08/15/2011 MM: "Why? Because We Like You"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
My question is, Why did he answer so many questions he's gone over before? All 3 poison questions, evergreen hybrd, blaming him, Bolt vs. Shock, Developer Search, ZEN Lands, quitting Magic, TSP block, Deckmaster, "cards that aren't fun"... I remember all of those being discussed in more detail in the past. To be fair, some were perhaps discussed in a Latest Developments article instead of Maro's.

Most of the other questions I enjoyed! So kudos to the... uh, tweeps, I guess?
cant believe you didnt answer my tweet D:

had my hopes up too,
but ofc instead u answer this guys- literally the most rhetorical question ever, that you empahasis with everything you do, but ofc this guy asks and you answer anyways...

mechtroid @maro254 Why us? Why do you put so much time and effort into interacting with players, reading everything we send you?"

^i'd imagine a question like this would be obvious by now to any of your readers, you remind us that you read all the feedback whetehr e-mail or twitter all the time

picked that guy over my questions of "why doesnt magic ever get old" or "why do develeopers have to ruin all the designers fun"

why did u pick that tweet over mine maro, why !! lol :P

and plus i dont understand why you make mythic rares that are used in tournaments!! :o

[/internet sarcasm] 

lol jk^, the article was well delivered and well thought out, id consider it a good read lol 

"why are you singlehandidly destroying magic?"
"I'm not singlehandidly, I have help"

^lol xD 
I see that I was right about why sets come out in October, but then, it's fairly obvious.

The reason the academic year is important is that school and college, compared to the workplace, make it very easy to get together with friends. Magic is a game that can be played relatively quickly. So it can be played on a table in a cafeteria.

The question about getting people together to play Magic may be referring to some policy changes by WotC concerning sanctioned events not associated with a retail store. I think that these changes, regrettable as they may be, may have been unavoidable - because of some incidents where faked events were used to defraud WotC of prize support.

It's unfortunate - and surprising - that Time Spiral sold poorly.

over my questions of "why doesnt magic ever get old" or "why do develeopers have to ruin all the designers fun"

Well, those questions were answered.

"Richard Garfield made a very robust game with an amazing amount of design depth. Plus, I (and the rest of R&D) have spent the last fifteen years learning how to best extract that design space in a way to maximize its lifespan."

That answer says a lot about why Magic doesn't get old - although the answers to some of the other questions do that as well.

But it also contains the answer to the other question. If the developers didn't "ruin all the designers fun", powerful cards would eat up the design space, shortening the lifespan of Magic.

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.

Why do the Magic books suck so terribly?


Why don't you run Invitationals anymore?


Why are dual lands EVER rare, when they never feel like rares - do you hate limited players?

Why are Auras designed - unintuitively - to have targets while on the stack, unlike any other kind of permanent, when this single rule dooms Auras to eternal terribleness - wouldn't it be better to just let Auras coming onto the battlefield from the stack work the same way they do (and every other type of permanent does) when put onto the battlefield from anywhere else?

I see that I was right about why sets come out in October, but then, it's fairly obvious.

The reason the academic year is important is that school and college, compared to the workplace, make it very easy to get together with friends. Magic is a game that can be played relatively quickly. So it can be played on a table in a cafeteria.

The question about getting people together to play Magic may be referring to some policy changes by WotC concerning sanctioned events not associated with a retail store. I think that these changes, regrettable as they may be, may have been unavoidable - because of some incidents where faked events were used to defraud WotC of prize support.

It's unfortunate - and surprising - that Time Spiral sold poorly.

over my questions of "why doesnt magic ever get old" or "why do develeopers have to ruin all the designers fun"

Well, those questions were answered.

"Richard Garfield made a very robust game with an amazing amount of design depth. Plus, I (and the rest of R&D) have spent the last fifteen years learning how to best extract that design space in a way to maximize its lifespan."

That answer says a lot about why Magic doesn't get old - although the answers to some of the other questions do that as well.

But it also contains the answer to the other question. If the developers didn't "ruin all the designers fun", powerful cards would eat up the design space, shortening the lifespan of Magic.

 

yea true lol, im more just complaing that mine didnt get picked specifically lol :P
im mostly kidding, but the last question he picked did seem fairly obvious imo, as maro does tell us all the time that feedback matters, i mean in regards to the asker of the question, i would just assume that theres no way he wouldnt already know, and that theres now way you would ask that (because it is failry obvoius in nature that feedback matters) other than the sole purpose to get the question featured- because it is also a perfect question that maro would choose to answer in order to help emphasize once again (if it wasnt clear already) that he reads and cares about peoples feedback
I feel like RZage's question of "Why aren't all basic lands Zendikar-onward full-art?" got kind of a half-ass answer from Rosewater. C'mon, man, just print them again! Lots of them! We like them, dammit!

The rest of it was great and really insightful but MORE FULL ART LANDS PLEASE OH PLEASE.

"Keeping us eager" for them to return? The hell with that! Just bring them back.
Overall an interesting article. Though the number of repeat questions was kind of annoying. Maro, perhaps next time you do one of these articles you could link to the previous mailbag ones, that way you wouldn't need to repeat questions.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why do the Magic books suck so terribly?

Read the planeswalker novels. The block novels are written in house and tend to suffer a bit from that. The plansewalker novels are farmed out to authors, and thus tend to be better for it.

Why are dual lands EVER rare, when they never feel like rares - do you hate limited players?



With lands there isn't much you can do to seperate them power-wise. THey all cost nothing to play. Naturally the more powerful lands gravitate to the top of the rarity while the weaker ones fall to the lower rarities.

But still, there are plenty of uncommon and common lands that have seen touranemnt play.

Also, dual lands are just not as useful as a monocolored land. In order for a particular dual to be useful to you, you need to be playing one of ten color combinations. Whereas a monocolor land is useful to you in one out of five color combinations.

* And i think Design cares too much about limited at times. Often sacrificing constructed fun for limited's needs.

Why are Auras designed - unintuitively - to have targets while on the stack, unlike any other kind of permanent, when this single rule dooms Auras to eternal terribleness - wouldn't it be better to just let Auras coming onto the battlefield from the stack work the same way they do (and every other type of permanent does) when put onto the battlefield from anywhere else?



You'd have to take that up with Garfeild as he designed Auras.

Changing Auras around in this manner would be a huge functional change, and would erode one of the few differences between auras and equipment. And yes, auras tend to be terrible.... but there are plenty of casual players who enjoy them.

* I don't see how Auras are unintuitive. Most players expect them to target since they enter the battlefeild attached to a specific creature. Being able to cast an aura when you control no creatures would just be odd. And it's very unintiuive to think that you'd be able to enchant a creature with shroud.
… and then, the squirrels came.
A great article, and almost all of the questions you chose to answer were interesting (though as has already been mentioned, most weren't really new). However, it's the things one doesn't like which motivate him to respond, and I'm no different in this regard. So I post this to discuss the one question whose answer I felt was not good at all.

Why are dual lands rare? The answer was weak and almost entirely a dodge: "They're not always, and besides, rares aren't as rare now." I know you can't go into great detail in an article of this format, but I was really hoping to see more than a blurb one can read in a single glance.

In the past I understood it better: they sold sets as rares. However, now that we have Mythics to do the heavy lifting for sales, dual lands could easily be made uncommon. They're so important to the game, but by making them rare you isolate a lot of people who cannot afford to spend $50+ for a mana base. I'm glad that you've reprinted the M10 duals enough that they're now fairly cheap, but it would be even better to just print them at uncommon.

And as for the uncommon duals, they're almost never really worth it. Uncommon duals never enter the 'field untapped, which is essential for a good land; gaining one life is never going to make up for this. Of course, some lands are still worth this drawback - the Ravnica karoos come to mind Sealed. Those were a budget player's dream.

Finally: In the past it felt, not GOOD but at least OKAY, to open a dual land as your rare, because it paid for the pack and then some. However, now it's "oh, just a land" PLUS "and not a Mythic", so there's just about no upside to opening a dual land as your rare. Would they really ruin Limited? I highly doubt it. So seriously, please give us a more in-depth answer when you get the chance.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)

Read the planeswalker novels. The block novels are written in house and tend to suffer a bit from that. The plansewalker novels are farmed out to authors, and thus tend to be better for it.



Sigh.  I won't disagree about relative quality.  None of them are good though.

With lands there isn't much you can do to seperate them power-wise. THey all cost nothing to play. Naturally the more powerful lands gravitate to the top of the rarity while the weaker ones fall to the lower rarities.

But still, there are plenty of uncommon and common lands that have seen touranemnt play.

Also, dual lands are just not as useful as a monocolored land. In order for a particular dual to be useful to you, you need to be playing one of ten color combinations. Whereas a monocolor land is useful to you in one out of five color combinations.

* And i think Design cares too much about limited at times. Often sacrificing constructed fun for limited's needs.



1) "High-power" duals are still just duals.  Why should they be rare just because they're more tournament playable?  They're boring cards, and there are never enough of them to satisfy everyone's deckbuilding needs when they're printed at rare.

2) I'm not asking why they don't ever print quality duals at low rarities, because they do.

3) From a collection standpoint, dual lands are more useful than basics.  Basics restrict your deckbuilding options much more than duals do.  From a limited standpoint, duals are much more useful than basics, because basics are free to use without opening any.  Also, in limited, rare duals are typically drafted for money or constructed, rather than for actual use in the tournament, and they raise variance in the quality of Sealed pools enormously.

I can see printing something like Rav duals or fetchlands at rare, because they're going to be usable forever.  And obviously, if you're going to print something like Reflecting Pool that's going to have a massive and unusual impact on Standard, that should be rare.  But EVERY BLOCK and EVERY CORE SET has 5 rares each dedicated to dual lands, and it does no one any good.  Constructed players have the cost of a tournament-quality deck upped by 70-100 dollars for no reason.  Drafters are deprived of interesting choices about consistency that would make the format more skill-based, Sealed would be less unbalanced by the need for good bombs, and casual players would actually get to play with stable mana-bases once in a while.  And there is no drawback.  Rare duals accomplish no design purpose whatsoever.

You'd have to take that up with Garfeild as he designed Auras.

Changing Auras around in this manner would be a huge functional change, and would erode one of the few differences between auras and equipment. And yes, auras tend to be terrible.... but there are plenty of casual players who enjoy them.

* I don't see how Auras are unintuitive. Most players expect them to target since they enter the battlefeild attached to a specific creature. Being able to cast an aura when you control no creatures would just be odd. And it's very unintiuive to think that you'd be able to enchant a creature with shroud



1) Walls and legends have received rules changes for the sake of better gameplay.  Auras don't have to exist the way they are because of grandfathered rules.

2) The change would not be as significant as you imagine.  Auras would still come into play and attach to a permanent, the way they do currently when they come into play from, say, the graveyard.  There is absolutely nothing that would need to change except the removal of a common corner case.  And it certainly doesn't erode the difference between Aura and Equipment; in fact it defines the difference by giving Auras a useful niche that Equipment lacks.

3) Auras are unintuitive.  They work inconsistently based on where they come into play from.  If you tell a player that Auras need a target when you cast them and if that target is removed before the Aura resolves, then it dies, they think you're being mean and that that's unfair.  If you then tell them that Auras don't target and you just put them onto a permanent when they come into play, and if the permanent you want to put it on is removed, you can choose another, they stare at you and go "WTH man, that makes no sense."  If you just tell them they all work by putting them into play and then attaching them, they shrug and say, "okay, that makes sense."  I've had this conversation a dozen times.  Auras are needlessly complicated.  The fact that you could enchant a creature with shroud may not be intuitive either, but it's a heck of a lot less of a pain to explain "it doesn't target, remember?" than the nonsense that is the way it currently works.
So... no-one asked about Mythics... really?

No-one asked "Why did you mislead us on mythics"* or "Why did you say 'mythics won't just be a list of the most powerful tournament spells' when you must have known how that would have been interpreted" or "Why do mythics get a disproportionate amount of representation in tournament decks" or "why is a mana fixer like lotus cobra a mythic" or "why have mythics been allowed to power creep like crazy when that is generally regarded as a bad thing for the long term health of the game", or some such?

Really, not a tweet about mythics, the single most moaned about topic of the last three years?

Other than that, I rather enjoy these columns.



*Yes, I know he didn't lie. You don't need to lie to mislead.
So... no-one asked about Mythics... really?



I think it's more the case MaRo didn't felt like answering any

"why is a mana fixer like lotus cobra a mythic"



Because it has 'lotus' in the name, they've stated that as the official explanation somewhere =p

*Yes, I know he didn't lie. You don't need to lie to mislead.



It was a very clear statement with a single meaning. I can't find fault with it. The debate about 'no utility cards' when talking about Lotus Cobra and Mindbreak Trap etc is more interesting, as that one has a huge grey area.  

"why have mythics been allowed to power creep like crazy when that is generally regarded as a bad thing for the long term health of the game"



That's the most interesting question I think, would like to see that answered.

Why are dual lands EVER rare, when they never feel like rares - do you hate limited players?



My guess for the real answer: because they generate revenue like nothing else.

I don't see how Auras are unintuitive. Most players expect them to target since they enter the battlefeild attached to a specific creature. Being able to cast an aura when you control no creatures would just be odd. And it's very unintiuive to think that you'd be able to enchant a creature with shroud.



Not entirely, that's exactly what I did when I started playing. =p

Why are Auras designed - unintuitively - to have targets while on the stack, unlike any other kind of permanent, when this single rule dooms Auras to eternal terribleness - wouldn't it be better to just let Auras coming onto the battlefield from the stack work the same way they do (and every other type of permanent does) when put onto the battlefield from anywhere else?



It would be a very interesting thing to errata Aura's to work like how champion works. If you have at least 1 creature on the battlefield when the Aura resolves, you can put it there. Can it work that way while still targeting?

im mostly kidding, but the last question he picked did seem fairly obvious imo, as maro does tell us all the time that feedback matters, i mean in regards to the asker of the question, i would just assume that theres no way he wouldnt already know, and that theres now way you would ask that (because it is failry obvoius in nature that feedback matters) other than the sole purpose to get the question featured- because it is also a perfect question that maro would choose to answer in order to help emphasize once again (if it wasnt clear already) that he reads and cares about peoples feedback



Think about it this way: he would have said that "I read feedback, it's important" stuff to wrap up his column either way. He just used that question as a convenient bridge to wrap it up. It didn't take the space of a real question.
@ Maro:

"Ravnica and Shards of Alara blocks had common dual lands"

What common dual lands were in Shards block? Or were you thinking of the Borderposts?

~ Tim
I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)
Not a particularly interesting article in my opinion... Good to know that the suspicion I had that Innistrad is some sinister horror-world seems to be right. Looking forward to it!
Preparing for the M14 Prerelease - New article up! IN THE TANK - my very own blog for rambling about Magic!
I'm finding TobyornotToby's responses more interesting than MaRo's...
From the article:
Why aren't there more plainswalkers?

Have you ever tried sneaking through the plains? It's very hard.

It isn't hard. I just have to roll the right symbol on a six-sider. Why won't you actually answer the question?

With regards to only seeking out PT-players for your developers: that is probably why there is a significant increase in the number of cards that make multiplayer unfun now. That aspect of the game is simply ignored.

Why won't you actually answer the question?

Plainswalk went out with Zodiac Rooster. On the other hand, the reason Planeswalkers are all at Mythic is because they're very powerful, as well as iconic and flavorful.

I realized that Mark Rosewater was remembering Hal David and Burt Bacharach... but I had forgotten that the song in question was a hit for the Carpenters instead of Dionne Warwick or Dusty Springfield.

But the hair of Balthor the Stout is of copper, not of gold. Still, Mythic is beter than Rare.

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.

With regards to only seeking out PT-players for your developers: that is probably why there is a significant increase in the number of cards that make multiplayer unfun now. That aspect of the game is simply ignored.


Whatever there is to be said about fun or unfun cards coming out now, there's absolutely no way to say that multiplayer is being ignored by R&D. They've released several entire products specifically for multiplayer, and routinely adjust their templating to make cards work better or have more options when there's more than one opponent.

Regarding expensive rare dual lands - having now experienced the alternative, I would rather have the "value" from packs go into unobtrusive duals that can fit into many different types of decks, rather than overpowered Mythics that cause just a few archetypes to dominate Standard.  In other words, Watery Grave rather than Jace, the Mind Sculptor, thanks!


(One or the other is apparently needed in order for Wizards to be able sell enough packs.)

Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
My Decks
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...
I would have liked to see some fresher questions answered in the article. We were already given the answers regarding poison, Phyrexian races, and Shock over Lightning Bolt on this site, all no longer than a few months ago. Feedback articles can be a great opportunity to cover topics that otherwise go untouched, but they're disappointing when they're used as a device to answer the kind of assumed questions normal articles address.
With regards to only seeking out PT-players for your developers: that is probably why there is a significant increase in the number of cards that make multiplayer unfun now. That aspect of the game is simply ignored.


Whatever there is to be said about fun or unfun cards coming out now, there's absolutely no way to say that multiplayer is being ignored by R&D. They've released several entire products specifically for multiplayer, and routinely adjust their templating to make cards work better or have more options when there's more than one opponent.



That's not what I meant. I know they try to make cards for multiplayer-now more than ever. I meant that looking at cards from the dynamics of multiplayer are ignored because the cards are being tested by PT-caliber players used to a completely different style of play.

What happens when scrambleverse resolves and 2+ players have the same colored sleeves? Enter the scoop step.

Jin-Gritaxis is another unfun one.  I know that most players think if it costs 10 mana, it should win you the game. However, the one place where 10 mana isn't that hard is multiplayer so the card regularly gets played. The problem with that card compared to the others in its cycle is it makes where you sit at the table a strategic descision. Sitting farther away in turn order from someone with it gives you the benefit of the sorcery speed answers in more players' hands. Some number of players randomly lose their hands just because of where they sat. The other cards in the cycle are a lot of fun and don't cause this issue because the cost of not answering them yourself isn't as great compared to the blue one. It took one game of me watching the guy that sat before me in turn order lose his hand and all his interest in the remaining game only to have me wrath away the Praetor to know how unfun that card is. Since the card didn't actually win the game for the 10 mana investment, all it did was wreck one guy's game experience. Why make cards like that? 

I get that making the cards safe for high-level play is the priority, but to ask people with that mindset to also make cards that are fun for multiplayer results in these types of things being ignored.
"why have mythics been allowed to power creep like crazy when that is generally regarded as a bad thing for the long term health of the game"

That's the most interesting question I think, would like to see that answered.

Me too!

Why are dual lands EVER rare, when they never feel like rares - do you hate limited players?

My guess for the real answer: because they generate revenue like nothing else.


Doubling the playable card pool without a significant drawback. But in fact, I believe that these lands destroy in-color flavor in favor for tournament play. That's why they are rare. Typical casual players tend to also enjoy weaker in-color cards.

Why are Auras designed - unintuitively - to have targets while on the stack, unlike any other kind of permanent, when this single rule dooms Auras to eternal terribleness - wouldn't it be better to just let Auras coming onto the battlefield from the stack work the same way they do (and every other type of permanent does) when put onto the battlefield from anywhere else?

It would be a very interesting thing to errata Aura's to work like how champion works. If you have at least 1 creature on the battlefield when the Aura resolves, you can put it there. Can it work that way while still targeting?


I would rather make most destruction spells sorceries and let have instantaneous removal cost more mana. Anything that isn't really combat-vitalizing shouldn't be an instant. A Shock is an excuse, but otherwise, I don't see any real issue, why I should be able to cast an Oblivion Ring as an instant... and that's was Naturalize and Doom Blade does. If you want an instant, you should take -X/-X effects instead.

In addition, I don't see a reason, why destructions spells shouldn't be based around the casting cost or P/T of a creature like red burn spells do. It would be still an advantage, if you can destroy a cmc 6 Titan with a cmc 4 destruction spell... doesn't have to cost 2 (and one part of the low cost is the instant speed).

Maro: If I could start the game from scratch, I wouldn't have instants in the game. Rather I would make instant a supertype.

And I thought I would have been the only one who would have answered "instants" during which permanent type you would remove. (See the Great Designer Search 2). Personally, I couldn't live without enchantments, since they are the best type to describe the world you're in and how magic works in this realm. Auras suffer a lot, but still, I somehow prefer them over colorless & stereotyped equipments, from a flavor point of view... and most computer RPGs also know auras.

Why, oh why, did you replace Lightning Bolt with Shock?


By the time they printed Lightning Bolt, red was the weakest color in Standard. They kicked it later, because they reprinted Goblin Grenade. This was necessary, to give you the chance to kill a Titan by giving Goblin Arsonist the grenades. It's nearly impossible to find a creature with power 3 you want to sacrifice and use a Lightning Bolt to kill a Titan. BTW: For the same reason, there isn't a Giant Growth, but a Titanic Growth, as there are 40+ creatures with power 2 in M12, but only 10+ with power 3+.

In addition, a Lightning Bolt is too powerful... and leads to toughness 4 creatures that don't deserve this toughness (see Deceiver Exarch). Instead of another Lightning Bolt, I would rather see a Chain Lightning and more cmc1 cantrips in red.
I know they try to make cards for multiplayer-now more than ever. I meant that looking at cards from the dynamics of multiplayer are ignored because the cards are being tested by PT-caliber players used to a completely different style of play.

You missed is the difference between "multiplayer" and "EDH" or similar formats.

A typical multiplayer game is usually unplayable. In a 5-person game, chances are about 100% that someone plays an infinity loop and that there are enough wrath effects in any deck that there won't be a positive game experience. I have a black mass-removal deck and this one wins against 4 other players without much problems. Just play a wrath/sac. each turn and drain life in between. VERY unfun!

A different story is Highlander and EDH and I agree with anyone who says that this format was ignored by Magic for a long time. The format is MUCH closer to a typical casual deck and the limitation of 1 copy per card makes this format MUCH more secure against unfun decks and MUCH more interesting to play against.

Standard by now is based around 2-3 decktypes and it's annoying to play against the X-th copy of the last decklist from LSV or Oliver Ruel. And if you look at the banned list for Modern, you'll see that WotC finally noticed that they have to ban any Standard strategy to make the tournament somewhat interesting.

Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur is another unfun one.  I know that most players think if it costs 10 mana, it should win you the game. However, the one place where 10 mana isn't that hard is multiplayer so the card regularly gets played.

You have a situation, where 10 mana is usual? - Respect!
So on the one hand, we've got Hexproof instead of Shroud because players like cards with no downside. All upside. And so that's what magic design is all about now? Do what the players "like better"? And how is this determined? By sales? By the vocal minority? That makes me nervous. I'm sure players, especially young and/or short-sighted players, tend to think about cards in terms of individual power and perhaps they are more willing to shell out $ for sets with a higher power level.

For me, the game has always been more fun when the whole of a deck is greater than the sum of it's parts. In other words, synergy should be more important than single-card game winners. I realize that powerful cards can still have strong interactions with each other (Jace + Oracle, etc.), and therefore finding cards that complement each other still matters as much as ever. It's just that now, even when your cards aren't achieving their maximum potential as a deck, they are still individually dominant. Like Titans. Giving players what they like better sounds like a recipe for power creep.

On the other hand, we've got shock instead of lightning bolt because. . . other stuff needs a chance to shine? So when & how do we get away from creatures being what shines? Power-creep is the only thing that's ever made me worry abou the long term health of the game, and it's been out of control lately. The absurd explanation MaRo gave a while back re: power-creep in creatures (namely, that they were ALWAYS supposed to be this powerful, it just took us 15 years to realize it) is rubbish. But even if it's not rubbish, well, the mission has already been accomplished. What's next, Dark Banishing instead of Doom Blade? We now NEED to have explosively good creature control. Yes, it's an arms race, and yes, it sounds like a recipe for power creep to me. I just don't think now is the time to dial back one aspect of the game's power (non-creature, specifically lightning bolt) while still pushing the limits of another (creatuere, specifically. . . ummm. . . all of them).

Bottom line, if longevity isn't the driving force behind design, and per quarter sales is, then power-creep is guaranteed. Because dialing back power, at this point and with this generation of magic players, will definitely cause a drop in sales, and apparently what gets in is based on what players like better as determined by. .  . . . ???
Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur is another unfun one.  I know that most players think if it costs 10 mana, it should win you the game. However, the one place where 10 mana isn't that hard is multiplayer so the card regularly gets played.

You have a situation, where 10 mana is usual? - Respect!



With no other accelleration, gauntlet of power gets you there on your 6th turn in mono blue alone. Even though that guy costs 10, you can get it into play in any color w/ quicksilver amulet. Even outside of EDH, if you agree to not just race to combo out, these cards can hit play regularly. 

That's what I meant. In casual Magic, people agree to a level of power that allows cards costing 10 to be played. So if WOTC is making 10 drops, they should figure out what the cards will look like in a game where it has been agreed that the game will get there. Seeing a guy's game wrecked because he sat in the chair on the wrong side of me was disappointing. Is it that hard to find a blue griefer angle other than mind twist?
"Why WotC's sudden change in attitude towards the reserve list?"

By far the question I would have most liked to see answered, but probably one of the ones he's not allowed to say he's not allowed to talk about...
@ Hexproof:
It's introduced, because shroud is boring. You can't do interesting things with that creature. Hexproof on the other hand still enables and even encourages you to play with aura cards.

@ Power-Creep:
I don't like the "no downside" restriction, but I blame the Super-Hero comics for it. But if you look at other Trading card games, this seems to be a primary selling factor. In my opinion, it's a huge restriction for your creativity and causes power-creep, because creatures are more easily compared against each other and promoting a new creature only works, if it has a better "upside".

I don't have a problem with powerful creatures as long as they have to battle against other powerful creatures and any other creature has a chance to win against them. However, I don't like it, when a Primeval Titan is used just to make a land deal damage.

As I've said before, I think Magic would be healthy, when it doesn't need any destruction spells at all. If the creatures are balanced even those with a higher casting cost, destruction spells would offer some nice possibilities. But if you look at the Standard decklists, it seems that R&D is fine with the current "I play only 4 creatures. The rest are destruction spells" situation. There isn't and hasn't been a battle of multiple creatures against each other in the last 10 years and I bet there won't be any tournament in the next 10 years. And now, you can blame the Pro-Tour Developer Search for this to stay the way it is,  since all of them have won due to the power of destruction spells.
With no other accelleration, gauntlet of power gets you there on your 6th turn in mono blue alone. Even though that guy costs 10, you can get it into play in any color w/ quicksilver amulet. Even outside of EDH, if you agree to not just race to combo out, these cards can hit play regularly.


Yeah, I know these tricks, but I also know that you can totally ruin a deck, if these enablers are destroyed. Then you have a cmc10 card polluting your hand cards. In addition, if you play with a lower life total, you'll give weenies a chance... and the life total is a main factor why EDH sees more high-cost creatures than any other format.

In casual Magic, people agree to a level of power that allows cards costing 10 to be played. So if WOTC is making 10 drops, they should figure out what the cards will look like in a game where it has been agreed that the game will get there. Seeing a guy's game wrecked because he sat in the chair on the wrong side of me was disappointing.

I think it's not possible to design a high cost creature that is "fun". Either it can be destroyed easily or it ruins the game in a few turns, no matter what "upside" is printed on the card. Jin-Gix f.e. is one of the weaker versions in general, as this only ruins your hand, not the game in total. There are creatures that do the latter.
Shroud isn't boring. You can't interact with it, but it can still interact with other things. Lots of ways to develop shrouded creatures without the need to put gear or auras on them. I'm not saying I don't like Hexproof, I do, and specifically because Hexproof critters make auras playable. But if shroud simply goes away only to be replaced by Hexproof because "players are happier with all-upside effects," then we've got an issue in my mind.

As far as giant battles between armies of creatures. . . meh. First, I think you're generalizing a bit too much when it comes to the quantity of creatures in Standard decklists. Control has always been a powerful approach to the game, so it's popular, but there's always Tier 1 decks that plan to beat face early and often with good creatures. And second, I certainly prefer fewer creatures on the battlefield to a battlefields full of fatty stalemates where I can barely figure out the combat math and I'm waiting on an overrun for the win. One of the reasons there isn't big battles of creatures is because the game is too fast. One of the reasons the game is too fast is because creatures are so powerful. When one resolves and gets in the red zone, you won't have time to stabilize (unless you play some destruction spells or an even MORE powerful creature in response).
So... no-one asked about Mythics... really?

No-one asked "Why did you mislead us on mythics"* or "Why did you say 'mythics won't just be a list of the most powerful tournament spells' when you must have known how that would have been interpreted"



I would imagine this is due to the fact that MaRo, not being omniscient, didn't think his statement would be misinterpreted that way when he wrote it ;)

Hell, I doubt there could have been a better way to phrase it - if you avoid jumping to conclusions while reading his infamous declarations, it's pretty obvious that it clearly and explicitly states its message. But then again, with everyone hopping mad about that and all the other changes he had just announced, emotions were running high and everyone was looking for bias. 
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'm glad to see the rare duals issue mentioned here, but apparently since he decided to answer the letter of my question rather than the obvious spirit I should have said "Why do you keep printing dual lands at rare?" or something.
Also, if the title of this article is the ridiculously obscure Father Guido Sarducci reference it sounds like it is, then kudos.
So... no-one asked about Mythics... really?

No-one asked "Why did you mislead us on mythics"* or "Why did you say 'mythics won't just be a list of the most powerful tournament spells' when you must have known how that would have been interpreted"



I would imagine this is due to the fact that MaRo, not being omniscient, didn't think his statement would be misinterpreted that way when he wrote it ;)

Hell, I doubt there could have been a better way to phrase it - if you avoid jumping to conclusions while reading his infamous declarations, it's pretty obvious that it clearly and explicitly states its message. But then again, with everyone hopping mad about that and all the other changes he had just announced, emotions were running high and everyone was looking for bias. 



I'm sure there are answers, and MaRo might have picked your exact words, but nonetheless I would like to have seen the question answered.

Strictly speaking, if you look at his exact wording (and I'm a lawyer who does this for a living) then as long as there was a mythic in existence not regularly showing up in tournies, or arguably if there was a non-mythic on that list of tourney cards, then his words were never ever going to be wrong. If his words were virtually incapable of being wrong whatever the outcome, then they really didn't assure anything. But people thought that he was giving an assurance of kind, and it is clear that the words were presented to give assurance, so i think we are entitled to look behind the literal meaning of the words and asked what was the assurance intended to be.

Anyway, don't want to rehash the debate. I just wanted someone to ask him the question and he answer it.

PS. Fezes are cool.


adamgorvin @maro254 Why is the 'lucky charm' cycle still being printed in every core set?





(For those who might be confused, Kraken's Eye and the other members of its cycle are nicknamed the "lucky charms.") It's important for the game, and especially the core set, to have some cards that beginners excitedly latch onto at first (in this case due to the overevaluation of the importance of life) that they come to learn with time are not as strong as they initially believed. In addition, the core set is in constant flux, so I do believe one day you will see a core set without the "lucky charms."


___

Why is this imporant for the game? I ask b/c I'm a noob who happens to think these cards are helpful (they have saved my ass in Duels of the Planewalkers many times).  

I don't think he's trying to say it's important to "trick" or "deceive" new players but I'm somewhat unclear as to the "important" aspect. Is it simply to get us (us being new players) to be more critical of cards and their function? 

Regarding expensive rare dual lands - having now experienced the alternative, I would rather have the "value" from packs go into unobtrusive duals that can fit into many different types of decks, rather than overpowered Mythics that cause just a few archetypes to dominate Standard.  In other words, Watery Grave rather than Jace, the Mind Sculptor, thanks!


(One or the other is apparently needed in order for Wizards to be able sell enough packs.)




1) In general, that's bullcrap.  People aren't buying M12 for duals.  It's one thing to make rare lands in a set where the lands are like Ravnica's, and will be played in every legal format for the rest of eternity.  It's another to make them rare after a third consecutive reprinting of a cycle that will never be played outside of standard.

2) Even if it were true, we still have Mythics selling packs.  That isn't going away, so rare lands aren't doing anyone any good.
Me too!

If they allowed power creep up from Marble Diamond to something approaching Mox Pearl, that would endanger the game. The power creep that brought us cards like Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, on the other hand, is no menace to the game at all.

What about Jace, the Mind Sculptor? Yes, he had to be banned. But is he even remotely comparable to Tolarian Academy or even Necropotence?

Power creep is dangerous to the game, but more so for some kinds of cards than others. And the kinds of cards that are dangerous are being kept under very strict control... which is why we see cards like Lotus Cobra and Mox Opal.

So we're not creeping back to the return of Lotus Petal and Lion's Eye Diamond and Dark Ritual and Exploration. Just big flashy creatures. And now that they've had their mistake with Jace 2.0, we won't see that again either.

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.

If you are going to argue indiviual cards as a case for power creep then i hate to break it to you but the game was most powerful back in alpha with Black lotus, the old dual lands, and recall. Today it's pathetic with just Jace.

Power creep is about enviroments, not about cards. Cards shift in power over time, Eternal witness is an insanly good green card, but it didn't stick around. Instead that power went to a different card. And then to a different card the next set. There is still a good spread of good and bad cards in every set.

THe point of power creep is that over time the sets get more and more powerful, which isn't the case. they vary, Mirrodin was a bit more powerful than normal, but Kamigawa was weaker. These things even out over time.

I mean if every block was better than the one that came before it then Legacy would just be standard since the current blocks would be the msot powerful and have the best cards.

People look at Baneslayer and yell Power creep when they compare it to Serra's angel, but the point is, Serra's angel wasn't meant to be a powerful card, Baneslayer is. Baneslayer eixsts in the set for a much different reason.

… and then, the squirrels came.
Shroud isn't boring. You can't interact with it, but it can still interact with other things. Lots of ways to develop shrouded creatures without the need to put gear or auras on them. I'm not saying I don't like Hexproof, I do, and specifically because Hexproof critters make auras playable. But if shroud simply goes away only to be replaced by Hexproof because "players are happier with all-upside effects," then we've got an issue in my mind.


I agree with you that shroud isn't useless and I also feel that there would be a lack without shroud, but I bet that when a card in question is designed in the future, it will propably have hexproof instead of shroud.

As far as giant battles between armies of creatures. . . meh. First, I think you're generalizing a bit too much when it comes to the quantity of creatures in Standard decklists. Control has always been a powerful approach to the game, so it's popular, but there's always Tier 1 decks that plan to beat face early and often with good creatures.

I still believe that control is often in the leading role. I can see the current u/b control deck, as well as the u/w control. I can remember planeswalker control and 5-color control during Shards, etc. I also remember Bitterblossom control, since a token mechanic is all you need in a counterspell deck to win. It all goes back to Kai Budde's Wildfire control during Urza Saga.

Usually and you can see this when you've read the german tournament coverage, the only color that has some chances to win with creatures is red. And by today, it requires a 2/2 haste for 1 to have a chance, just because there is no proper answer for cmc1... But still, these red decks are often more burn decks with weenie support than what I would call a "creature deck".

And second, I certainly prefer fewer creatures on the battlefield to a battlefields full of fatty stalemates where I can barely figure out the combat math and I'm waiting on an overrun for the win. One of the reasons there isn't big battles of creatures is because the game is too fast. One of the reasons the game is too fast is because creatures are so powerful. When one resolves and gets in the red zone, you won't have time to stabilize (unless you play some destruction spells or an even MORE powerful creature in response).


Game speed isn't a given fact. See Return of the Eldrazi Limited tournaments for example. They didn't put any powerful removal in this set and it wasn't that bad (overall). On contrast, a single Baneslayer Angel dominates the game and R&D hastly printed Combust to stop it. So "math" is easy, when there is only creature on the board, but when I have to choose between multiple creatures and a lot of math OR a Grave Titan putting 10 damage on the table and "less" math, I would vote for the first choice.

Maybe you've never played "Vampires - the eternal struggle", but within this card game, there is no real creature removal and most "instants" are cantrips, so combat is defined by combat spells rather than an instantaneous kill response. And it is MUCH more fun than the simple-minded "kill everything" magic Standard tournament situation. For the Magic game only, the most fun we had was with the preconstructed decks from Ravnica. They were more or less equal in power, had different strategies and you could also invent new players to join. It was MUCH, MUCH more fun than with all the "maxed out" decks we had at that time... and a time where the Magic community grew rather than shrinked.

Your comment also makes me sad, since an Overrun is just the "kiddie" form of a Wrath of God effect in green and doesn't belong to a "fair" game based on creatues. But it shows me, that you're infected by the "power over everything else" fever. But I define a good evening not by the number of kills, but by the fact, if the other player enjoyed to play and want to play again.

All I can do is to give you the advice to test other formats like pauper, star, etc. and you'll see that the majority rather likes a communicative, "slow" and creature-based Magic.

In my opinion, WotC will sooner or later lose more and more players to the EDH & Highlander subculture, because there you're forced to also find the "second best" cards and a single Baneslayer, Grave Titan or Jace don't dominate the game.

The main reason people stop playing Magic is because it stops being fun, not because they lose their social circle.  I've started and stopped playing magic many times (starting in Urza's block) and a few of the times it's been because of losing my play-group due to people or myself moving, but a lot of times I've stopped because I found the new set or a few format-defining cards not fun to play with/against.  In fact, I think that a few not-fun cards can deter people from playing magic, at least that's been my experience.

I love beatdown decks and I was on the fence about starting up Magic again a few months ago, then I saw a Red/Black Vampires deck featured on the Wizard's web-site that had just won a standard tournament.  That is my type of deck.  I like to play (semi-) competitive magic, so I like to play decks that are strong in the current meta-game but are also fun for me to play.  Luckily Vampires was both fun and a strong deck at the time, even in the presense of a dominant deck that I consider not fun: caw-blade.  Anyway, I knew that deck would be fun for me to play and I went on Ebay bought all the cards and started playing at my Local shop the next week.

When New Phyrexia came out and Batterskull was printed, people started dropping 4/4 vigilance lifelink's into play for 2 mana off of stoneforge the game became not fun very very very fast.  If they didn't ban stoneforge and those antics went on I probably would have quit Magic (or at least standard) right there.  I've never had stoneforge on my side, but I imagine it feels at least not-fair (possibly not-fun) to cheat in Batterskull like that.

You say that you print cards that are fun for some players, which means they will be a nightmare for others, and I think that's fair and people accept that as long as the cards are still fun to play with and against.  Right now I play 20-land Mono-Red in standard, and it's probably my favorite deck to play of all time, but there are certain cards in standard that not only wreck this strategy, but make the game not fun and make me question why I even play.  The card that really bothers me is Leyline of Sanctity.  Playing against it with a lot of red decks basically reads "if your opponent has this card in his opening hand, this game will not be fun and you will lose".  Having access to one single card should not alter the game in such a dramatic way, especially when it hits the table for free from your opening hand.  It makes Magic seem more like a luck-based die-rolling contest than what it should be, and what it usually is: a fun and challenging game with the excitement created by luck and uncertainty.  I think it's okay if, and even neccessary for, one deck to be favored over another deck, but it should'nt be so dependent on a single card.  (Like the Stoneforge and leyline examples I gave above).

A card like Timely Reinforcements, though very strong and extremely powerful against red and other beatdown decks is at least still fun to play against.  It doesn't feel good to have Timely Reinforcements cast on you, but it makes the game more challenging, not completely unwinnable, and it doesn't make a large number of the cards in your hand dead the way Leyline does.

I think that certain "hate" cards that get printed that are "nightmares" for certain players can really deter them from the game and create negative player experiences.  What do you guys think?

I think that certain "hate" cards that get printed that are "nightmares" for certain players can really deter them from the game and create negative player experiences.  What do you guys think?

"Hate" cards are what keep shenanigans in check.
Stuff like Stoneforge or Batterskull ruins your day because you either fail to "hate" it, or adequate "hate" cards fail to exist.
If they allowed power creep up from Marble Diamond to something approaching Mox Pearl, that would endanger the game. The power creep that brought us cards like Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, on the other hand, is no menace to the game at all.


Each person has a unique definition of power creep and which amount is "acceptable". The Moxes are clearly game breaking, whereas a Mox Pearl is rather underwhelming. Nontheless, R&D never tried the casting cost in between, why?

Kozilek is just a worse example for power creep, as the most decks are capable of casting cmc4 or cmc5 spells without much trouble, but NEVER cast Kozilek. So he matters in such a minor factor, that I don't care. The same would be true. if they decided to reduce the cost of Emrakul to 13 instead of 15.

What about Jace, the Mind Sculptor? Yes, he had to be banned. But is he even remotely comparable to Tolarian Academy or even Necropotence?

Another "joke" comparison. Necropotence ruined the game with Dark Ritual and guess which card was banned first... And the win condition Donate in those decks would be rather a lame on these days. Let's rather talk about Mind's Desire f.e.

Tolarian Academy is just a "minor" mistake, because how many broken decks do you see with Serra's Sanctum?

But let's look at the current metagame and at the mythic rares:
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Baneslayer Angel
Grave Titan
Primeval Titan
Consecrated Sphinx
Gideon Jura
Vengevine
Kargan Dragonlord
Lotus Cobra
Batterskull
Phyrexian Obliterator

All of them introduced a significant power creep compared to the "pre-mythic" rares and most of them defined the Standard tournament. So is this power-creep through mythic rares a healthy one in Magic?

So we're not creeping back to the return of Lotus Petal and Lion's Eye Diamond and Dark Ritual and Exploration. Just big flashy creatures. And now that they've had their mistake with Jace 2.0, we won't see that again either.

It isn't necessary to return to a Mox-Era to do it the wrong way, but as you can see by now, the power creap defines the Standard format and sooner or later, people recognize that it's either buy the mythic rares or lose. And most of the creatures, you called "just big flashy creatures" ruin any more restrictive or more casual play even more. I can remember Limited tournaments, where a single Grave Titan was enough to go all the way to victory, with an otherwise underwhelming deck.

So I see this power creep as a HUGE problem in Magic and as I've said before, I think Magic will lose more and more player to Highlander or Singleton formats, just as a compensation for all the power creep.
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