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  • posted a message on [THB][CUBE]: Nightmare Shepherd
    What do you mean "Oh, and it's an enchantment"? That makes it more vulnerable to removal, and unless you're running a heavy enchantment theme it's a noticeable downside.
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
  • posted a message on Ranking Project 2019 - RED voting CLOSED

    1. Goblin Rabblemaster
    2. Lightning Bolt
    3. Legion Warboss
    4. Firebolt
    5. Chain Lightning
    6. Arc Trail
    7. Hellrider
    8. Incinerate
    9. Firedrinker Satyr
    10. Zurgo Bellstriker
    11. Chandra, Torch of Defiance
    12. Goblin Guide
    13. Sneak Attack
    14. Fiery Confluence
    15. Thundermaw Hellkite
    16. Glorybringer
    17. Hero of Oxid Ridge
    18. Lightning Mauler
    19. Inferno Titan
    20. Smash to Smithereens
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
  • posted a message on Ranking Project 2019 - BLACK voting CLOSED

    1. Demonic Tutor
    2. Mind Twist
    3. Dark Confidant
    4. Animate Dead
    5. Vampiric Tutor
    6. Toxic Deluge
    7. Liliana of the Veil
    8. Grave Titan
    9. Bitterblossom
    10. Reanimate
    11. Thoughtseize
    12. Liliana, the Last Hope
    13. Duress
    14. Inquisition of Kozilek
    15. Necromancy
    16. Braids, Cabal Minion
    17. Scrapheap Scrounger
    18. Ophiomancer
    19. Oona’s Prowler
    20. Custodi Lich
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
  • posted a message on Ranking Project 2019 Planning
    For the record, I like calibretto's suggestion to vote by CMC.

    Quote from wtwlf123 »
    Look, my point is that you can't accurately build a prompt that will ask a universally meaningful question that can be answered in a way to provide meaningful compiled data in such a small sample size. There are too many variables in cube design and subjective opinions regarding what makes something the "most powerful" card to be able to get a list that will be true for any given cube, even of all of those cubes share a similar philosophy. For example, even "power maxing" a cube is still contingent on the limitations of the format. Is it vintage legal or legacy legal? Is it focussed on combo play or interactive combat? You can have "power maxed" cubes that fit into any of those combinations, and the Top X Card lists will have tremendous variation from one of those lists to the next. So with a sample size as small as we're running (less than 25 voters per section), how do you suggest we design a prompt that irons out those inconsistencies? I haven't seen a single suggestion to date that addresses those shortfalls.

    My argument is that my Top X list is more valuable to someone drafting my cube than the compiled data list will be for someone drafting a random cube. If I was going to draft your cube, I would want to adhere to your list. Because the data is absolutely contingent on the specific environment that the opinions are derived from. "All other things being equal" sounds great on paper, but doesn't work in practice.

    But it doesn't matter. The guy running the project agrees with you, so my issues with the data being mined are irrelevant.


    Well it certainly isn't perfect, I agree with you there.
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
  • posted a message on Ranking Project 2019 Planning
    Quote from wtwlf123 »
    If he argues that it is more powerful in cube in general, he would be wrong.


    Except you can't make this argument, because "cube in general" isn't a thing.

    For example, a card like Glimpse the Unthinkable isn't a good cube card in general. But in a cube that supports a mill theme, it can be a 1st pick. Objectively, it's one of the most powerful cards in its environment, if you elect to support it. So if you exclude it from your list of the most powerful cards, you're now the one that's objectively wrong.

    Everything is context. And since we can't possibly create a prompt that incorporates every variable, or poll enough people to eliminate outlying data, objectively useful data cannot be extracted by asking the "best cards" question.

    However, a list of favorite cards could provide new (and veteran!) cube managers with great information. If they want to learn about which 20 white cards other cube players/managers love, and which potentially fun and exciting cards might enrich their cubing experience, they can get that from the list. Even though the prompt is subjective, the data provides information that encourages people using the data to explore the reasons why folks love those cards. Whereas with the "best card" voting, all you get is flawed data that doesn't really matter.

    You already said that "I will never sit down with team Shard". If that's the case, why is anyone else's voting relevant to you? The only Top X list that matters for your cube is yours.

    For example, if someone wanted to sit down and draft my cube, they should use my voting rankings, since those are the only ones that will be accurate to my specific list and playgroup. A list of compiled data between like 20-25 different cube managers is not helpful to anyone, if the goal is to determine objective powerlevels for pick orders and stuff (if we could get 100,000 votes in each section and have it all be contextualized around a single cube list, it would actually be informative). However, if the goal is to find out what other cube players and managers enjoy cubing with in an attempt to identify cards you might want to test out for yourself, asking about "favorite cube cards" perfectly fits the bill.

    Basically, I'd rather ask a subjective question that provides people with useful information than an attempt to create an objective prompt ...that winds up generating useless data.


    You've addressed only a minor part of my post, and I feel like you're mostly repeating the argument that I've already replied to, so I will try to keep it short.

    You are making a semantical argument. "Cube in general isn't a thing". Ok, so is your argument that I have failed to accurately describe something that definitely exists? What I meant to describe is this: of all the possible themes of cube, if you pitted thousands of players drafting thousands of these cubes against each other playing millions of matches, then the decks drafted from this one particular cube would have the highest winning percentage. Call that cube whatever you want. A cube with a "power level" theme? It is the cube with this theme that seems to be especially popular in this forum, and it just makes sense to compare cubes of a same theme. A lot of posters here have a lot of experience, and I at least am interested to hear everyone's opinion on how this power level-themed cube looks like to them. That includes people who think Crystal Shard is better than Tinker - though not if they do so because they've designed their cube specifically to empower Crystal Shard, because that's not anymore a power-level themed cube.

    You could compare cubes of other themes with each other, such as mill-theme cubes or blink-theme cubes, pauper cubes or Modern cubes. I don't think you'd get as big a community response for any one theme as you would for a power level theme. An alternative is to compare cubes of whatever theme together, as you are suggesting, but then you're comparing apples to oranges. I'm not sure what value there is to a list that has one person arguing that Ancestral Recall is better than Brainstorm, because it is more powerful, and another arguing the reverse because he prefers to play Legacy or pauper cube. And I'm not saying that one opinion is more valuable than the other. What I'm saying is that usefully comparing opinions in this way requires far more context and background than you get from a numerical list ordering cards by their name and nothing else.

    As to the bolded part, if this is a sincere question I encourage you to read my post again, because you have not understood my argument at all.
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
  • posted a message on Ranking Project 2019 Planning
    This would be exactly true for a cube that supports a blink/bounce/ETB trigger abuse deck and has no support to make Tinker powerful. Those kinds of cubes exist. Now, you're telling voters that they're objectively wrong because their notion of "best" isn't the same as yours ...when in fact they're 100% accurate and the only thing that changed was context.

    The bigger problem is assuming that an amalgamation of the data is useful, when in fact, the opposite is true. If you combine the data from the Team Tinker's votes and the votes from team Shard into one dataset, and team Tinker has 20x the voting members ...what happens when you sit down to draft a cube with team Shard? The data is useless to you. And that's the problem. Cube powerlevel is too context-based to provide meaningful data with a small dataset. 25 people voting or whatever isn't anywhere near statistically significant enough to provide meaningful data. But if you ask a question that everyone can honestly answer using the same metrics, your dataset can be smaller and still produce worthwhile data.

    tl;dr - If you ask the question "what are your 20 favorite white cube cards" people can look at that combined data and get a feel of what kinds of cards they could include in their cubes to make people happy. If you ask the question "what are the 20 best white cube cards" you would have to qualify that information with about 60 disclaimers before everybody's even voting with the same metrics.


    I have to say I haven't seen many cubes where Crystal Shard is more powerful than Tinker. But that's not really the point.

    You can very well build a cube where Shard is more powerful than Tinker, and such cubes may very well exist. But any cube manager behind such a cube must surely be aware of the fact that his design philosophy has not been to create the most powerful cube. That doesn't make his cube better or worse (you misquoted me using those terms) but it does make it less powerful. If the cube manager argues that Crystal Shard is more powerful than Tinker in his cube, he would be right. If he argues that it is more powerful in cube in general, he would be wrong. And the latter is what is being asked in this project. And I'd be very interested in this cube manager's opinion on that, because he has added a layer of complexity to his cube that suggests an above-average experience level.

    So your amalgamation logic is based on the false premise that a user would provide the cards that are the most powerful in HIS cube. If I'm playing a Legacy cube and am asked about the power level of blue cards, why would I not rank Ancestral Recall and Time Walk? Is my opinion invalid because I don't play those cards in my cube? I don't see why anyone would interpret the question so narrowly as to restrict his answers to cards that are most powerful in his cube specifically, even if this cube imposes design restrictions that reduce power level. But I'm sure that a disclaimer could be added to the original post to clarify the purpose of the project, if people think it is necessary.

    Now let's assume we ask people for their favourite cards instead. Then the above cube manager may very well list Crystal Shard above Tinker. Let's assume he does. Only now do we have Team Shard and Team Tinker. Let's say team Shard manages to get their pet card listed. Me browsing the forum and seeing the thread on favourites cards sees it listed and decides to try it. I just shove it in without any context, as we don't have any. But my cube wasn't built to make Shard a great card, so after some bad experiences I cut it from my cube. What happens when I sit down for a cube with team Shard? First of all, this is another false premise - I will never sit down with team Shard: I've built my cube on power level, and have not sacrificed power to add a blink/ETB/other theme to the point where Shard would be more powerful than Tinker (by the way, it is my understanding that the overwhelming majority of cube managers on this forum build their cube on power level). Anyway; what happens is I thought it was a mediocre card from my experience and, perhaps surprised to see it in my pack, I pass the pack on without considering even for a second to pick it.

    So picking favourites provides useless data even if the favourite is picked on cube-specific power level. What happens if favourites are picked for art, flavour or other things that do not translate into anything without context?

    (Note on the above: I think Shard is actually a decent card and the above text paints it a bit negatively; for the sake of the argument what matters is that it is weaker than Tinker, which I think is not controversial. If it helps, think of a weaker card than Shard).

    Lists based on power level measure an objective notion imperfectly. Lists based on favourites measure a subjective notion perfectly. It is my view as I have explained in my previous post that the first is clearly preferable. You prefer the second, which I think is fair. But you seem to be arguing that the second is objectively better, and I think you are very much wrong in that regard.

    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
  • posted a message on Ranking Project 2019 Planning
    Thanks a lot for organising this, it’s been a long time since we’ve done this on the forum and I’d be very happy to participate.

    On the format, count me, squarely, in the power level camp. Power means different things to different people, yet we all follow wtwlf’s new set reviews religiously, we go to Cubetutor to see draft percentages, and we go to SCD threads to see other people’s views on the playability of cards. A debate can be had on which card is more powerful between Isamaru, Hound of Konda, which is played in any white aggro deck but is not especially impactful, and Monastery Mentor, which sees less play but has a far bigger impact. But anyone trying to tell me that Crystal Shard is more powerful than Tinker will have a very hard time of it and save for the means to prove it, that person would be objectively wrong. Power level is, to a very large extent, an objective notion. That it is difficult to define does not make it any less so.

    Rankings cards by how much you like them is a different beast altogether. What makes people like a card? Art? Flavour text? The kind of game states it creates? How much skill it takes? How much it contributes to balance in your cube? An experience you’ve had with it in the past? I care a lot more about random strangers’ professional opinion (if I believe they are qualified – as I do in this case) than I do their personal opinion. For this reason I personally have zero interest in a favourites list and would not participate (on that note, I object to the notion that such a format would be more inclusive). That is my personal opinion though and I can imagine that other people, justifiably, may disagree.

    However, there is a second, objective, problem with a favourites list. How can I possibly know why you specifically like a particular card? Maybe you like it because you think it is powerful, which is a valuable opinion to me. Maybe you like it because the card takes a lot of skill to play right, which is sort-of valuable to me. Maybe you like the card because when you were a kid you built a deck around it and it’s a nostalgia monster. This last fact is not valuable to me at all. The problem is that because I don’t know which of the three (or other) scenarios applies, I can’t interpret the result in any meaningful way. Even if you were ranking the cards by power level, your list would be 100% useless to me.

    In my personal case, I love Sakura-Tribe Elder because I cracked up my cousin once calling it STEve, and I think it’s a funny card because of that. Blazing Archon is one of my favourite white cards because it has amazing flavour. And I love Daze because I played with it for years in a different format. How is any of this useful to anyone? Especially if you don’t have this background information!

    As for how to define power level, I think any number of criteria can apply. Let’s not get hung up on the fact that few cards are “P1P1” worthy, as if for that reason Swords to Plowshares would be as powerful as Path to Exile. Here are some possibilities:
    • The priority within the colour in which you would generally draft the card in a first pack
    • The likelihood of you playing the card in an on-colour deck in a sealed format
    • The size of a power level-based cube where you would start including the card
    • The impact the card will have on a game – e.g. how much it contributes to your odds of winning
    • Your gut feeling, which will be a combination of the above. I don’t need a definition to know that Dark Confidant is more powerful than Asylum Visitor.

    I’m not even sure if it matters so much to converge on a specific definition of power level. I’m sure I personally give above-average weight to the second category above, and I think for example that Isamaru, Hound of Konda is a pretty powerful card. Does that make me wrong? Why should we not be able to compare my opinion alongside someone who attaches more importance to the first criterion, and who would go rather for a card like Monastery Mentor? I’m not sure any one definition of power level is the correct one. Power is power. (Side note, I think Mentor is more powerful than the Hound!)

    I will also throw in my 2 cents on the debate for classifying Noble Hierarch, although I really don’t care where you end up going with this. I care only for sport. I would generally classify it as green, and not Bant. The argument that you should classify a card in the colours where it is strongest is strange to me. If this was my approach I would classify Wild Mongrel as B/G, Sphinx of the Steel Wind as mono U and Bonesplitter as R/W. I think mana cost plays a big role, with a nod to the colours that correlate strongly with where the card sees play. You will play Hierarch in Bant, and it will shine, but it costs G and you will also play it in any Gx deck. G is the common factor, not B/U/G. You won’t play Kird Ape in anything other than an R/G deck, so it belongs to that guild. Scrapheap Scrounger should only see play in Bx decks, so it goes to black. And so on.

    Lastly, a quick note on spoiler tags. I think this is good practice. Anchoring is an extremely powerful bias and I would anyway approach something like this by actively ignoring previous posts. There’s very few utility lost in having to click open such tags. Not a fan of private submissions, because that process fails to generate hype and community involvement. Plus, once you’ve finished your submission it’s great fun to look at all the other ones.
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
  • posted a message on [CUBE][M20] Vilis, Broker of Blood
    Sneak Attack is not the only cheaty card though, there's stuff like Eureka and Show and Tell too and with those cards and I'd be very happy to drop this guy. He's simply the 2nd most powerful black creature ever printed (disregarding CMC) and that means it's probably an easy include at 540+.

    Worth noting that it's pretty damn good with Sneak Attack on defense. Take out a critter and draw a bunch of cards while you're at it.
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
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