01/03/2011 Feature: "Designing the Masters"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Feature Article, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.
In other news, this Thursday is January 3rd.

Given that the article appears to be about designing the Masters' Edition for MTGO, this illustrates why it's unfortunate that the forums for MTGO are separated out from those of regular M:tG. It isn't as if there's a separate page with news and feature articles for MTGO which has a "forums" button that goes to the MTGO forums.

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.

The locals to MTGO seem to like the separation as far as I can tell. I see very few people from there anywhere else, and usually it is after some big announcement.

Of course it's got to be pretty darn easy to "design" a set with nothing but reprints. The only thing to talk about, quite honestly, is why a certain nine cards are not included. Perhaps this is about something else after all - but what, I would not know. MED IV comes out on the 10th so this article would be preetty timely.
The only thing to talk about, quite honestly, is why a certain nine cards are not included.

A Wizards employee posted to one of the threads in the MTGO forums in which this was being discussed.

I understood what he posted to strongly imply the following: that those nine cards are coming to MTGO, but when they are brought to it, it will be in a more spectacular (and, presumably, pricey) vehicle.

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.

Worth talks in those forums regularly, and often gives very good information. But in that case, he really didn't tell us a whole lot. In fact he didn't even fully commit to them ever being released there are all. He said the if and how are still being discussed which doesn't mean anything online. It means they aren't online yet, and don't ask me this for a while.
Worth talks in those forums regularly, and often gives very good information. But in that case, he really didn't tell us a whole lot. In fact he didn't even fully commit to them ever being released there are all. He said the if and how are still being discussed which doesn't mean anything online. It means they aren't online yet, and don't ask me this for a while.

For those of you who don't frequent the Magic Online forums, the post, by Worth Wolpert, Brand Manager for MTGO, was this:

The last post I will make on the subject until its not...

Just because the p9 do not appear in MED4 does not mean they are never coming to MTGO.

They aren't in MED4 because I want to be *very* careful about how they're deployed, especially as a resource that means so much to so many people, and bottom line was I didn't think MED4 was the right venue.

Many folks internally are for and many are against. Ultimately, it's my call. There are a lot of discussions happening all the time.

I just wanted it to be clear that we haven't come to a decision we're comfortable sharing right now, but just because that's the case, don't take silence or omission in MED4 to mean anything more than it does.

Indeed, my memory did play tricks on me.

It is not saying the P9 are coming. But it does appear, at least to me, to be saying that a decision that they are not coming has not been made. They could become available in MTGO, if that is the agreement that is reached.

It's true that this perhaps isn't a reason to get one's hopes up. After all, the safest thing to do would be not to make them available, and the kind of "right venue" for something like the P9 is... unclear, since clearly an MTGO equivalent to FTV would be even more of a wrong venue than MED4 would have been.

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.

Wood Elemental was probably a lot funnier in the WOTC offices than they will be for anyone who cracks one and isn't currently in a draft where he can pass it. I do hope there is that one person out there who is really excited to have access to it online. But there is a reason they no longer print a card if it is so bad you have to put it rare so as not to anger limited players. I actually think Farmstead would have been a better choice for a "bad" card. Some jokes aren't funny 17 years later, and not at $3.99.

I was very glad to see Leeches in the spoiler earlier, but much more so that it was given its own paragraph and was even described as making more sense now than it did in Homelands. Casual players who have been complaining about poison decks for precisely as long as poison has largely been ignored by competitive players now have something to combat it.

As an online player that no longer bothers with competitive play, I am looking forward to using bot credits and tickets to pick up quite a number of these cards. The set his the nostalgia nerve quite successfully and in many ways is what the original Master's Edition should have been.

However, I still feel like "Designing" is not the correct term here.
Of course it's got to be pretty darn easy to "design" a set with nothing but reprints.


The set his the nostalgia nerve quite successfully and in many ways is what the original Master's Edition should have been.


If it took them four tries to get it right, maybe it's not as easy as you think?

They didn't design anything at all. That's pretty darn easy.

The things they got wrong had nothing whatsoever to do with design.

I have an opinion on this. These sets were, in fact, designed. No cards were designed, sure, but the concepting and laying out of the set--even one using preexisting parts--is an important design job.

You can design buildings without inventing new kinds of steel and glass.

It seems like "designing" here means a sketch for how the set is supposed to play overall, rather than making the cards like Rosewater writes about each week.  I've never heard about designers on Masters Editions sets before (because while new paper Standard sets get 3 weeks of previews and articles, any online news is lucky to get one article - I can't find any articles written about ME2, just card-of-the-day previews).

I don't know if Erik Lauer visits these forums, but here are some questions/comments for him if he does:

So why all the color hosers but not Nature's Ruin and Virtue's Ruin (two relevant Legacy sideboard cards)?

It is very interesting to know that a plan was laid out for three future Masters Edition sets at once.  Wizards doesn't seem to usually be good about planning for the long-term for eternal (ie, no set plan to release P9, printed duals in two sets then reprinted all in one set, Legacy was supposed to come online about now but got rushed back in April).  So were the money rares planned out in advance, too?  Or were those chosen as the sets were being put together?

If the sets were planned out beforehand, why did ME4 require so many reprints? 

Why Alchor's Tomb?  It doesn't seem to do much in the set other than maybe save a creature from an Elemental Blast.  But there were plenty of other crap (and non-crap) rares that could have been more useful.  Rocket Launcher, perhaps.

It's great that you found a useful environment for Cyclopean Tomb.

I am a completist for getting all cards online, but man Rakalite at rare is going to hurt so much.

Where are Sorceress Queen and Norritt (and other interesting casual cards)?

Where are the Power 9?

Will there be a Masters Edition 5?
They didn't design anything at all. That's pretty darn easy.

The things they got wrong had nothing whatsoever to do with design.



Design submits a set of cards. Development tweaks them into (among other things) a working limited format.

Since tweaking from development is minimal in a reprint set design has if anything more of the responsibility.
I don't disagree that there was development involved. But I would say that there was far more of that than design. The goal here is to get old cards online in a way that makes them draftable.


I have an opinion on this. These sets were, in fact, designed. No cards were designed, sure, but the concepting and laying out of the set--even one using preexisting parts--is an important design job.

You can design buildings without inventing new kinds of steel and glass.




This is a good point...but it feels like "arranging" is a far better term. There are already known pieces here and a plan to get many of them online. Within those pieces either a theme exists within them or it doesn't. I still think that "design" does not seem to be a good fit here. "Arranging" maybe?


I am a completist for getting all cards online, but man Rakalite at rare is going to hurt so much.

Where are Sorceress Queen and Norritt (and other interesting casual cards)?

Where are the Power 9?

Will there be a Masters Edition 5?



I noticed the missing Sorceress Queen as well. And we all noticed the Power 9 missing in a set that gave Classic Time Vault and (unrestricted, for now) Library. I have to think there is a plan to get at least some of these cards online. Especially considering the ones that have made these sets already.

For example I am still waiting for Misfortune. But I will say that getting both Narwhal and Ebon Praetor (two cards I never thought I would see) was a nice treat. Theme or no, I am not sure Portal cards should have been more necessary than beloved cards from the non-Portal sets. I think there are definitely far too many Portal cards here in MED IV.
So why all the color hosers but not Nature's Ruin and Virtue's Ruin (two relevant Legacy sideboard cards)?


Because they weren't in Beta, I guess. But MTGO has Perish, anyway. And, to be honest, I have never seen anyone with Virtue's Ruin.
Design article about ME4 conveniently fails to address glaring absence of Power 9 in the self-proclaimed "artifact" set, or the rerunning of dual lands right after they were already in ME3.  I'm glad you instead opted to give us detailed information about what is truly important in ME4 though, like the relative merits of Farmstead vs. Wood Elemental.
Too bad, an explanation on the exclusion of power9 and plans for the future might have restored enough goodwill in my books to warrant me spending some serious cash on mtgo again. Hope you enjoyed that $6 I spent the other day WotC, its all you've got out of me since the set was spoiled, and its all you're going to get for the forseable future.
Captain of the Lotus Farmers - Yes you have my glove in your face! 420 Posts: 6/11/2010
Some other key points that fail to be addressed:

1) He left out all of portal in describing the overarching design of ME2,3,4 which is innappropriate since they all contain portal cards.

2) It was clear from the preview cards that up until the last minute, ME4 contained mythic rares (previews of cards like Wheel of Fortune, Library, etc all had the mythic rare symbol).  But then mythic rarity was removed from the set.  This is a significant "design" change yet he doesnt touch on it at all.

3) By raw count, ME4 contains over 25% "mtgo reprints" ie cards that were already available on mtgo. This is unprecedented for a ME set.  The original purpose of ME sets was to introduce pre-Mirage cards into the pool, has that purpose changed?  ME4 could have easily filled all pre-Mirage "holes" in the competitive legacy and vintage (if they desired) card pools.  But instead we get 25% "reprints" and are still missing relevant legacy cards like the "Ruins" (as previously mentioned) and Cruel Bargain.  And obviously no power=no vintage.

4) ME4 is being released with many more cards at rare (105) than previous ME sets.  There are a ton of paper uncommons and even commons that have been bumped up to rare for this set.  He mentions this briefly saying he wanted to make things like "color-hosers" rare, but this does not scratch the surface of what has been done with this set.

Really when I think about it, I am not impressed with the article at all. This set marked a pivitol release for mtgo, one that set a roadmap for the mirroring of paper and online formats. Additionally, as the points above indicate, it was "designed" a lot differently than previous ME sets, yet for a "design" article we get no insight into this dynamic.
One more question: why were the enemy duals put in ME3 when most of the legends in ME3 were of allied colors?  Shouldn't that set have had the allied duals instead of ME2? 


I would absolutely love an article with some insight into the design and the mistakes of ME2.  I think others would as well.  Perhaps just a write up on the mtgo boards if it's not appropriate for DailyMTG.  
If it took them four tries to get it right, maybe it's not as easy as you think?

No, those were four different sets, each one with different cards in it from the previous one. One needs cards from all of the first three sets to play Legacy, and one will now need cards from the fourth set as well to be competitive in Classic.

So it's not four tries to design the same thing. Even the Core Set isn't that. It's the four pieces of Wizards' back catalog being made available within MTGO.

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.

This article was 100% phoned in and does not address any of the controversies surrounding Master's Edition 4.

We didn't hear about:
-No Power
-the removal of Mythic rares just before publication
-the pushing back of release dates
-the absurd number of rares, especially relative to com/unc
-the total backtrack from ME3 on cost to collect, and previous stated intentions
-the inclusion of the dual lands as reprints
-the inclusion of so many reprints of existing cards
-the 10 awful rares that shouldn't have made it online, much less at rare (Wood Elemental is fine as a 1 note joke.  When it becomes a 10 note joke, it's less funny.)
-the removal of any new legacy playable cards from com/unc
-the lack of 3 obvious cards for Legacy
-the non-restriction of Library

Instead we got:
-the promotion of color hosers to rare ("Because white rares were hard to do, and I felt like it.  And despite Pauper having access to REB and BEB forever, I'm not going to give it to them because their text seems like another card we printed as uncommon.")

Also, the total lack of mention for Portal/Stater cards is very odd, I agree.  All in all, a poor article that address 1 point out of 15 or so we needed to hear about.  Very disappointing for a feature article.
As someone who has continually opined (opined is a good word here, because the most accurate one isn't printable) for more communication from WotC about the design and intention of the MED sets, I appreciate the article.  And it's a lead on the Mothership no less.  For that alone, I thank you from the bottom of my cold, blackened (as far as the Eternal formats goes) heart.

As someone who plays the game, this leaves me more (and I'm struggling for the right word here) scared, confused, frustrated (I guess I'll stick with frustrated) with the overall thought process that resulted in this article seeing the light of day.

First off, the release of the MEDs wasn't to create a great limited format.  If that was honestly the thought, and you can say that with a straight face ... well, in the words of R Lee Ermey in a recent Geico commercial, "I feel sorry for you."

The purpose of the MEDs (at least from the perspective of everyone I know) was to put cards in the online Classic card pool.  I understand the desire to create a great limited format, especially as the online play model revolves around that economic function -- but I'd wager that the majority of people interested in the set were far more concerned with the cards in the set than how they played in a limited format.

Secondly, and let's get straight to the complete disconnect between the community and the designers.  MED was sold to us (prior to the release of its contents) as the "some of the greatest cards from Magic's past" ... what we got was Force of Will (as a chase rare) in a short-lived set, and a bunch of random monkey poo.  Pretty much the first question everyone asked was either 1) where's the P9, and even more glaringly -- 2) where's the dual lands?

Even Worth came out and said that they were suprised by the reaction of the community to the lack of dual lands in the initial set -- and said they would get into the next set.  Then marketing chimed in (most likely explanation to date) -- and pushed the dual lands into two separate MED sets, 5 in MED II and 5 in MED III.

To me, this whole process has smacked of ad hoc planning from the beginning.  It began with the reasonable idea of bringing pre-Mirage cards online, but due to a number of factors -- which this article clearly glossed over -- resulted in an initial offering that was, frankly, pretty poor.

The impact of these poor decision points continues to stifle the Eternal online community to this day.  FoW is likely the linchpin card of the Eternal formats -- maybe even more so than the P9.  With the way this set was released, and the timing of the release (a low point in MTGO programming stability), a de facto barrier has been created for the Eternal formats online.  Worth has even created his own one-card online reserved list (hello, FoW) because of the short-sighted decisions made with the release of MED I.

Of course, the other elephant in the room that comes out with every MED set is the fate of the P9 online.  I'll go on record (again) as saying that this is not the time, nor place for those cards.  The support for both the paper and digital communities just isn't there, or at least, not enough information is available (IMHO) for that bridge to be crossed.  But the bottom line is that I don't think there's an overarching vision for the Eternal formats online -- and this article simply reinforces that belief.

I've always believed that the folks who design and make Magic are some of the smartest people I know.  After reading this, I have to wonder what happened.  The disconnect between what the community was expecting, and what we actually got for our support of the format was jarring to say the least.  I understand the needs of marketing and economics for the online game.  I really, really do.  But to create such a steaming pile of poo, as the MED releases have become -- and then to continue to try and massage words and meanings to keep selling us on a vision that doesn't seem to exist is either cruelty and deceit or incompetence of the highest order.

Sigh.

In public affairs parlance, I'm going to try and end this with an "I'm sorry sandwich" -- I really appreciate the time and effort put into getting an article like this on the Mothership, and that alone is a significant milestone in moving the online community forward.  Unfortunately, a discussion of the design of the MED sets without addressing the impact on the online Eternal formats outside limited play is nothing more than putting lipstick on a pig.

Before there was a MED I, II, II or IV, there had to be a vision for where the Eternal formats would wind up online.  At least, the rational part of me believes that.  And, I know there has to be at least some of that thought brought up in the offices of WotC.  What needs to be addressed is that vision of the MED sets -- and not some formulaic, marketing-approved drivel about the limited play nuances of the MED sets.

I sincerely hope that 'The Powers That Be' could find it in there hearts to have a frank and open discussion of the issues many people will post about the flaws in the MED sets.  This article isn't it -- but at least it's a start.

Later,

Don!

A failure to plan, is a plan to fail.
This article must have been written before the contents of MED IV were released. Perhaps it was written way back when the set was finalized. That's the only way I can think of to explain the disconnect between its contents and the information we really want to know. And, with Wizard's on vacation, no one was around to think of how out of touch it was going to be when the clock released it at midnight (EST).
In general, articles on the Wizards site are going to be focused on the positive, and this can mean, in the worst case, that they will be light and fluffy and turn a blind eye to any contentious issues.

I think that's sufficiently commonplace that it needs to be accepted as well-nigh unavoidable. The degree to which the financial element is unleashed in a CCG creates an inherent tension between gameplay requirements and the responsible management of card value that Wizards itself has to work within to keep Magic a success.

Force of Will isn't so much on a Reserved List for the online format as it is simply too expensive to be reasonable to reprint - something like Mana Drain on paper. So, if and when they work out a suitable venue for making the P9 available in MTGO, such as at a super-high rarity within MED6, they could include FoW alongside the P9.

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.

I want to see a "Masters Edition" for Paper Magic. It's been a long time since Extended has seen many of these sets as well.  I like the idea of pulling out old blocks and putting in the best cards.. but with a twist to pull in variations on repeated mechanics from other blocks. There would be fun work putting together a 200 card set for today's "Standard" environment, and the card selection would be drastically different than the balance (or unbalance) of the previous sets.

I'd like to see a paper "reprint" block starting with Legends... what was supposed to be the first block but didn't make the cut because of play balance..  Stores have tons of stuff on shelves because other than the top 10 cards from each set the rest are useless in Vintage and Legacy. Done correctly, they could make stores happy pulling out lots of backstock that would be legal in Standard again... that's the money-making product now.

That sounds good until you get a closer look at the cards. There just aren;t that many cards that they can print in paper that people actually want. The cards from the old days that enough players would want to make this worthwhile are either on the reserved list or cards like Armageddon that WOTC just doesn't want to print anymore. That's unfortunate because I myself think it would be cool - as long as it is the original art and frames. But I think the most we would get is something like the Timeshifted cards in the Time Spiral set. That was enough to draw me in to an environment with new cards but probably not enough to sustain interest for players of current sets.

Wizards is doing reasonably well in producing a CCG that attracts people's interest and therefore sells boosters.

The reason behind the complaints, though, is easy enough to see.

With cards like Tarmogoyf or Baneslayer Angel or Jace, the Mind Sculptor, people have to buy quite a few boosters, or spend quite a bit on cards in the secondary market, to be competitive in Standard Constructed, which is the principal Magic format. (This applies to MTGO as well as paper, but much of what follows will focus on paper, despite the original article being about an MTGO issue.)

People wouldn't mind spending a bit more on Magic that would normally seem sensible to spend on a game... if it was 1994 again. If some of those rare cards in the boosters were going to remain valuable after rotating out of Standard - and, in fact, keep going up in price over the years.

But that's a very unrealistic hope.

You can have power inflation, so that the cards in each new set are worth using in eternal formats. That avoids having to rotate cards out (and take away their value) but cards still lose their value through being superseded - and the game eventually collapses under its own weight.

You can have power deflation, so that the cards in each new set are more valuable than anything else that will be printed in the future. And, in order that both Chrome Mox and Mox Opal will eventually be worth over $100, Wizards would support a Mirrodin-forward eternal format and a Scars-forward eternal format... and, somehow, twenty years from now, those two formats would get enough attention (instead of being lost in the shuffle) to drive demand for those cards.

That, of course, is an impossibly unrealistic scenario - the number of people playing Magic is not going to increase to such an extent that obvious niche formats like Mirrodin-forward and Scars-forward would be big enough to drive a large amount of demand for cards.

People see what has happened to the cards from the early days - not just the P9, but the original duals - and wonder why the glory days have ended. But the glory days were before Magic found its market - when far fewer people play it than play it today.

Ten years from now, there might be more people playing Magic than there are now, but not ten times as many people playing Magic.

Once the unrealistic hope of current cards being serious collectables is put aside, then the question becomes how Magic can be made to function better as a game. From that viewpoint, the calls to abolish the Mythic rarity start to make sense. Mythic Rare cards aren't rarer than rares used to be, but it used to be that Magic cards were serious collectables with a bright future ahead of them. Now, while there are cards that have a temporary high value, that's just a barrier to play and not an investment.

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.

I'm quite impressed, Quad.
That's some very sound and profound reasoning.
These sets were, in fact, designed. No cards were designed, sure, but the concepting and laying out of the set--even one using preexisting parts--is an important design job.



I am probably the last person that should be asking this question, but anyhow.
While it is not at all possible to please everyone, is there anyone who would say, "the designers designed the layout of these previously printed cards that I had no other way of playing with online before in a very poor manner"?

And are the uber fanboys singing praises? Or is that part of design largely unnoticed by the audience, but it has to be there for other, maybe more subtle, reasons that a person like me will never understand?

Orzhova Witness

Restarting Quotes Block
58086748 wrote:
58335208 wrote:
Disregard women acquire chase rares.
There are a lot of dudes for whom this is not optional.
97820278 wrote:
144532521 wrote:
How;s a 2 drop 1/2, Flying broken? What am I missing?
You're missing it because *turns Storm Crows sideways* all your base are belong to Chuck Norris and every other overused meme ever.
You can have power deflation, so that the cards in each new set are more valuable than anything else that will be printed in the future. And, in order that both Chrome Mox and Mox Opal will eventually be worth over $100


So, from Mox Opal, it's only going to get worse. That's a pretty bleak outlook.

Orzhova Witness

Restarting Quotes Block
58086748 wrote:
58335208 wrote:
Disregard women acquire chase rares.
There are a lot of dudes for whom this is not optional.
97820278 wrote:
144532521 wrote:
How;s a 2 drop 1/2, Flying broken? What am I missing?
You're missing it because *turns Storm Crows sideways* all your base are belong to Chuck Norris and every other overused meme ever.
Just another vote for paper reprints of some of these cards. There are plenty of commons and uncommons (not to mention budget rares) that the kitchen table/pauper communities would love to see new copies of. You could even reprint them in the new frame design with white borders to help preserve any value the original cards might have.

A nice $20-$30 box, something like the deckbuilders toolkit, but with a set card list so we can buy just one or multiples if we like. 


--------------------------------------

And yeah, all articles on the mothership are positive. Though with time and practice, you can learn to see  the admissions of bad things ("Time Spiral did not meet ours', or the fans', expectations" means Rosewater probably got the chewing out of his life for that one). 


-----------------------------------

And it does seem odd that they would devote manpower hours to making the Masters sets work for limited. Just throw them in a booster and call it a day. Like the above poster said, the point was to get them into the card pool, why waste time "balancing" the set? 

(Fair disclosure: I don't play MTGO, probably never will, but I like to keep up on current events.)
 
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

Draft is the bread and butter of MTGO sales, and so I can see why they want the set to be draftable. That said, I thnk they wasted a lot of time twisting themselves into a knot over it. MED1 was actually supposed to be drafted with Tenth Edition and that was regarded as a mistake (one of many, many mistakes, actually, but I digress). From my perspective, sets like this are always singles-only. In a week or two I am going to have everything I want from it for relatively little Magic Munny (ticket credits). But I think it was probably smart for them to provide a good draft experience, and it helps me as well when a set is heavily drafted, as the number of singles goes up and the costs go down. I hope they draft the heck out of it so I can get some cards really cheap. And they probably will, based on rare prices for the other three sets.

These sets were, in fact, designed. No cards were designed, sure, but the concepting and laying out of the set--even one using preexisting parts--is an important design job.



I am probably the last person that should be asking this question, but anyhow.
While it is not at all possible to please everyone, is there anyone who would say, "the designers designed the layout of these previously printed cards that I had no other way of playing with online before in a very poor manner"?

And are the uber fanboys singing praises? Or is that part of design largely unnoticed by the audience, but it has to be there for other, maybe more subtle, reasons that a person like me will never understand?



Well people want power at this point, and the larger disappointment seems to surround the fact that WOTC led them all the way to the edge of the cliff, then stopped. A restricted Time Vault and an unrestricted Library of Alexandria is not likely to bring all those people back to Classic that left in mass exodus when Legacy was finally supported online. I could be wrong, and I will probably find out for myself before someone else does because my largest reason for logging in is to watch replays of tournaments. At least until the glitter from Starcraft 2 fades. Assuming that this actually happens.

But I am sure there are people who do appreciate the potential draft strategies. In fact, some of the rares in the set have been questioned as they don't seem to have any other counterparts for a draft strategy. So I have to think those same people will be happy with what was laid out during the "design process."

And it does seem odd that they would devote manpower hours to making the Masters sets work for limited. Just throw them in a booster and call it a day. Like the above poster said, the point was to get them into the card pool, why waste time "balancing" the set? 

(Fair disclosure: I don't play MTGO, probably never will, but I like to keep up on current events.)
 



Yeah drafting is how cards get into the system on mtgo.  Nobody cracks packs, not when you can draft and potentially win more 24 hours a day. 

So they absolutely need the limited environment to be fun so people will keep doing that.  ME2 is notoriously bad in draft (touched upon in the artcle) and not regarded highly because of that.  ME3 is pretty fun to draft and people have fond memories of it.  The money rares are what get people in (because who needs enervate after the draft is over?), but you've got to actually play the drafts, so they need to be fun so that people don't just give up and buy the singles from bots.

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