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Subject: The Rumor Mill Evolves: Possible Banned/Restricted List? rss

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Tommy Roman
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Recently, Spoiler Ken shared a purported Banned/Restricted List that FFG will introduce in lieu of the current MWL. https://imgur.com/a/6Zu0Y



Disclaimer: Spoiler Ken is an anonymous source that has previously revealed accurate information regarding Netrunner. While his/her track record is good, FFG has been known to conduct "mole hunts" by releasing specific subsets of information to identify the individual that was the source of the leak. Sounds dramatic for a card game, right? The practice is more widespread than you may think. If FFG wants to get serious about operational security, this former analyst could teach them a thing or two.

If this list is genuine, I have very mixed feelings about it.

As a casual player, I have been educated about the problems that come with an ever-expanding card pool: power creep, broken combos, wonky interactions that shouldn't work, etc. Sound familiar? Netrunner has seen its share of these issues, but FFG has always been reluctant to provide a BRL in order to cull the most problematic cards. The MWL was a reasonable compromise in that it manipulated influence costs to limit these effects. While effective, some have argued that the MWL would never be enough to truly correct all of the problems.

However, I have a lot of reservations about the speed with which such changes are being introduced. I'm a little surprised that a separate BRL is deemed necessary after the RCS essentially created a functional banned list. Anarch was almost completely remade, Criminal lost some classic staples and gone are the bland economic effects of Kate and EtF. Is the BRL really needed in place of the MWL?

WoTC has used a BRL for Magic: the Gathering for a long time, and it gets updated regularly to reflect the changing relationships among problematic cards. Unfortunately, FFG does not appear to have the play-testing and support staff resources to match WoTC's expertise in this area. My concern is that even if the proposed BRL is true, it will require just as much editing and timely updates as the current MWL- something that FFG has not been very good about.

I noticed that Salvaged Vanadis Armory is on the list. While I play casually, I've kept current with the competitive scene (I can dream, can't I?), and have read about degenerate decks that use this resource to mill the Corp 15 cards at a time. Definitely a NPE. But since it was released with the last Red Sands data pack, it suggests that FFG had been planning this list for awhile. If that's the case, why was the card released at all? Perhaps the printing schedule was already set in stone when the card's faults were discovered. The behind-the-scenes details of design, play testing and editorial oversight are opaque to me, but I really hope whatever process was used wasn't rushed just to get something done. That will simply create additional problems further down the road.


But I just got here...

There are some inclusions that strike me as suspicious. Magnum Opus? A RCS card is already making an appearance? With the exception of our recently completed Terminal Directive campaign, I haven't encountered this card frequently. The banning of Temujin Contract and Bloo Moose seems unnecessary after the loss of Account Siphon and Desperado. Why restrict Global Food Initiative when it's a perfectly reasonable defensive 5/3 that's still tough to score. Please, FFG, print better 5/3s to provide me broader deck-building options rather than restrict my choices further.


What's the matter, Gabe? Someone stole your wallet?

On the plus side, if the MWL is inadequate to address all of the issues that have plagued Netrunner of late, then a BRL should be constructed for the broader health of the game. I'm not a fan of this, but if it's going to be done, best to do it when FFG has already announced a Revised Core Set and will commence rotation on October 1st.

I'm sure competitive players will have deeper perspectives about the pros and cons of the BRL (if it exists), and I will end up learning something I didn't know before. Mostly I'm concerned about how these changes will be perceived by casual players. Change is generally a good thing- when it's both necessary and done correctly. But this list on top of the RCS and Rotation may alienate the very players that FFG wants to bring back or attract anew. If the BRL is real, I hope Michael spends a lot of time on the interview circuit explaining all the gory details.

As always, looking forward to hear your thoughts below.



[Edits: really need to learn how to spell correctly the first time...]
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Mike B
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I honestly don't believe this. This would not only be a huge reversal of FFG policy on banning cards, but it also just doesn't make any sense to swing a gigantic banhammer right as cards are rotating out. That and outright banning cards from the most recent data pack would be an even bigger reversal of that policy.

It also really makes no sense to have Aesop and Magnum on a restricted list when they are both in the Revised Core.

I think the MWL has done a pretty good job of curtailing problem archetypes and I don't see why FFG would do something this drastic.
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Derrick Billings
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The reason that Salvaged Vanadis Armory is on the list is because an extremely abusive combo was not found during playtesting that can mill the corp for upwards of 40 cards by turn 8-9.

Turns 1-7 get money.

Use Bookmark to empty your hand.

Install Bug-Out Bag for all your money minus $4, draw your deck.

2 damage: Install Titanium Ribs for $1 (to ensure no combo cards are inadvertently lost)

5 damage: 3x Amped Up for $3

14 damage: install 3x Dadiana Chacon, who will immediately trash herself and do 3 damage.

Install 3 Salvaged Vanadis Armory

15 damage: Install Respirocytes, trigger SVA, mill 15

16 damage: Install Respirocytes, trigger SVA, mill 16

17 damage: Install Respirocytes, trigger SVA, mill 17

Even if you don't get all the combo pieces, you can still get enough to mill the corp for a crippling amount of cards, if not enough to run archives for the win then almost certainly enough to just deck the corp.

And yeah, the card was set in stone probably six months ago. Playtesting has a very long lead time and it's simply impossible to catch everything. Nothing a few dozen volunteers can do in their spare time for a couple of months, with continuous revision, can compare to several thousand dedicated players with unlimited time and card designs that aren't moving targets.

If I had to guess, I would say that the new designer feels the soft constraints of the MWL are insufficient to control the metagame. It's had a perverse effect in many cases, where the strongest cards on the MWL aren't necessarily being played less, they're just being played more and people are just accepting that they'll have less influence for other things. This even tends to reduce deckbuilding variety rather than enriching it.

By applying the hard constraints of a restricted and ban list, it presents deckbuilders with significant decisions, and forces them to consider other, less frequently-played options to fill the niches left by cards that are off the table.

By losing the economic options of Account Siphon and Desperado, it puts even more pressure on Temujin Contract and Bloo Moose as econ options. Since these were already Cadillac options, they would become ubiquitous without hard constraint. Global Food Initiative was already ubiquitous. Levy, Clone Chip, Film Critic, and Employee Strike all have the primary effect of simply negating many corp strategies that on paper ought to be viable.
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Mike B
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While I agree that the Armory does have an abusive combo, they could probably errata that card to say something like "X is the amount of damage you just received", or "received since your last click". That would probably make the card way less abusive (and way less useful) but would still be better than a ban.

If FFG had banned any single other card since Netrunner was created, I might believe this, but right now it seems like too much change, all without seeing what would happen post Core 2.0.

Although I agree that most of the cards listed cause issues (Employee Strike is my least favourite card) I think the MWL can address a lot of these issues.

Maybe I'm wrong though.
 
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Derrick Billings
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FFG is more likely to ban a card outright than to nerf it with errata that isn't a fair reading of the original text. They really want to avoid situations where a card played in the middle of a game doesn't do what's printed on it. In this case the card's working as intended, as self-damage has been a subtheme of Anarch all through Red Sand cycle--they just didn't discover a way to make it an abusive combo.

As for the rest...I don't think the MWL did a perfect job of managing the problem. Certainly some people have still been calling for full bans. So now the pendulum has swung the other way, and our collective Monkey's Paw has only two wishes left.
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John Jorgensen
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They should've just banned the inclusion of specific combinations of cards in the same deck instead of this restricted list, that bans the use of certain cards together that aren't overpowered if played together.

They already do erratas which are less new player friendly than banning combinations.
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Clyde W
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In the case of Salvaged Vanadis Armory, it is possible that if, even on the MWL5 list, it still assists in creating degenrate decks that mill the corp in 5-6 turns, they could ban it. That, or they would errata it, at the very least.

edit: ninjaed ninja
 
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Brendan Riley
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Good analysis and discussion of the Salvaged Vanagris Armory (sic). While I don't particularly want to see a ban list, I think some sort of combo restriction list would be good (for instance, can this combo work without bookmark?). Many of the competitive players were lost during the several months between when Sifr came out and when they finally addressed it via MWL. With the momentum going into rotation, maybe they're being over-cautious by banning too much, rather than being too hesitant.

That said, I like the poetry of the MWL rather than a ban list. Either way, though, interesting times ahead.
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Derrick Billings
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kocbftn wrote:
They should've just banned the inclusion of specific combinations of cards in the same deck instead of this restricted list, that bans the use of certain cards together that aren't overpowered if played together.


That could be an endlessly ramifying list, and extremely difficult to administer. A list of Restricted cards that are all mutually exclusive is much simpler and still effective. Yes, it does catch some combinations that aren't otherwise abusive but that's kind of unavoidable.

Any given list of items has (n*(n-1))/2 1:1 combinations. That's 28 combos for the runner, 36 for the corp. Are you going to expect people to navigate which of those are or aren't kosher? And what about those cards which are just straight up overpowered like Fairchild 3.0 or Estelle Moon?

Quote:
They already do erratas which are less new player friendly than banning combinations.


I beg to differ. There are currently 23 cards with errata: of these 15 are just clarifying what it says on the card. 3 are deckbuilding limitations or uniqueness which are as minor if a change as you could ask for. 4 are moderate modifications to clarify how the card is supposed to work, and only one is a substantial wording change that nevertheless still makes the card work according to a plain reading of the original text.

None of them are just rewriting the card to do something different just because we don't like how it works in the wild. Why not add "central server only" to Temujin Contract or "the top card of the heap" to Bloo Moose? You could theoretically nerf any card on the ban list but it's more trouble than it's worth and there's no clear stopping point.
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Evan
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Yeah I've always thought functional errata were the least elegant solution, but I think anti-combo lists might be worse. The MWL can accomplish the same thing...granted, with much less precision, but IMO its relative simplicity is definitely worth it.

I'm also super unconvinced that a banlist is necessary either. Over on Stimhack people are claiming that tutoring and recursion mean that even on MWL tier 15, a single copy of Friends or Vanadis would still be completely game warping. Maybe they know something I don't, but that seems pretty far-fetched.
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Goeshi
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A simple "limit 1 per deck" errata on Vanadis would shut that combo down. No need to tweak its functionality.
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Simon C
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Quote:
A simple "limit 1 per deck" errata on Vanadis would shut that combo down. No need to tweak its functionality.


It would seriously reduce the power of the combo, but it still allows a significant number of cards to be trashed from R&D in a single go, with no input from the Corp. 17 accesses is around about the right number of cards to win from, so if the runner builds in a Hades Shard, they've got a decent chance of winning off-hand there.

More importantly, that change leaves it open to grow again if FFG were to print any further cards with self-inflicting damage. So as long as this card exists with its main functionality un-touched, an entire area of design space (cards using self-damage as a cost) is off-limits.

To look at it another way: what value does the card, as is, bring to the game? So far as I can see, this card has the potential to exist in one of two states: either basically useless, with a few mills at a random time if you get lucky (i.e. not worth including in a deck), or as the lynchpin of a broken and boring combo. So either no-one wants to play it, or no-one wants to play against it.

A severe errata (more along the lines of "mill cards equal to the amount of Corp-inflicted damage you've taken this turn", so as to stop turning supposed additional costs in other cards into benefits) is the minimum this card needs - but really, what is the harm in banning it? How or why does anyone actually lose out from a ban?
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Paul Dempster
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I guess the only harm in a ban is losing the functionality of the card as it was originally intended (which is obviously an assumption, but it is safe to assume that the intention was not to facilitate a one turn 45 card R&D trash) - to have some immediate retaliation for suffering a snare or psychic field, like a kind of punitive counterstrike for the runner, which might make the corp think twice before inflicting it in the first place.

That said I would be happy to see it removed from the card pool, because like the DDOS-Hyperdriver-False Echo decks before it, you can see it being built up and can do practically nothing about it which is a poor gaming experience.

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Joel Tamburo
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Actually I'd put both the Armory AND Amped Up on the "limit one per deck" list. I'd also ban Bug Out Bag.
 
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andy scott
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I heard someplace that they banned a card in Destiny. Wonder if its true.
 
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Derrick Billings
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Nothing on the Destiny page of FFG's website under the support documents.
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Joel Tamburo
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I'd expect a short Ban list eventually. Probably will be stuff like original Rey, original Poe and Vibroknife followed by reissue with revised wording to make them not restrict design space so much.
 
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