6/24/2011 LD: "Magical Mystery Tour"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.

You've been making Magic cards for quite awhile and just realized that what you make is forever. That is sad, but at least, maybe, you will take things seriously enough that you won't need to ban your work in the future. I would have aced the question that Magic cards are forever and I should care about that in my interview, but that one doesn't get asked apparently.

Homeward Path is awesome. I just wish it was a foil and available at a greater frequency of 1 per 500 cards opened at $30 MSRP. Can we add that one to lessons learned too?
It's cool you were out here - I've lived in Japan for a year and some odd for work now, and I love it

Magic can be a bit of a challenge... the average player skill is higher than stores in the US by a large margin, and it's difficult to make friends and find a playgroup. It's also basically required that you know every card by heart. That said, people by and large are nice and level-headed, which is cool.

I keep a copy of Oracle texts by card # on my smartphone for FNM-level events around Japan, and no store I've been at has complained with me referencing my phone anytime I'm not sure of some specific detail of a card.

But yeah, thank goodness for MTGO. It's a little bit of back-home nostalgia to get yelled at for being a lucksack noob in english instead of bowed to politely and thanked in Japanese. Laughing

Thanks for the article, and otsukaresama from your long trip.

Now let's have some more info about modern!! The poll results don't lie, we all want more!
You've been making Magic cards for quite awhile and just realized that what you make is forever. That is sad, but at least, maybe, you will take things seriously enough that you won't need to ban your work in the future.




Seconded. This is what comes of having too much emphasis on the competitive forms of play, especially Standard and Limited. If you only look at a card from the point of view of a format where the way things operate is something like "Well, everything'll be rotating in two years/three months/whatever," then of course you'll let a lot of things go that you maybe shouldn't.


I voted "yes" on whether I was surprised at the bannings, and "bad" on what I thought of them. Not because I think the effects will be bad or the cards weren't overpowered (they were, and disgustingly so) - but because the bannings come after months of loud, shrill flailing on forums and Twitter and thus give the impression of caving in to empty vessels. They set a bad precedent, and I fully expect similar shrill flailing when the most powerful strategy in Innistrad emerges.    
I have to agree, the enlightenment being discussed here is... Well frankly I'm a little shocked that this is news. I don't mean any offense, but I assumed that this was obvious.

As for the bannings, all I can say is that the cards should have been mroe extensively tested, and they should have been banned when they were clearly dominating Standard and many people were complaining. Yes, it is unfortunate to have to ban cards, but don't you think it's for the good of the format? 
I played against other goofy Legacy decks that were actually fun, though. My favorite was a blue-red Phyrexian Dreadnought / Stifle deck that also included Intuition, Goblin Welder, and the exciting New Phyrexia addition of Torpor Orb.

That's a real deck. He may have had a singleton robot in there.

From what I understand, Limited events in Japan are run with Japanese product, but quite a few of the players at Hareruya and elsewhere had English cards in their Constructed decks. I already know most Magic cards, so I can't know what it's like for a Japanese person to run into a significant percentage of English cards at their first Friday Night Magic, but it can't feel good. I'm not sure what can be done about this, but it's something I'm thinking about now.


From what I understand, Limited events in the United States are run with American English product, but quite a few of the players here have Japanese cards in their Constructed decks. I too already know most Magic cards, so I can't know what it's like for a new player to run into a significant percentage of Japanese cards at their first Friday Night Magic. But I makes it makes them feel dumb!

Magic cards are forever

Sands of Time is a casual and somewhat funny way to combo someone out. It takes a lot of work to make it work. It's not Time Vault and it's not Stasis. Okay, it is Stasis, but it's funnier. Do you regret printing Maralen + Mindlock Orb? Please tell me that you'd still print Mindlock Orb even if someone pointed out the interaction with Maralen.
It's interesting how much of draft language is based on simple facial expressions, passings, and the occasional chuckle. I would never try to draft in another language, however, unless I memorized every card in the set. No sense in being unprepared.

The idea that cards last forever is a good one, but I don't think one bad combo invalidates the worth two cards have on the game as a whole. I love Protean Hulk and Flash individually, even if together they're one of the dumbest combos in Magic. I don't think the worth of Painter's Servant to the game was decreased just because people found a game ending combo with him; he's still a unique and interesting card with plenty of balanced uses.

I voted "yes" on whether I was surprised at the bannings, and "bad" on what I thought of them. Not because I think the effects will be bad or the cards weren't overpowered (they were, and disgustingly so) - but because the bannings come after months of loud, shrill flailing on forums and Twitter and thus give the impression of caving in to empty vessels. They set a bad precedent, and I fully expect similar shrill flailing when the most powerful strategy in Innistrad emerges.


There was plenty of "shrill flailing" when Affinity was king, but nobody today complains about those bannings.

Complaining alone cannot get a card banned; otherwise, Jund and Faeries would have been gutted. Cards are only banned when people put their money where their mouth is and stop coming to standard tournaments. That's exactly what happened with the Caw Blade meta.
Not only that, but there are set points in time when they will ban cards.  They discussed banning it a while back, and there was an article about it.  Which basically said that the card will be banned and everyone should sell off their copies of it while they still can.
They need to make an app on iPhone where you look at a card through the phone, and the card is shown translated.
Goblin Artisans - A Magic Design Blog by GDS2 Contestants and Collaborators
"Let them eat cake."

Agree with others that this gives the impression wizards is in an Ivory Tower. Quite surprised. 

They have said before they don't really take eternal into consideration, but I always thought this was a conscious choice. That this is a 'relevation'... also indeed the popularity of japanese cards in non-japanese-speaking countries. 

I do have bad experiences with that, more casual players react badly to them unfortunately, so I've returned mostly to english cards >.>


And once again I will say Command Tower will lessen my enjoyability of magic for ever. Worst card ever made. 
I'd just like to briefly comment on the bannings because I think they should be discussed separately and not just in one poll. That's why my answer was "good". I'm really glad that Jace has been banned (a little too late, though) but I feel kind of sorry for Stoneforge Mystic. It's true that it's a very, very powerful card in standard but as opposed to Jace, it's sort of fun to play against. Honestly, I really enjoyed playing that Naya deck at the New Phyrexia Gameday, although I lost the match.
Magic can be a bit of a challenge... the average player skill is higher than stores in the US by a large margin, and it's difficult to make friends and find a playgroup. It's also basically required that you know every card by heart. That said, people by and large are nice and level-headed, which is cool.

I keep a copy of Oracle texts by card # on my smartphone for FNM-level events around Japan, and no store I've been at has complained with me referencing my phone anytime I'm not sure of some specific detail of a card.

But yeah, thank goodness for MTGO. It's a little bit of back-home nostalgia to get yelled at for being a lucksack noob in english instead of bowed to politely and thanked in Japanese.


  If the Japanese really are this skilled, polite, and level-headed, they sound like ideal Magic players.  What exactly makes you say that it's difficult to make friends and find a playgroup?  I'm assuming that if you work over there, it's not the language barrier.

I kind of wish I had an Oracle phone app or a photographic memory even for playing with English cards.  I hate grabbing my opponents' cards/having my cards grabbed when I or they see something unfamiliar.

This is what comes of having too much emphasis on the competitive forms of play, especially Standard and Limited. If you only look at a card from the point of view of a format where the way things operate is something like "Well, everything'll be rotating in two years/three months/whatever," then of course you'll let a lot of things go that you maybe shouldn't.


  I agree that this emphasis is the cause of the "Magic Cards Are Forever" issue, but just how problematic is it?  To what extent can they do anything about it?  Given the sheer number of cards in Legacy, degenerate combinations are a matter of course.  Like Helliord, I don't think that potential degeneracy invalidates the worth a card has on the game as a whole.

I think it would be really interesting if Choose Your Own Standard were to become a sanctioned format, but I'm not sure what effect, if any, it would have on this issue.

It's interesting how much of draft language is based on simple facial expressions, passings, and the occasional chuckle. I would never try to draft in another language, however, unless I memorized every card in the set. No sense in being unprepared.


  Wow, I guess I need to pay more attention to other players' body language at drafts.  I was really surprised that LaPille was so hard on himself for going 0-2 while playing with foreign language cards, but I guess he's taking into account his fluency in draft-speak.
Yai! Equipoise + Sands of Time rocks! 

On the other hand, stifle nought is lame, and the lock with Counterbalance is far more miserable than the ones from Stasis or ChantScepter. I think the only difference between these games was who was making the lock in each case. 
Like TobyornotToby, I've been vocally arguing against Command Tower's design. But seen through the lens of "will this make Commander more fun forever?", the card is clearly a "yes". And that is a very sensible metric for cards in the Commander product. So this has largely reversed my position on Command Tower: good job.

I'm very sad that Stifle is deemed a net unfun card though, just due to fetchlands. That seems really sad, when it's used with Eater of Days, Astral Slide, Lord of Tresserhorn, and yes, Phyrexian Dreadnought

To all those boggling at Tom's comments, it may be worth remembering this is just his opinion and attitude having been shaken up. It's worth remembering that other developers may well (hopefully) already have the eternal future of Magic in mind when considering cards. For example, they did reject Ken's "pwnage" mechanic from New Phyrexia, which is clearly a sensible decision from the point of view of making Magic more fun forever.
To all those boggling at Tom's comments, it may be worth remembering this is just his opinion and attitude having been shaken up. It's worth remembering that other developers may well (hopefully) already have the eternal future of Magic in mind when considering cards.



I think this concept is so fundamental to the development of the game that it should have come up in the interview. Had Tom shown enough skill to hire despite not understanding this, it should have been drilled into his head during orientation and peer review. That didn't happen. He had to leave the ivory tower and play with the masses to figure it out on his own.

If the bannings had been a result of an NCAA investigation, WOTC would have been hit with 'lack of institutional control' sanctions, and for more than just all those $100 bills Jace was accepting.


I voted "yes" on whether I was surprised at the bannings, and "bad" on what I thought of them. Not because I think the effects will be bad or the cards weren't overpowered (they were, and disgustingly so) - but because the bannings come after months of loud, shrill flailing on forums and Twitter and thus give the impression of caving in to empty vessels. They set a bad precedent, and I fully expect similar shrill flailing when the most powerful strategy in Innistrad emerges.


There was plenty of "shrill flailing" when Affinity was king, but nobody today complains about those bannings.

Complaining alone cannot get a card banned; otherwise, Jund and Faeries would have been gutted. Cards are only banned when people put their money where their mouth is and stop coming to standard tournaments. That's exactly what happened with the Caw Blade meta.



There has been a lot of comments about how the almighty dollar has been the driving influence about the ban, and is understandable since WotC is a company with a bottom line. The question I want to raise is how bad did Time Spiral block affect sales? MaRo frequently dogs the block and I always assumed that players were scared off and quit during the block; if that is true, that how many players were really around (comparatively) during the Lorwyn/Shadowmoor blocks? Zendikar did gangbusters in sales for Magic and brought many players back, but if the sales/tourney attendance was already low after Time Spiral and considered a low mark already, how could numbers really get much lower and make Fairies ban-worthy? Jund was dominant during Zendikar's release and therefore had a huge influx of players, so tourney numbers were going to increase as a result as well.

If what I said above actually has some truth to it and isn't the blathering of some village idiote, it's another reason why following a cash-grab mythic/money chase rare printing policy as opposed to design/development fundamentals is horrible for the long-term health of the game. If some event causes a player exodus again, to me, the block (or even next set) immediately after the downturn has the greatest potential for game-breaking/unfun mechanics if profit is the primary number followed. The lack of attendance is the players saying the current environment is 'unfun,' but if only the most dedicated fans of the game are around after a downturn, tourney numbers aren't going to have as dramatic of an effect.

Also, I've always thought price was a huge factor on magic sales/attendance, but it never gets mentioned by any authors on the site except BoaB for obvious reasons. During Time Spiral, the booster packs increased in price if I recall, and until lately, Jace 2.0 was around $70-100 and if you played blue you pretty much had to have him or you didn't stand much of a chance. I know building the deck and the experience of tinkering it is the most enjoyable aspect of this hobby to me, but when I have to spend hundreds of dollars just to TRY a new deck due to the increasing price factor of this game, it does rub me the wrong way and takes alot away from the enjoyable experience I should be having. I'm firmly in the 'excitement of discovery' camp, but Jace and SFM were not the primary reason I haven't been able enjoy this for the past two years. 
The problem of cards that are printed in a different language is known in games (Even if Wizards products haven't done a thing to ease it up). The most common solution is to make your game use glyphs instead of text whenever possible, but that adds significant limitations to what you can do with cards, rules wise. Look at Race For The Galaxy's complexity, for instance: It's already on the border of how complex you can make the cards, and it's far, far simpler than Magic. Even a game like Dominion couldn't really pull it off.

The best you could do in magic would be adding a glyph or two, and adding color to the text in a way that made it clear what the word is if you are used to the color conventions. This would not be anywhere near good enough to make something like, say, Future Sight, be understandable though: It's not like 'play with the top card of your library face up' is used anywhere near enough to have a mnemonic players can be expected to memorize.

Now, if you were designing a new game, making it language independent by using the techniques Euros follow seems like a good idea to me.
And once again I will say Command Tower will lessen my enjoyability of magic for ever. Worst card ever made. 


Could you explain this please?  I'm very curious.
"Let them eat cake."

And once again I will say Command Tower will lessen my enjoyability of magic for ever. Worst card ever made. 



Toby, I enjoy reading your posts. You think before you type, you're always polite, and you've always got something to add to a discussion. Which is partly why this statement bothers me so much, because it's frankly so irrational.

You're basically taking the same stance as those who are opposed to gay marraige - that if somehow, homosexuals can marry each other, the sanctity of your own marraige is ruined. 

To those people I have a few points - first of all, are you ever going to marry a gay person? No? Then I don't see how it affects your marraige, or how it makes any sense to sit around and grow angry about its existence.

Second of all, whether you like it or not, gay marraige is already legal in several states. Has your marraige been spontaneously ruined or cheapened, as you claim it will, if gay marraige exists? No? Then perhaps you're hopping mad about nothing.

And both of these apply to your case.
Are you ever going to use command tower in a regular game of magic? No? Then I don't see how it affects you, or how it makes any sense to sit around and grow angry about its existence.

Whether you like it or not, the fact is Command Tower has already been printed and is being used in commander decks everywhere. Has your magic-playing experience been personally cheapened? Is Archangel of Strife somehow less effective in your "babes" deck since the existence of Command Tower? No? Then perhaps you're hopping mad about something for no good reason.
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.
i am suprised to see that your understanding of magic is alot worse than i would ever think. for example toxic nim is never be a signal for infect. it is mostly a 13th or 14th pick and will not be played in 80% of the infect decks. i wont even discuss that you are not being able to recognize new phyrexia cards from their picture. i was really laughing when you said you are the stronger player in store drafts. this must be the store wizards guys are hanging out in renton, also explains wizards team's weak records in community games.
i am suprised to see that your understanding of magic is alot worse than i would ever think. for example toxic nim is never be a signal for infect. it is mostly a 13th or 14th pick and will not be played in 80% of the infect decks. i wont even discuss that you are not being able to recognize new phyrexia cards from their picture. i was really laughing when you said you are the stronger player in store drafts. this must be the store wizards guys are hanging out in renton, also explains wizards team's weak records in community games.



Considering that the wizards team is constantly working on FUTURE sets, I'm not sure why it's a surprise that someone on the inside  is not as concerned with mastering the pick order for the the latest block as we are.

But it's cool, you're obviously a better magic player than Tom, so I guess we should defer to your opinion in all things Magic. 
i am suprised to see that your understanding of magic is alot worse than i would ever think. for example toxic nim is never be a signal for infect. it is mostly a 13th or 14th pick and will not be played in 80% of the infect decks. i wont even discuss that you are not being able to recognize new phyrexia cards from their picture. i was really laughing when you said you are the stronger player in store drafts. this must be the store wizards guys are hanging out in renton, also explains wizards team's weak records in community games.



Considering that the wizards team is constantly working on FUTURE sets, I'm not sure why it's a surprise that someone on the inside  is not as concerned with mastering the pick order for the the latest block as we are.

But it's cool, you're obviously a better magic player than Tom, so I guess we should defer to your opinion in all things Magic. 

 not having a deep knowledge is normal. Having a strong opinion without having knowledge is not. your second comment is total nonsense. yes, i believe i am a better player than tom, probably like thousands of others but that does not mean i may have a better opinion on magic than him.

1. there woldnt be any need to ban things if people would just make their own ****ing decks

2. stoneforge didnt need to get banned, it was incredibly easy to beat 
"Let them eat cake."

And once again I will say Command Tower will lessen my enjoyability of magic for ever. Worst card ever made. 



Toby, I enjoy reading your posts. You think before you type, you're always polite, and you've always got something to add to a discussion. Which is partly why this statement bothers me so much, because it's frankly so irrational.

You're basically taking the same stance as those who are opposed to gay marraige - that if somehow, homosexuals can marry each other, the sanctity of your own marraige is ruined. 

To those people I have a few points - first of all, are you ever going to marry a gay person? No? Then I don't see how it affects your marraige, or how it makes any sense to sit around and grow angry about its existence.

Second of all, whether you like it or not, gay marraige is already legal in several states. Has your marraige been spontaneously ruined or cheapened, as you claim it will, if gay marraige exists? No? Then perhaps you're hopping mad about nothing.

And both of these apply to your case.
Are you ever going to use command tower in a regular game of magic? No? Then I don't see how it affects you, or how it makes any sense to sit around and grow angry about its existence.

Whether you like it or not, the fact is Command Tower has already been printed and is being used in commander decks everywhere. Has your magic-playing experience been personally cheapened? Is Archangel of Strife somehow less effective in your "babes" deck since the existence of Command Tower? No? Then perhaps you're hopping mad about something for no good reason.



Veslfen, you and I have already butted heads over Command Tower before but I have to jump back in the fray. I am completely and absolutely in favor of gay marriage. Let them be as miserabl- I mean let them experience all the ups and downs that everyone else is privy to. And seriously, from a legal standpoint, my view on the issue is that it is simply a violation of the equal protection clause to not allow same-sex marriages. I don't see it as "giving" gays a right, I see it as there is a right that should be guaranteed to all but certain groups have been denied this right and any legislation that allows it is simply affirming a right that is already there. 

To bring it back to Magic, this feels like a "special card". And WOTC doesn't do that. Every other card they designed for these sets is usuable in every other format. This becomes a null card outside of Commander. To use your example, it's like the opposite of what people believe gay marriage will do, that it will nullify their "regular" marriage. You even ask "will you ever use this card outside of Commander?" Well, I can't

I don't want it to feel like I'm begrudging Commander players a card, but, well, actually I am. This is a bad precedent for Magic design. It could have so easily have been fixed to do something outside of Commander, but it feels like they're pandering to their newest BFF's instead of creating something that's "forever". That's the real takeaway. If Commander ever withers away, all the other cards could be adapted to the new formats. Command Tower could not (unless it's given house rules style errata). All the other wacky formats out there: Emperor, 2 head giant, whatever. They adapted around the pre-existing cards. Creating such a narrow card like this is almost an insult to Commander players, it's like those kids that try to make friends by giving away their toys, but in the end, still get picked last for kickball. 



As for the bannings (poll didn't work again), I'm glad it was done, but upset that it had to be done. First, it got away from you in FFL, and then you took out any answers by not keeping something like Oblivion Ring in print. 

Proud member of C.A.R.D. - Campaign Against Rare Duals "...but the time has come when lands just need to be better. Creatures have gotten stronger, spells have always been insane, and lands just sat in this awkward place of necessity." Jacob Van Lunen on the refuge duals, 16 Sep 2009. "While it made thematic sense to separate enemy and allied color fixing in the past, we have come around to the definite conclusion that it is just plain incorrect from a game-play perspective. This is one of these situations where game play should just trump flavor." - Sam Stoddard on ending the separation of allied/enemy dual lands. 05 July 2013
Toby, I enjoy reading your posts. You think before you type, you're always polite, and you've always got something to add to a discussion.



Thanks =)

Could you explain this please?  I'm very curious.



Are you ever going to use command tower in a regular game of magic? No?



Yes. Around here its pretty common people shuffle up their EDH decks to play regular casual games. In those cases it either needs a 'patch', needs to be replaced, or is a dead card. 

Again, this is -not- about the card doing nothing if you put it in a regular casual deck on purpose. In fact, that could be a pretty funny move with Vedalken Plotter.

Whether you like it or not, the fact is Command Tower has already been printed and is being used in commander decks everywhere.



yeah, nothing to be done about the first. Just hoping Wizards won't be making more cards like it.

Then perhaps you're hopping mad about something for no good reason.



It does seem a small issue. But as MaRo touched on monday, people could be more invested in magic because their decks could become an extension of themselves. My deck is my baby. If I have to houserule it either taps for colorless or any color in regular magic, my child is fake. If I have to side it out or let it be a dead card, my child is imperfect. It hurts =p

You're basically taking the same stance as those who are opposed to gay marraige - that if somehow, homosexuals can marry each other, the sanctity of your own marraige is ruined.



It's a funny comparison, btw =) I'm from the Netherlands, arguing about whether gay marriage should be allowed is like arguing about whether the earth is flat or something to me ;)
That is all a little simple way of looking at it. Jace was fun, Stonforge, Swords, etc. all *fun*. But together they made the most annoying deck in years. Making fun cards in a vacuum doesn't garantuee fun. Fun can also be about the situation, like having a spell countered by some stranger vs. having a spell countered by a close friend wich might turn into a fun story for years to come.

Homeward path, well I think it is a terrible terrible card and bad for Commander and for Mtg. It's far too cheap for such a powerfull hoser-effect. Being on a land makes it much worse since the answer will be LD, so fun. If it was an artifact, no problemo. It's also one of those ninja-land effects. People play the land on T1, hide it in the manapile forever more and 15 turns later: tadaa!, my land can do this you know!

Scavenging Ooze on the other hand is a briliant hoser, one of the best designed cards in the Commander set.
our new, happy life
In Japan, Magic can be a bit of a challenge... the average player skill is higher than stores in the US by a large margin, and it's difficult to make friends and find a playgroup. It's also basically required that you know every card by heart. That said, people by and large are nice and level-headed, which is cool.

I keep a copy of Oracle texts by card # on my smartphone for FNM-level events around Japan, and no store I've been at has complained with me referencing my phone anytime I'm not sure of some specific detail of a card.



  If the Japanese really are this skilled, polite, and level-headed, they sound like ideal Magic players.  What exactly makes you say that it's difficult to make friends and find a playgroup?  I'm assuming that if you work over there, it's not the language barrier.



Nah, it really is the language barrier. I've only lived here a year and work in an english officeplace; far from fluent. Being able to communicate simple things is fine, but it takes more than that to actually get to know people to the point of fitting into their playgroup and hanging out with them and that kind of thing.

But yeah, Japanese players are awesome. Every event I've been to, everyone is polite, chill and honest. (example: raredrafting at the end of a draft, when I was just restarting playing, they actually told me what the most valuable card was each round to save me the time of looking it up. And when I checked later, all their suggestions were spot on)

Japan is weird that way... even after the massive quake, people waited in long lines at convenience stores with no power for hours. The people at the store didn't go home, the people waiting didn't loot... huge numbers of people waited around for hours in the dark to make a proper purchase instead of just taking what they wanted and leaving. People will frequently do what they "should" do instead of what they want. It's bizarre! :D

Homeward path, well I think it is a terrible terrible card and bad for Commander and for Mtg. It's far too cheap for such a powerfull hoser-effect. Being on a land makes it much worse since the answer will be LD, so fun. If it was an artifact, no problemo. It's also one of those ninja-land effects. People play the land on T1, hide it in the manapile forever more and 15 turns later: tadaa!, my land can do this you know!

I understand your point about strong hosing; on the other hand, the effect is often useless, and it is also symmetrical, keeping it from going into every deck, and limiting what you can do with reanimation and theft.  Apart from that, Blatant Thievery and Bribery are generally unfun effects (for everyone except the person doing the stealing), so making it possible to fight them and lowering their power level is not a bad thing.  Also, you can always just target Homeward Path with the Blatant Thievery.

Your description of "ninja-land effects" is spot on.  Wizards R&D should read it and keep this play concern in mind when designing cards.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
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These are the decks I have assembled at the moment:
Tournament Decks (4)
Kicker Aggro (Invasion Block) Sunforger/Izzet Guildmage Midrange (Ravnica/Time Spiral/Xth Standard) Dragonstorm Combo (Time Spiral/Lorwyn/Xth Standard) Bant Midrange (Lorwyn/Shards/M10 Standard)
Casual Multiplayer Decks (50)
Angel Resurrection Casual Soul Sisters Sindbad's Adventures with Djinn of Wishes Sphinx-Bone Wand Buyback Morph (No Instants or Sorceries) Cabal Coffers Control Zombie Aggro Hungry, Hungry Greater Gargadon/War Elemental Flashfires/Boil/Ruination - Boom! Call of the Wild Teysa, Orzhov Scion with Twilight Drover, Sun Titan, and Hivestone Slivers Rebels Cairn Wanderer Knights Only Gold and () Spells Captain Sisay Toolbox Spellweaver Helix Combo Merfolk Wizards Izzet Guildmage/The Unspeakable Arcane Combo Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and his Wizards Creatureless Wild Research/Reins of Power Madness Creatureless Pyromancer Ascension Anarchist Living Death Anvil of Bogardan Madness Shamen with Goblin Game/Wound Reflection Combo Mass damage Quest for Pure Flame Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle/Clear the Land with 40+ Lands Doubling Season Thallids Juniper Order Ranger Graft/Tokens Elf Archer Druids Equilibrium/Aluren Combo Experiment Kraj Combo Reap Combo False Cure/Kavu Predator Combo Savra, Queen of the Golgari Sacrifice/Dredge Elf Warriors Eight-Post Sneak Attack Where Ancients Tread Zur the Enchanter with Opal creatures Tamanoa/Kavu Predator/Collapsing Borders Esper Aggro Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and his Darksteel Reactor Theft and Control Unearth Aggro Soul's Fire Vampires Devour Tokens Phytohydra with Powerstone Minefield Treefolk Friendly? Questing Phelddagrif Slivers Dragon Arch Fun I'm probably forgetting a few...
Please stop derailing this thread with discussion about the sex of the angels and if they should marry or not using one legal formula or another. Also, PC fascism at its finest in here.