3/15/2010 Feature: "Designer’s Diary–Phyrexia vs. the Coalition"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Feature Article, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com
So, what's the limit for "Brand, Creative and Aaron" gutting the Reserved List with duel deck reprints?

I'd like the answer to that question a whole lot more than marketing drivel.

Thanks,

Don!
A failure to plan, is a plan to fail.
It’s survival of the fittest, man, and we got the Phyrexian Ghouls.

Well played, sir.  The Pi section is quite well formed.
That Phyrexia deck will dominate that Coalition deck.  The Coalition deck is 4 colors without the right lands to support it.  It has poor mana fixers, which helps the mana, but also leaves the deck about 40 mana sources and 20 business spells.  The deck sucks. 

Funny enough, we tested them to make sure that didn't happen!
Care to answer the Reserved List question Aaron, or do only pay sites and former columnists get that sort of information?  I think the community at large has a right to know. 

Thanks,

Don
A failure to plan, is a plan to fail.
These decks were an absolute blast to play during my brief time in the Champions Challenge area at Pro Tour: San Diego. Special thanks to Chris Millar for his good work (and an enjoyable article). Also special thanks to all the players who smashed my face (amusingly, with both decks).
Pi was pretty funny. Looking back at the decks, I just don't know how they can be balanced. The flavor is hit-and-miss, with just 2 artifact creatures in Phyrexia and the dragons kinda just kicking it in Coalition. Phyrexia has too few flyers and little evasion overall with about enough removal and a little more to slow down the Coalition deck, and how exactly the Coalition deck is going to balance mana will be about as frustrating as it is fun. That could be the balance: fast and effective early game vs slow but brutal mid to late game. I'm definitely going to tear these decks apart, but I'll try to fix em up for a legit five-color and a fast sick Black deck complete with some Crypt of Agadeems.
as someone who missed invasion block this duel decks concept missed me. I don't like the fact that all the creatures with phyrexian names have the same ability. The biggest miss IMHO is the mythics. I know he said he had trouble deciding but seriously an expensive lightning bolt that can't be countered and an oudated card that will likely lose more games for his team than win. Basically you have to have a sacrifice outlet before you can even cast him. These "mythics" will be the first two cards on the chopping block if I do get these decks and make any modifications.

I do appreciate the effort of raiding the "reserved" list. I also love the duel decks and appreciate the testing and balance that is a result. It's probably because I (still) am unfamiliar with Gerrard and the coalition and phyrexia and the story (to date) has never caught my attention enough to go back and read it. I've read different articles on the sight about bits and pieces of the story but It never really peaked my interest.

edit// One final thought I'd personally rather have fetchlands than dragons the mana base is so horrid for coalition.
Don't be too smart to have fun
So, what's the limit for "Brand, Creative and Aaron" gutting the Reserved List with duel deck reprints?

I'd like the answer to that question a whole lot more than marketing drivel.

Thanks,

Don!


You mean to tell me there's someone who considers the Reserved List a good thing?

I for one would just as soon they got rid of it altogether. It's not like they'd ever reprint Ancestral in a million years even without the list, so don't even try tossing that tired old strawman around. It's silly that so many good, otherwise reprintable cards are locked down because of a promise made when the economics of CCGs were very different, that for the most part no longer benefits even most of the people whose interests it was originally designed to protect.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
Chris Millar's writing is always a blast; I've missed him.

I have been playing these decks against each other with MWS, and have verified that they have an extremely nice matchup.  In general, Phyrexia wins slightly more often, but Dominaria's victories are more spectacular and memorable come-from-behind achievements, which is highly appropriate to the story you're (kinda) replaying here.  The Phyrexia deck is a well-tuned machine whose victories are brutal and predictable affairs, powered by tight synergy among the components; the Coalition, rather, has hugely swingy spells like the Battlemages and Charms which it can use to answer Phyrexia's threats, while attempting to stick a Dragon or the like for a win after Phyrexia runs out of removal spells.  Both decks succumb to land-flood somewhat frequently, but this is unsurprising; it's not as if they could have given them $20 manabases full of fetchlands and cycling, but the player is free to do this himself if wishing to streamline the experience, and if not they still play rather well, with mana flood striking perhaps one game in 3 or 4 and mana screw significantly less common (which is good).

In terms of the alternate art, I'm not too happy with Urza's Rage, as he really doesn't look angry in this picture; the original art showed him in a battlesuit facing to the right, while the original Negator faces to the left, so they could have used those apart from the Reserve List nonsense.  But even with a new picture, I'd rather have seen Urza in his suit, even if it would have blurred the "good vs. evil" aspect by reminding us that "Urza's means began to resemble Phyrexia's end".  I'm also sad that they showed us two pieces of Dominaria's art today (not counting Urza, as he's on the cover and we'd seen that already) but nothing of Phyrexia other than the Negator (which was even less surprising than the picture of Urza, since for that at least I didn't know what the card was exactly, while the Negator is unmistakable).  I'm strongly hoping to see Narrow Escape and Hideous End with non-Zendikar pictures, and I really hope they'll reillustrate Carrion Feeder as a Phyrexian rather than a mutant zombie (the fact that Phyrexians are often Zombies in game terms is convenient for this reason, though it saddens me on a Vorthotic level).  Hornet Cannon is another card which isn't very Phyrexian-flavored and could maybe use an update, but Puppet Strings would be even more to the point.

All told, this is an excellent product, and I am planning to get it after not having bought any Magic product since the Zendikar release (money's tight, you understand).  Interestingly, after MWS play convinced me NOT to buy Garruk vs. Liliana, it had the opposite effect here; I know that Wotco frowns on the program's use, but it has convinced me to purchase product several times by enabling me to find out how much fun there is to be had, and in this case I would definitely not have plunked down $20 for 120 cards without confirming that, unlike in GVL, this pair of decks was keenly balanced and a ton of fun to play from either side.
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 liked the style of this article. There was that one part where he went off topic for a bit explaining how being a professional Johnny with a deadline sucked the fun out of being a Johnny. I still don't understand how that relates to duel decks, but whatever, it was cool.

Thank you for revealing the behind-the-scenes stuff. In particular it was amusing how you got picked for the job (lol wut?) and how you ended up with a foil Negator on the box. I can imagine how the decision to allow one reserved card must've sounded like "This SKU must contain exactly card from the reserved list, and it must be awesome enough to deserve being foiled." I mean what are you going say? "Naw, but thanks for the offer?" Of course you said "I'd be honored to be the first person to break the reserved list! Who first?"

I can think of another reason why Urza vs Yawgmoth was denied. Yawg's Will is kind of a spikey card. I don't think it appeals to a very broad audience. Negator on the other hand appeals to Timmy, and therefore to everyone. Wait, no. Definitely not. There are two things wrong with that sentence. Okay, now I got it. It has to do with the reserved list. See, Negator was once printed as a foil promo and given away for free. This violated the reserve list, but people seemed to be okay with it. Therefore it is the perfect card for testing the reserved list waters. If people complain about the Negator then WotC can backpedal and point out that they got away with it before and promise never to do it again. (And if people like the Negator then Masticore is a shoe-in for M12!) Yawgmoth's Will doesn't have that additional benefit because it was never given away as a judge promo. Wait. No. I got nothing. I actually really liked the Yawgmoth's emotion vs Urza's emotion aspect of it. Not that the Negator is bad. Phyrexian Negator can do whatever Phyrexian Negator wants.
Overall I like the decks; the only card that I really dislike is Slay. I've collected all the Duel Decks thus far, and my friends and I have had a blast having "Mix n Match" tournaments with them; I was mildly disappointed to see Slay in the list, because it's dead against six of the existing Duel Decks. So a personal vote for no color hate in future Duel Decks, but a definite thumbs up otherwise!
Don,

There are plans to talk about/clarify the stuff you're worried about soon.

Suffice it to say I wouldn't worry.

--aaron
Chris Millar: 10/10
Duel Decks: 3/10

The Negator is particular is an incredibly bizarre call. Reprinting a card on the reserve list is always going to worry or annoy a certain subset of players, but in this case the reprint isn't even doing anything good for the rest of Magic's playerbase. Negator is strong in a really, really narrow set of circumstances. It's not going to be a decent playable in any format at all for the foreseeable future and certainly isn't good in the duel deck for which it's poster kid.

Then again, maybe this product is just Not For Me.
Care to answer the Reserved List question Aaron,

It's true that, so far, that question has been largely avoided. But I thought this article did supply an answer despite not explicitly addressing the point directly: it was noted that while Gerard was included in the deck because he wasn't on the Reserved List, there were a lot of constraints on the design in order to avoid cards on that list.

So I am led to suspect (and your earlier remark that the Phyrexian deck seemed weaker also helps that conclusion) that the various constraints on the decks just added up to too much in the end. They also had to bend flavor (the "coalition of the killing" observation) as well to get two balanced and playable decks out of this. The large number of cards from the era in question that were on the Reserved List put holes in the card pool in very inconvenient places - and the choice of Phyrexian Negator turned out to be the least bad alternative.

The other choices, presumably, would have been to reprint something even more powerful on the Reserved List, or to remove from the Coalition deck a lot of the most interesting cards in it that weren't on the Reserved List.

If that is the case, what happened could well be accepted as a one-time thing, because the use of the "foil loophole" resulted from Wizards painting itself into a corner by using a theme that was too strongly tied to a very early period of Magic's history.

EDIT: I glanced too hastily at the article when I wrote this. Instead, the article explicitly noted that the decision to allow a card from the Reserved List in the set, as long as it was the foil, was made at a high level prior to the design of the set. That almost makes it sound as though Reserved List cards could almost be a fixture of Duel Decks in future, but I still suspect they will be used sparingly. This does, though, raise the possibility of Reserved List cards also appearing - again, sparingly and responsibly - in products such as From the Vault and Reserved Deck Series in future.

Negator is strong in a really, really narrow set of circumstances. It's not going to be a decent playable in any format at all for the foreseeable future and certainly isn't good in the duel deck for which it's poster kid.



Of course, if that's true, my theory is pretty much knocked out of contention.

You mean to tell me there's someone who considers the Reserved List a good thing?

It's true that the Reserved List, in its present form, bans reprinting of many cards that... are banned from being reprinted for no particularly good reason.

But getting rid of the Reserved List, without doing it carefully, could lead to a reduction in confidence that the cards that shouldn't be reprinted won't be. The secondary market is indirectly important to Wizards because many of the best dealers - the ones that host FNM - stock older cards. The kind of panic that would be engendered by a perception that Wizards might do anything for a quick buck would be very bad for the game.

There are plans to talk about/clarify the stuff you're worried about soon.

Suffice it to say I wouldn't worry.

If it hadn't been for the controversy surrounding these duel decks, I would not have been aware that premium, but tournament-legal, versions of some cards on the Reserved List had already been printed, mostly as Judge foils.

From the general sentiment on these forums, while there is broad agreement that reprinting the P9 - or other cards in that class or approaching it, such as Tolarian Academy - would be a bad thing, the Reserved List as it now stands is not needed. So if Wizards were going to scrap the Reserved List, but remain responsible in its reprinting policy, very few people would mind.

I suspect, though, we don't even have to worry about that happening. Since what did happen was within the parameters of the existing policy, but just in a little-known way, and it appears to have resulted from an unusual situation in which the design team was painted into a corner, it would appear there will be no need even to utilize the "foil loophole" again outside Judge foils for years, never mind altering the Reserved List policy.

EDIT: Something else is coming that may shake people's confidence that Black Lotus will never be reprinted in a bigger way than this Duel Decks product.

In the MTGO community, some people are already taking it as a foregone conclusion that the P9 will be made available for MTGO.

The reasoning is as follows: With the release of new products for MTGO, the card pool has expanded sufficiently that it has become practical to bring in Legacy as an MTGO format.

If Legacy, can Vintage be far behind?

In my opinion, yes, it can. Many Pro Tour players make use of MTGO as a preparation tool. Standard, Extended, and Legacy are all major Magic formats. Vintage, on the other hand, is not particularly strongly supported by Wizards in physical Magic; hence, bringing Vintage to MTGO is not necessarily a priority. If doing so has a downside, in undermining confidence in the value of old physical cards, there may not be enough upside to bringing Vintage to MTGO to take that risk.

I do agree, though, that including the P9 in a new set for MTGO is not impossible. It's just not clear to me that it is necessarily likely.

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.

At this point, Mike suggested we use ..."OpenTip(event, "Phyrexian Negator")" class="nodec">Phyrexian Negator and ..."OpenTip(event, "Urza’s Rage")" class="nodec">Urza’s Rage as the twin promos, which is what we went with, but there were other options. I believe we briefly toyed with dubbing the product Urza vs. Yawgmoth, and in that case ..."OpenTip(event, "Urza’s Rage")" class="nodec">Urza’s Rage and ..."OpenTip(event, "Yawgmoth’s Will")" class="nodec">Yawgmoth’s Will would have had a nice symmetry. I’m not exactly sure why we didn’t go that route, but I imagine it is because it is harder to portray such a conflict without physical representations of the parties involved (as in the planeswalker Duel Decks), but rather with their minions, contraptions, and intangible qualities. Urza, Planeswalker and Yawgmoth, Big Bad are much cooler than, say, Urza’s Stick-to-it-iveness and Yawgmoth’s Pluck.



Why'd you stick with Urza's Rage, then?
Don,

There are plans to talk about/clarify the stuff you're worried about soon.

Suffice it to say I wouldn't worry.

--aaron



Thanks a bunch for that post. 

I really, really wish you all had taken a different path in communicating all this stuff.  It would have saved a lot of pain and heartache for a lot of folks, and let us concentrate more on the game than the side issues.

The game is fun, the side issues aren't.

Later,

Don!
A failure to plan, is a plan to fail.

My main problem with these decks is that it seems that most of the cards are chosen either for flavor reasons or for mechanical reasons, but rarely for both. A good example of this in the Coalition Deck is Gerrard- yes, he was vitally important to the storyline, but the card doesn't really work with the Coalition Deck in a meaningful way (other than maybe lifegain being important to keep a slower deck in the game). On the flip side, the Invasion dragons are powerful mechanically, and serve as end-game finishers, but they don't really fit the Coalition theme. There are a few cards (like Coalition Relic) that achieve both goals, but not many. Apparently, a lot of the card choices were made to balance the decks against each other, but I wish that the individual decks were a little more tightly themed, mechanically and flavorfully.

Also, I wonder why, after going through all of that work to balance the decks, you chose Phyrexian Negator as the promo card for Phyrexia, opposite Urza's Rage, given that the Rage is the Negator's worst nightmare.

My main problem with these decks is that it seems that most of the cards are chosen either for flavor reasons or for mechanical reasons, but rarely for both. A good example of this in the Coalition Deck is Gerrard- yes, he was vitally important to the storyline, but the card doesn't really work with the Coalition Deck in a meaningful way (other than maybe lifegain being important to keep a slower deck in the game). On the flip side, the Invasion dragons are powerful mechanically, and serve as end-game finishers, but they don't really fit the Coalition theme. There are a few cards (like Coalition Relic) that achieve both goals, but not many. Apparently, a lot of the card choices were made to balance the decks against each other, but I wish that the individual decks were a little more tightly themed, mechanically and flavorfully.

It seemed to me that the article dealt with the causes for that issue. Because the deck was made up entirely of reprints - and the cards in it were all constrained to be from the relevant blocks (this doesn't have to be Tempest block; Phyrexian cards could have also come from Mirrodin block, and Coalition cards from Mercadian Masques block) - they did the best they could with the cards available.

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.

i think a deck called  phyrexia should have a card with Yawgmoth's name on it, even if it is Yawgmoth's edict
i think a deck called  phyrexia should have a card with Yawgmoth's name on it, even if it is Yawgmoth's edict


The Phyrexia deck does have Order of Yawgmoth.
Overall I like the decks; the only card that I really dislike is Slay. I've collected all the Duel Decks thus far, and my friends and I have had a blast having "Mix n Match" tournaments with them; I was mildly disappointed to see Slay in the list, because it's dead against six of the existing Duel Decks. So a personal vote for no color hate in future Duel Decks, but a definite thumbs up otherwise!




yeah I had that same feeling when I saw that card in the list. Like you we do a lot of duel decks mix and matching in my house. We often play 2hg and pit duel decks against each other jace and chandra vs angels and demons or lilliana and garruk against elves and goblins. Plus sometimes if I'm just playing a random game I'll use one of these decks. Cards like slay have no business in the main deck and therefore should not be considered for duel decks. Most of my duel decks are intact but if I do get these duel decks at the very least I'll have to swap out this card and you can't just replace these cards because they have a special set symbol. All my other duel decks will be intact and so I'll likely leave the card in there and draw it every time I'm playing against angels or goblins.

I'll bet the next duel decks doesn't include a mono black half. This is the 3rd in a row.... weird.
Don't be too smart to have fun
Because the deck was made up entirely of reprints - and the cards in it were all constrained to be from the relevant blocks (this doesn't have to be Tempest block; Phyrexian cards could have also come from Mirrodin block, and Coalition cards from Mercadian Masques block) - they did the best they could with the cards available.




Unless there's something I'm missing, the article didn't describe any specific block restrictions- that's why cards like Narrow Escape are in there. The closest thing I could find to a description of the limits of his card pool was "Calling the product ... Phyrexia vs. the Coalition severely limits the cards we can use ... If Gerrard Capashen isn't working, we can't replace him with, say, Commander Eesha."

Basically, they were limited to things that made sense within the flavor scope of a Phyrexia deck and a Coalition deck (and they didn't even really stick to that limit, as I'm not sure how Lightning Greaves or Armadillo Cloak apply).
Unless there's something I'm missing, the article didn't describe any specific block restrictions- that's why cards like Narrow Escape are in there.

That's true. Only the first Duel Decks set, Elves vs. Goblins, had a specific block restriction - all the cards in it had to be Extended legal. I meant that the cards were still largely restricted, but for flavor reasons, so it wasn't an ironclad restriction.

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.

All the Duel Decks have been auto purchases for me, but it was still fun to see the background of their creation, especially so masterfully told.



Proud member of C.A.R.D. - Campaign Against Rare Duals "...but the time has come when lands just need to be better. Creatures have gotten stronger, spells have always been insane, and lands just sat in this awkward place of necessity." Jacob Van Lunen on the refuge duals, 16 Sep 2009. "While it made thematic sense to separate enemy and allied color fixing in the past, we have come around to the definite conclusion that it is just plain incorrect from a game-play perspective. This is one of these situations where game play should just trump flavor." - Sam Stoddard on ending the separation of allied/enemy dual lands. 05 July 2013
i really appreciate you guys loading up these types of products with older cards that are edh and cube staples. it fills me with joy to look at the decklists and see cards that many won't think much of but i am thrilled to get all in one package.

and thanks for not letting an outdated concept cripple your ability to put together the best product you can.
Those mythic rares are whack. I dig Negator, I really do, but the only Phyrexian creature that absolutely needs to be Mythic Rare is Phyrexian Dreadnought (although that could be hard to cast). Legacy Weapon and Coalition Victory may seem like overpowered and not fun, but an overpriced burn isn't any better (much less mythic). Here's how I would have balanced it: Give Coalition the Legacy Weapon and Coalition Victory, and supply black with all the removal it could ever need. Balance out the mana supply, up the creature count slightly for both sides while removing some unneeded Hornet Cannon and the Charms, and we have ourselves some fun decks.
Why'd you stick with Urza's Rage, then?

Well, the thing is that now the decks are called Phyrexia vs. The Coalition, are filled with cards that represent Phyrexia and the Coalition, and when you play with them, it feels like Phyrexia is fighting the Coalition. In this case, Urza's Rage is one part of a compelling whole that actually exists on cards.  That is exactly the opposite of what would happen if Urza's Rage had to do the thematic heavy-lifting for Urza's Factory and Sunglasses of Urza in an Urza-less "Urza" deck.  That would be like making decks called Han Solo vs. Jabba the Hutt but the cards in the box were Bib Fortuna and Han's Smirk.

As for Slay, I can understand the mild disappointment, but it's in there because 1.) it's incredibly thematic and 2.) THIS DECK really needs to be able to kill a Dragon at instant speed and almost no other black card can do that to all three of them.  I know it's dead against a smaller number of decks, but what do you do with Windstorm vs. Elves and Goblins?  Snuff Out and company vs. Demons? 

In terms of a restricted card pool, as you can see from the deck lists, the vast majority of the cards are from Urza block and Invasion block, with a smattering from Time Spiral.  When we went further afield for cards, those cards were, in my opinion, suitably generic (but mechanically necessary).  Sure, Lightning Greaves was printed in the set Mirrodin, but I think we'd be kidding ourselves if we thought that you can't find a pair of speed boots anywhere else in the multiverse.  The same goes for Carrion Feeder, Whispersilk Cloak, Narrow Escape, etc.

Thanks for all the comments!  I had a lot of fun working on this and hope people enjoy playing with it.

That would be like making decks called Han Solo vs. Jabba the Hutt but the cards in the box were Bib Fortuna and Han's Smirk.



lol.

leia's rage - RRRRR (rare)
instant
if you control a golden bikini, you may cast leia's rage without paying its mana cost.
target hutt can't breathe until end of hutt.
That Phyrexia deck will dominate that Coalition deck.  The Coalition deck is 4 colors without the right lands to support it.  It has poor mana fixers, which helps the mana, but also leaves the deck about 40 mana sources and 20 business spells.  The deck sucks. 



All Duel decks suck. They're not meant to be good, but as a quick way a couple people can get together and have some fun games.
I get them every once in a while, and they serve their purpose: A few hours of fun without the time involved in making 2 evenly matched decks each with a general "theme."

Orzhova Witness

Restarting Quotes Block
58086748 wrote:
58335208 wrote:
Disregard women acquire chase rares.
There are a lot of dudes for whom this is not optional.
97820278 wrote:
144532521 wrote:
How;s a 2 drop 1/2, Flying broken? What am I missing?
You're missing it because *turns Storm Crows sideways* all your base are belong to Chuck Norris and every other overused meme ever.
That would be like making decks called Han Solo vs. Jabba the Hutt but the cards in the box were Bib Fortuna and Han's Smirk.



lol.

leia's rage - RRRRR (rare)
instant
if you control a golden bikini, you may cast leia's rage without paying its mana cost.
target hutt can't breathe until end of hutt.



Ewok Attack :2mana:
Tribal Sorcery - Ewok
Put 4 {1/2} / {1/2} green Ewok creature tokens onto the battlefield. They have shroud until end of turn.
OMG click HERE! OMG! How to autocard and use decklist format
--->
For autocarding, write [c][/c] with the name of the card inside it. [c]Island[/c] = Island For linking a card to Gatherer without writting the name of said card for readers, use the autocard brackets together with and equal sign and right the name of the real card. Then put the message you want inside the tags, like you would do with autocarding. Like this: [c=Curse of the Cabal]Captain Never-resolves[/c] = Captain Never-resolves For using the decklist format, follow this: [deck] 4* Terramorphic Expanse 4* Evolving Wilds ... [/deck] It equals:
Real signature, Sblocked for space:
57817638 wrote:
I like storm crow because I really like crows in real life, as an animal, and the card isn't terribly stupid, but packs a good deal of nostalgia and also a chunck of the game's history. So it's perhaps one of the cards I have most affection to, but not because "lol storm crow is bad hurr hurr durr".
Listen to my SoundCloud while you read my signature. The Island, Come And See, The Landlord's Daughter, You'll Not Feel The Drowning - The Decemberists by vimschy IMAGE(http://dragcave.net/image/rkvR.gif)IMAGE(http://dragcave.net/image/L3es.gif) IMAGE(http://dragcave.net/image/m71H.gif)
Quotes
56747598 wrote:
57295478 wrote:
Although I do assume you deliberately refer to them (DCI) as The Grand Imperial Convocation of Evil just for the purposes of making them sound like an ancient and terrible conspiracy.
Now, now. 1994 doesn't quite qualify as "ancient".
56734518 wrote:
Oh, it's a brilliant plan. You see, Bolas was travelling through shadowmoor, causing trouble, when he saw a Wickerbough Elder with its stylin' dead scarecrow hat. Now, Bolas being Bolas took the awesome hat and he put it on his head, but even with all his titanic powers of magic he couldn't make it fit. He grabbed some more scarecrows, but then a little kithkin girl asked if he was trying to build a toupee. "BY ALL THE POWERS IN THE MULTIVERSE!" he roared, "I WILL HAVE A HAT WORTHY OF MY GLORY." and so he went through his Dark Lore of Doom (tm) looking for something he could make into a hat that would look as stylish on him as a scarecrow does on a treefolk. He thought about the Phyrexians, but they were covered in goopy oil that would make his nonexistant hair greasy. He Tried out angels for a while but they didn't sit quite right. Then, he looked under "e" (because in the Elder Draconic alphabet, "e" for Eldrazi is right next to "h" for Hat) in his Dark Lore of Doom and saw depictions of the Eldrazi, and all their forms. "THIS SHALL BE MY HAT!" he declared, poking a picture of Emrakul, "AND WITH IT I WILL USHER IN A NEW AGE OF DARKNESS -- ER, I MEAN A NEW AGE OF FASHION!" And so Nicol Bolas masterminded the release of the Eldrazi.
57864098 wrote:
Rhox War Monk just flips pancakes, and if games have told us anything, it's that food = life.
56747598 wrote:
76973988 wrote:
This thread has gotten creepy. XP
Really? Really? The last couple days have been roughly every perverse fetish imaginable, but it only got "creepy" when speculation on Mother of Runes's mob affiliation came up?
76672808 wrote:
57864098 wrote:
57531048 wrote:
Nice mana base. Not really.
Yeah, really. If my deck was going to cost $1000+, I'd at least make it good.
99812049 wrote:
I like to think up what I consider clever names for my decks, only later to be laughed at by my wife. It kills me a little on the inside, but thats what marriage is about.
56816728 wrote:
56854588 wrote:
Of course, the best use [of tolaria west] is transmuting for the real Tolaria. ;)
Absolutely. I used to loose to my buddy's Banding deck for ages, it was then that I found out about Tolaria, and I was finally able win my first game.
70246459 wrote:
WOAH wait wait wait
56957928 wrote:
You know, being shallow and jusdgmental aside, "I later found out that Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people"
56957928 wrote:
"I later found out that Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people"
56957928 wrote:
Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates
56957928 wrote:
OH MY GOD
109874309 wrote:
The only way I'd cast this card is into a bonfire.
82032421 wrote:
The short answer is that there's no rule barring annoying people from posting, but there a rule barring us from harassing them about it.
56747598 wrote:
Browbeat is a card that is an appropriate deck choice when there's no better idea available. "No better idea available" was pretty much the running theme of Odyssey era.
56874518 wrote:
Or perhaps it was a more straightforward comment indicating a wish for you to be bitten (Perhaps repeatedly) by a small yet highly venomous arachnid.
70246459 wrote:
58280208 wrote:
You're an idiot, and I'm in no mood for silliness.
57817638 wrote:
57145078 wrote:
You just... Vektor it.
That's the answer to everything.
70246459 wrote:
58347268 wrote:
I think the problem is that you don't exist.
This would sound great out of context!
56965458 wrote:
Modern is like playing a new tournament every time : you build a deck, you win with it, don't bother keeping it. Just build another, its key pieces will get banned.
57864098 wrote:
57309598 wrote:
I specifically remember posting a thread when I was just a witty bitty noob.
You make it sound like that's still not the case.
58325628 wrote:
Rap is what happens when the c from crap is taken away.
Doug Beyer:
But sometimes it's also challenging. Because sometimes OH MY GOD, WHAT THE HELL IS THIS THING?
141434757 wrote:
Flashforward five thousand years (Click for atmosphere) :
57927608 wrote:
to paraphrase Jeff Goldblum, Vektor finds a way.
58347268 wrote:
when in rome **** AND PILLAGE
143229641 wrote:
I always find it helpful when im angry to dress up in an owl costume and rub pennies all over my body in front of a full body mirror next to the window.
Dymecoar:
Playing Magic without Blue is like sleeping without any sheets or blankets. You can do it...but why?
Omega137:
Me: "I love the moment when a control deck stabilizes. It feels so... right." Omega137: "I like the life drop part until you get there, it's the MtG variant of bungee jumping"
Zigeif777:
Just do it like Yu-Gi-Oh or monkeys: throw all the crap you got at them and hope it works or else the by-standers (or opponents) just get dirty and pissed.
57471038 wrote:
58258708 wrote:
It's true that Alpha and Beta didn't contain any cards like Tarmogoyf, Darksteel Colossus, or Platinum Angel. It just contained weak, insignificant cards like Black Lotus, Mox Sapphire, and Time Walk.
Normally it's difficult to pick up on your jokes/sarcasm. But this one's pretty much out there. Good progress. You have moved up to Humanoid. You'll be Human in no time.
91893448 wrote:
94618431 wrote:
I didn't know Samurai were known to be able to cut down whole armies...
They can when they're using lightsabers!
57129358 wrote:
97980259 wrote:
My wife brought home a baby black squirrel they found on a horse track and cared for it for a few days. We named it Grixis, but it died.
Unearth it!
70246459 wrote:
[/spoiler] And I'm on Magic Arcana. How about you? Oh, by the way, I'm also on From the Lab now. Twice, actually. And now with my own submited decklist!
sorry about the mess - 1W
instant
destroy target attacking creature. then give the bartender some money, because that's gross.

Boba Fett's Death - 3B
Sorcery
Destroy target Legendary Bounty Hunter. It's controller feels shame.

Greedo Shot First - 1UR
Flip a coin. If you win, destroy target Legendary Scoundrel Pilot. If you lose, flip a coin again because you're firing from point-blank range. If you lose the flip a second time, deal 3 damage to yourself.

Why'd you stick with Urza's Rage, then?

Well, the thing is that now the decks are called Phyrexia vs. The Coalition, are filled with cards that represent Phyrexia and the Coalition, and when you play with them, it feels like Phyrexia is fighting the Coalition. In this case, Urza's Rage is one part of a compelling whole that actually exists on cards.  That is exactly the opposite of what would happen if Urza's Rage had to do the thematic heavy-lifting for Urza's Factory and Sunglasses of Urza in an Urza-less "Urza" deck.  That would be like making decks called Han Solo vs. Jabba the Hutt but the cards in the box were Bib Fortuna and Han's Smirk.

As for Slay, I can understand the mild disappointment, but it's in there because 1.) it's incredibly thematic and 2.) THIS DECK really needs to be able to kill a Dragon at instant speed and almost no other black card can do that to all three of them.  I know it's dead against a smaller number of decks, but what do you do with Windstorm vs. Elves and Goblins?  Snuff Out and company vs. Demons? 

In terms of a restricted card pool, as you can see from the deck lists, the vast majority of the cards are from Urza block and Invasion block, with a smattering from Time Spiral.  When we went further afield for cards, those cards were, in my opinion, suitably generic (but mechanically necessary).  Sure, Lightning Greaves was printed in the set Mirrodin, but I think we'd be kidding ourselves if we thought that you can't find a pair of speed boots anywhere else in the multiverse.  The same goes for Carrion Feeder, Whispersilk Cloak, Narrow Escape, etc.

Thanks for all the comments!  I had a lot of fun working on this and hope people enjoy playing with it.




urza's rage just doesn't seem like it would be printed as a mythic outside of these duel decks. It's really 3 mana for uncounterable/unpreventable 3 damage. sudden shock was common. Sure there is the 11 mana upside of urza's rage but it's 11 mana and IMO doesn't warrant the upgrade to Mythic. Still I'll grant that in general it'll be more useful in the deck than legacy weapon which is pretty much the only other option

I can surely see the need for a card like slay in the deck. Though I really think that these kinds of cards should be avoided. I have been frustrated with the dead cards in some of these other duel decks vs. duel decks matchups like windstorm, and snuff out though those are less likely to be a dead card than slay is. It seems like there would be a lot of options for destroying these dragons but at 3 mana with a cantrip slay is probably the best option. I know you probably considered removing the dragons (especially the black one for taiga or some other mana fixing) but decided on including them. I don't agree with all the decisions in making this product but I appreciate that you worked hard on it and I know that it will be well balanced as the other duel decks have been. I will likely enjoy it more after I've played with it.
Don't be too smart to have fun
sorry about the mess - 1W
instant
destroy target attacking creature. then give the bartender some money, because that's gross.


R2-D2
Artifact Creature: Construct
R2-D2 gets +1/+0 when it blocks or is blocked by an artifact creature.
: R2-D2 gains flying until end of turn.
: Hack a computer system.
: Regenerate target C3-PO.
0/2    
*hugs Chris Millar*
urza's rage just doesn't seem like it would be printed as a mythic outside of these duel decks.

The 'target audience' sees ten damage the other guy can do nothing about.
If your retort is something along the lines of, "yeah, but it's twelve mana!", then you are not the target audience.

"Gerrard Capashen was an easy choice"?!?!

That was one of the most lame cards for a major character ever made! He sucks at fighting, or leading, or doing anything. His two lame abilities aren't even flavorful, unlike, say, Sisay, the captain of the Weatherlight who can gather a whole crew. And, as takaline said, they don't fit mechanically either. ESPECIALLY against this Phyrexia deck, where it seems like the creature you spend a whopping 3W to tap will just be sacrificed to do something else instead.

Compare Gerrard to Tahngarth, Talruum Hero -- now there's a character whose card kicks ass. I remember mowing people down with Tahngarth in a way I wouldn't see again until Arc-Slogger replaced him as the most powerful board-controlling creature for 3RR.

If you really wanted to make these Duel Decks exciting, you should have printed a NEW Gerrard Capashen card that was less dull than a slightly-leveled-up Master of Arms.

PS: Chris, your article itself was extremely entertaining and I really enjoyed reading it. I just have to Monday-morning-quarterback the Gerrard call. :-) 


Gerrard Capashen was an easy choice"?!?!

That was one of the most lame cards for a major character ever made! He sucks at fighting, or leading, or doing anything. His two lame abilities aren't even flavorful, unlike, say, Sisay, the captain of the Weatherlight who can gather a whole crew.



If you really wanted to make these Duel Decks exciting, you should have printed a NEW Gerrard Capashen card





While I hate him as a weakling as much as you do I can see why they chose him. Sisay seems like he would be the better option with the dragons in the deck but that isn't the flavorful option which they care about just as much. Also I bet that a swap of gerrard and sisay would have unbalanced the decks.

I also thought it was weird that he mentioned the GG in mirri's casting cost as a major deterrant

but many of the other heroes have difficult mana costs when combined (Mirri



when the deck plays 10 forests 3 terramorphic expanse elfhame palace and other green sources of mana.

I'd totally be on board if they released a new card in a duel decks. Like the decision to make new cards in the core set this would be a huge draw for these duel decks.
Don't be too smart to have fun
I'd totally be on board if they released a new card in a duel decks. Like the decision to make new cards in the core set this would be a huge draw for these duel decks.

Wasn't that one of EvG's bigger gimmics - "get a card before you can get it"?

Maybe we just aren't thinking big enough. Maybe they should have just created a card of Urza and a card of Yawgmoth and then made it urza v. yawgmoth duel decks and then they would have solved the problem of the mythics. Or created a new Gerrard and a new phyrexian colossus and called them different names and given them new abilities like

Gerrard, Savior of Humanity 3W
creature- human
First strike
when he comes into play gain life equal to the number of cards in your hand.
when he leaves play draw a card then gain life equal to the number of cards in your hand
4/4

Phyrexian Masterpiece 8
artifact creature-construct
trample, deathtouch
each upkeep you may sacrifice a creature if you do phyrexian masterpiece deals 2 damage to target creature or player
7/7

It could be just me but I think that adding just two cards could have solved a lot of the issues you talk about in the article and drawn a lot of attention to the product.
Don't be too smart to have fun
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