03/25/2010 LD: "Skeletons in R&D's Closet, Part 2"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Fun fact: the Affinity list that won the most recent Star City Games Open ran neither Arcbound Ravager, Disciple of the Vault nor Aether Vial. And Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas is a 4-of.
Tom - I loved this article. The Disciple section was hilarious.

I hope all those developers got a chance to stick around and defend us from nonsense like this ever happening again. Hard-earned paranoia is the best kind.
Spectacularly awesome article. I think a lot of long-time players and readers of the site will find this article really enjoyable to read. Affinity really is about the most bah-roken deck archetype that ever existed in standard with the exception of Academy, so there is really a beautiful symmetry/irony to the timing of the classic Aaron Forsythe article. I loved seeing Aaron get called out by name for the final comment, where he implies that Sensei's Divining Top is a bad card that will trap inexperienced players into using it. He really should have known better, because brainstorm + shuffles was proven to be incredibly powerful years before, with the **** Bun Oath deck that Bob Maher was famous for establishing that.

I was pretty into the competitive scene during the rise and reign of the affinity menace, and I learned a lot about magic from trying to figure out how to beat it. One of the most frustrating things about affinity was that even if you had a huge amount of artifact hate, it could usually shrug it off. With Disciple and Ravager, targeted artifact destruction wasn't effective, because whatever you tried to shoot just turned into more +1/+1 counters. Shoot the ravager and it just makes the ornithopter bigger, and of course skullclamp makes all removal kind of bad. I would build monogreen decks with 28+ antiartifact cards and they COULDNT BEAT AFFINITY. Seriously, Oxidize and Viridian Shaman and Viridian Zealot and Molder Slug and everything else, and affinity would still beat the snot out of it. When a deck is so synergistic and efficient that it can win through every card in a format that claims to be an answer, its a sign that something has gone very wrong.

Latest Developments has always been one of my favorite columns on the site ever since the great Randy Buehler was writing it, and Tom LaPille has been doing a great job with it. Considering RB and Aaron Forsythe are the two most prominent previous authors, those are some big shoes to fill, but LaPille has written a ton of really great and creative stuff - the "mulligan" article and similar. This "sequel" article is another great idea, executed well.

Magic as a hobby is more than just the cards - the tremendous amount of quality writing about the game, on this and other sites, is something that adds a lot to the experience. Articles like this that engage the history of the game and also take us behind the scenes into R&D are always appreciated.
Aaron Forsyth's reaction to Sensei's Divining Top is going to godown in Magic history as the equivalent of "bands with guitars are on the way out," or "I predict a world market for myabe five computers."

Or, while we're at it, InQuest calling Dream Halls the worst card in Stronghold. 
"Well, that was fun. I sure hope I never get skewered in an article like this one seven years from now, though. That would just be embarrassing."

Do I see a hint towards another return to Mirrodin in 2018? Seeing as how Tom wrote this article 10 years from Aaron's "10 years" remark, this feels like it's foreshadowing/daring developers 7 years into the future to make a Skeletons in R&D's Closet 3 article.

Although it's unlikely, since as far as I know Magic sets are only planned 5 years in advance at the earliest, not 7. But we can hope.
"Well, that was fun. I sure hope I never get skewered in an article like this one seven years from now, though. That would just be embarrassing."

Do I see a hint towards another return to Mirrodin in 2018? Seeing as how Tom wrote this article 10 years from Aaron's "10 years" remark, this feels like it's foreshadowing/daring developers 7 years into the future to make a Skeletons in R&D's Closet 3 article.

Although it's unlikely, since as far as I know Magic sets are only planned 5 years in advance at the earliest, not 7. But we can hope.



I think you are reading, way, waaaay to into this.

Cool article, I'm actually interested to see what RnD has to say about Jace after he has left standard.  I'm not one of those people calling for his banning, but I do want to see if they think he was printed too powerful, or if he is doing exactly what they extpected.  
"Well, that was fun. I sure hope I never get skewered in an article like this one seven years from now, though. That would just be embarrassing."

Do I see a hint towards another return to Mirrodin in 2018? Seeing as how Tom wrote this article 10 years from Aaron's "10 years" remark, this feels like it's foreshadowing/daring developers 7 years into the future to make a Skeletons in R&D's Closet 3 article.

Although it's unlikely, since as far as I know Magic sets are only planned 5 years in advance at the earliest, not 7. But we can hope.



I assumed he was just pointing out that publicly making fun of your boss is something that usually doesn't correlate with being employed for 7 consecutive years.  
4. Don't speak dumb, or you'll be struck dumb. Remember, the name of the game is heads I win, tails you lose.
Ah, I see now. I misread the times and thought it was 10 years after Aaron's article, but it was actually 7. And there I was wondering why he chose 7 as the number of years, but now it makes sense.

Oh well. 

Cool article, I'm actually interested to see what RnD has to say about Jace after he has left standard.  I'm not one of those people calling for his banning, but I do want to see if they think he was printed too powerful, or if he is doing exactly what they extpected.  



I think Jace, the Mind Sculptor was absolutely designed to be absurdly powerful. The fact that he was printed in the set after the cycle of enemy-color fetches is surely no coincidence. "Brainstorm every turn" is Jace's signature play, and the synergy between brainstorm effects and shuffle effects is one of the great "themes" of magic strategy for many years.

The top rank of tournament players like cards that are both powerful card-advantage engines and also highly skill-testing. Jace 2.0 is a deliberate attempt to create a very powerful card which rewards players with a deep mastery of card selection within a format. A player who understands how to maximize his Jace has a significant advantage over someone who doesn't. I believe R&D always tries to engineer formats so that a controllish deck that rewards skillful decision making is the "best deck". Ever since the ancient days of Weissman's original "the deck" masterpiece of card advantage and control, the most skillful players have gravitated towards long-game decks built around counterspells, removal, and card advantage.  JTMS is a card that guarantees the viability of such an archetype. I bet the multiverse comments for him read something like:

D1: We should do a brainstorm effect for synergy with the new fetchlands.
D2: I love this guy, but it makes me sad that I can only brainstorm a few times before he dies.
D3: Changed activation of brainstorm to zero. Happy birthday, D2.
D1: Tested, is now amazing. I remember when Jayemdae Tome was good enough, are we making card advantage too easy?
D2: Blue mages have been whining ever since Counterspell became Cancel. This oughta shut em up.
It's hard to believe that R&D thinks Arcbound Ravager is #1 and Skullclamp is #2 rather than the other way around.  Arcbound ravager is a well designed card, but the cards around it made it too powerful like disciple of the vault and artifact lands.  The printing of skullclamp makes me think R&D didn't think Ancestral Recall was too powerful.  
It's hard to believe that R&D thinks Arcbound Ravager is #1 and Skullclamp is #2 rather than the other way around.  Arcbound ravager is a well designed card, but the cards around it made it too powerful like disciple of the vault and artifact lands.  The printing of skullclamp makes me think R&D didn't think Ancestral Recall was too powerful.  

One possible reason Ravager comes in #1 and Skullclamp at #2 is because of the fact that nobody particularly hated Skullclamp, but everyone hated Ravager. Skullclamp bent and twisted the format almost beyond recognition, but it was never actively despised by the player base in the way that Ravager was. A mistake that players don't particularly mind you making may be bad, but it's far, far preferable to a mistake that players hate, because the latter pushes players away from playing Magic.

Even today, I can drop Skullclamp in a casual multiplayer game and nobody will bat an eye, but if I drop Arcbound Ravager, my ass is grass.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

I loved the article. Why not do this once a year? It doesn't have to be all broken cards or "Test with Whetwheel" all the time. And yes Aaron, you too will be roasted someday. I hope. I mean, wait. I didn't mean that...

Even today, I can drop Skullclamp in a casual multiplayer game and nobody will bat an eye, but if I drop Arcbound Ravager, my ass is grass.


Because, IIRC, skullclamp originally gave +1/+1, but it was changed to +1/-1 to "balance" it, which I think is hilarious .

Zammm = Batman.

It's my sig in a box
58280208 wrote:
Everything is better when you read it in Bane's voice.
192334281 wrote:
Your human antics and desire to continue living have moved me. Just kidding. You cannot move me physically or emotionally. Wall humor.
57092228 wrote:
Copy effects work like a photocopy machine: you get a copy of the 'naked' card, NOT of what's on it.
56995928 wrote:
Funny story: InQuest Magazine (I think it was InQuest) had an oversized Chaos Orb which I totally rooked someone into allowing into a (non-sanctioned) game. I had a proxy card that was a Mountain with "Chaos Orb" written on it. When I played it, my opponent cried foul: Him: "WTF? a Proxy? no-one said anything about Proxies. Do you even own an actual Chaos Orb?" Me: "Yes, but I thought it would be better to use a Proxy." Him: "No way. If you're going to put a Chaos Orb in your deck you have to use your actual Chaos Orb." Me: "*Sigh*. Okay." I pulled out this huge Chaos Orb and placed it on the table. He tried to cry foul again but everyone else said he insisted I use my actual Chaos Orb and that was my actual Chaos Orb. I used it, flipped it and wiped most of his board. Unsurprisingly, that only worked once and only because everyone present thought it was hilarious.
My DM on Battleminds:
no, see i can kill defenders, but 8 consecutive crits on a battlemind, eh walk it off.
144543765 wrote:
195392035 wrote:
Hi guys! So, I'm a sort of returning player to Magic. I say sort of because as a child I had two main TCG's I liked. Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon. Some of my friends branched off in to Magic, and I bought two pre-made decks just to kind of fit in. Like I said, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon were what I really knew how to play. I have a extensive knowledge of deck building in those two TCG's. However, as far as Magic is concerned, I only ever used those two pre made decks. I know how the game is played, and I know general things, but now I want to get in the game for real. I want to begin playing it as a regular. My question is, are all cards ever released from the time of the inception of this game until present day fair game in a deck? Or are there special rules? Are some cards forbidden or restricted? Thanks guys, and I will gladly accept ANY help lol.
I have the same problem with women.
117639611 wrote:
198869283 wrote:
Oh I have a standing rule. If someone plays a Planeswalker I concede the game. I refuse to play with or against people who play Planeswalkers. They really did ruin the game.
A turn two Tibalt win?! Wicked... Betcha don't see that everyday.

The Pony Co. 

Is this my new ego sig? Yes it is, other Barry
57461258 wrote:
And that's why you should never, ever call RP Jesus on being a troll, because then everyone else playing along gets outed, too, and the thread goes back to being boring.
57461258 wrote:
See, this is why RPJesus should be in charge of the storyline. The novel line would never have been cancelled if he had been running the show. Specifically the Slobad and Geth's Head talkshow he just described.
57461258 wrote:
Not only was that an obligatory joke, it was an on-topic post that still managed to be off-topic due to thread derailment. RP Jesus does it again folks.
92481331 wrote:
I think I'm gonna' start praying to Jesus... That's right, RPJesus, I'm gonna' be praying to you, right now. O' Jesus Please continue to make my time here on the forums fun and cause me to chuckle. Amen.
92481331 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
It was wonderful. Us Johnnies had a field day. That Timmy with the Grizzly bears would actually have to think about swinging into your Mogg Fanatic, giving you time to set up your silly combo. Nowadays it's all DERPSWING! with thier blue jeans and their MP3 players and their EM EM OH AR PEE JEES and their "Dewmocracy" and their children's card games and their Jersey Shores and their Tattooed Tenaged Vampire Hunters from Beverly Hills
Seriously, that was amazing. I laughed my *ss off. Made my day, and I just woke up.
[quote=ArtVenn You're still one of my favorite people... just sayin'.[/quote]
56756068 wrote:
56786788 wrote:
.....would it be a bit blasphemous if I said, "PRAYSE RPJAYSUS!" like an Evangelical preacher?
Perhaps, but who doesn't like to blaspheme every now and again? Especially when Mr. RPJesus is completely right.
56756068 wrote:
I don't say this often, but ... LOL
57526128 wrote:
You... You... Evil something... I actualy made the damn char once I saw the poster... Now you made me see it again and I gained resolve to put it into my campaign. Shell be high standing oficial of Cyrix order. Uterly mad and only slightly evil. And it'll be bad. Evil even. And ill blame you and Lizard for it :P.
57042968 wrote:
111809331 wrote:
I'm trying to work out if you're being sarcastic here. ...
Am going to stop you right there... it's RPJesus... he's always sarcastic
58335208 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
112114441 wrote:
we can only hope it gets the jace treatment...it could have at least been legendary
So that even the decks that don't run it run it to deal with it? Isn't that like the definition of format warping?
I lol'd.
56287226 wrote:
98088088 wrote:
Uktabi Orangutan What the heck's going on with those monkeys?
The most common answer is that they are what RPJesus would call "[Debutantes avert your eyes]ing."
56965458 wrote:
Show
57461258 wrote:
116498949 wrote:
I’ve removed content from this thread because off-topic discussions are a violation of the Code of Conduct. You can review the Code here: www.wizards.com/Company/About.aspx?x=wz_... Please keep your posts polite, on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks. You are welcome to disagree with one another but please do so respectfully and constructively. If you wish to report a post for Code of Conduct violation, click on the “Report Post” button above the post and this will submit your report to the moderators on duty.
...Am I the only one that thinks this is reaching the point of downright Kafkaesque insanity?
I condone the use of the word Kafkaesque. However, I'm presentely ambivalent. I mean, that can't be serious, right? We're April 1st, right? They didn't mod RPJesus for off-topic discussion when the WHOLE THREAD IS OFF-TOPIC, right? Right.
57545908 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
Save or die. If you disagree with this, you're wrong (Not because of any points or arguements that have been made, but I just rolled a d20 for you and got a 1, so you lose).
58397368 wrote:
58222628 wrote:
This just won the argument, AFAIC.
That's just awesome.
57471038 wrote:
57718868 wrote:
HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THE BEAR PRODUCING WORDS OF WILDING?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!
That's what RPJesus tends to do. That's why I don't think he's a real person, but some Magic Card Archive Server sort of machine, that is programmed to react to other posters' comments with obscure cards that do in fact exist, but somehow missed by even the most experienced Magic players. And then come up with strange combos with said cards. All of that is impossible for a normal human to do given the amount of time he does it and how often he does it. He/It got me with Light of Sanction, which prompted me to go to RQ&A to try and find if it was even possible to do combat damage to a creature I control (in light that Mark of Asylum exists).
71235715 wrote:
+10
100176878 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
57078538 wrote:
heaven or hell.
Round 1. Lets rock.
GG quotes! RPJesus just made this thread win!
56906968 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
143359585 wrote:
Blue players get all the overpowerered cards like JTMS. I think it's time that wizards gave something to people who remember what magic is really about: creatures.
Initially yes, Wizards was married to blue. However, about a decade ago they had a nasty divorce, and a few years after that they began courting the attention of Green. Then in Worldwake they had a nasty affair with their ex, but as of Innistrad, things seem to have gotten back on track, and Wizards has even proposed.
You are my favorite. Yes you. And moments like this make it so. Thank you RPJesus for just being you.
On what flavor text fits me:
57307308 wrote:
Surely RPJesus gets Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius?
56874518 wrote:
First: I STILL can't take you seriously with that avatar. And I can take RPJesus seriously, so that's saying something.
121689989 wrote:
I'd offer you a cookie for making me laugh but it has an Upkeep Cost that has been known to cause people to quit eating.
56267956 wrote:
I <3 you loads
57400888 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
"AINT NO LAWS IN THE SKY MOTHER****." - Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran
10/10. Amazing.
Good article. I think you're a bit harsh on yourselves though. With the exception of Skullclamp, most of those cards were quite hard to spot as problems.

The first time I read about Ravager Affinity was in a Peter Jahn article on StarCity. He'd built it as a kind of wacky, offbeat rogue deck and half the comments he got were from people making fun of the deck's badness! (Admittedly his build wasn't very tuned, but at that point nobody was playing Ravager!)

The one thing that makes me sad is the Constructed bias of this article. The number one card I wish WotC had never printed (at Common) is Errant Ephemeron and I know several players who feel similarly about Sprout Swarm... any chance of doing one of these for Limited sometime?
The one thing that makes me sad is the Constructed bias of this article. The number one card I wish WotC had never printed (at Common) is Errant Ephemeron and I know several players who feel similarly about Sprout Swarm... any chance of doing one of these for Limited sometime?

Everyone passed me Sprout Swarms whenever I drafted Time Spiral block. I could never understand it. Why on earth were they passing Sprout Swarms?

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

I hate Skullclamp for making the awesome Ashen-Skin Zubera and friends cost 2 instead of 1! =(

Even today, I can drop Skullclamp in a casual multiplayer game and nobody will bat an eye, but if I drop Arcbound Ravager, my ass is grass.



With people who play competitive? My experience with casual groups (who don't play tournaments) is the other way around. They don't even know what Arcbound Ravager does, probably.
With people who play competitive? My experience with casual groups (who don't play tournaments) is the other way around. They don't even know what Arcbound Ravager does, probably.

Nope, with people who mostly play casually. Not all of them fully understand just how bonkers Skullclamp is, and playing against it doesn't necessarily teach them. Because it's not directly responsible for their loss, they're much more likely to attribute the loss to other factors. Arcbound Ravager, on the other hand, wins me the game directly, and there's absolutely no question that that is what does it, so they learn very quickly to fear it.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

With people who play competitive? My experience with casual groups (who don't play tournaments) is the other way around. They don't even know what Arcbound Ravager does, probably.

Nope, with people who mostly play casually. Not all of them fully understand just how bonkers Skullclamp is, and playing against it doesn't necessarily teach them. Because it's not directly responsible for their loss, they're much more likely to attribute the loss to other factors. Arcbound Ravager, on the other hand, wins me the game directly, and there's absolutely no question that that is what does it, so they learn very quickly to fear it.



Oh wait, 1v1 or multiplayer?
Even today, I can drop Skullclamp in a casual multiplayer game and nobody will bat an eye, but if I drop Arcbound Ravager, my ass is grass.

This is the exact opposite of my casual play group. I play Ravager and no one seems to care, but the second I drop Skullclamp they all turn on me. They don't mind me using my legacy affinity deck but get angry at me for playing my mono white equipment deck that runs four Skullclamp. I'll never understand it.

For those interested in more historic "Latest Developments" columns about the infamously broken Ravager Affinity archetype and its demise via bannings, here are two of Aaron Forsythe's columns everyone should know. www.wizards.com/magic/Magazine/Article.a... is about the banning of Skullclamp and its development history and www.wizards.com/Magic/magazine/Article.a... is about the later mass-banning of the rest of the core cards of the affinity deck.
I love Multiverse articles. This one was very funny, but very believable. Having been running a Multiverse-style website for custom cardsets for six months, it is startling how few comments many cards get. Occasionally those users who I know outside the site will say "Nobody commented on my crazy card!" Yup, that's the way it goes.

As for the poll: Rise of the Eldrazi is my favourite, by a landslide. This isn't really surprising, because I love defensive slow controlly decks, and Johnny cards and mechanics. Zendikar and Worldwake were mostly pretty boring and very aggro-heavy, though Worldwake has a few cards I'm fond of such as Ruin Ghost, Amulet of Vigor and the manlands. M11 is pretty cool, but it's still a core set: the vanilla density is way too high for me to list it as a favourite set (though I can understand why core sets need high vanilla density). Scars was mostly pretty boring, and I don't find either metalcraft or infect at all exciting. Proliferate and imprint are cool, but both are very scarce. Besieged has living weapon, which is fascinating and fun, and I do like the white and blue Phyrexians and all the graveyard triggers. But it's still nowhere as fun as RoE.
I liked this article.  I wasn't playing the game competitively during affinity, however I have learned quite a bit about it over the years.  It's a shame though that this current iteration of Mirrodin had to be neutered because of the "affinity deck".  The problem with affinity as I see it wasn't any one card, it was multiple effects that came together in the same block.  If one or more of the affinity deck cards were removed then affinity wouldn't have been as bad.
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)
The fact that nobody noticed how broken Skullclamp was before it was printed is... laughable.

To borrow a catchphrase, what were they thinking?! 
I started playing MTGO for Mirrodin block, and (not being a competitive player) didn't really think it was as bad as people said.  Tom did a great job of capturing exactly why it was that bad.

Several of these were late changes before printing - both Ravager and Skullclamp had that.  If anything, the Multiverse comments are really pointing out that R&D has a tough time with either making changes in time to test them, or underestimating the risk of their changes.

P.S.  Bring back Arc-Slogger!  There are many Mirrodin salutes in the current set, but he's the one I'm most hoping we'll see again.
Even today, I can drop Skullclamp in a casual multiplayer game and nobody will bat an eye, but if I drop Arcbound Ravager, my ass is grass.

This is the exact opposite of my casual play group. I play Ravager and no one seems to care, but the second I drop Skullclamp they all turn on me. They don't mind me using my legacy affinity deck but get angry at me for playing my mono white equipment deck that runs four Skullclamp. I'll never understand it.




Because Skullclamp is banned in Legacy and Arcbound Ravager isn't, that to me shows their absolute card power.
Everyone[/i] passed me Sprout Swarms whenever I drafted Time Spiral block. I could never understand it. Why on earth were they passing Sprout Swarms?



Probably for the same reasons that your casual friends gang up on you for using Ravager, but not Skullclamp. Evaluating cards can be really difficult!

I think time has shown Skullclamp to be the real monster, but it seems really easy to blame Ravager. The beast is what grows really big and punches you in the face. I can remember reading articles and forum posts from the time of the first Mirrodin block, and there seemed to be a clear division between the players with tournament success and those without in regards to what was the root of the problem with Affinity. The less-accomplished players tended to be of the opinion "ban Ravager".
The thing I always thought during affinity was that a single card probably could have significantly stemmed the tide.

RR1, Instant: Move all counters from opponent's creatures to target creature you control.

Combined with just making Disciple cost more or only trigger on destruction rather than going to the graveyard from play and affinity would have become fun but not broken.

Ravager also allowed a lot of combat tricks with moving things around at instant speed. Requiring the sacrifice to only be done at sorcery speed would have been another way of dealing with it.

Like many others, I'm aghast at Skullclamp though. EVERYONE realized that card was broken the moment it was previewed. Any card with 1 colorless in its mana cost and "draw two" should get significant rethinking.
R1, Instant: Move all counters from target creature an opponent controls to target creature you control. Destroy target creature (may not even need the destroy affect).

Isn't that card basically just Shatter (which was in the block) against Ravager?

R1, Instant: Move all counters from target creature an opponent controls to target creature you control. Destroy target creature (may not even need the destroy affect).

Isn't that card basically just Shatter (which was in the block) against Ravager?


shatter didn't move the counters to your creatures

i had to reword it because i realized after typing it that split-second technology wasn't around then and someone could just sack their huge ornithopter to move the counters themselves and cancel your spell... it has to be a "scraping" affect to take all the counters from your opponent
The fact that nobody noticed how broken Skullclamp was before it was printed is... laughable.

To borrow a catchphrase, what were they thinking?! 


See the links in sulphuricmage's comment for details. To make a long story short, for most of the development time, Skullclamp was bad. It gave a toughness boost instead of a toughness decrease and had higher casting and equip costs. A decision was made late in development to push equipment more, and they pushed this one a lot, and the playtesters were locked into the mindset of the earlier version, and they didn't realize just how good it would be until building the Fifth Dawn theme decks, when it was way too late to fix Skullclamp. They hoped players would figure out a counter to it, but no one ever did.

Moral of the story: it's easy to get stuck in a rut mentally. To form habits. As annoying as buzzwords like "think outside the box" can be, it's good advice.
The one thing that makes me sad is the Constructed bias of this article. The number one card I wish WotC had never printed (at Common) is Errant Ephemeron and I know several players who feel similarly about Sprout Swarm... any chance of doing one of these for Limited sometime?

I'd be very interested to read about how they missed cards like Sprout Swarm, Vampire Nighthawk, Sparksmith, or (to fit with the mirrodin theme of this week) Loxodon Warhammer or Leonin Bola.

Well, that was fun. I sure hope I never get skewered in an article like this one seven years from now, though. That would just be embarrassing



I dunno, Tommy.  Were you on the development Team that greenlighted Tarmogoyf, Bloodbraid Elf and Jace the Mind Sculptor?

I'd love to see the notes of Turian convincing everyone that 1G is a great cost for a vanilla creature like Tarmogoyf...
Classic Quarter
(www.classicquarter.com)
I'm confused by the part about Trinisphere.
I mentioned Trinisphere last week as a card whose impact on Vintage we should have thought about. Winning the die roll and casting Trinisphere on turn one with Mishra's Workshop can really screw up a game of Magic. Someone on the receiving end of that can't cast their Moxes or anything until turn three, and by that point they are likely stuck underneath a Tangle Wire, sacrificing permanents to a Smokestack, or getting beaten down by a Juggernaut. That is not a recipe for good Magic.


First of all, I really thought that R&D didn't worry about Vintage except to the extent that they don't want to make it even more dependent on out-of-print rares. It's already a format in which some ridiculously powerful cards are legal, and with over 11,000 cards in it, there is no way they could possibly balance it around all possible combos and stuff.  But apparently they should have thought more about a card that hoses... Moxen more than anything else?

Granted, Trinisphere does seem undercosted. (And granted, what do I know, I'm hardly a developer, let alone a pro player.) But it looks to me like that effect would be fair at 4 or 5 CMC and maybe even too expensive at 6. Sure, if someone manages to get 4 mana on turn one and play Trinisphere, their opponent is probably screwed, but it's not like this card is the only way to screw up your opponent if you get 4 mana on turn one. An Arcbound Ravager, a Skullclamp and an would be just as bad, to use other examples from the article. So Trinisphere should have had more tweaking, but as for its effect on Vintage, it seems mostly positive. It screws over degenerate decks that can manage turn-one kills.

Call me myopic, but I think a serious Vintage player would die laughing at being killed by a Juggernaut.
What is interesting is how some of the cards, including some in Aaron's original article, are not big problems by themselves, but they become problems due to their environment. The real problem in Urza's saga was ridiculous acceleration, not the things you could do with said acceleration.

Stick Stroke of Genius in standard today, and it'd not be utterly ridiculous. I'd probably not be played at all as a sorcery. But in an environment where one can untap a Tolarian Academy early and often, stroke becomes ridiculous.

Same thing with the will: What would it do in Standard today?

In contrast, Skullclamp is always ridiculous: Think of it in Rise of the Eldrazi! Would you give Tezzeret cranial plating?

If I worked at R&D, I'd try to sneak in broken repeats in environments where they can't do any harm, just to put things in perspective. If disciple of the vault had been printed in Invasion, it'd have never been in a standard environment where it was even remotely useful. Target opponent loses one life when someone destroys your legacy weapon?
Stick Stroke of Genius in standard today, and it'd not be utterly ridiculous. I'd probably not be played at all as a sorcery. But in an environment where one can untap a Tolarian Academy early and often, stroke becomes ridiculous.


Actually we got Blue Sun's Zenith, which is not that much different. instead of .

You are Red/Blue!
You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
You are both rational and emotional. You value creation and discovery, and feel strongly about what I create. At best, you're innovative and intuitive. At worst, you're scattered and unpredictable.
Well, that was fun. I sure hope I never get skewered in an article like this one seven years from now, though. That would just be embarrassing



I dunno, Tommy.  Were you on the development Team that greenlighted Tarmogoyf, Bloodbraid Elf and Jace the Mind Sculptor?

I'd love to see the notes of Turian convincing everyone that 1G is a great cost for a vanilla creature like Tarmogoyf...



D1: I thought we had this at 2GG?

D2: Sucked at 2GG. Design want this guy to be popular so we're trying to cost him competitively.

D1: He can get pretty big, though. He's going to be crazy in a deck built around feeding him.

D2: Well sure, they CAN get him out on turn 2, but how big is he going to be THEN? 

Fast mana and cost reduction are two of the most dangerous things to Magic's health (although both are behind the push to make rare=good).


This was a fun and light read.  Yay.

I think this article should have been called "Skelatons in R&D's Closet: Mirrodin Edition".  The only non-Mirrodin block card mentioned was Top, and that because he wanted to get a dig in at Aaron Forsythe.  I can think of plenty of other skelatons from other blocks that could easily be mentioned.

Still, this article was kind of cool, and maybe that means he'll be doing something like this every year.  Next year's article could include Jitte and Top, the whole Splice onto Arcane mess, etc.  I don't know if every block has enough skelatons merit a full article like this, but a respectable number of them do.

That said, I'd kind of like to see these admissions occur sooner than seven years after the fact.  I'm still waiting for my appologies for Bloodbraid, Vengevine, Jace TMS, and others.  Granted, they're not as bad as some of the other cards mentioned (R&D has mostly gotten better at this over the years), but they're still obscene card advantage machines which, IMHO, shouldn't have seen the light of day.
I could never understand it. Why on earth were they passing Sprout Swarms?


For the same reason they passed me gamewin invokers?

Zammm = Batman.

It's my sig in a box
58280208 wrote:
Everything is better when you read it in Bane's voice.
192334281 wrote:
Your human antics and desire to continue living have moved me. Just kidding. You cannot move me physically or emotionally. Wall humor.
57092228 wrote:
Copy effects work like a photocopy machine: you get a copy of the 'naked' card, NOT of what's on it.
56995928 wrote:
Funny story: InQuest Magazine (I think it was InQuest) had an oversized Chaos Orb which I totally rooked someone into allowing into a (non-sanctioned) game. I had a proxy card that was a Mountain with "Chaos Orb" written on it. When I played it, my opponent cried foul: Him: "WTF? a Proxy? no-one said anything about Proxies. Do you even own an actual Chaos Orb?" Me: "Yes, but I thought it would be better to use a Proxy." Him: "No way. If you're going to put a Chaos Orb in your deck you have to use your actual Chaos Orb." Me: "*Sigh*. Okay." I pulled out this huge Chaos Orb and placed it on the table. He tried to cry foul again but everyone else said he insisted I use my actual Chaos Orb and that was my actual Chaos Orb. I used it, flipped it and wiped most of his board. Unsurprisingly, that only worked once and only because everyone present thought it was hilarious.
My DM on Battleminds:
no, see i can kill defenders, but 8 consecutive crits on a battlemind, eh walk it off.
144543765 wrote:
195392035 wrote:
Hi guys! So, I'm a sort of returning player to Magic. I say sort of because as a child I had two main TCG's I liked. Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon. Some of my friends branched off in to Magic, and I bought two pre-made decks just to kind of fit in. Like I said, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon were what I really knew how to play. I have a extensive knowledge of deck building in those two TCG's. However, as far as Magic is concerned, I only ever used those two pre made decks. I know how the game is played, and I know general things, but now I want to get in the game for real. I want to begin playing it as a regular. My question is, are all cards ever released from the time of the inception of this game until present day fair game in a deck? Or are there special rules? Are some cards forbidden or restricted? Thanks guys, and I will gladly accept ANY help lol.
I have the same problem with women.
117639611 wrote:
198869283 wrote:
Oh I have a standing rule. If someone plays a Planeswalker I concede the game. I refuse to play with or against people who play Planeswalkers. They really did ruin the game.
A turn two Tibalt win?! Wicked... Betcha don't see that everyday.

The Pony Co. 

Is this my new ego sig? Yes it is, other Barry
57461258 wrote:
And that's why you should never, ever call RP Jesus on being a troll, because then everyone else playing along gets outed, too, and the thread goes back to being boring.
57461258 wrote:
See, this is why RPJesus should be in charge of the storyline. The novel line would never have been cancelled if he had been running the show. Specifically the Slobad and Geth's Head talkshow he just described.
57461258 wrote:
Not only was that an obligatory joke, it was an on-topic post that still managed to be off-topic due to thread derailment. RP Jesus does it again folks.
92481331 wrote:
I think I'm gonna' start praying to Jesus... That's right, RPJesus, I'm gonna' be praying to you, right now. O' Jesus Please continue to make my time here on the forums fun and cause me to chuckle. Amen.
92481331 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
It was wonderful. Us Johnnies had a field day. That Timmy with the Grizzly bears would actually have to think about swinging into your Mogg Fanatic, giving you time to set up your silly combo. Nowadays it's all DERPSWING! with thier blue jeans and their MP3 players and their EM EM OH AR PEE JEES and their "Dewmocracy" and their children's card games and their Jersey Shores and their Tattooed Tenaged Vampire Hunters from Beverly Hills
Seriously, that was amazing. I laughed my *ss off. Made my day, and I just woke up.
[quote=ArtVenn You're still one of my favorite people... just sayin'.[/quote]
56756068 wrote:
56786788 wrote:
.....would it be a bit blasphemous if I said, "PRAYSE RPJAYSUS!" like an Evangelical preacher?
Perhaps, but who doesn't like to blaspheme every now and again? Especially when Mr. RPJesus is completely right.
56756068 wrote:
I don't say this often, but ... LOL
57526128 wrote:
You... You... Evil something... I actualy made the damn char once I saw the poster... Now you made me see it again and I gained resolve to put it into my campaign. Shell be high standing oficial of Cyrix order. Uterly mad and only slightly evil. And it'll be bad. Evil even. And ill blame you and Lizard for it :P.
57042968 wrote:
111809331 wrote:
I'm trying to work out if you're being sarcastic here. ...
Am going to stop you right there... it's RPJesus... he's always sarcastic
58335208 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
112114441 wrote:
we can only hope it gets the jace treatment...it could have at least been legendary
So that even the decks that don't run it run it to deal with it? Isn't that like the definition of format warping?
I lol'd.
56287226 wrote:
98088088 wrote:
Uktabi Orangutan What the heck's going on with those monkeys?
The most common answer is that they are what RPJesus would call "[Debutantes avert your eyes]ing."
56965458 wrote:
Show
57461258 wrote:
116498949 wrote:
I’ve removed content from this thread because off-topic discussions are a violation of the Code of Conduct. You can review the Code here: www.wizards.com/Company/About.aspx?x=wz_... Please keep your posts polite, on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks. You are welcome to disagree with one another but please do so respectfully and constructively. If you wish to report a post for Code of Conduct violation, click on the “Report Post” button above the post and this will submit your report to the moderators on duty.
...Am I the only one that thinks this is reaching the point of downright Kafkaesque insanity?
I condone the use of the word Kafkaesque. However, I'm presentely ambivalent. I mean, that can't be serious, right? We're April 1st, right? They didn't mod RPJesus for off-topic discussion when the WHOLE THREAD IS OFF-TOPIC, right? Right.
57545908 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
Save or die. If you disagree with this, you're wrong (Not because of any points or arguements that have been made, but I just rolled a d20 for you and got a 1, so you lose).
58397368 wrote:
58222628 wrote:
This just won the argument, AFAIC.
That's just awesome.
57471038 wrote:
57718868 wrote:
HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THE BEAR PRODUCING WORDS OF WILDING?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!
That's what RPJesus tends to do. That's why I don't think he's a real person, but some Magic Card Archive Server sort of machine, that is programmed to react to other posters' comments with obscure cards that do in fact exist, but somehow missed by even the most experienced Magic players. And then come up with strange combos with said cards. All of that is impossible for a normal human to do given the amount of time he does it and how often he does it. He/It got me with Light of Sanction, which prompted me to go to RQ&A to try and find if it was even possible to do combat damage to a creature I control (in light that Mark of Asylum exists).
71235715 wrote:
+10
100176878 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
57078538 wrote:
heaven or hell.
Round 1. Lets rock.
GG quotes! RPJesus just made this thread win!
56906968 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
143359585 wrote:
Blue players get all the overpowerered cards like JTMS. I think it's time that wizards gave something to people who remember what magic is really about: creatures.
Initially yes, Wizards was married to blue. However, about a decade ago they had a nasty divorce, and a few years after that they began courting the attention of Green. Then in Worldwake they had a nasty affair with their ex, but as of Innistrad, things seem to have gotten back on track, and Wizards has even proposed.
You are my favorite. Yes you. And moments like this make it so. Thank you RPJesus for just being you.
On what flavor text fits me:
57307308 wrote:
Surely RPJesus gets Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius?
56874518 wrote:
First: I STILL can't take you seriously with that avatar. And I can take RPJesus seriously, so that's saying something.
121689989 wrote:
I'd offer you a cookie for making me laugh but it has an Upkeep Cost that has been known to cause people to quit eating.
56267956 wrote:
I <3 you loads
57400888 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
"AINT NO LAWS IN THE SKY MOTHER****." - Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran
10/10. Amazing.
Tom - I loved this article. The Disciple section was hilarious.

I hope all those developers got a chance to stick around and defend us from nonsense like this ever happening again. Hard-earned paranoia is the best kind.



I don't think so - looking at the Darksteel dev team, there aren't many whose names I've seen on a set in the last few years - Henry Stern, Charlie Catano, Brandon Bozzi, Tyler Bielman, Brian Schneider..  Randy Buehler wasn't actually on the team, but he was the Director of R&D at the time, and he is also gone.  Perhaps not related, but allowing this to occur after the debacle of Urza's block must have had some consequences for those involved.

To be fair, Tom is not including all the comments, making it look like the developer's didn't do much testing. Ironically, there's an article by Aaron Forsythe that shows how much worse Trinisphere was before they "caught" it:  www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/Article.a... . There are a lot more comments about Trinisphere in there, so there must be more about these cards as well.

 
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