05/17/2011 SF: "The Definitive Guide to Busting Booster Packs"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Serious Fun, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Here's a silly idea:  Instead of suggesting ways to extract value from packs, why not just makes the packs value by themselves?

Any pack that's a crap rare, one vaguely useful uncommon, one half-decent common, and the rest just utter junk that gets shoeboxed or trashcanned as soon as the draft ends is just a complete and utter failure - and this is damn near every freakin' pack!
I didn't actually learn how to play the formats in this article from this article.

First, that makes this article suck.

Second, can anyone point me to resources where I can learn about the formats mentioned?

Thanks. 
If mythics were never created, cracking packs would be fun again.  Opening a case for $500 and not seeing one of a certain mythic is a crime.  Especially since your collection of terrible rares has never been so big.  It isn't worth opening packs because the likelyhood you'll get a mythic, which are the best constructed cards, is slim to none.  The fact that the ultra rarity of mythics drives the prices of even a decent mythic through the roof might as well say to new players that they have to cash in their bonds just to play a trading card game.  From a marketing aspect there is no way to bring in new customers to an already difficult to spread game-type if the prices stay where they are at.  Most people will say that the eternal formats are the ones that need help, but I say that magic is going nowhere if the new cards are printed with the mythic rarity.  An argument is that with the mythic rarity consumers will spend more money and Wizards will thrive....or players will sell there collection and pick up an mmorpg.  A gaming computer and a gaming account is way cheaper than maintaining a collection of constructed cards.  Attracting new customers may be more difficult than maintaining old customers, but if you can't even maintain old customers then how can you spread the game.  Numbers may show that Wizards is doing better and better, but from what I've seen those numbers reflect new players wasting money getting into the game and then quitting.  So Wizards is doing a good job of attracting new customers, but can only expect a true spread of the game of Magic if they can keep those players hooked.  There is a very small worm on an oversized hook and people aren't falling for it.  It's just sad when many of the people at my local FNM have to settle for decks that slowly collect better and better cards as they save up for a playest of $40 planeswalkers just in time to see them rotate and lose half their value.  Nobody benefits.  If the cards were only there for collecting purposes then there would be a reason to have untra rare cards, but since these cards are mostly made for the purpose of the game, having the mythic rarity just adds another obstacle to the paths of many hopeful players on their way to become better at a finely crafted game.  Yes, I play constructed and pay the money to do so, but i'm walking a fine line right now and like many gamers I see where the game is headed and it won't be long before I just can't do it anymore.
I didn't actually learn how to play the formats in this article from this article.

First, that makes this article suck.

Second, can anyone point me to resources where I can learn about the formats mentioned?

Thanks. 

I agree that he didn't explain all of the formats all that well, but it seemed to me that he provided enough links to articles that already explained those formats. I'd still have preferred him to explain them himself, though the articles are supposed to be kept under a certain length, and that likely would have gone over that.

So, yes, I can point you to where you can learn about those formats: All of the links provided in the article.

On another note, I knew about Types 1, 1.5, 2, and 4, and now there's a Type 5 I didn't know about, but I still don't know what Type 3 is. I've heard interpretations of the format as Standard without Rares and playing only the first few sets ever released.
This weekend, as usual with a new set. My friend and I bought an intro pack and two packs, thus allowing us to customize it as we please.

After coming off of horrible pulls at my pre release I welcomed the awsome pulls I made this weekend. I started off with an Elesh Norn, which made me pretty damn happy. The next pack I opened, after sifting through the commons and uncommons revealed yet another Elesh Norn. I had to make sure I didn't look at the same pack, but indeed I didn't, I pulled two of them. To round it off, I got the rare I had been wanting (Puresteel). My friend pulled a Bludgeon Brawl to start, then pulled an Etched Monstrosoty, a mythic, but not really the "awesome" factor he was looking for. That came in his third pack, with a Batterskull, the one card he wanted most.

Twas a good weekend. And I await my next paycheck, to see if I can't pull some more magic. 
I love fun / silly ways to draft with a few friends. I noticed that the numbers for drafting were 2, 4 and 6-8 people, and would like to submit a fun draft I invented. Well, I'm pretty sure I was the one that invented it. Never know with the information age when someone is going to claim 'YOU STOLE MY IDEA!' Anyhow.

Players needed for Draft: 3 (Oddball, I know, but it works).
Packs needed per player: 3 (alternately, I've organized with friends for each player to bring 45 jank or unwanted rares).
Why it's fun: Because it's fairly even, and it's a fairly easy number of people to get together.
Watch out for: Uhm... It might be a little confusing to begin with I guess...

Essentially, it starts with all three players cracking the boosters (optionally recording the rares they opened) and shuffling the cards together. Then, after turn order has been determined, the first player looks at the card on the top of the pile and either keeps it, or gives it to player 2. If they keep it, it's player 2s turn. If they give it to player 2, player 1 takes (and keeps) the next top card. Player 2 does the same, keeping, or sending on the top card. And player three. Around and around it goes until all the cards are drafted.

There is the possibility that one player will end up with more, or less cards because of this system, but in playing, the numbers haven't been beyond 5 up or down. Each player can be swayed into a colour by what is being passed to them.

Once all the cards are drafted, lands are thrown in to taste, and 3 players have decks. Usually, because I play casually, we all play a multiplayer game where players attack to the right (or left) only. This means less games of 'gang up on the weakest', and a more enjoyable game is had.

Alternately, each player could have a match against the other, and the one with the highest points (2 for a 2-0 win, 1 for a 2-1 win) determines who will sit where for a multiplayer where you attack one player, and defend against the other. Once one player is out, it turns into a traditional one-on-one, albiet one already in progress. Cheering and fame for the winner.
He didn't actually explain how those formats are played. He only said they were fun oO
my new deck: Bears with Weapons
Also, I don't like those formats like Booster War and Type 5, which abandon normal magic rules and have no lands.
Winston Draft is still the way to go for 2-player limited fun.
Or sealed. But that takes even more boosters <.<
my new deck: Bears with Weapons
So now the mothership is telling players that opening packs is stupid. This takes "blaming the customer" to new heights.
So you mean I should open colossal amounts of packs? Thanks for that piece of advice, writer for WotC!
So now the mothership is telling players that opening packs is stupid. This takes "blaming the customer" to new heights.



Other players will tell you the same, opening packs for no specific reason (esp. since you can learn to exercise deck building, card selection, etc.) is stupid.

How about instead of being the victim customer, the customer makes smart decisions that yield high EV and a long term consuming plan that weighs instant gratification in one hand and being fiscally responsible in the other, and comes to a compromise.

IMAGE(http://i738.photobucket.com/albums/xx30/hannaleak/hlsig1.jpg) the glory of
Other players will tell you the same, opening packs for no specific reason (esp. since you can learn to exercise deck building, card selection, etc.) is stupid.

And this is exactly because the expected constructed playability of a typical pack is near zero.

How about instead of being the victim customer, the customer makes smart decisions that yield high EV and a long term consuming plan that weighs instant gratification in one hand and being fiscally responsible in the other, and comes to a compromise.

So...  ebay singles?

So now the mothership is telling players that opening packs is stupid. This takes "blaming the customer" to new heights.



Other players will tell you the same, opening packs for no specific reason (esp. since you can learn to exercise deck building, card selection, etc.) is stupid.



Right, I'm well aware of this. 
Also, I don't like those formats like Booster War and Type 5, which abandon normal magic rules and have no lands.
Winston Draft is still the way to go for 2-player limited fun.
Or sealed. But that takes even more boosters <.<



Booster War does use lands. Each player opens a pack, adds 3 of each basic land to the pack, doesn't look at any cards in the pack, and that's your deck.

I play pack wars occassionally with my friends. It's pretty random and fun. We added a couple extra rules to kinda keep the game moving. First, basic lands cycle for 3 mana. With 16 basics in the deck, it's all too common that you get more lands than you need. Cycling them not only helps you dig through your deck, but helps keep the game moving. Second, once your library is gone (which does happen on occassion), you can shuffle your graveyard to use as your library. However, you can only do that once per game.

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

Pack Wars and Mini master are actually 2 somewhat different formats.

Pack wars players add 3 basic land of each type to the pack and must play magic as normal.  Mini Master gives you an infinite amount of mana but only allows for one spell to be played each turn. 

If the formats were not described in enough detail.  there are rules sets for each of the formats Adam discussed on my website!


A couple more formats that are fun that Adam left out are Winchester Draft and Solomon Draft

Both are 2 player draft variants and a lot of fun.

Essentially, it starts with all three players cracking the boosters (optionally recording the rares they opened) and shuffling the cards together. Then, after turn order has been determined, the first player looks at the card on the top of the pile and either keeps it, or gives it to player 2. If they keep it, it's player 2s turn. If they give it to player 2, player 1 takes (and keeps) the next top card. Player 2 does the same, keeping, or sending on the top card. And player three. Around and around it goes until all the cards are drafted.

There is the possibility that one player will end up with more, or less cards because of this system, but in playing, the numbers haven't been beyond 5 up or down. Each player can be swayed into a colour by what is being passed to them.



I don't know what kind of rules you have in place to handle what happens when a player runs out of cards while another player still has cards; in the situation where a player is done drafting as soon as they run out of cards, this encourages always taking a passed card, and never digging into your library unless necessary, ie never passing cards.

I assume that if Player 1 keeps the top card, then Player 2 has to flip his top card as the new face up card; if, instead, Player 1 had to flip up and pass the current top card of his deck, the card he didn't choose over his face up card, then the end numbers will always be even. Essentially, whoever's turn it is picks either the face down card on the top of their deck, or the current face up card, and takes that; the card they didn't choose gets passed along.

Essentially, it starts with all three players cracking the boosters (optionally recording the rares they opened) and shuffling the cards together. Then, after turn order has been determined, the first player looks at the card on the top of the pile and either keeps it, or gives it to player 2. If they keep it, it's player 2s turn. If they give it to player 2, player 1 takes (and keeps) the next top card. Player 2 does the same, keeping, or sending on the top card. And player three. Around and around it goes until all the cards are drafted.

There is the possibility that one player will end up with more, or less cards because of this system, but in playing, the numbers haven't been beyond 5 up or down. Each player can be swayed into a colour by what is being passed to them.



I don't know what kind of rules you have in place to handle what happens when a player runs out of cards while another player still has cards; in the situation where a player is done drafting as soon as they run out of cards, this encourages always taking a passed card, and never digging into your library unless necessary, ie never passing cards.

I assume that if Player 1 keeps the top card, then Player 2 has to flip his top card as the new face up card; if, instead, Player 1 had to flip up and pass the current top card of his deck, the card he didn't choose over his face up card, then the end numbers will always be even. Essentially, whoever's turn it is picks either the face down card on the top of their deck, or the current face up card, and takes that; the card they didn't choose gets passed along.



Hm... maybe I didn't express it clearly enough. After the boosters are opened (and rares are taken note of if the players want the ones they opened back afterward), ALL the cards are shuffled together into one big pile. One pile of 135 cards.

Each player, in turn, takes a look at the top card of the pile and looks at it, choosing either to keep it, or give it to the next player. Example:
I take a look at the top card. It's a Blue spell that I don't really have much interest in. I give it to Ashley, who is player 2, and take the next top card, which again is a rubbish Blue spell. I have to keep that card. Ashley looks at the top card, and decides to keep it. James, the third player, looks at the top card, decides he doesn't want it and gives it to me, and takes the top card. Then it's my turn again.
Repeat process until all cards are 'drafted', and each player has a pool of cards to make a deck out of. Generally, each player will end up with between 40 and 50 cards, because of choices made by themselves and other players.




Hm... maybe I didn't express it clearly enough. After the boosters are opened (and rares are taken note of if the players want the ones they opened back afterward), ALL the cards are shuffled together into one big pile. One pile of 135 cards.

Each player, in turn, takes a look at the top card of the pile and looks at it, choosing either to keep it, or give it to the next player. Example:
I take a look at the top card. It's a Blue spell that I don't really have much interest in. I give it to Ashley, who is player 2, and take the next top card, which again is a rubbish Blue spell. I have to keep that card. Ashley looks at the top card, and decides to keep it. James, the third player, looks at the top card, decides he doesn't want it and gives it to me, and takes the top card. Then it's my turn again.
Repeat process until all cards are 'drafted', and each player has a pool of cards to make a deck out of. Generally, each player will end up with between 40 and 50 cards, because of choices made by themselves and other players.



Aah, I see. Doesn't this mean that a player always take a card when it is their turn? How would the players end up with a different number of cards at the end? Sorry if I'm being daft and not seeing what is obvious


Hm... maybe I didn't express it clearly enough. After the boosters are opened (and rares are taken note of if the players want the ones they opened back afterward), ALL the cards are shuffled together into one big pile. One pile of 135 cards.

Each player, in turn, takes a look at the top card of the pile and looks at it, choosing either to keep it, or give it to the next player. Example:
I take a look at the top card. It's a Blue spell that I don't really have much interest in. I give it to Ashley, who is player 2, and take the next top card, which again is a rubbish Blue spell. I have to keep that card. Ashley looks at the top card, and decides to keep it. James, the third player, looks at the top card, decides he doesn't want it and gives it to me, and takes the top card. Then it's my turn again.
Repeat process until all cards are 'drafted', and each player has a pool of cards to make a deck out of. Generally, each player will end up with between 40 and 50 cards, because of choices made by themselves and other players.



Aah, I see. Doesn't this mean that a player always take a card when it is their turn? How would the players end up with a different number of cards at the end? Sorry if I'm being daft and not seeing what is obvious



You will always end up with a card on your own turn. The way discrepancies arise is that other players might get a card on your turn.


Hm... maybe I didn't express it clearly enough. After the boosters are opened (and rares are taken note of if the players want the ones they opened back afterward), ALL the cards are shuffled together into one big pile. One pile of 135 cards.

Each player, in turn, takes a look at the top card of the pile and looks at it, choosing either to keep it, or give it to the next player. Example:
I take a look at the top card. It's a Blue spell that I don't really have much interest in. I give it to Ashley, who is player 2, and take the next top card, which again is a rubbish Blue spell. I have to keep that card. Ashley looks at the top card, and decides to keep it. James, the third player, looks at the top card, decides he doesn't want it and gives it to me, and takes the top card. Then it's my turn again.
Repeat process until all cards are 'drafted', and each player has a pool of cards to make a deck out of. Generally, each player will end up with between 40 and 50 cards, because of choices made by themselves and other players.




You will always end up with a card on your own turn. The way discrepancies arise is that other players might get a card on your turn.



Ah, ok I see. I like it! An interesting variant on that might be that at the start of each players turn, they reveal the top card of the shared pile; they now have three choices: take the revealed card; take all of the "pot" cards and put the revealed card in the "pot"; or put the revealed card in the "pot", and take the new top card of the shared pile. This variant allows for weak cards to pile up in the "pot" until they become more valuable than either a random card from the deck or the revealed card. I don't know if it would play much different than your idea, but I think I might try it out.
I say try both! The 'jank rare draft' I played was equal parts silly and fun. It actually makes you want commons and uncommons!
Pack Wars must be what Adam Styborski turns to when he has nothing else he feels like writing about.
You'll forget you ever read this the minute you look away.
Veslfen's House of Bone-Dry Sarcasm
88318561 wrote:
76783093 wrote:
there is nothing "epic" about a turn one victory. ever. or really any magic game, for that matter.
So this one time, I wanted to play a game of Magic with my friend, but he was in another country and neither of us had Magic Online. I hitchhiked my way to the coast, barely fending off hungry wildlife when I couldn't get a ride, nearly dying of thirst crossing deserts, and posoning myself half to death foraging for food. At one point, I was taken hostage by a group of kidnappers, only managing to escape after a week of careful planning thanks to careful application of a rusty spoon. Once I reached the coast, I had no money to buy a ticket across the ocean, so I built a boat using my own two hands, and spent months sailing across the waves, nearly losing my deck as I swam to the shore of a desert island in a storm after being capsized by an enormous wave. Nearly delusional after so long with no human contact (the notches I cut in the single tree to tell time had long since felled the thing) I was eventually rescued by a passing ship, where I was taken aboard as a crew member. We sailed around the world, seeing many exotic places and having great adventures, before we finally arrived at my friend's country. Once more I stumbled across a desolate landscape, riding on train or car when I could, and going on foot when I could not. Eventually, weary to the bone, seven years after I started my journey, I arrived at my friend's house, clutching my well-worn and weathered deck to my chest. We shuffled up our decks, I won the roll. Gleefully, I laid down my cards. Black Lotus. My friend looked quizzically at me, wondering what I was about to do. After so long, he no longer knew what deck I had brought with me to this game. Flash. A knowing smile appears on my friend's face as the knowledge slowly returns to him. Protean Hulk. My friend extends his hand, knowing the game is over before it even started. And finally, after so many trials, the sweet taste of victory is mine.
56866178 wrote:
108166749 wrote:
So no one else is upset with the stunt Wizards just pulled to drive sales?
Drive sales of what? Non-Jace, non-Mystic cards? I'm pretty sure people already own more than eight Magic cards. If you don't, I feel for you. Maybe you can trade those Stoneforge Mystics, which are still quite valuable, for some.
He missed my favourite format: Mind Master.
www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.a...

It's the only format I could get my brothers to play, so I made a whole cube just for mind master. It features such bombs as Elves of Deep Shadow and Dark Ritual. Orcish Lumberjack was too good and had to be removed.

I'm now on the look out for interesting ways for 2 players to draft 30 cards. Winston is a bit awkward because every card is useful so there's lots of incentive never to let piles get big. Winchester is also awkward because you should know every card the other player has, and since there's no randomness in shuffling, knowing your opponent's whole deck would make players like us spend forever figuring out the best play.
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