8/13/2010 LD: "A Set in the Life"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.
This was embarrassing to explain, so we got rid of it. For a while, we didn't make Mogg Fanatic-like cards because the rule had changed so recently and we didn't want things to be confusing.

Vampire Hexmage was deliberately given first strike just to retain Mogg Fanatic functionality. You said so yourself in your October 23, 2009 column:
First strike creatures with sacrifice abilities still feel strange to many of us in Magic R&D, but the development team felt that some extra ability was necessary for the card to be strong enough in Constructed. First strike allows this card to deal damage and use its ability in the same combat step, so the team went with it.

I am just gonna leave this one hanging here and the questions unasked, since I think it will have more impact that way.

There are a number of references to Rancor that lead to believe that it was actually going to be reprinted, so the rumors in the future set speculatioin thread may have not been that wrong.

DB 9/11/2009: Sideboard cards don't excite casual guy. Reprinted sideboard cards even less.


Tell that to everyone that thought it was a good idea to reprint the relic cycle again.

Casual guy isn't the one cracking packs until he gets a playset of Baneslayer Angels. You barely miss any sales if you ignore him.

Anyway, what is so exciting about losing?

Lots of people like ..."OpenTip(event, "Enormous Baloth")" class="nodec">Enormous Baloth



What?

If Limited gets in the way of printing good Constructed cards... Screw limited
Well, judging by several comments, it looks like Rancor was, indeed, in M11 for a good amount of time. Shame it didn't make it all the way.
Rules Nut Advisor
Does Comic-Con count as a game convention?
Casual guy isn't the one cracking packs until he gets a playset of Baneslayer Angels. You barely miss any sales if you ignore him.



Casual Guy is 90% of Magic's customer base.  The game dies if you ignore him.

This was embarrassing to explain, so we got rid of it. For a while, we didn't make Mogg Fanatic-like cards because the rule had changed so recently and we didn't want things to be confusing.

Vampire Hexmage was deliberately given first strike just to retain Mogg Fanatic functionality. You said so yourself in your October 23, 2009 column:
First strike creatures with sacrifice abilities still feel strange to many of us in Magic R&D, but the development team felt that some extra ability was necessary for the card to be strong enough in Constructed. First strike allows this card to deal damage and use its ability in the same combat step, so the team went with it.

I am just gonna leave this one hanging here and the questions unasked, since I think it will have more impact that way.



I am not seeing the problem here. They certainly weren't interested in making a card where you would have to make the choice so that you could reminded that damage used to use the stack and now it doesn't anymore. It would have been more honest to say "because we figured people would be sore about the change for a while," I suppose. But Hexmage does not inspire any of those "why are they making this creature now that damage no longer uses the stack" thoughts. In that sense, it is not a "Mogg Fanatic like" card at all.

He is wrong about Ray of Command, however. That didn't become uncommon until a Master's Edition set.

Casual guy isn't the one cracking packs until he gets a playset of Baneslayer Angels. You barely miss any sales if you ignore him.


Casual Guy is 90% of Magic's customer base. The game dies if you ignore him.


Citations needed.


...


Actually though, if I had to pick a side, I'd be with javert here.  If 90% of the players are "casual guy" JeditOjanen, kindly point 9 of them to the 1 of me.  I'll trade them casual-friendly cards Novablast Wurm and Wrexial the Risen Deep for unfun cards Abyssal Persecutor and Jace, the Mind Sculptor.  This is a pet peeve of mine.  If casual player buying outpaces tournament player buying so much as we're supposed to believe, why the hell are the tournament cards so consistently more expensive?


For a while, we didn't make Mogg Fanatic-like cards because the rule had changed so recently and we didn't want things to be confusing.

You know Tom, if you'd said this a year ago I might not have spent the last year thinking you were complete idiots.  The message you ended up sending was "It's fun to make a choice over cards with good sacrifice abilities!  You can tell because we're not printing any cards with sacrifice abilities for you to choose!"

If you're on MTGO check out the Free Events via PDCMagic and Gatherling.

Other games you should try:
DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

Planetside 2 - Free to play MMO-meets-FPS and the first shooter I've liked in ages.
Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.


 


Actually though, if I had to pick a side, I'd be with javert here.  If 90% of the players are "casual guy" JeditOjanen, kindly point 9 of them to the 1 of me.  I'll trade them casual-friendly cards Novablast Wurm and Wrexial the Risen Deep for unfun cards Abyssal Persecutor and Jace, the Mind Sculptor.  This is a pet peeve of mine.  If casual player buying outpaces tournament player buying so much as we're supposed to believe, why the hell are the tournament cards so consistently more expensive?




Because casuals players also use tournament level cards. I don't think that there is a casual player out there who opens a Baneslayer and then promptly throw it into the bin because it is "unfun".
 
Boy was this ever a lazy article.  Pill-boy didn't even bother to write a closing paragraph.


Because casuals players also use tournament level cards. I don't think that there is a casual player out there who opens a Baneslayer and then promptly throw it into the bin because it is "unfun".
 



If I ever open a Baneslayer, I'll sell it.  The only difference between that and "the bin" is how much other people will pay.
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
Hm, no mention of how may-abilities cause extra clicking in Magic online? Always struck me as a good reason (like all the allies abilities, mortician beetle...  they don't need may-abilities if you always want to use them).

Apart from that I just noticed that the tro guys in Act of Treason are wearing the same style armor. Thought that was a nice touch.

Holy smokes...Goldenglow Moth is SO beautiful blown up.  I never appreciated it at card size.


"In Duels, when you get hit by a Goldenglow Moth (Glorious Anthem), the damage animation is magical golden pollen glowiness."  <<  That is FRIGGIN AWESOME!:-)


 

Indeed, RecurringSearch. I want a goldenglow wallpaper.

... I wonder what resolution the files in MTGO and DotP are (and if I can extract them, in the latter case... the former is trivial)
Because casuals players also use tournament level cards. I don't think that there is a casual player out there who opens a Baneslayer and then promptly throw it into the bin because it is "unfun".


Considering I mentioned neither Baneslayer nor a bin, I suggest you quickly seek medical attention for that head injury.


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


Willpell is unabashedly non-Spike, but I don't think he's unique in being smart enough to know he can trade an in-demand card for many less-valuable ones.  Which is a big win for him.  Yet this obviously isn't happening much.  So either:


A) The rampant casual Timmys and Johnnies of the world are perfectly happy with "Spike" cards like Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and therefore there's no need to design Wrexials for them.


or


B) The rampant casual Timmys and Johnnies of the world are too stupid to realize they can get a stack of cards "designed for them" in trade for one card that wasn't.


or


C) The rampant casual Timmys and Johnnies of the world aren't so rampant after all.


It has to be at least one of those.  I don't claim to know which; I can only guess.  Now I don't generally assume people are dumb about this stuff, leading me to suspect it's more a mix of A&C.  And that Wizards knows this full well and they use Timmies as scapegoats to hide the truth: they print crap because it makes the good stuff more rare.  And therefore the Spike-card-seeking customers who actually support them need to buy more packs to get the few cards they want.


Oh sometimes there are more-Timmyish Spike cards like Baneslayer Angel.  Sometimes there are more Johnnyish Spike cards like Fauna Shaman.  And then there are pure-Spike cards like Bitterblossom.  But the evidence certainly seems to suggest that whoever loved Sphinx Ambassador - and I'm sure there are some people - don't exist in anywhere the quantities we're told they do.


I do think M11 has the best Mythic balance of any set since Mythics came into existence, so bravo on that improvement.  Attempting to make all the Titans playable was a solid move (even if Primeval is way ahead).  It may be that Casual players are, contrary to what javert said, cracking packs to get Baneslayers and Titans.  Awesome.  (Of course they're probably as unhappy with Demon of Death's Gate as I would be.)


But I don't think for a moment the presence of format balancing sideboard cards should be dependent on Doug Beyer's perception of what vague "casual guys" are excited by.  I don't go sending him notes about how tournament players don't like crappy novels.

If you're on MTGO check out the Free Events via PDCMagic and Gatherling.

Other games you should try:
DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

Planetside 2 - Free to play MMO-meets-FPS and the first shooter I've liked in ages.
Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

Because casuals players also use tournament level cards. I don't think that there is a casual player out there who opens a Baneslayer and then promptly throw it into the bin because it is "unfun".


Considering I mentioned neither Baneslayer nor a bin, I suggest you quickly seek medical attention for that head injury.




*facepalm
Ah, the wizards forum, one of those place where being openly rude for no reason at all is considered normal...

When you'll find in my post where I said that you mentioned the Baneslayer fell free to say so and I'll eventually delve into the intelligent part of your post.
Or to say it in a way that is more to your liking, at least an head injury can be treated while your condition seems to be permanent.
;P




Because casuals players also use tournament level cards. I don't think that there is a casual player out there who opens a Baneslayer and then promptly throw it into the bin because it is "unfun".


Considering I mentioned neither Baneslayer nor a bin, I suggest you quickly seek medical attention for that head injury.




*facepalm
Ah, the wizards forum, one of those place where being openly rude for no reason at all is considered normal...

When you'll find in my post where I said that you mentioned the Baneslayer fell free to say so and I'll eventually delve into the intelligent part of your post.
Or to say it in a way that is more to your liking, at least an head injury can be treated while your condition seems to be permanent.
;P







Looks who´s talking. Since all your posts are one-sentence comments (most of them unbearable sardonic without any evidences or simply besides the point), maybe you really SHOULD treat that injury. Laughing

Amasir made some very good and reasonable points. 10 years ago you could trade cards like Visara, Sylvos & the other Arena-Legends for constructed rares with the casuals. Today those cards would very likley be untradeable - while constructed cards like Jace are 6 times as expensive as back then.

While I am not privy to the actual numbers the Making Magic articles and these development articles often allude to the fact that a very large percent of the Magic playing populace (customer base) never play a sanctioned tournament, never check this website or read a MtG article. They buy their packs and those cards never see the light of day anywhere other than their kitchen table. So those cards will not affect market values.

For example in my playgroup we buy packs to do booster drafts at home. We play a tournament once every 3-4 months (sometimes less) and while I don't do this many of my friends will randomly pick up a couple of packs every so often. We don't trade, sell, or do anything with the cards other than put them in the binder/box or sleeve them up for multiplayer games. I am the exception to much of this as I am constantly reading articles play MtGO and generally keeping up on the game but I'm sure there are many groups out there such as mine and those people need to have a voice amongst R & D.

Anyway I think that Doug is probably just stating his opinion just as Zach Hill and Eric Lauer are stating their opinions in favor of reprinting leyline of the void. If Doug had not stated his opinion then there could have been a misconception from some team members that he was just as excited about the card as they were. Even if the competitive players and casual players split the buying power 50/50 (and I think it is clear that the casual players have the larger chunk) you could see the conversation as something like this

ZH (speaking for 50% of the crowd) : Awesome card
DB (speaking for the other 50%) : we hate this card
EL (speaking for the same 50% as ZH) : This is good enough for us to justify it's printing in spite of the fact that you won't like it.
Don't be too smart to have fun
Polls are missing a ton of options, especially for people who have attended more than one con/GP.

For instance, I've attended two GPs: I played in GP: Atlanta two years ago, and judged at GP: Boston last summer. What's my response for poll #2?


So either:

A) The rampant casual Timmys and Johnnies of the world are perfectly happy with "Spike" cards like Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and therefore there's no need to design Wrexials for them.


or


B) The rampant casual Timmys and Johnnies of the world are too stupid to realize they can get a stack of cards "designed for them" in trade for one card that wasn't.


or


C) The rampant casual Timmys and Johnnies of the world aren't so rampant after all.


It has to be at least one of those.  




It doesn't have to be at least one of those, and in fact, it is none of those. The first part of A is reversed, and the part after 'Therefore' is totally wrong. Spikes play with whatever wins. They will play Timmy and Johnny cards if it wins the game. Cards appeal to multiple groups, and players can fit into multiple groups. 

Using the example cards given, people that have Wrexial as an EDH general will probably put Jace in there if they have it. They only need 1 each of the cards. Spikes want 3 or 4. (Jace has such wide appeal that vintage and legacy players are in the market for them.)

Finally, point B makes it clear you have no idea what a casual player is. Casual doesn't mean doesn't spend much. Certainly many do, but go look at deck lists in EDH forums. Many casual players have tons of expensive cards and the cash to buy more.  They don't need to trade their Jaces to you for a pile of stuff you don't want. They already have Jaces and the stuff you don't want. So who is really driving sales?

Hm, no mention of how may-abilities cause extra clicking in Magic online? Always struck me as a good reason (like all the allies abilities, mortician beetle...  they don't need may-abilities if you always want to use them).


I think the usual logic on may-abilities is that triggered abilities are by default mandatory (if you didn't want the ability you wouldn't have the card in your deck so "may" is just wasted text), but there are two main exceptions to that. First of all, any ability like "tap or untap target X" is a "may" ability, because it would be way too easy for your opponent to make it backfire on you.

Second, and this is the relevant one here, forgetting to do something is treated the same as choosing not to, and it's easy to forget to do stuff when playing with real cards, and everyone hates losing because of mandatory stuff that you skipped or, even worse, trying to go back and recreate it, so they tend to make stuff "may" if it's the kind of thing that a person might easily forget.

In your Mortician Beetle example, suppose the trigger was mandatory and two creatures were sacrificed during your opponent's last upkeep but you forgot to put counters on it and it's now the start of your main phase. Maybe it was a particularly complicated turn, maybe you just forgot, who knows - and it's much easier to forget stuff when playing with physical cards than in MTGO. So what happens? Do you attack with your creature now, even though your opponent should have had a chance to deal with it at its current toughness? Do you give your opponent a chance to cast a sorcery on the Beetle and kill it because they would have done that during their main phase if they had known about its new P/T? Do you ignore the mandatory thing because it's too late, even though that would make it really easy to avoid all kinds of drawbacks on cards by "forgetting" them? All in all, there's no good way to handle it when people forget mandatory abilities, so they try to avoid making easily forgotten abilities, like triggered ones, mandatory.

Because casuals players also use tournament level cards. I don't think that there is a casual player out there who opens a Baneslayer and then promptly throw it into the bin because it is "unfun".
 

If I ever open a Baneslayer, I'll sell it.  The only difference between that and "the bin" is how much other people will pay.

This serves to illustrate the fact that "casual players" cannot be all put in the same boat on this aspect. Most casual players I know do not think of a money card, if it is cool enough and fits in a deck of theirs well enough, as something they should trade because it can get them multiple other fun cards, unless they're on a tight budget (it is important to keep in mind that casual does not equal budget; it's just that a casual setting is generally more budget-friendly than a competitive one). Baneslayer Angel is easily the most sought-after card by my casual playgroup. It really depends on what the card does : Jace the Mind Sculptor they would trade, because like most planeswalkers, he is much weaker in multiplayer where he can be taken down easily on his first turn on the battlefield by multiple players attacking him in a row.
Magic The Gathering DCI Lvl 1 Judge Don't hesitate to post rules question in the Rules Q&A forum for me and other competent advisors to answer : http://community.wizards.com/go/forum/view/75842/134778/Rules_Q38A
Yet this obviously isn't happening much.  So either:

A) The rampant casual Timmys and Johnnies of the world are perfectly happy with "Spike" cards like Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and therefore there's no need to design Wrexials for them.


or


B) The rampant casual Timmys and Johnnies of the world are too stupid to realize they can get a stack of cards "designed for them" in trade for one card that wasn't.


or


C) The rampant casual Timmys and Johnnies of the world aren't so rampant after all.


It has to be at least one of those.  I don't claim to know which; I can only guess.  Now I don't generally assume people are dumb about this stuff, leading me to suspect it's more a mix of A&C.  And that Wizards knows this full well and they use Timmies as scapegoats to hide the truth: they print crap because it makes the good stuff more rare.  And therefore the Spike-card-seeking customers who actually support them need to buy more packs to get the few cards they want.


Oh sometimes there are more-Timmyish Spike cards like Baneslayer Angel.  Sometimes there are more Johnnyish Spike cards like Fauna Shaman.  And then there are pure-Spike cards like Bitterblossom.  But the evidence certainly seems to suggest that whoever loved Sphinx Ambassador - and I'm sure there are some people - don't exist in anywhere the quantities we're told they do.



I'm a Johnny(-Timmy) and as un-Spikey as anyone I know. I love making good trades, and trading Spikey cards away to Spikes in exchange for large amounts of Johnnyish cards. 

I opened a Jace2 at the Worldwake prerelease. Guess what I did with him? I kept him, because he's awesome for a vast swathe of different Johnnyish decks. Come on, Brainstorm every turn to set up for Yet Another AEther Vortex or Quest for Ula's Temple? With the ability to Unsummon a few times too? Sign me up! He's currently in my planeswalkers/Doubling Season/Gilder Bairn deck (which meant last game his ultimate ended up being pointed at myself thanks to Grip of Chaos); and he'd also go just fine in my Spawnbroker/Imaginary Pet deck, and my Puresight Merrow deck, and... You get the picture.
And if I opened a Baneslayer, guess what I'd do with her? Give her to my wife who's got a Timmy lifegain flyers deck. 

I like Wrexial too, mind you. I bought a Wrexial shortly after Worldwake came out. He wobbles between being in my Ula's Temple deck and being the general of my EDH Mill deck (otherwise using Oona or Circu).
Please thank Del for her comment on Mitotic Slime, whether it actually bears fruit or not.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
Wouldn't mind seeing the lines on some of the worst cards in M11.  After all, we've seen the Titan cycle.  Now a random smattering of stuff.  Now how about the cards that are just meh.

Might be interesting to read Dryad's Favor, for example.  What is the thought process that makes them think that that card is fun, that it would be unbalanced if it had something else in addition to forestwalk, like reach or +0/+1 or something?  Did it maybe have something else at some point?  For that matter, the other 2 green enchantments from M11.

Also be interesting to get Wild Evocation's.  Just to see what variations it went through, what casting costs, what fears of crazy combos, that sort of thing.  If they worried that the "if able" bit would confuse people (and it has).
Because casuals players also use tournament level cards. I don't think that there is a casual player out there who opens a Baneslayer and then promptly throw it into the bin because it is "unfun".


Considering I mentioned neither Baneslayer nor a bin, I suggest you quickly seek medical attention for that head injury.




*facepalm
Ah, the wizards forum, one of those place where being openly rude for no reason at all is considered normal...

When you'll find in my post where I said that you mentioned the Baneslayer fell free to say so and I'll eventually delve into the intelligent part of your post.
Or to say it in a way that is more to your liking, at least an head injury can be treated while your condition seems to be permanent.
;P







Looks who´s talking. Since all your posts are one-sentence comments (most of them unbearable sardonic without any evidences or simply besides the point), maybe you really SHOULD treat that injury. Laughing





So, since all my posts are "one-sentence comments" I deserve random rudeness based on lies?
I bow to your infinite wisdom, evidently foreign speakers who have difficulties writing longer posts in English are not good enough for this forum.
Hm, no mention of how may-abilities cause extra clicking in Magic online? Always struck me as a good reason (like all the allies abilities, mortician beetle... they don't need may-abilities if you always want to use them).



This is an issue with balancing the needs of MODO against those of the paper game (and in all seriousness, I suspect Wizards makes way less money off MODO and probably almost always prioritizes paper in such decisions).  In MODO a "may" causes unnecessary clicks, and I've often been frustrated by that fact.  But in paper, any ability without "may" mandates that if the players fail to account for it, they MUST backtrack as far as necessary in order to restore the proper game state.  (At least in theory; in practice this is between the players.)  Rather than cause Little Bobby to have a miserable time at his first FNM and ragequit because he forgot to take damage from a Spiteful Visions a couple times and retroactively lost right when he thought he was winning, they make the game with as much "may" power as possible so that there's no such mandate.
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
Wouldn't mind seeing the lines on some of the worst cards in M11. After all, we've seen the Titan cycle. Now a random smattering of stuff. Now how about the cards that are just meh.



I don't know if you meant something official, but having done my four Top 25 lists for the best cards in m11 (okay two of them are incomplete, I think there are 93 total cards instead of the 100 I intended), I could do a sequel where I spout off about the cards I hate the most, probably just 25 or 50 of them. Of course, I'm the Anti-Spike so my opinions will differ from yours; to me, Dryad's Favor is a perfectly acceptible GILBIC meh, and Grave Titan is absurdly broken (albeit awesome enough that I don't completely mind).

Also be interesting to get Wild Evocation's. Just to see what variations it went through, what casting costs, what fears of crazy combos, that sort of thing. If they worried that the "if able" bit would confuse people (and it has).



In case anyone cares, Wild Evocation is my single favorite card in the set.


PS NODENS:  Rest assured that your presence is appreciated by most of us regardless of what language you speak.
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


Looks who´s talking. Since all your posts are one-sentence comments (most of them unbearable sardonic without any evidences or simply besides the point), maybe you really SHOULD treat that injury. Laughing





So, since all my posts are "one-sentence comments" I deserve random rudeness based on lies?
I bow to your infinite wisdom, evidently foreign speakers who have difficulties writing longer posts in English are not good enough for this forum.



I appreciate your genuflectionWink, but my remark wasn´t about your difficulties with the english language (Like most native speakers will notice, english isn´t my first language too).

I apologize if I was to rude, but I stand to my opinion: nearly any of your posts is an annoying flaming/bashing of non-casual players. You especially tend to "flame" the so-called "Spikes" or "blue players" while completely ingnoring arguments / reasons from those commentators. I experienced that myself in some older threads.

Since this is way off topic, this is my last post to that matter, if you want to discuss this further pm me.
I don't know if you meant something official, but having done my four Top 25 lists for the best cards in m11 (okay two of them are incomplete, I think there are 93 total cards instead of the 100 I intended), I could do a sequel where I spout off about the cards I hate the most, probably just 25 or 50 of them. Of course, I'm the Anti-Spike so my opinions will differ from yours; to me, Dryad's Favor is a perfectly acceptible GILBIC meh, and Grave Titan is absurdly broken (albeit awesome enough that I don't completely mind).



Personally, I don't find Dryad's Favor to be GIL.  Even there, it is a sideboard card and not really a good one.  It could have been given reach or +0/+2 in addition to forest walk, for example, and would most likely still end up a sideboard card for limited only, just one you'd be willing to use slightly more often.  Just too narrow as it is.  A green card that only helps against another green player and isn't that impressive there.  I've yet to see anyone actually bother playing it.  In short, it is weaksauce.

In case anyone cares, Wild Evocation is my single favorite card in the set.



For me, it falls into the category of cards I want to like but just cannot make it work in a dueling deck.  Though if I were still playing lots of multiplayer, I'd have made a Wild Evocation + Grip of Chaos deck for sure.  Random casting of spells at random targets, muhahahaaaa!

So I know why they made it, what it is supposed to appeal to.  I'm more just curious as to what steps it went through, what the fears were about it in terms of balance.
It's probably one of the cards they priced to high heaven because they were afraid of making it too good and did not have time to test it. Hive Mind got that treatment, and I suspect Vicious Shadows did as well.