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View Full Version : Tom Lapille discusses Modern: Creation, problems, Pro Tour



Timber
04-16-2015, 04:56 PM
This is a very interesting discussion. Modern discussion begins around 20 minutes. Good stuff about original banned list.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC7VQUf6jH8&feature=youtu.be&a

Phoenix Ignition
04-17-2015, 12:42 PM
I'm not a fan of his view on trying to take away pro tours so that people can keep playing their decks instead of getting degenerate combos banned. He also mentions the same sort of thing about legacy, how only pros must be able to find the best deck and pro tours are the only way that these decks will come into the light.

He argues for the local FNM metagame where someone just wanted to play their pod deck but can't now because a bunch of pros busted it. That's just total BS. It's not like there weren't thousands of players of each of the banned decks before they were seen in the pro tour, usually the pro tour decks only barely tweak something.

Without the spotlight though, and without bannings from a convergence of decks, you'd still have people playing the broken one, but it'd just be every single week that you had to try to fight fruitlessly against it. I actually quit playing for a few months before the Pod ban because that deck was just far and away the best in the format. It didn't have a terrible matchup and you could tutor up anything meaning any deck you knew you'd be playing, like in a local metagame for example, you could throw a couple silver bullets in against it and just beat the crap out of them. I have no doubt that if they didn't ban that card my metagame would have turned into 50% pod decks vs the people who couldn't afford them.

Then he says he thinks Legacy would have a huge shift in decks if they had a pro tour as if people don't innovate or play the best decks for GP and SCGs. Ludicrous.

I completely agree with his assessment of the number of fun games in modern vs the number of games that revolved around a single card being far too low. It's a huge problem right now how there are so many goofy combos that having the right single card means they win or lose. It makes the game feel a lot more luck based on whether you drew that card or not, and a lot less skill based. One of the problems of a non-blue no FoW format is that silly combos are going to be running around rampant and be really difficult to deal with. I have no idea how they'd change it without banning more 2 card combos, but they can't just keep doing that forever.

Barook
04-17-2015, 06:54 PM
That logic is incredibly flawed. If it's broken, then ban it for the love of God instead of trying to sweep it under the rug.

Miracles is the best deck of Legacy and the format is already pretty stall. We don't need a Pro Tour to know that.

But then again, Tom LaPille is a fucking idiot.

JDK
04-17-2015, 09:30 PM
Okay, now I understand the hate Tom LaPille is getting...

maharis
04-18-2015, 11:23 AM
This was interesting, if infuriating, content.

The major flaw in LaPille's argument is assuming modern pro tours are boring because people don't like the same decks. But even the hosts pointed out that people like seeing players who are known for certain decks play them. LaPille even said something like legacy has "somehow" managed to survive. Then says it's because legacy has a high number of top-tier decks (This is not as true as they make it seem, I think someone said 30 decks are live in Legacy, there are 8 in this site's DTB section and 20 with more than 40 tcdecks points)

Even 8 is better than Modern, though, and with the modern banlist and how design has leaned since Mirrodin, any potential increase in the amount of top tier decks is limited because powerful cards are purposefully neutered because the format would lack tools to fight it otherwise.

Basically, he's created a format that is supposed to help players' cards hold their value. But any card that has the potential to hold value is subject to banning at any time. He says that's because otherwise the pro tour would be boring. That shows ignorance of what people like about watching magic. Sure modern has been BGx vs pod vs snapbolt forever. But even that's much less boring than the board stalls that happen at high levels of standard play; even if the decks are different, the gameplay is the same. What eternal/nonrotating format viewers like is knowing the decks, knowing the players, knowing the format and the depth of the cards available -- not to mention being able to buy into and hold onto a deck.

Lord Seth
04-18-2015, 02:08 PM
I'm not a fan of his view on trying to take away pro tours so that people can keep playing their decks instead of getting degenerate combos banned.That's not what he said. He said that in order to keep Pro Tours "exciting" the idea was that they had to have a relatively new format each time. That's achievable in Standard because a new set has a big impact on the card pool due to the smallness of the card pool. That's less achievable in Modern due to the larger card pool.

One can argue that the cards that were banned before the last two Modern Pro Tours were problematic and would've been banned with or without a Pro Tour and that it was just a lucky coincidence that their bannings happened to coincide with the Pro Tours, which is actually a topic I would've been more interested in a discussion of, of whether those cards (Deathrite Shaman, Treasure Cruise, Birthing Pod, Dig Through Time) would've seen bannings or not if not for the Pro Tour. But he wasn't saying that degenerate cards shouldn't get banned.


Without the spotlight though, and without bannings from a convergence of decks, you'd still have people playing the broken one, but it'd just be every single week that you had to try to fight fruitlessly against it. I actually quit playing for a few months before the Pod ban because that deck was just far and away the best in the format. It didn't have a terrible matchup and you could tutor up anything meaning any deck you knew you'd be playing, like in a local metagame for example, you could throw a couple silver bullets in against it and just beat the crap out of them. I have no doubt that if they didn't ban that card my metagame would have turned into 50% pod decks vs the people who couldn't afford them.Sorry, but "it didn't have a terrible matchup"? Junk Pod (whether of the Angel or Melira variant) was demolished by GR Tron. It was one of the most one-sided matchups in the whole format. I can't tell you how many times I went to a tournament, got matched against a Pod player, then as soon as they saw what I was playing their face fell into despair because they knew they weren't winning that match. It wasn't quite on the level of Burn vs. Soul Sisters, but it was still pretty miserable for the Junk Pod player.

And while I have less direct experience in this, it's my understanding that Scapeshift was a pretty bad matchup for Birthing Pod as well. Claiming Pod didn't have a terrible matchup is objectively not true.


That logic is incredibly flawed. If it's broken, then ban it for the love of God instead of trying to sweep it under the rug.

Miracles is the best deck of Legacy and the format is already pretty stall. We don't need a Pro Tour to know that.

But then again, Tom LaPille is a fucking idiot.I don't think that he was making the claim that the Pro Tours would magically uncover the best decks and that would stagnate the format. What he seemed to be saying was that the viewpoint (which he didn't even seem to necessarily endorse, this came more across as "this is what people think" than "this is what I think") was that Pro Tours need to be "interesting" by showcasing new stuff and players making new discoveries and that a nonrotating format isn't great for that, and aggressive bannings would be a way to achieve that, and he didn't want bannings that were primarily for the purpose of shaking things up. He did seem to agree with the points the other guys were making in regards to how a Pro Tour could be interesting even if it is a similar format to last year.

I thought he actually came across as fairly reasonable in the podcast, and I left with a "wait, was that really Tom LaPille?" thought afterwards.

Phoenix Ignition
04-18-2015, 05:17 PM
But he wasn't saying that degenerate cards shouldn't get banned.
Right, he was saying that those decks wouldn't be so prominent without like 5 pros top 8ing the broken deck. But that doesn't stop the cards from being broken, and his view appears to be that only pros working for a pro tour can find and tune a deck to demonstrate its brokenness, and then get a ban. This is complete shit, people still play those broken cards well before they are banned, and would regardless of the celebrity pros playing them in a pro tour. The only difference then is that people at weekly FNMs have to put up with them in the meantime.


Sorry, but "it didn't have a terrible matchup" *snip*

Meh, I'd love to go into a tangent on how Pod was by far the worst thing to happen to Modern but that's really irrelevant to this thread. I only brought it up because Lapille thought it would have been just fine in the format, but the big bad pro tour exposed it and they had to ban it because otherwise everyone would play it.

From what I could tell he was saying the format wasn't interesting enough from a viewers perspective because there weren't enough playable decks so that you'd only ever see like twin vs pod 50 times in a row and then some mirror matches. Pros converged on a couple decks, not unlike Standard, but eternal formats don't change every new set so it was actually an issue to overall entertainment of these pro tours. I really think the crux of his argument was that a format will be broken if it's the pro tour format, which will bring, what did he say, "hard truths"(?) out. His example being Legacy, which he thinks isn't as well developed but would be if there were a pro tour (ugh). This would then presumably expose which cards/decks were just strictly better than the rest of the format (like what happened for all of the recent modern bannings), and then necessitate a ban.

Lord Seth
04-18-2015, 10:51 PM
Right, he was saying that those decks wouldn't be so prominent without like 5 pros top 8ing the broken deck. But that doesn't stop the cards from being broken, and his view appears to be that only pros working for a pro tour can find and tune a deck to demonstrate its brokenness, and then get a ban. This is complete shit, people still play those broken cards well before they are banned, and would regardless of the celebrity pros playing them in a pro tour. The only difference then is that people at weekly FNMs have to put up with them in the meantime.Again, that's not what he said at all.

All he said was that there was a fear of the Modern Pro Tour becoming "boring" if it's the same format over and over. He noted that that isn't necessarily true, with Legacy being a case of people being willing to watch the same format year after year, but that it is a fear. The easiest way to thwart that is to ban cards before Pro Tours so the format becomes new. He was saying he didn't like that approach because it harms the FNM players whose decks get banned not for being too good, but for being good enough that taking them out shakes up the Pro Tour, though he didn't make it clear as to whether he thought the cards that got banned before the Pro Tours (Deathrite Shaman, Birthing Pod, Treasure Cruise, and Dig Through Time) were cards banned just to shake things up or if they were cards that legitimately had to go, Pro Tour or no.

I don't have the slightest idea where you're getting this weird idea of him saying something like "decks wouldn't be so prominent without the Pro Tour" because he didn't say or indicate anything even close to that.


Meh, I'd love to go into a tangent on how Pod was by far the worst thing to happen to Modern but that's really irrelevant to this thread. I only brought it up because Lapille thought it would have been just fine in the format, but the big bad pro tour exposed it and they had to ban it because otherwise everyone would play it.I assume you're talking about the part where he said "I don't want to ban your Birthing Pods" but in context he's clearly using that just for a general statement of preferring not to ban cards rather than saying the Birthing Pod ban was unnecessary, especially when he later compares the Birthing Pod ban to the Survival of the Fittest ban (mostly in regards to the shuffling involved, but the power level comparison is clearly implied).

I also disagree with your claims about Birthing Pod (or rather, I think things could have been fixed without outright banning it, like unbanning some cards or putting Containment Priest into Standard), but you said you didn't want to go into it so I'll leave it be.


From what I could tell he was saying the format wasn't interesting enough from a viewers perspective because there weren't enough playable decks so that you'd only ever see like twin vs pod 50 times in a row and then some mirror matches. Pros converged on a couple decks, not unlike Standard, but eternal formats don't change every new set so it was actually an issue to overall entertainment of these pro tours. I really think the crux of his argument was that a format will be broken if it's the pro tour format, which will bring, what did he say, "hard truths"(?) out. His example being Legacy, which he thinks isn't as well developed but would be if there were a pro tour (ugh). This would then presumably expose which cards/decks were just strictly better than the rest of the format (like what happened for all of the recent modern bannings), and then necessitate a ban.I didn't hear him say at all Legacy wasn't as well developed. He did say that if there was a Legacy Pro Tour, he thought we'd learn some "terrible, terrible truths about the format we don't want to know." His meaning wasn't entirely clear, though he did say it in a joking tone to indicate he wasn't necessarily being completely serious. You seem to be getting a whole lot of speculation out of one sentence he said.

Really, the crux of his argument was the idea of it being "boring" if it's the same basic format year after year, an argument he notes isn't necessarily true. That was the key point.

Phoenix Ignition
04-19-2015, 07:48 PM
I assume you're talking about the part where he said "I don't want to ban your Birthing Pods" but in context he's clearly...
And here's the real problem isn't it? We're both trying to glean information contextually, and this is starting to sound a lot like people arguing about what the bible really says. You have your idea of what he meant, I have mine. I'll try to illuminate my argument a bit more, in case that's something you really wanted to hear, but neither of us is "correct" in this discussion, and it really seems like you're going at this trying to get argument victory points or something.


All he said was that there was a fear of the Modern Pro Tour becoming "boring" if it's the same format over and over. He noted that that isn't necessarily true, with Legacy being a case of people being willing to watch the same format year after year.
The easiest way to thwart that is to ban cards before Pro Tours so the format becomes new.
I think the key point you're missing here is why would the format become stagnant? Healthy (a word used differently in every context) formats have diversity of decks and strategies, with no clear winner that dominates everything else. Most would argue that an eternal format shouldn't really be represented by more than something like 40% of a single deck showing up. People who are only there to win games will pick the deck they think is best, so if ~40%+ of decks (including top 16 penetration) are a specific one then it's definitely starting to look like a clear winner is emerging. Obviously there are tons of factors that can skew this, but I hope we can all get behind the idea of some % of decks being a specific one is bad for the format when it gets too high. Mirror matches can be boring, but more importantly clear best decks make magic much less fun. That's why bans come (except for time constraint bans), a card/deck dominates too much of the overall metagame or more importantly top 16 penetration of bigger tournaments.

If there were tens of strategies that players could play that each were similarly successful, it wouldn't really matter that the format is non-rotating. If I tune into a stream and see UBr Tezzeret vs Rug delver, and the next match is Lands vs Death and Taxes, I'll be pretty happy. Legacy is interesting because there are so many different matchups that happen and that have their own playstyles and interactions. The problem with a format being dominated by single decks is this stops happening. This only happens when those decks are shown to be the best.


I don't have the slightest idea where you're getting this weird idea of him saying something like "decks wouldn't be so prominent without the Pro Tour" because he didn't say or indicate anything even close to that.
He's saying that the pro tour reveals the truths about formats due to the number of smart people trying as hard as possible to break them. It's a stage that all competitive players at least acknowledge as a place that may have the best decks. This causes people to play those decks more, because they did well. This leads to format monotony through deck prominence.


I assume you're talking about the part where he said "I don't want to ban your Birthing Pods" but in context he's clearly he's clearly using that just for a general statement of preferring not to ban cards rather than saying the Birthing Pod ban was unnecessary, especially when he later compares the Birthing Pod ban to the Survival of the Fittest ban (mostly in regards to the shuffling involved, but the power level comparison is clearly implied).
I mean it's more like:
"I don't want to ban your X card, but we have to because otherwise the pro tour will be boring because all of the pros will be playing it because it breaks the format." He attributes the pro tour to both the discovery of the broken card/strategy and the spotlight of it.


I also disagree with your claims about Birthing Pod (or rather, I think things could have been fixed without outright banning it, like unbanning some cards or putting Containment Priest into Standard), but you said you didn't want to go into it so I'll leave it be.
Haha, yeah, I mean they could print some new cards that don't suck against it, or put cards not legal to the format into the format. Treasure Cruise would have been fine too if they just printed "0: Instant: If this card is in your sideboard you may cast it for free from your sideboard. Players can't Delve" or something, but without that type of thing it rightly deserved its ban.


I didn't hear him say at all Legacy wasn't as well developed. He did say that if there was a Legacy Pro Tour, he thought we'd learn some "terrible, terrible truths about the format we don't want to know." His meaning wasn't entirely clear, though he did say it in a joking tone to indicate he wasn't necessarily being completely serious. You seem to be getting a whole lot of speculation out of one sentence he said.
In response to the point that Legacy is doing well as an interesting eternal format, it was brought up that this was in part because there wasn't a pro tour for it. This was in the context of the conversation just before it of how a bunch of "smart people" (pros) sitting together in a room when money is at stake will somewhat solve a format. What else could "terrible, terrible truths about the format" mean, aside from that there is a clear couple of decks/cards that are far and away the best in the format? Implying that these decks would then be known, and thus used ubiquitously. This would then trigger the onset of a boring format because the metagame stagnates and certain things are clearly more powerful than anything else. Then a ban is required or it becomes boring, and you'd have boring pro tours for that format.

I guess you could also just trivialize the statement and say it's a joke, like people say the passages in the bible that don't favor their argument must be metaphors.


Really, the crux of his argument was the idea of it being "boring" if it's the same basic format year after year, an argument he notes isn't necessarily true. That was the key point.
See, I don't think he was arguing a point that he didn't believe. That seems pedantic and useless for an hour long podcast that he's a guest on. It's only boring if the format doesn't have diversity, and that's what I saw the point of his argument to be. Diversity will die when pros on the pro tour solve a format that doesn't change regularly.

I disagree with the assumption that only pros will "solve" the format. Pod was broken before pros picked it up in droves, and they needed to ban it for the pro tour because people didn't want to watch pod vs pod vs pod. But I argue they needed to ban it for format health either way.

YamiJoey
04-20-2015, 06:30 AM
You openly admit that Miracles is the best deck in Legacy, as many others do. If there was a PT, it would be 50% of the field. Every pro would play it. There is no PT. It is not 50% of the field. Plenty of pros play decks they find more fun.

Let's just ban Twin and Summer Blood right now. What do you play? I will give you three months to andwer it. I 100% bet everything I own that not more than one group of people here could think of the 'best deck'. Know why? Because you're not being paid $40,000 + a potential career in playing a game. That is what the PT is. Tell people "Solve this puzzle and you can have a shit load of cash and a career solving puzzles and travelling the world instead of actually working." and suddenly the puzzle is solved.

Please stop claiming that you know more than people who get paid to do this shit. You actually don't.

EDIT: And if Pod was so broken and good and played by everyone before it got banned then why did it take LSV rebuilding it from the ground up to change the whole format of the deck? How come no-one played Green in Twin until Dickman won a GP or whatever? You are flat out wrong about this. Tom LaPille is completely right about everything, except maybe that the no-bans PT would be bad. I am totally up for a solved format getting played for a while. Solve the format, and then have people learn how their fringe decks can compete. Suddenly we have Legacy 2.0. Twin is the S/T variant, BG Rock is the Stoneblade, Bloom is Storm, or whatever parallels you want to draw.

Sloshthedark
04-20-2015, 10:38 AM
oh, just.. oh... fear of pro tour being boring is both funny and sinister line, Toms local XP stories to draw conslusions from, too much shuffling... Tom, the way of thinking and Wotc management is just completely different universe from mine.. I hope they keep distace from legacy when they finaly have a sidedish to play with:really:

sjmcc13
04-20-2015, 12:05 PM
You openly admit that Miracles is the best deck in Legacy, as many others do. If there was a PT, it would be 50% of the field. Every pro would play it. There is no PT. It is not 50% of the field. Plenty of pros play decks they find more fun.

Actually no, There are several forms of best deck, mostly having to do with how much it is better then the rest of the field.
you will only see them all converge on a single deck when that deck is much more powerful then the rest of the field (like Ravager Affinity was back when it was in Std.)
Miracles is not in that level in Legacy. It has weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Combined with its skill requirements Miracles will not become 50% of the field any time soon.


EDIT: And if Pod was so broken and good and played by everyone before it got banned then why did it take LSV rebuilding it from the ground up to change the whole format of the deck? How come no-one played Green in Twin until Dickman won a GP or whatever? Most of the player base does not innovate decks, but copies know successful decks, decks can reach this status through several means, but winning a pro tour or even a Grand Prix is the quickest and most visible.

The players who do tinker might include some players who did notice those concepts before they hit the spotlight, but for the average brewer to get a deck into the known deck sphere is pretty hard, and they would normally need to start 4-0ing dailies on MODO with their build.

Timber
04-20-2015, 04:49 PM
I didn't get the impression that LaPille himself believed that Modern Pro Tours would be boring without shaking the format up, but that he was explaining how he viewed WoTC's belief.

I think that Modern Pro Tours are bad for both bannings and card values. As much as I like seeing what the Pros do, I'd rather keep the spotlight off Modern so that I can still play Pod and still get Threads of Disloyalty for $5 and Cryptic Command for $25.

JDK
04-20-2015, 06:30 PM
EDIT: And if Pod was so broken and good and played by everyone before it got banned then why did it take LSV rebuilding it from the ground up to change the whole format of the deck? How come no-one played Green in Twin until Dickman won a GP or whatever? You are flat out wrong about this. Tom LaPille is completely right about everything, except maybe that the no-bans PT would be bad. I am totally up for a solved format getting played for a while. Solve the format, and then have people learn how their fringe decks can compete. Suddenly we have Legacy 2.0. Twin is the S/T variant, BG Rock is the Stoneblade, Bloom is Storm, or whatever parallels you want to draw.

Uhm...Twin gone? Prepare for a resurrection of Tron. :tongue:

LSV rebuilt Pod from the ground up? It wasn't well positioned before that? Dickmann was innovating Twin before he became famous for it. Innovation (even though it's more like evolution) happens slowly, but it happens eventually. Of course it happens faster, if experienced people force to do exactly that.

YamiJoey
04-21-2015, 07:01 PM
"I'm going to agree with your methods, and that what you say is true, and then at the end randomly determine that you are wrong."

Okay, sure.

Sloshthedark
02-07-2016, 06:57 AM
a fresh viewer experience necro

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC7VQUf6jH8&feature=youtu.be&t=49m58s