03/28/2011 Feature: "Some Number of Questions about Knights vs. Dragons"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Feature Article, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Hopefully the questions include "Why does the dragon deck only have six dragons that are actually scary?", "Why is the knight deck's 'mythic' actually a rare that was first printed after mythics were introduced?", and "Why is this whole package seriously lame compared to all the other duel decks when by all rights it should be the most awesome?"
blah blah metal lyrics
Hopefully the questions include "Why does the dragon deck only have six dragons that are actually scary?", "Why is the knight deck's 'mythic' actually a rare that was first printed after mythics were introduced?", and "Why is this whole package seriously lame compared to all the other duel decks when by all rights it should be the most awesome?"


"How much do you guys suck, and why?"
Who knows, maybe the decks play awesomely against one another

Maybe they will try to explain why Hunted Dragon isnt in this...

~ Tim

I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)
Well, it would kinda suck to play that when your opponent has a Knight Exemplar down...
blah blah metal lyrics
I pre-ordered this before the decklist came out thinking there was no way it could be bad. there had to be at least a few decent cards to throw in. maybe a path to exile. maybe a few cool dragons. they always include at least one card that you're surprised to see!

but no. they all suck. a lot. this article needed to answer "why is this duel deck so terrible and what veteran player would, knowing its contents, waste their money on this?"
Awesome article.  Meh, decks, but yaay Chris Millar article!

If you're on MTGO check out the Free Events via PDCMagic and Gatherling.

Other games you should try:
DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

Planetside 2 - Free to play MMO-meets-FPS and the first shooter I've liked in ages.
Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

Chris Millar, for your Van Goethe quote and the phrase "My post is my bond", I hereby nominate you as caretaker of the Internet!

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

Well, that was...perfunctory.
I respect the amount of hard work that went into this duel deck, but I feel like he either was unaware of the responses that have been made to this deck, or he was just dodging them. While I feel that the explanation concerning the exclusion of Hunted Dragon from the deck was reasonable, he didnt really address anything else. 

Why make Bogardan Hellkite the mythic?  We have already seen it M10, FTV, and even if we hadn't, Time Spiral wasn't that long ago.  Really,I personally feel that Dragon Tyrant would have made a good bump to mythic.  But alsom Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund and Hellkite Overlord were both "top dog" dragons flavorwise, and were certainly mythic.  His "if it dey aint red we wuh forget they breathes the fire" argument was pretty weak.  Worst case, just throw in 4x Savage Lands and 1x each of Swamp and Forest, and just make every other card red except for the foil mythic.  Trust me, Hellkite Overlord wouldnt have "ruined" the redness of the deck, especially if the 6 rares were all red dragons, as they are now.

And really, I'm not buying the Reliquary thing.  Yeah, it has a good effect.  But does it fit in with the deck?  How is the deck going to utilize it?  And flavorwise, aren't the dragons the ones that go around destroying the countryside?  I don't know, I wasn't really mad about the fact that it was the mythic in terms of it not being powerful enough, but because it was a rare in a time when there were already mythics.  Not to mention the aforementioned flavor awkwardness. 

And really, what is up with all the "What is it like manking a duel deck?  How did you make the duel deck?"  type questions.  I swear that those got asked, and answered, not only in every other prior duel deck article, but also constantly in articles concerning the design of sets.  Mark Rosewater talks about set design all the time, we don't need to have half of a response article wasted on something we are constantly exposed to.

In terms of the overall crappiness of the decks, I can't really comment a lot.  I think most people have said that the knight deck was average, but I don't really know too much about the white weenie strategy, as I am a green fattie player myself.  And as for the dragons, I do think that the deck was bad, but not super horrible.  It just seemed like a let down for a few reasons:



  • We have seen almost all of the dragons very often or very recently.  Mordant Dragon was in Worldwake, and is still in standard. Bogardan Hellkite I already covered above.  Kilnmouth Dragon, while definitely a great choice, was seen in the Archenemy dragon deck just a little while ago.  Thunder Dragon and Shivan Hellkite were kind "OK" type cards, where we hadn't really seen them too often or too recently, but they just weren't really "wow" type cards.  Voracious Dragon was cool and the most flavorful, but didn't really have all that many goblins to devour, or anyone to devour them with him Predator Dragon would have been crazy, and Hellkite Hatchling > Dragon Whelp(And we have seen him recently as well.  WTF?)  Mainly though, I do feel like there was a lot of "I wanna Dragon Mage and a Dragon Tyrant.  Whaaaaah!!!!" on the part of some people.  Not that I didnt want to see those cards too, but I try not to let what I wanted cloud my judgement on if what we got made sense.

  • Random/Horrible guys.  Cinder Wall, Fire-Belly Changeling and Bogardan Rager all just suck, and, at the least, could have been replaced by equally bad goblins, since they are cheaper, fit in with the theme and can be devoured by our Voracious friend.  but overall, the whole "singleton" makes it random and cool thing was a fail.  I don't think anyone would have minded 2x of Dragonspeaker Shaman just because he is so usable, but also just more consistency with the effects of Goblins would have been nice.

  • Last, just more goblins to be devoured, and guys to devour them. I mean, there were only 8 total in the entire deck, including the 4 you get from the 2 copies of Dragon Fodder.  And yes, I am not counting the changeling.  The whole "its all types at once" thing is just so unflavorful, not to mention the fact that its not like the art can ever change from being an ugly bald thing. But I digress.


Overall, I think this could have been designed much, much better.  But I am going to buy a copy.  Alternate art is always cool, you can never have more dragons, and the knight deck has the Exemplar and the Reliquary, both of which are very nice.  However, the real kicker is, I have $60 dollars lying around, and I can fix all the design mistakes myself!!! I'll even post my revised decklist in the casual section of the forums.
So, I guess those who said they won't buy this if there's no Hunted Dragon in it won't be too upset to uphold their bonds!
In general I think wotc is over-criticized, and I understand the constraints that deck designers have to work within, but I am afraid in this case I have to join the chorus of players who look at the decklist for the "Dragons" deck and think it is just lame. I think a lot of the problem is that dragons are very beloved creatures and what player hasn't built their own awesome dragon deck? Those decks tend to be quite fun and powerful and naturally serve to raise expectations. Anyone who has ever played a beloved dragon deck experiences something like physical pain at seeing a list full of cards like Captive Flame and Bogardan Rager and Dragon's Claw. The singleton Voracious Dragon is not enough to make me happy Mudbutton Torchrunner is in the deck, even though I understand perfectly well that against a ground-pounding aggro deck like the Knight deck the torchrunner is good and holds off the knight attack so you can cast your dragons.

What I am saying is, the Dragon deck works as a playable deck and I understand the motivations behind its construction as are well-explained in the article, but emotionally, any long time magic player is going to say "what kind of a dragon deck is this?" at a deck that takes a great and classic theme and delivers an unexciting version of it.
To be fair, there is no way they could have made a good dragon deck. Their options were to pack it with splashy rares (not possible), pack it with crap dragons (which is no better than the deck we got), or make it not actually a dragon deck (which they seem to have leaned toward).

I've never understood the appeal of a "dragon deck" anyway. It only appeals to Timmy/Johnnies and only ones that are crap at being both. 
What's with that new Loxodon Warhammer artwork?  I am repulsed. . . and yet strangely attracted.
The issue of Hunted Dragon really gets to the heart of my problem with the list - too much head, not enough heart. I understand perfectly well that the hunted dragon is going to be bad a lot of the time and that it basically functions as a direct damage spell. I understand your concern with wanting it always to be "the right thing to do" to cast your dragons. All that said - it was still the wrong decision to leave it out. Hunted Dragon is a beloved card because it simply drips flavor, and if there was ever a time the flavor was perfect, it was this Duel Decks.

I think there is another important aspect. You talk about the importance of Duel Decks as a ready to play product that should be good for newcomers to the game. Hunted Dragon is a great card to include in a beginner's product, because it is a card that teaches a lot. The fact that it is sometimes good and sometimes bad creates play experiences that teach the player about situational evaluation of the board. Doing the calculations for whether or not the dragon is the right play in a situation teaches a lot of important strategy. The awesome flavor of the dragon and the fact that its "story" fits with the duel deck theme makes this absolutely the right place for a card that can be challenging.

I've never understood the appeal of a "dragon deck" anyway. It only appeals to Timmy/Johnnies and only ones that are crap at being both. 



Haters gonna hate, and tell that to Magic Hall-of-Famer member and all around legend "The Dragonmaster" Brian Kibler. Just this weekend he made it into top 4 of SCG open LA with a rogue infect deck running Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon.
If the lists had like more than one copy of any good common/uncommon I would get it.
So the real question I want answered is, how well do the decks play against each other?  I could be wrong, but the knights deck looks like it's full of powerful, aggressive cards, while the dragons deck looks like it's filled with sub-average, slow cards.  I foresee a lot of dragons languishing in the hand while the knights overrun the board.

Even the red deck's burn doesn't match up well to cards like Test of Faith and friends.  The only way I see the dragons deck winning for the most part consists of a Breath of Dargaaz (kicked), a Dragonspeaker Shaman, or a Dragon Whelp into no answer from the opponent.  That's basically four outs and a prayer to stand up against the knight hordes.  No wonder Hunted Dragon was so bad in this deck.
Basically, observerofthecards said most of the stuff I wanted to say, but I'm going to say them again because I like to.

Between Bogardan Hellkite and Knight of the Reliquary, we have two pretty recent cards as the mythic rares. The Dragons are overall uninspiring. Henge Guardian (and technically the changeling) is the only Dragon older than two years not to have been reprinted before. While I am aware that most Dragons have been reprinted at some point, I still would've expected some more inspired choices. Scourge of Kher Ridges would've been a great choice for mythic rare status, in my opinion. Zodiac Dragon, Rorix Bladewing and Ryusei, the Falling Star would've been great. As I said last week in the other thread, they could also have gone for cards like Lightning Dragon, Fledgling Dragon, Rathi Dragon and Hunted Dragon and just make a quick Dragon deck for a change. That would've given a completely different feel from the Archenemy deck as well and, I think, would've made for better gameplay as well. Also, personally, I think Crucible of Fire should've been an auto-include.

The Knight deck suffered from their decision to stay white-green. I personally agree with past-Chris that Rafiq vs Bladewing the Risen would've made for a cool set-up. Basically, all the Knight rares are limited to the staples and the lords (they honestly had little choice in this though: half the Knight rares are protection creatures). It's a shame they didn't go out of their way to reprint something cool like Lost Order of Jarkeld or something. I actually see how Knight of the Reliquary adds something to the deck, though I am afraid that because it's the only card in the deck which cares about lands, people are simply forced to go through the motions for the +1/+1 per turn bonus rather than actually doing something with it (obviously the one-shot Sejiri Steppes and some Selesnya Sanctuaries, but this deck would've been helped with a man-land or some other cards that like lands).

The random crap in the decks doesn't worry me as much. I mean, all Duel Decks have some crappy cards. My main problem is that the random crap in the Dragon deck doesn't seem very inspired (beyond Henge Guardian, which makes me giggle). Knights were always going to have the good random crap because they just toss creatures at their opponent and don't care. But even there, there's nothing exciting. For example, Elspeth (a very similar deck) got Stormfront Riders and used that as a subtheme. Stormfront Riders was the card in the Elspeth deck I got the most excited about. The closest Knights gets to a subtheme is Knight of the Reliquary + Edge of Autumn. The Knights deck could've worked a lot better with something like Cavalry Master and a small flanking subtheme. Knotvine Paladin is mehish in a deck that wants to attack with everything. Solution? Put in Concerted Effort (just cut Silver Knight then, Concerted Effort is cooler anyway) or Serra's Blessing and you suddenly have a funny two-card combo. The Dragons deck is even worse. If you have a 6-slot in a Dragon deck, you make it a friggin' Dragon, not a Bogardan Rager. A heavier Goblin subtheme to use Skirk Prospector and Voracious Dragon better would also have been better. Fire-Belly Changeling doesn't actually interact very well with any of the dragon tribal cards (you're going to cast it before Dragonspeaker Shaman and Kilnmouth Dragon, which are the only cards that actually care). War-Spike Changeling would've been a better fix. Also, Crucible of Fire.


76125763 wrote:
Zindaras' meta is like a fossil, ancient and its secrets yet to be uncovered. Only men of yore, long dead, knew of it.
Bogardan Hellkite is the most badass dragon ever, so I can kinda see why they used that as their mythic.

And the alternate art versions of White Knight and Loxodon Warhammer are amazing.
my new deck: Bears with Weapons
To be fair, there is no way they could have made a good dragon deck. Their options were to pack it with splashy rares (not possible), pack it with crap dragons (which is no better than the deck we got), or make it not actually a dragon deck (which they seem to have leaned toward).

I've never understood the appeal of a "dragon deck" anyway. It only appeals to Timmy/Johnnies and only ones that are crap at being both. 



Dragons are the most iconic creature in the fantasy genre so making a dragon deck would be a something that someone who likes fantasy would want to do.  Also, there are probably cards out there that can make a dragon deck work.  I personally run some cards in my dragon deck that kill many creatures without flying at one time.  Martyr of Ashes and Molten Disaster can keep the field clear of ground greatures.  Icy Manipulator can also help at mid game.  Then you can use cards such as Grinning Ignus and Seething Song to ramp into your dragons.
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)
I'll pass on the product, as sure as I'll pass a lot in the future...

Rules Advisor

The Basic rulebook, read it! A lot of basic questions are answered there!

How to autocard :
Type [c]Black Lotus[/c] to get Black Lotus.
Type [c=Black Lotus]The Overpowered One[/c] to get The Overpowered One.

I don't have a strong opinion about dragons (just not my thing), but that new Loxodon Warhammer art is terrible.
"It's basically a Leathery-Winged Victory Cigar patrolling the skies around Winmore Castle."

This is the best 1-liner I've read in a LONG time.
No, dragon decks aren't very good on average. That's why it's so very much fun to build one that WORKS (If only barely) and can win by swinging with a big dumb flyer. It's hard, and there's a good chance you'll lose against any tuned tournament deck, but sometimes you want to play a deck that doesn't require careful thought.

Personally, I find it annoying that they were so certain wanted Red vs. White and then were willing to go with GreenWhite but not RedBlack. Bladewing the Risen would have been a far more awesome mythic.
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
but as Oscar Wilde said, "Consistency is a crutch for the uninspired."



That may sometimes be true (big emphasis on sometimes), but I don't believe Mr. Wilde was trying to sell Magic cards.


If the lists had like more than one copy of any good common/uncommon I would get it.



Perhaps none of us here are famous wits, but I think comments like this are a lot more relevant to the real world.
To be fair, there is no way they could have made a good dragon deck. Their options were to pack it with splashy rares (not possible), pack it with crap dragons (which is no better than the deck we got), or make it not actually a dragon deck (which they seem to have leaned toward).

I've never understood the appeal of a "dragon deck" anyway. It only appeals to Timmy/Johnnies and only ones that are crap at being both. 



Dragons are the most iconic creature in the fantesy genre so making a dragon deck would be a something that someone who likes fantisy would want to do.  Also, there are probably cards out there that can make a dragon deck work.  I personally run some cards in my dragon deck that kill many creatures without flying at one time.  Martyr of Ashes and Molten Disaster can keep the field clear of ground greatures.  Icy Manipulator can also help at mid game.  Then you can use cards such as Grinning Ignus and Seething Song to ramp into your dragons.



First of all, I know no one likes a grammar or spelling pedant, but it takes a special kind of carelessness to misspell the same word in two different ways in the same sentence.

About the actual decks, I'm sure it's possible to make a Dragon deck that "works", if that means "is good", but that's not the only concern. They were trying to make a Dragon deck that (a) is monocolor (and, yes, they explained why), (b) is not loaded up with rares, (c) sticks tightly to its theme, and (d) is roughly equal in quality with a Knights deck with the same considerations. Your suggestions to make a deck good get in the way of sticking to the theme. A friend of mine has a multiplayer deck with probably at least 10 dragons in it that seems very good, but it's loaded up with rares. And so on; given the constraints, I can't picture the decks being that much better.

I think "Knight's vs. Dragons" probably wasn't that great an idea for duel decks in the first place. It's not like Garruk vs. Liliana or Phyrexia vs. the Coalition, two factions that actually do parallel each other. Knights vs. dragons sounds cool, but in Magic: the Gathering mechanics, they have very different roles. Knights are weenies - fast, cheap, attack and block until they die with little fanfare but that's OK because there are more coming. Dragons are fatties - slow, expensive, evasive, only attack once or twice but that's usually all you need to put your opponent down. In the entire game, only eight cards printed as Dragons have a CMC of four or less (and that's counting Nalathni Dragon, ouch) and only 18 cards printed as Knights have a CMC of 5 or greater. Weenie decks work fine, especially with weenies like Knight Exemplar that pump each other, but you can't make a deck with nothing but fatties. Believe me, as someone who likes to play a lot of green, I know. For every piece of mana acceleration or stalling or other support you put in, that's one fewer space you have for an actual threat. 

The red parallel to Knights are Goblins. The white parallel to Dragons are Angels. (Knights vs. Goblins actually sounds like one of the best duel decks ideas there is to me. Too bad they've both already been made by now.) As Arthurian as Knights vs. Dragons sounds, it would be really hard to make good Magic duel decks out of them.

Personally, given the basic idea, I only have two complaints. First of all, there's just one single Pyroclasm-like effect in the Dragon deck, Breath of Darigaaz, and it's underpowered in this situation. I thought of it in the context of Hunted Dragon, but it would be good in general and would fit the theme well. (On a second look, there's also Thunder Dragon, fair enough, but that's probably even worse than the Breath.) And secondly, they both, but especially the Knights deck, had too many singletons. I get why they put some in, but they've definitely let some duel decks have more two-ofs and three-ofs than these do.
Why is white night in this deck? there isnt a single black card. that guys just worse here than a 2nd night of meadowgrain. even youthful knight would be a better fit.

and why are the two of guys lionheart maveric? and the 2 ofs in dragons are just mana fetchers and not cards you actually want?

most of the duel decks had 2-3 of the good cards not the crappy ones. These just seem low on powerlevel. The fun decks were the ones high on power level like Elves/goblins and tez/elspeth. And since they didnt cover the game play or balance between the two decks We cant really comment on that it could be fun. Also why no hunted dragon? the answer given was just bad. Every duel deck has a card like that where when you draw it its only going to be good in corner cases and then its pretty good. You have things like dragon fodder to absorb a few hits.

And wtf with Henge Guardian. That guy was errated to be a dragon wurm, which is just bad flavor there, and Whats with the flavor behind temporary insanity. Do dragons make nights insane now? Ans reciprocate? sure whatever its not a fun spell but i guess we can allow it. Like sure hes a crappy artifact guy to block silver night but still dont approve.

Why only one dragonspeaker shaman? Also claws of valakut is exciting? thats the card that gives it its trickyness and replay value? and it seems pretty lame that dragons have dragons claw but nights dont have to deal with its own life gain artifact. Heroes remembrance is probably a bit stronger than dragons claw. Like turn two dragons claw might gain 8 but it seems unlikely.

and diamonds were brought up in the article. I dont get why the fire diamond was cut. Also Divine V demonic is one of worst duel decks. There is alot of game play issue with that one.

again 2 lionheart maverics? I guess people like 1/1 vigilance for one. I had to gather him because i figured he have like a 1 star rating on gatherer and hes surprisingly 2.5 stars with 37 votes. drawing 2 of him is sure going to be terrible though.

Two dragon fodder was nice of you though. Couldnt have added any interesting lands to dragons? like maybe the one that pumps goblins or the one that deals a damage to the opponents. even the fallen empire sac land or the mercadian masque land the one that adds RR twice and then dies
Hey Chris,

I appreciated the input and can see where you are coming from as far as Hunted Dragon and company go...and I can't say I was super excited about the product itself to begin with but I WAS very interested in the design of it.  Thank you for answering the various questions.

As a player though, I (like many others here) am a bit disappointed.  It all seems very...average.

I'm all for the general design philosophy behind the Duel Decks but I have a friend who only plays Magic for Dragons and I have my own casual Knight deck and these, even factoring in the design constraints, are pretty uninspired.

I look forward to Ajani vs Bolas but I do think I have to pass on this one which is a shame, I've bought all the others.

~Rae~

P.S. Henge Gaurdian IS sweet though.
@cybishop

I apparently didn't have the spell checker switched on.  I also didn't have much time to write my post before I had to head to school.  Thank you for bringing my spelling error to my attention.  It has been fixed. 
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)
Man, Chris Millar designed this? I am disappoint, Chris. Oh, well, at least some good came out of this: the new Seething Song art, and Edge of Autumn in a non-futureshifted frame. I also approve of Grasslands being in there, which I missed the first time I saw the lists. The Mirage fetches need more love.
blah blah metal lyrics
The knights deck looks like a great place to start a knights deck, but I don't think I'd play anything from the dragons deck if I built a dragons deck. If the knights side was its own precon, I'd probably get it. I don't want to pay for a bunch of cards I wouldn't use if I tried to do a similarly themed deck.

On a side note, KOTR should have a rare symbol. That is what it is. The symbols are to tell people rarity of cards, not to be a meaningless marketing ploy. KOTR is a rare plain and simple. In this product it is no more rare than mighty leap so its not even that its special relative to this release. There's nothing wrong with having a nice rare on the front of a package. KOTR presells for more than the legit mythic hellkite, but KOTR is a rare in this game.
"It's basically a Leathery-Winged Victory Cigar patrolling the skies around Winmore Castle."

This is the best 1-liner I've read in a LONG time.



Chris Millar and Mark Gottlieb both had in spades what I feel has been missing from the columns for a while: a fantastic sense of humour.

To be fair, there is no way they could have made a good dragon deck. Their options were to pack it with splashy rares (not possible), pack it with crap dragons (which is no better than the deck we got), or make it not actually a dragon deck (which they seem to have leaned toward).

I've never understood the appeal of a "dragon deck" anyway. It only appeals to Timmy/Johnnies and only ones that are crap at being both. 



Dragons are the most iconic creature in the fantesy genre so making a dragon deck would be a something that someone who likes fantisy would want to do.  Also, there are probably cards out there that can make a dragon deck work.  I personally run some cards in my dragon deck that kill many creatures without flying at one time.  Martyr of Ashes and Molten Disaster can keep the field clear of ground greatures.  Icy Manipulator can also help at mid game.  Then you can use cards such as Grinning Ignus and Seething Song to ramp into your dragons.



First of all, I know no one likes a grammar or spelling pedant, but it takes a special kind of carelessness to misspell the same word in two different ways in the same sentence.

About the actual decks, I'm sure it's possible to make a Dragon deck that "works", if that means "is good", but that's not the only concern. They were trying to make a Dragon deck that (a) is monocolor (and, yes, they explained why), (b) is not loaded up with rares, (c) sticks tightly to its theme, and (d) is roughly equal in quality with a Knights deck with the same considerations. Your suggestions to make a deck good get in the way of sticking to the theme. A friend of mine has a multiplayer deck with probably at least 10 dragons in it that seems very good, but it's loaded up with rares. And so on; given the constraints, I can't picture the decks being that much better.

I think "Knight's vs. Dragons" probably wasn't that great an idea for duel decks in the first place. It's not like Garruk vs. Liliana or Phyrexia vs. the Coalition, two factions that actually do parallel each other. Knights vs. dragons sounds cool, but in Magic: the Gathering mechanics, they have very different roles. Knights are weenies - fast, cheap, attack and block until they die with little fanfare but that's OK because there are more coming. Dragons are fatties - slow, expensive, evasive, only attack once or twice but that's usually all you need to put your opponent down. In the entire game, only eight cards printed as Dragons have a CMC of four or less (and that's counting Nalathni Dragon, ouch) and only 18 cards printed as Knights have a CMC of 5 or greater. Weenie decks work fine, especially with weenies like Knight Exemplar that pump each other, but you can't make a deck with nothing but fatties. Believe me, as someone who likes to play a lot of green, I know. For every piece of mana acceleration or stalling or other support you put in, that's one fewer space you have for an actual threat. 

The red parallel to Knights are Goblins. The white parallel to Dragons are Angels. (Knights vs. Goblins actually sounds like one of the best duel decks ideas there is to me. Too bad they've both already been made by now.) As Arthurian as Knights vs. Dragons sounds, it would be really hard to make good Magic duel decks out of them.

Personally, given the basic idea, I only have two complaints. First of all, there's just one single Pyroclasm-like effect in the Dragon deck, Breath of Darigaaz, and it's underpowered in this situation. I thought of it in the context of Hunted Dragon, but it would be good in general and would fit the theme well. (On a second look, there's also Thunder Dragon, fair enough, but that's probably even worse than the Breath.) And secondly, they both, but especially the Knights deck, had too many singletons. I get why they put some in, but they've definitely let some duel decks have more two-ofs and three-ofs than these do.



Actually, Knights are more than just small creatures. An additional problem is also that they tend to either have flanking or protection from colours. That's why BR Dragons probably would've been better, so that both White Knight and Silver Knight make sense but don't actually break the matchup.

Pyroclasm effects and protection both seem like they would create bad play experience and I think it's logical they're not in there.

Also, the decks don't have more singletons than most other duel decks. I guess the main difference is that most of the two-ofs are now in the mana department rather than just cool cards.

76125763 wrote:
Zindaras' meta is like a fossil, ancient and its secrets yet to be uncovered. Only men of yore, long dead, knew of it.
On a side note, KOTR should have a rare symbol. That is what it is. The symbols are to tell people rarity of cards, not to be a meaningless marketing ploy. KOTR is a rare plain and simple. In this product it is no more rare than mighty leap so its not even that its special relative to this release. There's nothing wrong with having a nice rare on the front of a package. KOTR presells for more than the legit mythic hellkite, but KOTR is a rare in this game.



Loxodon Warhammer was an uncommon in Mirrodin and became a rare.  Protean Hydra was a mythic that became a rare.  I believe other cards have changed rarities over the years so I don't see much wrong in changing a card that was a rare to a mythic, considering the fact that it will ONLY be in the dual decks and was a pretty good card when it was first printed.

If WOTC and the card shops would have kept to what mythic rarity was intended for (very flaverful card) then I might have had an issue  But since WOTC and the card shops consider mythics as some of the most powerful cards since mythics were introduced (with a fair number of exceptions), I don't see much of an issue.
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)
This article is, simply stated, a lame justification for a poorly designed product. The article was written with the style if humor that Inquest would utilize to disguise the fact that their articles had no substance.

Another odd thing I find about these sets is the whole notion of "promoting" cards to Mythic. Mythic is a rarity designation, and printing more copies of a card makes them less rare, not moreso.
No explanation was given for the inclusion of White Knight.  It could have been replaced with Sigiled Paladin, which has an ability that could at least potentially do something.

Chris Millar and Mark Gottlieb both had in spades what I feel has been missing from the columns for a while: a fantastic sense of humour.


Yeah. I miss House of Cards.
blah blah metal lyrics
This was an excellent article and fun to read.

Those who don't like the product are free to not buy it.
DCI Level 2 Judge WPN Advanced TO RPGA Herald-Level GM
And for pete's sake, please stop criticizing it.
And for pete's sake, please stop criticizing it.



People are free to have an opinion about something and are free to voice said opinion. MtG is not immune to criticizism, nor should consumers be expected to walk around blindly buying every MtG product that's spoonfed to them thinking it's good no matter what.

With that said, here's my review of the product:

Most everything has been said about the dragons, but I'd just like to reiterate that some of the dragons were very underwhelming. I'm a big fan of Bogardan Hellkite and Shivan Hellkite, but the rest just seemed underwhelming. I was really hoping to see something cool like Bladewing the Risen, but it just didn't happen. The rest of the red spells are very underwhelming, to say the least. Claws of Valakut, Dragon's Claw and Bogardan Rager are just a few of the examples that are absolute garbage. There are few burn spells, and the ones that were picked are subpar at best. It would have been better to see something like Pyroclasm or Flamebreak than Breath of Darigaaz.

The knight side is what I was really looking forward to the most. I found the addition of green to be a rather odd and unnecessary choice. Black would have been much more exciting and knight themed with Haakon, Stromgald Scourge, which actually adds to the knight theme unlike Knight of the Reliquary. Knight Exemplar and Kinsbaile Cavalier are good additions, but I feel the knights were 1 good knight rare short of making me want to buy 4 copies of the duel decks. The addition of Mirran Crusader, Paladin en-vec, Stillmoon Cavalier, or Student of Warfare could have saved this product for me. Knight of the White Orchid was a cool addition, but why isn't there a borderpost in there?

The white non-creature spells also felt very underwhelming (but not as bad as the red spells for dragons). Oblivion Ring and Harm's Way are nice, but that's about it. The last duel decks came with 2 Swords to Plowshares. I would expect a similar quality here, but alas, there's nothing like Path to Exile to be found. Instead, we get the very underwhelming Reciprocate. Day of Judgment would have been nice to see too, going with the indestructability bonus from Knight Exemplar.

Overall, I feel this product was so close to being great, but a number of really poor choices are what's holding it down. Hopefully the next duel decks will be better.


Duels of the Planeswalkers deck builds and analysis: http://megamaster125.angelfire.com/dotp

 

Another one of my websites: http://megamaster125.angelfire.com/rationalchristianity/

 

I am Blue/White