9/10/2009 TD: "Not Just for Kicks"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Top Decks, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.

Man, Flores can't have been happy with this one. Notice, however, that he never actually says this is good. In fact, pretty much every time he's like "well it's kind of like this old card that was good, but it's not quite as good as it." Ultimately, why would I want to cast this for 5 mana over Baneslayer, which IS very good and DOES win the game?


And yes, I know the answer is that if this gets removed it still had an effect, which Baneslayer did not. However, if this gets removed we're probably still losing the game, except against control which would just counter it anyway. Maybe it finds a niche with reanimation, but meh. Pretty disappointing, and I generally look forward to Flores previews.

Djinn of Wishes costs 5 mana.


This costs 5 mana, 7 if I kick it.


You know, I think I'd rather play the djinn. So I'm not really seeing a place for the Sphinx of Lost Truths.


And not every card that Flores previews is a winner. And he does actually say that people will play it:


Sphinx of Lost Truths, as a seven, is its own big threat. Not an automatic game winner, no, but big enough that the three cards will usually be enough. Look for this Sphinx to be kicking its way up the standings, whichever the mana cost … provided there’s a post-rotation control deck to put it in, that is.

The problem with kicker costed critters is basically that if you don't play them with kicker they turn out rather useful. So instead of "two in one" you just get one. Take Kavu Titan. If you play this in Constructed, will there ever be a time you'll play it for 1G ?


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The problem with kicker costed critters is basically that if you don't play them with kicker they turn out rather useful. So instead of "two in one" you just get one. Take Kavu Titan. If you play this in Constructed, will there ever be a time you'll play it for 1G ?




Actually, yes, you usually should play it for 1G on turn two.  Rosewater loves to tell a story about how he playtested a deck that Randy Buehler made with Grizzly Bears as proxies for Kavu Titan and he was doing very well with it.  When Randy told him that the bears were actually titans, he started doing worse because he would hold them back until he could kick them.


I was surprised there was no mention of Mulldrifter in this article.  It's certainly not as good without the evoke, but this card was basically one big Mulldrifter.  Also, the comparison highlights the drawback to kicker -- Mulldrifter was basically a card that drew two cards and had kicker of two colorless for a 2/2 flier.  However, Mulldrifter could be cheated into play with things like Makeshift Mannequin.  If you cheat this card into play, you won't get the full effect.  To me that makes less attractive even for casual play.  Maybe the should consider a new kicker (or renamed version of the mechanic) for creatures where you pay when it comes into play rather than when you play it.

Even as a hardcore Spike, I actually appreciate the fact that we get better aquainted with some of the cards that may be playable depending on the metagame through these articles, rather than the cards that everyone and their grandmother knows will be playable


I really don't need a SwS article to tell me that, say, Flame Javelin is good in mono-red, or that Gatekeeper of Malakir is absolutely insane in any deck that can reliably cast it w/ kicker t3 (oh and I mean ANY (non-vintage) deck - from block to legacy, that card will be an allstar). While the spoiler itself in this article is somewhat dissapointing (of course we always hope for every spoiled card to be good), the theoretical discussion of a borderline playable card (or a 'dark horse'-card that people miss at first (like good ole' Tarmogoyf or Doctor Teeth) is much more valuable to me.


What I really missed in the article was more discussion of which metagames would favour a card such as the Sphinx in question. He spent an entire article talking about how 'this card might be playable' rather than 'this card could easily see play if the metagame shapes up like this or that'. This dissapoints me more than the 'only borderline'-playability of his preview card.


If you read this MF, please think about it. This is the Spike column after all. Of course I realise that you are 'just giving us the facts', and let us think for ourselves as to how it will increase in playability if an insane 4/3 critter shows up (but one that doesn't come out too early for the Sphinx to be relevant), but the other discussion would just be so much more relevant.


Overall, this just felt like more of a beginner's introduction to the power of Kicker than like a relevant Spike column. I hope you somewhat appreciate this input, even if you diagree with me.


AF79

Photobucket Banner by zpikduM - typo also by zpikduM. =) Skide Fuld - Problem of Evil by frontsession Currently playing Standard: TurboJund Legacy: Zoo Block: Hahaha, good one! 1000th post on August 28, 2009 at 6:08PM

I am disappointed that Flores kept comparing Kavu Titan with modern cards to see if the Titan was a good deal. In invasion block, the Titan was very competitive on both ends of the spectrum! At the high end, it compares quite well with Penumbra Kavu, Savage Gorilla, and Kavu Chameleon. for 2cc,  it's competing with Thornscape Familiars, Quirion Sentinels, Nomadic Elf, and Blurred Mongoose. So green really didn't have any better. The best creature in the block was probably good old Flametongue, and everyone realizes that it was so much better than anything else around it that it completely warped the format: Any creature that didn't have a toughness of 5 or more was just a speedbump. That's exactly why the 5/5 titan was so playable: It was one of the few creatures that could actually swing for the win that didn't require 3 colors.


Wizards has upped creature's power level very significantly since. Baneslayer and Tarmogoyf make anything south of Morphling look bad. It'd be just as fair to claim that Mulldrifter and Divination are poor at drawing cards when compared to good old Ancestral Recall: The cards are from different eras of the game, and should be evaluated as such.


Flores, work harder next time, give us REAL context.

The problem with kicker costed critters is basically that if you don't play them with kicker they turn out rather useful. So instead of "two in one" you just get one. Take Kavu Titan. If you play this in Constructed, will there ever be a time you'll play it for 1G ?


That was all spelled out ...in the article.  You just skipped to the preview card, amirite?


--More wizards forum fail: 1) When you login it takes you to the PROFILE PAGE, not the page you logged in from. Even if you were redirected to the login page from 'post reply'. Is there a schism between Gleemax and Wizards? 2) Half of the time when you've logged in and open a new page for the discussion thread from an article, it opens the wizards community front page.


Agreed, this place is a mess.  I have no idea why they didn't even test this a little - with a week of downtime you'd think that could be fit in.



[post with gigantic signature block]




Speaking of the forums not working right - does anybody know how to disable "show signatures" in these brave new terrible awful no good very bad fora?


Update:  OK, I figured it out.  It's the small link called "Preferences" at the top of this page, which for some reason is not accessible from your user profile.  Signatures banished, mischief managed!

^^Thanks for the tip on disabling signatures. That was getting annoying and I couldn't find the antidote 

Then if it wasn't kicked, discard three cards.


Was there an announcement I missed where they were going back and changing the rules text on kicker costs to use "kicked"?  That seems retarded.  Why would you remove the keyword from the rules text on the card?  It's like that in oracle for all the old Kicker cards, too.

I have no idea why they didn't even test this a little - with a week of downtime you'd think that could be fit in.


Hmm, I guess this might be a bit of a shock for you, but this actually is a Beta version of the whole community thing, so actually... you are the one testing it. Congrats! :D
Manaug.gif | Manawu.gif | Manau.gif | Manaub.gif | Manaur.gif

i cant see it in other deck than U tron


Then if it wasn't kicked, discard three cards.


Was there an announcement I missed where they were going back and changing the rules text on kicker costs to use "kicked"?  That seems retarded.  Why would you remove the keyword from the rules text on the card?  It's like that in oracle for all the old Kicker cards, too.




Yeah, they covered it sometime in the last week. Saying kicked is shorter than saying if you paid the kciker, and Wizards is all about saving space. Except when they're not. Afterall, didn't they just change the in play zone to the battlefied for flavor reason?


Frankly, the stuff will still work the same, so I'm all happy. It's a minor tweak, a bit of a huh moment, but not too hard to pick up.

Mist Dragon art by Al Davidson


--More wizards forum fail: 1) When you login it takes you to the PROFILE PAGE, not the page you logged in from. Even if you were redirected to the login page from 'post reply'. Is there a schism between Gleemax and Wizards? 2) Half of the time when you've logged in and open a new page for the discussion thread from an article, it opens the wizards community front page.





couldn't agree more, every time for me though.Frown

You should be glad you can even log into the forums.


At first it was just that you couldn't log in in two places at once.  Annoying already, but workable.  Then they made some extra change a couple days afterwards.  Now if I log in in a second place (different computer, or same computer different browser), when you try to go back to the forums in that first place it will be caught in an infinite loop, so you can never load the site at all.


At least I think that's what causes it.  I know I'm not the only one caught by it.  I try to run PREs on MTGO and consistently people cant' see the event threads now.


Also, there are 2 login pages.  One doesn't work, for whatever reason, you have to use the other.


And Profile won't let me change my password, even though I verify with the exact same password I log in with.  The error message is unclear as to why, though I've tried replacement passwords of all lengths and securities.


So even without getting to things like the inability to find anything, or annoying sigs, or wasted screen space, or non-resizing elements, or missing UBB, or incorrectly parsed HTML, or needlessly slow scripts to do things HTML has done for a decade and a half...  Even without bringing that up this is disasterous.  One of the worst rollouts ever.  And since the forums are relevant when playing MTGO, this could be costing them money, too.  It certainly makes Randy Buehler and Gleemax look flawless in comparison.


 


Oh, as to the column - it does sort of strike me as one of those also-ran cards that people would like to play with but know that they just quite can't.  Unless maybe there's some graveyard theme waiting, then maybe.  I do like how Mike has this ability to look like a company man while not actually saying anything he doesn't believe is true.  So no "this is a tournament staple".


I'm a little surprised though that they didn't give him Luminarch Acension.  That's the card that a lot of players have been oohing and ahing over.

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Then if it wasn't kicked, discard three cards.


Was there an announcement I missed where they were going back and changing the rules text on kicker costs to use "kicked"?  That seems retarded.  Why would you remove the keyword from the rules text on the card?  It's like that in oracle for all the old Kicker cards, too.




www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.a...

"As printed, kicker cards had abilities that did their thing "if you paid the kicker cost." This was inaccurate (since it didn't matter if you paid the kicker cost), so these long ago changed to say "if the kicker cost was paid." But that's still inaccurate. What matters is whether you choose to pay the kicker cost as you cast the spell, not whether you actually pay it."


 

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