5/04/2010 SF: "Basic Instincts"

24 posts / 0 new
Last post
This thread is for discussion of this week's Serious Fun, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Russian Rules

We only call it Russian Rules because we needed a name but it's very simple and can be very fun

-You can mulligan as much as you want and still draw 7 cards each time.
-Player with the card with the highest converted mana cost on the bottom of their library goes first.
-You may look at the top card of your library to the point of reshuffling if you see yourself getting mana flooded/screwed.
-In multi-player you can block attacks not directed towards you.
-You may take back an attack or spell to a certain degree before others call shenanigans.
-If you have a creature that can attack you may choose to skip your attack phase and 2nd main phase and play a second land tapped.
-You can't make up any text or rules that don't appear on cards and the group or your opponent has to come to an unanimous decision on whats legit.

It can get pretty crazy and there is a lot a funny moments, but whenever something happens you really don't want to you basically call "Russian Rules!" and do want you want. I'm positive Russians don't play like that and I hope I haven't offended any Russians. 

We play a format The Ferrett talked about, Chaos Magic. There is a stack of cards in the center of the group and at the beginning of your turn roll a d6 on a 6 the stack flips the top card and it takes effect. Some are sorceries that are a once and done thing, others stay around for what seems like ever. We do this when we get bored and want something crazy or my girlfriend is playing, she loves surprises and at the beginning of everybody’s turn there is a possible surprise.

We also play a format discussed by Anthony Alongi, the hunt, where you are given an identity and a prey. The basis is to kill your prey and be the last one standing. After you kill a player you get their identity and prey. The only legal targets for attacking or any spells are your prey and anyone who has preyed upon you. If the identity and target are the same then you are a rogue. No one can mess with you until you start something. The more players the less rogues. It keeps the game moving pretty fast.

EDH and regular FFA are really common. We're starting to average 8-12 people for the group nights, so we are starting to look at formats that speed up games or break us into smaller games.


As an aside, I thought this article was really flat. It was like Mr. Styborksi was too busy to write an article and so he wrote about how much fun magic is. We know it is fun and we have the archive for older formats. He hasn't been around long enough to need a recap of topics covered so I thought this article was overall a waste. Also the title was rather misleading, I was expecting something talking about basic instinct of play style and things that are basic instinct in a group's setting. For example many people are vengeful to the player who took them out in the previous game, this is a basic instinct of exacting revenge. Maybe the article next week could address instincts in the game- attacking, going for broke, thinking a bad hand is good, aggressive instincts vs defensive ones or aggro vs control vs combo as a player's instinct to choose one. I hope that next week is something more enticing and a little more thought provoking than, "here's stuff I talked about, what do you do?"

Face it, you're pretty much here as a meat shield.

 

If you are at Georgian Court Univeristy or Monmouth Univeristy PM me. If you are out by York College of PA, I can help you reach the group there.

Essence Scatter
is proactive —saying "No" upfront—but isn't effective once a creature is already down; Doom Blade is reactive—saying "No" when it's time—but lets creatures have a chance to land.
Um...  Something doesn't seem right here...

In my experience, individual player temperament isn't quite as unpredictable as this article portrays. Take the Doom Blade vs. Essence Scatter issue. Given the choice, I would definitely run Doom Blade instead of Essence Scatter in a multiplayer deck because people aren't going to take nearly as much offense at me destroying a creature that's attacking me as they are if I take out a creature that hadn't threatened me at all.
However, I agree that alternate formats are amazing ways to change what is and is not fun or acceptable in a multiplayer group. Essence Scatter is much less offensive in Two-Headed Giant or Emperor. They are also good ways to appease individual players who don't seem to be enjoying your group's play-style. Players who get bored with 3-hour-long EDH games will appreciate you suggesting a brisk round of Attack Left.

My playgroup ranges from 3 to 6 players each week.  Free for all is fine, but when the game goes longer than 2 hours, it can get pretty lame for some people.  Then we tried star, as it's generally over within an hour and we could get several games in an afternoon.  Emperor without specific Emperor tuned decks was sometimes a lot of fun.  100 card singleton was good times too, though the all artifact deck proved too much for us most of the time.

But one day we tried to invent our own format.  It was a 3 on 2 battle, but otherwise similar to two-headed giant.  The 2 man team started with 30 shared life and would draw an extra card each every other turn.  The 3 man team started with 40 shared life and drew as normal.  I realize that extra cards are good, which is why the 2 man team had less life, but they would always win, regardless of who the 2 were or their deck choice.  Then we tried it 2 man with 20 life and 3 man with 30 life.  That almost balanced it.  A burn deck in the 3 man team would certainly always clinch it.  We did not have the patience to keep experimenting with incremental changes, but I'm sure it could be done.

While not at all a format variant, just swapping decks around with each other can be fun.  I usually have extra decks of various power and strategy to loan,  but playing someone else's "one deck" can really be exciting and is usually illuminating for one or both of you.  Using Land Tax to fetch 3 plains each turn and never play them certainly changes things, especially once a Cursed Scroll comes down.  My friend never considered filling his hand with land just to discard them so he could do it again next turn.
Essence Scatter
is proactive —saying "No" upfront—but isn't effective once a creature is already down; Doom Blade is reactive—saying "No" when it's time—but lets creatures have a chance to land.

Um...  Something doesn't seem right here...


Heh, you noticed it too.  Discard is proactive.  Making creatures is proactive.  Counterspells by definition are reactive, since they require someone to play a spell before they can do anything in response.
Essence Scatter
is proactive —saying "No" upfront—but isn't effective once a creature is already down; Doom Blade is reactive—saying "No" when it's time—but lets creatures have a chance to land.

Um...  Something doesn't seem right here...


Heh, you noticed it too.  Discard is proactive.  Making creatures is proactive.  Counterspells by definition are reactive, since they require someone to play a spell before they can do anything in response.
Maybe he has a different definition of "proactive" or he is using it in a different conotation. Or maybe, like always, he just doesn't know what he is talking about.

From one perspective, counterspells are among the most reactive spells in the game - either you use them in response to something, or you don't use them at all. From that same perspective, straight-up instant-speed removal (Doom Blade) is sometimes reactive (in response to an Aura or dealing with an attacking creature) and sometimes proactive (removing a potential blocker or disposing of a utility creature).

From another perspective, particularly in multiplayer, counterspells are proactive - they deal with a potential threat before you find out if it was going to threaten you - while instant removal is more reactive - you wait to find out who the dragon's attacking before deciding whether to kill it. In a duel, of course, you can usually assume that anything your opponent plays is going to be aimed at you...


As for variants, a couple of variant rules that I suspect a lot of self-taught players try at some point (and which helped me understand some aspects of the game better):

1) Draw to 7 - rather than drawing just one card as your draw step starts, draw enough to refill your hand to its maximum size.

2) Unlimited land drops - you may play any number of additional lands on each of your turns.

Playing both rules together creates a pretty skill-light format where the best play is usually to dump your entire hand at every opportunity but it can be fun for a while...
M:tG Rules Advisor
By far the best column Adam has done so far.

My group likes to do Planechase + Vanguard + Star. It's quite silly.
 
It's probably that this column just isn't geared toward me at all, but I honestly wasn't sure what held this article together. The "let's talk about wacky formats!" bit made sense to me (though personally, 97% of odd formats I try I don't like, which is why I say this article is not for me), but the beginning really didn't.

I know that people dislike counters and don't mind removal; MaRo's talked about it a fair bit in his columns, as well as about the way that shapes design. I don't really feel that this reference to it added more. Honestly as someone who always liked old school blue I felt a bit talked down to, like "see, this is why people find you annoying!" I don't think that was the intention and I'm not offended really (after all, if both MaRo and Adam are saying it, it must be how a lot of people feel), but it just seemed kind of... strange.

It seemed like the article shifted in a strange way in the very middle, from "let's talk about how whatever we do can feel like griefing," to "let's talk about cool formats we like and the necessity of shaking up our own assumptions every now and then." Both of those are valid topics, although the first sounds like it's pretty miserable to read about (and I felt kind of miserable reading the first half of the column, actually), but I don't see how they go together.

I'm... confused. 
I think the point of the article was that different people have their fun in different ways, and that in order for you to both have fun that sometimes means trying something new.

Keeping a open mind can help make new friends, and can help ensure that you can always play some kind of magic, even if it wasnt the kind you were planning on playing that day. Finding a format that someone enjoys can also help stop someone from quitting when they arent having fun anymore, too.

~ Tim

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

As of recent, however, I have found others interested in the game and definitely interested in playing other formats. I'll see what happens as I build more decks and develop ways to play.
I think the point of the article was that different people have their fun in different ways, and that in order for you to both have fun that sometimes means trying something new.

Keeping a open mind can help make new friends, and can help ensure that you can always play some kind of magic, even if it wasnt the kind you were planning on playing that day. Finding a format that someone enjoys can also help stop someone from quitting when they arent having fun anymore, too.

~ Tim



That makes sense, Tim. I do think some alternate formats are fun for casual wackiness. (Wish more people played Planechase around here. Sadly, all they play is EDH and, unfortunately, I keep trying it and finding myself unable to get into it at all. It takes forever and always seems to come down to the same few cards, like the Mirrodin Swords, Eternal Dragon, Genesis, Kaldraquipment, etc. If I never see those darned things again it'll be too soon -- and I'm not saying that because I don't own them.)
We also play a format discussed by Anthony Alongi, the hunt, where you are given an identity and a prey. The basis is to kill your prey and be the last one standing. After you kill a player you get their identity and prey. The only legal targets for attacking or any spells are your prey and anyone who has preyed upon you. If the identity and target are the same then you are a rogue. No one can mess with you until you start something. The more players the less rogues. It keeps the game moving pretty fast.



Assassin. That one's been around for a long time.

My play group plays FFA, Emperor, Assassin, EDH (Albiet w/ some house rules... 60 card decks and 30 starting life), Two-Headed Giant, Three-Headed Giant, and Stack (or cube or whatever you want to call it). I'm looking to start up some Prismatic in my group, that looks fun and crazy.
Boy, is this article ever vague and aimless.  And yet, even if he's only talking about Casual and even if his examples are hardly the best, hearing someone who officially contracts for Wizards on their official site come right out and say, "If you're not in a tournament, just use some house rules!" was oddly heartwarming.

PS, the comment about how the annoying player is here to have his version of fun has made me think of my belief that Magic should be regarded as a mutualistic pleasure-experience; you're not here to defeat your opponent, you're here to cooperate with him in creating what you both consider fun.  I think as the player community continues to grow, players will get a better handle on how to suss out compatible opponents and avoid incompatible ones, so more people can play games that they both agree are awesome, instead of creating conflicts between Little Timmy and Counterspell Guy, or White Weenie Spike and Mr. Ogre-Tribal Theme Deck.
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
PS, the comment about how the annoying player is here to have his version of fun has made me think of my belief that Magic should be regarded as a mutualistic pleasure-experience; you're not here to defeat your opponent, you're here to cooperate with him in creating what you both consider fun.  I think as the player community continues to grow, players will get a better handle on how to suss out compatible opponents and avoid incompatible ones, so more people can play games that they both agree are awesome, instead of creating conflicts between Little Timmy and Counterspell Guy, or White Weenie Spike and Mr. Ogre-Tribal Theme Deck.


This, totally. I think people often talk about this sort of stuff as if people should change. Intense Spike should just calm down when she's playing for fun; that one Johnny who builds totally casual combos that do nothing but make the game funny should learn that winning is the point, etc. I think a lot of people need to learn that it's OK to avoid certain people or formats if they know they won't have fun, whether it's telling Spike "Actually, I have a limited card pool and am interested in goofy games with my Sheep deck, sorry" or Spike telling someone else "Well shoot, looks like all I have with me is tournament-quality UW control. I think that might mean games that are disheartening or annoying for you. Maybe some other time?" Or whatever.

Yeah, people should definitely have some flexibility. If everyone around you is in it for one kind of experience and you're in it for another, you'll either have to leave or adapt at some point.

But I think people sometimes pressure one another to be everything to everyone and that doesn't always work. Nor does bashing people for the kind of player they are, which is just rude and obnoxious. Self-selecting for more compatible opponents, if everyone's mature about it, avoids a lot of that kind of drama.


PS, the comment about how the annoying player is here to have his version of fun has made me think of my belief that Magic should be regarded as a mutualistic pleasure-experience; you're not here to defeat your opponent, you're here to cooperate with him in creating what you both consider fun. 



I only find pleasure in defeating my opponent. If I lose, I find joy in knowing I must either try harder or try something else next time.

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.


PS, the comment about how the annoying player is here to have his version of fun has made me think of my belief that Magic should be regarded as a mutualistic pleasure-experience; you're not here to defeat your opponent, you're here to cooperate with him in creating what you both consider fun. 



I only find pleasure in defeating my opponent. If I lose, I find joy in knowing I must either try harder or try something else next time.



So to follow what he is saying, you should then find an opponent who thinks the same so you can both do your utmost best to win every game, giving you both fun.  (what willpell means is right, he just said it not inclusive enough. Something like this maybe:

Magic should be regarded as a mutualistic pleasure-experience; you have to make sure you and your opponent's type of fun can match to create games where you both have fun, whether that's in trying to win, playing fatties, or whatever



It just boils down to T/J/S mostly


PS, the comment about how the annoying player is here to have his version of fun has made me think of my belief that Magic should be regarded as a mutualistic pleasure-experience; you're not here to defeat your opponent, you're here to cooperate with him in creating what you both consider fun. 



I only find pleasure in defeating my opponent. If I lose, I find joy in knowing I must either try harder or try something else next time.



I'm more like you than like anyone else, but like the above commenter I think what willpell said can include us with the friendly amendment that "Magic is about enjoyment" doesn't mean it's always "not about winning." If we didn't enjoy winning/testing ourselves/seeking to prove/better ourselves, Spikes wouldn't play either! And therefore, we should ideally be finding opponents who feel the same way about the game as us.

Or, perhaps better said, we should understand that some people don't feel the same way as us and dealing with that maturely, whether that means saying "I'd rather not play with you because I play first and foremost to win, and don't like foregoing making the right play to be 'nice'" or means shrugging and saying "Eh, I'll dig out my one casual deck. It won't be as fun for me, but hey, that doesn't mean I don't wanna play!"

[Eek, it's the Spike version of "can't we all just get along?" Hahaha.]
Theoretically, we should all be able to find players who are compatible with our style of play.  In practice, the supply of players is often limited.  Magic Online is much better this way, but even there the only way to be sure of finding an opponent of your stripe when you want one is to do some heavy scheduling, which rather defeats the point of how spontaneous it's supposed to be.  So many players find it tempting to try and change how others play, simply out of a desire to manufacture more compatible opponents so they don't have such trouble finding a play partner.
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
Theoretically, we should all be able to find players who are compatible with our style of play.  In practice, the supply of players is often limited.  Magic Online is much better this way, but even there the only way to be sure of finding an opponent of your stripe when you want one is to do some heavy scheduling, which rather defeats the point of how spontaneous it's supposed to be.  So many players find it tempting to try and change how others play, simply out of a desire to manufacture more compatible opponents so they don't have such trouble finding a play partner.

I honestly find MTGO even more annoying for this (or at least, I did when I used to use it.) If you're in the tournament practice room, people either don't want to test against anything rogue or bring really bad decks and so you can only have the same four matches over and over. If you're in the casual room people have endless lists of what they won't play against. I remember a while back I made a mono-blue Wizard deck when TSP block was out, and updated it when LOR and SHA came out because I was tired of Fae. It seemed I could never find opponents. Those playing Tier 1 in TP were annoyed at me for showing up with some random thing, and in casual the mere idea that I was oh God playing BLUE!!! meant that the only people willing to play against me were also playing monoblue.

In real life I find that there isn't such a big number of people and therefore you may not find what you're looking for, but there's more of a chance for polite negotiation and for deck switching if need be. Nothing's perfect, really.


If you happen to see me (Pellucidar) on MODO, feel free to request a game.  I'm fairly laid-back compared to some of the folks in there.  I'm willing to lose to a borken overpowered deck once or twice just to see how the experience goes, though it of course varies a bit depending on what I'm trying to play and my general mood that day.  And if your deck isn't overpowered but just gets mistaken for one that is, so much the better.
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
Maybe it's just me...  But, I think this article was a well masked request for players to "please buy Rise of the Eldrazi."  I haven't bought any, but last week I was at FNM and noone was buying it and noone wanted to play it.  I can't imagine how pissed I would've been having purchased my usual three boxes, and finding out it was a waste of money.  But wait...  I do know that feeling.  This is the same store I never go to FNM because I hate Draft.  All of a sudden... constructed is the format they're playing. Yay for me...  I finally get to play my constructed decks.


Look I'll try new formats.  I really like type-4, and emperor and two-headed giant.  But for all intents and purposes the upper portion of this article would be wasted space if it were'nt for what I'm guessing is lots of people worldwide being under the impression that some of my friends have.  They'll tell me things like:  D&D must really be hurting for new customers.  I ask why? They all tell me that if they didn't know better.  The level up creatures really make them think it's D&D the Gathering.

I took a few days to digest this...   I'd have to agree.

Look, for the past few years they've said that WoTC feels they need more customers.  I think that really it's hasbro.  With the new rarity and basic lands in each pack and dumb token cards taking up space.  It's not a far stretch that with MTG growing in popularity, hasbro wants to use that as a springboard for D&D...  Whether it's really losing popularity or not...  I don't know.  But, to my friends, it's enough for them to say that they're either quitting or taking a break untill after Scars of Mirrodin has passed.  Because none of them want to see an affinity dominated standard again.

As for me, I'll get around to buying the new cards eventually,  but for now I'm gonna re-read the bottom half again.  If I can't bring my friends with me.  I won't be at FNM.  So we're gonna try some of those wackey formats.

It's a shame though...              Especially if it's true.
Sign In to post comments