10/15/2010 LD: "Standard Doubles"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Leonin Arbiter, Memoricide, Tunnel Ignus, and ... Viridian Revel? (Other candidates for fourth slot: Ratchet Bomb, Volition Rains, Halt Order.)
"Why do we playtest most for Standard?  Because Standard is the format most people play."

Why is Standard the format most people play?  Because it's the one you playtest most, and thus is the only one you're trying terribly hard to balance.

Grrrrrrrrr............
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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
Okay. You have one block, being printed after Scars wraps up. You need to try to bring Vintage into balance, /without/ destroying Block, Standard, Extended, Legacy, Draft, or Sealed. Good luck.

That's already addressed further down, and is indeed common sense if you think - the more cards there are, the smaller an impact a new addition has. 
"Why do we playtest most for Standard?  Because Standard is the format most people play."

Why is Standard the format most people play?  Because it's the one you playtest most, and thus is the only one you're trying terribly hard to balance.

Grrrrrrrrr............

I would instead question the assertion that Standard is the format that most people play.  If "casual constructed" is a format, there are many, many players who play that way, and rarely if ever attend tournaments of any variety.
Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
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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...
Also, Standard is the most likely Constructed format to see at FNM because it's the only one that's allowed to be played there, unless something has changed quite recently. So that assertion is pretty trivial.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
I would instead question the assertion that Standard is the format that most people play.  If "casual constructed" is a format, there are many, many players who play that way, and rarely if ever attend tournaments of any variety.


It's also near-impossible to tune. What cards will they play with? The ones they have. What set is that? It's different from player to player. 'Casual constructed' is basically infinite formats. Great for play, probably literally impossible to balance, other than, well, counters to decks that tear up more restricted formats. And they do work on those.

I always percieved Standard as most boring format ever, excluding the times of Invasion block and Time Spiral block. Standard has too little variety and to me always seems like choosing a deck from those devs carefully balanced and created for you.
I really loved the now late Extended format, and was REALLY disappointed when they brought it closer to standard. It's easier to control and keep balanced, yes, but it also kills variety and creativeness.
I really hope they're going to make a new eternal format, something like cards from Tempest and further, that would be some fresh air: not much old overpowered cards, more creativity, more strategy. I'd gladly play this.
I liked Legacy but Wizards still managed to harm it. They introduced ANT with Alara, and this was something fresh and new, they they decided to 'balance' it by killing Mystic Tutor, which of course was a strike for a whole lot of combo decks.
With time, they print more cards, but the choices become more and more narrow.
Bring more cards to enforce all the great formats, not just your precious standard and limited! Cards to build a new decks with in Legacy at least in every block would be very very appreciated.
PS. And something not like Tarmo I hope.
The assertion that Primeval Titan is the powerful one startled me; when I saw the Titans I instantly dismissed Primeval as the worst.  Having paid six mana for a gigantic beatstick, why would you pass on awesome abilities like 3 points of burn or 4 more power of Zombies so that you can get LAND?  You already have lots of mana or you couldn't have played the Titan (Flash and the like aside, there being very little of that sort of thing in any modern set); even the ability to get two Cloudposts and the other two on an attack doesn't seem enough to make adding mana to a mana sandwich any kind of a big deal.

Granted, I formed that opinion having forgotten about the ability-lands in Zendikar, that give things like color protection or +2/+0, as those working with Primeval does have possibilities.  But it still doesn't seem like it can possibly be stronger than Grave Titan at the very least, with Sun probably seeming like the second-placer to me.  (I have yet to hear a reason why Frost wouldn't be #5 of the bunch.)
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 always percieved Standard as most boring format ever, excluding the times of Invasion block and Time Spiral block. Standard has too little variety and to me always seems like choosing a deck from those devs carefully balanced and created for you.
I really loved the now late Extended format, and was REALLY disappointed when they brought it closer to standard. It's easier to control and keep balanced, yes, but it also kills variety and creativeness.
I really hope they're going to make a new eternal format, something like cards from Tempest and further, that would be some fresh air: not much old overpowered cards, more creativity, more strategy. I'd gladly play this.
I liked Legacy but Wizards still managed to harm it. They introduced ANT with Alara, and this was something fresh and new, they they decided to 'balance' it by killing Mystic Tutor, which of course was a strike for a whole lot of combo decks.
With time, they print more cards, but the choices become more and more narrow.
Bring more cards to enforce all the great formats, not just your precious standard and limited! Cards to build a new decks with in Legacy at least in every block would be very very appreciated.
PS. And something not like Tarmo I hope.

Have you been paying attention to Standard recently? It's usually had at least a couple dozen viable decks at any given time. And even when Lorwyn came out and a lot of the decks were obvious tribal themes, there were plenty of non-Tribal decks, and many tribal decks had options to allow a lot of variety within them.

The assertion that Primeval Titan is the powerful one startled me; when I saw the Titans I instantly dismissed Primeval as the worst.  Having paid six mana for a gigantic beatstick, why would you pass on awesome abilities like 3 points of burn or 4 more power of Zombies so that you can get LAND?  You already have lots of mana or you couldn't have played the Titan (Flash and the like aside, there being very little of that sort of thing in any modern set); even the ability to get two Cloudposts and the other two on an attack doesn't seem enough to make adding mana to a mana sandwich any kind of a big deal.

Granted, I formed that opinion having forgotten about the ability-lands in Zendikar, that give things like color protection or +2/+0, as those working with Primeval does have possibilities.  But it still doesn't seem like it can possibly be stronger than Grave Titan at the very least, with Sun probably seeming like the second-placer to me.  (I have yet to hear a reason why Frost wouldn't be #5 of the bunch.)

Primeval Titan can fetch out man-lands, ramps into the Eldrazi fatties (or other powerful, expensive cards), enables Valakut, etc.

Frost Titan can lock down their Titans (or Baneslayer Angel, or man-land, or any other threat).
"Why do we playtest most for Standard?  Because Standard is the format most people play."

Why is Standard the format most people play?  Because it's the one you playtest most, and thus is the only one you're trying terribly hard to balance.

Grrrrrrrrr............

I would instead question the assertion that Standard is the format that most people play.  If "casual constructed" is a format, there are many, many players who play that way, and rarely if ever attend tournaments of any variety.



"Casual" really isn't a format since you don't play it at tournaments and doesn't have a banned/restricted list.  Also, Wizards has no way to track how many people play casual games.  They can track how many people play in Standard tournaments and tournaments of other formats.

Having said that, Standard is the format offered the most in a tournament setting as far as I know.  I haven't seen too many Vintage, Legacy, or Extended tournaments, yet I see Standard tournaments all the time.

I haven't played in any of the major tournaments (pro tour, etc...)  so I don't know what format they play.
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)
The assertion that Primeval Titan is the powerful one startled me; when I saw the Titans I instantly dismissed Primeval as the worst.  Having paid six mana for a gigantic beatstick, why would you pass on awesome abilities like 3 points of burn or 4 more power of Zombies so that you can get LAND?  You already have lots of mana or you couldn't have played the Titan (Flash and the like aside, there being very little of that sort of thing in any modern set); even the ability to get two Cloudposts and the other two on an attack doesn't seem enough to make adding mana to a mana sandwich any kind of a big deal.

Granted, I formed that opinion having forgotten about the ability-lands in Zendikar, that give things like color protection or +2/+0, as those working with Primeval does have possibilities.  But it still doesn't seem like it can possibly be stronger than Grave Titan at the very least, with Sun probably seeming like the second-placer to me.  (I have yet to hear a reason why Frost wouldn't be #5 of the bunch.)



In any format where you have something good to ramp into, ramp is insanely powerful.

This is what makes Primeval so good. If we did not have Valakut or Eldrazi that really wanted ramp, he would be fun (grab two Teetering Peek and make him a 10/6 or something), but not overpowered. But the fact that we do have cards as good as Valakut and the Eldrazi means that if you can get to them faster than anyone else, you have a great chance of winning.

Even when there aren't crazy awesome big Timmy cards that you want to play 3-4 turns earlier, ramp is and always will be powerful because it puts you several turns ahead of your opponent.

Also, Standard is the most likely Constructed format to see at FNM because it's the only one that's allowed to be played there, unless something has changed quite recently. So that assertion is pretty trivial.



This, hahahaha. Now it sounds just like one of those dictators in a shady country proudly proclaiming 95% of the people voted for his party in the democratic elections..... that it was the ONLY party is just a minor detail Tongue out
Primeval is the most powerful b/c it followed the land block.  In older environments he would not have been the best.  Which is actually a sign of nice design, I think.  I hope the Titans are around for a while.

My only quibble with standards might be why the company likes it: cost.  The requirement of mythics to compete, especially planeswalkers, elevates cost considerably.  It would have been interesting if the planeswalker rule had actually been like being restricted.  Not one in play, but one in deck.  (I know that means that the game is more draw dependent, though.)  The yearly rotation of core sets exacerbates this.  I'm a budget player now; splurged on Master of the Wild Hunt; too bad for me. 

I think standard is the most common format because any game playing population is probably left-skewed towards recent players.  It would be super-interesting to see the actual demographics on this, for games in general and Magic in particular.  Many long time Magic players gravitate towards casual play, at least anecdotally, where they can play the cards they've grown fond of.

I like Legacy getting more popular, though, as I can play those cards competitively, and trade ones I'm not interested in (Entombs) for newer powerful cards (BSA, 2nd tier planeswalkers, etc.)
The assertion that Primeval Titan is the powerful one startled me; when I saw the Titans I instantly dismissed Primeval as the worst.  Having paid six mana for a gigantic beatstick, why would you pass on awesome abilities like 3 points of burn or 4 more power of Zombies so that you can get LAND?  You already have lots of mana or you couldn't have played the Titan (Flash and the like aside, there being very little of that sort of thing in any modern set); even the ability to get two Cloudposts and the other two on an attack doesn't seem enough to make adding mana to a mana sandwich any kind of a big deal.

Granted, I formed that opinion having forgotten about the ability-lands in Zendikar, that give things like color protection or +2/+0, as those working with Primeval does have possibilities.  But it still doesn't seem like it can possibly be stronger than Grave Titan at the very least, with Sun probably seeming like the second-placer to me.  (I have yet to hear a reason why Frost wouldn't be #5 of the bunch.)


First of all, trample on a 6/6 is very good. It's hard to say if it's better than all the other titans' abilities (What kind of deck is it in? What kind of deck are you playing against?), but deathtouch and firebreathing on a 6/6 are almost redundant. 6 power will kill almost any blockers and deal substantial damage unblocked even without the keywords, but they can still both be chump-blocked or blocked by something with protection or regeneration or whatever. Trample can't. And it's basically impossible to make a fair comparison between trample and the other two Titans' abilities because they serve different purposes, but they still seem less suited to a 6/6 than trample does.

Second, like everyone else has already said, land-tutoring on a 6 CMC card might be redundant in another Standard environment but here it's still very good. Between landfall, fetch lands, lands with comes-into-play triggers, and all kinds of expensive stuff in the Eldrazi block, six lands is just getting started for a lot of decks.

Third, don't rely entirely on theorycrafting and logical arguments, especially your own "instant" reactions; look also at the wisdom of crowds at least a bit. Which Titan appears the most in Constructed decks?
One of the four "answers" is definitely Dissipation Field. This handles the Valakut and Eldrazi decks(except for Emrakul) very very well.
I think standard is the most common format because any game playing population is probably left-skewed towards recent players.  It would be super-interesting to see the actual demographics on this, for games in general and Magic in particular.  Many long time Magic players gravitate towards casual play, at least anecdotally, where they can play the cards they've grown fond of.



I think you nailed it. Standard is cheaper than other formats to get into, with a smaller and more recent card pool. It's pushed on the new player as just that: the standard-- "we're all doing it, dude!" Soon the new player is hooked on the game, and after getting their soul sucked dry from the over-increasing costs of sucessive rotations they drift off into harder formats, like Extended and Legacy; they're dependant on the stuff, and Wizards is free to focus on new users players.

If Magic development was bowling, then printing answer cards is like putting bumpers in the gutter. We hope that we won't hit them when we bowl, and almost all of the time we don't, but if that's what it takes to get the ball down the lane, we're glad to do it. Scars of Mirrodin has at least four cards I can think of that fill this role. Can you find them?


Leonin Arbiter, Memoricide, Tunnel Ignus, and ... Viridian Revel? (Other candidates for fourth slot: Ratchet Bomb, Volition Rains, Halt Order.)


Leonin Arbiter and Tunnel Ignus are both aimed at the previous block's cards (and they have been doing that kind of thing for quite a while, whether the previous block was OP or not) rather than insurance against something OP in this one. And yeah, Memoricide is definitely an "answer card".

Someone else guessed Dissipation Field, which is bad for stuff from the previous block but also seems like good all-purpose insurance against creatures being too powerful.

My guess for "answer cards" would be Acid Web Spider, in case any of the Equipment turned out to slip through playtesting overpowered.

I was expecting to find some kind of answer to infect in white, but I couldn't, except for all the usual damage prevention stuff. Fulgent Distraction is the closest thing I could find (prevents up to two creatures from attacking, makes their controller pay to re-equip them, and kills something outright with Grafted Exoskeleton on it), but I just can't imagine that a card like Fulgent Distraction was intended for Standard play. If there's any card designed to counteract infect other than generic creature removal anywhere in Scars, I can't figure out what it is.
This is what makes Primeval so good. If we did not have Valakut or Eldrazi that really wanted ramp, he would be fun (grab two Teetering Peek and make him a 10/6 or something), but not overpowered. But the fact that we do have cards as good as Valakut and the Eldrazi means that if you can get to them faster than anyone else, you have a great chance of winning.

Even when there aren't crazy awesome big Timmy cards that you want to play 3-4 turns earlier, ramp is and always will be powerful because it puts you several turns ahead of your opponent.




Well if you don't own all those fancy lands he's pretty redundant.  The difference between 6 land and 8 or even 10 is normally smallish; it's getting to 6 in the first place that's the hard part, especially when they print 3/2 tramplers for 2 mana.  Gah, stupid aggro.

If I open a Primeval, I'll just sell it.  He's not worth much without the really insane cards you need to make him work.  Although I confess the idea of Valakut and Elsewhere Flask is now tempting me.

I did forget about trample, but it's not like trample in green is a rare thing.  And Grave Titan has his own variant of trample, it's called "attacking with two more creatures each turn".  Unless you have 3 blockers, you're taking some damage.  That his deathtouch is pretty irrelevant hardly matters; he didn't need anything other than those Zombies.

"Wisdom of crowds" is an oxymoron.  "Many minds, a single madness."  And I don't look at tourney statistics.

I'll acknowledge Primeval Titan is powerful; I never claimed it wasn't.  I just thought that the others except maybe Frost seemed more so, but that was before I remembered things like Valakut and Sejiri Steppe.

And Frost Titan locks things down *temporarily*.  That's kinda useful, and certainly about the best blue can hope for, but it further confirms my belief that the others are all better.  (I also consider him to have far and away the worst art of the bunch, especially compared to the art description.)
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
And Frost Titan locks things down *temporarily*.  That's kinda useful, and certainly about the best blue can hope for, but it further confirms my belief that the others are all better.  (I also consider him to have far and away the worst art of the bunch, especially compared to the art description.)




Of course, "temporarily" often means "until the game is over." Plus, Frost Titan wins one-on-one against each of the other Titans
Not to beat a dead horse, but ...

You're actually telling us that you created Mindbreak Trap as an multi-color answer (i.e. utility card) for use against Storm decks ... and then put it at Mythic rarity?

(Using my best Ricky Ricardo voice) ... you have some 'splainin to do!


Aye, Yai Yai Yai Yai!


Later,


Don!
A failure to plan, is a plan to fail.
Not to beat a dead horse, but ...

You're actually telling us that you created Mindbreak Trap as an multi-color answer (i.e. utility card) for use against Storm decks ... and then put it at Mythic rarity?

(Using my best Ricky Ricardo voice) ... you have some 'splainin to do!


Aye, Yai Yai Yai Yai!


Later,


Don!



Well you are beating a one year old dead horse.  We already know that Wizards toed the line by making Mindbreak Trap, Lotus Cobra, and Warren Instigator and it seems to have already bitten them in the rear.  I can't think of any mythics they have printed since Zendikar that could be classified as utility.  So stop bringing up a one year old mythic rarity argument.

Frankly I wish people would just stop complaining about mythic rarity altogether and accept that mythic rarity is here to stay.  But I know it isn't going to happen.
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)
As I have said before, this is a new Godwin's Law.

And Tom was the one that brought up Mindbreak Trap - not Don. If you don't want something to be talked about, don't bring it up.
I don't know why you play so much Standard, but we play so much Standard because it's the only format you'll sanction at Friday Night Magic. Oh, and you can't go two rotations without screwing up Extended, nor will you reprint Legacy staples...

To summarize, we play so much standard because we have no choice.
Not onboard with all this praise for the titans - if you want a diverse environment you should make every effort to make all cards costed at the same power level.

The titans are blatantly undercosted, and while they may be balanced against eachother, the fact that every standard deck seems to autoinclude the titans of the chosen colors is pushing out all other creatures in the format.

Creatures are getting more powerful every year, and while this may raise the pulse of players when they read spoiler lists and open packs, the hidden cost is that games are getting quicker and quicker, and cards which create interesting situations to play around become less and less feasible.

Think of the best games of magic you ever played, and I bet you none of them lasted less than 10 turns, but with Baneslayer angels and Titans abound, we have a drive to shorter games.
To summarize, we play so much standard because we have no choice.

Well, people certainly can choose to play casually around their kitchen tables. They can choose to play with Legacy-legal decks there too, or by any other set of rules that avoids arguments.

If people go to events sponsored by dealers on their premises, and receive prize support and MPRs from Wizards, it only makes sense that this support is really to reward people for purchasing boosters, not for playing as such, and so the support is directed at the formats which involve purchase of new product.

I don't see this as involving any inordinate or unreasonable greed on Wizards' part.

However, I also agree that there has to be some balance. Given that the original duals can't be reprinted, I hope Wizards does consider a new eternal format, such as Masques-forward. Legacy was thriving in the earlier days of Magic, and this didn't prevent the game from being popular and profitable. If cards lose nearly all their value when they rotate out of Extended - which will happen if there's nowhere to play them in sanctioned Constructed formats - then part of the reason for being interested in Magic will go away.

Legacy is less directly profitable for Wizards than Standard, but indirectly, just like Extended, it helps to keep Standard thriving. So I am optimistic that Wizards will find a way to balance the situation, because it's in its own interests to do so.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

Not onboard with all this praise for the titans - if you want a diverse environment you should make every effort to make all cards costed at the same power level.



See maestrogrande's avatar.  Wizards does not make millions of dollars by letting people who spend as little money as possible on the game be competitive.  A deck with 36 commons and 24 basic lands will never stand up to a deck with 4 of some extremely good common (see Lightning Bolt), 8 uncommons, 12 rares,  8 of the current $$$ mythics such as Titans and planeswalkers, plus dual lands, man-lands and fetches.  I sure wish it was possible, but it never will be, not as long as the Wotco employees have bills to pay.

Creatures are getting more powerful every year, and while this may raise the pulse of players when they read spoiler lists and open packs, the hidden cost is that games are getting quicker and quicker, and cards which create interesting situations to play around become less and less feasible.



I agree with this, but it's the reality of the current situation.  There was a time when creatures sucked, but that just meant the abusive and degenerate decks were usually creatureless, and that's even less fun for the most part.  As long as there are any power disparities whatsoever, Spikes will ruthlessly cut to the chase and deprive more creative players of a laid-back, "see what happens" game experience.

You want interesting, try playing Planechase or something.  Standard is not now and never again will be anything but a steroidal jock-contest for people whose biggest muscle happens to be their brain.  It might be intellectual, but it's still a macho game of "mine's bigger" among people who can't stand the thought of just being themselves and living life without having to prove something.  (To be fair, Mother Nature kind of encourages this mentality, so they'll likely get farther in life because of it than someone like me.)
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 sure wish it was possible, but it never will be, not as long as the Wotco employees have bills to pay.

Makes sense, and I can't really fault them for needing to print more exciting Mythics than commons - we all want the game to continue to exist. It just seems like the power disparity between the two is now shameless, so many commons are not even worthy of consideration for Constructed because their big brothers are better by every measure.

Also, I think the old days where the Spells were the superpowerful cards to sell sets, and the creatures were weaker led to longer and IMHO better games. As an example, "Wrath of God" is a mega powerful reset button, but it does not end games, it merely resets the board position and creates exciting tension for all players and a better narrative through the game.

An undercosted creature tends to only create positive excitement for one player and a sense of unfairness in the other player, and ends the game quickly.

I have been correctly diagnosed as a Casual player though...









Makes sense, and I can't really fault them for needing to print more exciting Mythics than commons - we all want the game to continue to exist. It just seems like the power disparity between the two is now shameless, so many commons are not even worthy of consideration for Constructed because their big brothers are better by every measure.



Sad but true.


Also, I think the old days where the Spells were the superpowerful cards to sell sets, and the creatures were weaker led to longer and IMHO better games. As an example, "Wrath of God" is a mega powerful reset button, but it does not end games, it merely resets the board position and creates exciting tension for all players and a better narrative through the game.


"Exciting tension" in teenagers or college students = "miserable unfun" for 8-year-olds with more disposable income and "wastes of valuable time" for people who have grown up and have busy lives where continuing to play their once-beloved game becomes increasingly less of a priority than keeping the bills paid.  Overall, while I do often feel that the time I spent shuffling is wasted when some overpowered card hits the table, the bottom line is that at least the games don't drag on for two hours this way.


An undercosted creature tends to only create positive excitement for one player and a sense of unfairness in the other player


If the other player is new to the game and familiar with the current paradigm, he'll be used to it and won't feel as much of that unfairness.  It might still suck, but he'll probably get over it and move on.  It's us grognards with our long memories of un-redressed grudges who get hung up on such things, for the most part.

My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
It's nice to say that you rarely screw up, which is true.  However, when you do screw up you have the consequences for a LONG time.  You screwed up with Bitterblossom, and we had terrible standard for 2 years.  You screwed up with Bloodbraid Elf, which made the next year terrible.


Time Spiral Block + Lorwyn + Xth edition was good.  However, once Lorwyn was released, standard was terrible from that point until M11 was released.  Lorwyn and Alara Block Constructed were both ruined by BB and BBE, respectively.  If you screw something up in the next set, we'll have to live with it for 2 years.
That's probably some of the inspiration behind Nu-Extended. If they do screw up, most cards will be gone for good in four years or less. It still sucks for Standard, but it goes away for good shortly after that.

You want interesting, try playing Planechase or something.  Standard is not now and never again will be anything but a steroidal jock-contest for people whose biggest muscle happens to be their brain.  It might be intellectual, but it's still a macho game of "mine's bigger" among people who can't stand the thought of just being themselves and living life without having to prove something.  (To be fair, Mother Nature kind of encourages this mentality, so they'll likely get farther in life because of it than someone like me.)



You need to try and understand that the point of competitive play is not always bragging rights and strutting like a peacock. It's about testing yourself as a player against someone else who is also testing himself as a player. You get caught up in that moment. It happens with physical and mental activities, whether it is the math club or the LCS series that are taking place in baseball. Unless you really think the guy standing at home plate with a bat in his hands is thinking, "I am going to steal that pitcher's girlfriend when she sees me get a base hit off of her man." 
Further thought leads me to the conclusion that since Wizards' bottom line is affected by sales of current product, but the existence of longer-term formats like Extended enourages the sale of current product by giving people confidence it will hold its value, then while an Eternal format would promote this even more, this doesn't really mean that Wizards' interests would be best served by a Masques-forward eternal format.

Instead, to make it more relevant to the current players it wishes to encourage, it could be, say, a Time Spiral-forward eternal format. Starting one block before current Extended, so as to be a different format at the moment it is announced, if it is announced during the current year. Legacy might have been good enough for people who bought cards in the past, but it isn't meeting the needs of people buying cards now - and to better serve them, as recent a starting point as possible would make sense.

Of course, that might be a little silly, but I could see, say, a Mirrodin-forward eternal format as being more attractive to current players than something dating all the way back to Mercadian Masques and Sixth Edition.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

Willpell what you lack in ability to formulate any sort of accurate opinion about another persnon's thought process you make up for in the ability to appear certain that you can.

Also: I'm annoyed that I was so annoyed that this made me break my promise not to post here againnnn. Grrrrrrr.
but if we were to make a whole new deck powerful enough to be played in Legacy in one set, we'd probably be doing something dangerous to Standard!


Legacy Zoo was practically extended legal for awhile! Obviously you're missing the Alpha duals. But you reprinted Lightning Bolt, gave it Wild Nacatl, Gaddock Teeg, Path to Exile (and I thought Swords would never be beat for Zoo), Ethersworn Canonist (sideboard, would not be played in Standard), and of course Tarmogoyf from the previous set. And then there was Arid Mesa - thank you, finally! Legacy Zoo is so full of awesome new creatures from the last 3 years of Magic that Kird Ape is not an auto-include anymore! Yeah, sometimes Loam Lion takes his spot, but that's not the point. Obviously Zoo depends on the Alpha duals and so it was never viable for Standard. But you were that close. A set of shocklands or one more Goblin Guide and there it is.

Also, Standard is the most played constructed format because FNM can't be EDH, Legacy, or pretty much anything else besides Standard.
First, Standard is by far the most played of all formats.



Any statistics to back this up?

This poll from 2008 showed that only 31% of voters on wizards.com has Standard as their favorite constructed format, and Standard players are probably overrepresented on wizards.com to begin with (90%+ of content on wizards.com being about Standard or Limited).

A later, similar poll on wizards.com was mysteriously 'lost' before the results could be posted, if I remember correctly.

Where I live, Legacy has been growing slowly but steadily in popularity since 2008, and it is my impression that Legacy is in fact the most popular format around here these days, if not 'by far'.
@willpell

I think this is the first time I've noticed that you are terrible at evaluating cards.  That said, it's also the first time I can think of you speaking about cards in relation to mechanical power rather than straight flavor (or, in your case, ill-recieved flavor).
Further thought leads me to the conclusion that since Wizards' bottom line is affected by sales of current product, but the existence of longer-term formats like Extended enourages the sale of current product by giving people confidence it will hold its value, then while an Eternal format would promote this even more, this doesn't really mean that Wizards' interests would be best served by a Masques-forward eternal format.

Instead, to make it more relevant to the current players it wishes to encourage, it could be, say, a Time Spiral-forward eternal format. Starting one block before current Extended, so as to be a different format at the moment it is announced, if it is announced during the current year. Legacy might have been good enough for people who bought cards in the past, but it isn't meeting the needs of people buying cards now - and to better serve them, as recent a starting point as possible would make sense.

Of course, that might be a little silly, but I could see, say, a Mirrodin-forward eternal format as being more attractive to current players than something dating all the way back to Mercadian Masques and Sixth Edition.



If they can't even get players to play Extended with Time Spiral forward I'm not too confident in a non-rotating format that starts there. The same is true for Mirrodin, which was not originally supposed to rotate out of Extended until this October. (Well actually, next October, when it was the "three blocks in three years" setup.)

We were talking about Masque-forward and Sixth-forward at some point earlier this year. But the moves in Extended indicate that they feel players who are attached to certain card sets (like me) either go right to Legacy or drop off the map. Extended was supposed to catch those Mirrodin and Ravnica players but it does not appear to have done its job. So they decided to abandon it and create in its wake a Standard Plus format.

I don't think we really have enough to say that a non-rotating format with a more recent starting point would thrive when a format just like it was gutted. More likely they are accepting of the fact that cards eventually fall into a black hole and in the meantime, they are going to concentrate on making more sets. I wouldn't be surprised if Nu-Extended fails in the same way that the previous incarnation did, especially if they are not sanctioning it at FNM.
We were talking about Masque-forward and Sixth-forward at some point earlier this year. But the moves in Extended indicate that they feel players who are attached to certain card sets (like me) either go right to Legacy or drop off the map. Extended was supposed to catch those Mirrodin and Ravnica players but it does not appear to have done its job. So they decided to abandon it and create in its wake a Standard Plus format.

I don't think we really have enough to say that a non-rotating format with a more recent starting point would thrive when a format just like it was gutted.



Time Spiral eternal would be not just like old Extended, the former wouldn't rotate while the latter did. I have zero interest in rotating formats but I might see myself becoming invested in a lighter eternal format, wherever it would start, and I hope there are enough others like that Smile
If Magic development was bowling, then printing answer cards is like putting bumpers in the gutter. We hope that we won't hit them when we bowl, and almost all of the time we don't, but if that's what it takes to get the ball down the lane, we're glad to do it. Scars of Mirrodin has at least four cards I can think of that fill this role. Can you find them?


Leonin Arbiter, Memoricide, Tunnel Ignus, and ... Viridian Revel? (Other candidates for fourth slot: Ratchet Bomb, Volition Rains, Halt Order.)


Leonin Arbiter and Tunnel Ignus are both aimed at the previous block's cards (and they have been doing that kind of thing for quite a while, whether the previous block was OP or not) rather than insurance against something OP in this one. And yeah, Memoricide is definitely an "answer card".

Someone else guessed Dissipation Field, which is bad for stuff from the previous block but also seems like good all-purpose insurance against creatures being too powerful.

My guess for "answer cards" would be Acid Web Spider, in case any of the Equipment turned out to slip through playtesting overpowered.

I was expecting to find some kind of answer to infect in white, but I couldn't, except for all the usual damage prevention stuff. Fulgent Distraction is the closest thing I could find (prevents up to two creatures from attacking, makes their controller pay to re-equip them, and kills something outright with Grafted Exoskeleton on it), but I just can't imagine that a card like Fulgent Distraction was intended for Standard play. If there's any card designed to counteract infect other than generic creature removal anywhere in Scars, I can't figure out what it is.

Acid Web Spider is an answer card in Scars, but not in current Standard in general.
Asceticism?
We were talking about Masque-forward and Sixth-forward at some point earlier this year. But the moves in Extended indicate that they feel players who are attached to certain card sets (like me) either go right to Legacy or drop off the map. Extended was supposed to catch those Mirrodin and Ravnica players but it does not appear to have done its job. So they decided to abandon it and create in its wake a Standard Plus format.

I don't think we really have enough to say that a non-rotating format with a more recent starting point would thrive when a format just like it was gutted.



Time Spiral eternal would be not just like old Extended, the former wouldn't rotate while the latter did. I have zero interest in rotating formats but I might see myself becoming invested in a lighter eternal format, wherever it would start, and I hope there are enough others like that



I'd get into TSP-forward myself, because it would be just too perfect and I could get by on my current collection, +4 Goyfs. (Actually, Ravnica-forward would be a better fit as I was active in Rav-TSp Stanard.) But I based my buying habits largely on what was at the time the two big rotation dates, 2011 and 2014. I could easily handle the seven-year plan even with Time Spiral leaving in 2013 as well.

By not giving me a place to play my current collection, I have been orphaned. Roughly 10% of my collection is legal in Standard now, possibly enough to scrape out a deck or two, but next October that number will be about 1% and will mostly consist of random core set reprints. I was fine with that because I knew the ride would end and to be honest, Shards made that format very uninteresting for me.

Extended is where the issue is. About 32% of my collection is legal in Extended now instead of 86% that would have been legal under the previous schedule. Next year at this time 15% will be Extended legal instead of 80%. To say I was directly hit by the change is an understatement. I am not here to play Zendikar-SOM Standard or Lorwyn-SOM Extended, and with nowhere else to go but Legacy, it is pointless to spend any more money on the game, and certainly that is true for any new card sets.

But even though it would benefit me, Time Spiral isn't exactly the most beloved of blocks and they couldn't get it out of Extended quickly enough. If they really think people were falling into Legacy out of Standard, and they made Extended smaller to try and capture more transitioning players, I just don't see where they would all of a sudden decide that any new format should start with one of the blocks that got the early exit. They don't care about me because I tapered off spending and eventually stopped. They'd like me a lot better if I would just go out and buy boatloads of new cards. Now obviously I could be wrong, but they do seem content to make the black hole even larger. The thinking is I will eventually re-enter the Standard pool again and they will get a lot more money from me that way.
They don't care about me because I tapered off spending and eventually stopped. They'd like me a lot better if I would just go out and buy boatloads of new cards.

I could be wrong, but I think that a Masques-forward eternal format, or something like that, would help to sell new cards. IMO, more people would be willing to get into Magic, or stay with it for longer, if their cards were going to continue to be valuable and useful after they rotated out of Extended.

So I'm not looking for the tail to wag the dog. I'd expect that such a new eternal format would only get limited support, with the intent being that it would fall somewhere between Legacy and Extended in popularity. The format wouldn't be there to supplant Standard, but to support it.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.