So it finally happened. After all the loops and hours of waiting and doing nothing, Arena has finally put a ban on Nexus of Fate in a Best-of-1 format. For those who don’t know, players were using Nexus of Fate to create an infinite loop of extra turns that basically amounted to doing nothing. The opposing player couldn’t stop the loop, and the looper basically continued this to try and force their opponent to concede. This caused issues for many players, so the choice to ban the card was made. This presents a few problems for the game which I’d like to touch on.
For starters, banning Nexus of Fate in a Best-of-1 doesn’t actually answer the underlying problem. This is a bandaid solution. Cover up the issue and hope nobody notices. The actual problem is that the interface on Arena allows for loops like this without penalty. Besides, this solution does nothing about another instance of this kind of thing happening. With Arena having made the announcement that they want to add older formats, the problem will inevitably pop up again. If not with infinite turns, then with some other deck that loops triggers in order to try and make something happen.
A better and more concrete solution would be to have a judge function within the program. Run it similar to how it is in tournaments so that players can’t continually call a judge without consequences and you have a way to keep players honest. Having either volunteer or compensated judges on hand for situations the program can’t handle would greatly increase both the user experience and the flow of the game. In addition, it would allow judges another way to integrate into the new community forming around the online game.
Another idea that would help combat this kind of slow-play tactic is introducing a chess clock to help players keep time of their turns. Granted, it’s easier to quickly make card decisions on paper magic since there are no menus to click through, but it would still keep players honest in their turns and the amount of time taken to make their plays. Without this, it’s far too easy for either player to drag out their decision-making, or to loop triggers into an infinite display of ring-around-the-rosie.
What are your thoughts, players? Was the banning of Nexus the proper choice, or could other choices have been made to prevent this type of predatory behaviour? Let us know your thoughts either in-store or via e-mail. Let’s get a discussion going!