7/19/2010 MM: "The Multiplay's The Thing"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Divination is a bad example for the targeting thing because card draw is one of the effects you're less likely to want to share.  When you spend a card to draw two cards, you're essentially drawing one card for free; when you target someone else this way, you're sacrificing one card yourself to give them two completely free cards.  It's a major difference, and you'd have to be really good friends with the other person.

I want Apply Knowledge to be a real card.  Not the multiplayer version, since that's too similar to the Storm mechanic, but the purely one-sided and cheap version.  It would make for some neat "big turns" of casting nothing but small, wimpy spells and harvesting a huge payoff - this would feel very "wizardly" and make a nice change from the usual conservation of resources.

I wonder if Maro realizes that "multiplayer Mind Rot" already exists as Unnerve.  And it costs more than Mind Rot because of the extra power of emptying all your opponents' hands.  Granted it makes you a lot of enemies, but it also means they have less to hit you with, so it's definitely still potent.  Especially with Liliana's Caress x2 on the table.

The multiplayer Congregate is hackily templated; it should say "Target player gains 2 life for each creature another target player controls".  "On the battlefield" is not necessary once you're checking controllers.

Neither version of Blow 'em Up has the word "target" on it; I wonder if that was intentional.

The non-multiplayer Rot Away being green kind of gave away that its multiplayer version was an adjusted version of Crumble.  Green doesn't spend life for power (and black doesn't get to blow up artifacts).  Also the difference between Rot Away and Crumble is more than just about whether you're in multiplayer; it's MUCH safer to give the opponent extra life than to spend your own.  Lowering your life means risking a lethal burn spell to the face, while giving the opponent extra life makes little difference if your creatures are of the huge and unstoppable variety.  If I give you 8 life and then attack twice with a 14/14 unblockable, your 28 life is no better than 20.

MaRo's math sucks.  In a multiplayer game with six opponents, dealing 120 damage results in a tie (if it's divided evenly).  You need to deal 100, and not kill yourself.  But the point still stands that big dudes are better in multiplayer.  In particular, burn and suicide aggro strategies work poorly, unless you're very good at identifying threats that are worth nearly killing yourself to get rid of, hoping that everyone else will stall long enough you can recover.

And MaRo's grammar also needs work.  "Multiplay" isn't good even for a pun.

As a final note, why did they pick the stupidest-looking card in all Archenemy as the symbol for multiplayer week?  I'd much rather have seen Mortal Flesh is Weak as the little icon in the article corner, if they were absolutely determined to have something that shows "the party".  Failing that, they could have just shown off some famous multiplayer card...like Congregate.  Or just do a symbol of a table with multiple players at it.  Anything but those goofy-ass costumes from Fate of the Flammable.  (Okay the guy on the top is almost cool, but the others...ugh.)
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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
Divination is a bad example for the targeting thing because card draw is one of the effects you're less likely to want to share.  When you spend a card to draw two cards, you're essentially drawing one card for free; when you target someone else this way, you're sacrificing one card yourself to give them two completely free cards.  It's a major difference, and you'd have to be really good friends with the other person.



Mmmm, I dont know, I think it would still be better the way MaRo suggested. There are situations where that could be played as a finisher, such as in a Milling deck, or an Underworld Dreams deck (would be good for mine actually).

Maybe it should be:

Target Player Draws a card.
Target Player Draws a card.

That way you can divvy it up to how you want/need.
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Didn't we just have a multiplayer week? When's kitchen table week?
6R seems a bit too much for multi-Axe. Maybe something like 3RB, and at instant speed. Like Breath of Malfegor or something.

I have one small quibble, and a largeish comment about multiplayer and Planechase. I'll deal with the quibble first.

Mind Rot (multiplayer version)
All opponents discard two cards.

This ought to be "Each opponent", surely? (As you see, I'm a huge fan of templating. Whenever I come across an old card, I try to read out its Oracle text without referencing Gatherer.)

Okay, that got that out of the way. Now for the real stuff.

Planechase is great for its randomness, but one thing that Magic is great at is creating randomness and then giving players some control over it. Blue's really good at that - the Scry mechanic, just now added to a core set, being a perfect demonstration. At the cost of a little mana (Gatherer suggests that adding "Scry 2" costs 1 mana - see Fill with Fright, and Shock vs Magma Jet, and New Benalia vs basic Plains), a planeswalker gets some measure of control over his/her own future.

The Eternities Map from today's feature article is one fancy way of doing this, but it works equally for all players. Here's a possibility that would allow a mage to prepare and gain the benefit of preparation. It also introduces the possibility of... the instant-speed planeswalk.

Urza's Escape Hatch
Artifact
Tap, Sacrifice Urza’s Escape Hatch: Planeswalk. (To planeswalk, insert reminder text here.)
3: Look at the top card of target player’s planar deck. You may put that card on the bottom of its owner’s deck. Any player may activate this ability, but only once per turn.

The second ability can be used in response to the planar die coming up "Planeswalk"; for an additional mana investment, you can have a small degree of control.

In playtesting, we've also considered an alternative second ability:

3: The next planar die roll this turn costs 0. Any player may activate this ability, but only once per turn.

Less control, but more politics. (That's what led to the card's invention, actually. I wanted a permanent with "Any player may activate this ability" on it.) This doesn't force the roll to be taken, it merely alters its mana cost. If a player lands on a universally unwanted plane but has no mana to move off, each other player can pay 3 to get another planeswalk attempt (and that's even if the controller of the Escape Hatch wants to stay here).

Of course, every mechanic has to have an answer. Making planeswalking easier and/or more powerful means that there needs to be a way to prevent it.

Deep Bond
Land
Tap: Add 1 to your mana pool.
Tap, Sacrifice Deep Bond: Prevent the next planeswalk that would happen this turn.

Yep. Lock you here. You ain't leaving the Lethe Lake till *I* say you are! This hasn't been overpowered in our playcircle as we don't have much land reanimation. However, if {Crucible of Worlds} comes up, this could be too powerful, so it might be necessary to exile Deep Bond rather than simply sacrifice it.

Unfortunately, Wizards is never going to print cards that have value only for casual formats. (Imagine seeing an Escape Hatch during a competitive Booster Draft - no thank you.) So these are forever going to be hand-done on proxies. Still, if anyone manages to put them to use, please let me know, I'd love to hear back!
Didn't we just have a multiplayer week? When's kitchen table week?



QFT.

6R seems a bit too much for multi-Axe. Maybe something like 3RB, and at instant speed. Like Breath of Malfegor or something.




If it's 5 mana for red-black, it has to be at *least* six mana for mono-red, but I think seven is more reasonable.  For one thing, if you're running two colors, it's possible for multiple opponents with land destruction to shut down one of your colors; a mono-color deck is almost impossible to screw out of mana entirely except with things like Armageddon or Sowing Salt (the latter only working on nonbasics, which monocolor decks are less likely to use anyway), so it's harder to stop a mono-red deck from eventually getting the mana to cast Multiple Lava Axes.  Additionally, more colors means more color-hosers and landwalkers will work on Malfegor-Boy, so he's open to a bit more retribution after he lets one rip.  I also suspect that Wizards has playtested Multi-Axe and come to the conclusion 5R is too good, for much the reasons I've cited.


Mmmm, I dont know, I think it would still be better the way MaRo suggested. There are situations where that could be played as a finisher, such as in a Milling deck, or an Underworld Dreams deck (would be good for mine actually).



I'm pretty sure that the target-player version actually exists already, I just can't recall what it's called.  There's Inspiration, the instant-speed version for 4 mana, and there's Touch of Brilliance from portal...I used to remember all this stuff.

Target Player Draws a card.
Target Player Draws a card.



Ew!  I hope not; I hate that template.  I'd rather have "Up to two target players draw a total of two cards".  They couldn't use that for Seeds of Strength, but other templates are possible there; in this case the fact that it's thoroughly impossible to draw a fractional card makes this shortcut valid.
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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
Everyone who's complained about MaRo's complete lack of templating--now you know how the rest of Wizards feels.  Templating isn't Design's job, so MaRo really doesn't know or care exactly how cards would be worded on final pass.  It's up to whoever he passes the design file off to to try to make sense of the stuff he comes up with.

Also, is it just me, or did it feel like this one kind of went off the rails toward the end?  At the beginning, he started with very minor (or no) tweaks, but by the end of the article, he was 'improving' cards by completely replacing cards with completely different ones, which kind of defeats the point.
Didn't we just have a multiplayer week? When's kitchen table week?



I don't know, I kind of like having an entire week off from reading Magic articles. As it's the summer of multiplayer, we'll probaby have to go through another of these in the next month or so anyway.

I like these articles, please keep doing them.


Mark, I would love it if you ranked all of your articles with a "*" to "*****" rating regarding how helpful you think they'd be to designers.  Somehow, I managed to miss the Skeleton of Sets Design article.


I am VERY glad that I eventually saw it, but I did miss it.  That would have been heartbreaking.

Divination is a bad example for the targeting thing because card draw is one of the effects you're less likely to want to share.  When you spend a card to draw two cards, you're essentially drawing one card for free; when you target someone else this way, you're sacrificing one card yourself to give them two completely free cards.  It's a major difference, and you'd have to be really good friends with the other person.



There are team multiplayer formats as well. I've used compulsive research on my team members quite often.




MaRo's math sucks.  In a multiplayer game with six opponents, dealing 120 damage results in a tie (if it's divided evenly). 



I think he meant a 7 player game. You and 6 opponents.


Don't be too smart to have fun
Nice article!

#7, politics, is my favorite category. Wall of Shards is probably my most used multiplayer card, it has everything (cheap early defense against almost anything + a fun political minigame).

As for possible suggestions... I don't really know I'm really happy with all the stuff that can be done in multiplayer. Maybe these additional categories?

#11: Combat phase
In a two-player game, combat is between you and your opponent. In multiplayer, there are combats between 2 other players. Cards that allow you to influence this (Master Warcraft, Spike Weaver) get an extra dimension.

(Spike Weaver has a bit the same problem as Congregate in Two- or Three-Headed Giant btw)

#12: And now for something completely different
My favorite cards of all time are cards like Shared Fate and Angel's Trumpet that turn the game upside down in a way that could be great fun. What else can be upside-down?

#13: Blocking
In a 6 player game you can attack once every round but you might be able to block 5 times. Creatures with blocking abilities could be pushed. The walls from stronghold (Wall of Souls, Wall of Essence) seem to be very popular to this day. Also, Spidersilk Armor, another very popular card, could get a remake, a cheaper enchantment or a creature (spider lord?) that gives everything you control reach. In multiplayer this can be more effective than offensive cards like Raking Canopy.

(Popularity based on secondary market price/supply)
Even in a big multiplayer game, I think I'd rather have the 6/6.  You'll have to live a long time to get to , and then when you do, your scary unkillable 12/12 creature will probably cause people to gang up on you with fliers.  Or else kill your guy with the exact same Wrath of God that would have been used to kill the 6/6 creature.
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...
@ Mark:
The best way to increase a card for multiplayer is to start thinking. No offense meant here, but even the best multiplayer card makes you lose, if you don't know how and when to use it.

Let's take the one of the worst multiplayer cards: Congregate.

This card was often called a hyper-multiplayer card, but I wonder how often it was really useful.
Usually, if someone plays a card like this, the result would be a free attack from any other player. For your card, anyone else could have played a creature spell. And since your life-total makes it REALLY obvious that you are one of the biggest threat, the weaker players would act united... against you!!!

So you rather lose life, instead of gaining a big profit. However you can use it in a combo deck to gains some extra turns until your combo runs like a "perpetuum mobile".

If you MaRo, improve a card, it often turns out as the opposite case. You've ruined it.

I like multiplayer games... especially the Vampire card game, Why???
Because multiplayer games are more social, tactical and interactive than one-on-ones.

A duel, even a highlander game, it's mostly about a quite 'draw + go'. Sometimes you say something like 'attack', but usually it's like a mimic talent show (except the card flipping). A shuffle effect can take longer than the whole game and an unlucky draw has caused more losses than actual good play.

In a multiplayer game, you often speak to another, forming alliances, helping your 'opponents' if they've made a bad decision, because they could help you against a bigger threat.

For example if you have a player with a lot of massive destruction spells. If you are the only player, it would be like an automatic loss. In a multiplayer game - if everyone plays on their own, it would be the same. No real chance against a Wrath per turn.
But if you play together, you can make an arrangement, that only one or two players play a creature and attack the player with the massive destruction. The result will be a no-win scenario for the destructive player, because he now fights with a huge card disadvantage. Changing the creature-playing ones guarantees a semi-equal loss for anyone. A good and strategic play.

The 'stall' - mentioned much too often - doesn't come from creature balance, but from the lack of creatures on the board. If any player fills 1:5 of their deck with massive destruction, there is a statistical chance, that there could be a mass-destruction spell every turn in a 5-player game.

Do you - MaRo - still believe that some indestructible creatures could change this? Someone finds a way around it and it stays the same. You call Day of Judgment a multiplayer card that can't be improved... but in reality, that card could be banned.... to improve multiplayer games.

This card is neither balancing (you use it to produce a card advantage / time advantage) and it isn't white (white = constructive, not destructive).

But you MaRo and the rest of the R&D team are just cowards who try to preserve the status quo... Rather reprinting cards in every block than changing it for the better. Rather making changes block-based than keeping the changes up (like colorless as a color choice). Rather making it easy for limited player by reprinting the fundamental cards in every edition (the standard blue flyer for cmc3, the white Pacifism, the usual 'tap' combat trick etc.) and making the gap between good-&-bad cards huge than risking a chaotic, but balanced limited format, where every card is quite equally balanced and game play is defined by preference and not the card pool & your neighbors.

@ The cards:
A Divination with 'target player' instead of 'you' doesn't really change the multiplayer value unless you play with a strict pairing (like two-headed giant). However, even then, the bonus is too small to be really significant. A Rite of Flame or Seething Song as a multiplayer version would be a whole difference.

The Divination is more or less a card for limited tournaments. Usually, it replaces the card you would have had and generates a +1 card advantage. This is rather useless, unless you play a stalling-attrition-type deck. But then, the power doesn't come from the Divination, but from the other cards in your deck. If the +1 card is a Day of Judgment, it could turn the table in your favor. Is it another Divination, you should start thinking about sideboarding.

So in my oppinion, there should be a white version with or instead. To balance it, increase the cost for a Wrath like card to 5 or even more. In general, I would increase the cost for destruction spells and slow them by making them sorceries. Than there wouldn't be a reason to print unbalanced cards like a Baneslayer and no reason for a Combust to balance the inbalanced with another inbalanced one.

Day of Judgment is a multiplayer killing card.... and in my opinion, it's a red card. Red supports mass destruction, whereas black is more about focused destruction. A long time ago, red had similar effects (see Jokulhaups or Decree of Annihilation). It had Shatterstorm for artifact mass-destruction, Bust for land mass-destruction, but neither a card for creatures, nor for enchantments. Therefore a Final Judgment would be a good red multiplayer card, as well as a red Enraging Ignorance or a red Simplify.

Dealing damage like Chain Reaction isn't the key here, unless you add an additional 'damage can't be prevented'. In addition, the gap between the 2-damage Pyroclasm and the 5-damage Destructive Force is too big. There is no 4+ damage for a red cmc4 card spell.

Apply Knowledge:
There is a huge difference, if you have 3 or 4 untapped lands. Therefore your multiplayer variant is crap. A cmc4 instant can be a real thead... and it should be. Drawing about 3-4 cards is only a 'remember me' card that can turn against you. Anything that would keep the mana cost at cmc3 would have been much better (like a 'then discard a card' additional wording).

Mind Rot:
Mind Rot would be a 'hate me' card in your version, without a direct impact on the board. These type of cards usually result in the next creature ability targeting you, just for revenge. Net result = negligible. Better: Each opponent sacrifices 2 permanents. This also hurts anyone, but visiably impacts on the board. Therefore your opponents see, what the spell does to other oppoonents as well. Therefore they might congrat you for also forcing a better (in form of a better game situation) player into a difficult decision.

Rot Away:
The biggest fact in multiplayer games: You have to be able to rebuild yourself after a mass destruction or focussed attack. Of course, this includes life points. The 'you lose life' card wouldn't be worse than the lifegain card, if there would be better cards for every color to regain lost lifepoints. Increasing the life of one player might result in an attack against that player... this keeps diplomacy up (he never earned those lifepoints) and doesn't threaten you. There is a 'last kiss' mentality among multiplayer gamers, something like 'well, at least I killed one', so anyone who could be killed with a suicidal attack from another player (other than the best), will die. Losing life puts you in danger... and since it's the most common type of loss (from every attack), it won't stay in mind as a disadvantage. Anything like "discard a card" or "put the top X cards from your library into your graveyard' would be a much more remarkable and excusable drawback.

Magical Experience:
Your change isn't really better. The first version has a casting cost of 4, this means that your opponents could play a Vengevine instead. So the weakness of your card is a huge excuse. The mana and the time you need with this card to get a higher output than with Harmonize, makes it nearly useless.
Your "improved" version changes alot. First, it has a casting cost of 2. This means, that it has an earlier impact in the game and therefore could make you a bigger enemy by supporting slower players. You will be noticed much more, if you use it, because there is a lack of bigger threats on the table (usually). This means, if you draw cards, but there is a Baneslayer, you are the minor thread. If you draw cards, while the best creature is a Knight, you could become a target... because drawing cards usually results in a combo => therefore, you're the 'tries the best to stay weak, drawing cards, but finishs the game in one strike' suspect gamer.
My suggest: A cmc3-4 card with an additional: "When ~ enters the battlefield, draw a card" (or maybe two cards for higher cmc's). This makes it obvious that the effect is still minor to Harmonize, but grants an equal bonus for everyone.... at a time, when the first real threats could hit the table.

Big Beastie:
You know nothing Mark!!!
Multiplayer = Mass Destruction + Cheating.
Read it, Learn it, Keep it in mind!!!

Multiplayer games have the biggest amount of mass destruction, because the 'semi' card advantage is huge. Mass destruction might include land destruction as well, because denying the 5th mana could make all those Baneslayer Angels dead hand cards for your opponents.

In addition, multiplayer is about cheating. Either with infinity combos or with repeatable or "x" or "*" effects. A Knight of the Reliquary could be huge... much faster than your beastie. A Chameleon Colossus could be a 16/16 with only 8 mana (or 4 if you have a Training Grounds). You see, a simple 2 card synergy is better than the best creature could ever be... even with massive mana acceleration.

So only the stupiest players would ever play your multiplayer beastie. The only exception: Reanimation. Akroma was a multiplayer card, because even those 12 years old know how to get him into play without paying the mana. Who needs a bad creature with such a high mana cost? - Noone. However a turn2 Akroma is a whole different thing. Especially for small multiplayer groups, this card could end a game before it started. Remember that every 3-4th player will have a mana screw. If you have 3 opponents and one has a slow start, you on half way to victory with an Akroma.

Same is true with Tinker + Darksteel Colossus or Natural Order + Pregenitus. (The last one is really hard, if it is played on turn 2 thanks to birds + Mox Diamond).

Your beastie is only good, if it could be cheated into play. And if so, it usually doesn't generate a FUN game, but this should be your almost concern. Any attack against a single player seems to personal and therefore could create human to human hatred... and finally it could end the regular "magic night". Noone plays with another, because one thinks the other "always" attacks him first, and so on. Only the biggest freaks will keep their cards and focus on extended tournaments. ("for the real guys"). So let's hope that your beastie has earned WotC more money than a funny, regular magic night.

KEEP THIS IN MIND!!! When you think about another Progenitus or Iona, Shield of Emeria.
I don't think cards that reference optional gameplay mechanics should be created. You can prepare for planechase and the like in different ways, and you don't have to alienate players who only play duels or normal multiplayer games. For example, my planechase playgroup hase begun to add teramorphic expanses to any deck with a crucible of worlds, even if that deck is mono-colored, just to allow for a huge mana boost on Naya.
Incidentally, I wouldn't put too much value on what Cheza is saying. I've seen plenty of strategies he's discounted as bad be very effective. Congregate is a very strong card, and since you're already in White, a good number of decks pair it with WoG. So you gain, oh, I dunno, 30 life, then make it so nobody can actually mount an effective offensive for a while. I've seen it in high end multiplayer, and it's good there, and I've seen it in very casual multiplayer, and it's just insane there.
Anywho, cheating one big dude is not always the best strategy. that sort of thing will get you killed by the aggo players who don't feel good about winning, but about taking down threats. Because, honestly, it can be tough for elves to win a big game, but as long as they get to kill 3 or 4 people, they'll feel accomplished. Waiting until those players are dealt to play a bomb can get you just as far as cheating it.
Anyway, Wizards does a great job of making a good number of cards be worded in a multiplayer friendly way without having people who normally play in duels even noticing. Sure, a few cards get through that are just waayy good in multiplayer to make them useful in duels, like Luminarch or Bloodchief Ascension, but such cards can usually be dealt with, since multiple people can ley down preassure or provide answers. So I guess I'll just say to keep up the good work, multiplayer magic is always getting better
#7, politics, is my favorite category. Wall of Shards is probably my most used multiplayer card, it has everything (cheap early defense against almost anything + a fun political minigame).


Finally someone who understands that multiplayer = political / tactical game, where you can win by not beeing the biggest threat throughout the game or by having only the second-best cards.

#11: Combat phase
In a two-player game, combat is between you and your opponent. In multiplayer, there are combats between 2 other players. Cards that allow you to influence this (Master Warcraft, Spike Weaver) get an extra dimension.


Master Warcraft is one of the most powerful multiplayer cards. First of all, you can kill an opponent right away by stating that he can't block your creatures this turn. You can have a semi-destruction-like effect by forcing all those annoying Soul Wardens to attack. Last but not least, you can force a player to attack with everything, making him vulnerable for counterattacks- However, you can't choose which player is attacked and there aren't enough permanents that influence the result of an attack. (like the Lightmine Field).
Another drawback... it has the wrong colors. Should have been blue-black in my opinion. (blue for the siren's call, black for the deceitfulness of the card)

#12: And now for something completely different
My favorite cards of all time are cards like Shared Fate and Angel's Trumpet that turn the game upside down in a way that could be great fun. What else can be upside-down?


If you play with Shared Fate, you can call all the other players your friends. If you try this card with "seen once" persons, they might get angry for having their cards passed around the table. Angel's Trumpet is a bit too much focussed in my opinion... It could set the focus on you too much. If you play 'hate me' cards, they should prevent revenge. (like Ensnaring Bridge)

#13: Blocking
In a 6 player game you can attack once every round but you might be able to block 5 times. Creatures with blocking abilities could be pushed. The walls from stronghold (Wall of Souls, Wall of Essence) seem to be very popular to this day.


First of all, walls aren't very popular, even in our multiplayer games. A late-game wall could be desastrous. Therefore it's often a "Soul Warden + suffer in silence" until someone plays a Wrath.

Also, Spidersilk Armor, another very popular card, could get a remake, a cheaper enchantment or a creature (spider lord?) that gives everything you control reach. In multiplayer this can be more effective than offensive cards like Raking Canopy.


Spidersilk Armor is quite ok, because it doesn't get attention, even if there are disenchants. It doesn't stop a player with flying creatures, because you still need bigger creatures. A Raking Canopy can nearly end the game for flyers, the same is true for Scattershot Archer + Basilisk Collar or a Jagged-Scar Archers.

Raking canopy still has a huge advantage. It says 'attacks you'. It doesn't prevent any attacks against someone else. This is a huge bonus. But for a really good multiplayer card, the effect should have been more constructive than destructive... or it should have had an activation cost.

There are team multiplayer formats as well. I've used compulsive research on my team members quite often.


It's a complete difference to Divination. Compulsive Reseach is a "draw three" card for 3. No matter how many cards you have to discard. This means, it fastens combo or control for the drawback of losing quite useless cards in your hand (for example a 1/1 at turn 4). A land shouldn't be a problem either, if you draw a Wrath instead.



I like these articles, please keep doing them.


Mark, I would love it if you ranked all of your articles with a "*" to "*****" rating regarding how helpful you think they'd be to designers.  Somehow, I managed to miss the Skeleton of Sets Design article.


I am VERY glad that I eventually saw it, but I did miss it.  That would have been heartbreaking.



He already does recap articles every 100 articles, and he already givesevery article he writes a rating from * to ***** in these recap articles.  Granted, it's a scale on how awesome he thinks the article was in general, and not specifically for designing, but it should suffice for your purposes.

It'd probably be too much to expect him to start another star-ranking method for another scale.

Loved the article. I play exclusively EDH and a homebrew I call Big Box, so I am psyched that WOTC is getting more into multiplayer.

A couple responses:

Divination: There are several cards like this could be made multiplayer. Why don't they do that more often? Seems like if you could, so long as it doesn't overcomplicate things, you should.  

Big Beastie: MARO is 100% right that multiplayer is slower for the reasons he cites. Like Fractal said above, I'd still run the first version most of the time. It will usually come down about 3-5 turns earlier (given land drawing pace) and might not get Wrathed immediately.

Magical Experience: Depends on the variant and meta, but this often multiplies threats more than it would in 2-player games. In EDH, opponents might beat you to within an inch of your life and let you live, but probably they'd kill you after yielding a few cards. The time this card would be most helpful is when one player was far ahead and the table must rally to survive (Archenemy being a prime example, though it does occur in other multi-formats.)

It's like the folks citing Temple Bell as a good EDH card... They must have friendlier groups than the pirates I play with.

 

For example, my planechase playgroup hase begun to add teramorphic expanses to any deck with a crucible of worlds, even if that deck is mono-colored, just to allow for a huge mana boost on Naya.


I've posted a reply on the new "Frontier Wars" Planechase variant, where I mentioned the problems with mana acceleration & planes.

Incidentally, I wouldn't put too much value on what Cheza is saying. I've seen plenty of strategies he's discounted as bad be very effective.


???

Not quite a statement with lots of arguments... Don't know what you mean in particular.

Of course, anything is dependant on your group. For example: Does anyone in your group uses the
Grindstone + Painter's Servant combo??? If not, you should compare this to the mentioned Crucible of Worlds + Terramorphic Expanse combo. Before you waste 2 cards for a bonus on a single plane, you could end the game on any plane.

So I suppose your group has a inner restriction of unfunny cards or combinations. That's great. Go on and enjoy the game. THIS is the most important fact.

But if someone wants to "win" more games, he will notice how effective a wrath can be. And then, he will replace card by card for more wrath-like effects, until his deck is full of mass-destruction. No Congregate, no Fog, no Master Warcraft will be superior, because if that player isn't the only one who noticed the power of the wrath, there won't be enough creatures on the board to gain 30 lifes out of a Congregate.

Congregate is a very strong card, and since you're already in White, a good number of decks pair it with WoG. So you gain, oh, I dunno, 30 life, then make it so nobody can actually mount an effective offensive for a while.


First. You assume that there are 30/2 = 15 creatures on the battlefield.
Second. You assume that you have a Wrath of God to seal the game thereafter
Third, You assume that noone else has a Wrath of God to seal the game before you can cast your Crngregate.
Fourth. You assume that noone has adapted to your wrath of god and added some manlands or similar tricks that survie a wrath.

So if you're the lucky guy who has found a group in this state of evolution, you should be glad.
I've seen too many decks running Wraths + Regrowth + X to even think about a Congregate. If there are 3+ creatures for one player, it's almost a guarantee for a wrath. If that player only has one creature, it would be at least similar to a "draw two cards" alternative.

I've seen it in high end multiplayer, and it's good there, and I've seen it in very casual multiplayer, and it's just insane there.


Send a deck-list. I can give you an easy alternative WB Multiplayer deck: Add Wrath, Damnation, Mutilate, Barter in Blood, Phyrexian Totem, Phyrexian Arena, Eternal Dragon, Baneslayer, Battlegrace and some other random stuff and you'll see what I mean.

Now imagine you play against 3 players who use this sort of deck and than we can talk about Congregate again.

Anywho, cheating one big dude is not always the best strategy. that sort of thing will get you killed by the aggo players who don't feel good about winning, but about taking down threats. Because, honestly, it can be tough for elves to win a big game, but as long as they get to kill 3 or 4 people, they'll feel accomplished. Waiting until those players are dealt to play a bomb can get you just as far as cheating it.


Aggro??? Elves???

If there can be a sure Wrath on turn 3-4, there is neither a room for aggro, nor for elves. A simple Pyroclasm solves all your elves problems quite easily. Elves don't rebuild so easily, so one spell and any lifelink flyer should be able to handle this problem.

Of course, cheating a big creature into the game can be risky, but it's often worth it. A girl in our group has a simple angel deck. It runs Baneslayers, Battlegrace and Exalted Angels. But the main goal is to use Quicksilver Amulet + Iona, Shield of Emeria or Darksteel Colossus. Supported by Wrath of Gods + similar and mana accel, this deck easily ends the game before you can think about it.
Finally someone who understands that multiplayer = political / tactical game, where you can win by not beeing the biggest threat throughout the game or by having only the second-best cards.



It's awesome =)

Master Warcraft is one of the most powerful multiplayer cards. First of all, you can kill an opponent right away by stating that he can't block your creatures this turn. You can have a semi-destruction-like effect by forcing all those annoying Soul Wardens to attack. Last but not least, you can force a player to attack with everything, making him vulnerable for counterattacks- However, you can't choose which player is attacked and there aren't enough permanents that influence the result of an attack. (like the Lightmine Field).
Another drawback... it has the wrong colors. Should have been blue-black in my opinion. (blue for the siren's call, black for the deceitfulness of the card)



Yeah, so it would be great if they could explore cards with the same versatileness that makes it so awesome but not that much raw power.

As for the color, that's the problem of the -game-. Flavorwise almost every mechanic fits in Blue/Black, which explains why they used to have a disproportional slice of the color pie.



If you play with Shared Fate, you can call all the other players your friends. If you try this card with "seen once" persons, they might get angry for having their cards passed around the table. Angel's Trumpet is a bit too much focussed in my opinion... It could set the focus on you too much. If you play 'hate me' cards, they should prevent revenge. (like Ensnaring Bridge)



Yeah Shared Fate is a bit friends-only. Funny story btw, a while ago one of my friends got really angry when I played it, but I didn't really understand why. Seemed he just got a Beta Time Walk and wanted to surprise us all by suddenly playing it. But now we were drawing from his deck! Luckily (for him) he had a 150ish card deck so it didn't show up. But yeah people can get angry

As for the hate, that's why I stuff decks built around these kind of cards with Wall of Shards. That way, I'm not dangerous, but hard to crack. Works very well.

Spidersilk Armor is quite ok, because it doesn't get attention, even if there are disenchants. It doesn't stop a player with flying creatures, because you still need bigger creatures. A Raking Canopy can nearly end the game for flyers, the same is true for Scattershot Archer + Basilisk Collar or a Jagged-Scar Archers.

Raking canopy still has a huge advantage. It says 'attacks you'. It doesn't prevent any attacks against someone else. This is a huge bonus. But for a really good multiplayer card, the effect should have been more constructive than destructive... or it should have had an activation cost.



Most flyers in my playgroup are simply to big for a card like Raking Canopy. Deathtouch pingers will work, sure, but that is a 2-card combination. Spidersilk Armor goes with any big green fattie you have lying around, which should be plenty =)

@ Mark:
The best way to increase a card for multiplayer is to start thinking. No offense meant here, but even the best multiplayer card makes you lose, if you don't know how and when to use it.

Let's take the one of the worst multiplayer cards: Congregate.

This card was often called a hyper-multiplayer card, but I wonder how often it was really useful.
Usually, if someone plays a card like this, the result would be a free attack from any other player. For your card, anyone else could have played a creature spell. And since your life-total makes it REALLY obvious that you are one of the biggest threat, the weaker players would act united... against you!!!


It really depends on the format.  Not all multiplayer formats are free for all.  If you're playing 2 headed giant, congregate will win you a heafty amount of life and it's not like your opponents weren't already teaming up on you.
Or even worse, lets say you're playing emperor!

Or maybe you have a howling mine in play.  No body kills the guy with the howling mine in multiplayer!

Or maybe that congregate just killed one of the players.

Or maybe Dread is in play and attacking you really isn't worth losing all their creatures, especially if they know they alone won't be able to kill you.

Basically, there are lots of ways in multiplayer to paint a huge target on your forehead, but there are just as many ways to erase it/redirect it.  Saying a card makes you a target for the others in no way balances it.
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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 used to play 2HG on MTGO a lot. A few cards were broken in that format. Every time I see one of them, it was like "Oh, that card. Can't win, lets just get this over with."

Those cards were:
Luminarch Ascention - Some kind of wording was needed. It would have been ok in free-for-all but it was unfair in 2HG, 3HG, or emperor, since it gained Quest counters on turns of opponents who aren't allowed to attack you ruleswise.

Traumatize, Mind Funeral, and Haunting Echos. These may be ok in free-for-all, but in team formats such as 2HG, they are bad. They can kill a player with 40 or 60 life, and once you lose a player your team is lost. Cards that shuffle spells back into your library aren't that effective - considering the ratio of cards you get to draw during the game vs. the cards that get milled away during the game with Traumatize etc, the chances that the answer card will get milled away is much higher. Also, you can't afford to run 4 or 8 copies of answer cards just to fight mill.

I haven't actually tried the M11 cards yet. Elixir of Immortality seems like an improvement but suffers from the same problem of getting milled away. Maybe Time Reversal might help because it stands on its own, although I expect it will be an expensive card to acquire for casual play.

To a lesser extent, I was surprised by how effective direct damage was in 2HG - maybe too effective. (I mostly played this when Worldwake was the newest set.) It's not the kind of strategy you expect to work well in 2HG, but it was easily possible for one player's deck to single-handedly deal 40 damage to an opposing team. (of course, help from the partner would be needed in terms of removing obstacles and threats).

One of the key multiplayer cards in that deck was Breath of Malfegor. Otherwise it was like a lot of red decks you see in standard today, with Ball Lightning, Hellspark Elemental, Hell's Thunder, Searing Blaze, and Earthquake. I added black for Blightning, Hideous End, Bloodghast, and manlands. Basically, every card was either a recurring threat, or it removed things while also dealing damage to the opponent. It was very hard for the opponents to keep up, especially since people are geared for slower games in 2HG.

While this style probably isn't broken at this point, the win rate was very high for me, and it didn't allow the opponents to do their thing. I think either cards like Hideous End, Chandra's Outrage, Blightning, and Searing Blaze need to be printed only in limited numbers, or good life gain (at least life gain that is good for 2HG) should be printed. 

The reason I like 2HG is that I get to play slower Timmy cards or set up slower combos, and I get to play more varied decks. (The same could be said for free-for-all as well, but when playing online, it is much more convenient to play 2HG than free-for-all.) I hope this slowness in 2HG can be maintained somehow.

Finally, while I don't particularly enjoy the political factors of free-for-all, I think some cards that specifically play on politics would be nice. I thought the mechanics in Vampire: the Masquarade (such as voting or rewarding the player who last attacked) were intriguing. Strategic politics would be much better than the randomness of a player being ousted because the others just happened to gang up on him. 
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Or maybe that congregate just killed one of the players.




Better than Congregate.



Gaining forty with Congregate is more rule than exception. I don't see Corrupt doing that so often.

(I usually follow up my Congregate with Arbiter of Knollridge and False Cure)
Or maybe that congregate just killed one of the players.




Better than Congregate.



Gaining forty with Congregate is more rule than exception. I don't see Corrupt doing that so often.



No, but 20 is enough in most cases, and Corrupt can kill one player itself while triggering Sanguine to kill another.  I especially like the idea of building a mono-green deck which cranks out lands with Primeval Titan and eventually Corrupts for the win off an Elsewhere Flask or Prismatic Omen.

(I usually follow up my Congregate with Arbiter of Knollridge and False Cure)



Good man!  That's using your noggin!  I especially like how this combo is north of twelve mana.
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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
Corrupt works best in a mono-B deck. That's not to say out-of-color tricks aren't possible, but dedicating a 6-mana slot to a card that requires another to do anything is ambitious. Sure, if I am running 90% swamps, I'll run Corrupt.

Congregate works in some groups because multi-players tend to knock out the weaker players first. Taking out players evenly is an oft verbalized, but entirely deceptive, practice used to rationalize an attack on a player you consider a threat. The truth is you hammer out a weak player because inevitably they go ignored and stage comebacks. 

Congregate can undo a lot of combats. Speaking from experience, the card isn't typically a wincon, but it works well in multiplayer.

I like these articles, please keep doing them.


Mark, I would love it if you ranked all of your articles with a "*" to "*****" rating regarding how helpful you think they'd be to designers.  Somehow, I managed to miss the Skeleton of Sets Design article.


I am VERY glad that I eventually saw it, but I did miss it.  That would have been heartbreaking.



He already does recap articles every 100 articles, and he already givesevery article he writes a rating from * to ***** in these recap articles.  Granted, it's a scale on how awesome he thinks the article was in general, and not specifically for designing, but it should suffice for your purposes.

It'd probably be too much to expect him to start another star-ranking method for another scale.



I know he already does it.  But on that note, yeah, it'd be a bit much to start another ranking method.

I mentioned it because Mark often asks:  "Hey, do you guys even like articles like this?"
I mentioned it because Mark often asks:  "Hey, do you guys even like articles like this?"



Giving feedback is something he can ask us to do and something that helps him with his writing/design.

Rating articles is something he'll have to do himself and something that helps us.

As a busy lead designer, I'd also go with the first Wink
Luminarch Ascension - Some kind of wording was needed. It would have been ok in free-for-all but it was unfair in 2HG, 3HG, or emperor, since it gained Quest counters on turns of opponents who aren't allowed to attack you ruleswise.


This is the question about "enemies" or "opponents". In our group... anyone who can't be attacked, isn't your enemy, but a neutral person. This is for games, where you can only attack/target the persons next to you: any other person on the table isn't your enemy... until he get's the seat next to you. Btw: In the "normal" tho-headed giant rules, both players in one team share 1 turn, but act simulaniously. So I doubt there will be a benefit for Luminarch Ascension. I believe it's just ONE turn, not TWO.

Traumatize, Mind Funeral, and Haunting Echos. These may be ok in free-for-all, but in team formats such as 2HG, they are bad. They can kill a player with 40 or 60 life, and once you lose a player your team is lost. Cards that shuffle spells back into your library aren't that effective - considering the ratio of cards you get to draw during the game vs. the cards that get milled away during the game with Traumatize etc, the chances that the answer card will get milled away is much higher. Also, you can't afford to run 4 or 8 copies of answer cards just to fight mill.


Mass milling are always bad cards, unless you use it for your own deck.

First: Milling is statistically nearly irrelevant, unless you've milled the last card. The biggest advantage is the knowledge of the cards milled. If you see 3 early disenchants in the graveyard, you can assume a smaller percentage for the last one. But overall, it's nearly useless and random.

That's - by the way - one reason, why I want mill effects to become a RED ability.

For your example. This can't be true. A Feldon's Cane is a cmc 1 card that can save you from any Traumatize + Haunting Echo tricks. Even then, A Traumatize doesn't guarantee the loss for the whole library, especially because an haunting echo can't target basic lands. So this combo causes your opponent to be limited to some turns without useful draws. But he can still play cards and win. The result: Instead of risking this, use any combo that really kills your opponents. There should be enough combos for 2x cmc5 cards out there.

I haven't actually tried the M11 cards yet. Elixir of Immortality seems like an improvement but suffers from the same problem of getting milled away. Maybe Time Reversal might help because it stands on its own, although I expect it will be an expensive card to acquire for casual play.


????? Elixir of Immortality is a great card, and your opponent can't mill cards you already have in your hand. If he adds discard spells, his deck is heavily focussed on this strategy and it should be quite easy to kill him (his team) with creatures or by a few counterspells or a Leyline of Sanctity.

To a lesser extent, I was surprised by how effective direct damage was in 2HG - maybe too effective. (I mostly played this when Worldwake was the newest set.) It's not the kind of strategy you expect to work well in 2HG, but it was easily possible for one player's deck to single-handedly deal 40 damage to an opposing team. (of course, help from the partner would be needed in terms of removing obstacles and threats).


This shouldn't be a surprise.
Team play doesn't really change the effectiveness of targeting spells, because it's still a 1 for 1 trade if you look at the teams. Dealing 40 damage isn't such an easy thing for a single player, but not impossible. If you have one deck with mass destruction and one deck with direct damage, you need to survive long enough to play 10 spells with 4 damage per spell.
Assume Earthquakes, Blightnings, Lightning Bolts, Burst Lightning, etc., this shouldn't be such a problem. In contrast to a duel, you don't have to care about the creatures your opponents plays, because there is still your teammate to take care. So it's quite the same as a 1:1, when both of you would have used mono-red burn... so no real surprise.

While this style probably isn't broken at this point, the win rate was very high for me, and it didn't allow the opponents to do their thing. I think either cards like Hideous End, Chandra's Outrage, Blightning, and Searing Blaze need to be printed only in limited numbers, or good life gain (at least life gain that is good for 2HG) should be printed.


No. A strict no. 2HG isn't a real multiplayer game, but a 2:2 duel instead of a 1:1 duel. Multiplayer often means more enemies than friends of shifting enemies. So anything that is valid for single player is valid for 2HG. The only difference a mass destruction cards. These cards are twice as effective than usual, but twice as risky.

So let's imagine you have a fast red deck against a slow blue/white control deck:

The red deck has to fear targeted destruction, counterspells & late-game mass destruction and some sort of win-con, but it might be faster.
If you put 2 red decks against 2 blue/white control decks, there isn't such a big change. The red decks still has to fear counterspells, direct/mass destruction and late-game win-con. The red decks will have more cards like Lightning Bolt or Ball Lighnings, but the opposing blue decks will have more cards like Condemn or Baneslayer Angels.

So 2HG games aren't really slower than usual. If you have a complete "copied play" situation, where your teammate draws and plays exactly the same cards, you will win or lose at the same time as in a 1:1 duel.

However some cards have changed. Planeswalker get weaker, because there can only be one at the same time and he could be targeted by twice as much creatures at once. Wrath or Earthquake spells are stronger, because they can kill twice as many creatures per card. In general, 2HG is more balanced, because 2 players with a Lightning Bolt can kill at least 1 of 2 baneslayers, whereas in a duel, there would be 1 or none and nothing in between.

The reason I like 2HG is that I get to play slower Timmy cards or set up slower combos, and I get to play more varied decks. (The same could be said for free-for-all as well, but when playing online, it is much more convenient to play 2HG than free-for-all.) I hope this slowness in 2HG can be maintained somehow.


As I said before, it's not really slower, but more balanced. Most games in Magic are won or lost because you've drawn the wrong cards for the situation... to many lands in a fast deck, not enough lands for a slow deck.... A blue deck without a counter at the right moment might lose. You're opponent has destroyed the fourth land you really need to play your Wrath... what a pity!

In 2HG, you still have the chance that your partner has the right cards, that decrease the impact of your momentary weakness. So what you mean with "slower" just says "less chaotic / less random".

You can't change 2HG, but I think it's not true that you can try slower combos ore slower Timmy cards. Typically, the amount of disenchants is twice as high. But what's even more important: The chance that at least one of your opponents has an answer is much higher. If the first player draws a disenchant on turn 2 and the other on turn 20, it's more disastrous for a combo deck than a 1:1 duel where the disenchant would have been drawn at the middle between turn2 and turn20.

Finally, while I don't particularly enjoy the political factors of free-for-all, I think some cards that specifically play on politics would be nice. I thought the mechanics in Vampire: the Masquarade (such as voting or rewarding the player who last attacked) were intriguing. Strategic politics would be much better than the randomness of a player being ousted because the others just happened to gang up on him.


The biggest political fact in free-for-all games is: attacking does a creature to tap AND it untaps only after anyone else could act. This means that even if only 4 of 5 players has played a creature spell, this doesn't mean that the player without a creature is a dead man. The player next to him can't use this for his advantage, because if he attacks, all other players can attack him instead, because his creature is tapped.

The "gang-up" situation is only a problem in larger groups than 4 players. Even worse than gang-ups is the power of wrath effects.

My black/white deck can easily win against 3 other players if they haven't adopted. With a mass destruction card per turn, a phyrexian arena to be invulnerable to 2-lands-in-succession draws and some Drain Life spells for the win, it's nearly impossible to lose. So why??? - Because of the power of mass effects  - of course. But even more important: They are sorceries.

Since counterspells are nearly an automatic loss due to the overall card disadvantage, sorceries are the winners of multiplayer games.
I have a blue faerie rogue deck that wins quite often because it uses Notorious Throng and +x/+x cards. Let's assume, you attack with a Latchkey Faerie and a Scion of Oona. 5 damage from a 2 card combo doesn't look so threatening (in comparison to a Baneslayer Angel). However, since the Latchkey is a roque, I can pay the prowl cost of the throng, putting 5x 2/2 flying, shroud creatures into play and getting an extra turn. In that turn, it is possible to play another throng, another scion or a Time Warp and deal "semi-surpring" 15+ damage.

So in regard of multiplayer games, WotC should do the following things (not ordered):
  • avoid "mass effects" and introduce more "per player" cards instead

  • make better anti-sorcery cards (f.e. a fog with "draw a card")

  • make counterspells multiplayer playable

  • giving lifegain effects to every color, but in different color-specific ways

  • give card-advantage cards to every color and in a color-specific way

  • give any color ways to handle any type of card in a color-specific way instead of a artifact way
    (red disechants, black dienchants, green direct creature-removal, green anti-planeswalker)

  • make it possible for every color to rebuild (reusing cards)


Then, and only then, I would be happy about more multiplayer oriented cards like votes.
Traumatize, Mind Funeral, and Haunting Echos. These may be ok in free-for-all, but in team formats such as 2HG, they are bad. They can kill a player with 40 or 60 life, and once you lose a player your team is lost. Cards that shuffle spells back into your library aren't that effective - considering the ratio of cards you get to draw during the game vs. the cards that get milled away during the game with Traumatize etc, the chances that the answer card will get milled away is much higher. Also, you can't afford to run 4 or 8 copies of answer cards just to fight mill.



Practical tip: run 1 of the big Eldrazi, or in green run 2 Gaea's Blessing (which kind of cycle so they're never dead cards) Smile

I play a singleton Loaming Shaman in most of my casual green decks, which can do cute tricks to. Works both agains milling and opposing graveyard strategies.
Btw: In the "normal" tho-headed giant rules, both players in one team share 1 turn, but act simulaniously. So I doubt there will be a benefit for Luminarch Ascension. I believe it's just ONE turn, not TWO.



He was speaking of MTGO's version of 2HG, which is the one that rigidly enforces the card text of Luminarch Ascension anyway.  In paper you can always house-rule it for casual games, but MODO's version of 2HG doesn't have the simultaneous turn, presumably because it'd be too hard to program.  So your Ascension will indeed get a counter on each turn of the opponent who's only able to attack your partner, not you.  (Until your partner dies, but by then you're likely to have a bunch of 4/4 angels.)

First: Milling is statistically nearly irrelevant, unless you've milled the last card. The biggest advantage is the knowledge of the cards milled. If you see 3 early disenchants in the graveyard, you can assume a smaller percentage for the last one. But overall, it's nearly useless and random.

That's - by the way - one reason, why I want mill effects to become a RED ability.



Damage is also irrelevant until the last point is dealt.  Milling is more likely to make a difference in the short term than damage, albeit that the term as a whole is longer.  Even the small chance of milling away an opponent's last wincon and leaving him with a dead deck is worth more than dealing 19 points of damage and then running out of gas.  That said, they have openly admitted that they make milling not with the intention of it being a good mechanic, because it appeals to the sensibilities of griefers and creative Johnnies.  And it's the exact opposite of a red mechanic; attaching the word "random" to something does not = red.

A Feldon's Cane is a cmc 1 card that can save you from any Traumatize + Haunting Echo tricks.



Bad example - Feldon's Cane is one-use.  On the other hand, even if you can't afford mythic Eldrazi, a Quest for Ancient Secrets is enough to make your mill opponent cry.
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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
Damage is also irrelevant until the last point is dealt.  Milling is more likely to make a difference in the short term than damage, albeit that the term as a whole is longer.  Even the small chance of milling away an opponent's last wincon and leaving him with a dead deck is worth more than dealing 19 points of damage and then running out of gas.  That said, they have openly admitted that they make milling not with the intention of it being a good mechanic, because it appeals to the sensibilities of griefers and creative Johnnies.  And it's the exact opposite of a red mechanic; attaching the word "random" to something does not = red.


First:
Damage isn't the same as mill effects. Of course, damage is irrelevant unless you kill your opponent, but first of all, damage is the 'usual' way to win. Therefore every color has cards to support this strategy. Likewise, most cards fulfill this concept... MUCH more than mill effects. This means that damage allways matters, cause typically one creature is enough to kill you. Therefore any spell that deals damage and has no other effect still is much more valuable than any card with a mill effect.

Second:
Milling away he last win-con means that you milled nearly anything away but lands. And this requires that your opponent has way to win on the battlefield in his hand, on the battlefield or has ways to regain the lost cards. In a game where about 50% of the cards are damage-dealing creatures, it seems VERY unlikely. Likewise it is very unlikely that a deck does contain not enough cards to get your opponent down to 0 life.

Mill effects exclude interactions. This means that cards with mill effects can't alter the way how you play your deck. Any damage and likewise any creature interacts with your opponent... this is called combat.

Third:
Your statement about griefers and Johnnies is a "made" descision. This isn't a fact. So if my opponent adds some sort of mill effect, it doesn't change my game. If the card order of my deck stays random, the effect is random. Therefore even if you were lucky to mill away a baneslayer angel, there is no way to prevent the option, that the next card will be another baneslayer angel too. And even if you had a "successful" mill result, you've automatically decreased your chance for another one.

That said, they have openly admitted that they make milling not with the intention of it being a good mechanic, because it appeals to the sensibilities of griefers and creative Johnnies.  And it's the exact opposite of a red mechanic; attaching the word "random" to something does not = red.


I didn't meant a pure equation, but a "most likely" relation. No other color is connected to randomness in a more intense way. Therefore, cards with random effects are most likely red cards.

But what I skipped in my first post, but mentioned often on other occasions, is the fact that mill effects DO interact with another effect: knowing the card order of your deck or changing the randomness of your deck.
So the next step would be, which color is most likely to use reorder effects or - to make it really obvious - uses scry effects to foretell the next cards? - In my opinion it's blue. Of course, not a pure equation, because there are some rarely used effect in every color, where you can put some sort of cards on top or on buttom of your library.
BTW: Isn't it funny, that every color has a cmc1 tutor (worldly, enlightened, vampiric, mysticl) except for red?

In my opinion, opposite colors should have opposite effects. This means that red or green should have opposite effects to the blue scry or library reorder focus. So for me, it would be great, if red could counter the effect of a blue sage owl by milling the reordered cards away.

The result would be that mill effects would have become much more than just random effects and quite useless even if your deck doesn't real focus on this type of effect.
BTW: Isn't it funny, that every color has a cmc1 tutor (worldly, enlightened, vampiric, mysticl) except for red?

Yeah, if only they'd printed a card like Gamble, but in Red.

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...
Overall, found this article to be a bit lacking in understanding of multiplayer.

Card #1, for example, well, not exactly a multiplayer card to begin with.  And if you did want to make it more multiplayer friendly, you'd have to change sorcery to instant as well.  For multiplayer, the ability to respond to the unexpected, which will most likely happen on a turn that isn't yours (since most turns aren't), is huge.  Things will look fine, then suddenly a buff gets played and a huge attack on a player will happen and that guy needs a card so he can fog or something.  Or the guy that goes before me is the one with Wraths in his deck.

Day of Judgement, you'd actually want to change.  You'd want to raise the mana cost.  Multiplayer sees too many board sweepers as is.  Massive card advantage, they have far more of an impact than Congregate ever had.  Almost every white deck will run some board sweeper.  Most will not have congregate.  So, greater power in multiplayer than duals, should have higher mana cost.

Card #5, Congregate, his proposed change doesn't change much.  The decks that play congregate and gain big life with it tend to be the ones that get a lot of critters, usually tokens, into play.  Like most anything, cards work better when you can be assured that the situation where they are best used is more likely to occur.  And that means congregate goes in the same deck as the swarm.  For the other decks?  Wrath of God.

If you did want to reduce the impact of Congregate for multiplayer, making just a single change, you'd just change it from instant to sorcery.  Being unable to play it in response to a board sweeper would have a far bigger impact.

Card #7, you'd play Naturalize over either for the vast majority of cases.  2 mana isn't much for multiplayer and far better not to give any opponent life.  Also, given that the life loss/gain is supposed to offset the card's reduced mana cost, the card wouldn't be printed with target opponent anyway, but rather, the target enchantment/artifact's controller would get the life.  That or with a higher mana cost and target player, not target opponent.

Card #9, the 6/6 creature is better.  The 12/12 will just get you or it killed, either by you not being able to play it due to the 10 mana cost or by making you the threat.  Darksteel Colossus didn't decide many games in my multiplayer group and it is a better creature than this green 12/12 shrouded thing.

Card #10, I'd sooner play lava axe over the tweaked version, actually.  The tweaked version annoys all opponents.  Lava Axe just the one I want to kill.  Likewise, I wouldn't play the soothing balm either.  5 points of life isn't enough.  Now, an X spell that hit opponents, that might be nice.  But hitting everyone for 5?  Not going to see much use.  Well, not unless I gain life equal to the damage dealt.

If I were to tweak Lava Axe for multiplayer, I'd play up the interaction aspect.  Allow it to be cast as an instant if the target is currently attacking you with creatures.  Doesn't make too much of a difference for a dual but allows you to punish people in multiplayer.

BTW: Isn't it funny, that every color has a cmc1 tutor (worldly, enlightened, vampiric, mysticl) except for red?

Yeah, if only they'd printed a card like Gamble, but in Red.


If you would have read my whole reply, you should have noticed that I was talking about cmc1 tutors that put cards on top of the library. My post was about mill effects. And red lacks a tutor effect that can be milled away.

BTW: Isn't it funny, that every color has a cmc1 tutor (worldly, enlightened, vampiric, mysticl) except for red?

Yeah, if only they'd printed a card like Gamble, but in Red.

If you would have read my whole reply, you should have noticed that I was talking about cmc1 tutors that put cards on top of the library. My post was about mill effects. And red lacks a tutor effect that can be milled away.

Yes, that particular asymmetry has bugged me in the past too (not for the mill reason), but I think Gamble was intended to complete the cycle of CMC 1, card-disadvantage tutors.  In the past, I figured a tutor for either a land or a non-basic land would be a good choice, since those were neglected in the original cycle as well.  It's not exactly in Red's portion of the color pie, but Red did have Mana Flare, and did care about non-basic lands (admittedly mostly to blow them up).

On a similar note, Red was really the odd color out for the Urza's Saga cycle of Legendary lands.  Each of the other colors got a land that could produce multiple mana of the chosen color (Tolarian Academy, Gaea's Cradle, Serra's Sanctum, and kind of Phyrexian Tower), but Red got Shivan Gorge.  More recent cards like Cabal Coffers and Crypt of Agadeem have cemented Red in being the only color left out of fancy land mana production.  In my design for how Red could have filled in these gaps with a focus on non-basic lands, I pictured a Legendary land that tapped to add to your mana pool for each other non-basic land you controlled, for a Mana Flare-like effect; this would also fix the problem of lands being the only permanent type left out of being counted.  It would be incredibly good now, but at the time I don't think it would have rivaled the explosive power of Tolarian Academy or Gaea's Cradle, since you only get one new land per turn (unless you're using Exploration or Mana Bond).  If I were to design the card now, though, I would make it add for each non-basic land your opponents control.  Even with this wording, however, it's still more in Green's piece of the color pie.

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...
Funny; I don't care for multiplayer but I've seen "each opponent" on so many cards it doesn't bother me.  I immediately read, say, "Each opponent discards two cards." as "Target opponent discards two cards.  This effect isn't affected by shroud, protection, or any related effects on your opponent." >_>

I actually think "target opponent" looks weirder on cards.  Just say "target player" unless the card would break otherwise.  For instance, I think Duress would look a lot more elegant if it referred to "target player".  It's too late to change it now, of course.
I actually think "target opponent" looks weirder on cards.  Just say "target player" unless the card would break otherwise.  For instance, I think Duress would look a lot more elegant if it referred to "target player".  It's too late to change it now, of course.

Swerve would certainly have been more effective against Cruel Ultimatum in Shards block limited that way.
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...
Overall, found this article to be a bit lacking in understanding of multiplayer.

Card #1, for example, well, not exactly a multiplayer card to begin with.  And if you did want to make it more multiplayer friendly, you'd have to change sorcery to instant as well.  For multiplayer, the ability to respond to the unexpected, which will most likely happen on a turn that isn't yours (since most turns aren't), is huge.  Things will look fine, then suddenly a buff gets played and a huge attack on a player will happen and that guy needs a card so he can fog or something.  Or the guy that goes before me is the one with Wraths in his deck.

Day of Judgement, you'd actually want to change.  You'd want to raise the mana cost.  Multiplayer sees too many board sweepers as is.  Massive card advantage, they have far more of an impact than Congregate ever had.  Almost every white deck will run some board sweeper.  Most will not have congregate.  So, greater power in multiplayer than duals, should have higher mana cost.

Card #5, Congregate, his proposed change doesn't change much.  The decks that play congregate and gain big life with it tend to be the ones that get a lot of critters, usually tokens, into play.  Like most anything, cards work better when you can be assured that the situation where they are best used is more likely to occur.  And that means congregate goes in the same deck as the swarm.  For the other decks?  Wrath of God.

If you did want to reduce the impact of Congregate for multiplayer, making just a single change, you'd just change it from instant to sorcery.  Being unable to play it in response to a board sweeper would have a far bigger impact.

Card #7, you'd play Naturalize over either for the vast majority of cases.  2 mana isn't much for multiplayer and far better not to give any opponent life.  Also, given that the life loss/gain is supposed to offset the card's reduced mana cost, the card wouldn't be printed with target opponent anyway, but rather, the target enchantment/artifact's controller would get the life.  That or with a higher mana cost and target player, not target opponent.

Card #9, the 6/6 creature is better.  The 12/12 will just get you or it killed, either by you not being able to play it due to the 10 mana cost or by making you the threat.  Darksteel Colossus didn't decide many games in my multiplayer group and it is a better creature than this green 12/12 shrouded thing.

Card #10, I'd sooner play lava axe over the tweaked version, actually.  The tweaked version annoys all opponents.  Lava Axe just the one I want to kill.  Likewise, I wouldn't play the soothing balm either.  5 points of life isn't enough.  Now, an X spell that hit opponents, that might be nice.  But hitting everyone for 5?  Not going to see much use.  Well, not unless I gain life equal to the damage dealt.

If I were to tweak Lava Axe for multiplayer, I'd play up the interaction aspect.  Allow it to be cast as an instant if the target is currently attacking you with creatures.  Doesn't make too much of a difference for a dual but allows you to punish people in multiplayer.




You're mostly talking about development stuff, not design stuff. Design isn't concerned about mana costs or whether Naturalize is better or whether Soothing Balm isn't playable.

Card #1 is tweaked enough for 2HG, the fixed Congregate doesn't work on your own deck.

About the Lava Axe you're right as they're both still interesting cards because you wouldn't want to piss off players unnecessarily Smile

In short, it's about the principle highlighted by the examples, not the examples themselves.
@ fractal
Interesting post.
The legendary lands from the urza block were weird and two effects have doomed them. Artifacts can have casting cost of and there are cards that can untap lands. Personally, I missed the additional phrase "if you control no , sacrifice ~". With all the focus on artifacts, WotC must have been very distracted to overlook the potential of the blue version.

In general, I'm not a fan of * or +X effects. They are often either underwhelming or overwhelming, but nearly never really balanced. To put these effects on lands can create the worst effects. So I wouldn't make a red land, but just mark the old lands with a "lessons learnt" label.

The cabal coffers for example is a weak card. You need at least 4 swamps and this card to generate more mana than a basic land would have produced. So it's rather a drawback card than an actual bonus. However, since Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth transfers the coffers into a swamp, you reduced the requirements. Than ... with 6 lands in play, you could produce 9 black mana... still not very "threatening", unless you really need black mana instead of colorless.

It starts getting interesting when you have 7 lands (4 lands + 1 urborg's tomb + 2 coffers). Than you could produce 14 mana out of 7 lands. You have produced a Mana Flare effect with lands.

I use this combo in the mentioned black/white deck I use. With all sorts of mass destruction, I needed a win condition that can't be stopped easily. Lands and Sorceries are perfect, because in multiplayer games, there are no counterspells and lands tend to stay unnoticed. So the combination fits perfectly with Drain Life. Dealing 14 damage and getting 14 lifes out of one card keeps me alive and can kill an opponent. I've added a few Genju of the Fens which survive a wrath and can attack at the same turn.

Even with this wording, however, it's still more in Green's piece of the color pie.

Uuuhh. You shouldn't have said this. Color pie and I are some sort of archenemies. Wink

Mana Flare wasn't a red card. Although static mana is red, the card often produced a situation, where noone wants to play a card other than a disenchant. So it's the opposite to the red way of Impatience.

Additional mana per turn supports non-red colors even better. Blue could cast an desastrous sorceries, like Worldpurge, Time Stretch or Blatant Thievery. Black could cast Death Cloud, Consume Spirit or a Degree of Pain. Green could cast fatties, which deal the most damage per mana spent (in a long term view). So white decks lose overall.

If I were to design cards, I would stop printing cycles. A cycle is a disregard to color individuality. F.e. the basic landcycling cycle f.e. shows that basic landcycling isn't color specific... it has no color home. Other cycles often show a lack of creativity at R&D because they often use the same old keywords or mechanics over and over. Not quite unique.

White Land - (Plain) = : Add . When enchanted: ,: draw a card.
Blue Land - Vesuva or a City of Brass with a different drawback than damage.
Black Land - Mirrodin's Core with black mana only, but with "remove X counters" instead.
Red Land - does not count towards the 1 land limit. : Add and ~ deals 2 damage to you
Green Land - Jungle (forest) = When it comes into play, return a forest to hand. :add
2. Option - : untap target land (or basic land // or forest) you control.
You're mostly talking about development stuff, not design stuff. Design isn't concerned about mana costs or whether Naturalize is better or whether Soothing Balm isn't playable.

Card #1 is tweaked enough for 2HG, the fixed Congregate doesn't work on your own deck.

About the Lava Axe you're right as they're both still interesting cards because you wouldn't want to piss off players unnecessarily 

In short, it's about the principle highlighted by the examples, not the examples themselves.


Design should take care about development as well. And as a chief designer, Mark should have made the cards quite balanced. If there is a naturalize for cmc2, he could have made a cmc1 version with a more realistic drawback... of should have chosen a completely different card.

2HG isn't really a "multiplayer" game, but rather a "2 players mimic 1". So I would put it in between the normal duel and real multiplayer. If there would be a version, where 2 players switch each other turn but use 1 deck, you haven't produced a multiplayer game just by having 2 different persons. 2HG therefore often tends toward the "typical" game mechanisms of a duel.
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