This entry is part 7 of 24 in the series Unexpected Results

Posted by Brian aka ChaosMTG

This article was inspired by a post here in response to a CommanderCast Home Version.


“I imagine … there will come a tier system for each individual card, something like … tier 1 to 5. So a gaming group can agree that [they] are playing at Tier 3 for example, and then all tier 1,2 and 3 cards are [useable]. This will be the best way to continue without banning cards, and a good way [for] casual-gamers(+poor gamers) [to] find a level they are comfortable with, without a single player coming with his $5000 high tuned deck and … ruin the game for all participants.”

This concept intrigues me, not as something I think is likely to happen, but more as a thought experiment; so I thought I’d take the time to explore it a bit further.

Azusa Transparent

An excuse to post Pokémon alters?
I don’t see why not!

I don’t know if any of you play Pokémon  competitively, but this tier list is inspired by my experience with the Smogon tier system.

So, let’s start with a look at the original. Smogon’s current tier list looks like this:

Over Used
Borderline 1
Under Used
Borderline 2
Rarely Used
Never Used
Not Fully Evolved
Little Cup

Since these lists are primarily based purely on usage amounts, borderline is a way to ban something from the tier below it while not actually putting it in the next tier up; those tiers can be ignored. Not Fully Evolved is a placeholder “everything else goes here” tier, so it can be taken out as well. Little Cup, while not actually a tier of its own, is a slightly different format, but it’s included on Smogon’s list, I guess it would equate to pauper.

So, we’re left with:

I herd u liek mana.

I herd u liek mana.

  1. Uber
  2. Over Used
  3. Under Used
  4. Rarely Used
  5. Never Used

The Uber tier is their generic banlist. I, personally don’t think that would work well for us, as the current one includes both Ancestral Recall and Primeval Titan. I’d like to split that up a bit. The current banlist seems like it could fit into tiers 0, 1, and 2 and reduce some of them to Tier 3.

Tier 0 is a formality, it’s the Vintage banlist;  just Shahrazad, ante, and dexterity cards. Enough players like Shahrazad, though, that I’d be willing to bring it down a tier or two. so that it can actually see play.

Keeping in mind that part of the reason behind both the tier system and the current banlist is price, tier 1 would be where most of the expensive and extremely broken things would be. (I also believe Coalition Victory should be here, but it’s debatable). Tier 2 are the less broken things, most of the things that are banned just because the rules committee deems them too unfun.

tumblr_m72ru2lRak1rsbv2xo3_400So far our tiers look something like this:

  • 0: Ante/Dexterity cards.

Over Used is the top, most used, best things that aren’t banned. This is where most of the current top cards and staples as well as more expensive decent cards would fall. Since I’m not going to list every card here, I’ll just put some examples of what would fall into the Tier 3 categorytumblr_m5jf0eRfW41qjok2oo1_500

That leaves us with Under Used, Rarely Used and Never Used. Since I don’t think more lists will help anyone (and staring at autocard tags while editing is a nightmare), I’ll just discuss these in broad terms with a few examples.

Under Used (T4) is where most of the good-but-not-too-good cards would go, things like Solemn Simulacrum, Wrath of God, shock lands, etc. This is where I’d put the cut off for high dollar cards. Rarely Used (T5) is where there’s a significant loss of power and value happens; most of your generic removal, not-in-other-tiers tutoring, and things that are only powerful in conjunction with higher tiered cards fall here as well as things like Vicious Shadows, Exsanguinate, and Blatant Thievery. Never Used (T6) is exactly what it sounds like, sure, things here are legal, but they’re either completely useless, like Clarion Ultimatum or the type of things you often forget about and only delve into when looking for obscure tech or synergy. (Ghastly Demise, Sangromancer, Tatsumasa, the Dragon’s Fang.birds_of_paradise__articuno__pokemon_fan_art__by_didjam-d5q9url

Like I said, I don’t expect this system to catch on, but it’s fun to think about. If anyone wants to try this system, let me know how it goes. The tiers obviously aren’t completely defined as it is now, but I think if/when I ever get around to doing set reviews I’ll include the cards’ tiers alongside their reviews.


Series Navigation<< Unexpected Results 006 – Feed Your Addiction (or “Gaining Life for Fun and Profit”) [The Obligatory List of Cards Article]Unexpected Results 008 – Banlist Blues (and Greens) >>