Poverty Format

General forum

Posted on July 9, 2018, 11:47 a.m. by Merlin_Darkrimson_Voidmystic

First, is this the right area for something like this? I couldn't find a better area.

So, I've been playing at a local tournament on Fridays that is Modern legality, but decks are limited to a price of $30 USD or less(with some wiggle room, we don't get mad for being a buck overpriced).

I've been trying to get the others there to call it Poverty, and I've also tried to get some publicity.

What do you think? Should it be a full-on official format?

It has an automatic banlist, killing all the big cards and most 'walkers almost immediately, and it kills netdecking players with tons of cash. It also just beats goodstuff decks to the ground. Combo and Control are a little harder because of the lack of efficient draw/cantrip cards such as Serum Visions.

Creatures have a big place, like other formats, but bigger, because of the relative lack of wrath effects(Slagstorm is the best by far) and exile effects. It's easy to get into, especially for players who've amassed a collection, and there are far more viable decks because of the fact that big, popular cards are gone, giving room for less powerful archetypes to become viable because stuff like Tron, 4-Color Humans, and big Tribal decks need a big budget to buy.

So, what do you think? Is this the right forum for this thread, and is Poverty a good format?

cdkime says... #2

General would be the correct forum. Spoilers et al. is for information that has been released or teased by Wizards of the Coast (or leaks).

Personally, no, I do not think this should be an official format. There are too many factors at play.

  • If it were an official format, more people would be playing, which means staple card prices would increase, which leads to them no longer being playable. All of this means decks are chaotic and constantly in flux.

  • It would be hard to track. What might be a $30 deck one day might be a $45+ deck the next. This would be a nightmare for individuals who are playing.

  • For consistency, there would have to be a standard website used for price checking. Effectively, Wizards would be throwing its support behind StarCityGames, TCG Player, ChannelFireball, etc. In the past, Wizards has been very reluctant to do this. Look at spoiler season--they are always careful how they spread out where spoilers are released so as to not give any single website dominance.

  • Pauper already exists as an official budget format. Its mechanic for determining legality is clear, easy-to-understand, and absolute.

July 9, 2018 12:01 p.m. Edited.

Epochalyptik says... #3

This thread was moved to a more appropriate forum (auto-generated comment)

July 9, 2018 12:05 p.m.

IMMG54 says... #4

I see what CDKime has to say, and they are valid points, but I would love something like this. Sadly the prices of "staple" cards would go up, like what happened with pauper.

July 9, 2018 12:58 p.m.

xyr0s says... #5

I'm somewhat sceptical. Who would pick this format over modern, if they had free choice? And if the only reason a player would pick up a poverty deck is that they can't afford a budget deck in modern, how long would anyone stay with the format, instead of investing in a modern deck? Building a format around the $ 70 difference between a poverty deck and a very decent modern deck with possibility for further upgrades, seems like a recipe for a player base that never really commits to the format - it's just a way of pushing some cardboard, while you wait for some real games.

And judging by how popular bannings otherwise are (often not very), having a format that autobans whole deck archetypes as soon as they do well (due to increasing pricetag on cards in well-performing deck archetypes), is even worse than modern used to be, where a deck would have one year of great performance before having key pieces banned (birthing pod... splinter twin...).

July 9, 2018 3:24 p.m.

Chasmolinker says... #6

Sounds like you basically want to play Pauper with uncommons and bulk rares.

July 9, 2018 4:09 p.m. Edited.

I see the problems. Of course, I don't think staple cards such as Duress or Slagstorm would actually get expensive, but those are reasonable concerns.

BTW, we've been using MTG Goldfish.

Here's some other options: - All cards must be $5 or less individually. This would keep super powerful cards out, but allow much more wiggle room and make it far less chaotic. - A sort of odd restriction: 8 $3-5 cards, 16 $1-2 cards, and any number of cheaper cards. Of course, you could use a $3-5 spot for a $2, $2 for cheaper, etc, etc. This would keep it more budget, but still plenty of wiggle room and minimal chaos.

Also, the point of playing it would be that it's entirely skill-based, whereas in other formats you can netdeck or goodstuff and win plenty just because you have a large budget. I don't like getting crushed just because I don't have the money for a fetch/shock manabase and cards with enough value to compete. I don't have the money for even a low-priced Standard deck, and I know plenty of others don't either; so I'm trying to get another budget format that can be played without buying everything online(most new commons are worthless, even in pauper. They're all clunky or have been printed before).

July 9, 2018 4:28 p.m.

And yes, pauper with commons and bulk rares is almost what it is.

July 9, 2018 4:31 p.m.

cdkime says... #9

To clarify my earlier point - this seems like a fine casual format, but I think it has too many issues to be an officially recognised format.

To add another point I missed in my first post, if it is officially recognised, that means R&D has to consider it when making new sets. This has several implications, such as which cards they can or cannot reprint, the power level of their bulk rares, etc.

July 9, 2018 6:03 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #10

There is already a casual format called Heirloom, which can be set as a format type under the appropriate tab in the deck builder.

July 9, 2018 7:01 p.m.

HorseFist says... #11

I'll go contrary to pretty much everybody else who's responded so far with :" Hell Yeah, buddy, where do I sign up?"

Speaking as a 45 year old with only a passing/recreational interest in Greatest Card Game of all time (i.e. I don't hardly ever get to play at all, certainly no tournaments for me), I might actually show up at an LGS to play in this format.

I tend to upvote a cool-looking deck if it's only one or two "dollar signs" over more expensive ones, and like to think of myself as a big-time advocate for "Poverty " level deck construction... in fact, I created the Ultra-Budgettag on this site so that I and others can easily categorize decks which cost under $40 total to build (at time of orig posting of deck)!

I'm sure it would - just like any idea in its infant stages- require significant tweaking, but I say "Bring On the Poverty!"

July 9, 2018 9:56 p.m.

JakeHarlow says... #12

Cool idea. But WotC simply does not explicitly recognize the secondary market as a rule (except for the Reserve List, etc. -- yeah, they're hypocrites). WotC sanctioning this format would require them to do that though, in a big way. I don't know that it'd be a move that their current brass could stomach, even though it would probably generate tons of interest from players. A place to allow depreciated/rotated/bulk cards to see play in a Constructed environment sounds interesting and I think overall it's a lovely idea. I'm just pretty sure that WotC wouldn't go for it as a sanctioned format.

The above notwithstanding, there's no reason why you shouldn't continue to play "Poverty" with your group. WotC's endorsement does not a format make, as EDH's history aptly demonstrates. It was an unofficial format for quite some time before the main company finally recognized (and monetized) it. So I say have at it, keep playing, and have fun. That's the entire point of Magic: The Gathering anyway. Play the game how you and your friends want to play it.

July 9, 2018 10:47 p.m.

My local shop also does similar styled tournaments! But I think the budget is around $40 instead of 30. It's a really fun concept but I'm not sure how easy it'd be for Wizards to endorse since they'd have to verify one card store as The Official Singles price which I think would be a big downer on the whole market. For the time being though, super duper fun on a local level and great for casual play with pals!

July 10, 2018 12:04 a.m.

Boza says... #14

Any format that relies on card prizes is doomed to never be recognized as an official format - that would mena that WOTC will have to acknowledge there is a secondary market for cards, which they will never do officially.

July 10, 2018 5:31 a.m.

ellie-is says... #15

I like the idea of price-limiting formats, but yeah, it's impossible for them to become official. Pauper is the closest we can get, except Pauper fails because competitive Pauper decks play only expensive commons and may end up costing as much as a Modern deck.

July 10, 2018 9:09 a.m.

Boza says... #16

Competitive Pauper decks cost as much as Modern decks? Here is a search of all cards with prices > 10 USD legal in Pauper:

Search results

The only expensive card is actually Oubliette which is played in 1 Tier 2 deck exactly.

Here is a ink to the number 2 competitive pauper deck:

Boros Monarch

It costs 80 bucks. Most expensive card in that deck is 6 bucks. This is top end for Pauper. Now, lets compare to a fully upgraded deck in Modern:

Naya Burn

630 bucks. For that price, you can buy the top 8 decks in pauper, run several tournaments and have price support for every one.

For OP, there is one successful price-limiting format - Penny Dreadful on MTGO. All cards must cost exactly 0.01 tix on MTGO and rotation occurs with the release of every standard set. I think you can easily do this IRL too.

Penny Dreadful

July 10, 2018 10:14 a.m.

I was thinking last night, and here's an idea:

Instead of using actual cash price, I can design a simple(not really) algorithm to give cards a "score". For example, it would probably be value divided by cost. So, one way to calculate vanilla creatures is (2/Power+Toughness)/CMC. This would allow for there to be a limit on the total deck score instead of literal cost, which would make it impossible for it to fluctuate as much.

Because this relies on an algorithm rather than a fluctuating market that WotC doesn't recognize, it can become official and have a similar effect, killing super powerful cards and making it a strictly skill-based format.

This would have many advantages, but the only disadvantage is that I need to work on the algorithm a lot, as the basic idea I have right now would put cards like the Moxen, Black Lotus, and the Spirit Guides at an "undefined" power level because of lack of cost. Although I could make it so that an overall loss of a card in hand is a cost, but that would cut the decent vanilla creature's score down significantly.

I can, when the algorithm is complete, code up a quick piece of software that calculates it for you, but that is if this seems like a better idea. This could, of course, result in what happened to Poverty: normal Modern prices on a previously budget format. This could be changed by adding a "popularity" score, which basically takes the top few decks of the latest big Modern tournament and adds score to certain cards in those decks, and it can take Poverty tournaments into account as well, which would make it so that "Oh, Glistener Elf top 4thd in the last tourney, people are going to want it more, so we can add 1-2 score to it's total, making it harder to play." This "Popularity" bit would mainly affect win cons, but cards that a deck appears to ride on could be affected as well, to prevent powerful cheap wraths or digging spells from breaking the format.

It would have to be a big algorithm, but because it's an algorithm there couldn't be one person judging the power incorrectly, because the formula does it for you, removing the possibility of a corrupt group tweaking the scores for their own purposes, and it removes misunderstanding of the system because you can go over the algorithm yourself.

What do you think?

July 10, 2018 10:30 a.m.

The score based system could be called Loadout, instead of Poverty.

Reference to certain FPS games.

July 10, 2018 10:37 a.m.

Boza says... #19

Additionally, you can go with the Canadian Highlander (or Australian) version of "restricted" list. Canadian highlander is 100 card singleton format where every card legal in Vintage is completely legal in the format.

How they deal with power level is that every powerful card has points attached to it. For example, something powerful like Black Lotus is 7, while something cool but not so powerful like True-Name Nemesis is 1 point. In your deck you can play cards that are no more than 10 points total.

For example, if you want to run Flash (3 points) + Protean Hulk (7 points), you cannot include any other card from the points list in your deck.

You can certainly make this Modern-only, remove the singleton nature and call it a format that will be easy to determine whether a deck is legal.

July 10, 2018 10:45 a.m.

It seems that they just have a bunch of cards that gain points for how broken they end up being, so it only restricts the broken cards.

I'm prototyping the algorithm atm, and I'l add a couple test values in this thread later if you want to see them.

July 10, 2018 10:49 a.m.

I actually really like the idea of putting power limits on decks using a "score system," its actually something that I've contemplated before, but I thing that the score should be metta based and not necessarily just a simple power calculation. I would also start with maybe no ban modern? But putting cards like Treasure Cruise which such a high score that it would be detrimental for the rest of your deck to play more than 1 or 2 copies. If our goal is to have an affordable, diverse, and competitive format we really don't want legacy staples running around in my opinion.

July 10, 2018 10:50 a.m.

Of course, vintage cards wouldn't be allowed, as those can be complicated and can break the algorithm. Also, no banlist Modern with a score system is a great idea.

The problem with making it meta based right out makes it fluctuate more, while giving it a base score with an algorithm and adding additional score for cards that do super well in tournaments can help restrict the big cards such as Treasure Cruise and Jace, the Mind Sculptor, or Splinter Twin. It would become partially meta based after a big tournament or two, making it so we don't rely on Modern meta before Loadout pulls off the ground.

July 10, 2018 10:55 a.m.

And cards would be calculated with minimal cost, maximum output, so stuff like Treasure cruise is really 1 mana for 3 cards in calculation, which is very broken, giving it a massive score total.

July 10, 2018 10:56 a.m.

True, I guess not necessarily metta based initially but we have a good idea on what are modern staples and how powerful they are in a vacuum. The power level of cards do fluctuate based on the current metta so the algorithm will have to adjust itself accordingly as well.

Me and my playgroup used to actually play a format that restricted you down to a 40 card deck with no ultra rares, and a limited amount of rares and commons (I don't remember the exact amounts), and only 2 of each card in a deck (excluding basics of course). We used this as a cheap way to introduce new players to the game. We called it PoBoy, it was actually allot of fun. Something like this might be easier to implement than a complicated algorithm based system.

July 10, 2018 11:10 a.m.

I've got the base algorithm done, I'm just trying to get Google Spreadsheets to calculate it....

It can be changed here and there, a couple extra aspects added, but I have the base one done.

July 10, 2018 11:16 a.m.


Here's the base algorithm. BTW, VCRS stands for Value/Cost Ratio Score.

July 10, 2018 11:20 a.m.

That's not a bad start, what should the point cap be per deck? Itll probably take some testing to figure that out and the weights of each item

July 10, 2018 11:31 a.m.

Agreed. Also, the algorithm should be pretty much done by the end of the week, as I'm still tinkering around and need to implement Exile. Then I'll test a few cards and see whether or not that seems right, until it seems to be just fine. I think we could start with a VCRS cap of 50, excluding Basic Lands, as those would end up adding 10-20 points with that algorithm.

July 10, 2018 11:36 a.m.

wolfhead says... #29

id play it.

i dont know why its so important to get wizards to endorse it,

but yeah id play it. i could see it being something one or two LGS in my city would pick up

July 10, 2018 11:38 a.m. Edited.

Tested what Fatal Push would be, it's 1.5... I should alter the destroy level.

This might take a while, but it'll be great when it's done :)

July 10, 2018 11:39 a.m.


Poverty, or Loadout?

July 10, 2018 11:40 a.m.

Another thing we could do is build a separate algorithm for each card type (lands, creatures, instant, ect). That way we can be more accurate in assessing each individual power level and not have so many extra boxes that dont pertain to the certain types.

This has some serious potential though!!

July 10, 2018 11:46 a.m.

Does this seem right? A 1-drop 1/1 would have a VCRS of 1. Terminate has a VCRS of 2.14 Fatal Push has VCRS of 3. While Wrath of God is 1.45...

Then I fixed it, so Wrath of God has a VCRS of 4.36

Sound like balanced, or should all creature affecters and/or destroy effects be boosted?

July 10, 2018 11:48 a.m.

Some changes for each card type could work, but it's already coded so that it ignores the aspects that don't work. The current algorithm also allows for cards like Raise the Alarm or Lingering Souls, so I'd rather keep it this way.

July 10, 2018 11:50 a.m.

Huh. The instant speed currently makes Opt .75 points better than Serum Visions.

July 10, 2018 11:53 a.m.

I'm honestly not sure on the correct amount of points, it depends on what we want the power level of the format to be. Maybe we could come up with some acceptable decks and do the point calculations?

July 10, 2018 12:01 p.m.

Ok, that sounds good.

Make something at about $30, then I'll calc it and give you the values, and we can decide if that works.

July 10, 2018 12:17 p.m.

Actually, I've got a Slivers I built for Poverty https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1162264#paper

Assuming Lords affect 5 total creatures, including themselves(4 if they don't buff themselves)

3x Striking Sliver -- 2.25 each, 6.75 total 3x Frenzy Sliver -- 3.5 each, 10.5 total 4x Gemhide Sliver -- 2.7 each, 10.7 total 2x Manaweft SLiver -- 2.7 each, 5.33 total 4x Predatory Sliver -- 6 each, 24 total

And then I need to add hexproof, shroud, costs extra mana, counters, exile, and vigilance.

July 10, 2018 12:25 p.m.

Here's 2 that I think set a balanced power level

Load Out Delver

Budget Stompy

July 10, 2018 12:47 p.m.

I'm going to design an alternate algorithm for lands.

July 10, 2018 12:56 p.m.

Yea I think so, I think tap lands like Highland Lake should be worth -1 points? While fetches and shocks should be 3-4

July 10, 2018 1:10 p.m.

Loadout Delver

(In totals)

2x Deprive -- 3

2x Dissolve -- 3.2

1x Echoing Truth -- 1

4x Lightning Bolt -- 6

1x Logic Knot -- 1.6

3x Mana Leak -- 5.25

4x Opt -- 7

4x Thought Scour -- 7

2x Vapor Snag -- 2.25

3x Cryptic Serpent -- 16.5

4x Delver of Secrets -- 12(-2 'cos of slow) = 10

3x Enigma Drake -- 14.2

4x Young Pyromancer -- 10

4x Serum Visions -- 6

4x Highland Lake 4

4x Shivan Reef -- 8

Total: 106

Values may be rounded.

July 10, 2018 1:15 p.m.

I need to work on the values of certain things. Say, CITPT lands should be far lower scores, Lightning Bolt needs a buff, and lands need an increase in general.

Excluding basics, of course.

July 10, 2018 1:17 p.m.

It seems a little under 2 points apiece is the base value of cards, but I'm going to tinker around a bit more.

July 10, 2018 1:20 p.m.

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