8/27/2010 LD: "Card Disassociation"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Your favorite beer must be Arrogant Bastard. Go look at those beta sheets in your office if you want to see the best core set ever.
M11 is the best core set ever from a Limited point of view.  I really enjoy drafting it each week.  I'm not sure if I like M11 or RoE better, but even saying that there's a comparison to be made is stunning, since RoE is one of the best limited formats ever.
There's an elephant in the room when it comes to Serra Ascendant. Was it deliberate that white got a first-turn 6/6 flier in 2HG? I think we can all agree that Soul Sisters is kind of a cool deck in Standard, but there are serious worries that this card might be out of hand in 2HG.That's the sort of thing I'd expect a development article to discuss about this card.

Jeff Heikkinen

 

I have permanently left these forums.

Bad moderation decisions were the last straw, but there were other factors too.

But if you see this and are into tabletop RPGs and/or Final Fantasy and similar JRPGs, why not check out my site at philosoraptorgames.com?

Your favorite beer must be Arrogant Bastard. Go look at those beta sheets in your office if you want to see the best core set ever.



Yeah, look at those Black Lotus, Moxes, Time Walks, Ancestral Recalls next to the Deathlaces, Healing Salves, Farmsteads, etc. So many balanced cards...

As for M11, yes it has been good. Limited isn't really that good but constructedwise it has been quite enjoyable and that's what matter (so yes, keep tossing limited to the window if it is necessary in the future sets). Enjoy the hype, but don't get too confident. Standard got diverse until now and it is about to rotate. Hope it doesn't return to a single deck state as it was with Jund before.

If Limited gets in the way of printing good Constructed cards... Screw limited
Guillaume Matignon made it to the French Team playing Ascension combo, not Burning Inquiry combo.

There's an elephant in the room when it comes to Serra Ascendant. Was it deliberate that white got a first-turn 6/6 flier in 2HG? I think we can all agree that Soul Sisters is kind of a cool deck in Standard, but there are serious worries that this card might be out of hand in 2HG.That's the sort of thing I'd expect a development article to discuss about this card.


I completely agree.  For as much as they talk about caring for multiplayer, this certainly seems like they care to make cards powerful but care less about format balance.  I don't expect 2hg to be big on their radar but it would have been nice for the development column to touch on the issue.


(Heck, even Megrim + Liliana's Caress + Burning Inquiry is a fast bit of a multiplayer or 2hg beating, but not if the opponent had a t1 6/6 lifelinker.)


Overall though I have been saying that M11 looks good.  Maybe it's overrepresented at high level events compared to Rise, but if you have to wring the life out of a core set M11 is a good one to do that with.

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.

Your favorite beer must be Arrogant Bastard. Go look at those beta sheets in your office if you want to see the best core set ever.



Yeah, look at those Black Lotus, Moxes, Time Walks, Ancestral Recalls next to the Deathlaces, Healing Salves, Farmsteads, etc. So many balanced cards...


Apples and oranges.  M11 is a set design.  Alpha was a game design.

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.

I agree that this is a really good base set. It compares favorably to the ones I have played, but I have taken long hitauses in the past (two of which actually coincided with base set changes). It's definitely better than M10 was, and that was not too bad. It might be the best overall pile of cards pound for pound against other sets, as it is smaller and actually manages to have less chaff for a change. I'd still take Revised and Fourth myself, but M11 is quite good.

Common instant color changing is a good thing to have. I think Incite is well-designed, but not for its supposed top-down design ("it's red because it's angry and compulsive!") but because of things like making a black creature red so you can kill it with Doom Blade or anything that cares about red creatures. Red cards that sometimes do something clever are good for the color. And sure, the "red with anger" bit is cute. 
Yes no explanation of Maze's exhoribant activation cost...

Remove either of the words "attacking" or "opponent", or dial back the activation by a mana or two, and it could have been something.  As is, it's just a kick in the crotch to the fans of that other Maze.
As much fun as M11 is, it really has been getting played to death. Quite excited to see what Scars brings...

However.

Poison counters? Really guys? I am fervently praying that this is a cute little 10 card inclusion, but with the amount of foreshadowing it seems that it's being brought back full bore.

It is hard to legitimately explain why poison counters are a bad idea. My friends have offered that they: ruin the metagame, are horribly un-flavorful, or are horribly overpowered. For myself, it was even simpler, poison counters are not fun. And what is magic if not fun?

It's too late to heed any warnings or misgivings at this point, but, however you guys did it, I hope you really thought this mechanic out.

*Waiting with bated breath* 
The obvious flaw Poison has always had is that by the time ten poison counters appear, that player usually only has low single digits of life left anyway - and non-poison creatures are almost always a far more effecient way of making that player get dead.
The 2HG issue for Serra Ascendant and any number of similar cards would be easy to fix with a rule that just says your life total is always considered to be half the team's life total.  In fact, I thought there was such a rule; obviously it's not being applied as widely as I thought.

Incite is one of my 25 or so favorite cards in all of M11, which is pretty impressive for a noncreature common.  I really love the color-change-plus-actually-does-something effect, as previously seen on the Shadowmoor Wisps cycle, but unlike all of that cycle except Niveous Wisps, Incite messes with your opponent's dudes and thus makes a good combo with color hate, instead of just with color-love cards (which don't really need the help because you can just be playing that color in the first place).  I'm hoping that M13 (M12 is probably already done in design and halfway through development, given how far ahead Wizards works) will contain a reprint of Incite along with four new cards that make a cycle with it and fill in for combat tricks like Stabbing Pain - the black one can give -1/-1 and be called "Moral Decay" or something, and the white should be a positive Shelter-type effect to complete the mirror with Wisps, while the blue and the green should be various forms of mess-with-enemy-dudes, maybe the green one being a Provoke flavored similarly to Feral Contest and blue being a Telekinesis riff with a name reminiscent of Lost in Thought.

The precedent of Back to Nature infuriates me.  As a kitchen table (aka non-competitive Vintage) player, I consider every card in the history of the game to count, so this sort of "oh it'll rotate out of Standard so it's not like Tranquility is over forever" attitude blows my top.  You've rendered Tranquility obsolete in the full game, and the full game is the one that should always count foremost, except of course that you promote obsolescence as part of your business model.  I know it's not going to change, but it still sickens me.

I love Mystifying Maze and anyone who complains that it isn't powerful enough is spoiled.  Cards as overpowered as Maze of Ith should never have existed; you don't get to mostly-dead your opponent's creatures for small amounts of mana without card disadvantage, that's not how the game is meant to work, and cards that allow you to do exactly that were design mistakes that they're finally learning to avoid.  Get a grip.

Don't honestly remember to answer the poll correctly, and of course there is no such option so I didn't vote.  (CLUE BY FOUR, WIZARDS:  YOUR POLLS SUCK BECAUSE THEY DON'T GIVE ALL THE CHOICES THEY NEED TO.)   I know I've built "the poison deck" (there really is only one prior to Infect showing up), but I don't know if I've ever played against one.  If I have lost to poison it was probably to a Virulent Sliver on MODO; I know I've done this to others (or perhaps just to myself in solitaire test games; either way I know I've been amused by the "so-and-so is poisoned!" victory line), but don't know if it's happened to me.  Either way, unless every creature with infect is designed as a 5-mana 2/2 or so, poison kills are going to be insanely common over the next year, as the Giant Growth interaction means that Poison is basically Double Strike, and I have a suspicion it will be nowhere near as rare and inefficient.
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
I'll let a better rules-experienced person point out why Serra Ascendant is NOT a turn 1 6/6 monster.

I remember losing to poison counters back in the day.  I had no way to avoid it, mostly because a playset of anything was not on hand.  In recent years, I've taken up to 8 poison counters before but never succumbing.  I think that this new Infect ability might make for some ridiculous plays.  Mythic Confection, anyone?
The 2HG issue for Serra Ascendant and any number of similar cards would be easy to fix with a rule that just says your life total is always considered to be half the team's life total.  In fact, I thought there was such a rule; obviously it's not being applied as widely as I thought.

It was changed recently, to make 2HG more intuitive. MaGo had a fairly extensive spiel on why and there certainly were legitimate problems with the old rule, but the new one seems, according to people who know more about the format than I do, to have thrown the balance of the format out of whack.

Jeff Heikkinen

 

I have permanently left these forums.

Bad moderation decisions were the last straw, but there were other factors too.

But if you see this and are into tabletop RPGs and/or Final Fantasy and similar JRPGs, why not check out my site at philosoraptorgames.com?

I'll let a better rules-experienced person point out why Serra Ascendant is NOT a turn 1 6/6 monster.

You are either mistaken, or out of date on how the rules for 2HG work. The team's life total is your life total now. There's a huge thread in Rules Theory & Templating about it.

Jeff Heikkinen

 

I have permanently left these forums.

Bad moderation decisions were the last straw, but there were other factors too.

But if you see this and are into tabletop RPGs and/or Final Fantasy and similar JRPGs, why not check out my site at philosoraptorgames.com?

There's an elephant in the room when it comes to Serra Ascendant. Was it deliberate that white got a first-turn 6/6 flier in 2HG? I think we can all agree that Soul Sisters is kind of a cool deck in Standard, but there are serious worries that this card might be out of hand in 2HG.That's the sort of thing I'd expect a development article to discuss about this card.


R&D can't balance every card around every format.

If a card is problematic in 2HG, it should be banned specifically in 2HG (as was done with Erayo), not killed in development because it breaks 2HG.
Yes no explanation of Maze's exhoribant activation cost...

Remove either of the words "attacking" or "opponent", or dial back the activation by a mana or two, and it could have been something.  As is, it's just a kick in the crotch to the fans of that other Maze.

I have played and played against Mystifying Maze in Limited.  It was relevant despite the activation cost, highly annoying to my Baneslayer Angel, and in one case extremely difficult for me to get past, especially with my 3/3 bird token.  I have also played against Mystifying Maze in Archenemy EDH, where it was relevant and a nuisance (and would have been more so if my general wasn't Uril).  Finally, one of the Standard decks in the semifinals at US Nationals last weekend included Mystifying Maze.

If effectiveness in Limited, Constructed, and Casual isn't enough for you, what more do you want?

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 have not lost to Poison, but I have won with Poison back in the day.

Recalling those good times I dug out those cards and I have come close to victories with poison in EDH.

Marsh Viper backed up by Rafiq of the Many is not something that can be ignored; I got one opponent as high as 8 counters. Also, I came vary close to sweeping the table with Virulent Sliver + Mirrorweave (but some kind of Wrath or Inferno effect reset the board). I'm almost certain that if that deck had had more poison-relevant cards to work with, it'd go all the way.
I did not, however, expect that this card and Ajani's Pridemate would be enough to convince world-class players like Conley Woods and Tom Ross to play four Soul Wardens and four Essence Wardens at last weekend's U.S. Nationals.



Insert obvious nitpick about obvious typo. That said, why haven't you re-printed Essence Warden? Just wondering. 
Because it was planeshifted. Green doesn't do that sort of lifegain very often, normally. White does.

Also, I whiped this up for laughs:
 
It should be identical to the real thing, other than the frame (obviously) and the expansion symbol (That's what I put on all my goofy oneshots)
Because it was planeshifted. Green doesn't do that sort of lifegain very often, normally. White does.

Yes, it was planeshifted. So was Prodigal Pyromancer. There are plenty of planeshifted cards that are just fine in the "usual" colour pie, and Essence Warden seems to me to be number 2 on that list right behind the Pyromancer. Green does lifegain all the time, and green cares about creatures all the time.

It's not a huge deal; like I said, I was just wondering. I suppose Leyline of Vitality is pretty close to this particular mark.

"We think that lands that don't make mana break expectations and are confusing, so we don't do that anymore."

I do recall recently opening an eye of ugin... maybe by "you don't do it anymore" you mean starting with M11.

And I've lost to poison before. A friend of mine is pretty hardcore about deckbuilding, and he made a sick poison deck I just couldn't stop.
"Whats poison? " You're talking about the band right?

The biggest Vorthos Ever I'd rather have an awesome mechanic than the most flavor any day. Constantly coming up with cards all the time. So if you see a card you like tell me. Constantly trying to get into card of the week if you see a card you like please nominate.

If effectiveness in Limited, Constructed, and Casual isn't enough for you, what more do you want?

Um... more effectiveness?

Here's he previous diatribe, annotated:

Remove either of the words "attacking"
Making an annoying creature go away for a little bit would be significantly more useful if it didn't care if that creature was attacking or not.

or "opponent"
One of the more subtle uses of the other Maze was 'feeling out' how an opponent was going to block, or baiting out combat tricks, or just plain being a backup plan.  If a combat was looking to be disfavorable, back that attacker out and try again next turn.

or dial back the activation by a mana or two
The five mana activation (four plus the opportunity cost of not being able to tap for mana) means this card is not going to be able to speedbump Stompy or Aggro in any meaningful way.  By the time it does come online, it's almost always more efficient to just murder that attacker somehow (unless that opponent is stupid enough to walk Phage into a MystiMaze).


It seems to me that Wizards was going to out of its way to make damn sure the card only saw occasional competive play by preventing it from ever really being a combo card, damn sure it wasn't going to be an "unfun" casual card by inflating the activation, and damn sure it wasn't going to only see occasional Limited play by making it rare.
"We think that lands that don't make mana break expectations and are confusing, so we don't do that anymore."

I do recall recently opening an eye of ugin... maybe by "you don't do it anymore" you mean starting with M11.

And I've lost to poison before. A friend of mine is pretty hardcore about deckbuilding, and he made a sick poison deck I just couldn't stop.




They probably reasoned that Eye of Ugin was close enough to making mana, since it saves you mana by making your spells cheaper.  I'm betting that they originally gave it the Eldrazi Temple ability, then adjusted it for one of a number of reasons and figured it would be an acceptible "technically not but kinda so if you look at it right".
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
So, next week is "Poison Week". Makes sense.
OMG click HERE! OMG! How to autocard and use decklist format
--->
For autocarding, write [c][/c] with the name of the card inside it. [c]Island[/c] = Island For linking a card to Gatherer without writting the name of said card for readers, use the autocard brackets together with and equal sign and right the name of the real card. Then put the message you want inside the tags, like you would do with autocarding. Like this: [c=Curse of the Cabal]Captain Never-resolves[/c] = Captain Never-resolves For using the decklist format, follow this: [deck] 4* Terramorphic Expanse 4* Evolving Wilds ... [/deck] It equals:
Real signature, Sblocked for space:
57817638 wrote:
I like storm crow because I really like crows in real life, as an animal, and the card isn't terribly stupid, but packs a good deal of nostalgia and also a chunck of the game's history. So it's perhaps one of the cards I have most affection to, but not because "lol storm crow is bad hurr hurr durr".
Listen to my SoundCloud while you read my signature. The Island, Come And See, The Landlord's Daughter, You'll Not Feel The Drowning - The Decemberists by vimschy IMAGE(http://dragcave.net/image/rkvR.gif)IMAGE(http://dragcave.net/image/L3es.gif) IMAGE(http://dragcave.net/image/m71H.gif)
Quotes
56747598 wrote:
57295478 wrote:
Although I do assume you deliberately refer to them (DCI) as The Grand Imperial Convocation of Evil just for the purposes of making them sound like an ancient and terrible conspiracy.
Now, now. 1994 doesn't quite qualify as "ancient".
56734518 wrote:
Oh, it's a brilliant plan. You see, Bolas was travelling through shadowmoor, causing trouble, when he saw a Wickerbough Elder with its stylin' dead scarecrow hat. Now, Bolas being Bolas took the awesome hat and he put it on his head, but even with all his titanic powers of magic he couldn't make it fit. He grabbed some more scarecrows, but then a little kithkin girl asked if he was trying to build a toupee. "BY ALL THE POWERS IN THE MULTIVERSE!" he roared, "I WILL HAVE A HAT WORTHY OF MY GLORY." and so he went through his Dark Lore of Doom (tm) looking for something he could make into a hat that would look as stylish on him as a scarecrow does on a treefolk. He thought about the Phyrexians, but they were covered in goopy oil that would make his nonexistant hair greasy. He Tried out angels for a while but they didn't sit quite right. Then, he looked under "e" (because in the Elder Draconic alphabet, "e" for Eldrazi is right next to "h" for Hat) in his Dark Lore of Doom and saw depictions of the Eldrazi, and all their forms. "THIS SHALL BE MY HAT!" he declared, poking a picture of Emrakul, "AND WITH IT I WILL USHER IN A NEW AGE OF DARKNESS -- ER, I MEAN A NEW AGE OF FASHION!" And so Nicol Bolas masterminded the release of the Eldrazi.
57864098 wrote:
Rhox War Monk just flips pancakes, and if games have told us anything, it's that food = life.
56747598 wrote:
76973988 wrote:
This thread has gotten creepy. XP
Really? Really? The last couple days have been roughly every perverse fetish imaginable, but it only got "creepy" when speculation on Mother of Runes's mob affiliation came up?
76672808 wrote:
57864098 wrote:
57531048 wrote:
Nice mana base. Not really.
Yeah, really. If my deck was going to cost $1000+, I'd at least make it good.
99812049 wrote:
I like to think up what I consider clever names for my decks, only later to be laughed at by my wife. It kills me a little on the inside, but thats what marriage is about.
56816728 wrote:
56854588 wrote:
Of course, the best use [of tolaria west] is transmuting for the real Tolaria. ;)
Absolutely. I used to loose to my buddy's Banding deck for ages, it was then that I found out about Tolaria, and I was finally able win my first game.
70246459 wrote:
WOAH wait wait wait
56957928 wrote:
You know, being shallow and jusdgmental aside, "I later found out that Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people"
56957928 wrote:
"I later found out that Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people"
56957928 wrote:
Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates
56957928 wrote:
OH MY GOD
109874309 wrote:
The only way I'd cast this card is into a bonfire.
82032421 wrote:
The short answer is that there's no rule barring annoying people from posting, but there a rule barring us from harassing them about it.
56747598 wrote:
Browbeat is a card that is an appropriate deck choice when there's no better idea available. "No better idea available" was pretty much the running theme of Odyssey era.
56874518 wrote:
Or perhaps it was a more straightforward comment indicating a wish for you to be bitten (Perhaps repeatedly) by a small yet highly venomous arachnid.
70246459 wrote:
58280208 wrote:
You're an idiot, and I'm in no mood for silliness.
57817638 wrote:
57145078 wrote:
You just... Vektor it.
That's the answer to everything.
70246459 wrote:
58347268 wrote:
I think the problem is that you don't exist.
This would sound great out of context!
56965458 wrote:
Modern is like playing a new tournament every time : you build a deck, you win with it, don't bother keeping it. Just build another, its key pieces will get banned.
57864098 wrote:
57309598 wrote:
I specifically remember posting a thread when I was just a witty bitty noob.
You make it sound like that's still not the case.
58325628 wrote:
Rap is what happens when the c from crap is taken away.
Doug Beyer:
But sometimes it's also challenging. Because sometimes OH MY GOD, WHAT THE HELL IS THIS THING?
141434757 wrote:
Flashforward five thousand years (Click for atmosphere) :
57927608 wrote:
to paraphrase Jeff Goldblum, Vektor finds a way.
58347268 wrote:
when in rome **** AND PILLAGE
143229641 wrote:
I always find it helpful when im angry to dress up in an owl costume and rub pennies all over my body in front of a full body mirror next to the window.
Dymecoar:
Playing Magic without Blue is like sleeping without any sheets or blankets. You can do it...but why?
Omega137:
Me: "I love the moment when a control deck stabilizes. It feels so... right." Omega137: "I like the life drop part until you get there, it's the MtG variant of bungee jumping"
Zigeif777:
Just do it like Yu-Gi-Oh or monkeys: throw all the crap you got at them and hope it works or else the by-standers (or opponents) just get dirty and pissed.
57471038 wrote:
58258708 wrote:
It's true that Alpha and Beta didn't contain any cards like Tarmogoyf, Darksteel Colossus, or Platinum Angel. It just contained weak, insignificant cards like Black Lotus, Mox Sapphire, and Time Walk.
Normally it's difficult to pick up on your jokes/sarcasm. But this one's pretty much out there. Good progress. You have moved up to Humanoid. You'll be Human in no time.
91893448 wrote:
94618431 wrote:
I didn't know Samurai were known to be able to cut down whole armies...
They can when they're using lightsabers!
57129358 wrote:
97980259 wrote:
My wife brought home a baby black squirrel they found on a horse track and cared for it for a few days. We named it Grixis, but it died.
Unearth it!
70246459 wrote:
[/spoiler] And I'm on Magic Arcana. How about you? Oh, by the way, I'm also on From the Lab now. Twice, actually. And now with my own submited decklist!
m11 is definitely the best core set. alpha was a horrible set.

and mystifying maze is terrible. being relevant in limited isn't a great thing for a rare to be.
I agree with the sentiments about Mystifying Maze. It needs to be cheaper, or more versatile.

I do love the idea, though. It works awesomely against level up creatures, but horribly against CIP creatures.
I don't think the five-mana pricetag is at all excessive for a colorless removal spell which is permanent against tokens, Auras, +1/+1 counters other than those a creature started with, etc. etc.  But the disconnect with Sparkmages is definitely strange.  Ooh, I know!  It should use PHASING!  That'd be stronger, though, so you'd have to jack up the price even more.
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
I don't think the five-mana pricetag is at all excessive for a colorless removal spell which is permanent against tokens, Auras, +1/+1 counters other than those a creature started with, etc. etc.  But the disconnect with Sparkmages is definitely strange.  Ooh, I know!  It should use PHASING!  That'd be stronger, though, so you'd have to jack up the price even more.



the problem is that the card will invariably be compared to maze of ith (which was their intention when designing it) and in almost every situation where maze of ith was good, the new maze is awful. that is depressing.
That's like saying Black Lotus is good and Elvish Spirit Guide is a horrible disappointment.  Maze of Ith is ridiculously borken and shouldn't exist.  Mystifying Maze is about right, maybe overpriced by one mana out of precautionary overcompensation; I can live with that a lot more easily than I can with cards as stupidly overpowered as the Maze.  (I've said a lot of words starting with "over-" in this post.)
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
That's like saying Black Lotus is good and Elvish Spirit Guide is a horrible disappointment. 



other than the fact that black lotus and elvish spirit guide have nothing to do with each other at all, and the new maze is very, very clearly intended as a reference to maze of ith, you're right. so basically, if you ignore the point i was making completely.

look at path to exile: not insanely overpowered, but very obviously a reference to swords to plowshares. fulfils exactly the same purpose. the maze fails at this.

edit edit: look at lotus bloom. that's an example of a success using your own example.
Path to Exile (and Swrods to Plowshares) ARE horribly overpowered.  They kill the 11-mana Darksteel Colossus for 1 mana, in exchange for something mildly useful but nowhere near as important.  And that's just the Ur-example; there are thousands of creatures that cost 4 or more mana but can be killed with just a single untapped plains.  It's very borken; the cost of removal ought to usually be proportionate to the cost of what it removes.  Terror/Doom Blade is more or less okay since it misses black creatures, but even there I think it's stronger than it needs to be.  All removal ought to be toned down to make the game more proactive and make the choice to play what removal you do have more meaningful, like castling in chess - you can only do it once, so make sure it's the right time.

I was originally going to mention Lotus Petal, but figured Elvish Spirit Guide was basically the same function only weaker for being mono-color.  Lotus Bloom is a nicely fixed BL, just like Mystifying Maze is a nicely fixed Maze of Ith.  The time delay and the mana cost are both about proportionate to the utility involved.
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 seems to me that Wizards was going to out of its way to make damn sure the card only saw occasional competive play by preventing it from ever really being a combo card, damn sure it wasn't going to be an "unfun" casual card by inflating the activation, and damn sure it wasn't going to only see occasional Limited play by making it rare.

You know what would be awesome?  If all cards (other than basic land) each saw only occasional competitive play.  That's how you'd know the game was really balanced.  In particular, lands aren't something that most colors can answer, so you don't want a land with a colorless activation cost to be strong enough to go into a large fraction of decks.  (Unless we're also going to force everyone to run Tectonic Edge, which doesn't seem that desirable either.)

I'm glad that Wizards isn't printing unfun casual cards; why is this a problem?  Hmm, speaking of fun casual cards, I should put my Mystifying Maze into my Karn, Silver Golem EDH deck.


There aren't many answers to lands, especially in Limited.  What's wrong with the Maze being a rare?  That seems like exactly the right rarity to me.  It would be kind of silly at uncommon, and its status as utility would make it inappropriate at mythic.

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...
The M11 sees constructed play, I think they costed it right. 
Path to Exile is a common that sells for five dollars.  If that's not an imbalanced card, then I don't know what is.
Especially when it isn't actually a common, nor is it the first uncommon to sell for $5.

But beyond that PTE is not a badly unbalanced card. Strong, yes. But bad players will mess up the game with it by accelerating at the wrong time. It's a perfectly fine card.
Especially when it isn't actually a common, nor is it the first uncommon to sell for $5.

But beyond that PTE is not a badly unbalanced card. Strong, yes. But bad players will mess up the game with it by accelerating at the wrong time. It's a perfectly fine card.


Say instead that rather than too strong, it is environment warping.  It is universal kill that costs only a single mana and goes through almost all of a creature's possible defenses (other than Shroud, Pro-White, and I guess some sort of cheap bounce or redirection effect, not that there are any such in Standard).  Regeneration, Indestructibility, and returning from the graveyard are all useless with it around, and since it's also the cheapest removal available, it will often function as an incidental hoser of creatures with those abilities even when that wasn't why the deck builder was including it.  (That aspect, btw, is a personal pet peeve - kill spells that exile their targets are fine, but why make the best kill spells automatically include that as a free side effect?  At least Terror has been replaced by Doom Blade now.)

I guess my point is, what's the point of having creatures like Spearbreaker Behemoth, when even if you get him onto the table, the removal the White decks are already running incidentally goes through his defenses like they aren't even there.  Sometimes a cheap exile ability may be needed in the environment (thanks, Marit Lage), but it shouldn't also be the most efficient removal spell even if you don't care about the exile aspect.

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...

If Spearbreaker Behemoth was two cards in one, or undercosted, or created a situation where you had only your turn to answer it, then it could see play. Path To Exile is not what it stopping it. Better creatures are. The power creep was here first.

And to be honest, we could play the "what's the point" game with the majority of creatures in sets. Outside of limited and the kitchen table, they have no shot. A seven-mana 5/5 with no evasion is one of those "have no shot" cards.

If Spearbreaker Behemoth was two cards in one, or undercosted, or created a situation where you had only your turn to answer it, then it could see play. Path To Exile is not what it stopping it. Better creatures are. The power creep was here first. 

And to be honest, we could play the "what's the point" game with the majority of creatures in sets. Outside of limited and the kitchen table, they have no shot. A seven-mana 5/5 with no evasion is one of those "have no shot" cards.


Fine, but that wasn't really my point.  If the Behemoth cost one or two fewer mana, then the fact that Path to Exile and Oblivion Ring take care of him "for free" would be relevant.  People are already running those cards, for reasons that have nothing to do with getting around Indestructibility (there are no relevant Indestructible cards in Standard - sort of Thornling, but not really), but if an Indestructible creature were to pop up, they would have it already taken care of.

When the answers that are already being played for other reasons also can deal with a potential new type of threat, the power level of the new threat has to be a lot higher than it would otherwise.  It really stifles variety in deck-building.  That's what I'm objecting to - the same as when all of the efficient removal in 10th Edition (Terror, Incinerate, Wrath of God) prevented Regeneration as a random bonus (although at least in the case of Wrath of God it could be considered an attempt to prevent abuse).  Cudgel Troll and River Boa still haven't been seeing play post M10 (possibly related to Path to Exile and Terminate?), but at least their outlook is better than it was before.  (Yes, I'm aware that Cudgel Troll is competing with ridiculously powerful 4-drops.)


For another example, people play Oblivion Ring and Maelstrom Pulse maindeck primarily for creatures and planeswalkers.  However, should an artifact or enchantment threat pop up, those decks have it already taken care of.  This means the power level of a surprise threat (for example, Pyromancer's Ascension, Howling Mine, or Manabarbs) has to be much higher to be viable.  When the most efficient answers can stop all kinds of threats, it stifles innovation in both threats and choices of answers.


I guess a corollary of this is why Counterspell is gone.  The cheap answers should be situational, the versatile answers should be expensive.

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...
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