10/26/2010 SF: "Invaders! To Arms!"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Serious Fun, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
This seemed both insane and awesome, then EDH just had to show up.
...then stoners?
Sounds like an absolutely awesome format which I'd love to try out someday, not that it will ever happen.  However, as usual, Styborski makes the mistake of thinking I want to hear about his friends.  Less bragging about your social life, more content that the rest of us can actually use somehow, kthxbye.  The first third of this article makes up for the rest in this week's case, but it's becoming tiresome how often he has this problem.

PS - add the promo planes Celestine Reef and Tember City to the "don't play in this format" list; the former has a "until a player planeswalks" Platinum Angel ability and the latter is just miserable to play on for any length of time due to its continuous Manabarbs effect.   You might also axe Mirrored Depths, which is not overpowered but is fairly annoying, countering half of all spells played including those played from the opponent's deck by the ultimate - messy, but possibly in an entertaining way if you don't mind flipping a coin every twelve seconds.  (Note that none of these planes, along with the Horizon Boughs which is the only one of the four to be all-upside and fairly pleasant to play under, are listed in Gatherer, which has only the published Planechase planes and the first promo, Tazeem.)
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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
Dude, all three other players looked high out of their minds. I'm not one to judge, but I'm not sure these guys should look this unsavory on a family site like wotc's dailymtg.com
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willpell: I can understand how bragging about one's social life might not be what one'd want on dailymtg. However, I can't understand how the game report here can be construed as "bragging about his social life". We didn't hear anything about the preferences or foibles of these characters; no asides about their girlfriends; not even any comments on the snack food in evidence. Just comments on their gameplay, which is after all what a game report should contain.

I thought this was a good game report, helping us to have an idea of how the format plays. Of course, it'd be better if a player hadn't had mana troubles, but sadly in a game of 4 or more players, it's more likely than not that someone will. I encourage more lenient mulligan rules in multiplayer for this reason - it's horrible to play a long multiplayer game where someone just doesn't get to play at all. You wouldn't catch a decent German board game allowing that kind of player-lockout. 
Dude, all three other players looked high out of their minds. I'm not one to judge, but I'm not sure these guys should look this unsavory on a family site like wotc's dailymtg.com



You can see a much more cheery Brendan in last week's Serious Fun.  When we pointed out he always grins from ear to ear he dropped to that face.  Funny for us but doesn't translate well for you.

Steve was sick.  And very tired.  Medicine can only do so much.

Shawn was in full on "Let's go Phils!" mode as they were still fighting to win the right to head to the World Series.  He wanted his ballcap to be the in the picture.  Not pictured: the big screen TV with the ball game he was glued to.

There were no sketchy, unsavory activities or shenanigans.  Sorry if this comes as a surprise to you.

I thought this was a good game report, helping us to have an idea of how the format plays. Of course, it'd be better if a player hadn't had mana troubles, but sadly in a game of 4 or more players, it's more likely than not that someone will. I encourage more lenient mulligan rules in multiplayer for this reason - it's horrible to play a long multiplayer game where someone just doesn't get to play at all. You wouldn't catch a decent German board game allowing that kind of player-lockout. 



Keeping a two-lander in a deck with plenty of mana and some mana acceleration makes sense.  Shawn hit a rough patch in the "sufficiently randomized" distribution of his deck.  I've seen his deck get mana flooded and draw perfectly.  Random happens.

And we generally are pretty lax on mulligans; his hand didn't look like it needed any.
Adam Styborski Writer for Serious Fun Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/the_stybs
Ah, fair enough, then. It's a pity when that happens nonetheless, because that one player isn't getting much of a game and the other players in the game feel bad for them. But yeah, often a 2-lander is keepable, and sometimes random happens. I just dislike it when it does. 

(I'd go as far as to argue that the susceptibility to this kind of "you just can't play this game" random draws is the single biggest flaw in Magic. I think Wizards have implicitly shown they agree by making later games such as Hecatomb have the Dakkon Blackblade ability; I think Magic would be better if that ability were applied to all Magic games.)
willpell: I can understand how bragging about one's social life might not be what one'd want on dailymtg. However, I can't understand how the game report here can be construed as "bragging about his social life". We didn't hear anything about the preferences or foibles of these characters; no asides about their girlfriends; not even any comments on the snack food in evidence. Just comments on their gameplay, which is after all what a game report should contain.



I object to it being a game report in the first place.  Hearing about how much fun someone else (not me) had playing their deck (not mine) with their friends (not mine) is of virtually no relevance to me.  Plus as several other posters have pointed out more bluntly than I will, his friends are not exactly easy on the eyes.  I don't need to see these people, I don't need to see the cards they own, and I am only vaguely interested in hearing about the plays they made.

A better way to explain what makes this format neat would be to walk through some or all of the planes, present some sample scheme decks, corresponding invader decks, and native decks built around a few of the more interesting planechase planes.

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By the way, Big Sty forgot to mention perhaps THE most important candidate for the "don't make this your home plane" list (apart from Otaria which functions much the same):  The Aeon Fog.  It's appropriate to say that an invasion of Equilor, quite possibly the Multiverse's oldest plane, would just automatically fail, but a game where one team is in permanent Stasis, while the other team sits and does nothing for four turns but then is free to spend as it sees fit and maybe even double up on a creature ability here and there, would hardly be worth actually playing out.
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

Keeping a two-lander in a deck with plenty of mana and some mana acceleration makes sense.  Shawn hit a rough patch in the "sufficiently randomized" distribution of his deck.  I've seen his deck get mana flooded and draw perfectly.  Random happens.



In a 60-card deck with 24 lands, what are the odds that you will draw enough land?  Irrelevant.  The number of physical cards you draw is the only hard, reliable truth of the matter.  Your land could always be stacked neatly at the top or the bottom of your deck, no matter how much you shuffled.  Decks with fancy nonbasic lands (fetchlands, Onslaught cyclers, etc), Ramps and Llanos and various other techniques can survive fairly well, but a deck whose manabase is basic lands will just randomly lose every now and again.  And I agree with alextfish that this is a serious problem, although I don't know that the Hecatomb rule is the answer.  (PS - I miss that game; Wizards took down its website and I don't think I ever read the neat stories they wrote for it.)
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 object to it being a game report in the first place.  Hearing about how much fun someone else (not me) had playing their deck (not mine) with their friends (not mine) is of virtually no relevance to me.  Plus as several other posters have pointed out more bluntly than I will, his friends are not exactly easy on the eyes.  I don't need to see these people, I don't need to see the cards they own, and I am only vaguely interested in hearing about the plays they made.

A better way to explain what makes this format neat would be to walk through some or all of the planes, present some sample scheme decks, corresponding invader decks, and native decks built around a few of the more interesting planechase planes.



Game reports are a pretty good way display a format that you have absolutely no knowledge about. While I agree that the photographs were unnecessary, it is nice to see gameplay since it better displays the new interactions possible within a new format. Decks alone are meaningless without gameplay as they tend generate magical christmasland scenarios but when you actually play you realize how sucky they are. 
Game reports are a pretty good way display a format that you have absolutely no knowledge about. While I agree that the photographs were unnecessary, it is nice to see gameplay since it better displays the new interactions possible within a new format. Decks alone are meaningless without gameplay as they tend generate magical christmasland scenarios but when you actually play you realize how sucky they are. 



I'm beginning to think the fact that I seldom get to actually play the game I love is an advantage.  The "magical christmasland" part is what interests me; the dull probabilities of whether it the cool trick you've designed your deck around will actually work serve only to depress me if I confront them.  Better to imagine a epic game than to play a dismal one, perhaps.
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 enjoyed this article.  It gave a good rundown of the rules to the format and gave a sample game to somewhat show how a round of the format would work.  Too bad Shawn was without mana that game.
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)
Wow, now I want to see the Eldrazi invade Kamigawa. I wonder how people who fought their own gods would react to those eldrich monstrosities. Make it happen Wizards! (just not too soon, it might be a little too similar to SoM. maybe in six years)
I object to it being a game report in the first place.  Hearing about how much fun someone else (not me) had playing their deck (not mine) with their friends (not mine) is of virtually no relevance to me.  Plus as several other posters have pointed out more bluntly than I will, his friends are not exactly easy on the eyes.  I don't need to see these people, I don't need to see the cards they own, and I am only vaguely interested in hearing about the plays they made.

I suspect the reason you don't like reading about other people having fun is that you are completely lacking in empathy.  Fortunately, this is not a shortcoming that most people share.  It was reasonable and appropriate for Adam to include a game report in his article.

"not me", "not mine", "not mine"?  You don't care about other people, so why should other people care that reading about other people upsets you?

Adam's friends didn't photograph well for this article - so what?  If you just want to look at pictures of pretty people, there are plenty of websites dedicated to that.

If it bothers you that much to read about other people, then don't.  You'll have more time to pursue the things that do interest you.
By the way, Big Sty forgot to mention perhaps THE most important candidate for the "don't make this your home plane" list (apart from Otaria which functions much the same):  The Aeon Fog.  It's appropriate to say that an invasion of Equilor, quite possibly the Multiverse's oldest plane, would just automatically fail, but a game where one team is in permanent Stasis, while the other team sits and does nothing for four turns but then is free to spend as it sees fit and maybe even double up on a creature ability here and there, would hardly be worth actually playing out.

You could beat The Eon Fog if you prepared for it.  Serra's Blessing lets you keep attacking, and Awakening pretty much turns it off.  If "During your turn" includes upkeep, then Braid of Fire might be a tasty way to keep activating schemes, too.
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These are the decks I have assembled at the moment:
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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)
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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...
You could beat The Eon Fog if you prepared for it.  Serra's Blessing lets you keep attacking, and Awakening pretty much turns it off.  If "During your turn" includes upkeep, then Braid of Fire might be a tasty way to keep activating schemes, too.



Most decks, however, aren't prepared for it and would be completely locked out by The Eon Fog.  You would have to enter the game with full knowledge that The Eon Fog is being used and use a deck that is prepared to fight against it.
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