05/31/2011 SF: "When a Few Heads Are All You Got"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Serious Fun, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Big Sty doesn't mention the biggest drawback of Duplicate Sealed - it would take a long damn time to put together the duplicate card pool, assuming you even had access to all the cards required.  The only way I can see this format ever really working is if they do it on MODO thus that the second player receives virtual cards equal to the ones opened by the paying player, which are not added to their collection as the paying players's cards are.  (You could also have each player provide three packs and keep the cards from them, if the computer could handle separately tracking the owner of each ownable card in a deck also containing virtual ones.)

In other news, I have been trying (by the same not-actually-doing-anything definition that I "try" almost everything) to come up with a special format just for three-player games, which generally suck in any format even remotely duel-like because they're just "let's you and me beat up him".  My idea is for something called Three-Headed Hydra, in which you have a separate life total for each opponent, becoming immune to further attacks from one player once the "head" facing him is killed.  The details however are far from worked out.
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
I'm most likely to play the 2-player versions, and I don't think I'd enjoy the randomness of Deckslaver, although the choice aspect of it makes it significantly more interesting than Hotseat Magic or whatever it was called.  But I think I would enjoy reading about people who do enjoy Deckslaver playing it, so that gets my vote.

As for willpell's point: yeah, 3-player games of any kind are unavoidably political unless they're explicitly teams. The best 3-player Magic format I've found is Archenemy, where the Archenemy has a medium-powered deck and the two opponents have significantly stronger decks. The scheme cards seem to be calibrated for 3 opponents (4 players in total), so going up against them with just 2 opponents (3 players total) means you need the opponents' decks to be stronger. But you don't want the Archenemy's deck to be just weak, because then they'll just roll over and die very quickly to the coordinated team.
 
After the first article about Winchester draft came out, I did a three player one with two of my students (we had prepared for a 6-8 player booster draft, but not enough people showed up).  We ended up with some really random multicolor decks because we used two piles for each person, just like in two-player.  But whereas in two-player each pick causes three other piles to grow, in three-player each pick causes five piles to grow.  As a result, too many of the piles got huge too fast.  So I propose a three-player variant:

Each player flips onto one pile, but the first player to pick flips two cards while everyone else.  He picks a pile as normal, and then the next player flips two cards while everyone else flips one.  This goes on until everyone has taken their first pick, after which everyone just flips one card.  The piles are a little bigger at first, but they stay reasonable throughout.

With four players, each player can just use one pile flipping one card at a time.  Five players might also work this way, and with six players you're better off doing booster draft.

In response to the survey question, I'd like to see more articles on limited formats like this that allow us to reuse old pools or "block" cubes (with multiple copies for lower rarities).