8/04/2010 StF: "The Feedbackening"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Savor the Flavor, which goes live Wednesday on magicthegathering.com.

My take on it is that all the turns of all the players combined is a day.

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

Comparing deathtouch/trample to a pinball is absurd.  It's very simple; for an example, let's take Greater Basilisk, which seems to be about the size of a bull judging by the human hand visible in the frame.  I've got a pair of Darksteel Colossi standing in front of me and the Basilisk comes waddling its way in.

The closer Colossus starts to reach down and squish the Basilisk, and the Basilisk gives it a look - bam! it's a Darkstone Colossus.  Having been made of magically animated metal, not magically animated stone (presumably even a stone golem has to be made of a particular sort of stone, and becomes inanimate if turned to a different sort), the Colossus's animating magic doesn't work very well now that it's stone, although with it being indestructible, the effect is temporary, the darksteel eventually sheds the stoning magic the way it would shed heat after being thrown in lava once the lava cooled down and the darksteel was chipped free of the igneous rock.

Anyway, our basilisk glances at the Colossus and the Colossus simply STOPS.  The unflappable hexapod reptile continues its advance, another Colossus steps up to get in the way, and STOPS.  Meandering around the two large stone pillars in its road, the Basilisk proceeds toward me; as a planeswalker I'm unaffected by the stoning gaze, so all I have to deal with is the quick chomp on my ankle the basilisk administers before getting tired from all that extra walking it had to do going around the stoned Colossi.

I rather like this "zap and step" image for the Basilisk, and with minor variations it works for anything.  If you've got a poisoned dagger that gives Deathtouch, you just give your blocker a quick slash and then dance away while it starts falling over dead - you don't waste time fighting something you can just kill.  For an example of this principle, see Indiana Jones blowing away that dork with the scimitar in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  If there was a whole row of those guys, Indy would blow six of them away and his seventh point of power (the whip) would trample through to their boss behind them.
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
Isn't Darksteel Colossus immune to deathtouch attacks due to being indestructible?
Just because it hasn't been pointed out lately:
Flavor
Doesn't
Matter
Isn't Darksteel Colossus immune to deathtouch attacks due to being indestructible?

The one damage is considered "lethal damage". That is what Colossus ignores. 
Immunity from "destroy" SBEs does not mean immunity from the rules that got us to that "destroy" event.
Just because it hasn't been pointed out lately:
Flavor
Doesn't
Matter




Thanks. I needed to see that. It has been a while.

Isn't Darksteel Colossus immune to deathtouch attacks due to being indestructible?

The one damage is considered "lethal damage". That is what Colossus ignores. 
Immunity from "destroy" SBEs does not mean immunity from the rules that got us to that "destroy" event.



Right. "Considered" is the keyword there. For the sake of the rules, it is seen as lethal, although in all actuality, it doesn't kill anything.

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.
What card is the art in the trample/deathtouch discussion from?

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

Just because it hasn't been pointed out lately:
Flavor
Doesn't
Matter



Just because it hasn't been pointed out lately:
YES IT F*****G DOES

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
(stupid formatting not working)

If something matters to at LEAST half the playerbase, THEN IT MATTERS.  So shut your face.
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
Put a bit more calmly, if it weren't for the game's rich fantasy art and vibrant flavor text, very few players would ever have "got it", the game would not have sold well, and there wouldn't have been even one expansion, let alone fifteen years of them.  Even if all YOU care about is the complexity and clever interactions of the mechanical game, even if YOU would be satisfied by the cards being uniquely identified and made recognizeable by an abstract glyph rather than a name or a piece of art (with paying for that art being by FAR the biggest expense of making the game, so Hasbro would very happily stop buying it if not for the fact that the vast majority of the players care very much about it and wouldn't buy the game otherwise), even if YOU get ticked off by cards like Protean Hydra which are designed top-down to satisfy flavor junkies, recognize that all the things in the game YOU do like could never have existed IF NOT FOR FLAVOR.  So yes, it does "matter", and is worth every minute of the time its fans spend passionately debating how and why it works the way it does.
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

As long as I don't have to hear about some creature using an ability during its "dying gasp" ever again I believe people should be able to play around with flavor all they want.

But forcibly justifying it for every mechanic in the game is every bit a waste of time as insisting it has no value whatsoever.

Savor the Flavor: Your #1 Vorthos Psychiatric Clinic.
Flavor is a wrapper, or package - at best a carrying case.  It's pretty to look at on the shelf, but it's the stuff inside that's really important.
Flavor is a wrapper, or package - at best a carrying case.  It's pretty to look at on the shelf, but it's the stuff inside that's really important.



I support this notion.
Without good sound game mechanics, strategies, and various mathematical concepts acting as the skeleton of the game, all we would have is a bunch of stupid novels about fantasy creatures.

Beyond Star Ocean II and maybe Valkerie Profile, I'm not a fan of anything "fantasy".

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.
One of the issues is that flavor is used in Magic as a tool for card packaging (and sometimes design) is different from how flavor matters to someone that was drawn into a fantasy world but cares more about how the game plays. I fall into the latter category. I remember back in Revised how awesome it was checking out Faeries, Demons, Ogres, Thrulls, and Thallids was, but I sure didn't expect WOTC to create something that would represent this realistically on cards. I was content to let my imagination take me as far as I wanted to and get down to the business of winning a game of Magic.

That's why I don't hang out with Vorthos, and why I don't get nuts over a tangible WOTC team devoted to creating something that does its best work as an intangible attribute. I never went so far as to justify how a demon could get Holy Strength, I just enchanted the creature and moved on with my life. I could do this while still appreciating that I was attacking with a demon. Vorthos tends to think you have to go all-in. You don't. The fact that it is a game matters infinitely more than the fact that pictures of elves and goblins were painted to create the cards.

That doesn't mean I don't like top-down design; in fact I prefer it over bottom-up. But you can do that without having to deal with the "well in the books so-and-so didn't do that"  or "how do birds wear boots" crowd.
Flavor is a wrapper, or package - at best a carrying case.  It's pretty to look at on the shelf, but it's the stuff inside that's really important.



A couple decades ago most board games were made out of cruddy cardboard chits, and even today Cheapass games continues to pump out card games with plain white cards.  In some cases the game can be good enough to put up with its rather blah packaging, but games like the Fantasy Flight version of Arkham Horror are so gorgeous that paying $50 for one of them seems like a better investment to me than paying $20 for something that looks like dreck.  Scientific studies have proven that people enjoy eating food less if it's been artificially colored to look horrible; the psychological impact of the food's appearance actually alters how they perceive the taste.  So I do think that good packaging is just as important as good content - not MORE so, but Magic doesn't have any trouble keeping its game mechanics robust while ALSO emphasizing flavor.

And some of those novels are pretty good, you know.  Especially the old Harper-Prism ones, like The Prodigal Sorcerer or Ashes of the Sun (okay not so much the ending of that one, but the rest of the book rocked).  Plus I honestly think Jeff Grubb's "The Brothers' War" is at least as worthy of a literature critic's attention as Lord of the Rings.  None of the other novels are quite THAT good, but many are very decent.
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
Discussing whether flavor "matters" is a pretty broad topic. To narrow it down a bit, my view on "flavor doesn't matter" is better expressed as "the mechanics don't need to be justified by flavor". To make a good game you need to feel free to make whatever mechanics would help it play well. I think the majority of players who have used it don't know why Bloodbraid Elf gives them a free spell, but that hasn't stopped it from being a card that has really affected the way we play for the last couple of years.

The problem with the DSC / Basilisk thing is that, why does the Basilisk need "trample" to be able to bite a player after it has turned its opponent into stone? You invent a mechanic that plays well - dealing your leftover damage to a player to prevent endless chump blocking - and you give it a name that you think fits in most cases for how a creature would actually do this. But it doesn't mean that from then on every creature with the trample ability has to be a mammoth or similar.

If you try to get into explaining things with flavor too much you come up against the problem that even the rules of the game aren't entirely explainable. Once a creature has reached the enemy planeswalker to damage it, why does it then need to cross the battlefield over and over again turn after turn, rather than just staying in the one spot hitting the dude?

I regularly equip Mire Boa with several Bonesplitters. I don't care that a snake can't hold axes.
I regularly equip Mire Boa with several Bonesplitters. I don't care that a snake can't hold axes.



According to willpell and probably most other Vorthos creatures, you should lose the game immediately if you do this.

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.
@ all:
Wow. What a lovely discussion.

I wonder why noone seems to be able to look at it in more than just their own way. It's like a discussion about the death penalty or about "does god exists?".

Of course the iPhone was a success because all the buyers have read about all the details... and after a systematic comparison of the "inner qualities", they decided that this product outclasses any other competing alternatives. And of course the same is true for any other product... like shampoo, cars, food, oil companies, banks and even sports clubs, musicians and art. Flavor doesn't matter, right!?!?

Well, that must be the reason why all the commercials are informing, emotionless, calculating and analytic. But wait, maybe they do the exact different: They sell emotions instead of of the product itself! So, flavor seems to be important to sell things. "Flavor doesn't matter" is just wrong.

On the other hand, a sportscar has to fulfill certain qualities, like acceleration, horse power, etc. So the inner frame also matters.

Maybe, but only maybe, both sides are correct.   ~_~


@ Palette vs. Color:

It's highly subjective. The best example could be Lagac Lizard. The creature has a green skin. Next to it there is a lake and in the beckground, you can see a plain and a cloudless sky.
Perfectly reasonable for a red creature. Does it matter? No. Does this kills the flavor: Yes.

It might seem weird to some players, but from time to time, I skip specific cards because I don't like the image or especially the palette. A girl in our group runs an angel deck. The angels need to have a good design and not necessarily be top tier. Angelic Arbiter, Deathless Angel, Guardian Seraph are just the newest examples of "failures".

The reason for my decision is simple. I like the emotions when I play Magic. If a card creates it, I will play it. If not, I won't use it. Sometimes the emotion comes from the art, sometimes the inner mechanic thrills me, but rarely the pure stats. So if I had to choose, I would rather have inbalanced cards, weird mechanics and rules that are a nightmare, than an emotionless, artless and flavorless game. At worst, I would choose an alternative hobby that creates emotions.

I don't care about a snake wearing boots, because the "snake" type doesn't matter in magic and "boots" have no meaning. In my imagination, I could easily replace these words with different stats/mechanics. Boots become artifical improvements. A river snake becomes just a snakelike creature.

@ Deathtouch:

The rules are strange and will stay strange ... just because Magic has to continue with errors made. Deathtouch would be an easy change... but since the rule text is written on the cards, it would be difficult to change it. Have a look at banding or regeneration.

@ Islandhome:

Well, the question is, why does wizard continue the stupid path of the mostly aquatic theme for blue? There is no question if all creatures could climb up Mountains to reach the red mages, or if a dryad could leave their forest. But from time to time, R&D creates blue cards with a drawback that doesn't produce a cost reduction and more often, the landwalk ability is used on blue creatures just because R&D lacks of alternative goodies for blue creatures.

@ Planeswalkers & pure damage focus:

Politics. Wizard has decided that planeswalkers should be the biggest thread and since they help selling a new edition, they are focused in the most primitive way. Have you noticed, that blue doesn't have a boomerang because it could target a planeswalker? Green has no Desert Twister or similar card. White has no Oblivion Ring that could target a planeswalker. Black has no Hexmage... the best planeswalker killer and there isn't a Ball Lightning in M11, because that creature could definitely kill the Jace for a lower cost. Red has a Arc Runner with a strength of 5 instead. There is no "gain control of target permanent", no Pithing Needle in M11.

The best ... or top selling ... planeswalker create a bonus that instantaneously make up the "use of the card" or instantaneously create card advantage. Any other - maybe more flavorful - ability that doesn't fulfill the mentioned criteria won't see play. Sorin was just an example for the"failure".
I regularly equip Mire Boa with several Bonesplitters. I don't care that a snake can't hold axes.



According to willpell and probably most other Vorthos creatures, you should lose the game immediately if you do this.



Nah. I like flavor, but I mind a snake wielding multiple axes somehow a hilarious mental image. My guess is it coils around them and waves them at its enemies. Menacingly!
I regularly equip Mire Boa with several Bonesplitters. I don't care that a snake can't hold axes.



According to willpell and probably most other Vorthos creatures, you should lose the game immediately if you do this.



Not true at all.  Actually I first joined the forums six years ago to discuss exactly why equipment works on things like Walls.  I came up with the explanation that a Leonin Scimitar isn't just a sword; dozens of creatures have a plain old sword, you don't pay mana for that.  You pay mana for a magic sword that can merge with the essence of a creature to take whatever shape will make it usable for that creature.  Give it to a Giant and it gets bigger; give it to a snake and it turns into a blade on the end of his tail.  It's the same net effect (the bigger sword of the giant swings slower and so is about equally dangerous as a swift six-inch sword in the hands of a faerie), and the details vary enough not to need accounting for in the game.
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
It's very simple; for an example, let's take Greater Basilisk, which seems to be about the size of a bull judging by the human hand visible in the frame.  I've got a pair of Darksteel Colossi standing in front of me and the Basilisk comes waddling its way in....
[snip]
I rather like this "zap and step" image for the Basilisk, and with minor variations it works for anything.  If you've got a poisoned dagger that gives Deathtouch, you just give your blocker a quick slash and then dance away while it starts falling over dead - you don't waste time fighting something you can just kill.



All very cute, but it misses the point. Why does the Basilisk need Trample to do this?
In the same series of articles, I posited that trample is less a measure of size or speed than of stubbornness, sheer determination to continue in a straight line regardless of what tries to stop you.  I figured that a blocking creature doesn't stand in an attacker's physical path, but rather tries to act as a diversion and draw it away; a trampler fails to take the bait and steamrolls right through the intended distraction.  So by the same tack, a trampling basilisk is impelled to continue toward its target after only a moment's pause to zap its blockers, while a non-trampling basilisk gets bored easily and wanders off after a confrontation takes its attention away from the attack impulse.
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
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