7/18/2011 Feature: "Classic: Magic's Bumper Crop"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Feature Article, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
The more complicated game mechanics simply move from the base set to the Expert-level expansions, allowing new players to learn the basics before tackling banding and trample.



No banding cards were ever printed after Sixth Edition.  I feel betrayed.

Also I strongly disagree with Bill Rose's logic that more common cards don't help.  Considering that you have 10 common slots in a booster and only 4 non-common slots, you really could use some extra diversity to make the common experience less repetitive and more interesting.  The commons don't have to be boring or weak, just general in their applicability; the higher rarities should be for situational answers, big splashy finisher cards, and build-around-me cards, but all the meat and potatoes of most deck types ought to come from common, and front-loading common with a lot of options helps make that happen.
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
As with some other cards, Rose suggests players will probably see Necropotence again in expert-level sets.



Nah, players just saw "fixed" Necro in Yawgmoth's Bargain.  Fixed in the sense of being more mana for a more guaranteed victory that involves no gambling, of course.

Glad I missed out on Urza's block.

Browse . Rose describes this card as "interesting, in blue's flavor," and included it because "we wanted to dispel the 'remove-from-the-game is gone' rumor."



Anyone can tell more about this? =)
"admits" "says" "notes" "says simply"

This article would have driven my journalism professor insane!

Wonderful trip back in time. I started playing a year or two before Sixth came out.

Browse . Rose describes this card as "interesting, in blue's flavor," and included it because "we wanted to dispel the 'remove-from-the-game is gone' rumor."



Anyone can tell more about this? =)




No idea. When Classic came out, there were 39 cards that "exiled" cards, so it wasn't a rare occurance. I'd attribute this to "Throat Wolf" syndrome. Back in the day, when sets weren't in Gatherer, it wasn't easy to quickly search for trends in cards, so inaccurate views of card design were rampant. 


Thank God so much has changed, he said sarcastically...       

"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

"admits" "says" "notes" "says simply"

"This article would have driven my journalism professor insane!" he proclaimed.



Necropotence . Again, Rose emphasizes, some old good cards had to go to make room for new good cards. "Necro is a good deck," Rose says, "but you want good decks to come and go. Something else will take its place." As with some other cards, Rose suggests players will probably see Necropotence again in expert-level sets.

Nevinyrral's Disk . "If you play black, you have a problem with enchantments," Rose says, "and we want players who play single-color decks to have to deal with a weakness." The Disk, he indicates, eliminates black's problem with enchantments.

I lol'd at both of these. Very interesting to see how different the approach was back then. Still, I have been questioning recent R&D logic lately.

Would reprinting Necro for a standard card set really be all that bad? One Pithing Needle or Phyrexian Revoker can simply be "GG" a good deal of the time for monoblack, and both cards are available for all decks being artifacts. Add in that it's delayed card draw and you don't even get to see the cards, much less use them until after the end step of your turn. If they printed Phyrexian Obliterator for monoblack and purposefully powerful planeswalkers like Jace 2.0, why are they avoiding such an easy card to deal with? Most of the players nowadays don't even have feelings attached to "Black Summer" since they didn't even know what Magic was at the time.

On the other side of the coin,  the Nevinyrral's Disk comment agrues to make black more powerful from a removal standpoint. It's neat how R&D actually wanted answers available for any type of deck back then so you could interact more during the game. If anything, I think modern magic can learn from this, especially with that "new" card-type at a certain rarity lurking around and dominating games...
On the other side of the coin,  the Nevinyrral's Disk comment agrues to make black more powerful from a removal standpoint. It's neat how R&D actually wanted answers available for any type of deck back then so you could interact more during the game. If anything, I think modern magic can learn from this, especially with that "new" card-type at a certain rarity lurking around and dominating games...


I would like to see this philosophy return, at least to some small extent. I don't enjoy playing multi-color decks that much; I like the consistency of a single-color mana base and cannot really afford to constantly keep whatever new duals are the in-thing in my possession. And since my favorite color to play is Black, which has not one but TWO permanent types it can't handle (artifacts and enchantments), it's really upsetting to see Wizards avoid making artifacts that can complement these weaknesses.

Then again, this could bleed away some of the flavor of the five colors, so maybe a better solution would be to let Black be able to deal with enchantments but not artifacts. A card like "destroy target nonblack enchantment" even keeps the "unable to renege on your deal with the devil" flavor that was originally behind Black's lack of enchantment kill. This leaves Red as the color that can't handle enchantments, Black can't handle artifacts, White can't handle lands, Green can't handle creatures and Blue... um...

Anyway, yeah, Answers are nice to have. Though it seems almost everyone plays at least two colors these days, so catering to mono-color players is probably not profitable.
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Would reprinting Necro for a standard card set really be all that bad? One Pithing Needle or Phyrexian Revoker can simply be "GG" a good deal of the time for monoblack, and both cards are available for all decks being artifacts. Add in that it's delayed card draw and you don't even get to see the cards, much less use them until after the end step of your turn. If they printed Phyrexian Obliterator for monoblack and purposefully powerful planeswalkers like Jace 2.0, why are they avoiding such an easy card to deal with? Most of the players nowadays don't even have feelings attached to "Black Summer" since they didn't even know what Magic was at the time.


Any time the opponent only has the option "Play X card" or "Play cards to deal with that specific card or they lose", you've got a broken card. This is why JtMS got the banhammer. Yes, Pithing Needle can deal with Necro (Phyrexian Revoker? You're suggesting using a 1-toughness creature to stop a BLACK SPELL?), but if they don't already have one down, the other player gets plenty of cards for BBB. If Necro were even remotely safe, it would've come back by now. Besides: There's a problem with the color pie if Black has the absolute best card drawing spell.

 I like the consistency of a single-color mana base 


And there's your answer to why you can't have every removal in Black. In exchange for never ever being color screwed and being able to play cards like Gatekeeper of Malakir, Vampire Nighthawk and Phyrexian Obliterator the instant your have three or four mana you have to deal with a large weakness. There would be no point in ever running multicolor is every color had answers to everything.
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
Shivan Dragon. "Again, good cards come, good cards go." Note, too, Rose says, that Crimson Hellkite and Volcanic Dragon both appear in Classic. Furthermore, even Serra Angel has cropped up in other recent releases (Anthologies). "Not being in Classic doesn't mean it'll never get published again," Rose says.


"We cut the Shivan, but we gave you Volcanic Dragon!" - R&D then and now. It's funny how in this article, at the current time, the mouseover card image for the Volcanic Dragon is the M12 one. Oh, if I had a time machine.

Bill Rose said all that stuff about commons some uncountable* number of years ago. Agreeing or disagreeing with the article is pointless. It's not like, oh, this thing has changed in 10 years, and this other thing has not. This is all ancient history. If any of it still applies, it's coincidence, or it's about something fundemental to Magic. I'm saying that the current R&D members are just as entertained by this article as we are. (For example: "Wow, did I really say that core set cards needed to simpler, and then slot in Celestial Dawn with the excuse that kitchen table players intuitively played the card right? Haha wow. And that card wasn't even part of our Mirage quota.")
"admits" "says" "notes" "says simply"

This article would have driven my journalism professor insane!



Would you mind explaining why, for those of us who have never taken such a class?
Wow, did I really say that core set cards needed to simpler, and then slot in Celestial Dawn with the excuse that kitchen table players intuitively played the card right?


There is a huge difference between "[insert minority group that Wizards caters to] are the only ones who understand this card" and "[insert minority group that Wizards caters to] are the only ones who have a problem with this card." Which is what he actually said.
@chronego: artifacts in core sets have been scaled back EXACTLY for the reason you stated. If you want to play a mono deck, you have to be aggressive enough to pull it off.. Or buddy up another color. R&D learned that lesson and also use the lack of artifacts to make the color pie really matter. True, they exist in the game but not in the Draft or Block level.

Consider it like an RTS game on the computer. If game designers didn't vary the maps and units available each level what fun would that be. If too many people are playing the same thing, take it away and give other people a chance to win!

BANDING!
I think under the NEW combat rules Banding makes sense... It's a great foil to the new deathtouch rules. In a Lure + Greater Basalisk play, it would make the opponent really think... A Wurm becomes an interesting blocker first if it can absorb enough damage to spare the really good 1/1 from dying. It also provides a way to bend "attacker chooses damage" order.. Again, mostly in White... We should get it back. Bands with other can go.. It was pointlessly complicated versus the "all but 1 bands rule before"
I'd laugh... I don't think in 1999 many people thought Magic would be around continuously for another 13 years... Even D&D went through major lulls in interest every 5-7 years.. That Magic would be selling 10x MORE cards later is a big accomplishment.

Going back I dislike the idea of a "perfect" core set. Something exactly matched to showcase card types, colors, and strategies... A set designed to be sold and played as a "box" much like a Cube. That represents the best of Twenty Years.
@chronego: artifacts in core sets have been scaled back EXACTLY for the reason you stated. If you want to play a mono deck, you have to be aggressive enough to pull it off.. Or buddy up another color. R&D learned that lesson and also use the lack of artifacts to make the color pie really matter. True, they exist in the game but not in the Draft or Block level. Consider it like an RTS game on the computer. If game designers didn't vary the maps and units available each level what fun would that be. If too many people are playing the same thing, take it away and give other people a chance to win!


Fair enough. I didn't think much before posting that; I kind of regret it now. Mono-color decks having all answers available would make every color like Blue, or even better, and this is not a Good Thing. And also, in hindsight, I realized that Black being unable to handle two types of permanents is essential for balancing the color, since it can hit both cards in the hand and creatures better than any other color.

Still, I am kind of sad to see almost no mono-color decks played any more. My inner Vorthos wants to see more mages like the Planeswalkers, who pick a single color and make it work. That seems more like what Magic would be, at least to me. When every mage runs around wielding two or three colors at minimum, the color philosophies tend to weaken as they no longer have any strong representatives. And with so many dual lands around these days, there's almost no penalty for slipping into a second color to cover your weaknesses, which kind of defeats the entire point of playing mono-color decks: if your two-color deck running twelve dual lands AND fetchlands to thin your deck can be almost as consistent, why play just one color?

Then again, Ravnica was and still is my favorite block (Orzhov forever!) so I can definitely see why two-color decks are fun.
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Small fix:

Going back I LIKE the idea of a "perfect" core set. Something exactly matched to showcase card types, colors, and strategies... A set designed to be sold and played as a "box" much like a Cube. That represents the best of Twenty Years.

I think a "perfect cube" would be a cooltreat for next summer.. Whatever they choose to do for the big 2.0. Should start seeing teasers. Much like 2009 teased us with Planechase, Zendikar, then FTV:Relics. 2010 teased us with Archenemy, FTV:Exiled then Scars. 2011 got us Commander, FTV: Legends.. You can already start to guess from Commander card selection, and from M12 the direction Innistrad is going... Legends, enchantments, Commander, a heavy Ravnica feel so far and the "Pheddlagrif" man returning... (we need a new one because the other one is Reserved) don't tell the Man what's "balanced". Well OK.. Do tell him.. His first try at a core set only had Nine (or so) really bad overpowered cards... We can trust him...
As much as I'd buy it anyways to harvest the cards, I'd hate a pre-built cube for the same reasons I hate pre-built ANYTHING. Deckbuilding is my favorite part of Magic, so anything that takes that part away bugs me. Still, after they were willing to drop Sol Ring & Lightning Greaves (Plus a large number of mythics) in commander, it would be interesting to see what they'd be willing to drop in a cube. The only issue for them would be selling it: It would need to contain 360 high quality cards to be a real cube, and the Commander decks with their 100 were already $30. Still, there might be enough interested buyers for it to be worth producing.
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)