10/5/2009 MM: "Leading a Horse to Water"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.

I think you've gotten a few wires crossed, as odyssey was freaking awesome, and landfall is kind of boring.  There's next to no thought and skill involved in it's use.  I'd rather make decisions that some focus group considers "unfun" than make no decisions at all.

Landfall is awesome.

Nice article, Maro!  Unfortunately, I skipped from Masques Block (actually, pretty much the Mercadian Masques set) right to Onslaught, so I missed much of Urza (Urza came after Masques, right?) and Odyssey, so I couldn't relate to those stories.  Having seen the Odyssey mechanics, though, I can definitely relate a little bit.


Personally, Landfall is a blast to play in Limited.  I tend to play 16 land in my limited decks in most environments (I know the rule is 17, but I tend to feel something lacking when I play 17), but so far I've played 18, 17, and 19(!) land in my ZEN limited decks (the 18 and 17 were sealed, 19 was draft), although albeit 5 of those 19 were nonbasics and hence not really land (in the sense that land generally doesn't do much other than tap for mana).


The 3 times I've played ZEN limited so far, I've played G/r Landfall twice and R/B aggro once.  I definitely think G/r Landfall is my favourite deck in this limited environment.  The deck is a blast to play from both a Timmy and Johnny perspective, and it wins, so the (albeit very small) part of me that is Spike likes it too.  I even found myself playing 17 land in R/B aggro, where my curve basically topped at 4 (aside from 1 copy of Geyser Glider and a kicked Burst Lightning).


From a landfall in limited perspective, I'd probably say the cards that were the greatest successes (imo) were:


Grazing Gladeheart


Harrow


Explorer's Scope


Oran-Rief Recluse


Frontier Guide


Timbermaw Larva


It should come as no surprise that all these cards are green or colorless.


I think you've gotten a few wires crossed, as odyssey was freaking awesome, and landfall is kind of boring.  There's next to no thought and skill involved in it's use.  I'd rather make decisions that some focus group considers "unfun" than make no decisions at all.



This post was bound to happen. :P

That said, I do think some cards in Odyssey were a bit convoluted, but the overall "chessiness" of the set appealed to me. The big problem was not the interactions between the cards so much as the wall of text on the individual cards themselves. Part of this is how poorly threshold got templated. Saying "if you have threshold, blah blah blah" invited the reminder text of what constituted "having threshold." It really should have just said "Threshold - If you have seven or more cards in your graveyard, blah blah blah" from the start. 


To me, the biggest failure of Odyssey block, though, was the Torment/Judgment color bias. It promoted an interesting conflict between the two sets, but in the bigger picture, it was a bad idea. It threw the balance off in Standard for a couple years, which was quite the pain. I mean, seriously, Cephalid Snitch was way too narrow to be useful out of limited. 


But I digress... back to Threshold's impact on Landfall. And this is where I agree with Itoh: I think Landfall overcompensated for Threshold's complexity. The pendulum swung a bit too far the other way. I wouldn't call Landfall boring, but it could have done a bit more. Then again, there's still two more sets in the block, and we can probably expect a bit more development on the ability.

I think Landfall overcompensated for Threshold's complexity. The pendulum swung a bit too far the other way. I wouldn't call Landfall boring, but it could have done a bit more. Then again, there's still two more sets in the block, and we can probably expect a bit more development on the ability.


This.


I've found Zendikar boring so far, but I have hopes that Worldwake will expand upon it enough to be interesting. Glad to see so many people don't share my opinion and keep Wizards in business.


I think you've gotten a few wires crossed, as odyssey was freaking awesome, and landfall is kind of boring.  There's next to no thought and skill involved in it's use.  I'd rather make decisions that some focus group considers "unfun" than make no decisions at all.





I actually agree about Landfall, but i was one of the people who was simply not interested in the direction Odyssey took Magic. It didn't have to do with being "unfun" in any grand sense, I just didn't want to do it. It wasn't fun for me, but not because playing around between zones in weird ways isn't fun. It wasn't fun to me because it was shoved down my throat. I don't like that sort of constriction, although it probably would have been cool in sealed.

Of course, I am not so sure that's a good reason for an all-upside mechanic that rewards you simply for playing Magic. This is not too surprising given the most recent sets and their focus on making cards that don't make people feel bad. Heck, I am designing an entire set based on cards that make people feel bad.

I do think Landfall is fun. What I have a problem with this that, apart from landfall, there's not a whole lot of interesting things to do in draft. I started playing in Mirrodin, and so far I think my favorite draft format was Time Spiral. I'm a Johnny-Spike-Timmy (Johnny primary, Spike/Timmy pretty much equal). I'm annoyed by draft formats that have few strategies to choose from because most games end up playing the same. Time Spiral had a huge number of strategies and clever combos you could pull off at common, but I felt that each of them was simple enough that keeping track of everything didn't strain the brain too much. 


Shadowmoore and Zendikar are sets I was initially excited about, but later found I didn't care as much about. Shadowmoore broke all kinds of rules in fun ways, but ultimately none of them encouraged you to make particularly interesting decks. I mean yeah, you needed to care about colors to beef up your creatures but I never felt like I was doing anything other than playing the best cards I could. I eventually learned that the only strategy I actually enjoyed was messing around with -1/-1 counters, and I often passed better cards for -1/-1 counter manipulation cards just so I could have more fun. It was a bad feeling that I had to do the same thing every draft, often at the expense of a good deck.


Landfall is fun - it encourages interesting tricks and deckbuilding. But it's the only thing I DO find particularly interesting about Zendikar deckbuilding. Traps are cool but there's not much that interacts with them to please Johnny. Allies might be interesting if I could ever draft enough of them but I can never get too many.


I didn't get to play as much Alara as I wanted, but I did get a sense that that was closer to what I like, because there were 5 different strategies that were each interesting, and each were present in three different colors, so there was a lot of deckbuilding versitility.

Hmm.  I'm no super-huge fan of Odyssey either, but I don't think its sins were on the design side.  Development bears a far greater bulk of the culpability there.  Yes, people might not want to discard their hands...  buut that's where Flashback (and later, Madness) will come in.  Discarding and still getting to cast the spell is pretty neat from a Timmy perspective!


Anyway, the bigger problem with Odyssey (and Odyssey block in general) was that it notably amped up the power level compared to Invasion, but only in small subset of the cards.  This was back when magicthegathering.com was hyping how only so much power could be put in a set (true) and that this meant that they'd intentionally make a lot of cards suck (what?).  Thankfully it was Ravnica, I think, which changed this to "the difference between a really awful card and an average card for Constructed is minute, so let's have fewer awful cards."  But seriously, look at Odyssey Rares.  There are cool, flavorful rares that could have done more had the rest of the block not had its power jump (Lieutenant Kirtar, Master Apothecary) and...  a lot of completely awful cards that were destined to go nowhere (Cursed Monstrosity, Hint of Insanity, Pedantic Learning). With the power increase thanks to cards like Wild Mongrel, even many of the decent, averageish cards went unused.  This probably wasn't good for sales.


Also, while on the "snicker at old philosophies espoused on this site" note, I'll also add that I looked on in horror in around Time Spiral when it was being declared that every mechanic should be changed like Echo to something generic and modifiable, and that Threshold should have been written as "Threshold - (Number)."  The situations usually weren't QUITE as complex as MaRo describes, I think, thanks to 7 being the magic number - once it was reached, it was reached, and often it would be obviously impossible to hit it.  If Odyssey had had multiple Threshold numbers with some cards triggering at 3, 4, 7, 10, etc. cards in graveyard, that'd have been madness (har).  Thank goodness that didn't happen.

Anyway, the bigger problem with Odyssey (and Odyssey block in general) was that it notably amped up the power level compared to Invasion, but only in small subset of the cards.  This was back when magicthegathering.com was hyping how only so much power could be put in a set (true) and that this meant that they'd intentionally make a lot of cards suck (what?).  Thankfully it was Ravnica, I think, which changed this to "the difference between a really awful card and an average card for Constructed is minute, so let's have fewer awful cards."  But seriously, look at Odyssey Rares.  There are cool, flavorful rares that could have done more had the rest of the block not had its power jump (Lieutenant Kirtar, Master Apothecary) and...  a lot of completely awful cards that were destined to go nowhere (Cursed Monstrosity, Hint of Insanity, Pedantic Learning). With the power increase thanks to cards like Wild Mongrel, even many of the decent, averageish cards went unused.  This probably wasn't good for sales.

I'll agree with this as my main problem with Odyssey.  Invasion Block had just done a remarkably good job of making most cards relevant, and then Odyssey was chock-full of terrible cards like 5-cost counterspells (sure, you could flash it back for 7, but that didn't exactly help).

I don't mind complicated play situations, but I do mind when two-thirds of my Limited cardpool is terrible compared to the other third.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
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These are the decks I have assembled at the moment:
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Kicker Aggro (Invasion Block) Sunforger/Izzet Guildmage Midrange (Ravnica/Time Spiral/Xth Standard) Dragonstorm Combo (Time Spiral/Lorwyn/Xth Standard) Bant Midrange (Lorwyn/Shards/M10 Standard)
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Angel Resurrection Casual Soul Sisters Sindbad's Adventures with Djinn of Wishes Sphinx-Bone Wand Buyback Morph (No Instants or Sorceries) Cabal Coffers Control Zombie Aggro Hungry, Hungry Greater Gargadon/War Elemental Flashfires/Boil/Ruination - Boom! Call of the Wild Teysa, Orzhov Scion with Twilight Drover, Sun Titan, and Hivestone Slivers Rebels Cairn Wanderer Knights Only Gold and () Spells Captain Sisay Toolbox Spellweaver Helix Combo Merfolk Wizards Izzet Guildmage/The Unspeakable Arcane Combo Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and his Wizards Creatureless Wild Research/Reins of Power Madness Creatureless Pyromancer Ascension Anarchist Living Death Anvil of Bogardan Madness Shamen with Goblin Game/Wound Reflection Combo Mass damage Quest for Pure Flame Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle/Clear the Land with 40+ Lands Doubling Season Thallids Juniper Order Ranger Graft/Tokens Elf Archer Druids Equilibrium/Aluren Combo Experiment Kraj Combo Reap Combo False Cure/Kavu Predator Combo Savra, Queen of the Golgari Sacrifice/Dredge Elf Warriors Eight-Post Sneak Attack Where Ancients Tread Zur the Enchanter with Opal creatures Tamanoa/Kavu Predator/Collapsing Borders Esper Aggro Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and his Darksteel Reactor Theft and Control Unearth Aggro Soul's Fire Vampires Devour Tokens Phytohydra with Powerstone Minefield Treefolk Friendly? Questing Phelddagrif Slivers Dragon Arch Fun I'm probably forgetting a few...

Landfall isn't what defines Zendikar. It's just a decent mechanic for padding out a set.


I have no problems with Landfall. You may have an early minute today. \:>

I really like Zendikar. However, I have to say it does have a problem, and that is that it doesn't deliver on its theme.


I think that lands don't matter that much in Zendikar. Landfall is a GREAT mechanic; it makes drawing a land go from feeling lame to feeling at least moderately interesting, and it makes holding back lands a more interesting decision. But it has nothing to do with actually HAVING lands, but rather playing them; it is the act of playing a land which matters, and they actually stop doing anything for them once they hit the board.


This wouldn't be so bad, but the trouble is that the rest of the set falls down as far as interaction with lands go. I feel some cards really are interesting:


Explorer's Scope - Allows a double land-drop, and is really fun when you pull off some of the spell-lands (particularly the blue one, but also the red and black ones), as you can suddenly basically cast a "surprise spell" for free. It also adds a bit of mystery; will they get a land and make your job defending a lot harder?


Frontier Guide - This guy allows you to enable landfall at instant speed.


Harrow / Khalni Heart Expedition - These guys really show off this block's mechanics, and again enables landfall at instant speed.


Khalni Gem / Living Tsunami / Kor Skyfisher - The return a land card to your hand mechanic is interesting in conjunction with the landfall mechanic and plays very well. Technically Kor Skyfisher is a permanent, but as it is often a land, it plays well with this.


Emeria, the Sky Ruin / Vakalut, the Molten Pinnacle - These cards actually care about what lands you're playing, and give you real rewards for them, making them quite exciting. These really make me feel like my lands matter.


 


I feel a few cards really fell down as well:


Expedition Map - While the nonbasic lands which are prevalent in this block make this card a bit more interesting than it might otherwise be, an artifact which actually put a land into play at instant speed would have been much more interesting from a gameplay standpoint.


Goblin Guide - A very strong card, but honestly, the drawback doesn't make me feel like land matters at all. Just because it says "land" on the card doesn't mean it really makes land matter.


Grim Discovery - The only lands I'm likely to recur with this card are my fetchlands, which is rather boring, and also makes the card lame in limited. There are only three cards which enable it (Magma Rift, Ruinous Minotaur, Scythe Tiger), which doesn't really feel like quite enough. Yeah, technically LD does as well, but there's only one really good LD card and it is uncommon - not enough to make me want to play this.


Obsidian Fireheart - Like Goblin Guide, this card doesn't actually make me feel like land matters at all. Also, the reminder text is VERY poorly written; this was "someone wants to write reminder text which sounds strange" rather than "Mark Rosewater wants to write helpful reminder text". Seriously, the reminder text should have been (This effect doesn't end when Obsidian Fireheart leaves the battlefield). The current reminder text is bad. I hope to never see something as bad again on a Magic card. The entire point of reminder text is to REMIND, not to try to be clever, which it isn't. 


Spreading Seas - Cool card! Finally, a card like this which might be interesting in limited! What, the sea serpent variant doesn't care about your opponent playing islands? So the one time you actually print a potentially playable one, you make the only cards (and only two of them at that, both of which are already very good) which interact with it uncommon?


Landbind Ritual / Mind Sludge / Primal Bellow / Spire Barrage - Firstly, the lack of a blue card in this cycle bugs me a little. But perhaps the larger problem with these cards is that two of them (Mind Sludge and Landbind Ritual) are pretty awful, and that the two which are playable (Primal Bellow and Spire Barrage) are actually a bit obnoxious when you DO play on theme, as a common spell which deals 7 damage or casts Might of Oaks is a bit annoying. Mind Sludge in particular was bad design - a card which costs 5 mana can make them discard four cards, and realistically speaking, for that mana cost, having them discard 4 cards is the same as having them discard 7 the vast majority of the time, and it actually makes you feel BAD when you play that card and make them discard 7 cards only to have them discard only one because that's all they have.


 


There are other cards which interact with lands but many of them do so in mundane ways, and few actually care what lands you have in play. A lot of them are pretty average, in fact - Demolish, Desecrated Earth, Goblin Ruinblaster, and Lavaball Trap are a fairly standard assortment of land destruction spells, and while Ruinblaster is quite strong, its not like strong LD has never been attached to a creature before, and in fact, the card is very reminiscent of Avalanche Riders.


So really, you have in terms of unusually land-caring cards:


The "spell-lands" (not really land-caring per se, but I'll include them here because I haven't spoken about them much so far, they are in-theme for land matters, and they are fun)


Emeria, the Sky Ruin


Expedition Map


Explorer's Scope


Frontier Guide


Goblin Ruinblaster (and this is borderline)


Grim Discovery


Harrow


Khalni Gem


Khalni Heart Expedition


Kor Cartographer


Kor Skyfisher


Living Tsunami


Magma Rift


Merfolk Wayfinder (which feels terribly out of color)


Oracle of Mul Daya


Primal Bellow


Ruinous Minotaur


Scute Mob


Scythe Tiger


Spire Barrage


Timbermaw Larva


Vakalut, the Molten Pinnacle


I didn't include landwalk (which was not at above-average levels anyway, at six) or the fetchlands (which enable landfall, but don't work in limited) because neither are really block-specific. Yeah, including the fetches was clever (sort of), but they don't really play in limited (due to being rare) and landfall is much less interesting in constructed. That puts us at 17 cards which care about lands, and five lands which are interesting in a new way (they're weak spells). And of those, only Emeria, Khalni Gem, Living Tsunami, Kor Skyfisher, Magma Rift, Primal Bellow, Ruinous Minotaur, Scute Mob, Scythe Tiger Spire Barrage, Timbermaw Larva, and Vakalut (12 cards!) actually interact with the lands you have in play. And of those, Emeria, Scute Mob, and Vakalut are all rare, and Living Tsunami and Khalni Gem are both uncommon. And even in that list, three of them only interact with lands in the sense that they allow you to replay them and three of them blow up your own lands and don't really care much about what they're blowing up - the mechanic isn't new and it isn't actually very interesting as far as land interactions go as there is exactly one card in the set (Grim Discovery) which cares that you have land in your graveyard. And every time you lose due to a card you yourself played, it feels bad, and Scythe Tiger falls into the "interfering with playing your spells" territory. That means there were six cards in the set which were A) playable and B) care about lands you have in play in a new way. And if you remove condition one, you only add a single card (Landbind Ritual; yes, Mind Sludge cares, but it almost never matters in a positive way, though it sometimes will matter NEGATIVELY, making it all the worse). This may SOUND like its very specific and excluding a lot of things, but as you, Mark Rosewater, are constantly fond of saying, the game is about evolution and when I see a land matters block, I want to see land mattering in a new way. I don't really feel like playing a land (unless it is a spell land!) is really "a new way", and I don't feel like things which have already existed are a new way. I feel like a new way is a new way. Sure, I may not always like it (see also: Tribal card type) but at least it is new. I don't feel like this block theme really approached the subject matter in a very novel way; it sort of skirted around it.


And some of these don't even fill up extra slots in terms of "how many cards usually do this sort of thing anyway"; Harrow, Khalni Gem, and Expedition Map are all variants of cards which are in every single block, and Expedition Map in many ways is actually anti-synergistic with the landfall theme.


Yes, its nice to have landfall, and I really enjoy the mechanic, but in a land matters block, I really expect the lands I have IN PLAY to matter. Rather than the theme feeling like "land matters", it feels more like "playing a land matters". And frankly, oftentimes you're better off drawing a spell than playing a land even WITH landfall around, so really its just "drawing a land is a better experience than normal".


Don't get me wrong; I like Zendikar. However, I feel that the lands I actually have don't matter; its just the ACT of playing a land which matters. And to me, there's a real difference between the two.


As a side note, it feels like there aren't quite enough ways to activate landfall in limited at instant speed; I would have liked a couple more (not more than that, as that would be obnoxious), though I suspect that will be remedied in Worldwake (and possibly colors other than green will get in on the action of making landfall matter sometime other than the first main step of your own turn; this is perhaps my largest problem with it). The fact that it almost only matters on offense makes landfall creatures often act like they have the text "can't block" on them, and it is a bit annoying that you can't really ever have your landfall creatures trade with theirs.

Landfall works fine. It doesn't excite me much.


My main regret with Landfall is the attack bias you already noted due to the sorcery speed nature of it. Every set since Ravnica has been too attack-oriented. It makes Limited less interesting, because the majority of candidate Sealed builds or draft archetypes have to be thrown out as too slow.


 


 

I don't see landfall as something negative...


But traps...


I didn't like the concept of traps at all. I don't think it's reasonable don't pay costs of a spell just because the opponent did somethink. But one could argue: and force of will, daze, things like that? This cards had a alternative cost. One could still argue that submerge and similar cards didn't have costs. The point is that I don't think submerge, and its similars, well designed.


The worst is summoning trap. You counter a creature, and for no cost, the opponent has the right to do another creature??? It seems to me that Wizards wants to mess with control players lately, but this to me, from both a design viewpoint and a player viewpoint, is absurd.


By the way, why Wizards lately doesn't want us to play control?

Never played Odyssey, though ofc I got to use some of the cards and mechanics in TSP block (Woo for TSP, second best block, after Rav).


Landfall is very boring. It's basically just like something that triggers every second upkeep, except there are a few ways to interact with it. It's not like it's the first time people have ever had to wonder about when to keep lands in hand and when to play them.


Played the prerelease twice.


I may as well have been playing a core set.


Never saw a trap played for an alternate cost. I saw an Ally's ability trigger at most once in any game. I barely saw a quest get completed, except my Zektar Shrine which I got a few times. One time I saw something cool done with landfall, this guy used a few effects to get Rampaging Baloths to trigger about four times in two turns. One time I saw something cool get done with kicker, which is when a guy kicked Sadistic Sacrament and removed all my nonland cards in my deck from the game, plus one land. Fortunately I had my two bombs in my hand, and ended up winning.


Kicker is obv. a good mechanic 'cause it makes games play better and it's already known from the past that people like it.


I am going to try out a Constructed Ally deck at some point. It's cool to have one or two linear mechanics in the set so that you can just throw em all together.


Traps bother me. I'm already paranoid enough about running into Vines of Vastwood and Bold Defense. Now I have about thirteen other conditions I have to try not to meet when opponents have certain combinations of mana open. They do have flavor at least.


I like quests, just as I liked hideaway, it's cool to have some side aim in Magic rather than the straightforward "hurt the opp / card advantage / win the game".


But Landfall really is the sucky mechanic here. It doesn't bring out the flavor of the set, it barely feels like something to build around (even though I know it can be done), and it creates randomness (Spikes like Plated Geopede cause it's powerful assuming you make your first four or so land drops, but don't like to have to play with cards that aren't consistent - you said this sort of thing yourself). It's kinda boring. I guess it's a functional way to make a trigger that you want to get repeated but would either be too good / or not cool enough if it triggered every upkeep, just like Flashback was a functional way to let someone cast a spell twice (but I like Flashback). But pretty much when someone says Landfall I just think of the individual cards I like, not the mechanic as a whole. Zendikar is not "the land set" like Alara is the "three color arcs set".


The individual cards with landfall that I like are Bloodghast, Eternity Vessel, Ob Nixilis and Hedron Crab.

Well, personally I absolutely loved Odyssey.  It's my favorite limited format ever, and I started playing Magic before Legends came out.  However, your point about keeping track of all the variables in the game makes sense - it's something I never would have considered, because I've played almost exclusively online since MODO was released, and keeping track of the things you listed in your example is easy in that environment.  So even though I like Odyssey, I think reading about the lessons learned from it was interesting.


 


It seems to me that Odyssey may have a few more fans than your article suggested, considering the number of people who mentioned Threshold, Flashback, and Madness in response to your recent twitter message about which mechanics we'd most like to see again.  Personally I think that trio is easily the best collection of mechanics any block has ever had, with the possible exception of Time Spiral.  Although I would say Tempest and Ravnica probably exceeded Odyssey in execution - there's a fair bit of chaff in Odyssey, sadly (Mudhole, anyone?)


 


And speaking of the awesomeness Tempest and Ravnica... will we ever see a reunion of the Maro / Garfield / Elliot power trio?

Interesting point Mark makes about Odyssey block.  I started playing later in Kamigawa block - and my experience of Saviours of Kamigawa was similar to the problem Mark is describing with Threshold.  Saviours had the "hand size matters" theme which I found made for un-fun decisions eg "I really want to play my 3-drop now, but if I don't and also skip a land drop, I can make my 2/1 goblin into 4/2 first strike!  should I do that?  what if they have removal?..."  Champions and Betrayers had taught me to draft efficient beatdown decks with a tight curve, but then Saviours pulled us in the opposite direction (not playing spells or land for advantage instead of making a drop every turn) and I just found all of my decks worked a lot less well and were less fun to play.  I almost quit after only a year (until Ravnica came along and whaddayaknow I kept playing!)


 


Back to Zendikar, so far I like Landfall - I buy the "get rewarded for something you're already doing" aspect.  I haven't heard anybody point out so far that it can have an effect of smoothing out your draws (because topdecking a land late game might do something for a change), and hence has some interesting deckbuilding challenges built in.  Is it now right to play more land than usual?  Maybe 18 or 19 land rather than 17?  Is it worth throwing in the common spell-lands, even possibly off-colour ones just for the effect?  As always, the best decks only ever lose to mana screw, and if a mana flood is no longer bad then maybe it's right to play more land?  I like the way this warps the environment a little - I'm looking forward to finding more ways to exploit things by making multiple land drops (Explorer's Scope) or by replaying land (that white spell that bounces a permanent and gains life has potential - also with Ally CITP effects). 


 


Worldwake is bound to have more instant speed land-tricks, eg "blink" target land for U and draw a card (ie a kind of weird blue one-shot colour fixing?), that 1/1 green elf that can tap to put a land into play, maybe black gets a land-reanimation spell, or maybe something wacky like the 1/1 Elf-Land from Future Sight, but with flash?


 


The only problem I see is just that the environment seems unbelievably fast (even in sealed).  If all you have to do to win is play multiple 1-drops or 2-drops, keep dropping land and smash face - if so then nobody will ever have time to make any use of the expensive spells or Kicker costs, so I'm wondering if about half of the cards in the set will end up not mattering at all if the game is over more often than not by turn 6.  And the inherent inflexibility of Landfall that it mostly only helps the active player does tend to encourage damage races, since the blocker is at a disadvantage. I guess we'll see how it plays out over the next few months...

Yes. The problem with limited these days is that the board situations just aren't complex enough. Compare the multicolor blocks Alara and Invasion, for example. Invasion had a lot more color-changing effects that made board situations really tricky to evaluate. (At least I think so. Some of it might have to do with me being a worse player back then, but I definitely wasn't weaker during Odyssey, rather the opposite.) I loved Odyssey limited and I always hope for a more complex limited environment to return.


That said, Zendikar seems good for limited. It's just a bit on the simple side. There must be ways of creating more complex board situations without scaring players away.

Landfall as a game-mechanism:


1.  It certainly made a difference in Limited in i) making one more aware of the timing of land laying and ii) it was a mechanism capable of determining the outcome of matches. Although I can't comment about it for Standard constructed.


Cases in point:


  Flight 1 during pre-release, opponent at 13, I was at 11. Laid a land, cast Mark of Mutiny on opponent's Baloth Woodcrasher with one mountain untapped. Realized my mistake then and by the time I passed the Baloth back with the +1/+1, he was able to take me down to -2 with his next attack


  Flight 3, another opponent, this time at a comfortable 17 playing B/G and I was at 3 after his combat phase. He tapped down to one forest to add an extra blocker (two tapped, two untapped) against any potential surprises from my two creatures. Learning from the earlier mistake, I Mark of Mutiny his Woorcrasher, fetch land to trigger landfall twice, then Harrow to trigger landfall two more times to swing in for 21 trample, just enough.


 


2.  That said, the ability to trigger landfall felt either too mechanical or too random at times.


  Personally for now, it feels like only Harrow, Khalani expedition, green creatures with land abilities & fetch lands allow for it to be triggered at instant at Limited and maybe terramorphic at Standard. Scope feels too random (although it does have a side benefit of looking at your top deck)


  On a turn by turn basis, one could not really count on triggering landfall above twice unless one planned accordingly (or play/splash green)? In Extended, perhaps Crucible of Worlds + terra/fetch land?


  Perhaps this is deliberate to allow for Landfall to be created without breaking the game?


  Whichever the case is, with Landfall as a mechanism, it would be great to make some controllable mechanisms to complement it (besides recursion), maybe something like "blink" (exile from game, return to battlefield at next phase) which can temporary save creatures or to trigger landfall another time? Come to think of it, "blink" might allow for ally abilities to trigger once more? Hmmmm...


 


"Lands matter" block


  Yes, it certainly feels like it in Limited as decisions about laying land (above) and around lands abound. I actually enjoy playing Ruinous Minotaur during the pre-release because it forced the opponent to evaluate 5-life (potentially 8 or 9) vs my one land every time it attacks and gave me the option of using him as to chump block potential bombs. Cards like Magma rifts and Scythe Tiger which force players to evaluate "a land" vs 5 damge/ 3/2 shroud etc really centered lands as a resource beyond mana source.


  Even if there is nothing completely new about evaluating the value of a land (yes, I remember some cards with buyback of sacrificing lands, etc. There are very few true-original ideas anyway imho), the fact that cards like these are brought together in one set really helped to center land as a very active part of the decision making process beyond mana source. Personally, I wish there are more such cards :D


p.s. edited to add in more land-laying mechanisms at instant.

I finally did it.


Been reading mtg.com since day one, read a lot of articles since, some good, some bad, always had an opinion, never felt the need to voice it ( even when they changed the combat step ... which btw was an unneccesary change that's still creating confusion for some ... you wouldn't believe how strange people look at me when I say : "how do you order my blockers?" and then they go ow yeah right, that's changed, let's see ... )


Aaaanyway, I finally wanted to voice my opinion because I'm really sad to see how MaRo and R&D feel about Oddysey. I started playing with Portal (1) which was the first (and only) set they had in my local town toy shop. Buying one pack a day (as far as my allowance would let me), praying for huge creatures to smash my friends with.


This pretty much continued for a few years (of course, over time decks got more streamlined, but always casual magic) until I moved to a bigger town around the time Odyssey was released. This for me was a huge eye opener. All of a sudden this cardgame I had been playing turned from just another game I play with my friends to something that involved skill, preparation, dedication etc. They even had tournaments that had people who were the better players being rewarded !


I played a lot, watched a lot, learned a lot, lost a lot and everytime somebody beat me because he was a better player I knew I wasn't done with this game just yet.


And that's still how I feel today ! Would I have felt the same if I went to my first tournament and I was bashing these so called "good-players" their faces in because I was hitting my land drops and they weren't ? I guess we'll never know. Of course, I'm really jumping to a conclusion here that's not really fair, but you catch my drift.


Do I understand that wizards is a company that needs to make money and that it's selling 95% of it's product to casual players who don't like games that are too complex ? Of course I do, and over the years I've come to accept it. And I'm not saying that magic isn't a skill game anymore or that good play isn't rewarded (in the long run). But I do believe that they worry too much about alienating this large casual players base. For me Odyssey made me want to play competitive magic. For my casual friends, they liked the set as well because their creatures/spells just got better ! can you believe that my 3/4 now is a 5/6 regenerating trampling machine ? and all I had to have was 7 dead creatures (or giant growths ). I mean, they're dead (/played) and I'm still benefiting from them? win-win !


I guess deep down I was always hoping for a set like Odyssey to reappear somewhere in the future and it just made me feel sad to have those dreams crushed


Anyway, thanks for listening !


Regards,


Kalaxan


 


PS : about Zendikar :


I already did 7 drafts and 3 sealeds with Zendikar and it looks fine. Landfall is a bit random but it does have it's perks, the common quests are Cry to draw in the late game, but the same can be said about most early drops, the enemy fetches are great ( and give good value ), the hidden treasures are fine (altough hiding only some cool cards with value < $5 and hiding more would have been better ), the full art lands are AMAZING ( best idea ever, love the art .. have you seen a foil one? WOW).


The only thing I really dislike is printing tournament cards at mythic (cobra, markov, chandra, obnixilis, mindbreak trap, instigator). I won't rant about that here, but MaRo : we all read you would never do that, nobody is surprissed you did, but you still owe us an article about that


I mean, when I go back into my casual player mindset and I buy my one booster, take out the rare, look at it slowly ... omg, it's a mythic ... omg this guy will be the centerpiece of my deck, this guy my friends won't be able to handle with their mere 'rares' ... and it's the legendary ... what the ****, it's a 2/1 snake ? that gives mana ? don't lands give mana ? what a rip off.


Sorry for the long post


 


 


 

Tournament cards are the best cards to put at mythic. Tournament players are more serious about the game and more willing to spend tons of cash. This is basically about Spike wanting Timmy to pay more so Spike can go and win even more stuff while spending less. 

Same as user above me I have been reading mtg.com for a long long time, but never bothered to make an account. It's been part of my daily ritual for years: wake up, have breakfast, have cofee while reading magicthegathering.com. I enjoyed most of the columns so far. (also I have to note that new forums look somewhat weird)


 


First thanks to MaRo as his intriguing article inspired me to register. From what I've seen and played of Zendikar so far, I'm not particularly excited. Set is flavorful, cards are well designed, but I'm not sold on Landfall mechanic. Most of the games I'll drop a land every turn, so it can compare to triggers "at every upkeep, something happens". It doesnt require much thinking. ATM there are only Harrow and fetches as decent tricks to trigger Landfall in response to something. Zendikar Limited looks OK so far but nothing special. How it will affect constructed, we cannot tell yet. Some cards will be played for sure...


 


On the other hand, I have to say that Odyssey is my favourite set out of those mentioned in this article. It had an intiguing theme (I believe it was first set that cared about graveyard), many great cards and succesfull mechanics that left a mark in all Constructed formats. What Odyssey did is force players to adopt a new variable in their gameplay: number of cards in graveyard (and also with it availability of any discard outlets). You see it as I failure but I see it as big success in design. Magic was never as complex and intriguing as during Odyssey-legal Standard. I admit Threshold could have used a more simple wording. Making Torment a black set, and Judgment a white-green set was a nice twist that i liked. They also contained some memorable cards I enjoyed playing with, like Genesis for example.


Also Odyssey block was home to my favourite decks ever: UB Psychatog and UG Madness. I also know A LOT of players who really enjoyed these decks, as well as Mono-Black Control, another product of Odyssey block. Some of them even stopped playing when Odyssey block rotated out of Extended a year ago. I dont have Twitter but I add my voice to those who mentioned Threshold, Madness and Flashback as mechanics we would like to see reprinted.


 


Just to add some data from my local tournament scene (Split, Croatia): highest Magic the Gathering Constructed tournament attendance we ever had in our town was during Invasion-Odyssey Type2: 40+ players. Highest attendance prerelease was Onslaught (50+) followed by Odyssey (around 40). Tournament attendence has lowered to 20-30 in recent few years. I think one of the reasons for that is during Odyssey age, a player could make an inexpensive, but competitive deck (UG Madness, for example). Which suited our players perfectly as most were in high school at the time. It's important that cheap decks are available to build as it attracts players unwilling to spend loads of money on Magic. I like the fact that R&D came up with some powerfull uncommons lately: Kitchen Finks, Bloodbraid Elf, Harms Way, Path to Exile and i give them big kudos for that :D


 


Thanks for reading everyone

The thing that I liked about Odyssey, and threshold/madness/flashback, was that it made you make tough decisions, but you felt great when you made them correctly.  I find that a lot more rewarding than the mere thrill of "look, I played every card in my hand!".  So maybe I'm more of a Spike than I thought.


I'm loving that Mirrodin was the best-selling set of all time, since it was my favorite as well.  The question for me is:  was that because Spikes loved it, or because of the casual player appeal of "lots of artifacts!!"?

*sigh* another apologist piece from the master of spin, where successes are successes and failures are successes too.


Actually I fully agree that learning from mistakes is vital, and I thought Mark analysed the post mortem very well. Unfortunately Wizards only seem to admit mistakes long after they are relevant, and with no reference to the specious arguments that were used to defend them at the time, so I am afraid that these "Frost / Nixon" moments leave me cold.


Interesting stats about Mirrodin. I enjoyed the set but I regretted that it contained a number of broken cards that dominated standard and then extended, some of which were later confessed to be errors of judgment on design's part. That it is the best selling set of all time does not therefore surprise me but it is not necessarily a hallmark of all-round excellence.


Odyssey on the other hand was perhaps less of a failure than MaRo's faux confession implies. Zendikar is a dull concept executed well, and Odyssey an interesting concept executed poorly, but Odyssey wasn't a Homelands or anything (Torment and judgment were hideous though).


(If Mark wants to apologise about something meaningful, I have a list. Seriously dude - you're like those state leaders who apologise for some war 100 years ago. You wanna apologise for something, start with Mythics, cos it happened on your watch, it is relevant NOW, and you damn well misled us all with your non-utility slight-of-hand.)


I was interested in the reference to the fourth age of magic. What is that exactly?

I agree that if a game isn't fun, it doesn't matter how skill-testing it is.  But maybe MaRo should tell us how, if they remove tough choices from Magic, they keep the play of the game at the highest level from degenerating into the flipping of a weighted coin.

I think Landfall overcompensated for Threshold's complexity. The pendulum swung a bit too far the other way. I wouldn't call Landfall boring, but it could have done a bit more. Then again, there's still two more sets in the block, and we can probably expect a bit more development on the ability.


I completely agree with this. My first reaction to Landfall was "well, that's pretty obvious." It doesn't really tickle the mind, and the way it's executed in Zendikar doesn't help a lot either: there's just not enough ways to get landfall to trigger a lot beyond green. White has historically also had some land-searching effects, but the rest of the colours are pretty much drawing blanks. The only thing that really gets me excited is combining Landfall with the Moonfolk from Kamigawa. It's a shame they didn't decide to bring that tribe back again and instead went for Merfolk again (which does have a nice landwalk theme, but that doesn't really come out in Zendikar either).


 


This amusingly brings me back to Odyssey. For me, one of the great successes of Odyssey was the completely different feel it gave to the game, because they decided to ditch most of the major tribes. This happened with varying levels of success (I'm not going to say Cephalids were amazing), but Dwarves and Barbarians in red and Nightmares in black certainly changed the way one looks at a colour. The insistence of Wizards to have Goblins on every plane is therefore a bit of a shame (I bought an Eventide box purely because of the Duergar), as is the decision to change Barbarians to Berserkers (which really makes no sense at all to me). I admit I have never played much with Threshold, Madness or Flashback (I only started playing Magic again around the time of Onslaught, so I didn't get a lot of Odyssey things), but all those mechanics left a fairly positive feeling in my mind as well.


 



The only thing I really dislike is printing tournament cards at mythic (cobra, markov, chandra, obnixilis, mindbreak trap, instigator). I won't rant about that here, but MaRo : we all read you would never do that, nobody is surprissed you did, but you still owe us an article about that


I mean, when I go back into my casual player mindset and I buy my one booster, take out the rare, look at it slowly ... omg, it's a mythic ... omg this guy will be the centerpiece of my deck, this guy my friends won't be able to handle with their mere 'rares' ... and it's the legendary ... what the ****, it's a 2/1 snake ? that gives mana ? don't lands give mana ? what a rip off.


Sorry for the long post




Timmy and Johnny were screwed from the start, it seems only fitting that Spike gets his fair share. Note that most of those cards also speak very strongly towards either Timmy or Johnny. Mostly big, flashy or unusual effects, and of course the planeswalkers. It really all seems to fit into the mythic rare strategy they displayed before.


 


Landfall just really doesn't provide enough strategic depth in itself, and it is not worked out well enough to generate some really interesting play. If Worldwake expands on it, it could turn out to be a success, but it's not quite there yet.

76125763 wrote:
Zindaras' meta is like a fossil, ancient and its secrets yet to be uncovered. Only men of yore, long dead, knew of it.

While I have not been playing long enought to remember Odessey, I belive that he explained his point as to why it failed (in his oppintion) at lest. Of coruse, not playing in the block, I can't understand it fully, but I think I know what he means.


I love Landfall, and so do all my friends and I'm sure you all do to. He's right when he says it's fun to be rewarded for free. ^_^

I must be playing the wrong game, because I thought Odyssey was the best of that lot, and Mirrodin is what made me stop playing magic for a good while.


Odyssey's main problem, as many here have mentioned, is that it had all kinds of horrible, unplayable cards at all rarities. For every Wild Mongrel or Faceless Butcher we had an Aven Trooper or a Cantivore.


Madness was a wonderful mechanic. So was flashback. Threshold was the weakest of the lot, but everything else was pretty fantastic.


Mirrodin, on the other hand, turned tons of casuals out of magic, as we all know. It was the completely wrong way of doing artifacts, and it was no fun in limited, where some sealed pools were great, while others were plain horrific. It was especially terrible in league formats.


 

Here's the situation:


  • Limited is a cashcow

  • Competitive Limited tends to be very skill-intensive.

  • There's a huge pile of casual players who, well, aren't very savvy players.

  • Casual players rarely play limited

Of course, this means the optimal solution, from Hasbro's perspective, is to dumb-down the set enough to entice the Idiot Kids to play competitive Limited. 


What Hasbro fails to realize is that Casual players aren't refusing to jump into limited because it's "too hard" - they are resistant to jump in because of the $12 buy-in for each Draft instance and the $24 buy-in for each Sealed instance.
Add in the "you rarely keep what you open" aspect of limited via Draft's very mechanics and Sealed's deck-swap, and it's pretty obvious to everyone who's not a Hasbro bean-counter exactly why 'Cat-deck Julie' or 'Invincible Monsters! Jimmy' from Casual Night don't want to participate in the drafts on Friday.

I too was very intrigued by this 'Fourth Age of Magic' thing. It got me thinking how I would split up these 'ages of Magic'.


1. The Beginning. Alpha through to Mirage. Cards were, by and large, weak and wordy. But they were flavourful and imaginative. There was not a lot of coherence between sets, and a block model only in the loosest sense.


2. Adolescence. Mirage through to Invasion. The block model arrives and sticks, with Limited balance becoming a big part of Development. The Weatherlight Saga plays out across multiple blocks. Card power level is swingy, with Urza's off the charts and Masques on a different chart that is kept in a basement five miles below the main chart.


3. Third Age. Invasion up to Ravnica. Power level is balanced out somewhat after some ups and downs, though Affinity haunts this age. This marks the start of blocks driven by mechanical themes as opposed to story-driven ones. Mirrodin block is notable both for Affinity and for the start of the 'different plane for each block' idea. Blocks are still very discreet mechanically- Onslaught, Mirrodin, Champions of Kamigawa is a mind-boggling, lurching, mechanical journey.


4. Fourth Age. Ravnica through to M10. This age's most important development is cross-block synergy. Card power level is 'flattened out' as a previous poster commented, with fewer awful cards and a lot more average ones. This is also pretty much the 'multicolour age', with many sets focusing on and many more featuring gold or hybrid cards. The successful block themes from the third age are recycled (and one set recycles a block theme from the First Age- less said about Coldsnap, the better). This age's twilight is marked by the beginning of the great Acquisition Push.


5. Fifth Age. M10 to the present day. The rules change, and M10 seeks to take Magic back to its fantasy roots. Zendikar is shaping up to be pretty awesome. There's probably more to say about what's going on with Magic right now but I'll stop here because I'd love to see some input from others.


I too was very intrigued by this 'Fourth Age of Magic' thing. It got me thinking how I would split up these 'ages of Magic'.


1. The Beginning. Alpha through to Mirage. Cards were, by and large, weak and wordy. But they were flavourful and imaginative. There was not a lot of coherence between sets, and a block model only in the loosest sense.


2. Adolescence. Mirage through to Invasion. The block model arrives and sticks, with Limited balance becoming a big part of Development. The Weatherlight Saga plays out across multiple blocks. Card power level is swingy, with Urza's off the charts and Masques on a different chart that is kept in a basement five miles below the main chart.


3. Third Age. Invasion up to Ravnica. Power level is balanced out somewhat after some ups and downs, though Affinity haunts this age. This marks the start of blocks driven by mechanical themes as opposed to story-driven ones. Mirrodin block is notable both for Affinity and for the start of the 'different plane for each block' idea. Blocks are still very discreet mechanically- Onslaught, Mirrodin, Champions of Kamigawa is a mind-boggling, lurching, mechanical journey.


4. Fourth Age. Ravnica through to M10. This age's most important development is cross-block synergy. Card power level is 'flattened out' as a previous poster commented, with fewer awful cards and a lot more average ones. This is also pretty much the 'multicolour age', with many sets focusing on and many more featuring gold or hybrid cards. The successful block themes from the third age are recycled (and one set recycles a block theme from the First Age- less said about Coldsnap, the better). This age's twilight is marked by the beginning of the great Acquisition Push.


5. Fifth Age. M10 to the present day. The rules change, and M10 seeks to take Magic back to its fantasy roots. Zendikar is shaping up to be pretty awesome. There's probably more to say about what's going on with Magic right now but I'll stop here because I'd love to see some input from others.





I think that sums alot of it up very well. You just now came up with that?

What if the correct decision most of the time was to play your land, and only on the rare occasion would you want to not play it? (For example, if you are trying to combo your landfall effect with something else and you need to wait a turn to set that other thing up).


I think this is the important reason for Landfall's success.  If the mechanic were something else where it's never the right play to hang on to your land, than it would've failed.  You mentioned that as a designer, it's rare to pay attention to the successes, so I wanted to draw your attention to this one.  It's important to have things where there is some decision making process involved.  One reason people have a negative reaction to Baneslayer Angel is because you should always play it in your limited deck.  I'm very surprised how often I get to decide whether or not to play an extra land or decide what order I want to play my spells because I want to try to maximize the balance between my landfall triggers and my board presence.  This success is more than just the ability, but also in the costing and strength of the various landfall abilities and the frequency at which it appears.  I don't know how much that was intentional and how much of it was luck, but I think it ended up at a great place where all players can enjoy the ability and many of use can enjoy that it's richer than it looks.


I think that sums alot of it up very well. You just now came up with that?



Magic has had a pretty obvious cycle of insanity, followed by overcompensating, followed by a long period of being pretty level (but eventually stagnant) -  They make an overly awesome set or three, then they panick and make few horridly slow sets, then they find a new stride and produce several sets that aren't particularly awesome or particularly terrible.
Eventually, however, the string of 'average' sets start to look, well, average.  When R&D attempts to invigorate the game by trying something innovative or by blatantly pushing something, they tend to go overboard and come up with something completely insane - and the cycle starts over.

 


However, I have to think the "ages" are more accurately split by crises in the business-cycles of selling Magic, and the eventual recoveries thereof.  However, the events of the insane/crap/sustain cycle and problems at retail do tend to overlap.

I know landfall seem really fun to a lot of people (my friends included), but not to me.  I don't think I really understand the concept of rewarding players for something they're gonna do anyway.  The Landfall ability doesn't really matter.  Most the time the result is just a free spell effect.  Shouldn't a reward come for doing something special, or difficult?  Or shouldn't you, at the very least, have to pay for it? Why should you deserve a bonus effect for doing something essential to the game?  It's not like the effect is made up for in the cost.  A 1/1 w/ first strike for 1R is reasonable for a common creature.  A 3/3 or 5/5 first striker for 1R is not.  Maybe it's just me being crotchety.  I started playing during Oddessey block and really began understanding the game during Onslaught (still my favorite set).  It seems the power level has been ramped up to a rediculous level since then.  Lotus Cobra?  Baneslayer Angel?  Even Plumeveil and Wall of Denial would have been absolutely rediculous.  For ones who talk so much about limiting power creep, it seems to have taken hold anyway.  And don't try to get out with the "trying to make better creatures" argument.  Unmake?  Path to Exile? Lightning Bolt returns?  Cascade? And now they seem to be saying "Hey, go ahead and get some spell-type effects for nothing!".  Let me stay some criticizm by saying that by no means do I think this is "the End of Magic!" or "the game is Broken!".   I'll keep playing.  I'm just wary of what direction the game is moving when we start giving out good effects for free.  I know I want to feel rewarded when I make a good play, or when I make the right choice in a difficult situation.  Even with landfall I do not see a prevalence of situations where a player says "should I play this land?"  95% of the time they'll play the land, get the good effects, and move on, when they would have played the land anyway.  So, no, I'm not happy with landfall.  A reward for no reason, at least to this player, does not for good gameplay make.

And now they seem to be saying "Hey, go ahead and get some spell-type effects for nothing!".

They've found a clever razor's edge of giving away "free" effects, in a way idiot noob-scrubs won't instantly whine about being "unfair".

Getting some effect for dropping your land this turn looks a hell of a lot different than playing an affinity chain did six years ago.

As I read this, I couldn't help thinking that MaRo's mistakes - "I Designed the Set to Please Myself Rather Than the Audience", "I Tried to Force the Audience to Have Fun My Way", and "I Made the Players Have to Care about Something They Didn't Want to Care About" - could just as easily describe some of his older articles, the obvious example being Elegance.


As I read this, I couldn't help thinking that MaRo's mistakes - "I Designed the Set to Please Myself Rather Than the Audience", "I Tried to Force the Audience to Have Fun My Way", and "I Made the Players Have to Care about Something They Didn't Want to Care About" - could just as easily describe some of the articles he's written, the obvious example being Elegance.



Ooooo! Burn.

However, "I Designed the Set to Please Myself Rather Than the Audience", "I Tried to Force the Audience to Have Fun My Way", and "I Made the Players Have to Care about Something They Didn't Want to Care About" come across more as Marketing Buzzwords.

However, I have to think the "ages" are more accurately split by crises in the business-cycles of selling Magic, and the eventual recoveries thereof.  However, the events of the insane/crap/sustain cycle and problems at retail do tend to overlap.



Well we could look no further than our current and recent history for that. Shove a little power into sets, and people start buying again.


I am glad to see that there are others who are less than thrilled with Landfall. For a while there I was one of the few people with a less than glowing review of it. Basically I don't care much for it for the same reasons that they made it in the first place. (Talk about not being their target audience - I think I am on the other side of the moon for that one.) I am going to put the Moonfolk deck together finally though, and someone mentioned that earlier.  I had been sitting on the cards for a long rtime and never got to it. Now I can make it a standalone casual deck and remove all the Moonfolk from my binders.


There are a couple of odd spells that I find to be matches with other unused ideas, but Landfall itself does not inspire me to make a deck. To me that is the failure of a mechanic. I literally have lost count of the number of decks featuring Suspend I have used, and at its most ridiculous it was probably far more convoluted than anything you could do in Odyssey because of the Z-axis involved with the mechanic (time). One such deck chased a close friend out of the game (oops). I guess it is fitting that Mark said that many elements of Time Spiral were too complex for some players. I don't expect every mechanic to be right up my alley, but the less I am inspired to think, or to create, the more worthless the mechanic. In Landfall's case, I see all-upside, and no tension save for that time between you needing to make all early land-drops and you automatically sitting on land in the late game. That's not enough to be meaningful. Even Devour is more interesting than that, and they hardly gave us any creatures with flash to really work with it.


That's right, I just said something from Shards of Alara was more interesting than the main mechanic of Zendikar. This game really has passed me by.

After seeing a few first time posters, I decided to also join in and make my first comment. I too for a while now been reading the articles but never posted any comments before, so I figured I would give it a shot.


I have been playing Magic on and off since Revised, while a freshmen in college. I never played Limited, only constructed and mainly casual with a couple friends. Odyssey was one of the sets that I bought 2 boxes of boosters of and had a blast opening them. I thought that this set was awesome, using cards from graveyard, or intentionallyputting cards in graveyard... I thought it was genius. Now reading about and seeing the cards in Zendikar with Landfall I think that this new Land Matters is really interesting and intriguing. I think it will really make playing land at the right time more crucial.


I am amazed that the development teams are still creating new mechanics every set. I think back to when I first started playing and look where it is now and I think WOW! I see so many negative comments and posts about how this new set or this new mechanic is boring or is stupid and think look at what these people that design these new sets and mechanics are working with. They are using their imagination, and I do not think any of past sets or mechanics are boring or stupid. I just commend them for their ideas that they can bring to life and some will be more exciting than others. 


Hopefully, I will be able to find a couple of people that are interested in playing this new set. I know I will not be able to buy boxes like I have done in the past, but buying some boosters and doing some sealed or drafting (Winston probably because I do not have 7 others to play with).  I have been getting my fix of playing magic with Shandlar and doing the sealed deck challege. That to me is really the most fun, getting a small pool of cards to look through and build a deck. I get overwhelmed with how many cards there are now and I am now older and do not have the time to know all the cards, so sealed for me seems to be the most appealing. I have an MTGO account but i do not have many cards to play with and it always seems to take a while to load up on my computer, probably because I only go into it once every couple weeks or months, so it needs to do updates.


Anyway, I am really looking forward to playing with these "Land Matters" cards.


PS- These people who work for MTG and get to play magic and create new cards everyday (and get paid for it) have a dream job.


 


As I read this, I couldn't help thinking that MaRo's mistakes - "I Designed the Set to Please Myself Rather Than the Audience", "I Tried to Force the Audience to Have Fun My Way", and "I Made the Players Have to Care about Something They Didn't Want to Care About" - could just as easily describe some of the articles he's written, the obvious example being Elegance.





Nah they're pretty common (and broken) mantras for game design


I think you've gotten a few wires crossed, as odyssey was freaking awesome, and landfall is kind of boring.  There's next to no thought and skill involved in it's use.  I'd rather make decisions that some focus group considers "unfun" than make no decisions at all.




Problem is, there's not enough of you to buy packs 


Problem is, there's not enough of you to buy packs 





This, plain and simple. Mark was very clear in the "Assume The Aquisition" article that because we didn't spend enough, they were going after a different crowd and basically hoping we'd stick around. (Other articles from around that time pointed this out as well.)

Of course I enjoyed Time Spiral, as I often mention, and it did poorly.