11/30/2009 Feature: "Opening the Door"

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

As a budget player, I still mourn the loss of the Theme Decks, but understand the 41-card Intro Packs have their place in Magic. The idea of both the Theme Deck and Intro Pack were to introduce mechanics and kewords of new sets to players, mostly new players.

A few months ago my daughter (11) asked me to teach her how to play. She has mild mental disabilities, so going slow was the only way I knew how to approach the deckbuilding. I searched the web, including this site (reading Anthony Alongi's articles helped), but I found two decks (one R/G aggro, one U/B Control) that had been tested against each other quite a bit. They are made of mostly M10 commons and a few uncommons thrown in. The decks really show off the interplay between control and aggro and how cards can "trump" others: Runeclaw Bears killed by Assassinate or Doom Blade, but Cudgel Troll can be regenerated; Merfok Looter gains card advantage, but Sparkmage Apprentice can take it out and be a body on the battlefield; Air Elemental with Cancel backup is a house, but can be shot down by Seismic Strike. Terramorphic Expanse in both decks show how important having access to both your colors is.

Overall, the decks look like they would play well together and there is enough redundancy in them (in other words, no one-of cards) to have the new player really get the hang of "their" deck.

Hopefully my teaching experience will go well and I can easilly introduce other evergreen concepts and set specific mechanics later. If anyone would like the decklists, feel free to send me a message here and I will give you the link (I was unsure if I was allowed to place the link in this post).

I think have to disagree with the articles suggestion of "not showing them all the doors".

After teaching people this way i find that what happens is they'll be playing a game and their opponant will do something that within their understanding of the rules is impossible. This is obviously quite frustrating as they feel like they had a grasp on the game but something has just come out of no where which they didn't even think was possible and they'll probably lose because of it(damage on the stack was a good example but there are still other things that people don't see in a "basic" rules explanation). If this happens multiple times it can be enough for people to give up learning.

  Another problem with not teaching people the full game is that if two of the incompletely taught people end up playing together they will often come across a point in the game where they need to make a decision on how something works , often with an incomplete ruleset they will interprate things inccorectly. When two people form an incorrect decision on how something works and carry on playing like this they assume it's correct ,when they then play someone who actually does know how it works the new players often will assume the correct player is wrong and will argue the case until someone who is seen as a rules expert corrects them.(often me as the local tournament organiser and judge or a few other players who kept in high regard)

I agree if a new player is expected to learn everything in magic within the first tiem they learn the game it's an unfair exspectation. Which is why what i tend to do is start by saying something like

" Ok something that is great abotu magic is it's vast, problem is there's alot to learn. What i'll do is go through as much as i can now and then we'll play some games and again i will at every oppertunity explain as much as i can. You do not need to take even 50% of this in. I want tomake sure at least i have mentioned most things so that when they come up in a game you're not learning them from scracth only being reminded about them. Seriously do not worry if you forget anything i say just take in as much as you can handle and all is good "

Then i'll go through casting costs,card types, creature combat and damage, players turns ect ect then some more advanced stuff and then i'll play a few games with them withboth our hands revealed and go through the options they have explaining the hoices to them.

Now obviosuly this is a little more time consuming than here's magic you have lands that tap for mana they pay for the spells cost. attack with creatures and now go and play him and learn the game but it' s worth it in the long run. People who have been taught in the basic manner are still asking rules questions after playing for many years, just because they have made many years of false assumptions and have got so confused between them and the rules they actually do know.
People have been taught more completely seem to never have a problem with any basic or intermieidate aspects of the game and only have to ask for clarification on complex aspects at which point they usually have made the correct decision on the interaction because of their solid foundation of understanding.

Anyways thats just a little insight and personal expeiriance from my times as a tournament organiser,i've taught people of all ages with my style and it seems to work well for them . People who have been taught by others using the basic explanation as i say, end up down the line alot more confused than they should be.

Dan
My roommate is currently teaching one of his friends to play, and he's going the "all open doors" path.  He sent me a text message asking how double strike versus first strike death touch would play out.  And another one about indestructible creatures receiving lots of damage.

I remember learning to play with lands, creatures, and maybe a sorcery or two.  Then once I thought my deck was pretty good against similar decks, my friend would pull out a deck that made use of Terror and Drain Life.  Then I'd try to make a deck full of Terrors and Counterspells, and he'd produce a token swarm deck.  Two years later I finally built a controlling Megrim based deck (oh, look at that username, will you).  It had discard, creature kill, counterspells, Racks, and even a Memory Jar too enable a kill out of nowhere.

Back to my roommate's friend, he came over this weekend for our multiplayer night.  His deck was full of singletons and odd choices, but he also included Pacifisms to nullify threats and even some light mana fixing to smooth out his three color deck.  He got to see my Sway of the Stars deck fail miserably and saw how important synergy is (ally decks are sweet when the mana comes together).
I phrased this much nicer the first time, but then my browser crashed, and now I don't have the patience to repeat my polite lead-in.  The crux of what I wanted to say is this:  The 40-card intro packs are ludicrous.  Tournament Sealed players aside, MOST magic decks use the 60 card minimum.  I agree that with new players, simplicity is very important, but what's even more important with a game is playability.  If I'm trying to teach someone TO PLAY Magic, it just makes more sense if I have a deck they can actually PLAY.  Yes, I'll go over the basics of what the cards are, what a creature is as opposed to an instant, a land vs an artifact and so on, but then I would play a game and teach them as we go.  It just makes so much more sense to me.

Imagine if you wanted to teach someone how to play chess, and you go buy a chess intro game, and it gives you a 6x6 checkered board and only two-thirds of the pieces.  Could you teach that person the basics?  Yeah, probably.  Would that intro game game be of any real use?  Not really, unless you go out and buy the rest of the pieces somewhere else.  And that's precisely what the intro packs want you do do.  Buy something that has no real value and then go buy more to make it work, when as recently as a two years ago that sold you everything you would need in one nice, little box.

Shameless Self-Promotion

These are the MTG Fiction pieces I have written:

Planes of the Dual-Walkers
Allo's Fortnight
The Butcher's Cleaver
Dead Man 'Walking
Showdown
Pariah
Deals and Devils
The Tears of the Djinn
Cromat Comes
Kiss of the Shorecerers
Numerous poems in The Poetry Plane
Magic: The Musical

Please read and comment! I love hearing people's thoughts and reactions to my work!

Sales of intro packs must be down.

I can't say I'm sad, I don't think they're very good. I looked at ebay (UK), and for the cost of getting one of each Zendikar intro pack I could get a bulk lot of Zendikar commons and uncommons, and probably have some cash left over for whatever rares came in the fixed packs.

From there, its easy to look up the deck list and put together your own version of the intro pack, for less money. You also have a much bigger selection of cards for when your friend eventually wants to experiment and try different decks, because they will, and then they'll be disappointed that they spent so much on a poor selection of cards.

They're just not worth the money.


Imagine if you wanted to teach someone how to play chess, and you go buy a chess intro game, and it gives you a 6x6 checkered board and only two-thirds of the pieces.  Could you teach that person the basics?  Yeah, probably.  Would that intro game game be of any real use?  Not really, unless you go out and buy the rest of the pieces somewhere else.  And that's precisely what the intro packs want you do do.  Buy something that has no real value and then go buy more to make it work, when as recently as a two years ago that sold you everything you would need in one nice, little box.



I think this is an inapropriate analagy, this example basically says th game of magic you play with 40 cards in your deck is different form the one you play when there is 60, which is obviously not correct. I think the intro packs are great for people who want to grab a deck and learn. They are pre-built which means they have the right land/spell ratio , they generally stick to a theme so are easy to understand and also feature many aspects of the game (foil rares, boosters, and a fair share of each card type)

Another aspect of the intro pack is that if you know how to play they are actually still worth buying. Often they showcase the themes of the set and many players buy them to play with the new stuff going on( e.g allys). This was true for theme decks but with intro packs you get 3 rares instead of two so they are better value for money and many of these players bought/buy two copies to merge into one deck anyway, having an extra 20 junk cards in each one doesn't help.

Personally when i was learning i never saw the interest of theme decks, they were always made from bad cards and i was much better off buying 3 packs. Now i'm at the stage where i'm not the kind of player who would buy them, but there is a big section of our player base who do and generally seem quite happy about them.   
Naturally, we are all entitled to our own opinions, and I don't expect to change your mind any more than you can hope to change mine.  I certainly admit the chess analogy was probably a strawman argument, but I would suggest that your statement that an intro pack has more value than a theme pack only applies to those interested in becoming a collector of the cards rather than a player of the game.  Both are valuable markets, to be sure, but if you are talking about the playability of the product, the theme decks had greater value because they could be played, at the same level that most people play the game, without any further investment.

If I'm teaching someone to play, they clearly do not know whether or not they want to begin playing regularly.  If both products were still available, and they wanted to try it out in the typical 60-card format, they could either buy one theme deck, or two intro packs.  That alone shows the advantage in terms of hard cash.

Besides that, there is another advantage to the theme decks that has nothing to do with new players.  I started playing Magic in college, primarily with my roommate at the time.  After we both graduated, neither of us were able to continue playing much, but on the occasions we do get to hang out, we still like to play, but neither of us have the money to buy enough boosters to construct two decent decks, nor the time to do so.  In years past, we would each buy a precon deck or two, play a series of games, and move on.  That has become impossible with the elimination of the theme decks.

I fully realize that my type of player is not the one Wizards would like to market to.  They can simply make more money off of the other type, what I presume is your type, AkromaFTW.  If that means players like me have no value to Wizards, then so be it.  It's unfortunate, but understandable.  Money is more powerful than enjoyment, and they've proven that, but all of that is neither here nor there.  Essentially, I still vehemently believe that for the purposes of teaching a new player how to play the game, the theme decks are (were) superior to the intro packs simply because that allow them to do just that, PLAY.  Naturally, counter-arguments are encouraged, but I've said my peace on the subject.

Shameless Self-Promotion

These are the MTG Fiction pieces I have written:

Planes of the Dual-Walkers
Allo's Fortnight
The Butcher's Cleaver
Dead Man 'Walking
Showdown
Pariah
Deals and Devils
The Tears of the Djinn
Cromat Comes
Kiss of the Shorecerers
Numerous poems in The Poetry Plane
Magic: The Musical

Please read and comment! I love hearing people's thoughts and reactions to my work!

One of my roommates has been learning to play Magic (playing more with another roommate and friends from his karate class than with me).  He likes the Asian flavor of Kamigawa, so he ordered himself a couple of Spirit/Arcane theme decks online, and asked me to help him build a single deck from the card pool.  I did, and built an intricate GW deck running on Spirit/Arcane triggers, Splice, and Soulshift.


I now think that was a mistake.  Although I could play the deck and enjoy the range of choices available (there's probably always something you can do to get out of whatever problem you're in - hey, a tie-in to Spike week!), my roommate would look at the same hand of cards and be paralyzed by indecision.  When is it right to cast your two Arcane spells separately, for two triggers of your Spirit creatures, and when is it best to Splice one spell onto the other, saving a card but only getting one trigger?  And which spell should be Spliced?


I should probably have built his deck eschewing Splice almost entirely, just giving him a bunch of fat creatures and maybe some Soulshift.  Sure, it would be "weaker", but he'd be happier playing it.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
My Decks
These are the decks I have assembled at the moment:
Tournament Decks (4)
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)
Casual Multiplayer Decks (50)
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...
I was talking in literal value. The extra 20 cards would be ~ 8 lands and then 12 extra commons and uncommons. In an intro pack you get a booster instead so you get 1 land(7 less) and 14 cards(2 more cards one is a rare ). Potentially the rare could be a lotus cobra or a fetch land which you could trade with a current player for an entire starting collection.(obviously i advertise this carefully as there is the risk of scaming but generally if a player asks about you can ensure the trade is fair)

Furthermore it may be different in other play groups but in casual games here if someone is playing with an intro deck no one goes "60 cards minimum you can't play" .Usually here the only people who would enforce that are play testing a tournament level deck, which obviously neither the intro deck or theme deck have any chance against and the game would not be a very enjoyable experience for a new player.

Lastly i don't see why you and your friend can't buy an intro deck each and play against each other ?
You both are using 40 card decks so i wouldn't have said it really factored into it.(obviously it does as you haven't done this and i'm not trying to say your wrong i'm just more wondering why you don't  ?)

My point about not being the type of player is i have been playing for 7 years and  have a huge back collection and i also play in competitive events. I buy magic in boxes which for me is enough to build and trade for my tournament deck and then build a casual deck for playing against members of the shop who arn't competitive.

I think you'd be wrong to assume wizards doesn't care about you buying the odd theme deck , as it's a company and any sale is a sale especially in a game like magic where one them deck can lead to getting back full time in the game (believe me i've tried to quit twice and now i'm an organiser lol quitiing magic is hard unless you move to somewhere void of it :P )  As i say i don't think there is anything stoping you from picking up an intro deck and just playing.

Just my £0.0121082 ($0.02 ) worth


The reason they are 40 cards rather than 60 is purely for retail considerations.  Less cards means slimmer packs means more product can be sold on the shelf in the same retail space.  Obviously there are savings on the manufacturing and shipping fronts as well, which also helps keep the price of the product lower.


Each intro pack consists of four components: a 40-card intro deck, an ordinary randomized booster of the appropriate set, and two inserts, one teaching the basic rules and another showcasing the intro deck and how to play it. And yes, that's 40 cards...


Dont you mean 41 cards?


And yes, that's 40 cards—rather than 60—underscoring that the intro deck's purpose isn't to tear up your local Friday Night Magic, but to introduce you to the themes of the set (or to Magic in general).


I really like this point (it is one I have made myself several times).


The intro decks are designed with simplicity in mind. The whole point of them is that each one might be your first... If you're an experienced player, to your eyes they'll look simple indeed.

We were talking earlier about all of the things that you, as an experienced Magic player, have to know to be able to read cards? Well, each intro deck is going to do its best to keep this roaring bonfire of complexity contained. That means that you can hand one to a new player and be confident that it's not going to overwhelm them.



Cards like Djinn of Wishes (with its Land issue) and to a lesser extent,  Harm's Way, dont help achieve this - FYI.


If he or she has been mostly playing with one intro pack, I'd expect that he or she will naturally gravitate toward cards that would fit into that deck...

You should also introduce him or her to the idea of adding lands as you add spells (pretty important).



This is good in theory, but where are they supposed to get the Lands? Unless they get very lucky with their booster, or are willing to wait til the Toolbox (or is that Toolkit?) comes out, then its up to us to give them the lands they need. Maybe you (Wizards) have finally wised up to this (hence the Toolbox), but I still think its worth mentioning.

One point you didnt mention is that the cards in the boxes come from different sets. This allows you to teach about expansions (and their symbols), and also about the different constructed formats. Unfortunately this includes having to explain to them that even though the set they just bought is in Standard, not all the cards in the Intro pack are useable anymore (because you put Core Set cards in Expansion Intro Packs and then let them rotate out before the rest of the cards in the box...).


On the whole, a good article though, IMO.


~ Tim

I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)


Each intro pack consists of four components: a 40-card intro deck, an ordinary randomized booster of the appropriate set, and two inserts, one teaching the basic rules and another showcasing the intro deck and how to play it. And yes, that's 40 cards...


Dont you mean 41 cards?



More like 56 with the booster. ;)

This really made me flash back to when I was first taught the game and my friend took it slowly and I think that was the best way, rather than "opening all the doors." becasue there is just a flood of information. I'm not really teaching anyone but if I ever did, I would do it the same way since I belive it's better to slowly let them into it. That's why the training decks were awesome.

So basically that was just a huge advertisement for intro packs?

3,000th post: September 5, 2010 4,000th post: March 24, 2012

Winner of the YMTC Ravnica War of the Guilds contest as guild Dimir.

Snapcaster Mage is the best card of all time. How do you deal?


So basically that was just a huge advertisement for intro packs?


Sure, why not?

Rather, it comes off as begging.
"Please buy these to teach your friends the game.  They haven't sold well on their own, especially so after all of the comments and commentary about how a 'starter' with only 56 Magic cards inside is completely useless for actually playing Magic."


So basically that was just a huge advertisement for intro packs?


Sure, why not?

Rather, it comes off as begging.
"Please buy these to teach your friends the game.  They haven't sold well on their own, especially so after all of the comments and commentary about how a 'starter' with only 56 Magic cards inside is completely useless for actually playing Magic."



But is every artical not just as advert?
I hope the intro packs are failing. It was the replacement of theme decks with intro packs that was the primary reason I stopped buying MtG cards. I don't have the time or inclination to build decks, and I enjoyed playing the theme decks with my wife and son each time a new set came out. My son still demands to play the Coldsnap Aurochs deck every so often, and we're all having fun playing Planechase (which I bought on ebay when someone sold all four packs plus the two DCI extras at a reasonable price - shame on Wizards for making the Nalathni Dragon mistake again).

My old habits were to buy the theme decks and a couple of booster boxes. The cards from the boosters would go into folders for me to admire, and we would play with the theme decks. If I didn't pull a complete set, I would complete it on ebay. No theme decks meant no play, and mystic rares meant expensive completions, so I just gave up buying new sets.

put bomb std rares in intro packs.

that is all.


new people like their cards to be good too... not just nooby trash rares.

I hope the intro packs are failing. It was the replacement of theme decks with intro packs that was the primary reason I stopped buying MtG cards. I don't have the time or inclination to build decks, and I enjoyed playing the theme decks with my wife and son each time a new set came out.


What difference to them does it make that the decks have 41 cards rather than 60?

My old habits were to buy the theme decks and a couple of booster boxes. The cards from the boosters would go into folders for me to admire, and we would play with the theme decks. If I didn't pull a complete set, I would complete it on ebay. No theme decks meant no play, and mystic rares meant expensive completions, so I just gave up buying new sets.


You mean Mythic Rares?

Anyway, I still dont get why having less cards in the decks matters when you are going to play them against eachother. *confused*

~ Tim

I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)


What difference to them does it make that the decks have 41 cards rather than 60?


Anyway, I still dont get why having less cards in the decks matters when you are going to play them against eachother. *confused*

~ Tim




I couldn't agree with you more

Dan
what a long advertisement masquerading as an article that was.

even "when" or "whenever," which don't have quite their English meaning (just ask someone who casts Torrent of Souls targeting a Siege-Gang Commander).



i have no idea what this means. when seems perfectly literal in this case and i don't see any difference between when or whenever illustrated here. if such a difference exists, and if this sentence is suggesting that.

man, i sure am tired of hearing people talk about how 40 card decks aren't legal or are stupid or whatever.

LIMITED.

EXISTS.

and some people only play limited! and personally i think it's a better place for a new player to start than constructed, once they grasp the rules! so a ~40 card deck isn't ludicrous or pointless or has nothing to do with the game. it's about what a limited deck looks like, less consistency and singleton rares and all.

i'm also tired of the "it's not worth the money" argument. obviously a lot of this is opinion. even if something is made of solid gold and diamonds, if i don't want it then it's not worth the money to me. but not all of it is opinion: i can look at the gold and diamonds and determine approximately what they're worth all together. the same can be done with an intro pack: one more rare (randomized) and less commons and uncommons (most of which will be worth pocket change). it's a pretty similar amount of worth in both products.
The reason they are 40 cards rather than 60 is purely for retail considerations.  Less cards means slimmer packs means more product can be sold on the shelf in the same retail space.  Obviously there are savings on the manufacturing and shipping fronts as well, which also helps keep the price of the product lower.



Have you ever compared the needed shelf-space of intro packs and precons?

Intro packs are much bigger.

@topic,
sorry Kelly. I'm sure they forced you. Sure, Intro Packs are fine for teaching the game, but I can easily build those decks myself. Thanks.


Oh man, the article was hilariously bad. Like others said, it's like the whole article is a big advert. Kelly's trying so hard, he sounds like a used car salesman.

Back to the actual content, we all know tons of people complained about not having 60 cards. It's about, as RavenoftheBlack put it, PLAYABILITY (let's ignore the chess analogy though - that was bad). I started playing Magic by buying a precon (Tempest red/white deck), getting taught by my friends, and playing people at lunch. It was very important that I could play anyone immediately. If I had an intro pack, there would have been no one to play!

Kelly tries to allay these complaints by saying they do it on purpose so you know it's not for tearing up FNM. Huh? Who thinks that? We had pages of people complaining about not having 60 cards. Didn't hear anyone say that they thought their precon was competitive and was surprised when they got owned playing it at FNM. On the contrary, they look surprised when they win.

All the other things about the Intro Pack are fine. The foily rare makes for good eye-catching packaging. The booster I know people have mixed feelings about. Personally, I bought a booster soon after my precon, so it goes together for me. Either way, it's no showstopper. Making the decks with beginners in mind (rules insert and such) is great. Overall, it would have been a great improvement, except would it have really killed them to put in some more commons/uncommons to push it to 60 cards (not counting the booster)? While we're at it, a deck box would be nice too.

Here's to hoping for a good 60-card M10 precon...
Back to the actual content, we all know tons of people complained about not having 60 cards. It's about, as RavenoftheBlack put it, PLAYABILITY (let's ignore the chess analogy though - that was bad). I started playing Magic by buying a precon (Tempest red/white deck), getting taught by my friends, and playing people at lunch. It was very important that I could play anyone immediately. If I had an intro pack, there would have been no one to play!



i don't understand. is everyone you know such a jerk that they would refuse to play against a 40 card deck, even if you were a new player? that sounds rough, man. i hope you find better friends.

an intro pack is closer to a real limited deck than a theme deck is to a real constructed deck. singleton rares? very few 4-ofs? let's stop pretending the theme decks were equivalent to constructed decks, because they weren't even close.
The reason they are 40 cards rather than 60 is purely for retail considerations.  Less cards means slimmer packs means more product can be sold on the shelf in the same retail space.  Obviously there are savings on the manufacturing and shipping fronts as well, which also helps keep the price of the product lower.



Have you ever compared the needed shelf-space of intro packs and precons?

Intro packs are much bigger.




I made no statement about precons or whether or not I prefer precons to intro packs.  I simply pointed out that 40 card intro packs are smaller than 60 card intro packs, which is why they are 40 cards.

Now, why WotC got rid of precons in preference for intro packs is another issue entirely, and probably more about what they thought was best for the game.
The rules for Magic are much more complicated than the average game.  What I've noticed is that the people who really want to learn how to play will ultimately do so.  They will see through the weird math, "The Golden Rule of Magic," and other things that don't immediately make sense.  This can be influenced by the amount of their friends who play, boredom, or aptitude for complex rules.  The other people are curious but the rules just blow them out of the water and they never come back.

I see the new form whether in the 40-card intro pack or the old 60-card precons as irrelevant.  If they want to learn they will regardless.  If they don't they'll move on to something else.
i'm also tired of the "it's not worth the money" argument. obviously a lot of this is opinion. even if something is made of solid gold and diamonds, if i don't want it then it's not worth the money to me. but not all of it is opinion: i can look at the gold and diamonds and determine approximately what they're worth all together. the same can be done with an intro pack: one more rare (randomized) and less commons and uncommons (most of which will be worth pocket change). it's a pretty similar amount of worth in both products.



Its not opinion when you can get exactly the same cards that are in the intro packs and more for the same cost. It really is a waste of money to go for the inferior deal.
Its not opinion when you can get exactly the same cards that are in the intro packs and more for the same cost. It really is a waste of money to go for the inferior deal.


In general, yes - depends on the pack though (the M10 white deck with Honor of the Pure, Lightning Bolt & Harm's Way and the ARB G/W deck with Dauntless Escort, Knight of New Alara & Path to Exile were both pretty good value, IMO).

Anyway, if you know what cards you want, and where to get them individually, then you arent really the target market for the Intro Packs anyway. I buy them because they are a convenient way of getting cards of a particular theme/archetype, but I tend to stick to the ones that are the best value (or ones I really want to try out against the others).

Personally, the best decks I have seen for teaching are the ones in the 9th ed Starter Set (the ones my wife and I learnt with). Simple cards in a pre-set order, accompanied by a comic-book style starter guide that took you through pre-scripted turns step by step to cover the basics. The Intro Packs arent quite as good as that for teaching the game IMO, but they arent bad I dont think.

~ Tim

I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)
The reason they are 40 cards rather than 60 is purely for retail considerations.  Less cards means slimmer packs means more product can be sold on the shelf in the same retail space.  Obviously there are savings on the manufacturing and shipping fronts as well, which also helps keep the price of the product lower.



Have you ever compared the needed shelf-space of intro packs and precons?

Intro packs are much bigger.




I made no statement about precons or whether or not I prefer precons to intro packs.  I simply pointed out that 40 card intro packs are smaller than 60 card intro packs, which is why they are 40 cards.



this is really confusing. this is what i see happening here:

you: intro packs are less cards so more can fit on the shelf (which is wrong)

them: they're actually bigger and less intro packs fit on the shelf (which is true)

you: i never said i liked precons or intro packs more (which is totally irrelevant to any of the previous quotes) and all i said was that 40 cards is less than 60 cards (which is a lie because you also said the reason for that was to save space on the shelf for more product, which is right above in the quotes, and which is what is being responded to).

maybe you quoted the wrong quote?

i'm also tired of the "it's not worth the money" argument. obviously a lot of this is opinion. even if something is made of solid gold and diamonds, if i don't want it then it's not worth the money to me. but not all of it is opinion: i can look at the gold and diamonds and determine approximately what they're worth all together. the same can be done with an intro pack: one more rare (randomized) and less commons and uncommons (most of which will be worth pocket change). it's a pretty similar amount of worth in both products.



Its not opinion when you can get exactly the same cards that are in the intro packs and more for the same cost. It really is a waste of money to go for the inferior deal.



this is you just saying "it's the inferior deal" as if that makes it the truth. what would have been more interesting for me to read is if you had responded to what i said about WHY it's not an inferior deal, rather than making pronouncements without any kind of evidence or argument behind them. but i know short pronouncements are kind of your thing, so i'll understand if you don't want to ruin your image by giving numbers or evidence. --> there's supposed to be a smiley face here so this doesn't sound so dickish but the forums arbitrarily erase my smileys for no reason half the time so it's not here anymore. also posting this was a hellish journey through bizarre error messages and failures to load. what a total failure this site is now.

Anyway, if you know what cards you want, and where to get them individually, then you arent really the target market for the Intro Packs anyway.



the argument is theme decks value vs intro packs value. buying singles is more economical than both 99% of the time. the 1% of the time is basically all on the side of the intro packs, which have had more valuable cards in them than theme decks barring the jitte debacle.

So basically that was just a huge advertisement for intro packs?


Sure, why not?

Rather, it comes off as begging.
"Please buy these to teach your friends the game.  They haven't sold well on their own, especially so after all of the comments and commentary about how a 'starter' with only 56 Magic cards inside is completely useless for actually playing Magic."



But is every artical not just as advert?



When you can learn something from the article (like strategy, or design principles, or even the evolution of the artwork, it's a little more palatable than simply "Buy my book! Buy my book!" (obscure reference, cookies available at the front desk for those who get it) type articles, like this one.


I hope the intro packs are failing. It was the replacement of theme decks with intro packs that was the primary reason I stopped buying MtG cards. I don't have the time or inclination to build decks, and I enjoyed playing the theme decks with my wife and son each time a new set came out.


What difference to them does it make that the decks have 41 cards rather than 60?

My old habits were to buy the theme decks and a couple of booster boxes. The cards from the boosters would go into folders for me to admire, and we would play with the theme decks. If I didn't pull a complete set, I would complete it on ebay. No theme decks meant no play, and mystic rares meant expensive completions, so I just gave up buying new sets.


You mean Mythic Rares?

Anyway, I still dont get why having less cards in the decks matters when you are going to play them against eachother. *confused*

~ Tim




Because you can't play them against the older decks. Pretty sure this same poster mentioned how his son loved to play the Coldsnap Auroch's deck all the time. I have the same problem with them, and I haven't bought a single 40 card intro deck, but I have a ton of the older 60 card ones. It even kinda betrays the longstanding idea of every Magic set being compatible with every other Magic set. They might not work well together, but they have the same backs, and play by (more or less) the same rules. If you wanted to have a ZEN-Rav-Fallen Empires draft, well, have at it. If you want to play your Coldsnap theme decks against your Zendikar decks, well, something's got to give.


And I still laugh everytime someone posts "mystic rare" instead of "mythic rare". And not at the poster who does it, but at the thought of Magic's Brand people pulling their hair out over the idea of their little pet pack-pusher idea being called the wrong thing over and over again.


Anyways, there was a survey available through one of the ad banners on the main page a few months ago, and they asked about the intro packs, and I said point blank change them back to 60, I won't buy them otherwise.

Proud member of C.A.R.D. - Campaign Against Rare Duals "...but the time has come when lands just need to be better. Creatures have gotten stronger, spells have always been insane, and lands just sat in this awkward place of necessity." Jacob Van Lunen on the refuge duals, 16 Sep 2009. "While it made thematic sense to separate enemy and allied color fixing in the past, we have come around to the definite conclusion that it is just plain incorrect from a game-play perspective. This is one of these situations where game play should just trump flavor." - Sam Stoddard on ending the separation of allied/enemy dual lands. 05 July 2013

So basically that was just a huge advertisement for intro packs?


Sure, why not?

Rather, it comes off as begging.
"Please buy these to teach your friends the game.  They haven't sold well on their own, especially so after all of the comments and commentary about how a 'starter' with only 56 Magic cards inside is completely useless for actually playing Magic."



But is every artical not just as advert?



When you can learn something from the article (like strategy, or design principles, or even the evolution of the artwork, it's a little more palatable than simply "Buy my book! Buy my book!" (obscure reference, cookies available at the front desk for those who get it) type articles, like this one.


Hmm... OK, true. But you know Wizards. When I read what they write, I can't help feeling that I'm being brainwashed into buying more cards so I can pull off a combo I never heard of before and will most likly never use. XD
Because you can't play them against the older decks. Pretty sure this same poster mentioned how his son loved to play the Coldsnap Auroch's deck all the time. I have the same problem with them, and I haven't bought a single 40 card intro deck, but I have a ton of the older 60 card ones. It even kinda betrays the longstanding idea of every Magic set being compatible with every other Magic set.


But if they are just playing casually (thats what Theme Deck vs Intro Pack would be), then they can just decide that 41 vs 60 is OK - afterall, it is up to them. Unless they routinely draw over 40 cards before the games end, I cant see it being a problem.  

Its not like some Level 5 Judge is going to kick down their door for playing with "illegal" decks...

~ Tim

I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)

THEME DECKS VS. INTRO PACKS
Theme Decks and Intro Packs both have good and bad points, and I won't bother listing them all here, just those that majorly impact me.

You got more cards in the Theme Deck. They weren't always such awesome cards, but I suppose someone could legally play FNM with them, unmodified, right out of the box.

The Intro Packs give you a foil rare (which jumps right out at the shopper at a retail level), but they're mostly not that stunning (aside from Battlegrace Angel, Master of Etherium, and I'm sure arguments for others can be made).

I was a big fan of Theme Decks (my wife got all the Mirrodin Block decks for Christmas one year) and prefer them over the Intro Packs, but I bought Bant Exalted because I wanted some Rhox War Monk and knew I wasn't going to bust open packs of product. I guess it just depends on how the mood strikes me. Lately, not so good: I'm not in favor of getting 9 to 10 cards from a previous set, in other words from the Core set. Does it balance the deck? Probably, but I'd rather explore the themes and mechanics of that block, not Raging Goblin or Suntail Hawk.

TEACHING
Personally, I'm not teaching a buddy to play so we can team up for 2HG. I'm teaching my 11 year old daughter to play. I don't care if she plays a 41 card deck, a 60 card deck, or a 147 card multicolor monstrosity; I want to make sure she and I have fun playing. If "fun" means she eventually wants an Intro Pack because it sounds interesting to her or she likes the foil, fine. Her decision, but I'll try to dissuade her in favor of singles purchased from a second party.


THEME DECKS VS. INTRO PACKS
Theme Decks and Intro Packs both have good and bad points, and I won't bother listing them all here, just those that majorly impact me.

You got more cards in the Theme Deck. They weren't always such awesome cards, but I suppose someone could legally play FNM with them, unmodified, right out of the box.

The Intro Packs give you a foil rare (which jumps right out at the shopper at a retail level), but they're mostly not that stunning (aside from Battlegrace Angel, Master of Etherium, and I'm sure arguments for others can be made).

I was a big fan of Theme Decks (my wife got all the Mirrodin Block decks for Christmas one year) and prefer them over the Intro Packs, but I bought Bant Exalted because I wanted some Rhox War Monk and knew I wasn't going to bust open packs of product. I guess it just depends on how the mood strikes me. Lately, not so good: I'm not in favor of getting 9 to 10 cards from a previous set, in other words from the Core set. Does it balance the deck? Probably, but I'd rather explore the themes and mechanics of that block, not Raging Goblin or Suntail Hawk.

TEACHING
Personally, I'm not teaching a buddy to play so we can team up for 2HG. I'm teaching my 11 year old daughter to play. I don't care if she plays a 41 card deck, a 60 card deck, or a 147 card multicolor monstrosity; I want to make sure she and I have fun playing. If "fun" means she eventually wants an Intro Pack because it sounds interesting to her or she likes the foil, fine. Her decision, but I'll try to dissuade her in favor of singles purchased from a second party.




Not just that, but with Theme Decks, you could keep them to use for holding cards and decks in, you can't with Intro Packs becasue you can't reseal them. ¬_¬"

the only reason 40 cards vs 60 cards is a bad idea is consistency. and anyone who has looked at the theme decks and intro packs would know consistency isn't their thing.

regarding the argument "they can play it at fnm without having to do anything to it," yeah you can but why would you want to? wouldn't it be better to play casually until you understand the basics, and then either borrow someone's actual deck or build your own (or add to a 40 card skeleton, perhaps)? why is it better to encourage people to play in a tournament (even a pretty casual one) without a basic understanding of deck building?
Back to the actual content, we all know tons of people complained about not having 60 cards. It's about, as RavenoftheBlack put it, PLAYABILITY (let's ignore the chess analogy though - that was bad). I started playing Magic by buying a precon (Tempest red/white deck), getting taught by my friends, and playing people at lunch. It was very important that I could play anyone immediately. If I had an intro pack, there would have been no one to play!



i don't understand. is everyone you know such a jerk that they would refuse to play against a 40 card deck, even if you were a new player? that sounds rough, man. i hope you find better friends.

an intro pack is closer to a real limited deck than a theme deck is to a real constructed deck. singleton rares? very few 4-ofs? let's stop pretending the theme decks were equivalent to constructed decks, because they weren't even close.


For context, this was lunch Magic in high school. A lot of people had pretty crappy decks. Someone once made a pretty good 40-card deck with lots of direct damage. Did we play him? Yes. Did every person he played tell him to that he should be playing a 60-card deck? Yes. So technically, I could have made my friends and some of the nicer kids play with me with a 40-card deck, but they wouldn't like it as much. I can understand their thinking - 40-card decks just don't have enough variety and can get very nasty with just a little tweaking (4x lightning bolt in particular...).

So, no, my friends are not jerks. However, if you don't care about what your friends like or dislike, you yourself are a jerk. And believe it or not, some random high school kids refused to play 40-card decks. There were even those that said Portal cards were cheating.

As for pretending my precon was a constructed deck? Yes, I used it as a constructed deck, and it was below average but still playable at lunch. It was a good starting point for tweaking.
a well built 40 card deck will be more powerful than a well built 60 card deck. but this is an intro pack with singleton rares. it's a big difference.

if you can't say to your friends "i am learning magic and want to use this intro pack" without them getting mad and refusing to play, then that is the problem and they are being ridiculous. the deck being 40 cards isn't stopping people from learning with it, it's the people refusing to play against a noob playing the deck. the dude that takes himself so seriously that he won't play against an intro pack is the problem.

and how hard would it be to cut down your 60 card deck to a 40 card? if you can't do it, you're not a good enough player to be worrying about the added consistency of the 40 carder anyway.
a well built 40 card deck will be more powerful than a well built 60 card deck. but this is an intro pack with singleton rares. it's a big difference.


You're talking about specifically about being about to play the Intro Pack against a few friends, and I'm talking more playing everyone and a good starting point for beginning Magic.  Since people always criticize us more experienced players as not being the target group for this product, I reflected back on my high school days when I started playing Magic with Tempest.  You start tweaking pretty soon, esp. if your friends give you cards.  A 40-card deck is not a good starting point for tweaking.  I gave a specific example about my friend with the 40-card direct damage deck (and yes, it had 4 lightning bolts).


if you can't say to your friends "i am learning magic and want to use this intro pack" without them getting mad and refusing to play, then that is the problem and they are being ridiculous. the deck being 40 cards isn't stopping people from learning with it, it's the people refusing to play against a noob playing the deck. the dude that takes himself so seriously that he won't play against an intro pack is the problem.


Did you have a bad experience with this once?  Because you seem to go off on a big Magic jerk tangent whenever I mention the preferences of some high school kids many years ago.  I believe I said my friends would play me, but they would tell advise me that it's better to use a 60-card deck.  Like I said, we even played against 40-card lightning bolt deck.  I also mentioned that for lunch Magic with high school kids, some kids did refuse to play.  But it's not like the right answer was to ignore them and label them as jerks.  We played them on their terms, and then we convinced them otherwise for the sake of the other new players.  It was just a bit of immaturity.


and how hard would it be to cut down your 60 card deck to a 40 card? if you can't do it, you're not a good enough player to be worrying about the added consistency of the 40 carder anyway.


Sorry, you lost me here.  I don't understand why I would cut down my 60-card deck to 40.


maybe you quoted the wrong quote?



No, you're just reading it wrong.

60 cards doesn't automatically mean PRECONS.  You COULD have a 60 card INTRO pack.

The question of "Why INTROS and not PRECONS" is one issue.  Another question, also being discussed in earlier posts, is why the INTROS are 40 cards and not 60.  Answer: Because a 40 card INTRO is smaller than a 60 card INTRO.

That a 40 card INTRO is larger than a 60 card PRECON is irrelevant, because there are other things that INTROS have that PRECONS did not.
No, you're just reading it wrong.

60 cards doesn't automatically mean PRECONS.  You COULD have a 60 card INTRO pack.

The question of "Why INTROS and not PRECONS" is one issue.  Another question, also being discussed in earlier posts, is why the INTROS are 40 cards and not 60.  Answer: Because a 40 card INTRO is smaller than a 60 card INTRO.

That a 40 card INTRO is larger than a 60 card PRECON is irrelevant, because there are other things that INTROS have that PRECONS did not.



i have no idea what you're talking about here. you said intro packs were 40 cards so more product could fit on a shelf, which is wrong because the packaging is actually larger. someone else called you on that, and your response appeared to ignore the error they were pointing out. sort of similar to how you appear to be ignoring the point i was making in my last post. so maybe this is a habit with you.

The reason they are 40 cards rather than 60 is purely for retail considerations.  Less cards means slimmer packs means more product can be sold on the shelf in the same retail space.  Obviously there are savings on the manufacturing and shipping fronts as well, which also helps keep the price of the product lower.



more product can be sold on the shelf in the same retail space as what? what 60 card magic product are you talking about that is bigger than intro packs?


You're talking about specifically about being about to play the Intro Pack against a few friends, and I'm talking more playing everyone and a good starting point for beginning Magic.  Since people always criticize us more experienced players as not being the target group for this product, I reflected back on my high school days when I started playing Magic with Tempest.  You start tweaking pretty soon, esp. if your friends give you cards.  A 40-card deck is not a good starting point for tweaking.  I gave a specific example about my friend with the 40-card direct damage deck (and yes, it had 4 lightning bolts).



uh, actually a 40 card is a great starting point for tweaking. one of the more notable preferences of the new player is their distaste for removing cards from a deck. giving them a 40 card (once again, KIND OF LIKE A LIMITED DECK) and encouraging them to build it up to a 60 makes a lot of sense to me. i'm not sure why it doesn't make sense to you.

Did you have a bad experience with this once? 



the bad experience i seem to keep happening is that people are saying a deck is unplayable over and over and i don't see how it's unplayable. and the continuation of this bad experience is people also seem to be ignoring the logic i give for why it's playable. regarding my experiences with 40 card decks in general, i've played 40 vs 60 and 60 vs 40 and it's not a big deal, especially with a new player.

I believe I said my friends would play me, but they would tell advise me that it's better to use a 60-card deck. 



so then the 40 card decks are playable.

Like I said, we even played against 40-card lightning bolt deck.  I also mentioned that for lunch Magic with high school kids, some kids did refuse to play.  But it's not like the right answer was to ignore them and label them as jerks.  We played them on their terms, and then we convinced them otherwise for the sake of the other new players.  It was just a bit of immaturity.



so what you're saying is they were wrong when they refused to play against a 40 card deck. that's odd, that's what i was saying.


Sorry, you lost me here.  I don't understand why I would cut down my 60-card deck to 40.



if the players you were playing against were so upset about the idea of playing against your 40 card deck they could easily cut their 60 card decks down to 40, and likely would strengthen them in the process. rather than, you know, refusing to play.


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