I think it's really depressing and unfair when R&D members just flat-out state "We don't like good control decks, good combo decks, or resource denial/lock strategies. The dynamic of the game should be about fast aggro decks with small creatures versus midrange aggro decks with medium creatures versus "control" decks with ridiculously powerful (Titan) creatures."Some people like to think more when they play magic.
All of these decks share a common root: they eliminate the dynamism and excitement that comes with constructive interaction between cards, largely because their goal is to ignore as much of the rules text on the opponent's cards as possible.
The key passage for me was this (in regard to why decks like Draw-Go are no longer made viable):All of these decks share a common root: they eliminate the dynamism and excitement that comes with constructive interaction between cards, largely because their goal is to ignore as much of the rules text on the opponent's cards as possible.Two reasons for this jump out immediately:1. Magic has always been cast as a battle between wizards, where the object is to defeat your foe(s). Given such a destructive metric for success, expecting cooperation between the players seems little more than a pipe dream. Could a cooperatively-metrized variant of Magic take off? Possibly, but due to the fundamental concepts that make Magic Magic, I doubt such a thing would even remain interesting for long.2. With the idea of drawbacks becoming all but extinct in recent years, all the rules text on all the cards amounts to pretty much the same fundamental thing: "Add 5% to your win probability" or "Add 30% to your win probability" (the latter on cards deemed "swingy" enough to need a red expansion symbol). When you're pretty much assured that every one of your opponent's cards is strictly positive for them (and thus strictly negative value for you), preemptively shutting them down gives you a pretty good idea of what you're gaining. Granted, if a card has negative value, it probably isn't going to go in a deck to begin with, but the combination of competitively-costed cards with drawbacks can be crafted so that the value fluctuates, possibly including both negative value and a value high enough to earn a spot in the deck, which would help to create the environment of "using the opponent's cards against them" that R&D seemingly wants as an answer to the question "Why would I want my opponent to even be able to get their cards out, if each of those cards is just going to help me lose?"
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
Whoa, what card is this?media.wizards.com/images/magic/daily/fea...
What exactly are players to do with their 20 copies of Melt Terrain or Into the Maw of Hell when R&D has specifically designed these cards to suck in standard? They could be amazing. If either or both of them cost 1 less, or there was simply a critical mass of these sorts of effects, or a Terravore or Knight of the Reliquary it might be more viable. But someone at Wizards decided it wasn't fun, so even people who DO find it fun can't succeed with it. (For the last few months of last rotation I played land destruction in Standard to some FNM success. So this is one instance where I can talk! :P)
Also, on the subject of archetypes that they identify as unfun, I'm disappointed that they mentioned "Resoruce-advantage decks that aim to make Magic a contest of raw attrition", which I've never heard of anyone having a problem with, yet doesn't mention the painfully unfun and massively dominant strategy which constantly ruins my day - aggro. Wizards seems to think that it doesn't suck when you get steamrolled on turn 4 or 5, but it does. I shouldn't get flattened before I've even started to play my game. It takes less time than getting in a prison or LD lock and waiting until you deck, but it's not like you can't concede in those cases when you're sure that you're stuck. Aggro on the other hand is essentially a "time destruction" strategy, and I find it almost as horrible as LD or HD.
I'm sorry, willpell, that aggro ruins your day. However, there are quite a few ways to survive the first few turns of aggro until you stabilize, and after you've stabilized you can play however you want, rather than having terms dictated to you by your aggro opponent. It's not that the strategy is unbeatable, it's that you haven't yet found a way to beat it.
Also, on the subject of archetypes that they identify as unfun, I'm disappointed that they mentioned "Resoruce-advantage decks that aim to make Magic a contest of raw attrition", which I've never heard of anyone having a problem with, yet doesn't mention the painfully unfun and massively dominant strategy which constantly ruins my day - aggro. Wizards seems to think that it doesn't suck when you get steamrolled on turn 4 or 5, but it does.
This thread is for discussion of this week's Feature Article by Zac Hill, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
The thing is, the game has elements that are designed to help adapt to any threat. Draw-go decks too big in the future league? Don't cut them because you have this idealized view of Magic as creatures smashing into each other. Simply make room for a more viable aggro deck with creatures at one and two mana to sneak under counterspells. Or make a creature like Thrun, the Last Troll. If land destruction is too viable, decent aggro decks will still be competitive vs. the land denial strategies. As will the draw-go decks. If combo is too good, the draw-go control builds will hate them out. It's a mark of a very good game when every strategy has a counter-strategy such that no one strategy becomes optimal. But artificially hamstringing that process because of some preconceived notion of "fun" is not what people want in a strategy game.
Zac is a smart dude, and I generally like his viewpoints, so it pains me to call this how I see it.Bunch of propaganda bs.I've seen developers (Forsythe, LaPille, Hill) comment at length about not wanting to encourage degenerate strategies that lack interaction, but over the last three years I have seen nothing but a continual shift into those territories.Landfall was completely non-interactive. Oh, you just hit me for how much? Just because you played a fetchland and sac'ed it? On turn 2/3? Awesome.Infect is awful. Halve the required damage to win, give no way to "heal" that damage, put it in an environment via tons of cheap efficient creatures and couple it with a good amount of pump and proliferate. Oh, also, lets make it the worst kind of grindy attrition aggro as well, so if they do have blockers, you essentially 2 for 1 automatically, or at least profit on attrition. Latest culprit? Hexproof. Lets keyword troll-shroud and put it on EVERYTHING. Now lets print insane enchantments and equipment that make it a degenerate, non-interactive strategy. Next step, lets print less counters, and make the ones we do print more situational. So that when our opponents tap out to cast a titan on turn 4/5, they definetly get all that tasty degenerate value out of them. Let's also reprint Wrath without the regen clause, cuz being able to kill those hexproof guys with regenerate shouldn't be an option. Lets print a "free mana" mechanic, and use it to print silver bullets for certain formats. Lets even make a super cheap removal spell that can be played in ANY color. Lets also make it good enough to dominate the early game at no real cost, but lets make sure it doesn't kill any of the truly busted bombs like titans, and praetors. While we're at it we can throw in a Survival variant that is "fixed". Maybe it will allow people to chain into land destruction, followed by ramp/recursion, followed by an insane legend. Yeah...Magic is really interactive and FUN.That being said, I love it. I'm not actually complaining, I'm just pointing out that like most corporations, WotC has it's goons out there saying one thing while doing the exact opposite. I enjoy the game the way it is, even the feel bad times. I'm pretty sure casuals don't like it though.
What jumps out at me is a lack of appreciation for and understanding of answers.
What is it that made Draw-Go overpowered? The fact that its answers were pretty much 100% universal. I like what has been happening with counterspells recently, where they are pretty good against only some of your opponents.
In the same way, over-powered creatues and spells (like Planeswalkers) need answers. Without them, the cards take over the game by themselves, and "Wait for them to go away" is not a good idea. I know the point "Let them kill your darlings" touches on this, but I feel that overall the importance of answers was left out.
You're missing the point entirely. It's not that Wizards considers such decks unfun to play, it's that such decks aren't fun to play against. I know not everyone agrees, but there are quite a few people who, when they sit down to play a game of Magic, want to actually play a game of Magic. Land destruction prevents you from playing because you can't cast any spells without lands. Draw-Go counterspelling prevents you from playing because you can't resolve a spell. Prison decks make sure you can't actually use any of your cards, even if they do let you cast them. All of the archetypes listed in this article had that one thing in common: they prevent the opponent from actually playing the game. html_removed
(...) there are quite a few ways to survive the first few turns of aggro until you stabilize, and after you've stabilized you can play however you want, rather than having terms dictated to you by your aggro opponent. It's not that the strategy is unbeatable, it's that you haven't yet found a way to beat it.You may counter-argue that you don't want to change the way you play to be able to handle aggro rush. That's a fair argument. However, what you're asking Wizards to do is change the way a lot of people enjoy playing by taking their favorite strategy - aggro - out of the picture entirely. If they slow down aggro at all, then the good control decks will absolutely mop the floor with it in every match.So I'm sorry, you may not like it, but aggro is the way it is because it's balanced with the other archetypes out there.
Any deck can become overly dominant, but we've noticed that certain kinds of strategies really damage game play at any level. These tend to be, in descending order of frustration: "Prison" control decks, which aim to lock players out of the resources to cast their spells, while grinding out a slow, gradual long gameLand destruction decks that never let the opponent get off the groundLightning-fast combination decks that end the game as quickly, and noninteractively, as possible"Draw-Go" style counterspell decks that do nothing except counter the opponent's spellsResource-advantage decks that aim to make Magic a contest of raw attrition
Here's my problem with this, as a *really* long-time player: All of the above strategies should, at least some of the time, be viable. You should be able to punish ridiculously greedy mana bases, you should be able to grind out games against excessively aggressive opponents, and you should be able to counter or combo someone out of the game. But at the same time, you should have the tools to defeat any or all of those strategies. The one thing the article doesn't mention is how quickly the game adapts to the latest "hot" strategy, unless it is something truly absurd, such as Ravager/Affinity or CawBlade.I love this game, but it can't be a coincidence that I cannot go one night of Magic-playing without hearing a variation of "WotC just wants us to play 'their way' and just bash dudes against one another. I don't really find that all that interesting." I am not saying it's completely justified - and the truth is I love Limited best, and that's normally all that format is - but I hear this complaint often enough to at least suggest there's a grain of truth there.
I call bs. I'd love for Zac Hill to name one thing that's been released that was both completely unbalanced and deemed fun by the majority of magic players. Cause I sure can't think of any.[...]I have a slight suspicion that what you meant to say was that if you have the choice between unbalanced and fun or balanced and unfun you go with neither and look for a balanced AND fun solution, but then you certainly could have phrased it better as your current statement really doesn't imply just that. And if that is what you mean then the original statement of Design making fun and Dev making it balanced is still true.
Depending on semantics one could argue that when someone plays a game of Magic against any of those strategies (LD, fast combo, permission, attritrion) that allegedly don't let people play they are still playing a game of magic *by definition*. All of these strategies are part of the game and get cards explicitly designed for.[...]There are also quite a few ways to win against LD, permission and fast combos - provided they aren't actually unbalanced.
Or I could instead argue that it is not really about playing your cards (which technically you are playing against permission, they just get countered): what is that different between getting a creature countered or having it resolve and dying? Technicalities for the most part (such as CIP triggers etc.)! The fact is that removal can be played even if the "control player" had tapped out previously (the major drawback with permission and a big part of what actually does make it balanced)... Whether countered or dismembered they end up in the graveyard anyway, often without dealing any damage or leaving anything behind.
What really matters in the end is the power level. If you get Zoo at a power level that it dominates it can easily be much more oppressive than whatever fast combo, LD or permission deck is in the format (Modern is probably in such a situation right now).
I love this game, but it can't be a coincidence that I cannot go one night of Magic-playing without hearing a variation of "WotC just wants us to play 'their way' and just bash dudes against one another. I don't really find that all that interesting." I am not saying it's completely justified - and the truth is I love Limited best, and that's normally all that format is - but I hear this complaint often enough to at least suggest there's a grain of truth there.
Great article. I found it to be very interesting. But it failed to answer my biggest question: has it ever surprised the FFL that players in a given Standard format didn't find a strategy or interaction that they did find and purposely leave in?
Some people like to think more when they play magic.
I feel that there must be some deck archetypes or strategies he is referring to that I don't know about, but I've been playing for 13 years and I can't figure out what tournament decks in what format would qualify as "unfun war of attrition" decks.
i'll go and join the apparently "few" players and say i find any of those strategies fun. i will bet that anyone who plays one of those types of decks and wins will find it "fun". and we can also grant that losing to any of those decks is unfun. that doesn't mean there aren't ways to stop them.
why shouldn't fast aggro be there either.. i dont think turn 3 wins are fun or interactive. i bet the person playing them finds it fun though. and don't chime in with but you can stabalize against aggro thing, you sure can, aggro also can wipe the floor with ld or draw/go.. or many of those strategies up there.. the point is to have viable counter-strategies available.
on the person above me... your wrong.. there's much more to it than is that a threat or not/counter or ignore. much like you said theres more to a combat step.. this can be argued the same way as well. i can boil an aggro deck down to all it does is play dudes and swing for the fence but we both know there's more to it than that just like the above decks have more to them than what you said.
all that aside what really struck me was..
Why go out and create your own deck when it doesnt stand a chance against the elephant in the room? Whats the point of selecting between thousands of cool, unique cards when none of them really matter?
On the first question this happens all the time. I wont really blame wizards i think it's the internet in general that causes this. Why should one bother making a cool new deck when deck:A has proven results against every other deck. etc.. ramble ramble netdecking ramble.
On the 2nd question... seriously? they made tons of really cool creatures lately that won't see play because they dont measure up to the grand ol' titan test...
bottom line that whole article to me read like: our team doesn't think these things are fun so you shouldn't either.
bottom line that whole article to me read like: our team doesn't think these things are fun so you shouldn't either.
And I am sadly in the boat of not liking the current way standard is. I started playing in Odessy, and I have never been a huge fan of creatures that just attack. I hate the Titans with the passion of a thousand suns, because it has boiled the format down very much to "have Titans or plan to win before turn 6."While I agree that counterspells can be somewhat degenerate, I am a fan of draw-go strategies, I am a fan of midrange creature decks, and my favorite decks are the attrition style decks. I don't like taking creatures and going "hurr-durr sideways to your face" constantly, and that is how I feel standard is now. And modern too.
I feel that there must be some deck archetypes or strategies he is referring to that I don't know about, but I've been playing for 13 years and I can't figure out what tournament decks in what format would qualify as "unfun war of attrition" decks.I _think_ that he's talking about Cascade, where it's less about individual card power, and more about each crappy card in the deck actually being 2+ crappy cards ... which is pretty useful for winning wars of attrition. :-)
A few points I didn't cover in my previous post:1.) Some people like to think more when playing Magic / All aggro is is casting dudes and turning them sideways.All of the archetypes he listed in the article require very little actual thought to play. -Prison control aims to block or pacify every creature the opponent plays. You don't have to think much to go "He played a creature. Answer it." -Land destruction (by which he means decks that seek to destroy ALL of the opponent's lands) is by far the most mindless way to play. Blow up their lands until they stop drawing them, then win. You never, ever have to mix it up. -Fast combo decks completely ignore what the opponent is doing; all they have to do is get together two or three cards which, when assembled, win for you. -"Draw Go" counterspelling is not the same as control in general. What Zac means, I'm sure, is decks which seek to counter every spell the opponent casts, which doesn't require thought at all. "He's tapping mana for a spell, so I'll tap islands for a counter." Most control requires a lot of thinking and strategy, but this variant does not. -I think what he means by resource-advantage attrition decks are decks that aim to kill as many creatures as they can, typically in two-for-ones (or even more efficient than that). In this case, again, all you have to do is let your opponent get some creatures on the field, then kill them. When your goal is to kill everything there's no need to think "should I kill this?".Wizards hasn't chosen to make land destruction, or counterspelling, or "prison" cards unplayable. They've just chosen not to give a critical mass which allows universal-answer decks to arise, as those are both thoughtless and not fun to play against.As for aggro decks, they are not as thoughtless as people seem to think. A properly built aggro deck chooses which one-, two- and three-drops to play based on the opponent's strategy, and every single combat requires some thinking (properly analyzing opponent's tells to know what tricks he has; doing the combat math to figure out how much damage you can get through in various attacking scenarios; risk assessment on which creatures you can safely lose to a blocker; etc.) Saying that "all aggro is is playing dudes and turning them sideways" is like saying "all control is is tapping islands and playing counterspells". Well-built decks in both archetypes are so much more than that.2.) Fast aggro is just as bad as fast combo.In some ways, yes. Both decks put the opponent on a clock. The difference, of course, is that almost every deck by default includes ways to answer aggro: creatures. Combo frequently requires very specific cards to stop it, and you have to either maindeck those cards if the combo is common enough, or sideboard and hope you draw your sideboarded answers in games two and three both because you just lost game one when they comboed out unhindered.Yes, aggro can have opening hands that are just as explosive as some of the most degenerate combos out there, but they're less consistent (you need the perfect one-, two-, three- and usually four- drops in your opening hand, and lands to play them all, versus the combos he means in the article, which only need two cards, and run many ways to find them if not drawn). Also, where a combo is one-sided once it gets started, aggro strategies require attacking, which is the most interactive part of the game: you choose what attacks, your opponent chooses what blocks, both play any tricks.Again, this isn't Wizards saying they hate combo. It's Wizards saying they hate combos that are so consistent and fast that the opponent loses before they can even start to answer it.3.) Of course it's not fun to lose to the listed archetypes; losing is never fun.Not true. In most games, when you lose, it's not because you never had a chance from the start. You can usually pinpoint a bad decision you made, or in the worst case scenario, blame not drawing the card you needed to win/stabliize; the cards that would let you win, however, are at least in your deck so every time you flip a card from your deck into your hand, there's a chance you can gain a victory. That ever-present chance is enough to make the game tense and thus, for most people, fun. I'd rather lose in a close game than win in a blow-out, personally.Against the listed archetypes, it never matters what you draw. Once your opponent has hit critical mass for his strategy, you're no longer playing the game at all. Anything you draw, with very few exceptions, will be immediately answered without having any impact on the game. You're not dueling, at that point, you're sitting there watching your opponent goldfish until he draws his bomb finisher and finally delivers the coup de grace. Some people may find this fun; they are in the vast minority.4.) Kill spells are the same as counterspells.No. A counterspell stops your card before you can even use it. A kill spell, though it can do the same if it is cast the very turn your creature is cast, typically offers a window of use for the card it answers before killing it. When kill spells are too good, and they are killing your every creature before you get to do anything, well, if I'm right then that's what he means by attrition decks on his list. Wizards no more wants universal kill-spell decks than they want universal counterspell decks. The difference is, they can print far more kill spells than counterspells, because kill spells are more conditional, and creatures in need of killing more commonplace.
I'm pretty sure he's actually referring to Rock-style attrition that use hand disruption (like Duress or Cranial Extraction), 2-for-1 type creatures (Ravenous Rats, Mesmeric Fiend, Sakura Tribe Elder), and recursion (Eternal Witness, or Life from the Loam) to slowly grind out wins. Patch is right that these strategies aren't smart, or even necessarily overpowered. It's that they're safe to play, and boring and unfun to play against.
I still love this game, but I really miss exactly those strategies that the majority supposedly hates. Magic is a game about resources, at it's core -- it's really weird to me that resource denial is such a problem for so many. Maybe I'm unfair for feeling people are a bit intentionally dull if they don't want to learn how to play under it or counter it, but sometimes I really do wonder where all the stupid came from.
while i agree that all those archtypes can be bad if their made into degenerate powerhouses but so can any other archtype. theres nothing wrong with them being allowed to compete as long as they learn from past mistakes and dont make them so powerfull they don't allow that window to beat them. getting a diversified meta is good for everyone.
@chronego while i agree with alot of that... my main gripe is that they've deemed these whole archtypes to be unfun because of past experience.. (and hence have been not supporting them... sort of)while i agree that all those archtypes can be bad if their made into degenerate powerhouses but so can any other archtype. theres nothing wrong with them being allowed to compete as long as they learn from past mistakes and dont make them so powerfull they don't allow that window to beat them. getting a diversified meta is good for everyone.
Those who love the archetypes can still play them; they just won't be able to rely purely on the one method of choice to win. It's diversity on an individual deck level, as well as at a meta level.
Here's my problem with this, as a *really* long-time player: All of the above strategies should, at least some of the time, be viable. You should be able to punish ridiculously greedy mana bases, you should be able to grind out games against excessively aggressive opponents, and you should be able to counter or combo someone out of the game. But at the same time, you should have the tools to defeat any or all of those strategies. The one thing the article doesn't mention is how quickly the game adapts to the latest "hot" strategy, unless it is something truly absurd, such as Ravager/Affinity or CawBlade.