10/01/2010 LD: "Twitstorm Part 2: Scars of Twitstorm"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Why not give everyone access to the effects, Design wondered, and use the less sexy card draw as the reward for being on color? That's what they tried, and it stuck.

I think you are the only person with a pro point in the history of Magic that feels card draw is less sexy. There is nothing more sexy then card draw.
You think simple cases of tension on permanents like Spellbombs are bad, because it's too difficult?

Wow.

...

Really? Did I actually read that right? Thanks for removing one more chance for me to think critically about my cards, and one more chance for me to outplay someone. Wouldn't want someone to have to actually make a choice in a game of choices.

I don't really complain much about Magic's changes, but that's just terrible.
I dunno...  In the days of mirrodin, killing a Disciple of the Vault was pretty sexy.  Now. we get to make it so that the disciple can't block...  Gimme back pyrite spellbomb...

And yeah.  I don't mind tension on non-creature cards.  I like being allowed to outplay my opponent as well.
"Design identified two issues with the old spellbombs. One was that you had to choose between drawing a card and using their effect, which is a source of tension in game play. Do I want a random card, or do I want to deal 2 damage to something? They're a little simpler to play with if you just get to do both. Developers like the hard parts of Magic to be attacking and blocking and casting spells, not making fiddly decisions about marginal effects on a permanent, so that appealed to us. The other issue is that the fun part of the card is the effect, which originally was locked away from you if you weren't playing the right color. Why not give everyone access to the effects, Design wondered, and use the less sexy card draw as the reward for being on color?"

So depressing! Seriously, this is why I am getting less and less enthusiastic about Magic all the time. I do understand the desire to make a more 'satisfying' experience for the player by giving them both outcomes, but as has already been pointed out, removing choices that give good players a chance to show an edge over a worse player is a terrible thing!

Ok, I also understand that you're not wanting to remove such situations, just limit them to 'attacking and blocking and casting spells', but we're just going to have to agree to disagree here. I think that a player having to decide whether his Pyrite Spellbomb is more valuable as a source of card draw or 2 damage is interesting, challenging, skill-testing, a chance for a player to develop.

Wizards is always very sensitive to the charge that it is "dumbing down" Magic, but honestly look at what you have stated here; you've said that there was a challenging tension about the choices involved in the old spellbombs and we wanted to only have that challenge in other parts of the game so here we just let players do everything. That is, in terms, an admission that you are intentionally removing skill-testing aspects from certain parts of the game.

"Do I want a random card, or do I want to deal 2 damage to something? They're a little simpler to play with if you just get to do both." - Surely as clear an admission as there can be that the game is being deliberately simplified, and isn't that just a nicer way of saying dumbed down? Rhetorical question, as I have long since accepted that Wotc and I will just never agree on a lot of things!

[off topic, I just hopped over to Starcity to check the price in my sig was up to date, and found that Jace had increased from $74.99 to $89.99 since I last looked. Another reason I'm losing interest in the game.]
"Personally, I believe $50 is the roof that someone will pay for a Standard card, Mythic or otherwise." - Ben Bleiweiss, StarCity Games ----------------------------------------------------------
I definitely agree with those above me.  Removing the choices from the spellbombs was a bad idea.  One of the things I liked about Magic in the past was the conflict of choices.  So what if whatever choice you make does not do too much on the battlefield, the need to think before you act was an enjoyable aspect of the game.

Now you have removed most of the choice conflicts from the game, leaving "do I attack/ not attack, block/not block and with what" and "do I play the spell now or later".  Tension was a good thing about this game and made it fun.  Now that tension is pretty much gone in my opinion, all for the sake of new players.

I taught myself how this game during 7th edition because no one was willing to teach me when I asked them how to play the game (they said it was too complex).  It took a while to work all the kinks out, but now I am pretty good at this game.  I am even teaching others how to play.  The only thing keeping me from high level tournaments is lack of money.  If I can learn this game on my own with a little assistance along the way during a period when small choice tensions were still in this game, other new players can as well.  I am not a genius and there are many people better than me at solving puzzles and have better creativity, yet I still play this game and enjoyed the tension.
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)

I really liked the old Spellbombs.  They're still one of my favorite cards from the set, because they A) have a useful effect and B) basically cycle if you happen to stumble on mana.  The new ones don't help you dig yourself out of trouble if you stumble on your mana.  They also play a lot like the Seals, where you can toss them down and have the effect waiting on the board (although not as good because you have to keep mana open).  I feel like the new Spellbombs ignored the depth that the old ones had in favor of giving players both effects.  I don't mind a new take that gives you both, but I don't want the fun and utility of the old ones to be lost on your team.  If you're mana screwed, these new bombs don't help you save yourself (i.e. they are "win more" cards).


The other thing about Spellbombs I liked was how they gave you more interesting options for creatureless decks.  Creatures are fun, but building a deck without creatures can also be fun, and I don't want that to be lost entirely from Magic.

I used to think the "dumbing down" complaints were stupid. Now I see that they are very true.

I really do not see how mark rosewater can be considered a good designer. In this article it states that mark rosewater WILL not let a card that removes poisin counters see the light of day in this block. Isn't that a little bit premature to rule out the possibility that poisin will be so strong that you might need to print poisin removal? How can this not be a sign that Rosewater sucks at design?

Also...

Wasn't Rosewater on design during the Affinity Fiasco. Wasn't he the one that thought of affinity? Correct me if I am wrong.

can I do better than Rosewater? Anyone with common sense can.
For the record, I only said Scars Sealed was "okay" because of the inherently swingy nature of 6-booster Sealed. The best pools can ridiculous, and the sub-par pools can be abhorrent; which one you get is dependent not only on which bombs you open (my midnight pool had 2 dual lands as rares -- or "blank" cards as far as Sealed is concerned) but on what cards, if any, you get in crazy multiples.

Not that I think 4-pack 30-card Sealed is a viable alternative, although to be fair I haven't actually tried it yet. I just miss Tournament Packs, even if I completely agree with the reasons behind discontinuing them.
<--- Another voice in the chorus of "Tension is GOOD!"

I don't recall any new players being turned off by Spellbombs in their prior incarnation (or anyone, really - they were universally popular).  We can reprint an entire cycle of hilariously bad Myr, but we can't reprint an interesting, powerful, popular cycle of Spellbombs?  Huh?

Understanding on-board tricks and value is a part of skill.  Subtle decisions *should* matter, and should be possible to mess up.

I mean, how far does this go?

Cunning Sparkmage
2R
Creature
0/1
T: ~foo~ deals one damage to target creature or player.
At the end of your opponent's turn, if Cunning Sparkmage is untapped, Cunning Sparkmage deals one damage to that opponent.

There, that's a better design, right?
When people complain about the "dumbing down of Magic", the spellbomb comment illustrates excatly what they are talking about.  Good cards with tough choices are better than middling cards with no choices, IMHO. Thank gawd I don't play standard - RAWR ATTACK!

But I really wanted to comment on this:

I think I'll go with the set's lead developer, Mike Turian. He's likely one of the top ten Limited Magic players of all time, and I learned a ton about making Limited formats from him while we developed the set. He's also very handsome.



Turian is many things, I'm not sure handsome is one of the words I'd use but he is funny as hell.  However, I can't believe you'd choose him since he still has still not apologized for Tarmogoyf.
Classic Quarter
(www.classicquarter.com)
Man, where were all you guys when combat damage got taken off the stack? We could have used the "forcing us to make interesting choices is good, having Sakura-Tribe Elder just do everything is bad" crowd then ;-P
The new spellbombs have a different kind of tension in the decision between choosing to use it now or later. Numerous time during the prerelease, I'd be faced with a choice whether to crack my Horizon Spellbomb with or without paying the "draw cost". If crack it now, I won't be able to cast my three drop but if I don't crack it I might miss my four drop. With the increased activation cost of these spellbombs, they represent a significant alteration to your curve as compared to the one mana activation of the past spell bombs.

Of course, this argument really only applies to the Green one as the others are more utility than anything else. 

Another change in the new spellbombs is that it shifts the thinking from play into deckbuilding. A deck would never run an off color spellbomb in Mirrodin but the new spellbombs can plug holes present in an off-color deck in a way that the old ones never can. They also a much greater combo potential than the previous ones.
Man, where were all you guys when combat damage got taken off the stack? We could have used the "forcing us to make interesting choices is good, having Sakura-Tribe Elder just do everything is bad" crowd then ;-P



That is a clever and very fair point. However, can't we use the same point to illustrate a the contradiction in Wotc's thinking?

As you correctly point out, when damage-on-the-stack was removed, I seem to recall that Wotc's party line was that when damage stacked your creatures could do everything; STE could trade with an X/1 AND fetch a land; Mogg Fanatic could trade with an X/1 AND ping something else, that was a problem. We were told that this was A Bad Thing, and that the tension and interesting game states caused by making creatures do only one thing or the other in such situations was much better, and would make the game a lot more interesting.

The logic behind the spellbombs follows a completely opposite path! Ok, perhaps people who liked damage on the stack but not the new spellbombs are being inconsistent. But by this very argument you raise, isn't Wotc kind of also turning its back on its own logic used to justify the changes to damage?
"Personally, I believe $50 is the roof that someone will pay for a Standard card, Mythic or otherwise." - Ben Bleiweiss, StarCity Games ----------------------------------------------------------
A fair question, and I'm not a developer, but here's a reasonable answer I see: there is such a thing as nuance and degree. Not every card has to be made as simple as possible, and not every card has to be made as skill-testing as possible. Different crowds enjoy different things. There is not one overriding philosophy that guides this, but a instead an overall goal that requires course corrections on both sides to achieve.
A fair question, and I'm not a developer, but here's a reasonable answer I see: there is such a thing as nuance and degree. Not every card has to be made as simple as possible, and not every card has to be made as skill-testing as possible. Different crowds enjoy different things. There is not one overriding philosophy that guides this, but a instead an overall goal that requires course corrections on both sides to achieve.



There certainly is such a thing as nuance and degree, but Tom's article doesn't mention such things.  It's a very clean, direct statement that he makes:


One was that you had to choose between drawing a card and using their effect, which is a source of tension in game play. Do I want a random card, or do I want to deal 2 damage to something? They're a little simpler to play with if you just get to do both.



Here is a thing that is a source of tension in gameplay.  It's simplier if this tension does not exist.  Therefore, we made this tension not exist.  Ta-da.

The damage-on-the-stack thing is, as already pointed out, the exact opposite of the argument Tom's making now.  Removing damage on the stack causes players to make difficult, fiddly decisions about permanents.  Players making more decisions and not being able to do everything they want to do was "good".  For the Spellbombs, though, players being able to make decisions and not being able to do everything they want to do is BAD, and we should let players get all the bits they want without having to fiddle around with "thinking" and "stuff."  :-)

(FYI, I liked the damage off the stack change.  It was enormously overdue, and poorly positioned and announced, but a good change overall.)

Same argument, but Tom's switched sides out of convienence to the point he's making now.

Sure, there are subtleties here, and sometimes one side wins and sometimes the other side wins, etc., but Tom doesn't make those points.  Tom apparently doesn't believe that this loss of tension is a LOSS, but it is.  That's why we're all uppity about it - We're getting a statement that says "You know those cards you liked from before?  We thought they were too interesting, so we took some interesting out.  Now they're awesome."  We're kinda standing around in staggered disbelief.
Players making more decisions and not being able to do everything they want to do was "good".  For the Spellbombs, though, players being able to make decisions and not being able to do everything they want to do is BAD, and we should let players get all the bits they want without having to fiddle around with "thinking" and "stuff."  :-)



From the article:
Developers like the hard parts of Magic to be attacking and blocking and casting spells, not making fiddly decisions about marginal effects on a permanent, so that appealed to us.

That's why.
It's also why the red spellbomb only matters when creatures turn sideways.
I enjoy the conversation w/ WotC_MattT and Stern Judge.  All good points.  One thing though, the complaints about stack are more about players who enjoy getting an edge by knowing and remembering to execute stack based rules, as opposed to people who like choices (not that there isn't intersection in those two groups).  Though I am one of those people, and I still grimace a little when I play my tribe elders, I understand that it was not intuitive.  Indeed, like most when I first found out about it I thought it was bull.  As noted by nikosison, at least for horizon spellbomb I found it was still a lot tension, depending on my needs for the game.  I think more along the lines of horizon would have been the best solution.

As a total aside, I still miss manaburn...  that's a choice I think people should have considered, since magic is in essence a game about managing your resources.

 
Players making more decisions and not being able to do everything they want to do was "good".  For the Spellbombs, though, players being able to make decisions and not being able to do everything they want to do is BAD, and we should let players get all the bits they want without having to fiddle around with "thinking" and "stuff."  :-)



From the article:
Developers like the hard parts of Magic to be attacking and blocking and casting spells, not making fiddly decisions about marginal effects on a permanent, so that appealed to us.

That's why.



Yes, and this is why we have to make fiddly decisions about marginal effects on permanents after blockers are declared.  Because the "Declare Blockers" step is where complex decision trees should be isolated, and we should not allow them to leak out into other parts of the game.

Or, to remove the sarcasm...

If making fiddly decisions about marginal effects is something we want people to do during the declare blockers step (and damage off the stack encourages such things), then I think it's something we have to at a minimum be comfortable doing at other times.  With the Spellbombs, we have a fiddling decision that happens to be available pretty much all the time, and that's apparently not acceptable.

Subtle things are good.
A fair question, and I'm not a developer, but here's a reasonable answer I see: there is such a thing as nuance and degree. Not every card has to be made as simple as possible, and not every card has to be made as skill-testing as possible. Different crowds enjoy different things. There is not one overriding philosophy that guides this, but a instead an overall goal that requires course corrections on both sides to achieve.



Again, I will never argue with reasonableness (if that is indeed a word). Compromise, moderation in all things, etc etc. That said, I agree with the statement above that in this article there was not a hint of light and shade, it was stated very bluntly. But then again, we can't expect the writers to put on every single caveat and exception.

As long as all sides can remember that the only reason we have such strong feelings is because we all care deeply about the game then hopefully all will be well. We're not just naysayers and cynics for the sake of it, it's because we love the game, and same goes for the designers/developers.

However, based on the responses to this article so far it seems the old-style spellbombs are more popular. Or have more vocal supporters...Wink
"Personally, I believe $50 is the roof that someone will pay for a Standard card, Mythic or otherwise." - Ben Bleiweiss, StarCity Games ----------------------------------------------------------
Players making more decisions and not being able to do everything they want to do was "good".  For the Spellbombs, though, players being able to make decisions and not being able to do everything they want to do is BAD, and we should let players get all the bits they want without having to fiddle around with "thinking" and "stuff."  :-)



From the article:
Developers like the hard parts of Magic to be attacking and blocking and casting spells, not making fiddly decisions about marginal effects on a permanent, so that appealed to us.

That's why.



Yes, and this is why we have to make fiddly decisions about marginal effects on permanents after blockers are declared.  Because the "Declare Blockers" step is where complex decision trees should be isolated, and we should not allow them to leak out into other parts of the game.

Or, to remove the sarcasm...

If making fiddly decisions about marginal effects is something we want people to do during the declare blockers step (and damage off the stack encourages such things), then I think it's something we have to at a minimum be comfortable doing at other times.  With the Spellbombs, we have a fiddling decision that happens to be available pretty much all the time, and that's apparently not acceptable.

Subtle things are good.



The fact that spellbombs have a fiddling decision outside of the declare blockers step isn't the issue.  The issue is that the new spellbombs do not present as much of a dilemma.

 The old spellbombs made you choose between a certain effect OR draw a card.  The new spellbombs allow you to get the effect AND draw a card.  The only new dilemma the new spellbombs pose that the old ones didn't have is whether or not to spend that one extra mana to draw the card.  Not too hard of a decision.
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)
I don't get to play much sanctioned Magic these days, but I was much more active during Mirrodin, though I still didn't have enough time to invest in the game to get really good, so I still made dumb mistakes (in deckbuilding and playing). 

But I don't recall ever having an issue with an old style spellbomb. You did this or that. That was how it worked. There's plenty of cards I've played with where I've thought "this would be a better card if only I could do both things it has", but never for one of the spellbombs. 




And as for Metalcraft N, would it not have been possible to template it that way, but just put everything at 3 for this set, thus leaving yourself an opening for raising or lowering the number in a future set?



Development of the myrs?

Cute answer, but I think the unspoken question there is "what exactly is done when transplanting cards like this, especially cycles, into a new set". Like, did you know you needed something like that in the slot and you just naturally went in that direction, or did you want to use them and made them fit?

That's a question I have every time a card gets reprinted. Were you looking to reprint it, or did a spot in the set naturally call out for that card (such as, you found yourself thinking up a new card, and then you realized it was already a card)? And when that happens, what makes you decide to reprint as-is vs a rename (such as Terramorphic Expanse vs Evolving Wilds )


Proud member of C.A.R.D. - Campaign Against Rare Duals "...but the time has come when lands just need to be better. Creatures have gotten stronger, spells have always been insane, and lands just sat in this awkward place of necessity." Jacob Van Lunen on the refuge duals, 16 Sep 2009. "While it made thematic sense to separate enemy and allied color fixing in the past, we have come around to the definite conclusion that it is just plain incorrect from a game-play perspective. This is one of these situations where game play should just trump flavor." - Sam Stoddard on ending the separation of allied/enemy dual lands. 05 July 2013
And as for Metalcraft N, would it not have been possible to template it that way, but just put everything at 3 for this set, thus leaving yourself an opening for raising or lowering the number in a future set?

But, "Metalcraft" is merely an ability word, which doesn't actually do anything.

At any point in the future, Wizards can easilly print a card that says "... if you control [some number] of artifacts."
Man, where were all you guys when combat damage got taken off the stack? We could have used the "forcing us to make interesting choices is good, having Sakura-Tribe Elder just do everything is bad" crowd then ;-P


Well Matt, we were wondering where the hell the cards worth choosing were!  It wasn't until over a year later that Tom slipped out:


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.


So for that year, those of us who wanted to support you were saying "OK, so where exactly is the choice on Vengevine or Baneslayer Angel?"  The cards that were made - and still are being made to be honest - don't reflect the story we were given.  You can't expect people to side with you if you're vocally saying one thing and visibly doing another.


Developers like the hard parts of Magic to be attacking and blocking and casting spells, not making fiddly decisions about marginal effects on a permanent, so that appealed to us.

And from this comes the reminder that R&D is designing for people who can't figure out an 8/8 with Annihilator 2 would be a good attacker.  It's good that you make cards to teach these people, but you know they're not the only ones who play!  (Not yet, perhaps.)

The result of all this has been that skill has moved to subtler areas.  Metagame analysis and deckbuilding.  Sideboarding and mulligans.  And more subtle reading of the opponent, though there aren't a lot of tricks seeing play in Constructed and sweepers aren't what they used to be.


For example, to anyone who watched the Top 8 in Amsterdam: did you have a favorite play that you saw?  Seven best-of-five matches from some of the top players in the world, so surely we should have some good stories of their skill, right?  I bet you most people can't name one.


Now partly this is the fault of a coverage strategy that would rather show me players' nosehairs than cards.  And there might have been one, Rietzl's Mana Tithe on Jacob's Cruel Ultimatum, except that happened off-camera.  So we don't know if he tried to hide it, or passed opportunities to use it, or intentionally kept mana open for it, or just lucked into it in hand at the right time.  Perhaps I should give benefit of the doubt on that being a display of skill. But really the best skill story from Amsterdam's top 8 is Rietzl's strategy of sideboarding in Relic against Ma's Jund.  Which his team came up with in the hotel room the night before.


So that's where Magic has gone.  The strategy isn't in the game.  The potential is still there, but the cards that are good enough to see Constructed play are hit-you-over-the-head obvious in their use. And thus the game looks to be devoid of strategy, even though it's not, because you've chased skill out to the corners.

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DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

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Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

I used to think the "dumbing down" complaints were stupid. Now I see that they are very true.

I really do not see how mark rosewater can be considered a good designer. In this article it states that mark rosewater WILL not let a card that removes poisin counters see the light of day in this block. Isn't that a little bit premature to rule out the possibility that poisin will be so strong that you might need to print poisin removal? How can this not be a sign that Rosewater sucks at design?

Also...

Wasn't Rosewater on design during the Affinity Fiasco. Wasn't he the one that thought of affinity? Correct me if I am wrong.

can I do better than Rosewater? Anyone with common sense can.



It's pretty obvious that you're a troll, but none of the points you posted make any sense.

Then again, you are trolling so w/e.

SOM limited is fun so far, and that's all I care about anyways . . .
Okay, seriously, how many people seriously used the pyrite spellbomb or aether spellbomb for the cycling aspect?  I only used it when you had to i.e. when I needed my next land drop.
In my cog deck, when I had good board control anyway, and was digging for a finisher.  The pyrite/aether spellbombs were excess at that point, and a finisher would actually go about winning me the game.

However, your statement actually covers the point being raised.  When do you pop the spellbomb for a card?  How do you determine whether it's better to dig for you next land drop/finisher/etc... or get rid of the pesky X/2 that's knocking chunks out of your health.  That's the tension being discussed.
Okay, seriously, how many people seriously used the pyrite spellbomb or aether spellbomb for the cycling aspect?  I only used it when you had to i.e. when I needed my next land drop.


Yes, that is what the second ability is for. Very few people would add a Spellbomb just for deck thinning; instead, they plan on using its primary ability. The secondary draw-a-card ability is a backup plan.

Mirrodin was a good block for multicolor decks, because it did not matter which type of basic land I drew when I played my artifacts. But that meant that occasionally I had a Spellbomb in play without the right color of mana to activate its primary ability. So I would sacrifice it to draw a card. The ability to essentially cycle it for generic mana is the advantage that Pyrite Spellbomb had over Seal of Fire.

Tom LaPille said,
One was that you had to choose between drawing a card and using their effect, which is a source of tension in game play. Do I want a random card, or do I want to deal 2 damage to something? They're a little simpler to play with if you just get to do both.


There is still a choice. The choice moved to a different place.

In deck design people could chose to include a SoM Spellbomb for its effect even if they aren't playing the right color of mana to draw a card. Without black mana, Nihil Spellbomb is a Tormod's Crypt. Flight Spellbomb could be useful against flying creatures in a monogreen deck. Usually it would be a poor choice, but in Limited, sometimes a poor choice is better than nothing.

Or people could still sacrifice the Spellbomb and pay to draw a card, but they don't have to sacrifice it to its own ability. I could sacrifice Panic Spellbomb to a Ferrovore and still pay to draw a card. Scars of Mirrodin has seven spells that pay a cost by sacrificing artifacts. I thought that was the purpose of the SoM Spellbombs when I first saw them: to encourage sacrificing artifacts.

Players making more decisions and not being able to do everything they want to do was "good".  For the Spellbombs, though, players being able to make decisions and not being able to do everything they want to do is BAD, and we should let players get all the bits they want without having to fiddle around with "thinking" and "stuff."  :-)



From the article:
Developers like the hard parts of Magic to be attacking and blocking and casting spells, not making fiddly decisions about marginal effects on a permanent, so that appealed to us.

That's why.
It's also why the red spellbomb only matters when creatures turn sideways.



Let's make some insight into this combat policy. Don't get me wrong, I love combat and clogged boards that have to be worked out in order to win where many people just disconnect and go for either an alpha strike or a "never attack until decking" position. However, I think that encouraging combat into constructed has been hard and not without failures. Here are some points that can be taken as "reasons why combat won't be ever constructed viable" or "challenges for combat to be successful in constructed" depending how you see it:

a) Combat tricks make combat more complex, yet combat tricks are rarely worth in constructed. When players know that opponent's might be holding Giant growths, Acts of treason or Smites, they have to play around the potential blowouts or the bluffs interacting a lot in the process; however, in constructed removing a creature is far easier and more effective than making it unable to block and having a Tarmogoyf and a Giant growth is always worse than just having two Goyfs. The result? Constructed battlefields tend to be composed of pure revealed information, making them easy to figure out.

b) Combat tricks have to make the assumption that the opponent is also playing with combat in mind. If you have an Infiltration lens, you are relying on your opponent playing potential blockers, if he's not because he is playing a control deck or combo deck, the combat tricks are just dead cards like Auras.

c) Even among combat decks, there's no guarantee that they will form a diverse field. As appealing as it would be the idea of tons of different decks with different ways to exploit combat (big creatures, first or doublestrikers, evasive guys, etc), so far the story is that even among them there's usually one of them that dominates the rest. Take Mythic conscription vs Monogreen: despite the monogreen deck is playing honest and deploying its threats - blockers at a regular pace, suddenly the Mythic deck puts a 10 /11 creature with trample attacking on turn four and all the fairness of the green creatures can't do anything but lose. At least from my perspective, trying to develop a fair big guys - fast critters - evasive creatures triangle is as hard, if not harder, than trying to develop a balanced aggro - combo - control triangle.

With these challenges in mind, which is correct? to try to overcome them or just to give up, try to make this combat utopia playable on limited and let constructed to become whatever the players figure out in order to win? I want to believe that developers are still trying the first, but evidence pretty much tells they have chosen the second.
If Limited gets in the way of printing good Constructed cards... Screw limited
Question:  Why is okay to print (or plan to print) mass artifact removal in an artifact block, but not okay to print something that removes even a single poison counter?

I remember a time when WotC printed very powerful answers within a set to hose even a single specific card in the same set.

Dissipate – This is another card I created in development. Its creation was pretty straight-forward. A slot opened up for a counterspell. Dissipate was designed with one clear goal: blue needed an answer to another card in the set, Hammer of Bogardan. After running through the options, I liked the idea that the spell just simply didn't put the Hammer in the graveyard.


That's a quote from Mark Rosewater, in his article "Jamuraa, the Merrier."
www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/Article.a...

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad the days of uber-hosers are mostly over.  But it just seems rather strange and unfortunate that today we won't get even a single specific answer to an entire strategy (poison) in the whole block.  I understand that poison can mostly be "answered" using creature removal, but that doesn't feel like quite enough.  I'm not saying we need Leeches, but a few cards like Harm's Way would have gone a long way in this set.  A spellbomb-like cog that removed a single poison counter or two would have been lovely as well.

In my limited experience playing with the set so far, poison feels more akin to mill than anything else.  You slowly die from it with no hope of recovery after the damage is done.  Just like mill, it's not a particularly fun way to die.  The fact that a life total can move up and down makes it a great area for very cool interactions and tensions.  "Interaction" with poison seem very one-sided, and thus far less fun.

The worst part is that I'm not sure poison is a particularly fun way to win either.  Pulling off a poisoning once or twice might be satisfying, but beyond that, it seems like it is going to get old pretty quickly, just like mill.  I guess I'll have to wait and see, but I certainly don't like hearing the news that we won't be able to remove poison counters this whole block.
Why is everyone complaining about no poison removal? Its not like lifegain has really ever been playable. Would changing Whitesun Passage to remove 2.5 poison counters really somehow make it not terrible?
Why is everyone complaining about no poison removal? Its not like lifegain has really ever been playable. Would changing Whitesun Passage to remove 2.5 poison counters really somehow make it not terrible?



Lifegain has been very playable combined with creatures or damage/life loss Smile
"Unpoisonlink" would be a bit unweildy, though.
"Unpoisonlink" would be a bit unweildy, though.



Leechlink
"Unpoisonlink" would be a bit unweildy, though.



Leechlink

"...that player gets a poison counter and you lose a poison counter" technically wouldn't be "removing" them.

"Unpoisonlink" would be a bit unweildy, though.



Leechlink

"...that player gets a poison counter and you lose a poison counter" technically wouldn't be "removing" them.




Awesome, like Fate Transfer, moving from one player to another. Yeah that can be printed according to Mark's rules ^^
The damage-on-the-stack thing is, as already pointed out, the exact opposite of the argument Tom's making now.  Removing damage on the stack causes players to make difficult, fiddly decisions about permanents. 



Rules and cards are two different things. Removing hard-to-explain rules that block out new players is significantly different than designing cards that are completely easy to play. In fact they were doing the latter with Shards for a year before the M10 rules came out. Interestingly, no one said boo until the rule change was announced, and then all of a sudden there were problems because they removed DOTS. The card pool is the problem, not the loss of mana burn or the loss of combat tricks that were made possible only because the rules team needed a workaround to deal with gang-blocking.

Anyway that doesn't make the new Spellbombs good design, and in fact I have already railed against "all-upside" design in another thread today. It just means that Tom is not directly contradicting that position of "options versus choices" that was used in defending the rule change. Game rules need to be straightforward while the cards should present the difficulty. It seems they are willing to make the cards more straightforward, and this is sad. I am still glad Shards is gone, but I don't have particularly high hopes for Standard actually being interesting having seen all of Scars. We'll see what the replays are like online in a couple of weeks.