02/09/2011 StF: "Public Displays of Aggression"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Savor the Flavor, which goes live Wednesday on magicthegathering.com.

It saddens me that just because R&D couldn't find room for any blue, black or green Battle Cry cards in this set (which, given its scope, really should have been far, far larger), we don't get any creative on the topic either.  But the other colors, even black, still have a few Mirrans fighting with them, just as the other colors, even red, already have a few Phyrexian infiltrators (see the flavor text of MB's two Phyrexian red cards, Into the Core and the artifact Act of Treason whatever it's called).  So there are battle cries for blue, green and black in the storyline, even if they're not in the cards.  Here, I'll show a couple examples.

The haughty Vedalken may have lost some of their brilliance when they ran out of the serum that once percolated constantly through their brains, but they are still far and away the most intelligent creatures on Mirrodin, and they know it.  Seeing the largely mindless Phyrexian machine as the worst example of the tyranny of fools and rabble, the Vedalken overlords deploy drones, golems, enslaved elves, Neurok rank and file, and a very small number of extremely heavily armed and armored Vedalken combat overseers; aided by the best long-range tactical spellcraft and strategic bombardment by lux cannons and repurposed charbelchers (much as it pains the Vedalken to admit it, goblins have a gift for weaponry that's hard to resist commandeering), set about proving to Phyrexia that superior military intelligence will carry the day.  Indeed, this would probably be true...if not for the handful of key Vedalken functionaries, scientists and strategists in the war effort who, one by one, are being suborned by careful, patient infiltrators who have compelling evidence of Phyrexia's scientific acumen.  A few sective researchers have begun to succumb to the temptation offered by their already-corrupted brethren, the opportunity to expand their brainpower with cranial grafts and the super-potent serum of inkmoths, and the freedom to experiment without moral constraints in search of knowledge foolishly deemed "forbidden" by the squeamish and narrow-minded.  Still, such aberrations are still not the dominant force in the society of Lumengrid and the rest of the Quicksilver Sea, and those haughty, "perfect" Vedalken who remain are quick to take command of the war effort with shouts of withering ideological haughter, instantly dissecting the faults of their opposition and bolstering the will of their soldiers by revealing only the tiniest portion of their carefully-crafted plan for victory.

Vedalken Intimidator
Creature - Vedalken Soldier, 1U, 2/2
Battle Cry
Whenever Vedalken Intimidator attacks, all creatures get -1/-0 until end of turn.


The Moriok, like anyone black-aligned, prioritize their survival above all other concerns; faced with the relentless monolith of Phyrexia, which punishes the slightest defiance of its unilateral will with a brutal and agonizing death, most Moriok volunteer to be compleated, hoping that whatever horrors Phyrexia visits upon its new cannon fodder will still at least leave them on the winning side.  However, numerous pockets of Moriok remain whose hateful, paranoid, contrarian natures forbid them from accepting slavery under even as powerful a conqueror as Phyrexia; certain that a swift death is the best they can hope for, they battle fiercely and employ every dirty trick in the book, from quick-and-loose misdirection the most extremist of scorched-earth tactics, trying to ensure that they do not survive to face Phyrexian retribution for their refusal to obey, if possible trying to ensure that not even a corpse is left to become useful to their exterminators.


Moriok Annihilator
Creature - Moriok Warrior, 5BB, 2/2
Battle Cry
When Moriok Annihilator deals combat damage, each player loses life equal to the total power of all attacking creatures.

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

"Second, humans play an important role as a point of comparison in every color."

Cool.  I enjoyed that:-)

Matt Cavotta, huh?  Nice!  Goblin Piledriver, best art ever!


"For a goblin, going to war is as natural as breathing, and breathing is as natural as screaming."


...I lol'd :D
An interview with Matt Cavotta next week! Weeeeee!!!
"For a goblin, going to war is as natural as breathing, and breathing is as natural as screaming."


...I lol'd :D



I now picture goblins breaking out in bestial howls every time anything remotely interesting happens, like the convicts from Raising Arizona.
i am having hard time to understand mirrans going into war without a central command. there is no way you can coordianate a war without a single leader.
Foreshadowing....
Willpell: That was awesome Laughing The cards are clearly rough-and-ready, but the flavour writing is fantastic. Your little paragraph makes me want to read more about the goings-on in Vedalken research labs and political centres
i am having hard time to understand mirrans going into war without a central command. there is no way you can coordianate a war without a single leader.



It's much more like a zombie outbreak than an actual war. A Phyrexian pops up and whoever's around takes it down or gets infected. There's probably no Phyrexian "lines" to push into or Phyrexian "camps" to attack.

It saddens me that just because R&D couldn't find room for any blue, black or green Battle Cry cards in this set (which, given its scope, really should have been far, far larger), we don't get any creative on the topic either.  But the other colors, even black, still have a few Mirrans fighting with them, just as the other colors, even red, already have a few Phyrexian infiltrators (see the flavor text of MB's two Phyrexian red cards, Into the Core and the artifact Act of Treason whatever it's called).  So there are battle cries for blue, green and black in the storyline, even if they're not in the cards.  Here, I'll show a couple examples.

The haughty Vedalken may have lost some of their brilliance when they ran out of the serum that once percolated constantly through their brains, but they are still far and away the most intelligent creatures on Mirrodin, and they know it.  Seeing the largely mindless Phyrexian machine as the worst example of the tyranny of fools and rabble, the Vedalken overlords deploy drones, golems, enslaved elves, Neurok rank and file, and a very small number of extremely heavily armed and armored Vedalken combat overseers; aided by the best long-range tactical spellcraft and strategic bombardment by lux cannons and repurposed charbelchers (much as it pains the Vedalken to admit it, goblins have a gift for weaponry that's hard to resist commandeering), set about proving to Phyrexia that superior military intelligence will carry the day.  Indeed, this would probably be true...if not for the handful of key Vedalken functionaries, scientists and strategists in the war effort who, one by one, are being suborned by careful, patient infiltrators who have compelling evidence of Phyrexia's scientific acumen.  A few sective researchers have begun to succumb to the temptation offered by their already-corrupted brethren, the opportunity to expand their brainpower with cranial grafts and the super-potent serum of inkmoths, and the freedom to experiment without moral constraints in search of knowledge foolishly deemed "forbidden" by the squeamish and narrow-minded.  Still, such aberrations are still not the dominant force in the society of Lumengrid and the rest of the Quicksilver Sea, and those haughty, "perfect" Vedalken who remain are quick to take command of the war effort with shouts of withering ideological haughter, instantly dissecting the faults of their opposition and bolstering the will of their soldiers by revealing only the tiniest portion of their carefully-crafted plan for victory.

Vedalken Intimidator
Creature - Vedalken Soldier, 1U, 2/2
Battle Cry
Whenever Vedalken Intimidator attacks, all creatures get -1/-0 until end of turn.


The Moriok, like anyone black-aligned, prioritize their survival above all other concerns; faced with the relentless monolith of Phyrexia, which punishes the slightest defiance of its unilateral will with a brutal and agonizing death, most Moriok volunteer to be compleated, hoping that whatever horrors Phyrexia visits upon its new cannon fodder will still at least leave them on the winning side.  However, numerous pockets of Moriok remain whose hateful, paranoid, contrarian natures forbid them from accepting slavery under even as powerful a conqueror as Phyrexia; certain that a swift death is the best they can hope for, they battle fiercely and employ every dirty trick in the book, from quick-and-loose misdirection the most extremist of scorched-earth tactics, trying to ensure that they do not survive to face Phyrexian retribution for their refusal to obey, if possible trying to ensure that not even a corpse is left to become useful to their exterminators.


Moriok Annihilator
Creature - Moriok Warrior, 5BB, 2/2
Battle Cry
When Moriok Annihilator deals combat damage, each player loses life equal to the total power of all attacking creatures.


While I love your flavor for the Moriok Annihilator (small quibble, it's type should be Human Warrior), Black simply isn't the color that charges headfirst into battle, which is what battle cry seems to represent. In war, Black is the type to use assassins and spies and other underhanded tactics, while their few front line fighters tend to be mindless creatures like zombies and other such undead.

And while I think your writing was great for the Vedalken Intimidator, Blue suffers from the same problems as Black, but even more so. Intelligent Blue creatures quite simply do not charge into battle. The Vedalken actually charging into battle even seems a little forced in your write-up.

Green actually seems like it would be the best fit for the flavor of battle cry, though. In fact, a wurm with battle cry could have an interesting flavor along the lines of Signal Pest. Some natural creatures hate the scent of Phyrexians, so when the Wurm charges forward, Mirran armies follow closely.

Overall, the reason that battle cry is missing is fundamentally a design reason. It just doesn't fit into Blue or Black's portion of the color pie, and doesn't do anything interesting, gameplay-wise, in Green, which focuses more on a few big creatures as opposed to lots of little ones.
Micorku's World Bits - A Vorthos writing about various creative topics. Updates sporadically Iroas - The world needs heroes - will you answer the call? There is also an RPG that is in Pre-Alpha stage.
Earthly elephants are sentient, just not sapient. cheers

Willpell: That was awesome  The cards are clearly rough-and-ready, but the flavour writing is fantastic. Your little paragraph makes me want to read more about the goings-on in Vedalken research labs and political centres



I had forgotten about this thread, but I will try to remember at some point to add the remaining four articles (Neurok, Sylvok, Elf and Vampire - the latter may not have much to do with canon since there's almost no info on Mirrodin's vampires, only 2 or 3 having been printed so far, so I'll just use my love of Vampire roleplaying games and a little imagination to come up with neat ideas about this OTHER rapidly emergent Mirrodian culture and how their rise compares to that of Phyrexia).

@ Micorku - I see these as good reasons to not have MUCH battle cry in those colors.  NONE is intolerable to me.  Spare those colors the pathetic Limited chaff, but definitely give them a few interesting higher-rarity executions to show how the mechanic functions in completely different colors.

@ RobRAM89 - What you describe was true in SOM.  MB shows the Phyrexians having a) infected enough key players on the surface to have suborned entire armies through the deeds of their corrupted generals ("Sarge, what's with all this glistening oil in the barracks shower pipes?") and b) unleashed the immense forces that they've been gradually building inside the core for the past 1000 years.  (Why exactly it took so long for them to mobilize is an open question, but you don't attempt the conquest of an entire world by being impatient - that is actually one of the things I love about this block, it's one of the few "BBEG tries to conquer the world" stories that actually acknowledges the idea that worlds are BIG and not easily conquered.)
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
@Willpell The problem is that Battlecry has the same effects and the same strategy in every color - get a bunch of dudes and attack. And that strategy generally doesn't work in Blue, Black or Green. Blue and Black don't do army building so much and Green usually has a few big ones, and +1/+0 just doesn't matter and it doesn't compare to the other power boosting effects that Green gets all the time.

I don't mean to be completely contrary, but I'm very much a Vorthos, and Battlecry just doesn't make sense according to the color pie, barring some block shenanigans - an army building block, for example.
Micorku's World Bits - A Vorthos writing about various creative topics. Updates sporadically Iroas - The world needs heroes - will you answer the call? There is also an RPG that is in Pre-Alpha stage.

@Willpell The problem is that Battlecry has the same effects and the same strategy in every color - get a bunch of dudes and attack. And that strategy generally doesn't work in Blue, Black or Green. Blue and Black don't do army building so much and Green usually has a few big ones, and +1/+0 just doesn't matter and it doesn't compare to the other power boosting effects that Green gets all the time.

I don't mean to be completely contrary, but I'm very much a Vorthos, and Battlecry just doesn't make sense according to the color pie, barring some block shenanigans - an army building block, for example.



Tell the zombies or vampires that black doesn't do army building.  With blue your statement is more accurate, but it doesn't necessarily need to be - look at Urza's Metathran soldiers from the Invasion storyline.  Looking at Mirrodin blue it's clear that the Neurok are used as elite shock troops by the Vedalken - but there are some tasks for which humans aren't to be trusted, so the Vedalken too have a warrior caste, one that proves "anything brawn can do, brains can do better" by outfitting the soldiers with the best equipment that technology and magic can create.  How much does physical strength have to do with warfare in the modern world?  Not a whole lot, and that's exactly the ethos that can fuel "combat blue".

As for "+1/+0 doesn't matter", the Saprolings would disagree.  And I wouldn't be above printing a green dude with multiple iterations of Battle Cry.  This sort of thing doesn't get done enough - Cavalry Master was neat, and I'd love to have seen a monster in Shards of Alara which had multiple instances of Exalted.

Howling Hydra
Creature - Hydra, XXG, 0/0
Howling Hydra enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters on it.
For each +1/+1 counter on Howling Hydra, it has battle cry.  (When it attacks, each battle cry gives +1/+0 to each other attacking creature.)
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


Tell the zombies or vampires that black doesn't do army building.



True, I guess black does do army building, that was a misleading statement on my part. What I should have said is that while black does build armies, they don't lead from the front, which is the flavor of battlecry. Black could theoretically get some battlecry, though I'm not sure where it would fit in the set. There are only two black Mirran cards, and one is used on a fairly anti-Phyrexian removal spell, and the other is used to expand the vampire tribe, which was only recently formed into an actual tribe. Which would you cut?


With blue your statement is more accurate, but it doesn't necessarily need to be - look at Urza's Metathran soldiers from the Invasion storyline.


The Metathran don't actually make sense in Blue from a flavor perspective - Soldiers that obey orders unquestioningly and work towards the greater good has always sounded more White to me. Invasion block has a lot of weirdly concept cards, and the general approach to flavor has changed since then, so a more recent equivalent example would be more relevant.


Looking at Mirrodin blue it's clear that the Neurok are used as elite shock troops by the Vedalken - but there are some tasks for which humans aren't to be trusted, so the Vedalken too have a warrior caste, one that proves "anything brawn can do, brains can do better" by outfitting the soldiers with the best equipment that technology and magic can create.  How much does physical strength have to do with warfare in the modern world?  Not a whole lot, and that's exactly the ethos that can fuel "combat blue".


This is a nice thought, but there's nothing to back it up. Of the four Vedalken in Scars of Mirrodin and Mirrodin Besieged, 3 are Wizards and one is an Artificer. Of the five in Mirrodin block, three are wizards and two are artificers. Of the thirty that exist in all of magic, only five aren't wizards or artificers, of which there is 1 scout, 1 zombie, 1 rogue and 2 knights. So, out of all the Vedalken, there are only two that fight head on, neither of which are on Mirrodin. The Neurok have a similar ratio in SoM block. A single Rogue among a bunch of Wizards and Artificers. I think you may have a faulty definition of elite shock troops, because the Neurok, when they're not making artifacts or casting spells, they might be spies or saboteurs. Also, physical strength has a whole lot to do with warfare in the modern world. Just because we have UAVs doesn't mean that the soldier on the ground is any less important, and they aren't the ones who create the shiny new tech, they just use it. It doesn't even really matter, anyway, because despite some of the amazing artifacts on Mirrodin, their average tech level is still in the middle ages.


As for "+1/+0 doesn't matter", the Saprolings would disagree.  And I wouldn't be above printing a green dude with multiple iterations of Battle Cry.  This sort of thing doesn't get done enough - Cavalry Master was neat, and I'd love to have seen a monster in Shards of Alara which had multiple instances of Exalted.

Howling Hydra
Creature - Hydra, XXG, 0/0
Howling Hydra enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters on it.
For each +1/+1 counter on Howling Hydra, it has battle cry.  (When it attacks, each battle cry gives +1/+0 to each other attacking creature.)



That is a neat design, though it's not actually possible in this block, considering the fact that it uses +1/+1 counters, which they don't use in the same block as -1/-1. And while I love Cavalry Master, they tend not to do cards with multiple instances of a keyword on it, because it doesn't read well and is confusing. Contagion Engine is the exception because proliferate is a verb, and doing something twice is easy to understand.
Micorku's World Bits - A Vorthos writing about various creative topics. Updates sporadically Iroas - The world needs heroes - will you answer the call? There is also an RPG that is in Pre-Alpha stage.

True, I guess black does do army building, that was a misleading statement on my part. What I should have said is that while black does build armies, they don't lead from the front, which is the flavor of battlecry.




Often true.  Battlecry is definitely wrong for zombies, and the Moriok are almost zombies so they shouldn't have very damn much of it.  The flavor on the Annihilator (which, come to think of it, I should have named differently to avoid confusion with Eldrazi) was intended to represent the idea that the Moriok charge into battle only when there's no-one else they can sacrifice, and they do so with the intention of making damn sure they get the job done.  (That "do whatever it takes, period" attitude is what I consider to be the absolute core of black - not selfishness, although that's certainly the most common motivator, but rather an absolute refusal to rule out any effective method of achieving one's goals.  As someone put it in a letter to one of the columns, "Black wins because it wants it more than you do.")  Meanwhile, the vampires are bloodthirsty pack hunters, so it makes perfect sense that they would howl and screech to terrify their prey and embolden their fellow predators.

Black could theoretically get some battlecry, though I'm not sure where it would fit in the set. There are only two black Mirran cards, and one is used on a fairly anti-Phyrexian removal spell, and the other is used to expand the vampire tribe, which was only recently formed into an actual tribe. Which would you cut?



Neither.  I would publish more cards.  As far as I'm concerned the set size reduction should never have happened; small sets should be 200+ cards and large sets should be 350 if not 400.  Each card is a snapshot into the world, and I don't think we get anywhere near enough of these.

The Metathran don't actually make sense in Blue from a flavor perspective - Soldiers that obey orders unquestioningly and work towards the greater good has always sounded more White to me.



White soldiers believe in the greater good; they're not artificial slaves, but faithful fanatics.

This is a nice thought, but there's nothing to back it up. Of the four Vedalken in Scars of Mirrodin and Mirrodin Besieged, 3 are Wizards and one is an Artificer.



Creature types sit on the fence between flavor and design; they aren't done correctly in my opinion because they have to serve two sets of goals which inherently contradict each other.  Creative wants a greater diversity of creature types in order to give the setting more versimilitude, but design likes to keep the number down in order to provide for the possibility of tribal synergy.  IMO such hedging is a mistake, but that's how Wizards has decided to do it.

I think you may have a faulty definition of elite shock troops



Neurok Commando is the prime example - just look at his name.  There's also the "artifactwalk" guy in original mirrodin, who I think is Neurok Spy - somewhat martial.  And being a Wizard doesn't mean you aren't also a fighter, even if the designers couldn't cram Human Wizard Soldier onto your typeline.  Magic's wizards don't sit in towers and read books; they fight on the front lines just like anyone else, wielding spells instead of weapons.

It doesn't even really matter, anyway, because despite some of the amazing artifacts on Mirrodin, their average tech level is still in the middle ages.



Well the average isn't what we're discussing here.  And the Neurok have a lot more tech than the rest of Mirrodin.  But the role of magic for the Neurok is much the same as the role of guns and bombs in our military.  "This man's army" can easily have women fighting side by side with men, because they're not wielding heavy melee weapons and plate armor that make women's slightly lower physical strength (on average) a disadvantage.  Guns are the great equalizer, and magic would be too, not only between genders but between any two groups with a disparity in physical power.
That is a neat design, though it's not actually possible in this block, considering the fact that it uses +1/+1 counters, which they don't use in the same block as -1/-1.



Another thing Wizards does wrong.  They don't want to confuse the Limited players - I say screw Limited.  I'm sick of Wizards designing all of their products for all audiences and making them suboptimal for all audiences in the process.  They should make some sets for Limited and others for casual constructed and still others for tourney rats, and other possible divisions besides.  (Of course, my "they should" is predicated on the assumption that money will rain from the skies in order to fund their limitless creativity - and if that were happening, they probably would do exactly what I and others are always asking them to, since they're gamer geeks just like us and they create this game in order to try and give us what we want, within the limits of their abilities.)

And while I love Cavalry Master, they tend not to do cards with multiple instances of a keyword on it, because it doesn't read well and is confusing.



Another example of them pandering to the lowest common denominator in order to make a buck.  I say that any game using phrases like "you may {blah} up to one target" does not get to complain about anything "not reading well".
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


Neither.  I would publish more cards.  As far as I'm concerned the set size reduction should never have happened; small sets should be 200+ cards and large sets should be 350 if not 400.  Each card is a snapshot into the world, and I don't think we get anywhere near enough of these.



That's not relevant to the discussion at hand. If we're discussing a current set, we should be discussing it under current conditions, not under what you wish current conditions were.


White soldiers believe in the greater good; they're not artificial slaves, but faithful fanatics.


Metathran are also faithful fanatics. Or at least, that's how they were written in the Invasion block novels.


Creature types sit on the fence between flavor and design; they aren't done correctly in my opinion because they have to serve two sets of goals which inherently contradict each other.  Creative wants a greater diversity of creature types in order to give the setting more versimilitude, but design likes to keep the number down in order to provide for the possibility of tribal synergy.  IMO such hedging is a mistake, but that's how Wizards has decided to do it.


The two goals do not contradict each other at all, and in fact limiting the creature types actually helps the flavor team. As MaRo has said many, many times, restrictions breed creativity. As an easy, recent example, if it wasn't for this restriction, we might have a Phyrexian creature type.


I think you may have a faulty definition of elite shock troops



Neurok Commando is the prime example - just look at his name.  There's also the "artifactwalk" guy in original mirrodin, who I think is Neurok Spy - somewhat martial.  And being a Wizard doesn't mean you aren't also a fighter, even if the designers couldn't cram Human Wizard Soldier onto your typeline.  Magic's wizards don't sit in towers and read books; they fight on the front lines just like anyone else, wielding spells instead of weapons.

A commando is not a shock troop, and neither is a spy. They are masters of guerilla warfare and sabotage. According to Wikipedia, "Shock troops or assault troops are infantry formations, along with their supporting units, created to lead an attack."


Well the average isn't what we're discussing here.  And the Neurok have a lot more tech than the rest of Mirrodin.  But the role of magic for the Neurok is much the same as the role of guns and bombs in our military.


The role of magic is not the same as guns. Guns are the primary weapon of the infantry, which every front line soldier relies on for all combat situations. The vast majority of beings on Mirrodin do not have any significant magic ability. Magic is more along the lines of artillery and related support troops.


"This man's army" can easily have women fighting side by side with men, because they're not wielding heavy melee weapons and plate armor that make women's slightly lower physical strength (on average) a disadvantage.


I'm not sure what gender roles has to do with this, but women still aren't involved in front line combat in most modern militaries, and it has nothing to do with physical ability and everything to do with instincts that are hardwired into men that tell us to protect a woman in danger no matter what, which leads to problems.


Guns are the great equalizer, and magic would be too, not only between genders but between any two groups with a disparity in physical power.


Guns are the great equalizer because there is no training required to kill someone, so as long as you have enough guns you can equip as many people as you want and they will be able to do battle. They equalize the poor and the wealthy, not men and women.


Another thing Wizards does wrong.  They don't want to confuse the Limited players



They want to confuse as few people as they can, and the rules governing the interaction of +1/+1 counters and -1/-1 counters are weird and impossible to spell out on the card, which is one of the staples of MTG design.

I say screw Limited.  I'm sick of Wizards designing all of their products for all audiences and making them suboptimal for all audiences in the process.  They should make some sets for Limited and others for casual constructed and still others for tourney rats, and other possible divisions besides.  (Of course, my "they should" is predicated on the assumption that money will rain from the skies in order to fund their limitless creativity - and if that were happening, they probably would do exactly what I and others are always asking them to, since they're gamer geeks just like us and they create this game in order to try and give us what we want, within the limits of their abilities.)



Really? You think they should splinter the player base even more than it is? So it would be harder to find someone to play against. There's a reason that the format they support the most is Standard, and that's because it's the easiest and least expensive format to get into (also it's the easiest format to "fix" if something gets out of hand). And I really don't think they would make seperate sets for limited, casual and tournaments. Remember, it started out designed exclusively for casual gameplay, specifically between dnd sessions, and it has expanded since then, and I doubt anyone would argue that's a bad thing.

Another example of them pandering to the lowest common denominator in order to make a buck.  I say that any game using phrases like "you may {blah} up to one target" does not get to complain about anything "not reading well".



While "you may {blah} up to one target" doesn't sound great, it sounds much better than "For each +1/+1 counter on Howling Hydra, it has battle cry." It takes a few readings to realize what it does without someone explaining it. While hidden value is fine, hidden function isn't. What I mean is that anyone should be able to figure out what a card does simply by looking at it. Or, if it's doing something that's hard to understand, it should be obviously impressive so you want to learn more about it - the legendary Eldrazi are good examples of this.

(Edit - I can't get the formatting right for some reason - sorry about that)
Micorku's World Bits - A Vorthos writing about various creative topics. Updates sporadically Iroas - The world needs heroes - will you answer the call? There is also an RPG that is in Pre-Alpha stage.
That's not relevant to the discussion at hand. If we're discussing a current set, we should be discussing it under current conditions, not under what you wish current conditions were.



We're not discussing the current set.  We're discussing a setting where the current set occurs, and a mechanic which is used in the current set.  While it's fairly unlikely that Wizards will someday publish some other set which takes place on Mirrodin and uses battle cry, it could happen, and I'd rather discuss that hypothetical future than a present which is already set in stone, whose shape was determined largely by trifling logistical issues which I regard as meaningless.

Metathran are also faithful fanatics. Or at least, that's how they were written in the Invasion block novels.



They obeyed because they were created to; they had no choice in the matter.  That by definition denies them the capability for faith, though they certainly believed otherwise.  But they only believed that because Urza designed them to.

The two goals do not contradict each other at all, and in fact limiting the creature types actually helps the flavor team. As MaRo has said many, many times, restrictions breed creativity. As an easy, recent example, if it wasn't for this restriction, we might have a Phyrexian creature type.



Would that be bad?  Currently there is no way to make something that pumps both Phyrexian Rager and Priests of Norn, without pumping non-Phyrexian creatures, even though they are members of a single "race".  I'm not saying I necessarily would have gone with CT: Phyrexian, but doing what they did was hardly the obvious choice.

A commando is not a shock troop, and neither is a spy. They are masters of guerilla warfare and sabotage. According to Wikipedia, "Shock troops or assault troops are infantry formations, along with their supporting units, created to lead an attack."



Ah, this must be one of those cases where my legions of mysterious enemies have rewritten the world's dictionaries since I learned the word, in order to create the illusion that I made a mistake of some sort.  :D

They want to confuse as few people as they can, and the rules governing the interaction of +1/+1 counters and -1/-1 counters are weird and impossible to spell out on the card, which is one of the staples of MTG design.



"A creature with both +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters on it automatically removes one of each and continues doing so until one type of counter is no longer present, as a state-based effect".  That's not especially weird, and the only reason it can't be on the cards is that there isn't a card which has both halves of the effect, whereas there are too many with one or the other.

Really? You think they should splinter the player base even more than it is? So it would be harder to find someone to play against.



This is a separate issue.  Making more people able to play the game by making it less satisfying to all of them is the kind of logistical solution that I condemn, preferring an ideal even if it's impossible.  Anyone should be able to come up with an opponent, and in an ideal world, anyone could.  I'd rather build the infrastructure of the ideal world and wait for it to arrive, rather than paving over the place where it its seeds sprout.  (And don't tell me that an ideal world is impossible because I quite simply do not accept that.  Such defeatist thinking is what keeps tyrants in power, and believing that you can succeed is a necessary prerequisite for having any chance of making things better.  As the Egyptians have just proven, sometimes you in fact can succeed at what seems impossible, but only if you decide to try.)

And I really don't think they would make seperate sets for limited, casual and tournaments. Remember, it started out designed exclusively for casual gameplay, specifically between dnd sessions, and it has expanded since then, and I doubt anyone would argue that's a bad thing.



An amoeba which grows enough will eventually split into two amoebas.  This is admittedly not true of people, but which species to you think is a better analogy for the collectible card game?

While "you may {blah} up to one target" doesn't sound great, it sounds much better than "For each +1/+1 counter on Howling Hydra, it has battle cry." It takes a few readings to realize what it does without someone explaining it.



No it doesn't; I spelled it out right in the reminder text.  It makes perfect sense if read on the basis of common sense; if it breaks your brain it's only because you're hung up on "What the exact meaning of 'is' is "-type thinking, which I understand is common among rules junkies.  "You may {blah} up to one {spoo}" is an utter nonsense phrase in common parlance, and it should be likewise in rules-speak.  The same concept can be expressed as "You may {blah} a {spoo}" (for instance, Conjurer's Bubble would be "You may return a target card from your graveyard to your hand", and if not for the nonsense about how the word "target" means something other than its obvious meaning, that would be good enough.  Insane ideas like saying "You may {blah} target {spoo}" means you MUST target a {spoo}, and the MAY applies only to whether you {blah} it or not, are a good example of rules nebbishes getting way too hung up on things that shouldn't matter.  If the rules contradict common sense, the rules are wrong.  Melvin and Tourney Spike are the only ones who can't seem to wrap their brain around that idea, because they insist upon proving themselves right and others wrong, and thus can't function based on the idea that there isn't a single right answer they can club others into submission with.

What I mean is that anyone should be able to figure out what a card does simply by looking at it.



I agree completely.  Apparently we can't figure out which of us owns the chocolate and which owns the peanut butter, and so we refuse to eat this delicious Reese's cup.  Sad.

Or, if it's doing something that's hard to understand, it should be obviously impressive so you want to learn more about it - the legendary Eldrazi are good examples of this.



Nothing about the Eldrazi is terribly hard to understand.  They're colorless, they keep you from being milled, you get awesomesauce if you summon them.  You attack with them, the opponent sacks permanents.  (And in Emrakul's case, he probably just loses.)  Very straightforward.
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
We're not discussing the current set.  We're discussing a setting where the current set occurs, and a mechanic which is used in the current set.  While it's fairly unlikely that Wizards will someday publish some other set which takes place on Mirrodin and uses battle cry, it could happen, and I'd rather discuss that hypothetical future than a present which is already set in stone, whose shape was determined largely by trifling logistical issues which I regard as meaningless.



But a discussion or debate needs to have a framework to have any sort of meaning, and the logical framework for this discussion is the current set because we don't have any other that we can easily agree on. And setting doesn't exist outside of the current set. If they do release Mirrodin Pure, and eventually we do come back to a warzone on Mirrodin, countless factors could have changed significantly within the setting, so any arguments based on what the current culture is are meaningless. For all we know, the Moriok may have seized control of the plane, so there's even less chance of them charging into battle.

They obeyed because they were created to; they had no choice in the matter.  That by definition denies them the capability for faith, though they certainly believed otherwise.  But they only believed that because Urza designed them to.


I would argue this would make them either black, like zombies, or artifacts, but they still don't seem blue to me.


Would that be bad?  Currently there is no way to make something that pumps both Phyrexian Rager and Priests of Norn, without pumping non-Phyrexian creatures, even though they are members of a single "race".  I'm not saying I necessarily would have gone with CT: Phyrexian, but doing what they did was hardly the obvious choice.


I think it would have been meaningless, especially considering how diverse Phyrexians have become. If every Phyrexian had the same creature type it would make them seem more monolithic than they ever have been, when they are at their most diverse that they've ever been. And not having a way to pump up all Phyrexians is actually fairly flavorful, considering their philosophy has strong roots in black. And I wasn't saying it was the obvious choice, just the better one.


"A creature with both +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters on it automatically removes one of each and continues doing so until one type of counter is no longer present, as a state-based effect".  That's not especially weird, and the only reason it can't be on the cards is that there isn't a card which has both halves of the effect, whereas there are too many with one or the other.



They would have to put that reminder text on every card that uses either except maybe a few rares and mythics. That eats up a lot of valuable cardspace. And the reason they don't have cards that use both is because there is very little design space that would require it, most of which can be done just as well using one or the other type.

This is a separate issue.  Making more people able to play the game by making it less satisfying to all of them is the kind of logistical solution that I condemn, preferring an ideal even if it's impossible.  Anyone should be able to come up with an opponent, and in an ideal world, anyone could.  I'd rather build the infrastructure of the ideal world and wait for it to arrive, rather than paving over the place where it its seeds sprout.  (And don't tell me that an ideal world is impossible because I quite simply do not accept that.  Such defeatist thinking is what keeps tyrants in power, and believing that you can succeed is a necessary prerequisite for having any chance of making things better.  As the Egyptians have just proven, sometimes you in fact can succeed at what seems impossible, but only if you decide to try.)


I would love that ideal world just as much as you, but the demands of the real world have to be met first. While Magic is the dominant force in tabletop gaming (along with dnd) it is still a niche market, and it simply isn't that easy to find people to play. I'm a good example of this - the closest place to buy cards is a walmart, while the closest place to play is almost two hours away. If I'm going to drive that far, I want to know that I'll find a number of people I can play against.


An amoeba which grows enough will eventually split into two amoebas.  This is admittedly not true of people, but which species to you think is a better analogy for the collectible card game?


An amoeba will split into two amoebas when it becomes too large to support itself with the amount of food it ingests. I think it's fairly clear that this isn't the case for Magic. And I do think a person is a better analogy. It started out clumsy and potentially self-destructive, but over the years it learned how to act more appropriately, and it gained the knowledge and experience it needed to mature.



No it doesn't; I spelled it out right in the reminder text.  It makes perfect sense if read on the basis of common sense; if it breaks your brain it's only because you're hung up on "What the exact meaning of 'is' is "-type thinking, which I understand is common among rules junkies.  "You may {blah} up to one {spoo}" is an utter nonsense phrase in common parlance, and it should be likewise in rules-speak.  The same concept can be expressed as "You may {blah} a {spoo}" (for instance, Conjurer's Bubble would be "You may return a target card from your graveyard to your hand", and if not for the nonsense about how the word "target" means something other than its obvious meaning, that would be good enough.  Insane ideas like saying "You may {blah} target {spoo}" means you MUST target a {spoo}, and the MAY applies only to whether you {blah} it or not, are a good example of rules nebbishes getting way too hung up on things that shouldn't matter.  If the rules contradict common sense, the rules are wrong.  Melvin and Tourney Spike are the only ones who can't seem to wrap their brain around that idea, because they insist upon proving themselves right and others wrong, and thus can't function based on the idea that there isn't a single right answer they can club others into submission with.


"You may take up to one cookie." That sentence doesn't seem nonsensical to me, just a bit clumsy. Yes, you would likely say something a bit more informal ("Yeah, you can have a cookie") but games need absolute clarity in their rules. What you seem to be suggesting is that there shouldn't be a single correct wording among all the cards, which makes absolutely no sense.


I agree completely.  Apparently we can't figure out which of us owns the chocolate and which owns the peanut butter, and so we refuse to eat this delicious Reese's cup.  Sad.


You can have the Reese's cup, I don't like peanut butter

Nothing about the Eldrazi is terribly hard to understand.  They're colorless, they keep you from being milled, you get awesomesauce if you summon them.  You attack with them, the opponent sacks permanents.  (And in Emrakul's case, he probably just loses.)  Very straightforward.


I should have been clearer. I was referring to the fact that they have a keyword without any reminder text in the set that introduces the keyword, which is generally not a good idea, but they seem so cool that a new player will look up what it means.
Micorku's World Bits - A Vorthos writing about various creative topics. Updates sporadically Iroas - The world needs heroes - will you answer the call? There is also an RPG that is in Pre-Alpha stage.
But a discussion or debate needs to have a framework to have any sort of meaning



Purple bicycle inferno!!! 

And setting doesn't exist outside of the current set.



On the contrary.  Mirrodin is a "real" place, in the sense that it has been imagined more completely than it has been described - it "lives" in the collective unconscious, detailed minutely by thousands of minds which overlap and fill in various details where they don't contradict each other.  Imagination is all about spinning artificial realities into being with the gossamer of our thoughts; we can't shake hands with our creation any more than we can with our creator, but just because you can't see something doesn't mean it doesn't meaningfully exist.  Things don't have to be useful to have intrinsic value, and a fantasy world is a living, vibrant thing, even if it's made out of thoughts rather than atoms.

I would argue this would make them either black, like zombies, or artifacts, but they still don't seem blue to me.



Consider, why are zombies black?  Black is about individuality, and zombies have no will of their own; how can they be striving for the solipsistic omnipotence which is every black mage's ideal?  They can't, obviously.  They are black not because they exemplify its ethos, but because they were created BY that ethos.  And metathran are creations of Blue, even though by their very existence they defy Blue's philosophy that every being is free to reshape itself as it chooses.  Both blue and black agree that your ability to do those things is dependent on some measure of personal power and competence, which naturally implies that you're suppressing or stealing the personal power and competence of others.  A paradox, but those two colors (and white to a lesser extent) revel in the importance of such meaningful contradictions.  They HAVE to, given how inherently unfair their goals are (and yes that too applies to white, despite white's desire to promote fairness as an ideal - it inherently includes value judgments which are unfair to those judged unworthy of fairness, so the only truly fair system is the one that encompasses everything, which is the natural world, exemplified mostly by Green with a slide into Red when the organism gets lazy or crazy enough to stop trying to maintain a natural equilibrium with its environment).

I think it would have been meaningless, especially considering how diverse Phyrexians have become. If every Phyrexian had the same creature type it would make them seem more monolithic than they ever have been, when they are at their most diverse that they've ever been. And not having a way to pump up all Phyrexians is actually fairly flavorful, considering their philosophy has strong roots in black. And I wasn't saying it was the obvious choice, just the better one.



Okay, I'll admit that here you have convinced me.  (Granted I was on the fence before, so it's only a half-win for your debating skills, but still, that's impressive given who you're fighting.  Trying to defeat me in a duel of logic is like trying to bisect the seven seas with a katana - no matter how sharp the edge, you can't cut that which flows around the blade.)

They would have to put that reminder text on every card that uses either



No they wouldn't.  It's a sensible enough rule that it would be very easy to grok.  Mentioning it a couple times on a few commons would be more than sufficient.

And the reason they don't have cards that use both is because there is very little design space that would require it, most of which can be done just as well using one or the other type.



There's a ton of design space involved in the intersection.  Very few individual cards require both, but the environment is much more dynamic when you're actually pushing on both sides of the divide.  Would the game be better if you only ever drew cards, and never discarded them?  No, when you have a switch, you should be able to flip it both ways.

I would love that ideal world just as much as you, but the demands of the real world have to be met first. While Magic is the dominant force in tabletop gaming (along with dnd) it is still a niche market, and it simply isn't that easy to find people to play. I'm a good example of this - the closest place to buy cards is a walmart, while the closest place to play is almost two hours away. If I'm going to drive that far, I want to know that I'll find a number of people I can play against.



You have my condolences.  I suggest you try to indoctrinate some of your neighbors into loving the game - even if you have to make it less the game that you enjoy in order to get them to enjoy it.  You can kindle their interest and then worry about shaping the flame to suit your needs.  (Can you tell I like metaphors?  They wrote a Star Trek episode about my kind of mindset once, I think I must have seen it at the precise moment my personality finally crystallized.  Damn, there I go again.)

I think it's fairly clear that this isn't the case for Magic. And I do think a person is a better analogy. It started out clumsy and potentially self-destructive, but over the years it learned how to act more appropriately, and it gained the knowledge and experience it needed to mature.



This is pure poetry.  I applaud you.

"You may take up to one cookie." That sentence doesn't seem nonsensical to me, just a bit clumsy.



It's not natural human speech.  It doesn't flow conversationally.  Talking like that would get you funny looks - the other animals would regard you as an outsider because you didn't growl in a fashion that indicates you're part of the pack.  Language has a rhythm, a vibrational theme that speaks to underlying truths of the spirit.  Treating words as if they were cogs in a machine is doing them a severe disservice.  They are magic; they defy the rules while possessing their own will, their own life.

but games need absolute clarity in their rules. What you seem to be suggesting is that there shouldn't be a single correct wording among all the cards, which makes absolutely no sense.



The rule should be absolutely clear, but it should also read pleasantly and naturally.  The cards are seen over and over, while the rulebook is only referred to on occasion.  Therefore, it's better to make the wording of the rulebook painfully precise in order to cover what won't fit on the cards.  And that's besides the fact that some of the actual rules ought to be changed to make the function of the game more organic.  The very nonsensical targeting rule that requires the Conjurer's Bauble wording is a sterling example of a rule that's broken and should have long ago been fixed.  There is NO sane reason why you should choose a target for an ability which you don't intend to use.  Doing so leads to stupid outcomes like Skulking Ghost dying when your own ability triggers and there are no other targets to choose - with the relevant permanents in play, you might have no other choice, even though there's no sane reason for such a thing to happen.  The fault is clearly with the rule.

I should have been clearer. I was referring to the fact that they have a keyword without any reminder text in the set that introduces the keyword, which is generally not a good idea, but they seem so cool that a new player will look up what it means.



Annihilator had reminder text on all the lower-rarity Eldrazi, just not on the mythics.  The logic is that even if you only open a few packs, you're likely enough to hit an Ulamog's Crusher or Pawn of Emrakul that you'll know everything you need to know.  It's not an entirely sufficient measure, but it's good enough for the moment.  Besides, there's Oracle, and the number of people with no computer access is dropping every day.  Wasting valuable space on the card to explain information that people can easily gain in other ways is at best a suboptimal tradeoff, a concession to a dying past whose presence slows the arrival of our glorious future.  You can't be afraid to grow and evolve.  If you make stupidity and laziness impossible to sustain, people WILL become smart and ambitious sooner or later, because it's in their nature to do anything they must in order to survive and thrive.  MaRo's claim of "If you fight human nature, you will lose" is defeatist thinking; human nature can change, and in fact can be used to change itself.
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


Purple bicycle inferno!!! 



I... it.... bwuh?

On the contrary.  Mirrodin is a "real" place, in the sense that it has been imagined more completely than it has been described - it "lives" in the collective unconscious, detailed minutely by thousands of minds which overlap and fill in various details where they don't contradict each other.  Imagination is all about spinning artificial realities into being with the gossamer of our thoughts; we can't shake hands with our creation any more than we can with our creator, but just because you can't see something doesn't mean it doesn't meaningfully exist.  Things don't have to be useful to have intrinsic value, and a fantasy world is a living, vibrant thing, even if it's made out of thoughts rather than atoms.



I completely agree with everything said here. What I meant was that a setting is more than just a place. It is also the time period. Therefore, the setting being discussed is what is defined as "Mirrodin during the Phyrexian invasion." Mirrodin Besieged is part of this, as are the comics and short stories on dailymtg, and the upcoming novel. However, any theoretical future sets are not included in this, and thus shouldn't be involved in the discussion.

Metathran stuff



I say we agree to disagree on this, because it's meaningless to the topic at hand (Though I'd be glad to continue the discussion on the flavor forums)

Okay, I'll admit that here you have convinced me.  (Granted I was on the fence before, so it's only a half-win for your debating skills, but still, that's impressive given who you're fighting.  Trying to defeat me in a duel of logic is like trying to bisect the seven seas with a katana - no matter how sharp the edge, you can't cut that which flows around the blade.)



I'll take whatever victories I can get.

No they wouldn't.  It's a sensible enough rule that it would be very easy to grok.  Mentioning it a couple times on a few commons would be more than sufficient.



I disagree. When the rule first became relevant (Shadowmoor - it was made in Time Spiral) I needed to look up what it was, and so did several other experienced players I knew. Counters cancelling each other out isn't easy to grok because it doesn't happen with any other type of counter.

There's a ton of design space involved in the intersection.  Very few individual cards require both, but the environment is much more dynamic when you're actually pushing on both sides of the divide.  Would the game be better if you only ever drew cards, and never discarded them?  No, when you have a switch, you should be able to flip it both ways.



The divide in question is creature size. Even without using both types of counters the game is still pushing on creature size in both directions, even within this block. Compare Grasp of Darkness and Untamed Might - they both affect creature size, but in opposite ways, similar to how drawing and discarding cards affect hand size in opposite ways. Using both +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters on the same creature has the same effect as removing either type of counter from a creature except in the narrowest cases.

You have my condolences.  I suggest you try to indoctrinate some of your neighbors into loving the game - even if you have to make it less the game that you enjoy in order to get them to enjoy it.  You can kindle their interest and then worry about shaping the flame to suit your needs.  (Can you tell I like metaphors?  They wrote a Star Trek episode about my kind of mindset once, I think I must have seen it at the precise moment my personality finally crystallized.  Damn, there I go again.)



So you're suggesting I make the game less appealing to me so I can make it more appealing to other people? What a novel idea.

It's not natural human speech.  It doesn't flow conversationally.  Talking like that would get you funny looks - the other animals would regard you as an outsider because you didn't growl in a fashion that indicates you're part of the pack.  Language has a rhythm, a vibrational theme that speaks to underlying truths of the spirit.  Treating words as if they were cogs in a machine is doing them a severe disservice.  They are magic; they defy the rules while possessing their own will, their own life.



I am in full support of the fact that language is a living, evolving thing. However, there are a lot of inconsistencies in spoken language, along with a lot of ambiguity, which isn't good for the written word. 

The rule should be absolutely clear, but it should also read pleasantly and naturally.  The cards are seen over and over, while the rulebook is only referred to on occasion.  Therefore, it's better to make the wording of the rulebook painfully precise in order to cover what won't fit on the cards.  And that's besides the fact that some of the actual rules ought to be changed to make the function of the game more organic.  The very nonsensical targeting rule that requires the Conjurer's Bauble wording is a sterling example of a rule that's broken and should have long ago been fixed.




I'm not sure what nonsensical targeting rule you mean. Is it the fact that an ability that has targets requires you to name those targets to be used?


There is NO sane reason why you should choose a target for an ability which you don't intend to use.  Doing so leads to stupid outcomes like Skulking Ghost dying when your own ability triggers and there are no other targets to choose - with the relevant permanents in play, you might have no other choice, even though there's no sane reason for such a thing to happen.  The fault is clearly with the rule.


I think the Skulking Ghost example is an interesting corner case that can be worked around with good gameplay. I don't see how playing an ability/spell that hurts you is a case of the rules being bad, especially when the information needed to know the outcome is easily available to you.

Annihilator had reminder text on all the lower-rarity Eldrazi, just not on the mythics.  The logic is that even if you only open a few packs, you're likely enough to hit an Ulamog's Crusher or Pawn of Emrakul that you'll know everything you need to know.  It's not an entirely sufficient measure, but it's good enough for the moment.  Besides, there's Oracle, and the number of people with no computer access is dropping every day.  Wasting valuable space on the card to explain information that people can easily gain in other ways is at best a suboptimal tradeoff, a concession to a dying past whose presence slows the arrival of our glorious future.



What if it's the only card with that ability and you don't have access to the internet at the moment? What about new players who don't know about Oracle yet? It's a basic philosophy of the game that it should be possible to know what everything does without referring to the rulebook.

You can't be afraid to grow and evolve.  If you make stupidity and laziness impossible to sustain, people WILL become smart and ambitious sooner or later, because it's in their nature to do anything they must in order to survive and thrive.  MaRo's claim of "If you fight human nature, you will lose" is defeatist thinking; human nature can change, and in fact can be used to change itself.



You're right, humans will do anything they must in order to survive and thrive. When looking for fun, most people don't look for the type of activity you're describing, which would make it very difficult for Magic to continue growing, which is vital for any successful business.
Micorku's World Bits - A Vorthos writing about various creative topics. Updates sporadically Iroas - The world needs heroes - will you answer the call? There is also an RPG that is in Pre-Alpha stage.


Purple bicycle inferno!!! 



I... it.... bwuh?



That was a joke.

I completely agree with everything said here. What I meant was that a setting is more than just a place. It is also the time period. Therefore, the setting being discussed is what is defined as "Mirrodin during the Phyrexian invasion." Mirrodin Besieged is part of this, as are the comics and short stories on dailymtg, and the upcoming novel. However, any theoretical future sets are not included in this, and thus shouldn't be involved in the discussion.



If I ran Wizards and had free reign to do any dumb thing I wanted, I would completely be willing to publish new sets set in the same time and place as previous ones - it's what the comics industry calls a "continuity reboot" while Hollywood just calls it a "remake".  My version of Mirrodin Besieged would be at least 300 cards (as opposed to 500 or more for Scars) and would include tiny smatterings of battle cry in all five colors.  It would also include more than two red Phyrexian and black Mirrodian cards (probably 6-8), more than six white Phyrexian and green Mirrodian cards (probably 12-15), and an exactly equal (rather than within-1) number of blue cards for each.

The alternative as I see it would be to entirely omit the colors red and black from Phyrexian and Mirran entirely, which is what I would have done with MB if I had to stay constrained to their low size.  Being able to bust open Phyrexian packs in a theme draft and end up holding an Into the Core with NOTHING else to justify using even one of the Mountains it requires...ARRRGH.  Fortunately I haven't suffered this experience in reality...it bothers me enough just to imagine it.

I disagree. When the rule first became relevant (Shadowmoor - it was made in Time Spiral) I needed to look up what it was, and so did several other experienced players I knew. Counters cancelling each other out isn't easy to grok because it doesn't happen with any other type of counter.



There are no other counter types which are diametrically opposed.  It makes sense that they should matter-antimatter each other, just as it makes sense that a spell which says "Target creature is nonblack", if it targets a mono-black creature, would make that creature colorless, rather than nonsensically making it both black and nonblack at the same time.  I'd say that if Wizards ever makes a spell which says "Put an anticharge counter on target artifact", you could use that spell to remove charge counters from artifacts which have them, because that's obviously what an anticharge would do.  Now, if they called them "powerdrain counters" for flavor reasons, and then said that charge counters and powerdrain counters annihilate each other, I'd agree that was a little tricky to grok.  But +1 and -1 are obvious opposites, so it makes absolute sense to say they cancel out, and I can't believe people didn't see that as being obvious all the way back in Homelands when (I think) the -1/-1 counter first appeared.

Using both +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters on the same creature has the same effect as removing either type of counter from a creature except in the narrowest cases.



War of Light and Darkness
Enchantment - World*,
When War of Light and Darkness enters the battlefield, each player chooses to be light or dark.
Each light player has ": Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature" and ": Gain control of target creature with no -1/-1 counters on it."
Each dark player has ": Put a -1/-1 counter on target creature" and ": Gain control of target creature with no +1/+1 counters on it."

Now tell me that isn't cool.  It can't be printed on a normal card, and it probably breaks the game rules in half, but I don't care.  I want cards like this, because they're awesome.  You don't even have to play them to see how awesome they are.  You can imagine the insane games they'd create and it feels like you're watching a fantasy novel come to life.  That is the ultimate of what Magic should be IMO.  So, by refusing to use the design space even on rare mythic occasions and occasional mythic rares, they are refusing to create something that very much deserves to be created.  I always think that's a tragedy, for much the same reason I think it's a tragedy we haven't landed on Mars yet.  I don't care if it costs billions and results in nothing but a handful of red rocks - it's totally worth it.

So you're suggesting I make the game less appealing to me so I can make it more appealing to other people? What a novel idea.



It's called compromise, and it's an unfortunate necessity of our universe's refusal to indulge us in solipsism.

I am in full support of the fact that language is a living, evolving thing. However, there are a lot of inconsistencies in spoken language, along with a lot of ambiguity, which isn't good for the written word.



The spoken word is the true word; the written word is just a method of freeze-drying it for later consumption, and likewise kills the flavor.  I'm not saying we shouldn't write - obviously! - but one should never sacrifice the glory of spoken language due to the exigencies of the written medium.  Make your writing adapt to your speech, not the other way around.

I'm not sure what nonsensical targeting rule you mean. Is it the fact that an ability that has targets requires you to name those targets to be used?



More specifically, it's that a trigger such as:

"Whenever you whistle dixie, you may tap target creature"

Requires you to target a creature when you whistle dixie, even if you have no intention of tapping that creature.  This is a complete and utter misuse of the word "may".  If you're not tapping the target creature, then it's not the target creature; you're not targeting it.  The tapping should depend on the targeting, and the targeting should depend on the "may" - instead, the tapping depends on the "may" and the targeting is mandatory, resulting in a whole lot of dead Skulking Ghosts (or a whole lot of dead anybodies if Horobi, Death's Wail is out - explain to me why exactly Horobi, Asceticism, and whistling dixie should equal a one-sided Wrath of God!).

What if it's the only card with that ability and you don't have access to the internet at the moment? What about new players who don't know about Oracle yet? It's a basic philosophy of the game that it should be possible to know what everything does without referring to the rulebook.



That's nonsense.  No other game says you should be able to play without knowing the rules.  Wizards ought to go back to printing those little pocket-sized notebooks.  Not Comprehensive, but sufficient to the needs of the moment.  And I'm not concerned about them obsoleting the thing, because we're pretty close to the point at which the rules can just stop changing, apart from things like adding an entry for a new keyword.  The permuations need to constantly change, but the basic structure ought to crystallize into a permanent form, and we're quite close to that being feasible, I feel certain.

You're right, humans will do anything they must in order to survive and thrive. When looking for fun, most people don't look for the type of activity you're describing, which would make it very difficult for Magic to continue growing, which is vital for any successful business.



Businesses don't need to grow - they need to maintain.  Growing out of control is called cancer.  Eventually, you have no more room to grow into.  Your objective shouldn't be infinity, it should be equilibrium.  Magic should aim to have exactly the correct number of customers, and keep all of them happy enough to bring in exactly the correct amount of money to pay all the bills, and then continue catering to them, replacing any that leave the hobby but never oversaturating the market.  Of course, I have not enough information to determine exactly what the correct size is - your difficulty with finding opponents suggests that some growing needs to be done, but at the same time I often feel as if the oversaturation has already occurred.  This is part of why I advocate splitting the game - it's the ideal way to satisfy both of these conditions.  When one game can't grow any more, divide it into two things that can.  In areas which don't have a sizeable populace, the split doesn't affect anything - small playgroups continue on as they have been, playing the same game as ever, but now another game distinct from theirs exists which offers new opportuniteis to larger groups that need 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


Purple bicycle inferno!!! 



I... it.... bwuh?



That was a joke.



I know. My response still stands.

If I ran Wizards and had free reign to do any dumb thing I wanted, I would completely be willing to publish new sets set in the same time and place as previous ones - it's what the comics industry calls a "continuity reboot" while Hollywood just calls it a "remake".



Most comics fans (myself included) will tell you that continuity reboots are the worst thing about comics, combined with the massive amount of retcons. If a person is deeply invested in a story, the worst thing you can do is essentially erase it from existence. There's a reason One More Day and Brand New Day are so universally despised among Spider-man fans.

My version of Mirrodin Besieged would be at least 300 cards (as opposed to 500 or more for Scars) and would include tiny smatterings of battle cry in all five colors.  It would also include more than two red Phyrexian and black Mirrodian cards (probably 6-8), more than six white Phyrexian and green Mirrodian cards (probably 12-15), and an exactly equal (rather than within-1) number of blue cards for each.



So you don't feel there were enough cards in sets even before Alara block? (Large sets were generally 350 cards, with only two, Time Spiral and Fifth Edition, being over 400, while small sets were between 150 and 185 cards) In your hypothetical environment, there would be 2,700+ cards in Standard.

War of Light and Darkness
Enchantment - World*,
When War of Light and Darkness enters the battlefield, each player chooses to be light or dark.
Each light player has ": Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature" and ": Gain control of target creature with no -1/-1 counters on it."
Each dark player has ": Put a -1/-1 counter on target creature" and ": Gain control of target creature with no +1/+1 counters on it."

Now tell me that isn't cool.  It can't be printed on a normal card, and it probably breaks the game rules in half, but I don't care.  I want cards like this, because they're awesome.  You don't even have to play them to see how awesome they are.  You can imagine the insane games they'd create and it feels like you're watching a fantasy novel come to life.  That is the ultimate of what Magic should be IMO.  So, by refusing to use the design space even on rare mythic occasions and occasional mythic rares, they are refusing to create something that very much deserves to be created.  I always think that's a tragedy, for much the same reason I think it's a tragedy we haven't landed on Mars yet.  I don't care if it costs billions and results in nothing but a handful of red rocks - it's totally worth it.



It's not cool. It's ridiculously overcosted for a terrible effect which you could only use half of, and your opponent would simply use the turn he gets to steal/kill all your creatures or pump all his creatures and swing for the win. Also, why do you need blue mana for this? I don't think even the Johnniest person would want to play this, and Timmy hates it because it has a huge downside. And Spike would also probably hate it (I'm not a Spike, so I can't be sure of this) because of the reasons I said above.

So you're suggesting I make the game less appealing to me so I can make it more appealing to other people? What a novel idea.



It's called compromise, and it's an unfortunate necessity of our universe's refusal to indulge us in solipsism.



You do realize you're telling me to do the exact thing you criticize Wizards for doing, right?

The spoken word is the true word; the written word is just a method of freeze-drying it for later consumption, and likewise kills the flavor.  I'm not saying we shouldn't write - obviously! - but one should never sacrifice the glory of spoken language due to the exigencies of the written medium.  Make your writing adapt to your speech, not the other way around.



...The glory of spoken language? I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not, because I don't think I've ever heard anyone refer to the "glory of spoken language" without sarcasm, especially regarding the English language, which has a known history of blatantly stealing words from other languages and forcibly integrating them, whether they make sense or not. And it has the most exceptions to its own rules out of any language, to the point where some words don't make any sense.


More specifically, it's that a trigger such as:

"Whenever you whistle dixie, you may tap target creature"

Requires you to target a creature when you whistle dixie, even if you have no intention of tapping that creature.  This is a complete and utter misuse of the word "may".  If you're not tapping the target creature, then it's not the target creature; you're not targeting it.  The tapping should depend on the targeting, and the targeting should depend on the "may" - instead, the tapping depends on the "may" and the targeting is mandatory, resulting in a whole lot of dead Skulking Ghosts (or a whole lot of dead anybodies if Horobi, Death's Wail is out - explain to me why exactly Horobi, Asceticism, and whistling dixie should equal a one-sided Wrath of God!).



Because it's a cool corner case that you really have to work for? Disregarding the fact that Asceticism doesn't matter all that much, considering Horobi can't be enchanted by it, iff someone managed to pull off a play that resulted in a one-sided Wrath because of Horobi, giving their own creatures shroud and an ability that targeted everything, I would be impressed.

That's nonsense.  No other game says you should be able to play without knowing the rules.  Wizards ought to go back to printing those little pocket-sized notebooks.  Not Comprehensive, but sufficient to the needs of the moment.  And I'm not concerned about them obsoleting the thing, because we're pretty close to the point at which the rules can just stop changing, apart from things like adding an entry for a new keyword.  The permuations need to constantly change, but the basic structure ought to crystallize into a permanent form, and we're quite close to that being feasible, I feel certain.



There are a number of things that Magic does that other games don't. Just because other games require you to reference a rulebook for every ability doesn't mean Magic should - in fact, that's one of the reasons I continue to play Magic almost exclusively.

Businesses don't need to grow - they need to maintain.  Growing out of control is called cancer.  Eventually, you have no more room to grow into.  Your objective shouldn't be infinity, it should be equilibrium.  Magic should aim to have exactly the correct number of customers, and keep all of them happy enough to bring in exactly the correct amount of money to pay all the bills, and then continue catering to them, replacing any that leave the hobby but never oversaturating the market.  Of course, I have not enough information to determine exactly what the correct size is - your difficulty with finding opponents suggests that some growing needs to be done, but at the same time I often feel as if the oversaturation has already occurred.



I'm curious as to what you define as oversaturation. Getting more players seems like it couldn't possibly be a bad thing. And part of why businesses need to grow is they should always strive to deliver the best product, which requires them to constantly improve, which requires more income, which requires more customers.

This is part of why I advocate splitting the game - it's the ideal way to satisfy both of these conditions.  When one game can't grow any more, divide it into two things that can.  In areas which don't have a sizeable populace, the split doesn't affect anything - small playgroups continue on as they have been, playing the same game as ever, but now another game distinct from theirs exists which offers new opportuniteis to larger groups that need it.



What if the people in those areas like to play in different ways? Then you have to buy at least twice as many cards, according to your split of Casual, Limited and Tourney. I like playing both Casual and limited, and I would like to be good enough to play in tournaments someday. Would I have to buy three times as many packs?
Micorku's World Bits - A Vorthos writing about various creative topics. Updates sporadically Iroas - The world needs heroes - will you answer the call? There is also an RPG that is in Pre-Alpha stage.
Most comics fans (myself included) will tell you that continuity reboots are the worst thing about comics, combined with the massive amount of retcons. If a person is deeply invested in a story, the worst thing you can do is essentially erase it from existence.



Except that it doesn't erase it from existence, it just splits it off into a separate universe from the one in which the current story is taking place.  For the prime example, let's look at Alan Moore's Green Lantern story "Here There Be Tygers", in which he introduces the demon-planet of Ysmault, describes the doom of the Green Lantern Corps at the hands of various enemies that Moore made up on the spot, and gives a reason for why Abin Sur's ship crashed which contradicted the rather silly explanation first given in the Hal Jordan comics.  It was then itself contradicted by "Rage of the Red Lanterns" and the other arcs leading up to "Blackest Night", in which Ysmault was explained as being something other than what Moore presented it as, and the events which unfolded thereafter didn't match his version (most notably, in they did not completely destroy the GLC, which was the entire point of them happening in "Tygers").  But does that mean that "Red Lanterns" caused "Tygers" to vanish from history, or that "Tygers" did so to the original "why Abin Sur crashed" story?  No, all three of these mutually contradictory stories still exist, in different timelines or universes or canons or whatever you want to call them.

It is always preferable to have more alternatives - though admittedly, it can be hard to navigate the resulting field unless strict labeling and organization conventions are used.  Given the right framework for deciding which authors decided to follow in the footsteps of which other authors while contradicting still others, you can figure out which of the, in essence, multiple overlapping fictional universes of Spider-Man this particular Spider-Man story actually takes place, and ditto for any other such property.  Continuity is ultimately a fallacy anyway - something like Jeff Smith's "Bone" is very close to being a single contiguous story since he planned it as a cohesive whole, but even then, the fact that the author's mindset changes slightly over the time he is writing it means that he is functionally a number of different persons, similar but not identical, who communicated with each other by handing down a chain of memories that diverged over time like a game of Telephone, so that when he wrote Chapter 4 it wasn't exactly the same as he planned on it being when he wrote Chapter 1.  That sort of thing is inevitable, and is part of the beauty of storytelling.

So you don't feel there were enough cards in sets even before Alara block?


Nope.
In your hypothetical environment, there would be 2,700+ cards in Standard.


Yes, and tourney rats would still only use like thirty of them.  Meanwhile, the rest of us would have actual choices to make, many interesting build-arounds to play with, without having them crowded out by boring Limited fodder like Scourge Servant that didn't strictly need to exist - but we could still have those cards too, because there'd be plenty of room.  By confining the card number to a small amount, you deny existence to cards which should exist, according to any reasoning.  My particular reasoning calls for a very large number of cards, because I'm mostly a Vorthos and want the maximum possible art and flavor text to thoroughly describe the setting.  And if someone like Limited Spike wants fewer cards to exist, he can still get his wish - just create a subset of the total cards in the set, sell that subset in Limited Packs, and let him play with those so he can enjoy the nonexistence of cards he doesn't like, while someone like me is free to buy Limitless Packs and get the total Mirrodin experience.

It's not cool. It's ridiculously overcosted


The numbers were a pure guess; they don't matter.  It costs whatever it should cost, I was just making up something that looked neat.
for a terrible effect which you could only use half of, and your opponent would simply use


Wizards has largely stopped printing symmetrical effects like this one, and I hate that fact because I found them far more interesting.  Mana Flare affects the entire table and changes the nature of the whole game, while Mana Reflection just affects you and has no impact on how your opponent plays; the former is much more interactive and interesting.  You wouldn't put such a card in your deck unless you were confident you could use it better than most other players would be able to do, and such a challenge is interesting - paying a little more mana and getting the effect without having to think that extra bit is less neat.
Also, why do you need blue mana for this?


I figured that when White and Black are going to war, Blue is going to sit on the sidelines and play both sides against each other in order to reap some profits.  But yeah, if I actually made this card I'd leave the blue off, and make the same point on other cards which show the Vedalken or whoever doing war profiteering and information brokering and such.

You do realize you're telling me to do the exact thing you criticize Wizards for doing, right?



Not exactly, but I can see where you would get that impression.  There's one important difference.  You are a person; Wizards is a corporation.  My rules for what an organization with millions of dollars and hundreds of people at its disposal ought to do are entirely different from the rules I apply to individuals (even individuals who work for that corporation).  As long as the organization has more power than the individual, it also has more responsibility (one could say I took Spider-Man's little life lesson a bit too much to heart so many years ago).  If the company can afford to do things better than any individual person, it should.  If it destroys itself in the process, so be it; I don't acknowledge that corporations are entitled to a self-preservation instinct as people are.  They are more akin to a phoenix (which, like a corporation, isn't a real thing that physically exists - the building, the people in it, the name on the letterhead, those are all physical things, but the connection between them which weaves them into a company is entirely a product of the human imagination, as is the phoenix) - they must die so that something new can rise from their ashes.  The company burns itself out by burning as brightly as it can, it collapses, and its creations are taken under the wing of some new patron for however long that one lasts, while the individuals that worked at the company move on to new jobs and new stages of their lives.  There is nothing tragic about that, it is them achieving the completion of their reason-for-being.  The way of nature, passion, intellect, and all other worthy things is not about existing statically for as long as possible; they are about transformation, rebirth, cyclicality, reinvention, evolution, refinement toward perfection ad infinitum.

...The glory of spoken language? I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not, because I don't think I've ever heard anyone refer to the "glory of spoken language" without sarcasm, especially regarding the English language, which has a known history of blatantly stealing words from other languages and forcibly integrating them, whether they make sense or not. And it has the most exceptions to its own rules out of any language, to the point where some words don't make any sense.



I know, that's exactly why I think it's so awesome.  Listen to George Carlin sometime, he's got a lot of bits about what a funny language we're living in.  And hilarity is totally a form of glory.

Because it's a cool corner case that you really have to work for? Disregarding the fact that Asceticism doesn't matter all that much, considering Horobi can't be enchanted by it



Asceticism is a global enchantment; it gives troll-shroud to all your creatures without targeting them.  It can't regenerate Horobi, but it can ensure the opponent doesn't kill him with "you may have target creature get +1/+1 unless you don't want to, but either way you targeted it so Horobi makes it go boom".

iff someone managed to pull off a play that resulted in a one-sided Wrath because of Horobi, giving their own creatures shroud and an ability that targeted everything, I would be impressed.



I wouldn't; it's cheesy and makes no flavor sense.  Cheating an ability like Horobi's is depriving him of the meaning of his characterization, and even more so when the ability comes from an enchantment which IS nothing other than that ability, rather than from a creature with an existence unto itself.  But more to the point, I'm not talking about targeting Horobi victims with an ability that actually does something, whereby Horobi might make them explode.  It makes sense to say that you can kill Horobi just by looking at him - but how can you kill Horobi by deciding not to look at him when the game gives you the option of doing so?  "You may have target creature get +1/+1" is an ability which doesn't do anything unless you actually give the creature +1/+1.  "Hey Bob, I'm not going to give you this muffin."  You didn't give Bob the Muffin, so nothing actually happened.  Bob is not allowed to trigger his "Whenever someone offers Bob a muffin" ability, because you didn't actually offer him a muffin, you just had an opportunity to offer him a muffin and chose not to use that opportunity.

There are a number of things that Magic does that other games don't. Just because other games require you to reference a rulebook for every ability doesn't mean Magic should - in fact, that's one of the reasons I continue to play Magic almost exclusively.



I guess in that case we'll have to agree to disagree.

I'm curious as to what you define as oversaturation. Getting more players seems like it couldn't possibly be a bad thing.



In theory, I believe "there is no such thing as too much of anything, only too little of something else".  There's no such thing as "too many magic players", but there is such a thing as "too many magic players among too few non-magic players".  Everyone in the world playing Magic would be a bad thing, because there would no longer be anything to compare it to, it would be absorbed into the default human experience and would no longer offer a benefit of diversity and uniqueness.  Put another way, Magic in the human populace is like sugar in a cake - a cake should have sugar, but it's possible to put so much sugar into the cake that the cake becomes inedible.  There is always a harmonious balance to be achieved, which is spoiled if you exceed certain proportions.  Some people should play Magic, and some people shouldn't, so that the experiences of those groups can be compared to see what can be learned from the distinction.  Discovering the exact proportion which is correct can only be done through experiment, which is the same way the world's bakers have learned about how much sugar typically belongs in a given cake.

And part of why businesses need to grow is they should always strive to deliver the best product, which requires them to constantly improve, which requires more income, which requires more customers.



So you don't believe that the product can ever be perfect, needing no further improvement?  How sad.

What if the people in those areas like to play in different ways? Then you have to buy at least twice as many cards, according to your split of Casual, Limited and Tourney. I like playing both Casual and limited, and I would like to be good enough to play in tournaments someday. Would I have to buy three times as many packs?



They might all be the same cards, and just sold in different packs - if a rare is too powerful in Limited but is an automatic x4 in every Constructed deck, it should be a common in Constructed Packs that nobody tries to play Limited with.  Or the cards might actually be different, but in that case you'd probably buy them as singles and it'd be no different than what you're doing now.  You're not going to play Scourge Servant in your tournament competitive deck, probably not in your casual deck either, but if you buy a Limited pack and get stuck with it, you paid money for that cards and you own it forever, though it was only useful for that one game.  (This is why part of my plan is that Limited Packs would be cheaper, lower-quality, more biodegradeable cardboard; no-one would be expected to keep them, they'd be ephemeral products designed for an ephemeral experience, economical and disposable, while cards intended to be staples in Vintage until the end of time would use expensive high-quality cardstock.  Somehow you'd have to make them shuffle equally well...perhaps using special weight-balancing sleeves or something.)
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
Except that it doesn't erase it from existence, it just splits it off into a separate universe from the one in which the current story is taking place.  For the prime example, let's look at Alan Moore's Green Lantern story "Here There Be Tygers", in which he introduces the demon-planet of Ysmault, describes the doom of the Green Lantern Corps at the hands of various enemies that Moore made up on the spot, and gives a reason for why Abin Sur's ship crashed which contradicted the rather silly explanation first given in the Hal Jordan comics.  It was then itself contradicted by "Rage of the Red Lanterns" and the other arcs leading up to "Blackest Night", in which Ysmault was explained as being something other than what Moore presented it as, and the events which unfolded thereafter didn't match his version (most notably, in they did not completely destroy the GLC, which was the entire point of them happening in "Tygers").  But does that mean that "Red Lanterns" caused "Tygers" to vanish from history, or that "Tygers" did so to the original "why Abin Sur crashed" story?  No, all three of these mutually contradictory stories still exist, in different timelines or universes or canons or whatever you want to call them.



Here There Be Tygers and Blackest Nights were not continuity reboots. In fact, the only thing that was retconned in a major way was Abin Sur's crash. The rest of the story was clearly not intended to be strict canon, and was interpreted as a prophecy. Leading to Sinestro Corps War (which is where the prophecy actually came into play), which used the common trope that the future is not set in stone. A continuity reboot is more along the lines of Zero Hour or One More Day, both of which weren't very popular.

It is always preferable to have more alternatives - though admittedly, it can be hard to navigate the resulting field unless strict labeling and organization conventions are used.  Given the right framework for deciding which authors decided to follow in the footsteps of which other authors while contradicting still others, you can figure out which of the, in essence, multiple overlapping fictional universes of Spider-Man this particular Spider-Man story actually takes place, and ditto for any other such property.  Continuity is ultimately a fallacy anyway - something like Jeff Smith's "Bone" is very close to being a single contiguous story since he planned it as a cohesive whole, but even then, the fact that the author's mindset changes slightly over the time he is writing it means that he is functionally a number of different persons, similar but not identical, who communicated with each other by handing down a chain of memories that diverged over time like a game of Telephone, so that when he wrote Chapter 4 it wasn't exactly the same as he planned on it being when he wrote Chapter 1.  That sort of thing is inevitable, and is part of the beauty of storytelling.



But the Spider-man stories fit into a greater Marvel universe, so does that mean that each comic that uses him has to use the same system? Which further fractures the universe, which actually makes it harder to follow the characters you love. And what if someone uses elements that multiple authors introduced?

Also, Bone is a single contiguous story, regardless of whether it is exactly as he planned it from the start. And he drew the final page at the very beginning, so it ended exactly as he intended.

Yes, and tourney rats would still only use like thirty of them.  Meanwhile, the rest of us would have actual choices to make, many interesting build-arounds to play with, without having them crowded out by boring Limited fodder like Scourge Servant that didn't strictly need to exist - but we could still have those cards too, because there'd be plenty of room.  By confining the card number to a small amount, you deny existence to cards which should exist, according to any reasoning.  My particular reasoning calls for a very large number of cards, because I'm mostly a Vorthos and want the maximum possible art and flavor text to thoroughly describe the setting.  And if someone like Limited Spike wants fewer cards to exist, he can still get his wish - just create a subset of the total cards in the set, sell that subset in Limited Packs, and let him play with those so he can enjoy the nonexistence of cards he doesn't like, while someone like me is free to buy Limitless Packs and get the total Mirrodin experience.



It seems like you don't really care about the game itself, just the flavor behind it. In that case, shouldn't you be asking for more comics, or more columns like Savor the Flavor? Or, perhaps best of all, for them to start releasing the Planeswalker Guides again. Then you could have the flavor you want, and it won't make Spike wade through hundreds of pointless cards to find the same number of playable cards as there are now. And the packs would likely cost more because they have to take more time to design that many cards, and they have to spend time figuring out which cards would only be used in Limited. And they would probably sell less packs overall, because people would never buy them if they're looking for any number of specific cards, regardless of the rarity. Only people like you would buy the normal packs, and only people who are currently drafting would buy the Limited packs.

Not exactly, but I can see where you would get that impression.  There's one important difference.  You are a person; Wizards is a corporation.  My rules for what an organization with millions of dollars and hundreds of people at its disposal ought to do are entirely different from the rules I apply to individuals (even individuals who work for that corporation).  As long as the organization has more power than the individual, it also has more responsibility (one could say I took Spider-Man's little life lesson a bit too much to heart so many years ago).  If the company can afford to do things better than any individual person, it should.  If it destroys itself in the process, so be it; I don't acknowledge that corporations are entitled to a self-preservation instinct as people are.  They are more akin to a phoenix (which, like a corporation, isn't a real thing that physically exists - the building, the people in it, the name on the letterhead, those are all physical things, but the connection between them which weaves them into a company is entirely a product of the human imagination, as is the phoenix) - they must die so that something new can rise from their ashes.  The company burns itself out by burning as brightly as it can, it collapses, and its creations are taken under the wing of some new patron for however long that one lasts, while the individuals that worked at the company move on to new jobs and new stages of their lives.  There is nothing tragic about that, it is them achieving the completion of their reason-for-being.  The way of nature, passion, intellect, and all other worthy things is not about existing statically for as long as possible; they are about transformation, rebirth, cyclicality, reinvention, evolution, refinement toward perfection ad infinitum.



What all this says to me is that you should never be allowed to run a business. And all that poetic talk is nice until you think about a corporation dying actually does. If Wizards were to fail, hundreds of people would be out of jobs, many of who have families. You're saying that's okay as long they provide you with the most fun game possible? And I think that you're misusing the word afford. If something dies doing something, then it certainly couldn't afford to do that. I'm all for holding corporations to a high standard, but what you're suggesting is a terrible idea.

As a side note, how would you like it if you lost your dream job because you were doing the best you could? Because you're suggesting that would be a good thing for most of the people who work at Wizards.

I know, that's exactly why I think it's so awesome.  Listen to George Carlin sometime, he's got a lot of bits about what a funny language we're living in.  And hilarity is totally a form of glory.



I love George Carlin, but his bits on language were about how stupid the English language is.

Asceticism is a global enchantment; it gives troll-shroud to all your creatures without targeting them.  It can't regenerate Horobi, but it can ensure the opponent doesn't kill him with "you may have target creature get +1/+1 unless you don't want to, but either way you targeted it so Horobi makes it go boom".



Huh, I must have forgotten what Asceticism does. My bad.

I wouldn't; it's cheesy and makes no flavor sense.  Cheating an ability like Horobi's is depriving him of the meaning of his characterization, and even more so when the ability comes from an enchantment which IS nothing other than that ability, rather than from a creature with an existence unto itself.  But more to the point, I'm not talking about targeting Horobi victims with an ability that actually does something, whereby Horobi might make them explode.  It makes sense to say that you can kill Horobi just by looking at him - but how can you kill Horobi by deciding not to look at him when the game gives you the option of doing so?



Ok, it doesn't make perfect flavor sense, but sometimes flavor has to suffer for the sake of gameplay. I know you'll disagree with this, so let's just agree to disagree on this specific point.

"You may have target creature get +1/+1" is an ability which doesn't do anything unless you actually give the creature +1/+1.  "Hey Bob, I'm not going to give you this muffin."  You didn't give Bob the Muffin, so nothing actually happened.  Bob is not allowed to trigger his "Whenever someone offers Bob a muffin" ability, because you didn't actually offer him a muffin, you just had an opportunity to offer him a muffin and chose not to use that opportunity.



You really need to stop mixing your metaphors. You should have started with "You may give target creature a muffin," but then your point doesn't make sense because I can just say he was offered a muffin, you just turned it down.

In theory, I believe "there is no such thing as too much of anything, only too little of something else".  There's no such thing as "too many magic players", but there is such a thing as "too many magic players among too few non-magic players".  Everyone in the world playing Magic would be a bad thing, because there would no longer be anything to compare it to, it would be absorbed into the default human experience and would no longer offer a benefit of diversity and uniqueness.  Put another way, Magic in the human populace is like sugar in a cake - a cake should have sugar, but it's possible to put so much sugar into the cake that the cake becomes inedible.  There is always a harmonious balance to be achieved, which is spoiled if you exceed certain proportions.  Some people should play Magic, and some people shouldn't, so that the experiences of those groups can be compared to see what can be learned from the distinction.  Discovering the exact proportion which is correct can only be done through experiment, which is the same way the world's bakers have learned about how much sugar typically belongs in a given cake.



Maybe I'm being dumb, but I'm still not understanding your point. If you're saying that Magic needs to be compared to other leisure activities, most people don't limit themselves to a single activity, so you can still compare those. If you're saying you need to compare Magic players to non-Magic players, I fail to understand why. And I still fail to see why having more people that share your interests is a bad thing at any time.

So you don't believe that the product can ever be perfect, needing no further improvement?  How sad.



I hope that it can never be perfect, because then there wouldn't be any reason to produce new product.

They might all be the same cards, and just sold in different packs - if a rare is too powerful in Limited but is an automatic x4 in every Constructed deck, it should be a common in Constructed Packs that nobody tries to play Limited with.  Or the cards might actually be different, but in that case you'd probably buy them as singles and it'd be no different than what you're doing now.



Part of the appeal of Limited is that you keep whatever cards you pick - I've been torn between picking a card that would be good for the deck I was building and a rare that I had been trying to get but would be useless in that deck, and that's a fun decision to make. Also, I don't buy singles.

You're not going to play Scourge Servant in your tournament competitive deck, probably not in your casual deck either, but if you buy a Limited pack and get stuck with it, you paid money for that cards and you own it forever, though it was only useful for that one game.  (This is why part of my plan is that Limited Packs would be cheaper, lower-quality, more biodegradeable cardboard; no-one would be expected to keep them, they'd be ephemeral products designed for an ephemeral experience, economical and disposable, while cards intended to be staples in Vintage until the end of time would use expensive high-quality cardstock.  Somehow you'd have to make them shuffle equally well...perhaps using special weight-balancing sleeves or something.)



But they wouldn't sell as well while having the same shipping and packaging costs, meaning that they would probably cost just as much as packs do now. In that case, why bother drafting with real cards at all? Just stick to playing MTGO, except some of the appeal of playing MTGO (converting full sets into real cards) would be lost, because you wouldn't want those cards in real life anyway.
Micorku's World Bits - A Vorthos writing about various creative topics. Updates sporadically Iroas - The world needs heroes - will you answer the call? There is also an RPG that is in Pre-Alpha stage.
It seems like you don't really care about the game itself, just the flavor behind it.



That's not exactly true, but is close enough to call it a match.  I like the game, but I think the game is just fine no matter what form it takes; it doesn't need to be driven the way they drive it.  They should never pass up an opportunity to develop the story better for game reasons, because doing the wrong thing from the game's perspective doesn't hurt the game that much.  If a card is too powerful you can just ban or errata it.  If a limited environment sucks you can build a cube or something to represent what you'd rather see instead.  Ultimately, if what you care about is game mechanics, you can proxy everything or just play with index cards.  The story is what's important.

In that case, shouldn't you be asking for more comics, or more columns like Savor the Flavor?



Those requests pretty much go without saying at this point; my Vorthos status is well-known.

Or, perhaps best of all, for them to start releasing the Planeswalker Guides again.



The Planeswalker's Guide to Alara wasn't really that great, and the Planeswalker Guide to Zendikar didn't even get printed, it was just a somewhat awkward Savor the Flavor subseries.  Not great.  What they ought to do is publish the style guides.  Courtesy of my work on Action I've read all three Mirrodin block style guides, and there's a ton of cool background information in there, some of which informs flavor text or art, some of which will get brought up in STF or Magic Arcana, but quite a few tidbits of which will probably never see the light of day.  Heck, a few months ago they released a page describing Argoth from the Urza's Saga style guide!  We could have used that information 10 friggin years ago.  I can't figure out why they don't show this stuff off much more often.

Only people like you would buy the normal packs, and only people who are currently drafting would buy the Limited packs.



That's exactly what I want.  Only people who want to ride motorcycles buy a motorcycle, and only people who want to drive a minivan buy a minivan.  They don't go out and buy a "booster pack" of auto parts, some of which are for motorcycles and some of which are for minivans; they pay what they have to pay and get the complete experience they want, with nothing extraneous.  I want Magic to be the same way.

What all this says to me is that you should never be allowed to run a business. And all that poetic talk is nice until you think about a corporation dying actually does. If Wizards were to fail, hundreds of people would be out of jobs, many of who have families. You're saying that's okay as long they provide you with the most fun game possible?



The fact that they're out of a job is only tragic if they aren't able to find another job.  In my ideal world, society does not ever accept that a person can be denied a livelihood.  I want the perfect game, and I want the perfect society - I want it all, and I believe we can have it all, if we stop putting aside our petty nonsense and actually work toward perfection.  We don't have enough resources on the Earth, so we need to go to other planets.  We have people who are stupid and lazy and self-destructive, so we must uplift them, make it so they default to living better lives.  We must figure out which people are holding onto entrenched systems that are perpetuating misery on a general scale, just because they are convenient for those individuals, and forcibly deprive them of the right to be selfish and megalomaniacal.  We must clean up the environment, give people the tools they need to live in harmony with their surroundings, work with their nature in order to change their nature, so that they default to doing the right thing.  It's a vast undertaking that is easily regarded as impossible because of its size and complexity, but we CAN do it, if we simply agree collectively that it needs doing.  But a handful of gatekeepers who are happy with the imbalanced status quo are keeping things from improving, and ultimately they must be denied their ability to make wrong choices.  We're seeing that happen in the Middle East right now, and it gives me hope that the cause is not lost after all.

As a side note, how would you like it if you lost your dream job because you were doing the best you could? Because you're suggesting that would be a good thing for most of the people who work at Wizards.



Have you heard the phrase "Satisfaction is the death of desire?"  How about "Always leave 'em wanting more"?  Ultimately, our world has come up with the idea that you should never cure a disease, because if people aren't sick you can't sell them medicine.  That's what I want us to let go of.  We must accept that the objective of all endeavors is to complete them, to make them end.  You do a job until it's done, then you go do another job.  The only reason this is not possible is because of the fear and uncertainty that rules our reality, and that's what I want to see removed.  If you lose your job, you should be guaranteed a new one, which utilizes your skills and pays what you need to earn.  There should be no competition, no meritocracy, no acceptance that someone isn't good enough to deserve a living wage.  If you don't think someone is good enough, then you make them better, at your own expense, and then give them a job where they can continue to earn you profit until your investment has been paid off.  It is never acceptible to cut your losses and condemn a human being to loss of quality of life.

I love George Carlin, but his bits on language were about how stupid the English language is.



He never said it should be changed; he appreciated its idiosyncracies.  That was my whole point - the language being goofy enables you to laugh at it, so its silliness is a good thing.

Ok, it doesn't make perfect flavor sense, but sometimes flavor has to suffer for the sake of gameplay. I know you'll disagree with this, so let's just agree to disagree on this specific point.



I don't believe that gameplay does have to suffer, though.  An ideal solution can be found which satisfies both parties perfectly.  But nobody wants to take the time to bother (myself included, admittedly).  All imperfection exists only because people prioritize expediency over perfection, which is ultimately a choice for the worst without exception.  It is always worth any expenditure of temporary resources in order to permanently increase the resources available.  And for the most part, that's what we do, but there are always short-sighted people working to undercut the process for foolish, ultimately irrelevant reasons.

You really need to stop mixing your metaphors. You should have started with "You may give target creature a muffin," but then your point doesn't make sense because I can just say he was offered a muffin, you just turned it down.



Right, except that in magic, you can't turn down the offer, because an offer was never made, there was only the potential for an offer to be made to target person, whose Skulking Ghost ability kills him because he could have been offered a muffin, even though he wasn't.  That's the part that annoys me.

Maybe I'm being dumb, but I'm still not understanding your point. If you're saying that Magic needs to be compared to other leisure activities, most people don't limit themselves to a single activity, so you can still compare those. If you're saying you need to compare Magic players to non-Magic players, I fail to understand why. And I still fail to see why having more people that share your interests is a bad thing at any time.



It's possible to burn out on anything.  If every five minutes, some new person was offering you a game of magic, you'd get sick of it.  You need to have some non-magic spacing in between your magic, to give your desire time to grow before you satisfy (kill) it again.

I hope that it can never be perfect, because then there wouldn't be any reason to produce new product.



There I disagree.  If a perfect set was made, another perfect set could be made thereafter, and another and another, all equally perfect.  It's true there would be no further upward movement, but there could be an infinite amount of lateral movement.  This creates fully interchangeable alternatives.  By way of example, the perfect game of Scars Block Constructed and the perfect game of Scars Block Constructed Plus Besieged.  Both would be equally good, because the perfect version of Scars alone contains everything you need to make the best Scars decks, and the absence of things like living weapon and battlecry is exactly as desireable as their presence.  That's not entirely true in the sets as they were printed - your mono-green infect deck with a lot of artifacts from Scars is improved by adding Mirran Mettle, so without MBS it isn't quite as good.  But in theory, you could perfecty balance all the additions (your Mirran Mettle) and subtractions (your opponent's Creeping Corrosion), so that the choice to play one or the other has no impact whatsoever on your chances to win, and is determined solely by your aesthetic preference for the environment you'd rather play in.

Part of the appeal of Limited is that you keep whatever cards you pick - I've been torn between picking a card that would be good for the deck I was building and a rare that I had been trying to get but would be useless in that deck, and that's a fun decision to make. Also, I don't buy singles.



Not buying singles makes you a bit unusual.  And I rare-grab in drafts too, but this is sort of dirty pool, so making the Limited packs which don't reward you for doing this (remember, I said they'd be cheap, since you're paying solely for the experience, not the cards), you make the Limited experience more pure.  Everyone picks cards solely for the purpose of playing the best Limited game they can - like renting a motorcycle since they're only interested in going for a motorcycle ride, and not having to influence the decision based on what they're going to need to drive tomorrow, as they would if they actually bought the motorcycle.  (My ideal fantasy would make this even more literal by having the cards pop in and out of existence as they were needed or unneeded, as happens in a game played with Apprentice or a similar program - our technology isn't quite to the point that we can live our whole lives in an Earth-sized holodeck, but that is exactly what I would wish for if the genies were cooperating.)

But they wouldn't sell as well while having the same shipping and packaging costs, meaning that they would probably cost just as much as packs do now. In that case, why bother drafting with real cards at all? Just stick to playing MTGO, except some of the appeal of playing MTGO (converting full sets into real cards) would be lost, because you wouldn't want those cards in real life anyway.



The fact that shipping costs money is unfortunate, and my ideal solution involves correcting it.  As for MTGO, that is a pretty good step toward what I prefer, except that you can't hold the cards in your hand and there's a certain visceral delight to doing so.  I as usual want the best of both worlds.

My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
That's not exactly true, but is close enough to call it a match.  I like the game, but I think the game is just fine no matter what form it takes; it doesn't need to be driven the way they drive it.  They should never pass up an opportunity to develop the story better for game reasons, because doing the wrong thing from the game's perspective doesn't hurt the game that much.  If a card is too powerful you can just ban or errata it.  If a limited environment sucks you can build a cube or something to represent what you'd rather see instead.  Ultimately, if what you care about is game mechanics, you can proxy everything or just play with index cards.  The story is what's important.



I can't agree with this, though it is a perfectly valid way for you to view it. I will disagree with your final two statements, though. People who care about game mechanics do play this game extensively and without proxying or index cards, and that's because to many people the flavor is a fantastic side bonus. I also think that saying the story is what's important is misleading as, while I think the story is very important, I believe that it is at most equally as important as the game mechanics, simply because Magic is a game first and a vessel for storytelling second.

What they ought to do is publish the style guides.  Courtesy of my work on Action I've read all three Mirrodin block style guides, and there's a ton of cool background information in there, some of which informs flavor text or art, some of which will get brought up in STF or Magic Arcana, but quite a few tidbits of which will probably never see the light of day.  Heck, a few months ago they released a page describing Argoth from the Urza's Saga style guide!  We could have used that information 10 friggin years ago.  I can't figure out why they don't show this stuff off much more often.



I agree with everything in this paragraph.

That's exactly what I want.  Only people who want to ride motorcycles buy a motorcycle, and only people who want to drive a minivan buy a minivan.  They don't go out and buy a "booster pack" of auto parts, some of which are for motorcycles and some of which are for minivans; they pay what they have to pay and get the complete experience they want, with nothing extraneous.  I want Magic to be the same way.



What about people who want both? Your metaphor doesn't hold up, because you can't swap parts between minivans and motorcycles like you can use cards in both limited and constructed.

The fact that they're out of a job [...] loss of quality of life.



I agree with all these statements, but I don't feel they have much bearing in this discussion. I think this is a large part of why we're disagreeing - I prefer to debate based on current realities, where you seem to prefer to debate based on how things should be. Among the bigger issues (not the ones involving game mechanics) I find myself agreeing with you almost completely, though I'm curious what you think about jobs that have no defined end.

I don't believe that gameplay does have to suffer, though.  An ideal solution can be found which satisfies both parties perfectly.  But nobody wants to take the time to bother (myself included, admittedly).  All imperfection exists only because people prioritize expediency over perfection, which is ultimately a choice for the worst without exception.  It is always worth any expenditure of temporary resources in order to permanently increase the resources available.  And for the most part, that's what we do, but there are always short-sighted people working to undercut the process for foolish, ultimately irrelevant reasons.



I don't think they've prioritized expediency over perfection, though. The fact that they release imperfect sets is simply because they can't figure out if a set is perfectly balanced from internal testing, and while they have tended to be cautious when it comes to changing the rules, I think this comes from a very logical desire to avoid alienating their player base. And, in fact, they want to avoid instituting a new rule too quickly so they don't inadvertantly break the game in half.

It's possible to burn out on anything.  If every five minutes, some new person was offering you a game of magic, you'd get sick of it.  You need to have some non-magic spacing in between your magic, to give your desire time to grow before you satisfy (kill) it again.



And people have varying tastes, so it still wouldn't be difficult to find something else to do. Even in High School, when almost all of my friends played Magic, we still did various other activities between games. It's the same thing that keeps football (American or not) from getting stale to the people that love it - for most of them, it isn't the only thing they like, and they have leisure activities that they participate in other than watching/playing football.

There I disagree.  If a perfect set was made, another perfect set could be made thereafter, and another and another, all equally perfect.  It's true there would be no further upward movement, but there could be an infinite amount of lateral movement.  This creates fully interchangeable alternatives.  By way of example, the perfect game of Scars Block Constructed and the perfect game of Scars Block Constructed Plus Besieged.  Both would be equally good, because the perfect version of Scars alone contains everything you need to make the best Scars decks, and the absence of things like living weapon and battlecry is exactly as desireable as their presence.  That's not entirely true in the sets as they were printed - your mono-green infect deck with a lot of artifacts from Scars is improved by adding Mirran Mettle, so without MBS it isn't quite as good.  But in theory, you could perfecty balance all the additions (your Mirran Mettle) and subtractions (your opponent's Creeping Corrosion), so that the choice to play one or the other has no impact whatsoever on your chances to win, and is determined solely by your aesthetic preference for the environment you'd rather play in.



I don't mind having differing chances depending on the environment - I tend to be better when I'm running a Red Aggro-Control deck, but that type of deck isn't always great in every environment, which means I have to be flexible and learn new ways of playing. That fact is why I've successfully run decks of every color in the past, depending on the environment.

Not buying singles makes you a bit unusual.



It only makes me unusual among the most hardcore players. I would guess that the majority of Magic players out there don't buy singles. Or, if they do, they only buy a handful, which is as many as I used to buy when I did buy singles.

(My ideal fantasy would make this even more literal by having the cards pop in and out of existence as they were needed or unneeded, as happens in a game played with Apprentice or a similar program - our technology isn't quite to the point that we can live our whole lives in an Earth-sized holodeck, but that is exactly what I would wish for if the genies were cooperating.)



You just described my fantasy. Congratulations.


Also, I'd like to say that I'm really enjoying this, so if I say something that seems insulting I don't mean it, I just sometimes mistakenly say things that others find insulting despite whatever I meant.
Micorku's World Bits - A Vorthos writing about various creative topics. Updates sporadically Iroas - The world needs heroes - will you answer the call? There is also an RPG that is in Pre-Alpha stage.

I can't agree with this, though it is a perfectly valid way for you to view it. I will disagree with your final two statements, though. People who care about game mechanics do play this game extensively and without proxying or index cards, and that's because to many people the flavor is a fantastic side bonus



There is that; I'll admit I oversimplified a bit.  Wizards is doing a better job of bringing the two halves into alignment lately, but they still do frustrating things, refusing to print cards which should exist for the sake of Johnny and Vorthos because those cards would distract Spike, confuse Junior (that's the original stereotype of Timmy, which I as an adult and sophisticated Timmy want to distinguish from myself), and might or might not annoy Melvin.  The move toward catering to alternate markets with products like Planechase and Commander is a good one, and I hope in time the company can do an even better job of advancing the game on more than one level.

. I also think that saying the story is what's important is misleading as, while I think the story is very important, I believe that it is at most equally as important as the game mechanics, simply because Magic is a game first and a vessel for storytelling second.



That is where we must disagree.  To me, the game is a mere vessel for the story, just as the human body is a mere vessel for the human mind.  Most of those who believe in spiritual superiority become ascetics, denying the flesh in order to focus on the spirit, and the equivalent to that in here would be, as you suggested, ceasing to play the game and just following the story.  But I'm no Starving Yogi...I believe that the flesh's irrelevance means it should be indulged for as long as it lasts, with sense that it is intrinsically important but with the understanding that keeping it happy helps to keep the mental self happy as well.  But to preserve the body at the expense of the mental self, that's what I can't stand, which is why I don't do things like exercising or restricting my diet - to me, those are like refusing to drive the car because you don't want the tires to wear out.  The tires are useless except for getting the car from place to place; when the tires wear out you just get new tires.  If you're not driving as fast as you can, as far as you can, because you don't want to burn out the tires, then you're not fulfilling the purpose of having a car.  To bring this back to the game, the purpose of the game is to have fun (admittedly fun is defined variously by different people), so any time you restrict the game's capacity to be awesome, any time you refuse to take it to the next level because this might have a negative impact on the level it's currently at, you are in essence sparing the drive to spoil the tires.

What about people who want both? Your metaphor doesn't hold up, because you can't swap parts between minivans and motorcycles like you can use cards in both limited and constructed.



And there are only a few cards that are at all interchangeable between Limited and any but the most casual Constructed (see Scourge Servant).  Still, good point - "few" is not "none".  I'd rather have Wizards commit more fully to one direction or the other, but they would rather cater poorly to many people than perfectly to a few, and while I despise that decision I can also respect it, coming as it does from their narrow money-focused perspective.

though I'm curious what you think about jobs that have no defined end.



Well it depends on the nature of the job.  Things that are never finished are futile, but things that are always finishing and starting again are good ways to stay gainfully employed more or less forever.  Ultimately, I would like to see every person guaranteed a Vocation - a job that they would do even if they weren't paid for it, which they're paid however much they need to survive, and the satisfaction of doing the job guarantees they're content with that and don't get greedy.  In our society everyone wants more money so they can buy more things they don't really need - and for many people, Magic is one of those things, though for a few it is a very important part of their life which produces profound benefits.  That's why I dislike Wizards' acquisition push; they should focus on their most loyal and invested customers, not on the largest number thereof.  I want them to do whatever it takes to make that their profitable strategy, but they've instead gone the easy route of just pandering to the masses, and I'm concerned that this is destructive in the long run, as is most corporate activity motivated solely by a demand for short-term profit.

You just described my fantasy. Congratulations.


Also, I'd like to say that I'm really enjoying this, so if I say something that seems insulting I don't mean it, I just sometimes mistakenly say things that others find insulting despite whatever I meant.



Naw, I've enjoyed this debate greatly, although it does eat up a lot of time so I'll be glad when we come to the conclusion that neither of us has any more to add.  *shake hands*
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
That is where we must disagree.  To me, the game is a mere vessel for the story, just as the human body is a mere vessel for the human mind.  Most of those who believe in spiritual superiority become ascetics, denying the flesh in order to focus on the spirit, and the equivalent to that in here would be, as you suggested, ceasing to play the game and just following the story.  But I'm no Starving Yogi...I believe that the flesh's irrelevance means it should be indulged for as long as it lasts, with sense that it is intrinsically important but with the understanding that keeping it happy helps to keep the mental self happy as well.  But to preserve the body at the expense of the mental self, that's what I can't stand, which is why I don't do things like exercising or restricting my diet - to me, those are like refusing to drive the car because you don't want the tires to wear out.  The tires are useless except for getting the car from place to place; when the tires wear out you just get new tires.  If you're not driving as fast as you can, as far as you can, because you don't want to burn out the tires, then you're not fulfilling the purpose of having a car.  To bring this back to the game, the purpose of the game is to have fun (admittedly fun is defined variously by different people), so any time you restrict the game's capacity to be awesome, any time you refuse to take it to the next level because this might have a negative impact on the level it's currently at, you are in essence sparing the drive to spoil the tires.



This will have to be another thing we agree to disagree on. A big part of my reasoning is that Magic was definitely designed as a game first, and the story wasn't even really in the first few sets. In fact, it was a game designed to pass the time between stories - specifically dnd sessions. However, I accept that it has grown since then and that following the story first is a perfectly acceptable way of enjoying it. It is what I'm doing now, after all, though that isn't by choice.

Well it depends on the nature of the job.  Things that are never finished are futile, but things that are always finishing and starting again are good ways to stay gainfully employed more or less forever.  Ultimately, I would like to see every person guaranteed a Vocation - a job that they would do even if they weren't paid for it, which they're paid however much they need to survive, and the satisfaction of doing the job guarantees they're content with that and don't get greedy.



Fair enough - I was thinking of farming, which I suppose would consider harvest "finishing the job" in a certain interpretation.

Naw, I've enjoyed this debate greatly, although it does eat up a lot of time so I'll be glad when we come to the conclusion that neither of us has any more to add.  *shake hands*



This is why I've been happy that the posts have been getting smaller, despite enjoying them. (though I do wonder how the hell you type so much so quickly. I'm too ADD to type a full paragraph without getting distracted by something, so your walls of text are impressive to one as easily distracted as myself)
Micorku's World Bits - A Vorthos writing about various creative topics. Updates sporadically Iroas - The world needs heroes - will you answer the call? There is also an RPG that is in Pre-Alpha stage.
The original D&D-intermission plan was obviously not how people ended up playing the game for the most part.

Farming's a good example of a job which continuously ends and begins anew.

And I'm OCD or very nearly so, which is pretty much the exact opposite of ADD, so there you go.
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