09/16/2011 LD: "Werewolves Gone Wild"

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

I feel bad for you Tom L.

You always get to tell us the most controvertial news. Why did you change the rules back? This seems like a very, very bad idea. Different people have different levels of intelligence and perception as well. Are you going to make me wear 3/4 inch thick glasses and listen to loud music in headphones, too? Its not fair for the players that have bad vision or hearing for these rules to be enforced this way. How is this any different that natural dexterity?
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I'm very happy with the draft rule change.  I'm still not sold on double sided drafts in general, but this seems better to me than making "card hiding dexterity" a relevant skill in draft.  It also frees players from needing to consider whether the other players are bad enough to hate draft, or good enough to respect a signal.

It's still going to be weird drafting this way, but it's better than seeing people frantically trying to hide their cards behind other cards.  And it cuts down on opportunities for cheating (both in swapping cards during the "I'm just concealing my double faced card" manuever, and by trying to get a look at a double faced card and "just accidentally" seeing some of that player's other cards as well).
I can't seem to forget that I forgot about the magic celebration last weekend.


While I still feel the DFCs are inelegant, and I'm undecided on the flavor of the werewolf mechanic, I definitely think the mechanic will be fun to play with.  It's exactly the right kind of tug of war between players and I can imagine a multiplayer table where someone calls out "looks like nighttime" and everyone flips over their werewolves.


Also, this draft rule change seems like the best decision to me.  One of my concerns with the DFCs was that it makes for inconsistent or hard-to-enforce rules.  Previously people could be (and were) banned for looking at other players cards, and with DFCs so obvious it risked awkward calls by judges.  Someone could peek at their opponent's cards and say they were just trying to see the DFC, or vice-versa being falsely accused when they just wanted to know the public information.  Insisting that public information be obvious keeps that line clear.

If you're on MTGO check out the Free Events via PDCMagic and Gatherling.

Other games you should try:
DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

Planetside 2 - Free to play MMO-meets-FPS and the first shooter I've liked in ages.
Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

I feel bad for you Tom L.

You always get to tell us the most controvertial news. Why did you change the rules back? This seems like a very, very bad idea. Different people have different levels of intelligence and perception as well. Are you going to make me wear 3/4 inch thick glasses and listen to loud music in headphones, too? Its not fair for the players that have bad vision or hearing for these rules to be enforced this way. How is this any different that natural dexterity?




Oooo. A card that does something that no other card does. *gasp* A 
card that requires *skill* to use, even! What *is* this game coming 
to? Come on, what kind of argument is that? MtG isn't just a card 
game; it never was. We have coin tossing, card trading, deck 
construction strategy, skill at playing the right card at the right 
time, etc. What is wrong with a single card that requires a bit of 
manual dexterity? Your argument hinges around the basic premise that 
manual dexterity has no place in the game. Unless I accept that, which 
I don't, there's no way to convince me that the Chaos Orb is 
"bad". Maybe if people started explaining *why* dexterity has no place 
this discussion will go somewhere. 

No, the argument has been going on that somehow the Chaos Orb is such 
a powerful and to-be-feared card because of how it works. I've seen 
many people do some really strange things to try to counter the Orb, 
from stacking their cards to spreading them over half the table. 
Quite frankly, I think such people are being way too paranoid. The Orb 
is a neat card, introducing a little extra spice into the game. It 
should neither be feared nor banned just because one needs a little 
dexterity to use it. If you can't or won't develop that dexterity 
yourself, then don't use the card. Just don't tell me I can't use it 
either. 

- Chaosmage 


groups.google.com/group/rec.games.deckma...



1337 votes? That's leet.
Happy with the new draft rules.

Also I think TL's description of why flip cards were bad really nailed it for me. They are just too confusing, pure and simple.

The explanation of the day/night mechanic was sound too. If you look at the art for the other transformers, the time of day doesn't actually change, its just the werewolves that are important.

Having all the werewolves on the battlefield (including your opponents) transforming back and forth at the same time is the major flavour and fun point.

I, for one, am going to love casting Moonmist. 
Magic Celebration was tons of fun. While, of course, there was the highlight that it was FREE, I had never done Pack Wars before.  I found it to be a compelling format and another way for me to excell at the only kind of Magic I appear to be good at: Limited.
This rule is still going to create confusion at non-timed drafts.  If a player asks what is the card on top of someone down the table's pick pile do they have an obligation to answer?  At every level besides pro level, this is going to create arguments between people not answering what a card is when it is "Public information while the DFC is on the top of the draft pick pile"  Players also fan out draft picks at times which also conceals the card once its after that one pick.  Are judges going to say players have an obligation to answer to what the cards that are DFC that they take?  I agree in the point that good drafters are going to enjoy this and have an eaier time reading signals, but here's a concept...NOT EVERYONE IS A GOOD DRAFTER!  At the LGS level, beyond anything, this is going to cause more fights than anything that we have seen before in communities.  Are we going to make every draft a timed draft?  These are just some of the possible scenarios that I come up with at least. 

On to the nice part.  Double faced cards as a mechanic are amazing and really connect to the "Two different modes" feel of "Transforming."  Quite a few players at my LGS identify as Vorthos and love this mechanic.  I play with flip cards and what we've done is actually have a marker on the card to identify if it's "Flipped" or not, this especially helps out with large EDH games when there are multiple flip cards in the enviornment.  The card on the cards are amazing and each werewolf and transforming flip each has a great feel to it.  Keep it up...just don't print another JTMS and make standard a one deck format again...
I am willing to "give the cards a shot," but it won't be on paper. I have the glarign problem of dealing with them online. Meaning, the game system will likely pretend these cards have "backs" just like the other cards in the game. Moreover, the system doesn't reveal backs to my opponents when playing Limited, so I breeze through this part of playing Limited easily. Sucks to be a paper player, I guess. They must now deal with what was normally accepted practice to permit players to manupilate their piles while drafting, and must now be force to broadcast this information, which seems like a detriment to drafting Innistrad. Why such a change? "Worrying about manual dexterity" is not the issue: you're punishing new players for learning to draft on this set. Shame on you.

Of course, my real response is technical and art related.

A response, though, is warrented on how you guys justify this (MaRo has also used LaPille's points to dismiss the value of flip cards):

1. "Tiny" Art Box.
While Kamigawa had "upside down" left sides of all flip cards, some artists did this extremely well, and players took as a cue that turning it upside down showed you the other side of the box. The art box was actually a little smaller than in normal cards, but it created a more "letterbox" frame for the art, emphasizing left and right. Turning these cards around allows the sides of the box to demonstrate the image. This was no challenge to the players or card developers, just to the artists. As an artist, I can say that such challenges as this would appear to be useful to develop ways to display information. I cannot certainly see you guys use this to try to redefine split cards, but I can only imagine you suddenly thinking "Two spells, one card! One spell per card side! You choose the spell!"

This is a cheesy excuse, and valueless, in my opinion, as a reason to choose the obverse face for information.

2. Limited Room for Rules Text -- No Room for Flavor Text.
Admittedly, this is true. The alternative is with something dumb like Greater Morphling or its more recent now-banned copycat Jace, the Mind Sculptor. You guys have no problems changing things to make room for text boxes. You just didn't want to in regards to the flip cards because you wanted two- to three-line flip conditions (some triggered, some not) and extra abilities.

Simply having special rules with keywords (as possible with the Werewolf transform scheme, but unemployed) solves this problem. Flipping, in fact, could have involved more keyworded abilities than others in order to solve this difficulty. It would have solved the issue with "transform" cards, especially since several of them have no "re-transform" conditions, or limited amounts of rules on them to begin with. Have you seen them so far? I'm sure you have. The number of cards with more than one ability per side revealed so far are low, most werewolves have the transform conditions and a keyword, or are a lord-effect, and thus have "two" abilities, one of which can simply be keyworded (Aggressor 3: Attacking creatures you control get +3/+0 until end of turn, etc.)

3. Which is "Up" When Tapped.
Ordinarily, when I was playing with these, I'd make a note of how my opponent taps his permanents: all of mine tap to the left, and most players I know tap to the right. This was even handled on a poll on this site where (I forget whom) aksed the question of how they tapped their permanents: most people are fairly consistent in going around 45 degrees to the right.

When you see this, you can also pay attention to the game and note where a player would have flipped his card. If you're not paying attention, such as getting up and getting a drink and finding something different, you can ask your opponent "what the heck happened?" Reasonably, no player should be unaware of the board state and changing conditions, EVER. Newer players are excused for being learners, and my understanding is that noting changes can be done easily by the use of counters.

This isn't a problem of the cards, it's a communication problem, although I admit it is also the worst thing about flippers. There are plenty of solutions, however, including the hideously ugly "level up" cards, that do not require two faces to "solve." Some of your cards, such as those that don't transform back, might as well be level up, or have "[CARDNAME] becomes [thing]" instead of transforming.

4. "Hard" to Show Transformation.
Your post MASTERFULLY demonstrates the reason the art choice issue will actually be a hinderance, although you do so seemingly without realizing it. Previously, artists have had to descend to the surreal to show "before and after" on cards, testing their skills to demonstrate the aspects of a transformation. Greater Werewolf showed this creepily by "capturing" the transformation moment. Other cards have done this. When Magic tackled "time," they did this with "fields of time" holding frozen objects (my favorite being Shivan Meteor, although Ith, High Arcanist is no slouch) where the slow "unfreezing" is indicated by "temporal energies." But even better were the split second cards, where perhaps best you had Krosan Grip capturing the same object, in the process of its destruction.

You guys can capture time before than you have now. Instead, you opted for a technical problem as a "solution." In this I mean you have to turn the card over to see the "next" or "previous" moment. When you depicted Kruin Outlaw, however, you did so by throwing the art together (side by side, Kamigawa-style) with its transformed condition. What does that say to you? If I were to tell you I had a "before and after" series, but I painted them on each side of a two-sided frame, and you wanted to compare the intricate detail of how I had perfectly transposed the background elements to show something mere minutes later, how would it be easiest for you to compare them? Flip it around, back and forth? Or side by side? Your own showcase of Kruin Outlaw proves that in the moment, these works are even painted side by side, presented side by side, compared and prepared side by side. You created an unnecessary technical issue as a supposed "fix" to a "problem," one in which you guys had solved long ago with brilliant artists like Gabor & Szikszai.

I think, honestly, you guys are inventing problems with the flippers to justify "the new crank," so it's not really your fault. I'd like to say it's R&D in general, or MtG management, or WotC, or Hasbro, but since you guys don't actually describe the full discussions and reasoning for your decisions, it's rather hard to do other than "agree or disagree". And that means we can't really have an honest conversation, and that is the real failure here.

"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
I just like it when Development noticed the same problems with the card as I did... but am disappointed they focused on the wrong thing.

Eh... I've said enough about it though. I can tell all in D&D worked hard. The Werewolf tribe mechanic just feels lackluster, kinda like how metalcraft turned out.
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I can't seem to forget that I forgot about the magic celebration last weekend.





My TO did an Iron Man tournament, so I didn't even want to go even though I remembered it. To bad I couldn't have given my memory to you. =P
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I do approve of this rules change.

It is important to me that there are clear rules for how to handle those things rather than the "lolz just do whatever you want" that were the initial draft rules.

Of course this still has some issues. Like, having to look all over the table all the time. Especially in drafts where people do not wait for everyone to make their picks before making the next pick, things will get pretty confusing. Cards showing in the 15-card pile that is being passed around are another issue.
But I do think that this solves some core issues of DFCs.


Most importantly, I hope that those rules will be well distributed among players, so there won't be any confusion in early drafts as to what people are or aren't allowed to do.
For this purpose, I think it's important to
a) make a few more announcements on the website before the prerelease.
b) inform judges and shop owners..
c) also enforce this rule on MTGO. If DFCs that have been picked are revealed on MTGO after each round, people will quickly understand that this is also the way they're supposed to play paper magic.
my new deck: Bears with Weapons
While the Werewolf mechanic in itself is not particularly interesting, it does lead to some good game play and because it's carried by an awesome tribe, I think it will work out.
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Instead of cards like this, we made our common Werewolves look less like that and more like this...

Hurrah! Thankyou! I'm really looking forward to this set's Limited and decisions like this make a huge difference.

(Now back to everyone else flaming you for double-faced cards. Wink)
I expect the Werewolf mechanic to lead to a lot of tense and fun gameplay moments. I'm looking forward to playing with and against it.

Although this Reckless Waif seems like a pretty terrifyingly aggressive card. I guess it switched places with Village Ironsmith, and before that all the common werewolves were vanilla?

But although I'm looking forward to playing with and against werewolves, I still think the double-faced mechanic is a bad idea. The logistics and dexterity arguments form a glaring wart on the potentially fun transformation mechanic. I think Wizards should have made their distributors find a way to make the token approach (single-faced sorcery that summons the token, corresponding double-faced token in the same booster) work, because that avoids all the problems.

(Well, except the "can't see the art side-by-side" problem that was pointed out on this thread.) 

Since the cards have been printed as they are, I'll play with them as they are. (I might print out some two-sides-adjacent split-card-style proxies to go in card sleeves just so I can actually see all the relevant information when the card's in my hand.) But I still think DFCs were a very bad idea and hope Wizards don't revisit it.

First, I was the one who first floated the idea of double-faced cards to Mark. I was on the Duel Masters design team that created that game's first double-faced cards—now known to the world as psychic creatures—so when Mark started talking about mechanics that could communicate transformation, I suggested that we investigate doing the same thing.



From what I've heard from it, DM's DFCs are not regular cards you shuffle in your deck, but act more like wishboards.
No talk about why you abandoned this?


I'm glad that the new rules chances will make cheating less of a problem again =)
I am willing to "give the cards a shot," but it won't be on paper. I have the glarign problem of dealing with them online. Meaning, the game system will likely pretend these cards have "backs" just like the other cards in the game. Moreover, the system doesn't reveal backs to my opponents when playing Limited, so I breeze through this part of playing Limited easily. Sucks to be a paper player, I guess. They must now deal with what was normally accepted practice to permit players to manupilate their piles while drafting, and must now be force to broadcast this information, which seems like a detriment to drafting Innistrad. Why such a change? "Worrying about manual dexterity" is not the issue: you're punishing new players for learning to draft on this set. Shame on you.

Of course, my real response is technical and art related.

A response, though, is warrented on how you guys justify this (MaRo has also used LaPille's points to dismiss the value of flip cards):

1. "Tiny" Art Box.
While Kamigawa had "upside down" left sides of all flip cards, some artists did this extremely well, and players took as a cue that turning it upside down showed you the other side of the box. The art box was actually a little smaller than in normal cards, but it created a more "letterbox" frame for the art, emphasizing left and right. Turning these cards around allows the sides of the box to demonstrate the image. This was no challenge to the players or card developers, just to the artists. As an artist, I can say that such challenges as this would appear to be useful to develop ways to display information. I cannot certainly see you guys use this to try to redefine split cards, but I can only imagine you suddenly thinking "Two spells, one card! One spell per card side! You choose the spell!"

This is a cheesy excuse, and valueless, in my opinion, as a reason to choose the obverse face for information.

2. Limited Room for Rules Text -- No Room for Flavor Text.
Admittedly, this is true. The alternative is with something dumb like Greater Morphling or its more recent now-banned copycat Jace, the Mind Sculptor. You guys have no problems changing things to make room for text boxes. You just didn't want to in regards to the flip cards because you wanted two- to three-line flip conditions (some triggered, some not) and extra abilities.

Simply having special rules with keywords (as possible with the Werewolf transform scheme, but unemployed) solves this problem. Flipping, in fact, could have involved more keyworded abilities than others in order to solve this difficulty. It would have solved the issue with "transform" cards, especially since several of them have no "re-transform" conditions, or limited amounts of rules on them to begin with. Have you seen them so far? I'm sure you have. The number of cards with more than one ability per side revealed so far are low, most werewolves have the transform conditions and a keyword, or are a lord-effect, and thus have "two" abilities, one of which can simply be keyworded (Aggressor 3: Attacking creatures you control get +3/+0 until end of turn, etc.)

3. Which is "Up" When Tapped.
Ordinarily, when I was playing with these, I'd make a note of how my opponent taps his permanents: all of mine tap to the left, and most players I know tap to the right. This was even handled on a poll on this site where (I forget whom) aksed the question of how they tapped their permanents: most people are fairly consistent in going around 45 degrees to the right.

When you see this, you can also pay attention to the game and note where a player would have flipped his card. If you're not paying attention, such as getting up and getting a drink and finding something different, you can ask your opponent "what the heck happened?" Reasonably, no player should be unaware of the board state and changing conditions, EVER. Newer players are excused for being learners, and my understanding is that noting changes can be done easily by the use of counters.

This isn't a problem of the cards, it's a communication problem, although I admit it is also the worst thing about flippers. There are plenty of solutions, however, including the hideously ugly "level up" cards, that do not require two faces to "solve." Some of your cards, such as those that don't transform back, might as well be level up, or have "[CARDNAME] becomes [thing]" instead of transforming.

4. "Hard" to Show Transformation.
Your post MASTERFULLY demonstrates the reason the art choice issue will actually be a hinderance, although you do so seemingly without realizing it. Previously, artists have had to descend to the surreal to show "before and after" on cards, testing their skills to demonstrate the aspects of a transformation. Greater Werewolf showed this creepily by "capturing" the transformation moment. Other cards have done this. When Magic tackled "time," they did this with "fields of time" holding frozen objects (my favorite being Shivan Meteor, although Ith, High Arcanist is no slouch) where the slow "unfreezing" is indicated by "temporal energies." But even better were the split second cards, where perhaps best you had Krosan Grip capturing the same object, in the process of its destruction.

You guys can capture time before than you have now. Instead, you opted for a technical problem as a "solution." In this I mean you have to turn the card over to see the "next" or "previous" moment. When you depicted Kruin Outlaw, however, you did so by throwing the art together (side by side, Kamigawa-style) with its transformed condition. What does that say to you? If I were to tell you I had a "before and after" series, but I painted them on each side of a two-sided frame, and you wanted to compare the intricate detail of how I had perfectly transposed the background elements to show something mere minutes later, how would it be easiest for you to compare them? Flip it around, back and forth? Or side by side? Your own showcase of Kruin Outlaw proves that in the moment, these works are even painted side by side, presented side by side, compared and prepared side by side. You created an unnecessary technical issue as a supposed "fix" to a "problem," one in which you guys had solved long ago with brilliant artists like Gabor & Szikszai.

I think, honestly, you guys are inventing problems with the flippers to justify "the new crank," so it's not really your fault. I'd like to say it's R&D in general, or MtG management, or WotC, or Hasbro, but since you guys don't actually describe the full discussions and reasoning for your decisions, it's rather hard to do other than "agree or disagree". And that means we can't really have an honest conversation, and that is the real failure here.


You're actually my hero. I came here to write exactly those words.

I also feel really bad for Tom L.

And let me say another thing: The rules change about draft is so incredibly pointless and bad, that once I grab my 3rd-4th Liliana 2.0 and a couple of other cards I'm gonna need, I'm never gonna draft with Innistrad boosters again. Letting my opponents know my cards? Is this your idea of fun? Not for me, Tom L. And no, this is not a taboo break, this is ruining the fun concept of a really flavourful block.


And let me say another thing: The rules change about draft is so incredibly pointless and bad, that once I grab my 3rd-4th Liliana 2.0 and a couple of other cards I'm gonna need, I'm never gonna draft with Innistrad boosters again. Letting my opponents know my cards? Is this your idea of fun? Not for me, Tom L. And no, this is not a taboo break, this is ruining the fun concept of a really flavourful block.



The only cards your opponent will know are the DFCs.  If you don't want other people to know what you are playing, then don't draft DFCs.  As 12 of the 20 DFCs are Werewolves that shouldn't really be an issue.  The only real concern is showing the vampires, Ludevic's Test Subject, or Garruk.

However, consider the fact that you will know more about what your opponents are playing as well.  You will especially know who is the Werewolf drafter.  And your opponents will also need to be concerned about what other opponents are playing as well, so they can't really draft solely against you.
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I only just realized that Latest Developments is a column about development. I thought it was just a column about... latest developments?
"We found the card was creating a lot of negative experiences in limited, so we increased the rarity instead of changing the card".  Really, that's a cop out.  I'm saddened by how far apart the experience of limited and constructed are.  And the situation is still going to come up, it will just do so less often now.
Does it never occur to you that the "limited experience" is more or less what the average noob has for constructed?  And when constructed decks completely dominate them because they're playing cards of higher rarities, it leads to the obvious conclusion that, in order to win, one only needs to spend more money (i.e. this isn't a contest of skill, but of wealth).  That kind of logic is what drives people away from the game.  You guys seem to have forgotten what "fun" really is.

As for the rule on drafting DFC, I think there is no way to make it work "well", especially for limited.  I think the logistical problems of DFC will not be worth the trouble, however fun they look like they'll be.
I found infect to be extremely boring and played only a handful of Scars block limited. I am finding werewolves to be even more boring without even playing them. I find it funny that you have a rules change for manual dexterity reasons, but playing with werewolves is going to be a hastle. I was really looking forward to this set. Flavor looked great, and I could play limited again. Then I saw what you came up with for it. I doubt I'll play any limited with this stuff. The prerelease card sucks so there's no draw to even try that out. Why a tribal rare...instead of a tribal mythic that made me skip M12 too? Drafted none of that one either. You are really really good at making sets I don't want to draft.
I'm really on the fence about the mechanics of the double-faced cards.  The art, however...

I fear the amount of money that I will end up spending in this set. 

If you don't want other people to know what you are playing, then don't draft DFCs.  As 12 of the 20 DFCs are Werewolves that shouldn't really be an issue.  The only real concern is showing the vampires, Ludevic's Test Subject, or Garruk.



It is quite likely that several of the 'Wolves will be powerful enough on their own. If an opponent does nothing on his/her turn 1 (drop land, pass), your turn two with LaPille's preview card will be a turn 2 3/2 swing, and you'll have two mana up: This is akin to Rogue Elephant territory, and is powerful. This card is pushed, not because it's a Werewolf, but because it's powerful as a beater. You draft it in beats, and you try to keep them from your opponent.

Aside from the apparent impression that the 'Wolves are gamey, but not the vamps, perhaps because you can "control" the transformation, it should be noted that this continues to step around the issue that drafting now forces sleeves except for those shlubs that in one day will be forced to allow their opponents to start drafting anti-DFC cards, instead of using the inherent skills in drafting about following the color-choices being passed and what you're intentionally passing. Drafters are having to take a loss here, and no skill is involved, in order to qualify the cards' existence. As I said, this is a shame. More so when you consider the issue of sleeves.

In a way, as I said in MaRo's first article on this, the only time the amount of information you give to receiving from your opponents in Limited with DFCs is in Rochester.

Incidentally, Dragon_Bloodthirsty, they are not ignoring what fun is. They are trying to redefine fun for a subset. They are also, as MaRo recognized his him mailbag post, more concerned with making money than in us having fun. In this way, it is more about "wealth" than "fun" for both the suppliers and the demanders. This is why functionally powerful and nearly 4-of required cards have appeared at mythic of late, to force them to be acquired by buying more packs. Allowing the casual Joe to have access to planeswalkers by making them rares and making those PWs mandatory to playing the COLOR by making them so over-the-top powerful is a mistake on a fundamental level but only when WotC started losing money; Mike Flores championed retaining the cards because it was making pros lots and lots of money, and WotC realized -- although not seemingly deeply enough -- that it is the casual player that gets them most of their money.

(We really should go back to the Alara-Block type of Mythic, although that won't make WotC nearly as much money.)
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
"...and you should play with it before you make a decision."

Sage advice for all.

To the pro-KAM flipper contingent: Flip cards don't flip back. I can't imagine trying to track multiple flip cards going back and forth. As for the art aesthetic, I don't see how any commercial artist can defend KAM flip art.

I don't see transform as being any more complex than casting Sprout. Heck, there's only one card to find per checklist compared to Rhys EDH (which is no problem to play either). 

Great article, Tom. Can't wait to play this set! 
I'm really on the fence about the mechanics of the double-faced cards.  The art, however...

I fear the amount of money that I will end up spending in this set. 



QFT.  I want a wallpaper-sized version of Reckless Waif's art!
There was a Magic celebration?  Odd that I don't recall reading anything about it on the official Magic website.  (And I thought I posted this already.)
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

I found the link to the Magic Celebration events by accident while searching for ways to consolidate my prior DCI numbers.  It said it would be a free event that used the pack wars format, but when I checked my local stores, none of them were adhering to that, instead playing straight constructed events (and only one of the stores was doing it for free). 

As for werewolves, I like the trigger mechanic.  It's interesting design space.  After seeing this preview card, I'm amazed you didn't give it to Mike Flores to write about, because it's some hot stuff.  Well, aside from having to limit yourself to only one spell per turn. 

MtG isn't just a card 


game; it never was. We have coin tossing, card trading, deck 
construction strategy, skill at playing the right card at the right 
time, etc. What is wrong with a single card that requires a bit of 
manual dexterity? Your argument hinges around the basic premise that 
manual dexterity has no place in the game. Unless I accept that, which 
I don't, there's no way to convince me that the Chaos Orb is 
"bad". Maybe if people started explaining *why* dexterity has no place 
this discussion will go somewhere.




There is a fundamental difference between what you've mentioned here and what is required by manual dexterity cards. The former only concern matters of how cards interact with each other by game mechanics, while the latter add an additional element: how the cards interact with the physical environment.

While it doesn't really require a ton of manual dexterity to flop a Chaos Orb over onto the battlefield, I don't think that's the heart of the issue. The problem is that it requires an extraneous amount of actions outside of the normal game mechanics: measure the height off the table (do you have a ruler?); rearrange your field to dodge the Orb; turn off the fan / shut the window, lest the breeze thwart you. That has the potential to be time consuming, and all for what gain? A fancy Vindicate or Lightning Bolt.

Wizards has already set the precedent (which I tend to agree with) that cards that require a lot of physical action tend to get banned from tournament settings. Look at Sensei's Divining Top in Extended. Or Thawing Glaciers and Land Tax. The ideal is to keep as much of the real world out of the game as possible. Having factors outside of the contents of the decks at the table, and decisions made around them, decide a game's outcome is aggravating.

First, I was the one who first floated the idea of double-faced cards to Mark. I was on the Duel Masters design team that created that game's first double-faced cards—now known to the world as psychic creatures—so when Mark started talking about mechanics that could communicate transformation, I suggested that we investigate doing the same thing.



From what I've heard from it, DM's DFCs are not regular cards you shuffle in your deck, but act more like wishboards.
No talk about why you abandoned this?








This is a great point. I came here for another reason, but I'll bang on this for a second. It goes right back to the alternate idea a lot of folks had. Have the base cards be regular cards with normal backs and all, and when they transform, use one of the token cards to indicate the new state. If you're worried about distribution, then increase the frequency of them in boosters or whatever.

How could you take something from another game that works in a completely different way and seriously think it could work in a different game? 

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And my main point, (since you're the one responsible, you get to hear this): You've killed Magic for me.

This is no ragequit. You folks know me, check out my join date. And I've been collecting/playing since Revised/The Dark were getting hard to find. I've lived through a lot of changes. I didn't like all of them. None of them were ever bad enough to make me quit, but I've said for some time now that when Magic finally does die, and all the pundits look back at the history of the game...they'll see all the signs and ask "how did we miss those signs at the time?"

Here's mine: you've irrevocably changed the card back, and that's too far. I have no desire to buy any more cards, and worse, I have no desire to play with the massive amount of cards I've collected over the years. I had actually started a project to reassemble some of the precons I'd collected over the years for easier kitchen table play with the wife. And the boxes are just sitting on my worktable, half done. 

This game is simply going in a different direction than I care for. And I'm finally accepting the fact that this game isn't what I want it to be. The addition of the enemy duals and the utility lands, along with the return of Shimmering Grotto with Innistrad would ordinarily have me squeeling like a schoolgirl for this set. I've long felt the game should do more with its lands, besides just sitting there. I mentioned above the oddity of taking the DFC mechanic from another game, which is especially bothersome when you realize that other game also has a mechanic of turning cards upside down as mana producers, something Magic has desperately needed for years. But this two faced card bit is the final straw. 

And I suppose it's also a bit of shock after getting so worked up over that incredible flavor article from a few weeks back. I had such high hopes for this set, and then the shock of such a poorly implemented mechanic just made something in me snap. 

I have no idea what I'm doing with my card collection. I've seen too many people sell off their collections and then get back into the game and have to rebuy everything at great expense, but I can't see me coming back. And honestly, I've kinda been looking for a good excuse to quit, and you've finally given me one. It will probably sit on my shelves for another year or two, and I will finally sell it off. 

I wish it didn't have to end this way, I suppose I should have seen it coming with Command Tower being unplayable except in certain formats. It should have been the signal that WOTC was pushing one boundary too far. 

And of course I reserve the right to come back if I see fit. 



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
Is...Is that?  Pink hair?!

WIN!!!


Dear Wizards,

I don't remember where I read the idea first, but for the love of pete, print an "Art of Innistrad" Book!!
Make sure it's complete with gloss finish pages on heavy weight paper.

Sincerely,

Flyheight

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From Mark Rosewater's Tumblr: the0uroboros asked: How in the same set can we have a hexproof, unsacrificable(not a word) creature AND a land that makes it uncounterable. How does this lead to interactive play? I believe I’m able to play my creature and you have to deal with it is much more interactive than you counter my creature.

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Post #777

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MaRo: One of the classic R&D stories happened during a Scars of Mirrodin draft. Erik Lauer was sitting to my right (meaning that he passed to me in the first and third packs). At the end of the draft, Erik was upset because I was in his colors (black-green). He said, "Didn't you see the signals? I went into black-green in pack one." I replied, "Didn't you see my signals? I started drafting infect six drafts ago."

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MaRo: I redesigned him while the effect was on the stack.

Flip card supporters: Something being mechnically "the same thing" doesn't mean it's intuitively "the same thing". Flip cards are an aesthetic failure; you can't tell what they are just by looking at them. DFCs fix that. Now, DFCs may turn out to be a logistics failure, but only actually playing with them will determine that.


This is a great point. I came here for another reason, but I'll bang on this for a second. It goes right back to the alternate idea a lot of folks had. Have the base cards be regular cards with normal backs and all, and when they transform, use one of the token cards to indicate the new state. If you're worried about distribution, then increase the frequency of them in boosters or whatever.




You apparently missed the part in MaRo's article a couple weeks back, where he explained that they came out of design as Sorceries that conjured up double-faced tokens, but then they learned that it would be prohibitively expensive to attempt to ensure that 20 tokens ended up in the same pack as the sorceries that needed them.. and they would still have a 10% failure rate. 


Here's mine: you've irrevocably changed the card back, and that's too far.



Except for the part where they give you other cards you can shove in your deck to represent them, if your sleeves aren't opaque enough or are nonexistant..



I wish it didn't have to end this way, I suppose I should have seen it coming with Command Tower being unplayable except in certain formats. It should have been the signal that WOTC was pushing one boundary too far. 




If they don't push boundarys, then the game will simply die of stagnation. Of course not everyone is going to like any one decision, but I would much rather they keep trying stuff than to keep reprinting a bunch of sets that all look the same.
I have been uable to vote in the poll for weeks now using firefox.  Anyone else have this bug?

Also, love that last weeks poll was 1337
Well, this is just a terrifyingly bad idea.  Draft is my favorite format and one of the really fun things is figuring out what is open and what is being picked.  That whole process is removed when I can glance around and see the guy two seats down is drafting red/black or whatnot.  You've succeeded in dumbing down a challenging format.

The coolness factor of the double faced cards is massively outweighed by all the baggage attached to them.  This should have been figured out in playtesting: the ugly checklist cards, the sleeve/no sleeve issues, the draft problems.  Ramming through a bad idea anyway is a sign that someone upstairs liked it and simply did not care that for the vast majority of players it's much, much more trouble than it is worth.

I'll play in the Innistrad prerelease out of force of habit but my favorite Magic passtime is going to go on hiatus after that until this DFC stupidity blows over.
Flip card supporters: Something being mechnically "the same thing" doesn't mean it's intuitively "the same thing". Flip cards are an aesthetic failure; you can't tell what they are just by looking at them. DFCs fix that. Now, DFCs may turn out to be a logistics failure, but only actually playing with them will determine that.



I like the aesthetics of many of the flip cards, personally.  Some artists did them well, others not so well.  That said, flip cards have many downsides and are, overall, a flawed solution.  But so are DFCs.  And so WotC can continue to keep searching for a good one.


You apparently missed the part in MaRo's article a couple weeks back, where he explained that they came out of design as Sorceries that conjured up double-faced tokens, but then they learned that it would be prohibitively expensive to attempt to ensure that 20 tokens ended up in the same pack as the sorceries that needed them.. and they would still have a 10% failure rate.


Personally, I think they should have inserted 2 cards per pack.  One a DFC (like they are doing anyway) and the other a matching "proxy" card, front side of that DFC, with the magic backside on the back.  Better than the checklist cards, which just add an extra level of annoyance and are not cool in any way, shape, or form.


But too late for that.  They've picked their flawed solution, so we're stuck with it for a block.  I do hope they print up and sell some official proxies that we can use though, a pack that contains 4 of each DFC in the set, done in the DFC front, magic card back way, so people who want better looking but tournament usable proxies can get those.

Has the Rochester draft been out of commission so long that seeing what people draft seems like a foreign concept?

If you're on MTGO check out the Free Events via PDCMagic and Gatherling.

Other games you should try:
DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

Planetside 2 - Free to play MMO-meets-FPS and the first shooter I've liked in ages.
Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

There will always be a special place in my heart for Rochester draft, especially teams. Ah, good times.

As a point of clarification, as from reading some of these posts it seems like people are misunderstanding, only a double-faced card will have its identity known when you draft it. All other cards are drafted as they always have been - in a single, face-down pile in front of you. The double-faced card you draft will be covered up by the next card you draft (assuming it's not another DFC). Somehow this turned into knowing the entire deck (or at least all the colors) of the person sitting three seats away.

Peeking at the cards in your neighbor's hand is still a major no-no.

That being said, I did my first draft with real Innistrad cards a few weeks back, and it was a lot of fun. Some novelties with the double-faced cards, but overall a good time. I hope everyone shares a similar first experience.

Just to reiterate what was requested before, about how DFC's were brought into existence. MaRo notes that the idea for making the whole card essentially came from Duel Masters. Duel Masters has what are known as Psychic Creatures. The rules for these are different than for typical cards, as they exist outside typical deck construction rules. Tom La Pille and Mark Rosewater were extremely short-breathed on the topic, so it would have been informative had they mentioned the differences, and upsetting had they not, as remarking on the distinction between how the two games will handle both sets of cards R&D has made would have been problematic (for the "+1" crowd and "sockpuppet" type responders that seem to show up whenever a controversial "decision" is brought up).

So to clarify, here's Mark Rosewater:
Anyway, Duel Masters made double-faced cards a year or so back. They looked very cool and were quite popular. Tom LaPille had seen them recently, so when I asked how we could make the transformation theme work, Tom suggested we explore double-faced cards. Double-faced cards had plenty of splash going for them, but they had one giant hurdle: the lack of a Magic back. In order to make them we were going to have to solve a number of issues.


Here's the rules [abridged, and from wikipedia] for "Psychic Creatures," aka DFCs in Duel Masters:
Psychic Creature: Psychic Creatures are a card type first introduced in DM-36 Psychic Shock. A Psychic Creature is placed in the Hyperspatial Zone which is next to your graveyard. You are limited to 8 Psychic Creatures per hyperspatial zone and they are counted separately from your main deck of 40 or more cards. At anytime during a duel you are allowed to look at your opponents hyperspatial zone. A Psychic Creature card is two-sided, and features a creature on both sides. When the cheaper side creature activates its awaken ability, you may flip the card over to its higher cost side. This gives the creature a higher power and improved card effects. For example: Bolshack Dragon, the Temporal Blaze flips over to Bolshack Mobius, Victory Awakened when it wins a battle. A Psychic creature doesn't provides any mana as it can only ever be in your battle or dimensional zone, whenever a Psychic Creature is to leave the battle zone, it returns to the dimensional zone.



Note that their solution to its effects in the normal play of the game (placing it face down as "mana" or being in your deck) were solved by removing it from your main deck, altering deck construction rules and adding a special zone (kind of how Commander necessitated a new zone and new terminology, "color identity," which solves issues like having Bosh, Iron Golem as a general and being effectively unplayable). This was the functional necessity of cards that had no "back" (reverse), and in fact only two "faces" (obverse and reverse).

These are issues that would have just added to the Magic complexity in a unique way, a "offboard" or new play zone of sorts. Tom La Pille helped make DM's DFCs, so this should not have been a surprise to him, and as a designer, not to Mark Rosewater either. Despite this, these particular rules issues were ignored when mentioning DFCs for Magic. We're just that special, we have to deal with a few more peculiarities.

So, really guys, you failed here at what was solved. I told you that flippers had some of the issues solved, even if they have their own problems and are technically problematic -- and are less elegant than DFCs. Another game solves the issue, and you ignore it, because you want these cards in decks. When MaRo mentions [above] that "[they] were going to have to solve a number of issues," they mean that they needed to shove the cards into the decks [unmentioned] and then solve the issues that arose from that. They created the problem, then needed a solution, and would not back down from said problem.

As has been said before, if it can't work when you initially try, step back, and rethink the problem. You guys threw in a GDS-level problem, and decided it was a solution. How does the thinking work on this?

[And yes, I will actually play the game before offering my final opinion, this commentary is argumentative from the facile aspect of the discussion coming from MaRo and La Pille.]
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
I have been uable to vote in the poll for weeks now using firefox.  Anyone else have this bug?

Also, love that last weeks poll was 1337


I've seen a lot of people post about having this problem. I have it as well. Though I haven't been able to vote for months.

You haven't been able to vote only in the past few weeks? Looks like the problem is getting worse, then, not better.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
Kudos on the rules change. I still think it's odd that some drafters will be signaling more obviously than others, and I'm not wild about peering across the table to check other people's piles all the time, but definitely an improvement.

Another question. I seem to remember that each pack has 1 flip card in it. While only 3/4 have checklist cards in them. Doesn't that mean by definition there will be a shortage of checklists to flip cards, assuming the absence of sleeves (say at a casual draft?)