8/18/2010 StF: "Seven on the Seven"

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

Genomancer of the EDH Rules Committee has the following signature:

Remember: Most legendary creatures have a gender, and most non-legendary ones don't! Use proper pronouns! ;) 

I think it sums up the issue pretty well. One guy at a local store keeps calling Rhys "her" and it annoys me to now end. Special care must be taken iwth generals.
 
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"That" and "it" are always 'proper' pronouns when referring to cardboard rectangles.
"That" and "it" are always 'proper' pronouns when referring to cardboard rectangles.



Sarkhan the Mad and Gideon Jura beg to differ.
Great Designer Search 2 Finalist - If you're interested in getting involved, check out my Wiki Page.
Legendary perm and planeswalkers require correct gendered pronouns, if they are used.

... non-legendary stuff can get a pass, so in theory, they could get reprinted with a different gendered focus character.

also, a bit of coin flipping is fine, particularly if it is for effect and channeling a bit of a fantasy gaming trope.

Also, if it enables an interesting combo.
Also, if it enables an interesting combo.

What, pray tell, in the game even bothers to reference the gender depicted in the art?
What obscure combo only works if I'm using the 'right' Elvish Ranger?

Even the Un-sets don't bother with gender very often.

Fun with gatherer:
"gender" = 0
"sex" = 3, only one of which is relevant.
"male" = 0
"female" = 0

Does Sark suddenly not work if someone draws boobs on it?
Doug Beyer seriously needs to lay off whatever he's on.
Doug Beyer seriously needs to lay off whatever he's on.

...or at least share it with the rest of the class.

I usually default to 'her'. I think Jace is still mad at me for that actually...
I was going to say something about the gender thing but I think that's been adequately covered.  So, to the rest:

Paragraph 3 makes some very interesting suggestions.  I for one would love to find some balanced and super-flavorful way of playing out the alternate battle styles that he alludes to - the "carefully-crafted battle of wits" for example requires some restrictions to not just involve fetching some insta-win combo like Black Lotus, Lotus Petal, Power Artifact, Basalt Monolith and Goblin Cannon (plus Pact of Negation x2 for Force of Will resistance).  Perhaps restrict it to a small number of sets or the like.  And the epic clash which starts with dozens of creatures already on the battlefield (and hopefully large quantities of life) could also be neat - I'm envisioning a Risk-esque game of world conquest where you move your armies of creature cards around from land to land, although I wouldn't recommend using actual cards for them (at minimum, you'd want to put them in Stratego-style plastic stands for easy handling, but even then you could only fit about four on top of a land card, so use of a paper map is probably better).

The story vs. shuffling issue is problematic indeed.  I wish they'd make a bit of an effort though; Tempest's take on the idea was never horrible.  What works best is if there are large numbers of very small sets, as with Legend of the Five Rings' "Hidden Emperor" arc, only instead of focusing on one faction in each set, you make them chronological slices where each group of characters gets cards representing one scene worth of action as they all follow diverse storylines.  Another model might be story-based theme decks in a numbered order.  Of course, who knows what the business model for selling such sets would be.

Doug is not the first person to suggest using Magic cards for a tarot reading or something similar.  Note that apart from whatever occult "experts" trying to make a buck want you to believe, the point of tarot cards is not to foretell the future, but to analyze patterns and thereby make you aware of things you usually take for granted - for that exact reason, it can be done with Magic cards (or basically anything else - random pages from a book, random TV channels, anything that's not completely abstract, and possibly even that if you're smart enough).  Saying "the next card represents the future" and flipping up a Lightning Bolt doesn't mean you're about to be thunderstruck and end up in the hospital with third-degree burns (haha, 3rd degree = 3 damage points, lolcelery).  Rather, it gives you two disparate concepts - "the future" and "lightning bolt" - and challenges your creative mind to figure out a meaning that connects them.  As MaRo is fond of pointing out, restrictions can breed creativity; humans are above all creatures of adaptation, so the mind feeds on challenges and grows stronger from them in order to overcome greater ones.  Cherish this.

And Kyle is being very silly; Sorcerer's Strongbox is the least random coin-flip card ever made.  The fact that it's not sacrificed until you win the flip means you keep trying whenever you have mana to spare; the net result is similar to the following example card, but more elegant.  One of my favorite cards in m11.

Timelocked Safe
Artifact, 4
1:  Put a time counter on Timelocked Safe.
When Timelocked Safe has a number of counters on it equal to the current turn number, sacrifice it and draw three cards.
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
What is the exact mathematical formula he used to get the number of opening hands. I have been trying to figure out where he got his ridiculously huge number, anyone care to help?

What is the exact mathematical formula he used to get the number of opening hands. I have been trying to figure out where he got his ridiculously huge number, anyone care to help?

Well, 60 choose 7 = 60!/(7!*53!) = 60*59*58*57*56*55*54/(7*6*5*4*3*2*1), so I imagine he just worked that out.

To understand 60 choose 7:  Imagine all 60 unique cards dealt out, one by one.  There are 60 choices for the first card, then after you've drawn that one, there are 59 choices for the second card, 58 choices for the third card, etc.  The total number of ways you could deal out all 60 cards is 60*59*58*57*...*3*2*1 = 60! (sixty factorial), a very huge number (more than a googol, if you know what that is).  However, you're playing Magic.  That means you only care about which cards are in your opening hand; it doesn't matter what order the rest of the cards in your deck are in, or what order the cards in your hand are in.  Therefore, divide by the number of orderings for the cards in your hand (7 choices for the first card, 6 choices for the second, etc: 7*6*5*4*3*2*1 = 7!) and the number of possible orders for the cards remaining in your deck (53*52*51*...*3*2*1=53!).  Therefore, if you have 60 cards and choose 7 of them, 60 choose 7 = 60!/(7!*53!) = 386,206,920.

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...
I was sad he didn't say anything about an in-universe reason why the opening hand number starts at seven.  (We know the real reason, but as with them changing Oracles for the second Matrix sequel after the original actress died, you need some sort of fluff justification.)  My theory is that it has to do with the five colors - "One, All, or None", with the assumption that combinations of two, three, or four colors do not have the mystical significance going that mono-color, colorless, and WUBRG do.
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
Was bored and had my cube at hand, pulled out seven random cards to do the "prophesy" thing, with hilarious (though depressing) results.

Apperently my home/environment is Terror, I am a Miscalculation, my destination is Oblivion (Ring) and my future involves Mindslaver. 

Dark prophesies indeed. 
Great Designer Search 2 Finalist - If you're interested in getting involved, check out my Wiki Page.

There could be carefully-crafted battles of wits in which the mages prepare specially-selected seven-card arsenals just for the occasion.



This sounds like Three-Card Blind to me. Well, except for the "Three" bit, obviously. My favourite approach to that was Vanishing Three-Card Blind: the winning cards in each round are added to a ban list, so you get the Black Lotus combos out of the way in the early rounds, and then have a really interesting metagame from rounds 10 or so onwards.

@ Doug:
I tried the opening hand thing, and it actually worked!

I grabbed the first complete deck to hand (a pretty bad Master Transmuter deck, that needs tweaking), shuffled thoroughly, and flipped:

The first card represents the past—that which is behind you. It could relate to some issue that came up a lot in your youth, or something that happened to you yesterday.


Plains. The Zendikar one with the floating hedron field (full-art). Sharp, barren - and with no people in the artwork - lonely. Still capable of generating pure white energy though...

The second card represents your frame of mind. It's the mental stage on which your question is set.


Everflowing Chalice. The more effort I put in, the more I get back out of it later on. Potential limited only by how much work I am prepared to do.

The third card represents your home and your environment. It's the sum total of your local surroundings, including the emotions you feel there.


Fieldmist Borderpost. Half white, half blue - a combination of two different things, shared equally in perfect unison. It takes a while to get started though, but the payoff is worth the wait.
(Yes, I am married...)

The fourth card represents you—or the side of you that's focusing on this question. It may be an aspect of you that's been hidden and is trying to come out.


Tidehollow Sculler. The FNM promo version sent to me by a friend from my old playgroup (since I cant get FNM promos since I moved house). The other 3 copies in the deck are the normal version...
Exiling cards from the hand - i.e. getting rid of things you dont like, changing someone's mind, making them forget something. But it only works while you stick around.

The fifth card represents a person who's important to you. It could be an important person already in your life or someone you've yet to meet, but it's someone who relates to the issue you're focusing on.


Swamp. The floating meatball one from Zendikar (full-art). My least favourite full-art Swamp in the set.
Certainly looks like an unhappy place capable of inducing unhappy thoughts.

The sixth card represents your destination. It's a place you'll be soon—a literal, physical place, a new frame of mind, or a new life context.


Dispel. Counters an Instant (i.e. stops something I dont want to happen from happening).
Flavor text talks about undoing reality...

The seventh card represents the future—that which is still to come. It's how the issue will be resolved in time. It's the change that awaits you.


Spreading Seas. I could cast this on that Swamp!
Change, and - in the form of drawing a card - progress. The flavor text talks about uncertainty - giving up on the idea of an accurate map. Sounds about right.

In fact it all sounds right. I wont go into specifics, but this opening hand is quite fitting for my current circumstances...

Wow.

EDIT: I couldnt resist so I decided to peer into the future and draw my first card of the game:

Emerge Unscathed. The one foil copy out of the 2 that are in the deck. Protection - that sounds good!

After that: Prophetic Prism!! I am going to stop now... Surprised

Thanks Doug!

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



Just like all astrology "works". My horoscope for today reads "Follow your intuition, unless you don't think you should. Things may occur."
Also, if it enables an interesting combo.

What, pray tell, in the game even bothers to reference the gender depicted in the art?
What obscure combo only works if I'm using the 'right' Elvish Ranger?

Even the Un-sets don't bother with gender very often.

Fun with gatherer:
"gender" = 0
"sex" = 3, only one of which is relevant.
"male" = 0
"female" = 0

Does Sark suddenly not work if someone draws boobs on it?



Uh, I'm pretty sure he was saying that coin-flipping is ok if it makes a combo.  He wasn't talking about card gender anymore.

And I think the Strongbox is a perfectly fine card.  It's a very strong effect that can be given to ANY color, so it had to have some kind of drawback.  Instead of it being hilariously overcosted like Jayemdae Tome or something, we got card draw for cheap with a reference to D&D skill rolls.  Seems good to me.
Grabbed the first deck at hand to try out the prophesy.  Mono-white deck.

Past - Harm's Way - Something about my past will put me in a conflict

Frame of Mind - Path to Exile - Death/disappearance of someone or something combined with the birth of a new frontier

Home / Environment - Plains (ZEN #232, with a chasm opening up in a wasteland) - My support is crumbling beneath my feet.

Me - Wall of Omens - Strong in my belief of the events I see coming

Person important to me - Oblivion Ring - Either I am alone in the conflict, or the person I need doesn't exist or is about to disappear

Destination - Perimeter Captain - I will be on the front lines of the coming conflict

Future - Soul's Attendant - I will lose faith in my side of the conflict due to some event but fake devotion in order to help others continue the fight (interpreted from the flavor text)



It's interesting how a few lines of instruction and a few random cards can work well together.  I could probably throw together a passable story just from these results.
Also, if it enables an interesting combo.

What, pray tell, in the game even bothers to reference the gender depicted in the art?
What obscure combo only works if I'm using the 'right' Elvish Ranger?

Even the Un-sets don't bother with gender very often.

Fun with gatherer:
"gender" = 0
"sex" = 3, only one of which is relevant.
"male" = 0
"female" = 0

Does Sark suddenly not work if someone draws boobs on it?



Uh, I'm pretty sure he was saying that coin-flipping is ok if it makes a combo.  He wasn't talking about card gender anymore.

And I think the Strongbox is a perfectly fine card.  It's a very strong effect that can be given to ANY color, so it had to have some kind of drawback.  Instead of it being hilariously overcosted like Jayemdae Tome or something, we got card draw for cheap with a reference to D&D skill rolls.  Seems good to me.



that's basically what I meant, but the coin-flipping isn't required for something like the strongbox with spare untap effects combo, just that it isn't too easy to exploit effects that sac their orgin on resolution rather then as cost, particularly given the general power of 3 for 1 draw.
My past was Search for Tomorrow and my future was Restock. I think I've got things backwards.
The prophecy thing works because we interpret the cards to mean whatever we want them to. If we don't see what we like (or something we expect would be meaningful) we look further into the flavor text, set number, casting cost until we see something that works for our situation. Anyway here is mine. The question is "making it through the last year of college financially"

First card - Dreadship Reef - I guess I've been saving up money and will the past few years to gear up for the final stretch

Second card - Sunken Ruins - Working full time, paying the bills and attending college has been difficult so I guess ruins is right for the frame of mind. I'm not looking forward to this final year of college.

Third card - Consult the necrosages - I don't get to choose my schedule or plan things out. My environment dictates the situation much like the necrosages dictate to the underlings of the dimir guild.

Fourth card - oona's prowler - it seems powerful at first glance (3/1 flier) but there is a drawback. It is only after you realize that you must use the "drawback" to your advantage that you can achieve the full potential of this card. Pairs well with madness and hellbent effects etc... I guess how this represents me in relation to this question is that I'm going to have to go "outside the box" to get things done.

Fifth card - oona's prowler - I've always known my wife and I were kindred spirits. Apparently according to this prediction we're exactly the same

Sixth card - executioner's capsule - Apparently somewhere along the way I'm going to get some really bad news. Probably fatal however since I am being represented as oona's prowler I assume it will not be my death (or in this case the death of my mission).

Seventh card - fathom trawl - It's like a game that is rigged for you to win. A really big treasure hunt. So while things get really bad to the point of being fatal, or nearly so, at least they turn out well according to this card.

anyway this prophecy thing is really fun (if empty) so I've been doing one for everyone. I tell them to ask a question about the future and then I tell their prophecy. Tons of fun.
Don't be too smart to have fun
The deck I grabbed actually turned out to be the Stampede of Beasts m11 :R::G: precon I got at the prerelease and haven't taken apart yet. Let's see what we get!

The first card represents the past—that which is behind you. It could relate to some issue that came up a lot in your youth, or something that happened to you yesterday.


Chandra's Outrage. This one is fitting, but too personally so for me to feel comfortable explaining it.


The second card represents your frame of mind. It's the mental stage on which your question is set.


Forest. M11 #246, the one that always looks to me like it's calm, but under the surface is probably teeming with activity. Probably an accurate description of me.


The third card represents your home and your environment. It's the sum total of your local surroundings, including the emotions you feel there.


Forest again, this time #248. This one actually always reminded me strongly of an actual, physical wooded area not too far from here, one which I like to retreat to on occasion to clear my head and be alone for a while.


The fourth card represents you—or the side of you that's focusing on this question. It may be an aspect of you that's been hidden and is trying to come out.


Forest 246 again. Looking at it again, it, well... that's another thing too personal to share. Sorry.


The fifth card represents a person who's important to you. It could be an important person already in your life or someone you've yet to meet, but it's someone who relates to the issue you're focusing on.


Back to Nature. I think this one represents my beloved, especially looking at the flavor text.


The sixth card represents your destination. It's a place you'll be soon—a literal, physical place, a new frame of mind, or a new life context.


Cultivate. I hope I'm readig this one right... All seeds share a common bond, calling to each other across infinity. That's... very true, and very meaningful.


The seventh card represents the future—that which is still to come. It's how the issue will be resolved in time. It's the change that awaits you.


Runeclaw Bear. This one... hmm. I think I can see how it could represent a solution. To a problem too personal to share.


 


Yeah, this /does/ sorta work, probably because there's so much leeway in how to interpret it that it could fit basically any scenario. But hey, that's how fortune telling always works. It's definately fun, which is always good!

Hm with the seven-card prophecy I revealed Scapegoat as the fifth card.
Tells us a lot.
Regarding creatures being called the wrong sex, does anyone else remember the video of Mike Turian at the 2009 Magic Cruise in which he repeatedly referred to Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer as a woman? I hope for his sake that he simply had never seen the card with its art.
Got linked to this article from the Aug 31st one... thought I'd try the fortune-telling thing with my Phyrexia deck

Past - Swamp: Full of darkness and despair.

Frame of mind- Phyrexian Rager: Scheming controlled anger, building towards something destructive.

Home environment - Consume Spirit: Soul destroying.

Aspect of me - Pit Keeper: Manic summoning of long dead forces.

Someone important to me - Phyrexian Processor: A horrible monster created from my own flesh and blood.

Destination - Phyrexian Totem: Passively waiting to slowly but surely sacrifce everything I own to annihilate my enemies.

Future - Swamp: More sadness and despair.

I dunno if that describes me, but it certainly describes Phyrexia pretty well. Maybe that's my mindset when I play that deck.