08/19/2011 LD: "Twitstorm III: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor"

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

Er,  except Unhinged. As much fun as it might be, I don't think Pro Tours being decided by Ass Whoopin' is a good idea :P

I despise games of magic ending on turn 4 and 5; it makes me think I wasted time shuffling.  I'd say the optimal game is between seven and ten turns.  That gives you enough time to really see things develop; for the first few turns not much is likely to happen, in the midgame players build up and have serious exchanges, and the endgame features tense confrontations and possible turnarounds.

And I strongly disagree that unfair and exciting is preferable.  Fallen Empires remains one of my favorite sets of all time; the modern design aesthetic seems to be all about hype, and I much prefer holism.  Don't sell me on the set's hot mythic rare, dammit; sell me on the whole set.  Make me think every single card in every booster pack is worth the $0.25 it costs me, and I'll buy the set once in a while; convince me that nothing but the chase cards are any good, and I'll regard the booster packs as overpriced lottery tickets and won't waste my money on them.  (Things aren't quite to that point yet, but that's mostly because of Creative, and I really wish R&D would follow their example and show every single card some love.)

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
On the poll:

I never really thought about this question, in the end I went with red because I don't like playing around blue counterspells better then another style of play, green doesn't have creature removal and I like it when my opponent can do stuff against me. Black can sometimes be a bit annoying in having to deal with a dead creature again and again and again. Leaving me with white and red and I just felt like going for red on that one for no reason I can think of.

But I have to add that in order to answer this question I really had to force an answer. Which I liked about this pole, since it forces you to make a choice rather than take the easy way out with an added "I don't care" option. If poles do have these options I always try my best to avoid them, but in this one I like the lack of it. 

On the whole I feel more like I don't care about my opponents colors and more about the style of play their deck has.  But as I said before still liked thinking about "what if you really have to pick one prefered opposing color."
The poll really depends on what I'm playing and what kind of game I want. I voted blue because I feel like I'm the only person in the world who likes playing against counter-heavy decks, but it's far from true that that's always what I want to play against.
blah blah metal lyrics
Millions of players globally, myself included, will feel awkward about the idea of games ending on turn four or five - are we doing it wrong when our games go long? A lot of people might never pull a mythic card, despite buying regularly - is "unfair and exciting" working for them, or against them?

I wonder what audience this column is geared towards. It ain't the ones who place trust in the ideals of the designers, because you're brutal.
The poll really depends on what I'm playing and what kind of game I want. I voted blue because I feel like I'm the only person in the world who likes playing against counter-heavy decks, but it's far from true that that's always what I want to play against.



You´re not alone with this. Playing with a well-built deck (aka mana curve etc.) against a counter-heavy deck is one of the most interesting matchups in the game. It is challenging and both players need a good poker-face.

But it is important that both players have the same "skill level". A beginner who can´t grasp all the necessary information (and e.g.: doesn´t know which cards must be countered at all cost) has no fun in this matchup. 
Considering it is feedback week and I'm pretty sure there was plenty of feedback received about the Modern ban list, I'm a bit disappointed that Tom sidestepped the issue entirely. I presume those were among the questions he didn't felt were interesting to answer, but with all the people asking why several of the cards really got banned it sure would be interesting to get a straight answer. Maybe they were not interesting to answer in the end because he can not give straight answers for some reason.

I hope that they at least eventually address the fact that this was effectively a huge emergency banning of several cards (well, sort of a whole format really). I will probably be able to figure out the real reasons some of those cards were banned in future B&R decisions - if they really do unban several cards relatively fast, I pretty much confirm my guesses - they rushed the format out, they didn't test enough, they were too scared of some cards to trust the Overextended data (without real reason in my opinion), and they didn't want players traumatized from Standard to irrationally give Modern a pass even though Jace wouldn't be overpowered.

I also happen to strongly believe Mystic is fine in the format, although that one is much more borderline (particularly if it is in the format together with Jace - but Overextended data pretty much shows it to be safe). I think Dark Confidant is a stronger card in the format (and also in Legacy), and due to the lack of FoW (protects the Mystic) and other differences even Tarmogoyf would possibly be borderline stronger than Mystic. Goyf protects itself much better, and Dark Confidant is surprisingly less vulnerable and only costs you 2 mana - while Mystic is vulnerable to many maindecked cards - including burn such as Punishing Fire and Bolt, to Qasali Pridemage which can deal with the artifact, Repeal / Into the roil which can deal with the token or get massive tempo if you would go for something with "equip 2" and even Vendilion Clique in response to the activation. which is once again quite a tempo blowout. Overextended results reveal this: UW decks with Jace and Stoneforge were very good but not nearly as dominant as Punishing Fire Zoo decks running GSZ and several maindeck Qasali Pridemages.

Ivo. 
In regards to the poll (which seemed like a random but nonetheless thought-provoking question), I like playing against green the best. Black is probably my least favorite color to play against because it can be very annoying. Blue is alright to play against and white is the same. Red can be annoying at times but is generally alright. Green is the easiest to play against because you can sit and watch as they don't interact with your strategy at all and sit there wondering why they are losing.
You... don't like signets and bounce lands? You seriously think that the game is better when people don't have manafixing?

:..-(

If that means we're not going to see common manafixers that good ever again while you're in development, then... that's really sad... and for the first time I find myself looking forward to the end of your time in dev I really hope I'm misunderstanding you here, Tom.

The Ravnica bouncelands are the best thing to ever happen to my casual decks. I have over 100 decks (around 110 last count) and it's utterly ludicrous to imagine I could get enough rare or even uncommon dual or triple lands to power them. The Ravblock bouncelands I could and did buy in bulk, 20 of each of the 10, and occasionally top up those where all of them end up in decks.

Good budget manafixers let people play their cards. The game is a heck of a lot more interesting when people can play their cards. The game is a lot less interesting when any deck that wants to play heavy-white and heavy-red, or wants to play white red and black, has to go base-green purely for manafixing. Yet... that's what Tom is describing as the ideal?

Surely, surely, the solution to "Green in my Cube is boring" is to make more interesting green cards, not to cut the good any-colour manafixing?

...I did have other topics I was going to talk about, but I'm getting so emotional about this one that I think I'd better stop here.

Ha, that was one poll question I never expected.


I chose red because between the burn and haste I can't be as liberal with my life total for fear of a sudden blowout. This is especially true when playing against my sister's Kiln Fiend/Chandra's Spitfire deck where I start getting nervous after dipping below 15 life. Playing against red makes me think about blocking a lot differently than other colors.

L1 Judge

From the article: " I don't decide whether Lurking Crocodile is a Crocodile or a Hippopotamus, for example, but I usually don't care much."

Further proof that PT-caliber designers completely ignore what is important to multiplayer and casual Magic. Hint: tribal elements matter.

Regarding the poll: My favorite games of Magic ever were mirror matches between Justin Gary's oath deck. Since it's a multicolored deck, I couldn't vote. (I used to play seriously but got over it.)
You... don't like signets and bounce lands? You seriously think that the game is better when people don't have manafixing? :..-( If that means we're not going to see common manafixers that good ever again while you're in development, then... that's really sad... and for the first time I find myself looking forward to the end of your time in dev I really hope I'm misunderstanding you here, Tom. The Ravnica bouncelands are the best thing to ever happen to my casual decks. I have over 100 decks (around 110 last count) and it's utterly ludicrous to imagine I could get enough rare or even uncommon dual or triple lands to power them. The Ravblock bouncelands I could and did buy in bulk, 20 of each of the 10, and occasionally top up those where all of them end up in decks. Good budget manafixers let people play their cards. The game is a heck of a lot more interesting when people can play their cards. The game is a lot less interesting when any deck that wants to play heavy-white and heavy-red, or wants to play white red and black, has to go base-green purely for manafixing. Yet... that's what Tom is describing as the ideal? Surely, surely, the solution to "Green in my Cube is boring" is to make more interesting green cards, not to cut the good any-colour manafixing? ...I did have other topics I was going to talk about, but I'm getting so emotional about this one that I think I'd better stop here.



I think you are severely misunderstanding him here.  I believe when he is talking about not likeing having that much manafixing, what he is referring to is the cube format specifically. 

Since there are so many powerful cards throughout the history of magic, having access to whatever color you want potentially homogenizes all of the decks, and makes green's mana fixing/accelerating (some of its best cards) trivial. 

He is not talking about designing future sets with that comment.  He is making a recommendation to other players that have built cube drafts.  Apparently, he enjoys his cube when fixing colors is harder, which makes sense.  Unless he says so specifically, I seriously doubt that he was speaking as a developer of future sets when making these comments
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Susan Summerson also appeared in the Innistrad Mafia Game http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28609371/Innistrad_Mafia?pg=1 Writer of Nally Bear from The Gathering Flavorful Voting Game: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/28846821/The_Gathering:_M12_flavorful_voting_game?pg=1 Writer of Phyrex the Myr from Phyrexia Reborn: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/27993097/Phyrexia_Reborn:_A_Flavorful_Voting_Game?pg=1 Writer of Tinker the Myr from Legacy of Karn: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/26647005/Karns_Legacy_(A_flavorful_voting_game) Writer of Crusader Tolkana, who has appeared in: Eldrazi Awaken: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/24071149/Eldrazi_Awaken:_A_flavorful_voting_game?pg=1 Colors of Magic: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/25352501/Colors_of_Magic:_a_flavor_game?pg=1 Guildwars III: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/26082093/Guildwars_III:_Shattered_Pact_(A_flavorful_voting_game)?pg=1 Writer of Isaic from Treasures of Zendikar http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/22819881/Treasures_of_Zendikar?post_id=402182877#402182877
Re: the Modern banlist, he's probably waiting for a Modern Wekk that I bet is coming in not too long. I'm sure he's also waiting for a major Modern tournament, to see if they were right about it in the first place or not.

 Re: the Dragon Emperor, I desperately want to see a dragon wearing a crown somewhere in Magic canon. Give Bolas a crown!
You... don't like signets and bounce lands? You seriously think that the game is better when people don't have manafixing? :..-( If that means we're not going to see common manafixers that good ever again while you're in development, then... that's really sad... and for the first time I find myself looking forward to the end of your time in dev I really hope I'm misunderstanding you here, Tom. The Ravnica bouncelands are the best thing to ever happen to my casual decks. I have over 100 decks (around 110 last count) and it's utterly ludicrous to imagine I could get enough rare or even uncommon dual or triple lands to power them. The Ravblock bouncelands I could and did buy in bulk, 20 of each of the 10, and occasionally top up those where all of them end up in decks. Good budget manafixers let people play their cards. The game is a heck of a lot more interesting when people can play their cards. The game is a lot less interesting when any deck that wants to play heavy-white and heavy-red, or wants to play white red and black, has to go base-green purely for manafixing. Yet... that's what Tom is describing as the ideal? Surely, surely, the solution to "Green in my Cube is boring" is to make more interesting green cards, not to cut the good any-colour manafixing? ...I did have other topics I was going to talk about, but I'm getting so emotional about this one that I think I'd better stop here.



I sincerely hope isaic16's point is correct about Tom referring to cube only, otherwise it's one of the most disturbing things I've read in a development column in ages. 

It's bad enough that WOTC consistently prints the best mana-fixing at rare, but to totally shutdown common mana-fixing is just absurd. Now I'm really starting to get concerned about Terramorphic Expanse's absence from M12.

 Like alextfish said, if you're worried about everything become like green, then you need to make green standout better. Otherwise, players like mana-fixing because it allows them to play their cards they bought, and printing them at common means *everybody* gets to do so, not just the monied folks. 






As for the Modern banlist, it's better to start out with too many cards on the list and then allow them in one at a time then to have the format go to hell in a handbasket as soon as it launches.

Far worse is announcing the change to that tournament only 3 weeks from now.  (Although I've heard stories of the very first tournaments where the format wasn't even announced until you got there...).  
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
It's bad enough that WOTC consistently prints the best mana-fixing at rare, but to totally shutdown common mana-fixing is just absurd. Now I'm really starting to get concerned about Terramorphic Expanse's absence from M12.

 Like alextfish said, if you're worried about everything become like green, then you need to make green standout better. Otherwise, players like mana-fixing because it allows them to play their cards they bought, and printing them at common means *everybody* gets to do so, not just the monied folks.


This covers the two things I'd most like to see changed in Magic quite nicely. Maybe not common manafixing, but definitely consider uncommon duals, please. In the past they were put at rare to sell sets; these days, that job is left up to the next big semi-overpowered Mythic, so why must the duals remain at rare? They're a very unexciting card to open as your single rare, every single player benefits from access to them, and it makes the game run more smoothly to have more copies of them around. I seriously hope we get an article someday (in whichever column is best suited for it) explaining why they're still sticking to their guns on this. Even if it's just to drive sales, I'd like to at least see that admitted in print. Maybe Mythics alone aren't doing enough for them.

And Green... poor Green. They're the creature color, yet their creatures are second-class citizens (having no access to evasion will do that to you). They get mana ramp, but since all they can ramp up to is inferior fatties that makes them more a complementary color than a prime deckbuilding candidate (Take Primeval Titan for example. He's at his best when paired with a "red" card, Valakut). They can't remove creatures (I'm fine with them not getting creature removal spells, but please give them something like Provoke at least). Worst of all, they can't Fly. Wizards created a strictly-worse mechanic (the spider mechanic, which then became reach) just to prevent Green from flying. Which leaves the "best creatures" color without any access to the best creature mechanic. It's a travesty.

That said, they do seem to be trying. They've given Green access to card draw (though, again, when they're only drawing inferior stuff it's not going to fix the fundamental problem, just like mana ramp doesn't). Having colorless fatties that cost as much as Karn or the Eldrazi gives Green something nice to ramp to. Still, I'd love to see Green able to get some better utility creatures (Skinshifter is a step in the right direction) and especially evasion. Please?
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
This covers the two things I'd most like to see changed in Magic quite nicely. Maybe not common manafixing, but definitely consider uncommon duals, please. In the past they were put at rare to sell sets; these days, that job is left up to the next big semi-overpowered Mythic, so why must the duals remain at rare? They're a very unexciting card to open as your single rare, every single player benefits from access to them, and it makes the game run more smoothly to have more copies of them around. I seriously hope we get an article someday (in whichever column is best suited for it) explaining why they're still sticking to their guns on this. Even if it's just to drive sales, I'd like to at least see that admitted in print. Maybe Mythics alone aren't doing enough for them.

And Green... poor Green. They're the creature color, yet their creatures are second-class citizens (having no access to evasion will do that to you). They get mana ramp, but since all they can ramp up to is inferior fatties that makes them more a complementary color than a prime deckbuilding candidate (Take Primeval Titan for example. He's at his best when paired with a "red" card, Valakut). They can't remove creatures (I'm fine with them not getting creature removal spells, but please give them something like Provoke at least). Worst of all, they can't Fly. Wizards created a strictly-worse mechanic (the spider mechanic, which then became reach) just to prevent Green from flying. Which leaves the "best creatures" color without any access to the best creature mechanic. It's a travesty.

That said, they do seem to be trying. They've given Green access to card draw (though, again, when they're only drawing inferior stuff it's not going to fix the fundamental problem, just like mana ramp doesn't). Having colorless fatties that cost as much as Karn or the Eldrazi gives Green something nice to ramp to. Still, I'd love to see Green able to get some better utility creatures (Skinshifter is a step in the right direction) and especially evasion. Please?


I think that there are three possible ways to fix this.

First, green doesn't have to be defined by a lack of flying.  Why are birds blue rather than green?  There's nothing that makes them any more philosophically blue than any other animal, and there are plenty of birds that live in forests.  Even if flying isn't in green's slice of the color pie, why does red get a free pass for Dragons, but green rarely gets anything that flies even when the flavor fits?

Second, it's still possible to design strong fatties without flying.  For example, a huge creature with trample and shroud/hexproof would be pretty good, and it would fit into green without having to redefine the color pie.  So what color has a creature like that?  Oh yeah, blue.  If I want burn outside of red, I have to settle for a much less efficient spell.  If I want a counterspell outside of blue, I'm pretty much screwed (ignoring some older cards).  Yet not only are colors other than green not penalized for having fatties, but they often get a substantial discount because OMG IT'S AN ANGEL/DRAGON/DEMON/BLUE CREATURE TYPE DU JOUR WHICH ENDS UP BEING BROKEN BECAUSE WE ALWAYS MAKE BLUE STUFF BETTER THAN WE INTEND TO.  If R&D made a conscious effort to make green's fatties more powerful and efficient than those of other colors, then green could easily be the "best creature color" without having flying.

Third, R&D could accept the status quo with regards to fatties, which is "all colors get strong fatties", and give green something else to compensate it.


Thanks for printing my letter! I completely agree that a good game of Magic is a narrative arc.

However, coming from the shadowy parallel universe of multiplayer chaos magic, I'm a bit shocked by your answer of "at least 4 turns..." To me thats a bit like saying a good novel is a narrative arc and should have "at least 4 pages". Let me explain:

My playgroup has been together for 16 years, and I would say that our finest games have all lasted at least 40 turns. Why?:

1) Different players and decks dominate at various points, so every deck has a chance to shine and breathe
2) Tension as the pendulum swings till the game reaches a dramatic climax.
3) Wacky johnny cards become viable, and strange play states and card interactions occur
4) Deckbuilding becomes more important than random card draw order.

To me 4 turn games are to me the worst possible outcome. I think this is important (and would love to see the "how many turns" question posed as a public poll), because we are using the same card pool in our strange parallel chaos universe, so I'd like you to make sure you give a thought to what the mysterious chaos demographic is looking for when you are developing (have no idea what proportion of the wizards revenue we make up, but my group have been steadily buying cards over many years).

If you are developing cards for a game that lasts at least 40 turns, then you want the "answer cards" to always slightly out-power the threats, so every game swings like a pendulum for as long as possible. This generally means spells should out-power creatures, which is the opposite of the recent trend. Recent sets have been enjoyable (Eldrazi was predictably our recent favorite Limited environment), but I really dislike seeing creatures with power above their mana cost, because that to me means more 4 turn blowouts when our group Spike gravitates towards these cards and turns them sideways before the game gets going. So if you can engineer a way to make slow environments that still have flashy cards (like Eldrazi), would be much appreciated.

Thanks!

Will and the armies of Chaos
You... don't like signets and bounce lands? You seriously think that the game is better when people don't have manafixing? :..-( If that means we're not going to see common manafixers that good ever again while you're in development, then... that's really sad... and for the first time I find myself looking forward to the end of your time in dev I really hope I'm misunderstanding you here, Tom. The Ravnica bouncelands are the best thing to ever happen to my casual decks. I have over 100 decks (around 110 last count) and it's utterly ludicrous to imagine I could get enough rare or even uncommon dual or triple lands to power them. The Ravblock bouncelands I could and did buy in bulk, 20 of each of the 10, and occasionally top up those where all of them end up in decks. Good budget manafixers let people play their cards. The game is a heck of a lot more interesting when people can play their cards. The game is a lot less interesting when any deck that wants to play heavy-white and heavy-red, or wants to play white red and black, has to go base-green purely for manafixing. Yet... that's what Tom is describing as the ideal? Surely, surely, the solution to "Green in my Cube is boring" is to make more interesting green cards, not to cut the good any-colour manafixing? ...I did have other topics I was going to talk about, but I'm getting so emotional about this one that I think I'd better stop here.



I think you are severely misunderstanding him here.  I believe when he is talking about not likeing having that much manafixing, what he is referring to is the cube format specifically. 

Since there are so many powerful cards throughout the history of magic, having access to whatever color you want potentially homogenizes all of the decks, and makes green's mana fixing/accelerating (some of its best cards) trivial. 

He is not talking about designing future sets with that comment.  He is making a recommendation to other players that have built cube drafts.  Apparently, he enjoys his cube when fixing colors is harder, which makes sense.  Unless he says so specifically, I seriously doubt that he was speaking as a developer of future sets when making these comments


Actually, Tom has previously stated that he thought the Ravnica bouncelands were too powerful and that he didn't like them for draft because it gave non-XY decks a benefit to branch into a XY land. www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.a...

I am of the opposite opinion.  I think bouncelands and colorless mana fixing like signets and myrs are awesome, because they open up options.  Being able to splash extra colors if you sacrifice picks to do so adds more variety to your drafts, not less, because you can come at it in so many different angles and depths of commitment.  Contrast to one of the most horribly boring draft archetypes ever, Invasion Domain, where every draft deck looked the same because only green had the mana fixing.  THAT is homogeneity.



Thanks for printing my letter! I completely agree that a good game of Magic is a narrative arc.

However, coming from the shadowy parallel universe of multiplayer chaos magic, I'm a bit shocked by your answer of "at least 4 turns..." To me thats a bit like saying a good novel is a narrative arc and should have "at least 4 pages". Let me explain:

My playgroup has been together for 16 years, and I would say that our finest games have all lasted at least 40 turns. Why?:

1) Different players and decks dominate at various points, so every deck has a chance to shine and breathe
2) Tension as the pendulum swings till the game reaches a dramatic climax.
3) Wacky johnny cards become viable, and strange play states and card interactions occur
4) Deckbuilding becomes more important than random card draw order.

To me 4 turn games are to me the worst possible outcome. I think this is important (and would love to see the "how many turns" question posed as a public poll), because we are using the same card pool in our strange parallel chaos universe, so I'd like you to make sure you give a thought to what the mysterious chaos demographic is looking for when you are developing (have no idea what proportion of the wizards revenue we make up, but my group have been steadily buying cards over many years).

If you are developing cards for a game that lasts at least 40 turns, then you want the "answer cards" to always slightly out-power the threats, so every game swings like a pendulum for as long as possible. This generally means spells should out-power creatures, which is the opposite of the recent trend. Recent sets have been enjoyable (Eldrazi was predictably our recent favorite Limited environment), but I really dislike seeing creatures with power above their mana cost, because that to me means more 4 turn blowouts when our group Spike gravitates towards these cards and turns them sideways before the game gets going. So if you can engineer a way to make slow environments that still have flashy cards (like Eldrazi), would be much appreciated.

Thanks!

Will and the armies of Chaos



I totally agree with you, and we'd probably have some epic games if we met. This is what I mean by dev ignoring multiplayer. What gets Tom fired up is drafting against Pt vets, as per this article. Do you know what happens when I draft? I draft against people that draft colors, not archetypes, and some even draft the colors they like regardless of signals. The end result is I either have a broken deck that I am ashamed to play because the people around me are terrible, or I have a terrible deck because I think an archetype is open, but really the terrible people next to me are just drafting colors poorly. There is no joy in the limited format WOTC is literally making for me, and they don't care enough to make the creature type matter on cards that actually matter to multiplayer Magic.

Actually, Tom has previously stated that he thought the Ravnica bouncelands were too powerful and that he didn't like them for draft because it gave non-XY decks a benefit to branch into a XY land. www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.a...

I am of the opposite opinion.  I think bouncelands and colorless mana fixing like signets and myrs are awesome, because they open up options.  Being able to splash extra colors if you sacrifice picks to do so adds more variety to your drafts, not less, because you can come at it in so many different angles and depths of commitment.  Contrast to one of the most horribly boring draft archetypes ever, Invasion Domain, where every draft deck looked the same because only green had the mana fixing.  THAT is homogeneity.


The fact that Limited may prevent them from printing quality, budget-friendly manafixing in the future depresses me more than I can accurately convey with words. Despondent, perhaps?
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On the poll question, I went Black. It's the least predictable yet the most likely to inadvertantly play into my hands, I think, and I enjoy feeling like I outsmarted my opponent (while if I lose, I'd rather it be to something strange that I've never seen before).

Having said that, I'm kind of hoping Blue ends up somewhere other than dead last, or at least isn't completely blown out. Some of the most interesting matches I've seen have been blue on blue, or at least blue-heavy control on blue-heavy control, mirror matches. But I must admit they're an acquired taste.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011

Actually, Tom has previously stated that he thought the Ravnica bouncelands were too powerful and that he didn't like them for draft because it gave non-XY decks a benefit to branch into a XY land. www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.a...

I am of the opposite opinion.  I think bouncelands and colorless mana fixing like signets and myrs are awesome, because they open up options.  Being able to splash extra colors if you sacrifice picks to do so adds more variety to your drafts, not less, because you can come at it in so many different angles and depths of commitment.  Contrast to one of the most horribly boring draft archetypes ever, Invasion Domain, where every draft deck looked the same because only green had the mana fixing.  THAT is homogeneity.


The fact that Limited may prevent them from printing quality, budget-friendly manafixing in the future depresses me more than I can accurately convey with words. Despondent, perhaps?


I'm pretty sure from other things I've read on this site that Tom is in the minority on this topic, within R&D. (Thank heavens.)
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
Don't sell me on the set's hot mythic rare, dammit; sell me on the whole set.  Make me think every single card in every booster pack is worth the $0.25 it costs me, and I'll buy the set once in a while; convince me that nothing but the chase cards are any good, and I'll regard the booster packs as overpriced lottery tickets and won't waste my money on them.  (Things aren't quite to that point yet, but that's mostly because of Creative, and I really wish R&D would follow their example and show every single card some love.)

One of the best comments I've ever read. I can only agree.

I believe mythic rares fit best in WotC's concept. While they dominate standard tournaments, their unlikelyness doesn't ruin Limited... and these two formats are their main focus.

Limited = selling boosters, not singulars (so you buy the crap cards too)
Mythic = good for contributors, as these cards promise a certain income on a per-ten-displays basis

I believe WotC fears that when each common card matters, players would trade cards from a few boosters completing their decks and therefore reducing their profit. However speaking for myself, I would spend my money on a hobby nonetheless - as long as it keeps me interested - making more decks or trying different things. So the Magic selling strategy however has withered my interest and convinced me to spend my money in other games instead.

Like alextfish said, if you're worried about everything become like green, then you need to make green standout better.

The statement that green would suck in cube if he would allow Signets or mana-fixing lands shows that R&D doesn't give a damn about color identity or balanced cards at all. Playing green just because it has mana-fixing is the WORST statement for a color I could think of.

What would happen, if green would lose it's monopoly on mana-fixing and acceleration and rather have creatures like Akroma, Angel of Wrath or Baneslayer Angel (replacing flying with trample or regenerate)? THAT would make green the creature color, centered around combat. First Strike makes perfect sense in green, as well as lifelink, but still R&D prefers to make green "stupid" by printing vanilla 9/9 instead.


  1. Give green archery and more guidance effects and it would require fewer spiders with reach (better in black) and fewer Giant Growth effects (counter & creature-based +X+X effect fit better).

  2. A green Squadron Hawk like in the old days would grant green a creature-based card advantage, even against sacrifice effects and works well with grave-to-lib effects. (my vote for a green Footbottom Feast)

  3. More Arrest cards against Royal Assassin.

  4. More once-per-turn effects (f.e. Endless Horizons or Kataki, War's Wage) and even sacrifice trigger, symbolizing a natural creeping virus, bacteria or swarm of smaller creatures.

  5. Better access to grave-to-hand effects (black should rather have more grave-to-play effects). The best option to symbol "never killed completely". Returned creatures also have a different "ID", so it's similar to a green Foster. In my opinion, more flavorful than instantaneous revival.

  6. More "let your opponents pay" effects like Knight of the Holy Nimbus. Better than regeneration, since you don't slow your gameplay down due to untapped mana. A Go for the Throat isn't a problem until your opponent is able/willing to pay 4 mana. Wrath effects don't destroy all your creatures, as it's impossible to pay + when you control 4 Knight-like creatures. So just replace the Cudgel Troll or print a cmc4 Asceticism as a test.

As a result, you would have a flavorful & powerful green, without any need to be the mana-fixing color.

On the whole I feel more like I don't care about my opponents colors and more about the style of play their deck has.  But as I said before still liked thinking about "what if you really have to pick one prefered opposing color."


Red = "can I stop him early" or "does he drew a good start" & fear of losing against final fire
Blue = play against counterspells. Challenging, it isn't fun. Feels like rolling dices to determine a win.
Black =  as lame as blue (destruction heavy). But black has some cool effects.
White = unfun, if it's Wrath+X, but no cool game-shifting enchantments, but rather boring +X/+X effects.
Green = creature-based means at least you can enjoy combat from time to time. But no enjoyable sorceries/enchantments.

So any color need to be heavily improved. Black creatures suck too much, but black has some cool enchantments/sorceries. Red needs a bit more durable acceleration and more cantrips, blue needs a color identity beside counterspells, white needs more game-shifting enchantments/sorceries and green needs the changes mentioned above.

I voted for green, as this is the only color that isn't able to avoid combat completely, shifting the game into a 20+ denial spell race... and can bypass the weaknesses by adding different colors. Some funny combos are possible (f.e. Elfhame Sanctuary + Spitting Image). Not game-busting, but challenging.
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