3/15/2010 MM: "Fun-Off, Part 2"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
I think we all knew Maro would end with Doubling Season.
I didn't! But I just wanna' mention that I think Ovinomancer kind of skews the rest of the competition a bit. Against Pyromancer's Ascension, which is extremely fun, it really can't compare if you ask me. Let me take the liberty of just altering the brackets accordingly:

Ovinomancer vs. Pyro' Ascension -> Pyro' Ascension
Pyro' Ascension vs. Endless Whispers (which should've won. I mean, look at it! It's shenanitastic!) -> Endless Whispers
Endless Whispers vs. Cytoshape -> Endless Whispers still
Endless Whispers vs. Warp World -> Flip a coin. In the event of Endless Whispers, continue on. Otherwise, it wouldn't change the end result, just a few of the other ones
Endless Whispers (potentially) vs. Doubling Season -> Can't argue with Doubling Season. Cheatyface was the only card that stood a chance.

I either agree or see a valid argument in the other side of every other choice, but Ovinomancer just isn't fun for either player. For what he does in your favor, he's nowhere near worth the unfun of getting him into play in order to use, let alone having to bounce him. For what he does to your opponent, he's even less fun. He takes your opponent's superstar creature and swaps for a sheep! That's exactly 0% fun for your opponent, and taking that into account makes him about 3% fun for you.

[/whining]
One of the things seeming to be missing in Maro's discussion of Fact or Fiction is the potential for politics in multiplayer.  I have seen many FoFs and Brilliant Ultimatums resolved in manners you could only see due to multiple players' interests taken into account.
I didn't like being stuck with MaRo's choices rather than my own for the round of 8 and on. (In particular, I voted... not so much for Stuffy Doll as against Shaharazad; I also differed from MaRo on some others, but ones I expect to be close.) It would be cool, though no doubt a lot of work, to have some sort of applet that would automatically set the later round brackets according to your earlier choices.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
I like the fact that the two cards MaRo picked to be the finalists were both designed in Ravnica block, which remains my favorite block. And yeah, I was pretty sure that Doubling Season would end up winning it all. It seems I think alike with Mr. Rosewater.
I didn't like being stuck with MaRo's choices rather than my own for the round of 8 and on. (In particular, I voted... not so much for Stuffy Doll as against Shaharazad.)



Agreed.  In fact, I'll go to a somewhat ridiculous amount of work to correct for his error in terms of my own choices.

Shaharazad vs. Stuffy Doll
Stuffy Doll wins!
This is a no-brainer as mentioned above; Shaharazad is a nuisance card which wastes tons of time accomplishing almost nothing.  Stuffy Doll is a guy who likes to stab himself and can not only survive a Shivan Meteor to the face but win the game in the process.  MaRo talked about Stuffy as if it was nothing but a Wall with nostalgic flavor; it's so much more.

Doubling Season vs. Elvish Promenade
Doubling Season wins!
Pretty inevitable.  They do basically the same thing except that one is powerful and straightforward, while the other is vastly open-ended.  Elvish Promenade isn't that different from Firecat Blitz or Martial Coup or Spontaneous Generation or any other token-maker, but Doubling Season is unique in the game's history and has endless potential hilarity.

Cheatyface vs. Mindslaver
Cheatyface...wins.  I guess.
Seriously, I wanted to abstain from this vote; I hate both cards with a passion.  But if I want to complete the ladder, I have to pick.  MaRo cheerleading for Cheatyface burns me up, but Mindslaver is a card that still fills me with unutterable loathing.  This is one of those bridges I feel Magic should never have crossed.  So I guess I pick the one I hate a little less to advance; both do something that Magic shouldn't have done, but at least Cheatyface is silver-bordered, so we knew it was wacky and didn't count as a "real" card.

Fact or Fiction vs. Radiate
Radiate wins!
Admittedly, Radiate's five-mana cost makes it hard to use; six mana to turn Shock or Lightning Bolt into a small Earthquake is hardly impressive.  I've not yet found an awesome use for Radiate, though as a tertiary Johnny I'm happy to keep looking; also, Fact or Fiction is enjoyable to play, creating many interesting decisions regardless of the sophistication of the players.  I don't blame MaRo for voting for fun play over fun possibility, but I've sort of made a career of preferring potential awesomeness to actual neatness (because, you see, "awesome" is a greater quantity of cool than "neat"); a million imaginary dollars are comparable in value to one actual dollar in terms of how much fun you can have with them, and doing something impressive with Radiate is about as likely as winning the lottery.  So the question is whether Fact or Fiction's actual fun amounts to enough "real dollars" in this example.  And honestly, it probably does, but I still voted for Radiate.  FoF is so classically a Spike power card that I'm forced to deduct points from it just for the potential unfun of someone using it to beat me.  Nevertheless, this was a very interesting and close matchup.

Ovinomancer vs. Endless Whispers
Endless Whispers wins!
Endless Whispers is right up there with Doubling Season in terms of being one of the classic table-shake-uppers; if you refrain from the temptation to do dumb obvious things like Sneak Attack + Phage that just win the game, you can have many turns of delicious chaos from a card like this.  Ovinomancer, meanwhile, is a hilarious idea for a card, but an incredibly bad actual card, almost impossible to use effectively, and especially punishing to the very same casual players who would enjoy it most (Spikes can combine it with Fastbond or the like to some good effect, or simply refrain from using it except on must-kill targets; Timmy, however, wants to be able to play this in any old deck just for the joy of turning every creature he sees into a sheep, and the card punishes him horribly if he makes the attempt).

Cytoshape vs. Phantom Nishoba
Cytoshape wins!
MaRo got this one perfectly right.  The Nishoba (and wtf is a Nishoba anyway?  stupid made-up fantasy pabulum, gimme a Phantom Hydra or something that's actually cool to someone besides the dork who thought up the idea while coming down from a bad citric acid trip) is just a big dumb beatstick who ends games; Cytoshape is often just a removal spell, but it sometimes performs hilarious tricks, and that puts it leagues ahead of the Nishoba.  As an aside, Cytoshape comes from the best block in Magic's history, while the Nishoba comes from the second or third worst; this outcome was pretty much inevitable.

Warp World vs. Day of the Dragons
Warp World wins!
MaRo had this one on the nose too - Day of the Dragons might be cool, except that with an Anger or Fervor or Pandemonium in the mix, it just instantly wins and the fun is over before it began.  Actually, with things like Siege-Gang Commander and Ob Nixilis around, Warp World often has the same problem, but it produces a lot more enjoyable havoc when it isn't insta-winning; at best, Day of the Dragons + lots of dorks just gives you lots of large flying dorks, just like Sigil of the New Dawn + Flickering Ward or Meloku + Coat of Arms could do.  The fun potential of dorks is limited, IMO, and I disapprove of most of the tricks that can be done around ETB/LTB effects to try and make them more interesting, so Day of the Dragons really doesn't do it for me.

Booster Tutor vs. Pools of Becoming
Pools of Becoming wins!
I'm irritated with how hard MaRo pimps Booster Tutor in this article; the fact that Wizards gets $4 every time someone plays this card obviously has nothing to do with the way he gushes enthusiastically about the awesomeness of playing what is essentially a Limited Wish (hm, I think I've found the card's name if they ever do break down and print it in a real set).  While Pools of Becoming is even less a "real card" than the Unhinged staple, I'm nonetheless more inclined to take it seriously; Booster Tutor is just an autolose to me because of my prejudice against crass commercialism, although even if I ranked it fairly, the fact that it doesn't do anything in and of itself, just sets you up to play some other card, means it would lose to the wild-and-craziest of Planechase's wild and crazy planes.
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
Next round of my matchups:

Stuffy Doll vs. Doubling Season
Stuffy Doll wins!
This is probably me biasing myself against the card that won in MaRo's picks, but really, while I was writing my prior post, I realized how much more funny Stuffy Doll is than I even thought (maybe not fun to play, certainly not fun to play against, but with enough sheer conceptual fun to make up for this).  Doubling Season is neat, but not really in a wild-and-crazy way, and is another of those cards that doesn't do anything in and of itself, just helping out other cards.  So it does not top Stuffy Doll in my current estimation.

Cheatyface vs. Radiate
Radiate wins!
Inevitable in view of the fact that I didn't want Cheatyface to advance to this round any more than its opponent; Radiate would have likely lost against a real opponent, but it keeps coming up against cards I'm biased against, so it coasts ahead once more.

Endless Whispers vs. Cytoshape
Endless Whispers wins!
Cytoshape is a one-time effect and is often used simply as removal.  It can't even begin to compete against a board-altering chaos card.

Warp World vs. Pools of Becoming
Warp World wins!
Sorry, Pools; if this pick had been just "Planechase" instead of one particular plane, you could have won, but at this point it becomes necessary for me to select a card that can be played in any Magic format (well, except Standard) and packs a significant percentage of the fun of Planechase itself into just one spell.
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
Next round:

Stuffy Doll vs. Radiate
Stuffy Doll wins!
As I said before, Radiate's fun is far too theoretical to stand up against a real competitor, and Stuffy Doll is riding high on my new appreciation for it.

Endless Whispers vs. Warp World
Endless Whispers wins!
I'm picking the card which sees play earlier, has less potential to instantly win if your deck is designed to make that happen (it at least requires you to have certain things, like a Phyrexian Ghoul, already on the table; Warp World doesn't care if you have anything besides mana sources), and is less well-known (I said two weeks ago that I was annoyed at Warp World just because MaRo counts it as a classic definition of fun; this kind of pre-loading always annoys me and I'm inclined to discriminate against its beneificiary).
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
Final Round:

Stuffy Doll vs. Endless Whispers
Endless Whispers wins!
By a narrow margin; both of these are extremely strong contenders to me.  But Stuffy Doll is more straightforward and predictable, plus easier to remove despite being indestructible, plus it lacks multiplayer friendliness, plus much of its awesomeness is tied up in nostalgia and an in-joke.  Global enchantments with profoundly game-changing effects are high on my list of enjoyable things, and it's not surprising that both MaRo and me picked one to win.  I respect his choice of Doubling Season (if not of Cheatyface and Shaharazad), but have my own reasons for picking otherwise.  I will show more appreciation for Endless Whispers as a result of this poll having reminded me of its existence and potential for awesomeness.
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
I believe Warp World should have taken the finals since it is fun for each player, while Doubling Season is only fun for the guy Solitairing out a bunch of tokens.

Magic is ultimately a game of interaction among multiple players, and (in my opinion) effects that massively strengthen one player's gameplan are just less fun than those that create interesting moments or "subgames" for the whole table (even if they're not the Shahrazad variety).

Whenever I've seen Doubling Season played it has made everyone but the caster groan; the card has zero potential to interact with other players, except the "interaction" of them getting attacked to death by saprolings sooner than expected. 

On the other hand, whenever I've seen Warp World played (granted, this has only been in EDH, for what that's worth), it always prompts a few little subgames (which Maro says he enjoys). First everyone counts their permanents, comparing their numbers to their opponents'. Then it becomes a game of "kill your permanents, make more of my own" as players rush to Terror each other's guys and activate their Kher Keeps, Vitu-Ghazis.

All of this before Warp World even resolves.

Then take into account the adrenaline rush of flipping cards from your library (hoping for that Iona or even just some lands), followed by the intricate stacking of Oblivion Rings, Shriekmaws, and Terastodons, and you have one fun card.


 EDIT: Using this same reasoning I chose Fact or Fiction, Gifts Ungiven, Fecundity, Thieves' Auction, and Goblin Game in their respective categories. I am most definitely a Spike in that I enjoy winning a game by making a series of decisions better than my opponent(s), so I like cards that allow for strategic, interactive decision-making rather than randomness or one-sidedness.

If I could have chosen a winner from all the candidates it would have been Thieves' Auction, since it is the only card that manages to test players' drafting abilities within the confines of a single game. How cool is that! Cool
One thing I realized during this article (and part 1) is that reading it was incredibly fun. Sometimes, through all the mechanical muddling that goes on during design and play of games, you can forget what you're doing or why you're even here in the first place. At times like those, you read an article like this and remember why you play the greatest game in the world. Maybe I just have bracket fever due to the NCAA bracket being released today, but going through the bracket and reading the matchups as they occured was very enjoyable; I had a rooting interest in the matches, I made predictions as to what would win, I remembered fun stories of most of the cards, and I got some design insight into what I believe to be the nuber one most important aspect of Magic. In fact, these two articles might be my favorite MaRo articles ever.

some thoughts on the fun-off results, spoilerized due to length
Kudos to MaRo for being willing to pick against Mindslaver. I know how much he loves that card and how hard he fought to get it printed. And it is one of the most fun cards in Magic, and I'm very glad he won the fight to get it printed. But it's not the most fun of all time, because though it generates awesome stories, they are generally only awesome for one player. Here's a design lesson from me: As a player, there is almost nothing less fun than not being having your choices taken away from you. If you get put into a situation where you have no choice in what occurs in the game, why are you even sitting here playing this game. That's the feeling that can happen when this card is played against you. (Side-rant: This is why counterspell shouldn't be hated on nearly as much as it is). It took great skill to design that card, and probably even greater to realize that it isn't the best ever.

About doubling season winning: It was a great pick. It's probably not the most fun card in Magic history, but chosing it as the winner out of these 32 is perfectly acceptable. There are a lot of cool things you an do with it, and everyone can have fun with it in their own way (except for Spike I guess, but he's notoriously difficult to please) so it's a good overall pick.

One card in particular I have to comment on a bit is Booster Tutor. In an ideal world, all of us have infinite money to buy infinite boosters and infinite singles to test every awesome deck and strategy we want. Unfortunately, we do not live in that world, which means that most (almost all) players are limited by logistics (in this case, cash to buy boosters). The lesson we learned from Gleemax is that cards are no fun if you can't play them, and most of the Magic players I know wouldn't be able to play this card more than once a week or so due to budget contraints. And this problem exists for (almost) all of us, even if it's not as severe. Maybe it could work in Magic: Online at no cost to consumer or producer, but in real life it would be ridiculously unfair to the poorer players to make this a black bordered card. As an extreme example, imagine a player was in the finals of a PTQ and lost because he or she couldn't Booster Tutor because all his or her boosters were used up in prior rounds. Obviously this is the absolute worst case scenario, but it illustrates a problem with the cncept that exists in smaller degrees at every level of play: nobody wants to chose between breaking the bank and winning at Magic. If it weren't for this problem, I would probably consider Booster Tutor the #1 most fun card in Magic; unfortunately, it's too big of a problem to ignore.


One final comment: as America's college hoops fans prove year after year, bracket-based tournaments are fun. Very fun. A few years back there was an awesome You Decide! torunament of legends, which Akroma won. I just have to say, tournaments like those are a gold mine of awesome. They would help newer players learn about cool older cards,  they would build community by providing us with some framework about what others enjoy about Magic, they would get everyone talking about card and deck ideas, and *drumroll* it would be fun! Gamefaqs.com hosts an annual tournament to determine the best video game character ever, and they consistently draw 125,000 votes per day for tournament matches. In addition, each year the site records 30,000+ entered brackets for an NCAA-style competition to predict the winners, proving that there is great potential in the power of brackets!
I'm not the type of person who thinks about adding Doubling Season to every deck I own, even the counter/token-based decks, but I appreciate his choice, because large numbers and rewarding unconventional deckbuilding choices are fun. This is probably helped by the fact that it's a part of my personal favorite combo, Doubling Season/Opalescence/Followed Footsteps. (Think about it...)
This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.

I agree with almost all of the sentiments, but there's one that really bugs me. Booster Tutor is probably the most unfun card I could think of. It forces you to spend money. I would never play with Booster Tutor. It should have auto-lost to anything, even Chimney Imp.
I don't understand people's love of endless whispers. It creates some of the most unfun games ever. Like shahrazad it is such an annoyance when it comes into play that it probably shouldn't have been on this list to begin with. I think warp world and doubling season are clearly the two most "fun" cards out of these 32. In fact it's not really close until you get to the final matchup. If you haven't played with doubling season do it some day and you'll find out why he ranks it so high.

He probably should have been more selective about his list. stuff like grizzly bears and stuff should have been replaced by stuff like polymorph, rite of replication, ghostway etc....
Don't be too smart to have fun
I voted against Warp World every time.  Im not claiming that it cannot be fun.  Rather, whenever i see it played its in the context of a deck that seeks to take advantage of its features.  Typically it ends up being fun for the person who played it, who has built their deck around taking advantage of its features, rather than the person(s) its being played against. Perhaps this is a consequence of constructed play.
 
 I can see the argument that is it fun in certain multi player situations, but generally it just seems like a headache.  Im really not sure why this would be in a deck, or played at all, if the person playing it didnt think they would profit from it some how.  Sure, sometimes its a total flop for the person playing it and i guess that is fun for me if im one of that person's opponents.  More often though it just seems like a big casting cost blowout of some kind: ob nix and gladeheart (or whatever, these are just modern examples) come down and the game is over.

For me Doubling Season is the clear winner here. It does something other cards dont and doesnt just end games.  It may enable some otherwise unlikely scenarios, but i never feel like i got cheated out of the rest of my game because someone played it.
Cytoshape was my clear winner (although I'd pick Mirrorweave over it anyday).  It will do something different each game, it will interact with everyone at the table and it will create many memorable stories.

Remember when I put doubling season in a token deck? yeah, yeah I do, you and everyone else on the planet.

Remember when I was being attacked for lethal so I played Shock on your morph and you flipped it up as an Ironfist Crusher to save it and then I Cytoshaped my creature into an Ironfist and chump blocked your army and then swung back for lethal?

I wonder which story is more 'fun'? tricks make for far cooler moments than random splashy effects.

Fact or Fiction is a similar story.  I have many great memories of that card digging into the 1-of out to save its owner from imminent death - and watching the other 4 cards go down the drain as we left them with a 1-4 split.  Or having to choose between the most powerful card in their deck vs 4 others.
Well, this article series has highlighted how different some of Maro's ideas of what's fun are from mine.  I'm a little disappointed that even after I posted about why I nominated Phantom Nishoba, you still just highlighted the hard to kill part again.  The large size, trample, and lifelink are more important.  Phantom Nishoba is fun because it does two of Timmy's favorite things at the same time: smacking your opponent hard, and gaining lots of life.

I played a game with Endless Whispers once.  Both I and the guy who had it were playing reanimation decks making heavy use of Kokusho.  Everyone else died in short order, and the two of us were left constantly readjusting our life totals as we passed Kokushos back and forth.  It wasn't much fun.


However, that still tops Warp World.  I understand how the card is fun to build around.  However, in practice, I feel like there are only two outcomes when it is cast.  The better of the two is that the caster goes through Bogardan Hellkites and Siege-Gang Commanders and wins.  The worse outcome for Warp World is that it functions as one-sided mana-denial.  It gets cast a few times, and all of your lands (and creatures, artifacts, and enchantments) go away.  Why is this considered fun?  At least Obliterate affects everyone equally.


I'm a fan of both Cytoshape and Doubling Season, and I'm happy (and not surprised) to see that the latter won.  Doubling Season is a neat card with both Johnny and Timmy aspects, and the power level is in just the right place so that it is viable (at least in more casual games) without being broken.

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'm sorry, but the "Most fun card in Magic" can't be a card that doesn't do anything on its own. Doubling Season simply doesn't do anything if you don't have the right cards.

IMO Shahrazad needs to be the winner. If playing Magic is fun, playing more magic has to also be fun.

Either that or Warp World.
I think Maro ranked Doubling Season wayyy too high.

Here are the reasons it's not that fun, in my opinion:

1) It's utterly predictable. It does that same thing every time: make certain things twice as good. I know not everyone agrees with this, but I think randomness and unpredictability are absolutely key in making things fun. Think of when you open a booster pack. Sure going out and buying that perfect card to complete your deck or your collection or whatever is fun, but it can't beat the sheer excitement of cracking that booster pack. There could be anything in there! It's the element of unpredictability that makes it so gosh darn exhilarating. And replicating that feeling in games absolute gravy.

2) It's only fun for you. If you play this in a duel, one of two things can happen. First, you aren't able to play anything (or enough things) that trigger it, and that's clearly not fun. Or second, it does its job right, in which case you should win the match. And if you keep winning with it, your opponent is gonna get sick of losing to it and stop playing Magic with you, which = unfun.

3) Similarly, if you play this in a big multiplayer match, people will realize it's a threat and band together to eliminate you. Being the first eliminated from a multiplayer match is about the most unfun thing in the world, because you often have to wait upwards of an hour for your friends to finish and the next match to start.

Warp World, on the other hand, is the epitome of unpredictability. And in multiplayer matches, it is the great equalizer. If someone's getting too powerful and  messing with the unluckier folks, slap down a Warp World and level the playing field. It can bring balance back to a match (or at least redistribute it) without destroying everything like Obliterate or Jokulhaups, which most people agree are the opposite of fun.

In a nutshell: if I play Doubling Season and manage to get out nine thousand saprolings each with twenty +1/+1 counters, yeah that's fun. Once. But each subsequent time I do it it's less fun and my opponent is less likely to want to play against me again. However, each time I play Warp World it's a unique experience. Each time there is the feeling of "anything could happen," just like opening a new booster. And this effect is even more potent in multiplayer matches, as a wider variety of decks yields a wider variety of outcomes. Perhaps even more importantly, even if it doesn't end up balancing things, even if the same people end up in power after it resolves, for a moment there, everyone is on the exact same playing field. Everyone at the table gets to enjoy the moment of unpredictable possibility.

These are just my thoughts. 

In a nutshell: if I play Doubling Season and manage to get out nine thousand saprolings each with twenty +1/+1 counters, yeah that's fun. Once. But each subsequent time I do it it's less fun and my opponent is less likely to want to play against me again.

That's a reasonable point; fortunately Doubling Season interacts with a lot of things besides just Thallids and +1/+1 counters.  Planeswalker ultimates (Ajani Goldmane+Doubling Season=two Avatar tokens!), charge lands, there's a huge list of viable things you can do.

However, each time I play Warp World it's a unique experience. Each time there is the feeling of "anything could happen," just like opening a new booster. And this effect is even more potent in multiplayer matches, as a wider variety of decks yields a wider variety of outcomes. Perhaps even more importantly, even if it doesn't end up balancing things, even if the same people end up in power after it resolves, for a moment there, everyone is on the exact same playing field. Everyone at the table gets to enjoy the moment of unpredictable possibility.

That moment of hoping that maybe, just maybe, this time an Anarchist or Eternal Witness won't show up to bring back the Warp World yet again and eliminate even more of your permanents.  It still happens, of course, but you have that moment of hope.
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 have to chime in on this one with how unfun Doubling Season is.  It's a pure Timmy card.  It's too slow for spike and way too much of a no-brainer for Johnny.  There's no real combo potential for Season, Doubling Season+token deck isn't a combo for the same reason Umezawa's Jitte+creature deck isn't a combo.  All a doubling season does is create a situation where Timmy cries in his chocolate milk when he gets killed before he can make his army, or wastes everyone's time building up his supermegaawesome army while his opponent just sighs and tries not to die of boredom before the big swing comes. 
You want radiate fun? Ever considered "Ice" from Fire 'n Ice? Everything taps, draw a card for each permanent. My personal winner would be Thieves Auction by the way.
The Warp World vs. Booster Tutor was a very tough pick for me too. I chose Booster Tutor, because in my opinion it has just as much unpredictability as Warp World, and it's infinitely easier to cast and more splashable.

I'd also like to point out that you can, in fact, build a deck around the tutor - make one capable of casting any spell from a pack you open!
There's no real combo potential for Season... All a doubling season does is create a situation where Timmy cries in his chocolate milk when he gets killed before he can make his army, or wastes everyone's time building up his supermegaawesome army while his opponent just sighs and tries not to die of boredom before the big swing comes.

"There's no real combo potential for Doubling Season"?? ...Wow. You are the least Johnny person I've ever seen post about Magic. Consider:
Myojins - they get two divinity counters!
Planeswalkers - many can fire off their ultimate the turn you play them!
Simic Guildmage - makes +1/+1 counters for 1G!
Spike Tiller - is a cheap 6/6, and can make 12 of your lands into 4/4s!
Sure, you can just use it for the unimaginitive Spawning Pit or Twilight Drover shenanigans, but there's so, so much more that DS does. It's one of the most open-ended cards in all of Magic, and thoroughly deserves its win.

For one final demonstration, allow me to mention my all-time favourite Magic combo ever: Opalescence + Doubling Season + Followed Footsteps. Put FF on the DS.
Next upkeep, you would get one DS copy, but DS makes you get two DS copies instead.
Next upkeep, you would get one DS copy, but you have three DS already, so instead you get eight DS copies.
Next upkeep, you would get one DS copy, but you have eleven DS, so you get 2^11 = 2048 DS copies.

At this point you can usually attack for 55 with your 11 non-summoning-sick Seasons. But if for some reason you can't, hooyah... Next upkeep you get 2^2059 Doubling Seasons, which is well over A GOOGOL DSs.
And this is without any infinite shenanigans. I love that Doubling Season enables a combo that within 4 turns can create a number way higher than most people go with their "infinite" combos ("gain a million life" or even "gain a googol life" are miniscule compared to 2^2059).

------------

On the article's pairings:
Radiate vs Fact or Fiction is really hard. I love the Johnniness of a good Radiate, but I do love the strategy of building FoF piles. As was said last week, though, even a bad FoF split still gives its controller the choice of their best of the next 5 cards or a minimum of 3 cards, which does somewhat count against it. My favourite Radiate target is Seize the Day with vigilance creatures - lots and lots of attack steps! Though I've also seen it be scary with Temporal Spring.

I love Cytoshape in theory, but in my experience all I've seen it do is be a Terminate for 1GU (with a 0/0 somewhere on the table) or a more-expensive Ovinize. Phantom Nishoba is in some senses a dumb lifelink fatty, but it's pretty interesting as dumb fatties go. So I say Nishoba. Having seen Mark say Cytoshape, though, I'm interested to see if I can come up with something really cool to do with it. Perhaps Quicksilver Elemental-esque combining effects of two different creatures? ...Still can't quite imagine it. Mirrorweave is rather more appealing.

Warp World vs Day of the Dragons is the battle of the big splashy effects that... should be fun, but generally aren't. Warp World is generally abused with tokens and fatties in a way that gets very samey. But I'll give it the nod over DotD because I have occasionally seen it used without being abused.

--

I rather strongly disagree with Cytoshape winning vs Ovinomancer. Ovinomancer is repeatable shapechanging removal. Cytoshape is oneoff shapechanging that's basically only ever used as removal.

I love Booster Tutor. I tend to have a few prize boosters from drafts at prereleases floating around which I'm not using for anything (hoping to draft with them someday, perhaps). On the occasions when it's been cast it's been awesomely fun to resolve, and this discussion has reminded me to put it in more decks, particularly those with several colours of mana including black. (Aha, my five-colour zombies deck has a new trick!)

In the quarterfinals and onwards, there was usually one card I voted for and one I didn't; this makes it quite easy for me to vote in many of those.

By the semifinals, though, we had Warp World and Cytoshape, both of which I'd voted against; the competing factors were on the one side, I'd voted against WW once and CS twice; on the other hand, the discussion in earlier rounds had made me feel a bit more positive about Cytoshape.

In the end, of course, it's all academic as Doubling Season clearly gets the win over everything else.
I'm not surprised that Doubling Season won MaRo's bracket.  I was mostly with him up to there, but there's no doubt in my mind that Warp World was the most fun card in the tournament.  Even when it's a deck built around WW, vs. a regular deck, there are still a lot of fun interactions.

I think MaRo gave Radiate too little credit - when I think about stories of truly epic games, Radiate is one of the cards that figures in them highly.  So while it may have high variance and struggle to shine sometimes, Radiate is probably in a high percentage of the most memorable games of (multiplayer) Magic.
Okay, so I'm missing something, but...

How in the heck did Cheatyface get so far? I can only imagine it being funny once, and that once is actually the kind of thing I'd probably react to by wanting to throw something, rather than by laughing.

I'm probably just not the target audience, but I really don't like to be pranked. It makes me feel like I'm stupid and like other people don't respect me, and to couple that feeling with my opponent getting a 2/2 flier I now have to kill... well, just makes me roll my eyes and think "and these people say they don't like getting their stuff countered?!"

I understand that conceptually "now the game is giving me official permission to cheat" is kind of cute, but... what? Cheating makes a game un-fun.

Now if you created a game whose point was to most cleverly break its own rules (in a different way than Magic does that, I mean), and everyone expected something that looked like "cheating" because that's just how you play anyway, that could be fun and hilarious. But to just randomly insert something cheatish into Magic... I... what?

Clearly I'm not this card's intended audience, though, given the sheer magnitude of I Don't Get It. :-)

I'm not sure why Booster Tutor is fun either. I mean, cracking packs is okay, but I've cracked enough to know that opening and finding dross is a really common, and really unfun, experience. Sure, that one time I played it and opened a BSA or something it would create a story and be fun for me I guess... but even if that happened, would it be fun for my opponent? Most likely not, unless he already had the removal for it.
This article was sooooooooo casual-centric. Personally, I wanted to see Booster Tutor win simply to provide a little hope it'll be black-bordered soon.

Doubling Season is not fun. People who like to build competitive decks don't have fun with bad combo cards.
Wow, there must have been a LOT of griefers voting for Shasuckrad.

And no wonder MaRo likes Booster Tutor. Undecided  Chi-Ching!
This article was sooooooooo casual-centric. Personally, I wanted to see Booster Tutor win simply to provide a little hope it'll be black-bordered soon.

Doubling Season is not fun. People who like to build competitive decks don't have fun with bad combo cards.



Don't say that RM, the angry Spike-hating hordes might descend upon you...

(Honestly, I don't see how this particular article couldn't be ridiculously casual-centric, really)
I kind of wish that these two articles had focused a little bit more on the concept of the face-off as a way of exploring how you evaluate things, rather than becoming a tournament to decide which card is the most fun in Magic (although I do think that Rosewater did a good job stressing that these decisions were the result of his personal feelings, not some sort of sweeping judgement about the definition of fun). The point of comparing cards like this isn't to determine which cards will win, but rather to find out why you picked one over the other. Perhaps the article could have ended by summing up what MaRo discovered about himself through this exercise.

While I was trying to make these picks, I discovered that I had a lot of trouble because I have two conflicting definitions of fun:

1. Potential fun. These are cards that have the ability to do wacky things, but, when actually played, don't really increase the fun level for other players. This would include cards like Doubling Season and Stuffy Doll. The fun doesn't come from your interactions with your opponents (in fact, decks built around these types of cards can be extremely boring for whoever you're playing against), it comes from the joy of helping the card achieve its potential to do over-the-top things. I tend to like playing these decks more in duels than in multi-player because I feel less obligated to raise my opponent's level of fun in a duel.

2. Interactive fun. These are cards whose fun is derived from their wide variety of possible interactions with other players. This category includes things like Radiate, Cytoshape, and Fact or Fiction, whose functionality can change depending on what decisions your opponent makes. Both the fun and unfun aspects of these cards stem from the fact that anything can happen when you play them, which means that sometimes you nab a cool spell with Radiate, or Goblin Game causes a huge life swing, but sometimes you're just Radiating a shock while your Cytoshape sits in your hand for lack of good targets. I tend to enjoy these cards more in multiplayer because you have a wider range of possible interactions.

When decisions came up that pitted a card ouside of either of my ideas of fun (such as Grizzly Bears) against a card fit one or both of them, the choice was easy. The difficult decisions came when one card met one ideal of fun and the other card fell into the other category.
I still think that cards like Grizzly Bears are important for this exercise, though, because it helped me understand why they are outside of my definition of fun.
+1 for Booster Tutor in black-bordered magic!

Doubling Season interacts with a lot of things besides just Thallids and +1/+1 counters.  Planeswalker ultimates (Ajani Goldmane+Doubling Season=two Avatar tokens!), charge lands, there's a huge list of viable things you can do.


When I think of "viable," Ajani/Doubling Season combo in Extended is the first thing that springs to mind. 
Time to head off and build a Doubling Season/Warp World deck - you mean my Siege-Gang warps into six tokens and my planeswalkers are double big? Thanks MaRo!
While the final two cards were for me the "right" final, I think MaRo has made demonstrable mistake in his final choice. Doubling Season affects only one side of the board; Warp World does exactly what it says on the tin and mucks EVERYthing up. I love both cards, but to describe "fun for one person" as being more fun than "fun for everyone, even spectators" is for me, just, well, wrong.
Warp is a tremendously fun card, that does tremendously fun things ... once you get through the proceedural upkeep that the card requires.  Has anyone else seen a warp stack online that takes 20 minutes to resolve?  How about going through all of that 2 or 3 times in a game?  Don't get me wrong, I love warp, and I do think it is one of the most fun cards ever printed, but it really has a lot more in common with shahrazaad than what people think.  (It really is like setting up a new game.)

-MT Head
Also, from someone who has played against hundreds of FoF splits, I can say that the card is too easy on the person playing them.  The person playing the card is the one who is interested in trying to gain an advantage by outhinking their opponent, but they are the ones that have the easiest decision.  (The same goes for Gifts ungiven, as with proper deck construction, there is no "right" choice.)  The FoF's opponent is forced to play the Spike role for a bit, but the Spike gets everything easy. 

A good card advantage spell is great, but make the person playing it have the tough choices.

My 2 cents.

-MT Head
Time to head off and build a Doubling Season/Warp World deck - you mean my Siege-Gang warps into six tokens and my planeswalkers are double big? Thanks MaRo!



This is a bombo remember that warp world puts the creatures, lands, and artifacts into play before the enchantments.

Still sounds like fun no matter which way you slice it. I think the problem with warp world and why it would not win is because it is usually just an "I win" card. If you build your deck with the card in mind then it usually serves as a finisher which I think puts doubling season over the top in this matchup.
Don't be too smart to have fun
Time to head off and build a Doubling Season/Warp World deck - you mean my Siege-Gang warps into six tokens and my planeswalkers are double big? Thanks MaRo!



This is a bombo remember that warp world puts the creatures, lands, and artifacts into play before the enchantments.

Still sounds like fun no matter which way you slice it. I think the problem with warp world and why it would not win is because it is usually just an "I win" card. If you build your deck with the card in mind then it usually serves as a finisher which I think puts doubling season over the top in this matchup.

Probably my play group lives in another dimension considering some of the stories I've been reading but every time Doubling season start working is magic everybody start to smile and if the saprolings get to three digit number we all start laughing.
My favorite is  when another doubling season hit the table and we get the Quadrupling season. In a two headed giant game I even got an Octupling season up and running, it's a shame that I never managed to get all four out at the same time...
BTW, probably I'm the ultimate timmy but when my opponent manage to do something awesome I can't help but be happy with him.
Anyway having declared  that doubling season is wonderful why not reprint it in the next core set?
 
Time to head off and build a Doubling Season/Warp World deck - you mean my Siege-Gang warps into six tokens and my planeswalkers are double big? Thanks MaRo!



This is a bombo remember that warp world puts the creatures, lands, and artifacts into play before the enchantments.


The combo with Siege-Gang Commander is not a bombo.  It's true that Warp World puts creatures, lands, and artifacts onto the battlefield before enchantments, but Siege-Gang Commander's triggered ability doesn't go on the stack, let along resolve, until after Warp World finishes resolving.

It would be a bombo with permanents that gain counters as they enter the battlefield, though, such as the Arcbound creatures.


Also, note that Warp World does not put planeswalkers into play.  They go to the bottom of the library, along with the instants, sorceries, and auras that don't have legal objects to be attached to.
Warp World is such garbage. In my opinion, it should've lost to Thieves' Auction. All it is is "lol, looks at all my bad goats token and ornithopters lol lol, and look at my seige gang that I refuse to use and now lets play worpworld lol, now your land count goes from 8 to 3 and I have 2 darksteel colosuses and a hellkite overlord and an akroma, lol, good game, wasn't that so fun?"
The short answer is "no".
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