Hello MLP CCG players and Bronies alike! I, Annette, am back from a short hiatus to bring you up to date on the happenings in the world of MLP CCG.
Now a few weeks ago, Enterplay did the somewhat-expected and released a list of cards that are now banned from organized play events such as Tournament, Leagues and Regional/National championships. Their judgement was based on feedback from the 2013 National Championships, feedback from players and developers input. There are only four cards on the banned list are they are Fluttershy: Guidance Counselor, Rainbowshine: Cloud Wrangler, Globe Trotter: Sight Seer and Magical Mailbox. Let’s look at the cards in-depth and discuss why these cards were banned.
Fluttershy: Guidance Counselor (otherwise known as Flutterguy)
Fluttershy: Guidance Counselor is a three power/three kindness requirement/three AT cost card that is part of the Mane six special effect cards from premier. Flutterguy’s special effect is Reaction: when your opponent receives one AT, you may exhaust this card. If you do, your opponent loses one AT. Previous to the ban, Flutterguy had been a core card in competitive decks such as Ballroom Blitz, Taxation and Royal Oppression. Anyone can testify that staring down a set of three Flutterguys is very scary!
Flutterguy has been banned for that exact reason. Enterplay ruled that “This card creates a negative experience for players to play against and operates against the normal flow of how MLP: CCG works”. This means that anyone that has a Flutterguy has a distinct advantage against players who do not have a Flutterguy, nor the cards to counteract it’s effect. Feedback suggested that players were opting for an early concession in matches when they were faced with two or three Flutterguys. Before Enterplay issued a ruling, event organizers had placed Flutterguy on a banned or restricted list for local tournaments. Most MLP CCG players found this ruling fair and most were in agreement that Flutterguy should be on the banned list.
Rainbowshine: Cloud Wrangler
Rainbowshine: Cloud Wrangler is a two power/one loyalty requirement/two AT cost blue Pegasus. She’s often seen in blue decks such as Rainbow Dash Wins and Pegasus explosion. Rainbowshine is used as a companion card to other blue cards such as Rumble (exhaust this card to move it) and Lead Pony badge (exhaust this resource to move a friend, then exhaust the friend). She has a seemingly innocuous effect and many players are wondering why she was banned in the first place.
Rainbowshine is not all smiles and sunshine. Several development cards from Canterlot Nights and Crystal Games were scrapped because they could be used with Rainbowshine in infinite loop combinations to create One Turn Kill (OTK) decks. Rainbowshine was banned so that developers could introduce new mechanics and new cards into the game.
Globe Trotter: Sight Seer
Globe Trotter, Sight Seer is a three laughter power/one laughter requirement/three AT cost pink earth pony. He’s one of the core cards in a DJ Pon3 One Pace and Blink deck. Using Globe Trotter allows a player to lock down a game by deck milling. Deck milling allows a player to draw the necessary cards to activate the win condition on their OTK decks. Removing Globe Trotter from play removes the card that allows deck milling. This breaks up the mechanism that allows One Pace to function.
Magical Mailbox is a five power/three kindess requirement/one AT cost card that allows the player to remove a counter (from a counter card) to draw one card. If a counter is removed from a dragon or a Pegasus, draw two cards instead. Magical Mailbox was one of the core cards in the OTK deck Dragon Express. Similar to the removal of Globe Trotter, the removal of Magical Mailbox prevents deck milling in OTK decks.
Summary: OTK decks are bad, mmmk?
Enterplay has stated that the four cards that were banned negatively impacted player experience or had introduced road blocks to future card development. It is very clear that Flutterguy negatively impacts a player. AT lockout can negatively impact a game and early AT lockout prevents a player from scoring points. There are only a small number of ways to counteract a Flutterguy (Twilight Sparkle: All team organiser and Cloud chaser for example). Most organized play groups are in agreement that Flutterguy should be on the banned list.
The second theme we are seeing here is that players have been negatively impacted by OTK decks. The core cards of the most common OTK decks (One Pace and Dragon Express) have been banned, along with a card that could be used in a future OTK deck. OTK decks negatively impact player experience by locking down the game and preventing a player from using any counter measures (while your opponent is taking 10 minute turns and winning). Enterplay and tournament organizers hold the view that OTK decks unbalance the game meta and give players a distinct advantage over players that are not using an OTK deck.
What about Rarity: Truly Outrageous?
One of the big surprises from Enterplay is that the UR card Rarity, truly outrageous (RTO) was absent on the ban list. RTO is at the top of local tournaments restricted or banned lists. This card is a two power, two generosity power requirements, three AT cost generosity card. When RTO is played or moved to a problem, it can be moved back home during the score phase to score the bonus points on a problem. If you can one turn double face off with an RTO (or two) at the problem cards, it’s possible to one turn win.
RTO was not on the ban list because there are ‘effective counter measures’ which prevent her from being used or her effect being activated. Cards like Stand Still, Back where you began, Downright Dangerous and Destiny drained move RTO around, get her off the field and even send an RTO play set into the lands of the Banished. Play the friend Cranky Doodle Donkey and the RTO is now useless because the problem has no bonus points. While RTO might be safe for now, I can see her being added to a banned or a Unique list in the future.
So there you have it, the four banned cards from Enterplay. Do you think it will impact future gaming meta? Is it going to change how you play the game? Tell us in the comments.