10/23/2009 TWTW: "Vampire Weekend"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.

Nice.  I was hoping there would be a Vampire Weekend reference this week.

Thread title is broken.

NH 11/19: Is there any way to make it more clear that this guy kills planeswalkers?


 


Yeah is there not more ways to be completly explicit? Couldnt RnD start printing sheets of all the synergies it has found during development and ship them with the boosters. And all playtesters post on a special blog so there when the set come out there can be no new discovery. Actual contemplation is so 20th centuary. We dont want the dumb people to feel left outside. So now everyone can play, since RnD print such things out for everyone. No one left behind.

I think the site should do a series of articles based on band names. Animal Collective can be about Zoo decks in Extended, Cut Copy can be about how you reprint cards for different sets and why we need Cancel in every block, and Phoenix can be about the creature type.

Oxford Comma <3

You didn't have space to remind people that this kills planeswalkers in the text, but you missed an opportunity by not using the art for it.


While the current art is very good, it could fit many other small black creatures. Why not comission new art, and have the hexmage attacking Nissa or Chandra? Then, you could have some appropriate flavor text about how the vampire hexmages are a planeswalker's bane.


Simple, effective, doesn't use any ugly reminder text, while nudging players in the right direction

"Our goal was not to be prescriptive; it is not our job to decide exactly what a Vampire deck should look like."


 


Feast of Blood


 


This card ruins that statement. It doesn't check game state once it hits the stack, and it is a dead draw if you can't satisfy the two Vampire requirement. I don't know about the design and development of this card, but proscribing requirements as narrow as this makes the game less fun.


Aggressive Constructed decks simply don't work without strong one-mana creatures.


That statement is flat-out wrong. Jund aggro decks of both last season and this one do not play one-mana creatures, because part of their lands come into play tapped and they want to use their turn one for those, and because one-drops are terrible cascades for Bloodbraid Elf and Bituminous Blast. Their curve starts at 2 with Putrid Leech, and it's the right way to build the deck.


And there's worse : not to disapoint you, but the best Vampire decks do not play Lacerator or other one-drop creatures. The one Vampire deck that made the top 8 of the last Starcity 5k tournament didn't play them. Why ? While semi-aggressive, the Vampire deck, when well-built, is not pure beatdown, it's aggro-control. What you want in such a deck are solid threats with abilities that help you keep control of the game, not undercosted small drops with drawbacks to win as fast as possible. After realizing this, I took out the Lacerators from my own version and I haven't looked back yet.


The truth is, to be a real beatdown deck, Vampires would have needed several more creatures with power higher than their mana cost or with non conditional haste, or more pump effects. As is, Vampires are much more built on resiliency and control aspects, which makes Lacerator stand out from the rest of his tribe.


Don't get me wrong, there sure is a place for the Lacerator somewhere, and of course, I never said that good one-drops aren't usually great in a traditional aggro deck. But saying aggressive decks can't work without them is gravy. 


 

Magic The Gathering DCI Lvl 1 Judge Don't hesitate to post rules question in the Rules Q&A forum for me and other competent advisors to answer : http://community.wizards.com/go/forum/view/75842/134778/Rules_Q38A


You didn't have space to remind people that this kills planeswalkers in the text, but you missed an opportunity by not using the art for it.


While the current art is very good, it could fit many other small black creatures. Why not comission new art, and have the hexmage attacking Nissa or Chandra? Then, you could have some appropriate flavor text about how the vampire hexmages are a planeswalker's bane.


Simple, effective, doesn't use any ugly reminder text, while nudging players in the right direction





The flavor you're suggesting doesn't really work with current Magic flavor guidelines. First of all, despite the fact that players and R&D talk about the act of "killing a planeswalker" all the time, it was explained by the creative team that in their vision, planeswalkers summoned by you do not die when they get to 0 loyalty, they just stop wanting to work for you and depart. Second, normal denizens of Zendikar (and most other planes) don't know what the frig a planeswalker is. Third, even if some know, they also know that such beings are incredibly rare. So I doubt it would make sense for a relatively common type of vampire wizard to specialize in killing planeswalkers. Also, I don't think the Hexmage would remove counters by attacking things; rather, she would cast a powerful spell that costs her her life in other to deplete an object, enchantment, place or living being of its accumulated energy.
Magic The Gathering DCI Lvl 1 Judge Don't hesitate to post rules question in the Rules Q&A forum for me and other competent advisors to answer : http://community.wizards.com/go/forum/view/75842/134778/Rules_Q38A

if by coverage they mean i went to the page at 5 pm and saw that it was still "round 3" then yes.


"Our goal was not to be prescriptive; it is not our job to decide exactly what a Vampire deck should look like."


This card [Feast of Blood] ruins that statement.




Their job is not to make a vampire deck.  It's to make a bunch of cards that could go into a vampire deck.  Feast of Blood could go in a vampire deck, but doesn't because it's janky.  How does it ruin their statement?



"Our goal was not to be prescriptive; it is not our job to decide exactly what a Vampire deck should look like."


This card [Feast of Blood] ruins that statement.




Their job is not to make a vampire deck.  It's to make a bunch of cards that could go into a vampire deck.  Feast of Blood could go in a vampire deck, but doesn't because it's janky.  How does it ruin their statement?




I would also like to know how "[Feast of Blood] ruins that statement."


What I do think is that the sum of cards, with the subtype vampire or include vampire mechanically e.g Feast of Blood, challenge the success-level of the outcome in their goal to not to give directions (please be reminded that prescriptive also translate to "giving injunctions" creating another meaning then directions) A vampire deck that doesnt include dudes of not-enourmous size that smash face will not live for eternity, so to speak.


To go back to how feast of blood could ruin that statement. A black removal spell at sorcery speed with an almost irrelavant bonus compared to the drawback is never going to see the light of day in a vampire deck (pun not intended). So how will that decide which cards make it into the deck? One could argue that feast of blood together with every other unplayable vampire card do decide which cards other then them make it in.


The argument is based on that Wizards, by making X playable vampire cards and Y unplayable vampire cards, and X was lower then a certain number, you are indirectly forcing the cards. So claiming diversity based of a virtual number "there are 42 different cards that you can choose from" when it is in reality lets say 4 that is strictly vampire and 4 others that not directly vampire, but so fitting the deck that they always will be played in conjuction, you might say the deck was pre-constructed.


I boldly claim that there will never be a tribal vampire deck in this standard that omiss nighthawk or gatekeeper or nocturnus (and perhaps malakir and bloodghast) and they will always include tendrils of corruption*, doom blade* (and perhaps duress*?)


That is potentially 32 slots, but atleast smt like 20.


I dont know the vampire cards well enough, but if we take another tribe e.g kithkin. And put all the cards refering to kithkin against the statement  "not our job to decide exactly what a Vampire deck should look like". You have to work hard to create a tribal deck of kithkins that is not a wennie based beat down deck. In the kithkin example you can also be guranteed to find, in every kithkin deck, 4 knights, 4 stalwarts, 4 cenns, 4 cloudgoat rangers, 4 spectral possessions*, 2-4 path to exile*, 4 (3 attacking creatures hideaway land*), 4 Honor of the pure* so that would be up to 32 cards of the 40 non-plains cards in the deck (roughly). And if the vampire tribe end up the same with 32 cemented slots, I argue that you have decided how a vampire deck should look like.


* - yes I know the are not specificly kithkin or vampire, actually have nothing to do with it. But if every deck with the exakt same 16 cards, all which refer to "kithkin" (thus being a "kithkin tribal deck?), also always have these other 16 cards, on the money. Couldnt one say that "those who made these cards either did them to be played together/must have realized that they would be played together or they sure dont know much about deck building."

 



 


Aggressive Constructed decks simply don't work without strong one-mana creatures.


That statement is flat-out wrong. Jund aggro decks of both last season and this one do not play one-mana creatures, because part of their lands come into play tapped and they want to use their turn one for those, and because one-drops are terrible cascades for Bloodbraid Elf and Bituminous Blast. Their curve starts at 2 with Putrid Leech, and it's the right way to build the deck.


And there's worse : not to disapoint you, but the best Vampire decks do not play Lacerator or other one-drop creatures. The one Vampire deck that made the top 8 of the last Starcity 5k tournament didn't play them. Why ? While semi-aggressive, the Vampire deck, when well-built, is not pure beatdown, it's aggro-control. What you want in such a deck are solid threats with abilities that help you keep control of the game, not undercosted small drops with drawbacks to win as fast as possible. After realizing this, I took out the Lacerators from my own version and I haven't looked back yet.


The truth is, to be a real beatdown deck, Vampires would have needed several more creatures with power higher than their mana cost or with non conditional haste, or more pump effects. As is, Vampires are much more built on resiliency and control aspects, which makes Lacerator stand out from the rest of his tribe.


Don't get me wrong, there sure is a place for the Lacerator somewhere, and of course, I never said that good one-drops aren't usually great in a traditional aggro deck. But saying aggressive decks can't work without them is gravy. 


 




 


I think the statement that such deck "[...] simply don't work without strong one-mana creatures" is incorrect. But I will go out on a limb and assume Tom meant "almost every Aggressive Constructed decks [...]"


And in that statement I would agree. And I write this because the mistake (if I am correct in assuming Tom did mean almost every) is one that every person I know commits. And therefore the usual response it to assume, maybe erroneous, that the intent was "almost every". Because social interaction get so much easier when we try to understand each other. I think you will discover the upsides if you gave it a try.


And then we wouldn’t need to prove that there actually exist successful aggro decks that don’t have one-drops, because we all know there are exceptions. But we also all know that generally speaking, having great one drops is almost always key.


 


I say nothing about the validness of what the best Vampire decks should or should not play, but you are using a fallacious argument which I think is cheap.


“And there's worse : not to disapoint[sic] you, but the best Vampire decks do not play Lacerator or other one-drop creatures.”




The validness of creating Lacerator for the aggressive deck is not refuted because of the invalidness it may or may not have in a different archetype.


"[If you want a well-built Vampire deck, you don’t build it like a pure beatdown deck; you build it like an aggro-control deck.] What you want in such an [aggro-control deck] are solid threats with abilities that help you keep control of the game, [you don’t want to have] undercosted small drops with drawbacks [optimized only] to win as fast as possible. [This is exactly what you would like to have in a pure beatdown deck.]After realizing this, I took out the [undercosted small drops with drawbacks optimized only to win as fast as possible] from my [more purely beat down] version and [rebuild it to the more well-built aggro-control version.] I haven't looked back yet.”


Well that may certainly be true, but Tom said


In order for this not to be disappointing, we needed to provide Vampire decks with all of the things that it takes to make a black aggressive deck work


An according to him, such things are the things sarcomany decks of old had.


It has been many years since Standard had a mono-black hyper-aggressive deck that was strong.  Between Sarcomancy and Carnophage, those decks had eight one-mana 2/2 creatures. Those decks were putting serious pressure on anyone starting on turn one, and could kill people by turn four or five


So I would say he actually wants a Vampire deck with "undercosted small drops with drawbacks to win as fast as possible"



If Tom had said "The best and most well-built Vampire deck always is an aggro-control one that always uses Lacerator" then you could argue that a singular sample of one deck in one tournament top-8 would be evidence that refuted Tom. And though it is beside the point, I would argue that one singular deck example as evidence of the truthfulness of your reasoning would be sketchy.


 

The Vampire deck seems to be well developed and it's fun. I dislike how its core includes two rares and a mythic but at least that one was openly distributed in PreReleases, but overall it has a nice powerlevel without forcing it to be a "play it or lose" deck just as some other tribe...


However, the real criticism to it is the following: Why and how much cardslots are you willing to sacrifice in parasitic narrow cards when the block isn't even focused on tribal interactions? Neither vampires nor allies have anything to do with the land theme of Zendikar and yet you are bent on appealing to Timmies at the cost of letting too little left to do with the supposed feature theme of the block. Other than the obvious landfall fast beats that have already been explored with Bushwacker aggro, there's little to explore right now, and cards like the Feast aren't any worth considering outside their tribe. While flavorfully Vampires may fit, you can easily print them without having any tribal interactions, just like Shadowmoor - Eventide, letting M10 do the tribal stuff.


As it is, it's no surprise that just like Shards of Alara, Zendikar seems to be developed without taking the Standard metagame in mind at all, and now people can't figure out how to beat the obvious best deck of the past block because a big portion of the cards are too busy caring for themselves only.

If Limited gets in the way of printing good Constructed cards... Screw limited

AF 1/26: Now has first strike and sacs to use. Not sure this is the best place for first strike.

First strike creatures with sacrifice abilities still feel strange to many of us in Magic R&D, but the development team felt that some extra ability was necessary for the card to be strong enough in Constructed. First strike allows this card to deal damage and use its ability in the same combat step, so the team went with it.



Seriously LOL at Wizards killing off damage on the stack, then worrying that cards like Hexmage with sac abilities aren't useful enough so they duct tape the random first strike + sacrifice hack to replicate damage on the stack functionality.

We also knew that if we made a lot of Vampires with Vampire tribal cards, some players would want to make a Vampire deck, and some of them would want to play that Vampire deck in Standard Constructed tournaments. When they did, we did not want them to discover that they had been tricked, and that their Vampire deck was hopelessly bad.


that's weird, they didn't seem to have that kind of concern about tribal giants or tribal elementals in constructed during lorwyn's design. and doran was barely a treefolk deck, anyway, so you could probably say the same thing for that tribe. i don't think you meant "players would want to make a constructed vampire deck and we didn't want to disappoint them," i think you meant "we wanted players to make a vampire constructed deck and designed/developed to that end."


and no, that crazy rogue elementals deck that didn't end up amounting to much doesn't count. although it was really neat.



However, the real criticism to it is the following: Why and how much cardslots are you willing to sacrifice in parasitic narrow cards when the block isn't even focused on tribal interactions?




actually it's highly focused on tribal interactions. besides the vampire tribal (which i agree is totally unnecessary) there's this lazyman's tribal with allies. tribal without a tribe, but it's still "play creatures with this subtype and watch them get pumped and cool effects happen." it's tribal to the core, just not really flavorwise. it even has that minotaur as a lord.


which is really part of the problem with the "land set." there's landfall (mostly minor effects), some lands (mostly minor effects, a cycle of rare lands but nothing really crazy) and then a whole lotta stuff that has nothing to do with lands. i'm hoping worldwake steps it up in the land department, because i'm just not feeling the"land set" thing here.

Imo it's kind of sad that goblins (my favorite tribe) were ruined in Lorwyn because they "were too fast to be fun" in Onslaught, but still vampires and others get to be fast brainless attackers.

When will WotC finally realise that people who download video's have not seen them yet, so would enjoy watching them without knowing the winner. If they want to know the winner, they go for the main page and check it. But you do not have to write it all over the site and especially in the page where you can download video's...

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