12/11/2009 LD: "An Open Letter to Spike"

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

I have searched high and low into the valleys and depths of waters and all that crap and blue still isn't playable. And it's your fault
I know you were expecting to hear from me last week, and I’m sorry.



I have searched high and low into the valleys and depths of waters and all that crap and blue still isn't playable. And it's your fault



I hope you weren't expecting that apology to be appreciated, Tom.

Spike: the whiniest demographic.
I know you were expecting to hear from me last week, and I’m sorry.



I have searched high and low into the valleys and depths of waters and all that crap and blue still isn't playable. And it's your fault



I hope you weren't expecting that apology to be appreciated, Tom.

Spike: the whiniest demographic.


This doesn't seem quite fair. Spike complaining that a color is weak or an archetype should be stronger is pretty much the equivalent of Johnnies and Timmies whining about how control cards are too overpowered or that Set X doesn't cater to Johnny/Timmy as much as it should. These are the kinds of things people come to forums to debate. The fact that some replies are less eloquent then others isn't exactly something unique to a specific player type.

Spike often comes across as the whiniest demographic because they are the demographic that has a vested interest in the widest spectrum of things. An interesting and balanced format is something that is not only hard to create, but has a lot more facets, and therefore more things to complain about, then the things Timmy/Johnny are interested. I'd imagine Spike's seem more vocal then the other player types because they have the most opportunities to complain. You'd be hard pressed to find a topic for debate about magic as a game that Spike doesn't have anything to say about, and considering that spike is the player most likely to be playing this game for monetary gain, it seems like this should be the case. The metagame that Spikes play in is something which Wizards has far more control over then Timmies or Johnnies, so it is far easier for Spike to find and complain about mistakes they believe Wizards has made.

However vague, I appreciate the acknowledgement that some mistakes were probably made when designing cards for this currents standard environment. Its certainly not going to stop me from “whining” but it’s a nice, and much appreciated gesture.


 

Spike often comes across as the whiniest demographic because they are the demographic that has a vested interest in the widest spectrum of things. An interesting and balanced format is something that is not only hard to create, but has a lot more facets, and therefore more things to complain about, then the things Timmy/Johnny are interested.



The whiny Spike's aren't interested in a "balanced" format. They're interested in blue and blue-X control, which they haven't felt able to play for two and a half whole months. If they were interested in a balanced format they'd be the ones complaining when white weenie isn't viable, or red deck wins, or green stompy. But if one of those archetypes isn't viable and someone does complain, it's the Spikes who are first to say "Why are you complaining? Just play the best deck!"

But if blue control drops off the radar for, what...the second time in fifteen years?...then watch out, 'cause out come the knives.


The whiny Spike's aren't interested in a "balanced" format. They're interested in blue and blue-X control, which they haven't felt able to play for two and a half whole months. If they were interested in a balanced format they'd be the ones complaining when white weenie isn't viable, or red deck wins, or green stompy. But if one of those archetypes isn't viable and someone does complain, it's the Spikes who are first to say "Why are you complaining? Just play the best deck!"

But if blue control drops off the radar for, what...the second time in fifteen years?...then watch out, 'cause out come the knives.



There's a big difference between Blue-Controll being viable, and the only blue card seeing tourny play being Rhox War Monk.


There's a big difference between Blue-Controll being viable, and the only blue card seeing tourny play being Rhox War Monk.




Everything ebbs and flows, guys. They'll print powerful blue cards again sometime. Just like Lightning Bolt is around now, the original Counterspell will be back for a turn in the future, I guarantee it.

This is what Tom's talking about by making varied landscapes and so forth. One year, the metagame is all creatures. A few sets come out, each tweaking the metagame (to varying degrees), and eventually, there are viable control decks. This is a good thing. There are people--even Spikes--who don't like playing in a control-heavy environment. Magic is great in that the wheel is always turning, the pendulum is always swinging.


There's a big difference between Blue-Controll being viable, and the only blue card seeing tourny play being Rhox War Monk.




Everything ebbs and flows, guys. They'll print powerful blue cards again sometime. Just like Lightning Bolt is around now, the original Counterspell will be back for a turn in the future, I guarantee it.

This is what Tom's talking about by making varied landscapes and so forth. One year, the metagame is all creatures. A few sets come out, each tweaking the metagame (to varying degrees), and eventually, there are viable control decks. This is a good thing. There are people--even Spikes--who don't like playing in a control-heavy environment. Magic is great in that the wheel is always turning, the pendulum is always swinging.



There's a difference between an Ebb, and someone casting Boil. You seem to be mixing up archtypes with color. In a lot of ways I'm glad controll is gone for now, it allows midrange a time in the sun, but I'm not glad Blue, a whole color doesn't get to join in on the non-controll fun.

So where are the poll results? I really would like to know if more players than just me believe that Zendikar provided the worst constructed format since Homelands.

Seriously, I really hope Worldwake + the following big set shakes up the format and bring thinks like counter back. Midrange was allready playable with faeries around - but now its getting ridicilous. Each game is a top-deck-war; whoever draws more cascade and/or creatures wins. It feels like a sick form of portal magic.

@Orbifold

Its not only MUC (which last saw play around kamigawa as a rogue deck with veldalken shackles, but thats another story) but the fact that the only playable deck type is creature based aggro. The nearest thing to control is Wallet Slayer + cards to protect it (or is that a combo deck?...). 
Im not all that suprised that they didnt announce the results of last week's poll.  They sure wouldnt want to admit how boring the current metagame is.  The main reason I pay standard is because my wife is yelling at me because I bought those expensive Baneslayers and I better use them.

At least I like Zendikar Limited.

I actually don't have much to say to this article.  So...


1.  Yeah, I'm a Spike.
2.  "We only get four chances each year to change the world of Magic, so the time following a new set's release is both exciting and stressful."


Dude, really?  Every 3 months?  No wonder it feels so fast.  Cool.  (I never really focused on EXACTLY how often sets pop out.)


Which 4 months are they?

This whole article seems to say "We're sorry, we didn't think Jund would be so good." With slight tones that they think Jund is beatable...(maybe just hope on my part)

as for complaining about Blue...did anyone hear the rumor about this card? It is crazy good if true


                                                              Spoiler!                                                             











  Instant 1U Counter target spell unless its caster pays 1. MultiKick-U, For every time you kick it, counter a spell unless caster pays 2.


  

 

There are millions of you. And you talk to each other. For many years in Magic's early history, that communication was mostly limited to live conversations between small groups of people. That helped you some, but you still didn't figure everything out too quickly. Over time, however, you've gotten a lot better at working together to solve problems. There are message boards where thousands of you at once work together to find the best cards and decks.



This is the major difference that I see between the game when I started out and the game now. The communication is so much faster and more extensive that "figuring the set out" is very comprehensive and much earlier. You don't hear "Crap, another set already?" so much as "When's the new set coming out?"

I remember having discussions with my first playgroup about simple things like figuring out which card in the pack was the rare. There was probably some high-level discussion on alt.games.magicthegathering, but nothing like the message boards now. Spike, as he exists today, hadn't really emerged yet.

I'm not complaining. The level of sophistication that the game has reached is amazing and the complete ambiguity and mystery wouldn't be possible today.

This whole article seems to say "We're sorry, we didn't think Jund would be so good." With slight tones that they think Jund is beatable...(maybe just hope on my part)

as for complaining about Blue...did anyone hear the rumor about this card? It is crazy good if true 




One card is not going to make the color playable on its own. It's better than not having it (and its veracity was still being debated last time I checked) but it's not going to be enough. The hope is that there is more than that. If not, the current Standard won't be changed much.

On one hand it is nice to see some of the ideas in play now that nobody counters anything, on the other hand it's like a layer of gameplay is completely gone. I hope it's been worth it for them because it's not just a few of us talking about this anymore.
Spike often comes across as the whiniest demographic because they are the demographic that has a vested interest in the widest spectrum of things. An interesting and balanced format is something that is not only hard to create, but has a lot more facets, and therefore more things to complain about, then the things Timmy/Johnny are interested.



The whiny Spike's aren't interested in a "balanced" format. They're interested in blue and blue-X control, which they haven't felt able to play for two and a half whole months. If they were interested in a balanced format they'd be the ones complaining when white weenie isn't viable, or red deck wins, or green stompy. But if one of those archetypes isn't viable and someone does complain, it's the Spikes who are first to say "Why are you complaining? Just play the best deck!"

But if blue control drops off the radar for, what...the second time in fifteen years?...then watch out, 'cause out come the knives.


The spikes who complain about blue are complaining about a "balanced" format. The format they enjoy is a format where blue is viable, which it (and control in general, which I feel is what most of the complaints are really about) isn't. These players are concerned with a trend they've seen in the last 5 sets which is moving the game to a format they don't want, whether its a format where blue isn't viable, or a format with only midrange decks trying to outcascade each other.

The "guys, blue isn't good, this format sucks" seems just as much like whining as "about time blue isn't good," and at least its an actual point, unlike "guys, pendulum." Its pretty common on any internet debate for both sides of the debate to have positions that seem like whining. Its not really to categorize spike as the whiniest player type because some of them don't like that the only blue card played in the format is rhox war monk, just like it wouldn't be fair to classify all johnnies as whiners if this were an article about netdecks and someone posted about how using netdecks requires no skill and is like cheating.

Its a fact that some formats are better then others. The impression of this format that I've gotten is that it is one of the less good ones, although its certaintly nowhere near the bottom (thrilling formats like Standard with Skullclamp, Mirrodin/Kamigawa Standard, Formats with Academy, ect.). This format seems like one fo the weaker ones, and identifying what you feel are the flaws in the format seems like a legitamate thing to do, not whining. The presentation may not be the best, but it doesn't seem like these players concerns should be categorically ignored.
These are the kinds of things people come to forums to debate. The fact that some replies are less eloquent then others isn't exactly something unique to a specific player type.



quoted for truth. being whiny has nothing to do with a psychographic.

but speaking of being whiny, i think i've seen more people whining about spike than i have seen spike whining about blue. so if we're going to assign labels to psychographics based on what we see them doing in the message boards, i don't think spike is going to get the "whiniest" label.

i would, however, like to say that i think most people whining about blue AREN'T actually concerned with a balanced metagame. and these people aren't pure spikes (few people are, really). they like winning, and they like getting better at the game, and they like being challenged. but they like to do their learning and winning and challenging in the driver's seat of a blue deck, because they enjoy playing blue. a lot of people show up prepared to play the strongest archetype, or a rogue deck designed to screw with the strongest archetype: they are here to win and they are logically going to do so by understanding the metagame. but other people show up wanting to win with what they like. some of this is from a spike motivation (i am familiar with this, i have a lot of experience with this, therefore i will play this better than i would play a less familiar decktype/color) but some of it i believe is from a timmy motivation (this is my favorite! i have the most fun playing this!).
By the data I have seen the breakdown of the top8 decks for states was
Total     167    Percentage
Control    21         12.6%
Combo       1          0.6%
Aggro     145         86.8%

I want control and combo  to be better.  I don't want the roles reversed between control and aggro. I want each category to be able to put up 25% at least, ideally at least 30% each.

But the meta being so skewed as it is now is not healthy at all, no matter which of the categories it is that owns the metagame.
Well, I've read most of the official MTG articles from the staff, and well, we could have seen this shift coming, more or less. Namely, this:

Goal #3: Continue to Challenge Expectations



from Rosewater's "State of Design."


Yes, this isn't what we "expect" a meta to look like. 85% aggro is a lot, yes. But its just different. We can either complain about something that will surely be "fixed" or play what the game is as it is. I personally feel T2 is interesting in it's own way. As someone who watched all the Top8 matches from Worlds, the format can be engaging.
It's all just different from what we all expect.

You know, really, a creature-based meta fits what they wanted to make. MTG Staff has said they have been working on being more focused on "resonance" and flavor. Really, if you look at the two worlds they've built, Alara and Zendikar, would it make sense if strong Blue magic thrived? Both worlds are untamed and really, only Bant and Esper make mention to counter-magic in the flavor. Making Blue stronger would be a concession to the flavor they wanted to make. The flavor of the two current sets is wild creatures, plain and simple.

Is this all just one giant experiment, the lack of strong Blue in standard? Probably, but its one that makes sense if you objectively look at it.
It makes sense in that respect, but this is a game with a lot of vested interest. There are people who play this game for more than creature theme decks, and taking away things those players enjoy is not going to go over well. It isn't a matter of control dominating a format, but a matter of it not existing at all. You can't justify nerfing a game with flavor. That's why so many people didn't like Mindless Null, which was a typo that they left in because they thought we'd all find it riotously funny. Sure, there was a flavor "justification" for it. That matters a lot less once it appears in a pack.

Now Magic is doing well if the sales of the last two sets are the proper barometer, but there are a growing number of people who just don't like this Standard. In the end, flavor doesn't matter as much as gameplay, and it never will. It's still important, just not as important as R&D is pretending it is right now. 
I don't think those percentages are accurate - for one thing, Aggro-Control (which Jund plays like at times) is missing.

The only archetype that can really complain, and the one that really hasn't been, is Combo players.  R&D has explicitly said that they don't like combo and combo enablers, and the current metagame is showing that.

Combo doesn't have to be the best deck, but it's effectively no deck at this point.  And that's wrong.
I don't think those percentages are accurate - for one thing, Aggro-Control (which Jund plays like at times) is missing.

The only archetype that can really complain, and the one that really hasn't been, is Combo players.  R&D has explicitly said that they don't like combo and combo enablers, and the current metagame is showing that.

Combo doesn't have to be the best deck, but it's effectively no deck at this point.  And that's wrong.



It makes sense to hate combos out of standard, it's usually slower, and there are less answers avalable to stop them. Combo seems live in well in eternal and extended formats which is where it should be.

That being said there's a moment of pure glee when I get a turn lock on turn 4 against jund.

This thread wasn't what I expected.

I figured the article would be criticized for stating the obvious: Spike made the job of Magic designers difficult ever since the first time they had to ban a card because someone discovered a combo that overwhelmed the game.

I did not expect that the article would be perceived as a failed apology for recent changes to the game. Not that I think the changes in balance aren't annoying to some people.

One could argue that a pure Spike would just find out how to win with whatever metagame there is. But a change from control to aggro has one obvious effect that will be annoying to a Spike: less opportunity to win simply by building a kind of deck that runs rings around the deck a Timmy would build and which is obviously different, and of a kind a Timmy couldn't easily handle. If we move towards Spike/Johnny, it's more likely to be annoying.

Perhaps this is why I didn't perceive the article as an apology, just as a statement of the obvious. Yes, a developer's job is difficult. But trying to make it easier by throwing a wet blanket over the whole game is so obviously a bad decision that this is not what they did. The changes were made, I and others presume, to make the game more appealing to new players - something compelling from a commercial standpoint - not to make life easier for R&D. Since that was clear, I didn't even consider the possibility that this article was an attempt to take the bullet for the money men.

To get to that conclusion, I think one would have to read a bunch of stuff into the article that just wasn't even there.


Which 4 months are they?



Well, there's when the Core Set comes out, usually now in July.

There's when the first expansion set of the new block comes out in October. Then the second set of the block, in February. And then the third set - for the past few years, it came out in May, but with Zendikar block, the third set will be coming out in April instead.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

if they were interested in pushing a particular flavor, they should have designed blue to participate, not left it out of the process entirely. personally, i disagree with the idea that it was deliberate. i think worldwake or eldrazi will probably recitfy the situation (by which i mean, make blue viable but not dominant). it's a delicate balancing act and they don't know everything. i believe their ideal is to have each color seeing some legitimate play, and if that's not happening i think it's accidental.

Combo doesn't have to be the best deck, but it's effectively no deck at this point.  And that's wrong.



yeah it's kind of a problem since it kind of cuts an entire psychographic out of the tournament scene.
I'm not sure how fair it is to say spikes are "driven simply to climb." In the context of a tournament, yes, that's absolutely true, but I'm a Spike (okay, full disclosure, Johnny/Spike) who likes to see as much of the world as possible. That includes peaks, but I can have fun in the forests or valleys, too. When I'm being judged on how high I am, though, I'm going to get to the top of the tallest peak around.

I don't think Spike is characterized by the insatiable desire to find the highest places as much as by the prescense that desire at all. I've never met a pure Timmy who can appreciate power/height. Ditto for pure Johnies.

And beyond that, I don't think spikes are the only ones drawn to certain aspects of the game. Timmys typically stick to the forests (where the creatures are) unless given a compelling reason to leave (i.e, Landfall). Johnies typically do see the whole world at some point, but only because they're running away from everbody else.

Spike does work harder to reach his goal than any other psychograph, yes, but that's only because Spike needs to work harder to reach his goal. He is the only psychograph that evaluates himself based on how he compares to others. If I find a peak taller than yours, you now need to find a way to get higher again. And if you succeeed, suddenly I need to get higher than you...and so on. It's not because the desire is any more strong.

Anyways, I'm probably rambling at this point. Still, spike has enough negative stereotypes as it is, and I don't like being cast as a single-minded power seeker, and I wanted to do a little to counter the perception.
Check out my magic blog: http://magicthemusing.wordpress.com/
This article reads like a high school English assignment. It's actually painful and thus I stopped reading about 3/4 of the way through. 

Can't belive people get paid to write like this.
I'd say the style is different. I actually liked it (though the "nature"-anology was stressed TOO much.

Anyway, I just wanted to add: Yeah I'm playin Standard and I like it.
Seriously, I really hope Worldwake + the following big set shakes up the format and bring thinks like counter back. Midrange was allready playable with faeries around - but now its getting ridicilous.


That wasn't midrange.  That was a blue control deck masquerading as midrange.
honestly i think johnny tries just as hard as spike. a good spike tries pretty damn hard to get where he wants to go, but johnny will put a ludicrous amount of effort into a difficult, weak, and unlikely combo. and since johnny is trying to make something work that is not inclined to succeed (unlike spike who is trying to figure out what IS inclined to succeed) he may end up working harder than spike in some cases.

i'd like to generally elaborate on blue: it wasn't too long ago that blue was a problem in standard . then, more recently, everyone was complaining about white. now we have reasonably viable monogreen and monoblack decks in standard and black/red/green is dominant. when you look at it that way, it seems like wotc has been pretty successful.
Dear Spike,

Thank you so much for your continued support. You are our favorite demographic, because you are the only one who will keep playing even though you're not having any fun. Where Timmy and Johnny have a hobby, you have a pathology. Though you pride yourself on being the smartest, you're the only demographic whose investment in the hobby doesn't make any rational sense. You spend the most, work the hardest, and enjoy the least, all for the chance to ruin the aspirations of the other Spikes in your community. Though you're impossible to please, we couldn't lose you as customers if we tried. You whine and whine, but you're too addicted to leave. We could replace all the flavor text with "Hey, Spike, you're an idiot!" and you'd stick with us. And for that we give our heartfelt thanks.
The creation of Baneslayer Angel was a result of the educated guess that wizards could print 60$ bills.
I am told Tom is a really nice guy, but his articles are really, really boring. This article, like most others of his, uses a lot of words to say very little. Good writing gets away with this (Geordie Tait's recent article is a brilliant example), because it's a pleasure to read for the writing itself. Unfortunately, this is not good writing. Please consider finding a new writer for this column.
Green wasn't viable for near on a decade. White had been awful for years. Every color goes through cycles where it's more viable than others, but to hear you folks talk makes it sound like Wizards did it just to spite you.

I think that's what I have the biggest problem with. People complaining that Wizards wants to make a profit, as though it didn't have a parent company and share-holders to please. People complaining about how Baneslayer Angel costs so much. Well, you know who's fault that is? It's yours, people who bought it. It's simple economics. All the spikes wanted one, and there are only so many to go around. therefore, the price skyrockets. Did Wizards know that would happen when they printed it? Of course they did. Everyone did. That's what happens when you print good cards.

But guess what folks? If you don't want one, don't buy one. No one's making you. I saw a post on here basically outlining that Wizards either hates spikes or doesn't give a rip about them and that their buying habits are somehow an addiction.  If it's an addiction for you, spike, get some help. Please, you need it badly. If you're sick of the way it plays, stop buying cards for a while. That's what I do. That's why I haven't bought any of the new sets; because I don't like how they play. To insinuate that Wizards somehow owes me something smacks of ignorance mixed with a hefty dose of narcisism. No one forces anyone to buy cards. If you hate the format or you don't like changes, then play golf. There's a game that doesn't change a whole lot, and, expensive as it is, it's still cheaper than high-level magic.

I can already see how I'll be dismissed. "We are free to complain about the format if we want to!  We're free to give directions on how to change it!" Yeah, you are. I'm just sick of all the vitriol and hatred. Don't take it personally because blue control doesn't work right now. We all have our concerns, but some of us don't phrase it in terms of "Wizards/Rosewater/R and D are stupid/evil/greedy/all of the above and more".

Personally, I'm a dismayed at the power level creep that has taken place over the past couple of years. I think the cards are reaching a critical mass that isn't good for the game or the standard format. I'm also angry about tribal, and the pernicious effect of elves and zombies on that format. But for the most part, I keep it to myself. Or if I don't, I phrase it in a way that's constructive and not accusatory.

So complain if you like. You're free to do that. But keep the anger and indignation down at a reasonable level, could you please?


I think that's what I have the biggest problem with. People complaining that Wizards wants to make a profit, as though it didn't have a parent company and share-holders to please. People complaining about how Baneslayer Angel costs so much. Well, you know who's fault that is? It's yours, people who bought it. It's simple economics. All the spikes wanted one, and there are only so many to go around. therefore, the price skyrockets. Did Wizards know that would happen when they printed it? Of course they did. Everyone did. That's what happens when you print good cards.



Baneslayer Angel is NOT a simple case of WOTC putting a chase rare in packs in the way of Damnation or the latest dual land. It actually goes against some long-standing pillars that make this game great, and people are far more upset about that than they are about the price of the card. 

But guess what folks? If you don't want one, don't buy one. No one's making you.



Ugh, another one of these. You have to spend money to play competitively. Baneslayer Angel is finding its way into an ever-increasing number of decks. You can choose to simply avoid playing white in your deck if you want, and then you won't be compelled to run it at all. What Wizards did by printing a mythic at this power level was to raise the price of Standard as artificially as it possibly could by making an overpowered card difficult to get. This is far beyond the "want/don't want" level of chase rares. People who can afford a playset even at these prices don't like this either.

I saw a post on here basically outlining that Wizards either hates spikes or doesn't give a rip about them and that their buying habits are somehow an addiction.  If it's an addiction for you, spike, get some help. Please, you need it badly. If you're sick of the way it plays, stop buying cards for a while. That's what I do. That's why I haven't bought any of the new sets; because I don't like how they play. To insinuate that Wizards somehow owes me something smacks of ignorance mixed with a hefty dose of narcisism. No one forces anyone to buy cards. If you hate the format or you don't like changes, then play golf. There's a game that doesn't change a whole lot, and, expensive as it is, it's still cheaper than high-level magic.



Addictions to Magic are a problem, yes. Being invested in the game's success actually takes place a few levels below the "addiction" level. If the direction of the game is such that entire subsets of players are compelled to take an entire year off, that's actually not good for Magic. This game's success is based on everyone spending money continually, and if there is a threat of that not happening then people are going to say something. on this forum we dicsuss things like the game's health all the time. It's not always going to be pretty.

And there are few things that make less sense than recommending golf on a Magic forum.
To the couple of comments made about flavor driving the current standard, I'm not rationalizing per se, just proposing a plausable explaination.
I really don't care either way (I'm too poor to play t2 right now), but this all seems impactful enough to magic as a whole to comment on.
Baneslayer Angel goes against long-standing pillars of Magic?  Like what? They printed a bomb at a high rarety. I guess I just don't understand what you all want from Wizards.  Maybe they should print the good cards at mythic, but the *really* good cards at rare? Or the *really really* good ones at rare, the good ones at uncommon, and the decent but casual fodder cards at mythic? How's that supposed to work? What do you want Wizards to do?

Yeah, they drove up the price artificially. And so what? I don't see any shortage of people buying them. All the competative players who want them grumble and mumble and then fork over the money for them or crack packs until they hit them. I'm not going to get into the finer points of economics but if it wasn't worth what people charge and no one wanted to pay that much, then the price would come down. Of course even people who can afford it don't like it. Everyone who plays would love it if all the cards in existance were a dollar or less. But that's not how things work.

As for the golf metaphor, I wasn't recommending it. I was using it as an analogy. Basically, that if Magic is no longer any fun for you, stop playing it.

I think that many people have gotten a bit twisted on the purpose and function of Magic. The purpose of Magic is to enjoy yourself. Whether that's doing combos, or casual, or the Pro Tour, the purpose is to enjoy yourself. Yeah, some people make a living at it, but those are few and far between.


And, conveniently, you managed to skip over my last paragraph where I did state that it's your right to make recommendations to Wizards about their product and that I myself had a few problems with the current state of the game. I also said that my main quibble was the hatred and vitriol that so many people throw at Wizards. To me, it makes it seem as though, if the game makes you that unhappy, perhaps you'd be better off not playing it.
Baneslayer Angel goes against long-standing pillars of Magic?  Like what? They printed a bomb at a high rarety. I guess I just don't understand what you all want from Wizards.  Maybe they should print the good cards at mythic, but the *really* good cards at rare? Or the *really really* good ones at rare, the good ones at uncommon, and the decent but casual fodder cards at mythic? How's that supposed to work? What do you want Wizards to do?

Yeah, they drove up the price artificially. And so what? I don't see any shortage of people buying them. All the competative players who want them grumble and mumble and then fork over the money for them or crack packs until they hit them. I'm not going to get into the finer points of economics but if it wasn't worth what people charge and no one wanted to pay that much, then the price would come down. Of course even people who can afford it don't like it. Everyone who plays would love it if all the cards in existance were a dollar or less. But that's not how things work.

As for the golf metaphor, I wasn't recommending it. I was using it as an analogy. Basically, that if Magic is no longer any fun for you, stop playing it.

I think that many people have gotten a bit twisted on the purpose and function of Magic. The purpose of Magic is to enjoy yourself. Whether that's doing combos, or casual, or the Pro Tour, the purpose is to enjoy yourself. Yeah, some people make a living at it, but those are few and far between.


And, conveniently, you managed to skip over my last paragraph where I did state that it's your right to make recommendations to Wizards about their product and that I myself had a few problems with the current state of the game. I also said that my main quibble was the hatred and vitriol that so many people throw at Wizards. To me, it makes it seem as though, if the game makes you that unhappy, perhaps you'd be better off not playing it.



What a ridiculous post. If we are very unhappy about something that Wizards is doing, instead of expressing our frustrations, we should do nothing about it and quit the game? Nice post sir. I'm sure that's not what Wizards would even want us to do. That's not what we want to do either. The price of the secondary market isn't completely under Wizards control. That is done by supply and demand, although the low supply of m10 when it was first released was their fault.

But according to you, if I don't like the way blue is being represented and how there are no control decks in the current constructed or limited format that win I should shut up about it, quit, and not let them know how unhappy I am? No thanks.

Baneslayer Angel goes against long-standing pillars of Magic?  Like what? They printed a bomb at a high rarety.


That would be manacost expectation. The printing of this card indicates that they will go as far against that as they need to in order to create a chase card. They are not supposed to be creating the $50 cards. Thats OUR job.

I guess I just don't understand what you all want from Wizards.  Maybe they should print the good cards at mythic, but the *really* good cards at rare? Or the *really really* good ones at rare, the good ones at uncommon, and the decent but casual fodder cards at mythic? How's that supposed to work? What do you want Wizards to do?


I want Wizards to cost cards in a way that makes sense. that doesn't mean they should not be aggressive, just not ridiculous. It's not okay to undercost a bomb in a color they've been pushing for a year and then place it at mythic. That's far past the level of making "chase rares." Not sure how to make that more clear, so you'll have to do with that.

And, conveniently, you managed to skip over my last paragraph where I did state that it's your right to make recommendations to Wizards about their product and that I myself had a few problems with the current state of the game.



I chose not to quote that paragraph, but I didn't skip it.
Having read through the comments on this and other threads, I'd like to make some trouble by posting a few questions:

1)  If Baneslayer Angel is ruining the format, why does the most popular deck (Jund), not run it? 

2)  People say that blue is weak and unplayable.  How does this sentiment compare with the match records of Spread 'Em, or with the mill decks that have been causing trouble here and there? 

3)  Is there a good resource that compares percentages of deck archetypes played with percentages that won in high level tourneys?   

Corollary to 3) Is Jund dominant because it is better than any other deck, or has it been doing well simply because it is very popular due to its relative cheapness and ease of build?  In other wrods:  if 80% of players play Jund, and 80% of tournaments are won by a Jund deck, you have no real information about how objectively good the deck is.  OTOH, if 20% of players play Jund, and Jund wins 80% of tourneys, you have a much more convincing case for the environment being broken and unfun ...

4)  If Blue players let go of their counter happy past and explored the new mechanics (traps, mill, weird control like Spread 'Em) available to blue control, would blue control be doing better?  (Is it the cards, or the players?  Have we Spikes turned complacent in the face of so much good information, and become overly reliant on top 8 reports that may not tell the whole story of the environment?)

Peace Out,
- Patch



 
Having read through the comments on this and other threads, I'd like to make some trouble by posting a few questions:

1)  If Baneslayer Angel is ruining the format, why does the most popular deck (Jund), not run it? 
 



I assume a card is fine and not overpowerd in your opinion, as long as not the last deck out there runs it. Under that presume, Skullclamp was a well balanced card, at least 1 or maybe even 2 decks didn´t  run it.


2)  People say that blue is weak and unplayable.  How does this sentiment compare with the match records of Spread 'Em, or with the mill decks that have been causing trouble here and there? 
 



I had to laugh at this part - you do realize that this form of mana denial is playable because no deck exist which can use blue mana for other things then colourless mana costs?
The moment a heavy or even mono coloured - blue deck turns playable "Spread 'Em" gets seriously weakend. (Not to mention that the deck is a rogue deck at best, with jund as its best matchup, it profits from the warped metagame which consists of 2/3 jund. - The same happed back in Mirrodin where the "90%-affinity metagame" made some monogreen artefact hate -decks playable (but just like "Spread 'Em" not very successful).


3)  Is there a good resource that compares percentages of deck archetypes played with percentages that won in high level tourneys?   
 



I guess german sites don´t help you, maybe you should check out the event covarage for worlds etc. here on dailymtg.  Starcitygames.com also offer decklists from miscellaneous standard tournaments.


Corollary to 3) Is Jund dominant because it is better than any other deck, or has it been doing well simply because it is very popular due to its relative cheapness and ease of build?  In other wrods:  if 80% of players play Jund, and 80% of tournaments are won by a Jund deck, you have no real information about how objectively good the deck is.  OTOH, if 20% of players play Jund, and Jund wins 80% of tourneys, you have a much more convincing case for the environment being broken and unfun ...
 



If 80% of the environment consists of jund, because its the only relative cheap deck out there - something is wrong. It just shows how incredible expensive standard has become. Putting that aside- do you consider an environment made of 80% the same deck - fun and well balanced? And does it matter WHY the environment is warped like that?


4)  If Blue players let go of their counter happy past and explored the new mechanics (traps, mill, weird control like Spread 'Em) available to blue control, would blue control be doing better?  (Is it the cards, or the players?  Have we Spikes turned complacent in the face of so much good information, and become overly reliant on top 8 reports that may not tell the whole story of the environment?)
 



Do you really believe traps + mill wasn´t tried? Heck, the people even tried junk like "Spread 'Em" in the desparate attempt to build a deck which is cheap and beats jund constantly. For mill: Its simply not playable successfully consistently - mill itself is just a very weak mechanic. I can´t run a bunch of "milling-cards" which don´t affect the board at all while my opponent plays Putrid Leech, (which kills me in 5 attacks) or hyper-effective creatures like Bloodbraid Elf, Baneslayer, Thrinax etc. etc. Mill can´t race that.

Do you really believe traps + mill wasn´t tried? Heck, the people even tried junk like "Spread 'Em" in the desparate attempt to build a deck which is cheap and beats jund constantly. For mill: Its simply not playable successfully consistently - mill itself is just a very weak mechanic. I can´t run a bunch of "milling-cards" which don´t affect the board at all while my opponent plays Putrid Leech, (which kills me in 5 attacks) or hyper-effective creatures like Bloodbraid Elf, Baneslayer, Thrinax etc. etc. Mill can´t race that.



You're correct to state that mill is, in absolute terms, a weak strategy.  I doesn't affect the board, and the board is where the game is won.  However ...

One consistent theme I'm seeing in the Rogue control decks that have been doing well, like Spread 'Em, or the Jacerator, is that the people who built them have looked past traditional counter/wrath control strategies, to examine what cards serve as control in a creature rich environment.  So Jacerator runs "fogs" and Sunspring expedition, which are, in absolute terms, bad cards, but are, in the context of the current environment, actually quite good (if you consider going 6-0 in the Standard Swiss at Worlds to be good). 

The point behind my questions is that Wizards has been making a concentrated effort to focus the game back on creatures, and that means that traditional creatureless control simply isn't going to be as good as it was, or as important as it was.  There are still control strategies avaialble in the game, if you're willing to look past the descendents of The Deck, and look at what Magic is, over a decade later, in 2009. 

(Heck, you could make an arugment that huge chunks of the average Jund deck are dedicated to control cards, if you define a control card as a card that reduces the number of "useful" cards in the opposing hand.) 

Laying creatures, and doing strange things like blocking (in constructed?  how could they ...) might feel odd to traditional blue players.  But if a player is going to refuse to adapt to a changing game, I'm not sure why they've picked Magic as the game to play.  At the very least, whining and futiley trying to cling to old strategies that no longer work is the mark of ... well, there are two "s" words that get used to describe competitive players, and I'd rather be a spike than a sc...

Peace out,
- Patch

Edit:  btw, the tourney coverage on Wizard's site really is much richer than it has been in the past, and I'm still catching up with how much info is there.  To answer my own question #3, Paul Jordan's feature acticle on Dec 7 2009 gives a pretty cogent analysis of the actual standard metagame, as far as win percentages and other useful numbers go (if the article were actually linked in the page containing Worlds coverage, it would be even better -- 9 points for good content, but minus 10 for organization, guys).  Jordan's article makes a pretty good case for Jund being slightly overrated, and probably could be used to support arguments for Baneslayer being too good, though I'd point out that there are a healthy number of good decks with solid win percentages that do not run her.  She's really good, and almost every white deck runs her, but she's not a skullclamp, or a Jitte, or a Tolarian Academy -- I suspect part of what makes her so obnoxiously expensive is that she appeals strongly across player psychographics; she'd be much less annoyingly overpriced if she had bad art and lacked that Angel flavor.
This article, and especially the responses to it, make me really glad I stear well clear of the tourney scene and the Standard format.

as an outsider(ie:casual Extended player), i understand the competitive scene's importance for the game as a whole...but it would be nice if all these ppl also remembered once in a while that not everyone plays the game that way.. and that the design team also factors this in when building sets.

and thank god...because honnestly...reading stuff like this makes your side of the hobby seem a lot less fun.
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