much more "on the fence" about this issue than I used to be, and some of Spikeboym's stronger points have a fair amount to do with that fact.

I'm still not terribly comfortable with a format in which Affinity is the clear "best deck," but it certainly doesn't rub me as wrong as a format where MUC is king. Your point about the resistance to further restrictions -- which, in my view and perhaps yours, would be entirely consistent with the justifications of the restriction of the Artifact Lands -- is a strong one. Consistency is valuable, especially when lack of consistency demonstrably leads to the ascendancy of an even greater evil. If the Classic PDC population is truly unwilling to extend the logic of Affinity restrictions to MUC (say, Spire Golem, working with the exact same mechanic), and i am at this point resigned to that being the case, then consistency is only achievable by unrestriction.

Beyond that, I am finally beginning to see flashes of a power level in multiple Classic decks that could perhaps truly challenge a stagnant monster like Affinity for dominance.

Taken together, I'm basically agreeing with your points #1, 2, 3, and 7 (7 seems to be a corollary of 1, in my view). I don't find your points 4, 5, and 6 compelling. 4: Trinket decks don't need more Artifact Lands, and I don't really think any other deck does either. 5: I agree that PDC is not regular Magic, but I do believe in using Wizards' bannings as a floor (but not a ceiling) for PDC bannings. This point is a bit of a non sequitur, however, because the Artifact Lands are not banned in non-PDC Classic. On your other point in this heading, I am not really keen on a "best deck" to the level of dominance of early-PDC Affinity or modern PDC MUC. If Affinity returned to those levels, I would turn to point 3 and re-ban it. 6: I just don't find this argument terribly compelling. Paper players migrating online have to give up their Kird Apes; they can give up their Cranial Platings too (and anyway, you're not even advocating a full aligning; you seem not to argue to unban Plating).

Among my several reservations, the current "health" of the Classic PDC format (in my view due primarily to a simple lack of MUC pilots) gives me pause in considering changes. The current bugginess of several key Classic PDC staples lowering the format's power level is also an issue, and I agree that changes should await those fixes -- perhaps Affinity is best unrestricted when Tempest comes online, providing another large power boost to Affinity competitors (though also to Affinity in Lotus Petal) and presumably an environment in which the buggy cards have all been fixed.

by LordSanada (Unregistered) 128.4.131.82 (not verified) at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 10:28
LordSanada (Unregistered) 128.4.131.82's picture

I don't like the arguments that PDC should have Affinity for its "best deck," and that we can always change it back if it becomes too poweful again.  These seem weak somehow.  I also think that Affinity is the only deck that will benefit from the unrestriction.  You mention a boost for Trinket Mage decks, but most decks with him won't want to use him to grab more than that one occasional singleton artifact land.  I think that wwe should keep them restricted- Affinity is still played, and does well.  If it isn't broken, don't fix it.

by lathspel (Unregistered) 129.188.69.169 (not verified) at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 10:49
lathspel (Unregistered) 129.188.69.169's picture

I would be somewhat more willing to unrestrict Affinity at this point, because I feel that many decks pack more relevant disruption than they used to.  The general strength of aggro in Classic PDC recently has made it necessary for everybody to pack some removal.

That said, I would not be thrilled to automatically give up 3 more sideboard slots for Ancient Grudge.  There's a bit of a problem in that the best cards vs. the best enchantment are not very good vs. artifacts, and vice versa.  However, if that was the biggest problem, I don't think it would be a big deal.

I'm open to convincing but am not quite convinced yet. 

by hamtastic at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 06:27
hamtastic's picture

Wow, I remember the original debate WAYYYY back when about Affinity, the lands, and the Plating.  And, as you said, it made sense at the time to slow the deck down.  There have been a lot of new cards added to MTGO since then, and it probably is time to revisit the restrictions.  Affinity will gain very little as we go forward.  The most recent boon for the deck is Springleaf Drum for explosive starts, but even that's not all that much.  Wizards will continue to print artifact hosers at common, but not very many relevant Artifacts will be printed at common.  As that trend continues Affinity gets weaker and weaker in comparison.

I'd be very interested in seeing what would happen with unrestricted lands.

Oh, and we have Gorilla Shaman now, he's in one of the Coldsnap Precons.  :) 

by JMason (Unregistered) 217.10.133.193 (not verified) at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 05:53
JMason (Unregistered) 217.10.133.193's picture

I'm not a regular to classic events, however I think that a trial period makes a lot of sense, and might even put an end to the endless discussion of the issue.

On second thoughts, the discussion will never cease, but the trial still needs to be made.