06/27/2011 MM: "Putting On a Core Set"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Finally!  The two-week Commanderfest ends!
Finally!  The two-week Commanderfest ends!




Where's the like button around here?

Seriously, way too much time for one small product like that. 
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
As a fairly punny fellow myself, I must say I'm a big fan of the article, Mark one of your better ones.
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.
Finally!  The two-week Commanderfest ends!


Seriously - 2 weeks on a new game full of cards I can't use - been super boring.
Hasn't MaRo used this same exact pun before?
Hasn't MaRo used this same exact pun before?

I don't think so, but Ladies' Knight has.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

Hasn't MaRo used this same exact pun before?

I don't think so, but Ladies' Knight has.

Ah, it wasn't MaRo.
Hasn't MaRo used this same exact pun before?

I don't think so, but Ladies' Knight has.

Ah, it wasn't MaRo.
Finally!  The two-week Commanderfest ends!




Where's the like button around here?

Seriously, way too much time for one small product like that. 




Around here only 2 formats is played. Standard and Commander.

I went to buy a deck or two on sunday after the release and the was no product available.

Not a so small product.
Crazy.
Anyone with more time on their hands than I feel like putting together a list of mechanics that do a good enough job of meeting those six requirements that they might be used in a Core Set eventually?  I'm curious as to just how many of them are out there.
I think I found the replacement finisher for my black deck.

As far as the commander thing goes, my irritation is that the product isn't really being sold anywhere locally for the $30 price. As a casual player, $30 already seems a bit steep for a single deck, especially with the Duel Decks and such available for $20 or so. Most places around here want $40 or $45 for each of them, and that's just not worth it. 
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
Really?  I was able to find a store around me that sold them for $28 (this store always sells Magic slightly under MSRP, and made no exception for Commander.) 
Bloodthirst is OK to bring back, and a nice change of pace from Scry. But I don't find it that interesting of a mechanic. There's an amout of boost that's just Stupid Big. (Example: a 12/12 dragon? Is that really necessary?). I'd prefer Bloodthirst giving more interesting bonuses, like First Strike or Lifelink. But that would require tweaking the ability, of course.

And I'd like to once again suggest Ninjutsu to come back. It encourages blocking, an interaction too often absent. It does intersting things besides getting bigger. And while the flavor is hard to fit in to a block's setting, a core set shouldn't have a problem justifying Ninjas.

P.s. Is that the first time that reminder text is used for Deathtouch? i like it.)

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.

I think I found the replacement finisher for my black deck.

As far as the commander thing goes, my irritation is that the product isn't really being sold anywhere locally for the $30 price. As a casual player, $30 already seems a bit steep for a single deck, especially with the Duel Decks and such available for $20 or so. Most places around here want $40 or $45 for each of them, and that's just not worth it. 




So I've been hearing, with $250 for all 5 not uncommon. Word from WotC distribution is that there will definitely be more printings coming, and this isn't intentionally limited like a FTV set. So patience should get you one at more reasonable prices.

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.

This statement in the article:

The reason for this is that the core set is designed as being the best entry point. (Yes, time has shown us that players enter the game through all the products, but we feel strongly that we want to have a product that retailers in the know can steer new players to.)



particularly calls for a response.

The Core Set, although this is less true from Magic: 2010 onwards, is indeed the most appropriate set for new players. Because of such factors as the threshold for complexity in its mechanics, as noted.

The trouble is, though, that people will generally chose to buy product on a value for money basis. The Core Set has had some good cards in it, such as Baneslayer Angel. But, in general, the same threshold for complexity that makes it good for beginners also means that the power of cards in that set has to be more closely watched.

After all, Black Lotus is a very simple card. So is Counterspell. Or Sol Ring. Or Channel. Or Archivist. Or Exploration. Or Gaea's Cradle. Or Tundra. Or, for that matter, Lightning Bolt.

Power is particularly dangerous when it comes without a drawback - and a drawback makes a card more complicated.

If beginners are to learn the game in stages, for them to be likely to go through that process, they need to feel they're not wasting their money while they're doing so. So the Core Set needs to be a set that even experienced players want to buy - unless, of course, they already have the cards they would otherwise have wanted from it. The presence of reprints in the Core Set is not part of this problem.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

Anyone with more time on their hands than I feel like putting together a list of mechanics that do a good enough job of meeting those six requirements that they might be used in a Core Set eventually?  I'm curious as to just how many of them are out there.



It's hard to say.  The best fits are probably Battle Cry and Devour.  A lot of mechanics sort-of fit the criteria, but there's a possible objection to them:

Mechanics used only on single cards from Future Sight: Absorb, Frenzy
Mechanics with Japanese flavor: Bushido, Ninjutsu
Mechanics R&D dislikes: Shadow
Mechanics that might be too complicated: Ninjutsu, Unearth, Prowl, Totem Armor, Graft, Provoke
Mechanics that only really fit in one color: Flanking
I wonder if there'll be any Carom effects in M2012 that can cause the Pharaoh to take unexpected vengeance on its former master...
Anyone with more time on their hands than I feel like putting together a list of mechanics that do a good enough job of meeting those six requirements that they might be used in a Core Set eventually?  I'm curious as to just how many of them are out there.



It's hard to say.  The best fits are probably Battle Cry and Devour.  A lot of mechanics sort-of fit the criteria, but there's a possible objection to them:

Mechanics used only on single cards from Future Sight: Absorb, Frenzy

If anything, that's a point in favour of reusing them.
Mechanics that might be too complicated: Ninjutsu, Unearth, Prowl, Totem Armor, Graft, Provoke

Provoke seems fine to me. I hope this doesn't doom Totem Armour or Graft, both of which I'd be all for seeing return.
Mechanics that only really fit in one color: Flanking

Flanking has appeared in all five colours, and was a major theme in two (white and red) when first introduced. My main objection to Flanking (and Provoke, actually, despite what I said above) is that it's not quite exciting enough; those two would be better candidates for adding to the list of evergreen mechanics than for "guest star" mechanics in a core set, actually.

Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
I really want more modern Rampage. I like Rampage more than bloodthirst only thing  i like about blood thrist is it changes the way you handle combat. It makes you want to block more often because it makes it harder to race.

The biggest Vorthos Ever I'd rather have an awesome mechanic than the most flavor any day. Constantly coming up with cards all the time. So if you see a card you like tell me. Constantly trying to get into card of the week if you see a card you like please nominate.

That mummy's crown looks an awful lot like Nicol Bolas's head. *shrug*
If this guy can't be in play when the attack comes, the graveyard is an excelent place.

especially if the poor chump attacking you has swung with a weeny First Strike creature... let it through and allow you're pharo to take out one of the bigger second wave.
No comments on why the Titans weren't replaced? Or why Lightning Bolt was?

And the comment implying Bloodthirst was a mechanic that was well liked is completely wrong in my experience. It's got to be one of the most boring mechanics ever. Not to mention all the worthless enablers spoled so far that seem pretty much useless without bloodthirst cards, makes this seems like quite a boring release.
Provoke interacts very unintuitively with creatures with tap abilities ( Llanowar Elves, Goldmeadow Harrier, etc.).  "Untap target creature and it must block?"  That sure sounds like Provoke can be used to force those annoying utility creatures into battle!  And indeed, it could have been, but for whatever reason, Wizards decided that the untap happens first, it's still the declare attacks phase, and then the defender can just use the tap ability again, and then it's an illegal choice for blocking.  This is a giant newbie trap.  (I'd propose that WotC should have changed the rules so what "felt right" is what happened- make the untap happen at the start of Declare Blockers, and have the ability "work".  But even then, some might assume the other way still, so while better, it's still not perfect.)

As for potentially evergreen mechanics:
Cycling (obvious, classic, easy)
Channel (also quite simple, although notably weaker with no Soulshift)
Kicker
Rebound ("you cast the spell twice" is simple enough, though the implementation is a little complex)
Flanking
Flashback
Amplify (Maybe too Timmyish for the hardcore players, though.)

Doable, but perhaps not sexy enough for the Core Set:
Landfall
Vanishing / Fading
Exalted
Evoke (great mechanic, but maybe not at Timmy's first glance?)
Buyback (except R&D doesn't like this much anymore.)

Sexy and cool from a top-down perspective, but complex.  Yet they're still plausible picks with the renewed emphasis on top-down designs to hook players:
Ninjas
Level-Up

Anything's possible, of course, but in general anything involving Converted Mana Costs is likely out, as are heavy multicolor/artifact themes.  Maybe Cumulative Upkeep as a stretch?  Idea is simple, but implementation is complex, and can be lame and unsexy if not handled carefully.  But yeah, probably not.

---
Also, on the original topic.  I can see why they wouldn't want to grief people who invested in Titans too much by making them a one-year investment, and also respect that they wanted to make Core Set cards likely to push sales...  but still..  I think they balanced them a bit too aggressively on the powerful side.  I hope they're replaced by somewhat nerfed new splashy 6 mana cost critters.
I'm kind of surprised that the trigger on this card is mandatory.  Soul Warden evidently had enough issues with people forgetting about its trigger that Wizards printed Soul's Attendant rather than reprinting Soul Warden.  This card seems like it would have even more of these issues since it triggers from the graveyard.
I'm kind of surprised that the trigger on this card is mandatory.  Soul Warden evidently had enough issues with people forgetting about its trigger that Wizards printed Soul's Attendant rather than reprinting Soul Warden.  This card seems like it would have even more of these issues since it triggers from the graveyard.



Soul's Attendant is still a "may" trigger.  Abilities that destroy creatures tend to not have the "may" in
them if they only target attacking creatures that are controlled by your opponent.
 
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)

In general, the powerful cards all create the following dilemma: if they are removed, players are upset that they are leaving Standard; if they stay, the set has one less spot where it can create a new powerful card. There needs to be a balance where you have some continuity of power, but not a complete one, as it's crucial for the set to be able to carve out new areas to shine.



Yeah and that's getting harder and harder with blatant power creep isn't it =p If you start with Baneslayer Angel and then otuclass it with the Titans, where to go next? I like M12's solution though, I hope that's how it's done in the future. Power in a different place rather than outclassing the last.

And the comment implying Bloodthirst was a mechanic that was well liked is completely wrong in my experience. It's got to be one of the most boring mechanics ever. Not to mention all the worthless enablers spoled so far that seem pretty much useless without bloodthirst cards, makes this seems like quite a boring release.



Seems you (and many dailymtg.com readers will fall under you) are in the minority.

As for potentially evergreen mechanics:
Cycling (obvious, classic, easy)
Kicker
Rebound ("you cast the spell twice" is simple enough, though the implementation is a little complex)
Flashback



The problem with mechanics like these is that they lack #5, flavor. Cycling especially. Rebound has flavor, but as a mechanic, not flavor for cards (Scry can go on Crystal Balls and Owls, Rebound can go on anything, is not defined). As for Flashback...
I'm kind of surprised that the trigger on this card is mandatory.  Soul Warden evidently had enough issues with people forgetting about its trigger that Wizards printed Soul's Attendant rather than reprinting Soul Warden.  This card seems like it would have even more of these issues since it triggers from the graveyard.



Soul's Attendant is still a "may" trigger.


Exactly.  It was a deliberate change from Soul Warden.

Abilities that destroy creatures tend to not have the "may" in
them if they only target attacking creatures that are controlled by your opponent.


Cards that trigger while in graveyards, on the other hand, tend to be optional.
I'm surprised I'm the first person to say this...

YU-GI-OOOOOOOH!

....

Vengeful Pharoh would be good with Prodigal Pyromancer, but with the gut instinct of them replaceing PP with Grim Lavamancer, I think this card actually becomes weaker. Hopefully not the case. Still, it's a neat effect.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/0a90721d221e50e5755af156c179fe51.jpg?v=90000)
 To use a metaphor (and when do I pass that opportunity up?), design is like juggling where you have to keep your attention on many balls all constantly flying by. 



Correct me if I'm wrong, but this reads more like a simile than a metaphor...?
2. The mechanic cannot be too complex

I'm curious as to how Gideon Jura made it into a Core set when his 0 ability is one of the most complex in the game.  It involves damage prevention, loyalty, and change of type.

I'm also sad that Fauna Shaman didn't get a curtain call.  Titans were format-warping but nonetheless get a second go, and Fauna Shaman never got a chance to exist independently of Vengevine.  I hope we haven't seen the last of her.
I'm kind of surprised that the trigger on this card is mandatory.  Soul Warden evidently had enough issues with people forgetting about its trigger that Wizards printed Soul's Attendant rather than reprinting Soul Warden.  This card seems like it would have even more of these issues since it triggers from the graveyard.



Soul's Attendant is still a "may" trigger.


Exactly.  It was a deliberate change from Soul Warden.

Abilities that destroy creatures tend to not have the "may" in
them if they only target attacking creatures that are controlled by your opponent.


Cards that trigger while in graveyards, on the other hand, tend to be optional.



Well I think you're right, a may trigger might have been a good idea so that you could choose if you want to use it or not. Especially since, as a black player, you might prefer him in the graveyard instead of on top of your library. Also as you said: you wouldn't need to remember an opponent playing him that his Pharaoh was just triggered, although the fact that he is a  5/4 deathtouch guy might help people remember.

I'm surprised I'm the first person to say this...

YU-GI-OOOOOOOH!

....

Vengeful Pharoh would be good with Prodigal Pyromancer, but with the gut instinct of them replaceing PP with Grim Lavamancer, I think this card actually becomes weaker. Hopefully not the case. Still, it's a neat effect.



How is he good with Prodigal Pyromancer? His trigger requires combat damage and he only destroys attacking creatures anyway so usually you would want to just let the smallest creature from your opponent trough. You would be better of with Vhati il-Dal so that you can block everything but their biggest attacker and change that creatures power to 1.
Anyone with more time on their hands than I feel like putting together a list of mechanics that do a good enough job of meeting those six requirements that they might be used in a Core Set eventually?  I'm curious as to just how many of them are out there.


Like TobyornotToby said, several mechanics already mentioned here meet most of the criteria but lack flavor.

I think almost all the mechanics from Ravnica block could work. In particular, convoke, graft, radiance, dredge, replicate and hellbent all seem like contenders. (Bloodthirst already has come back so there's no question about it, and haunt, transmute and forecast seem definitely not worth considering for a core set, at least IMO.) Convoke and dredge might be a little too complex, radiance might not have enough unexplored design space, and if they brought graft back they'd probably implement it differently because they seem reluctant to put creatures in the core set printed at 0/0. However, they all seem, if not to meet all the criteria, to come pretty close. I would have called it a disadvantage that they were only implemented in two color pairs, but the way they're putting bloodthirst in black shows that Wizards thinks that isn't too much of a problem.

The new mechanic I'd be most interested in seeing in a core set, though, is multicolor cards. Simple, flavorful, popular, untapped design space without great complexity, etc. One time I put together a possible cycle (reprints of two-colored cards from allied colors, mostly originally printed at uncommon, mostly had abilities that clearly showed each color) that I thought would be perfect for a core set, but I can't find a link to that discussion. But they'd probably want more than just one cycle, and they're willing to put lots of new cards in core sets these days so they could just do all-new gold cards if necessary.
And after a small week of hope, another hammer blow to my confidence in wizards. Really sad to the Titans return for another year of fun-killing game domination. Disappointing, very disappointing.
Along with multicolor, Legend would be a good mechanic. A cycle of single color, two color, and 3 color "friend" colors would be interesting, especially with Commander.. And FTV:Ledends on the way. Although rumor is that Innistrad is going to be on Ravnica and have a heavy Ledends matter influence.
Titans didn't really get their full turn... There was a reason Jace was $100 and Primeval dropped to sub $40. Wizards wanted them to have a bigger effect, but but they really got squashed once Scars hit.
I'm a bit nervous about the hint of an Aura sub-theme.  The magemark cycle at common made Guildpact terrible for drafting.  Common Auras are very tempting, especially to the new player, but they are almost always bad to have in your deck.  You will really never understand until you have to play a hand with 3 auras and no creatures.
Does anyone else think its kind of questionable to use the word pharaoh in modern Magic?
Rules were meant to be broken as long as it is mark's idea. If it isn't he gets involved in twitter wars.

No comments on why the Titans weren't replaced? Or why Lightning Bolt was?



Titans are actually covered and Bolt has been talked about endlessly on the site since it was reprinted so saying anything now would be repeating something they've already said multiple times. It was originally pulled for choking design space and that's the same reason it is out of M12. The reason it was in M10 was that they really needed to sell that set and they felt it was safe with all the creature power creep going on to have it back for a while. 
Rules were meant to be broken as long as it is mark's idea. If it isn't he gets involved in twitter wars
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