2/12/2010 LD: "Looking at Limited Pointing"

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

My Numbers
Abyssal Persecutor        1.6
Chandra Ablaze         1.7
Eldrazi Monument     2.5
Felidar Sovereign     2.7
Grappling Hook         0.5
Greypelt Hunter     2.5    
Harrow             1.8
Hearstabber Mosquito     2.6    
Hedron Crab         1.0
Join the Ranks         2.5
Kor Skyfisher         3.3
Living Tsunami         2.8
Murasa Pyromancer     2.0    
Ob Nixilis, the Fallen     4.2    
Quicksand         3.5
Rampaging Baloths     3.5    
Slavering Nulls     2.0    
Tideforce Elemental     2.5


Looking back at my overall list, I think I gave too high ratings on average--I probably should have lowered a number of those. 
All is forgotten in the stone halls of the dead. These are the rooms of ruin where the spiders spin and the great circuits fall quiet, one by one.

to be honest i just give a 4 or 5 to hedron crab,abyssal persecutor and quicksand,and 3 to the admonition angel

Pointing Crab really sucks. It's a signal? It's not a signal? You slam one? You don't?

It depends on so many factors, whether you will pass it 100% or take it 100%, and it's so binary in my experience, though I will admit to almost always running the miser's Crab in the main if I end up with it somehow.

(Also, I was unsure as to why there was both "10 or more" and "there is no amount" until I got to that last poll.  Talk about a plant!)
Hrm.

Comparing "N copies of card X" to "one copy of card Y" has some inherent weirdness to it. For one thing, this comparison depends a lot on the quality of the format. (If my 22nd card is terrible, then I'll almost always take 2 copies of a good card over 1 great card. 2x Searing Blaze sounds better than Goliath Sphinx and 1x Mindless Null. If my 22nd card is a Wind Zendikon, then playing two Blazes means cutting the Zendikon, so I gain much less by taking the two Blazes.)

Also, of course, cheap cards are better in multiples than expensive cards. In limited, 5 Fledgling Griffons would be better than any single card. (Because even a card that auto-wins the game only gets drawn half the time, whereas 5 copies of a decent evasive beater will always have a very positive effect.) But 5 Marshall's Anthems would be about as good as 2 Marshall's Anthems, in spite of the fact that the Anthem is the better card... because the Anthem (usually) costs 6, so you won't want to play with more than 2 or 3 in your deck. 

How can Admonition Angel be a 4.0, a I will strongly consider playing this as the only card of its color.???

How many white sources do you need to run at minimum? Enough I'd say to be running any other strong white cards with a single white the least. Also enough to seriously effect my other sources.


to be honest i just give a 4 or 5 to hedron crab,abyssal persecutor and quicksand,and 3 to the admonition angel


  The Hedron Crab is almost always a bad card.  If a pack is very weak, I might take one early; unless you have 2 or more Hedron Crabs, it's a wasted pick.  Milling every card except for the last one is a waste; you have to get a lot of landfall triggers to kill someone with a Crab.  And with only 2 ZEN packs now, there probably won't be more than 1 in the entire draft.

As to Persecutor, the problem is that it's third pack, when it's already too late to pick up the necessary support cards.  I'd say you need at least 3, maybe 4 support cards, and they need to be useful when you don't draw anything else.  So I wouldn't pick up the Abyssal unless I already had several Into the Roil, or Journey to Nowhere, or other removal that I could support playing.



How can Admonition Angel be a 4.0, a I will strongly consider playing this as the only card of its color.???

How many white sources do you need to run at minimum? Enough I'd say to be running any other strong white cards with a single white the least. Also enough to seriously effect my other sources.


Because, as he explains, that's not how pointing works anymore--I think that was a problem with the old pointing system.  I would imagine this became painfully apparent in Ravnica, and even more so in Alara--how do you say "I would strongly consider playing Wooly Thoctar even if it's the only card of its color?" 

I think giving the Angel a 4.0 indicates, first that it's a 100% always playable if you are in white.  If you're in Sealed (not draft),  it's a very strong pull to playing white. 

All is forgotten in the stone halls of the dead. These are the rooms of ruin where the spiders spin and the great circuits fall quiet, one by one.
Going by the pointing guidelines, the highest-pointed card in that selection was far and away, in my personal opinion, Harrow. I would almost always be happy to include it as a splash card, in almost any Zendikar limited deck. Yet it clearly isn't as strong, in terms of pure game-winning power, as at least half the other cards on that list. In practice, would I take Harrow over Ob Nixilis or Rampaging Baloths? I'm pretty sure I wouldn't most of the time. Yet at the same time, there's a much wider variety of decks I'd play Harrow in. This article strongly conveys a sense that honing limited play is much more of an art than a science. It's given me another level of respect for Development.
Oh, btw. Typos in Graypelt Hunter and Heartstabber Mosquito mean they don't show up properly in the list of cards for users to point. Just figured someone ought to mention it.
Aww, I wanted to know the answers the Worldwake Prerelease poll.
Many cards are hard to point by the definitions for each number. I found with the colourless cards, as well as the ones whose value is extremely pool-dependent like Hedron Crab, the way to do it is definitely this:
Before you open your Sealed pool, you get to add your choice of two cards to your pool, to increase your chance of winning matches. The card that you think increases your chances is the stronger card.


Would I rather add a Persecutor or a Felidar Sovereign to a sealed pool? Sadly, Persecutor will only be playable about half the time, because you need the removal density for him to not be a liability. Whereas Felidar Sovereign is always very solid and a medium pull to white. So I think my pool would be more likely to get better if I add the Sovereign, so I point it higher than the Persecutor.

Quicksand increases the value of any pool by a smallish but definitely positive amount. Hedron Crab leaves many pools unaffected but makes a few much, much stronger. Which would I prefer to add to a pool? Very close and hard to decide - so I rated those two cards within 0.1 of each other, Quicksand very slightly higher.

Your specifics may vary, but it's the principle that I'm illustrating.
Cool exercises, but they just go to show you that numbers never can tell the whole story. They might point to some irregularities or flaws, but they can't account for all the variables (Hedron Crab being the poster-child of ambiguity here).

In the last exercise I imputed that I would not take any number of Hurdas for a Searing Blaze. That creature is so inefficient that I shy away from playing it even when I am in white. Plus, it's on the top-end of the curve, so having more than two is absolutely redundant. It can be easily replaced by a lot of other common creatures in both red and white, whereas a Searing Blaze is really a useful and efficient card, replaced only by the best direct damage in the format (Burst Lightning). Anybody got the same thoughts?

I'm looking forward to seeing the results in Mr. LaPille's column next week.
Manaug.gif | Manawu.gif | Manau.gif | Manaub.gif | Manaur.gif
I think I rated most cards way too high, but oh well. I usually do know pretty well if I should pick or play a card in context, but evaluating them in a vacuum is not my cup of tea.

I gave a 3 to the Persecutor while it deserved a 2 at best; the truth is that a limited deck that can reliably get rid of him is a rarity. The only type of deck I'd feel comfortable playing him in is a blue one with a lot of bounce such as Whiplash Trap and Aether Tradewinds. Almost no Black removal spell can kill him (the only one I can think of is Feast of Blood if you happen to have the vamps), no red removal spell deals 6+ damage by itself... White has a few cards that can do the trick, but would you really want to keep your Journey to Nowhere just for that purpose while you didn't draw the Persecutor yet, and would need to remove an opposing threat?

One card I gave 4.0 and feel oddly right about my choice is Tideforce Elemental. That card is STUPID GOOD. People don't realize it yet, but I feel more and more like it dethrones Vampire Nighthawk as the best uncommon in the block. 4.0 is high only in the sense that it's not a good splash card; you need more than one blue mana to abuse it. That card utterly dominates boards until it's dealt with. It if didn't have one toughness and as such couldn't be dealt with the Worlwake "pinger" cards, it would really be a design mistake in my book.
Magic The Gathering DCI Lvl 1 Judge Don't hesitate to post rules question in the Rules Q&A forum for me and other competent advisors to answer : http://community.wizards.com/go/forum/view/75842/134778/Rules_Q38A
While the Elemental is a highly useful card, I don't think it would replace the Nighthawk. A single unchecked Nighthawk can carry an entire game (limited) for you, whereas  a group of elementals can only shut-down your opponent.  The difference being that the elementals still require the rest of your team to knock home the 20 points and the Nighthawk can do this on its own.

I was very intrigued by this article- thanks for writing and including the exercises.  I think when I get home I"m going to re-submit my pointers and other answers based on this thread posts.  Its a very ineteresting way to look at cards.
Pointing Crab really sucks. It's a signal? It's not a signal? You slam one? You don't?



this is true of allies as well and i feel like it's a major flaw in the system. join the ranks is alright, but if you happen to have a bunch of cheap good allies, it's literally a game ender. if i had a pack with rampaging baloths and join the ranks, what i'd take from that pack would depend on what allies i already had, whereas the baloths will be pretty similarly powerful regardless (color would be the only consideration).
I think I rated most cards way too high, but oh well. I usually do know pretty well if I should pick or play a card in context, but evaluating them in a vacuum is not my cup of tea.

I gave a 3 to the Persecutor while it deserved a 2 at best; the truth is that a limited deck that can reliably get rid of him is a rarity. The only type of deck I'd feel comfortable playing him in is a blue one with a lot of bounce such as Whiplash Trap and Aether Tradewinds. Almost no Black removal spell can kill him (the only one I can think of is Feast of Blood if you happen to have the vamps), no red removal spell deals 6+ damage by itself... White has a few cards that can do the trick, but would you really want to keep your Journey to Nowhere just for that purpose while you didn't draw the Persecutor yet, and would need to remove an opposing threat?

One card I gave 4.0 and feel oddly right about my choice is Tideforce Elemental. That card is STUPID GOOD. People don't realize it yet, but I feel more and more like it dethrones Vampire Nighthawk as the best uncommon in the block. 4.0 is high only in the sense that it's not a good splash card; you need more than one blue mana to abuse it. That card utterly dominates boards until it's dealt with. It if didn't have one toughness and as such couldn't be dealt with the Worlwake "pinger" cards, it would really be a design mistake in my book.



I gave it a 4.5. Partly to counteract against all who will vote too low and partly because it didnt look up much definitions of the pointing system. This card is a bomb and therefore gets a high rating.

Searing blaze is better than goliath sphinx in this format. A 7 mana card is seldom going to be relevant in draft unless you are also playing plenty of mana acceleration. Of course there are some decks you would rather want goliath sphinx in than searing blaze, but odds are those decks are not both colors (UR decks don't have ramp cards and they tend to be fairly agressive so there searing blaze would be better). Another problem is that it is only possible to replace with full card, while 2 searing blaze might be equal to one admonition angel, i would rather have 3 searing blaze than 2 wolfbriar elementals... For claws of the valakut it only fits in very specifc decks, but in those decks it is probably better than both battle hurdra and wind zendikon can hope to be at their best. Strict value can be very hard to rate for cards in the third pack when you already know your colors.


I also find it funny that the number list is the same as the one lsv used on another site...

Did anyone else have troubles submitting their last 5 polls?  Using Safari successfully submitted my pointing, but none of the comparison polls would register my vote.  Tried reloading, etc . . . no luck.


I'll admit to being part of the problem on Tideforce Elemental, reading your posts makes me remember that just 'cause I don't like it doesn't mean it's not VERY powerful.

Question:  What did you point the highest in the list?  I'd take Baloths in my 1st pack (or before I opened Sealed) over any of the others.  Then Eldrazi, then Ob.  What was your top pick or 3?

Question: How did you point Quicksand?  It is an auto-include (what limited deck wouldn't want one?) but the power level is far far far below Ob.  This is the Terramorphic Expanse vs. Baneslayer Angel problem.  I meant to rate them by how badly I wanted to crack them in my first pack.  But I still think I fell victim to the "how frequently would it go in my deck" trap.


random: I'm really ticked that Wizards won't let us choose any (non-planeswalker) magic card art as our avatar!  C'mon, it's your site, why can't we post your pictures?
The majority of their pointing seems to be the question 'what would you draft first'. There are several things they seem to have left out of the pointing process
 1)How likely am I to see the mana it will take to cast this card
(..."OpenTip(event, "Admonition Angel")" href="...:autoCardWindow('Admonition_Angel')">Admonition Angel is almost opposite their stated reasoning for high pointed cards.)
2)How does this card compare to other cards filling the same role?
(2/1 for two mana is good in some formats and dominated by flying 2/3s for two mana in others)
3)Would I actually want more than one? If I drafted another, similar, card would I still want it?
(This is part of the reason I feel Goliath Sphinx should lose to Searing Blaze)
4)The pointing system almost automatically gives colorless cards an extra point or two. This means that crappy artificts and great artifacts don't show up differently enough on their pointing scale. (Also, the land problem)
5)If I cast this card will it have a large impact on the board for its mana cost (i.e. tempo)
(..."OpenTip(event, "Heartstabber Mosquito")" href="...:autoCardWindow('Heartstabber_Mosquito')">Heartstabber Mosquito doesn't quite seem worth it at either mana cost except to fill in those last spots in your deck despite creature removal and evasion)
6)Is this a build-around card that can be awesome or mediocre? ..."OpenTip(event, "Abyssal Persecutor")" href="...:autoCardWindow('Abyssal_Persecutor')">Abyssal Persecutor
7)Does this card have synergy with the rest of the draft?..."OpenTip(event, "Kor Skyfisher")" href="...:autoCardWindow('Kor_Skyfisher')">Kor Skyfisher
8)Will this open up options (..."OpenTip(event, "Harrow")" href="...:autoCardWindow('Harrow')">Harrow) or strongly commit me (..."OpenTip(event, "Join the Ranks")" href="...:autoCardWindow('Join_the_Ranks')">Join the Ranks)

Assuming a friend drafted this card first, bowed out of the tourney, and handed you their spot would you:
5: build your draft around this card
4: be happy this was the first card drafted
3: draft normally regardless
2: wish you'd gotten to draft that first card
1: figure your buddy decided to mess with you
0: figure you were set up to fail

x of a card to this card. There are many cases where having more copies of a card hurts you....especially if the card is pointed 2.0 or less. This should be copies in play. Two copies of a card should always be better than one similarly priced card unless that card requires some set up to become that powerful. There is a difference between making interesting decisions and printing extra cards with nothing but pictures and flavor text.

¿so i cant have my own opinion?,besides the crab is very usefull,even when all timmys say they suck,theyi instead kill it,they are very usefull,as a defense,effect and idiots bait
,and abut the demon,i vote for him,more because i sell 4 of them...

The problem I found is that "color" isn't necessarily the right demarkation. I tend to think in terms of "this card makes me want to play landfall" or "this card makes me want to play allies".. I default to the color basis only for cards not based on a linear mechanic that's part of the block design. ("this card makes me want to play multikicker" doesn't make a whole lot of sense)
 
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