11/28/2011 Feature Article: "The Secrets of Magic R&D"

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This thread is for this week's feature article, which will go live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.

Lobster will be the "Homarids matter" set. I use this as an example because I am pretty sure it will never happen in real life. (Sorry, Homarid-lovers!)

You can't see it over the internet, but I am currently shedding a single, solitary tear.
R&D had begun to understand that this sort of complexity had to be toned down if the game was to be accessible.

No! While I don't mind there being sets that have mechanics that are simple to understand, I *do* want inaccessible cards, and inaccessible sets. I want complicated sets that do lots of different things. I like complicated cards. Not every set has to be accessible to lower level players.

I mean maybe even not do a full set. Go ahead and do a one-off set with a wacky theme. Down the Rabbit Hole, with lots of complicated, but competitive effects, that can be used in competitive play. The *worse* that'll happen, is that players will only play with 5 or 10 cards from the set, or the set only will appeal to Classic players. However, it would be fun, and it is something that I would look forward to.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/0a90721d221e50e5755af156c179fe51.jpg?v=90000)
I realize I have ground this axe more than a few times before but it bears repeating.  The current plan of design is all about making Magic impossibly expensive so that the players who spend large quantities of money will nearly always win.
Complex cards can't be common?  You have to pay more for anything that will be useful outside of a ground war, let alone anything that might reward you for being smarter than your opponent.  If you don't want to pay $5 a card,  you have to play nothing but French Vanilla beatsticks that are costed "fairly" as commons, or one-for-one removal spells, or an endless supply of Auras that don't offer a solution to the Aura Problem.
Limited emphasis?  Again, a cash-grab.  Wizards doesn't want you to get the maximum value out of your gaming investment, because then you're not giving them more money.
There are a few glimmers of hope - vanity products like FTV and Premium Deck Series are out there extracting money from players who have it to spare.  That's what I want to see.  What I also want to see, however, and probably never will, is dirt-cheap Limited Packs and reasonably affordable Constructed Packs, which are not the same set.  I understand the appeal of Limited, but it should not continue to straightjacket Constructed.  Constructed players should be able to pay $10-$12 for a deck and get sixty playable cards, instead of about 8 playable cards, 24 land, and a bunch of unplayable Limited chaff.  Why are there Goblin Pikers in intro packs?  Why are tournaments still dominated almost entirely by rares and mythics?
You should be able to buy an Intro Pack and win at FNM if you're a reasonably good player and your opponents are almost as good and have spent slightly more.  That is not the case and it doesn't look as though it's going to be anytime soon.
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
The inherent flaw is this strange assumption that new playes exclusively play sealed with recent product.  New players traditionally got the piles of chaff nobody wants, regardless of set or rarity - either by trading that "boring" 2/1 lion for a huge stack of cards, or just being given that huge stack.
Now it seems, Wizards is bypassing the local fatbeard and selling that chaff to noobs directly.

Eventually, this is going to backfire, as the good cards rocket up to $120 each because the chances of getting anything good out of a pack is abyssmal when the lower rarities (and most of the upper rarities) are limited-filler and noob-friendly timmybait, the case-poachers increasingly become unable to unload those "commons/uncommons" lots they've acquired in search of those elusive $120 mythics, "serious" limited players get bored of overpowered $120 Mythic bombs wrecking drafts and thus move on to Poker, and constructed withers and dies from utter dependency on those $120 mythics in avoiding a weekly 0-2 drop.

Do we really want the Vintage Effect to start strangling Standard as well?

I mean maybe even not do a full set. Go ahead and do a one-off set with a wacky theme. Down the Rabbit Hole, with lots of complicated, but competitive effects, that can be used in competitive play. The *worse* that'll happen, is that players will only play with 5 or 10 cards from the set, or the set only will appeal to Classic players. However, it would be fun, and it is something that I would look forward to.


No, the worst that could happen is that several unexpected interactions slip through R&D and there are loss of interest in standard, mass bannings, recriminations over wasted money on $150 cards, and none of the complex interactions ever make a difference any more.  Don't even get me started on limited with complex commons.


The reason I stopped to  make a post at all was a line from the article:
R&D meets regularly to discuss how to adjust the color pie to make the colors distinct from each other


Do you have plans to give White an actual identity any time soon?  Jack of all trades is the best description that can be said of it and that really doesn't fit.
I strongly dislike the message being sent in this article. It is glorifying the dumbing down of the game that has been going on in recent years and is implying that current design completely caters to new, inexperienced, and poor Magic players while ignoring the seasoned veteran. So instead of making the better game they are making the game that caters to the brainless masses? That is really sad and I hope they change direction on this. Time Spiral block was a complete blast to play and Riftmarked Knight was awesome in draft. If you're ever drafted Odyssey block for a while and got reasonably well versed in the mechanics it was an awesome set to have fun strategic games with your opponent. What's going on now is very disheartening.
So instead of making the better game they are making the game that caters to the brainless masses?

You are letting elitism set in.  Wizards isn't actually catering to idiot noobs.

Read the article again, and think about it.  Here's the two obvious points:


  • We've determined that the best way to get a new player to spend a crapload of money on Magic is to not have most of the cards that fall out of a pack (or that huge pile of discarded commons he got in an "awesome" trade) confuse him, thus simple cards will tend towards common and uncommon.

  • We've determined that the best way to get veteran players to spend a crapload of money on Magic is to make him buy piles of packs (or buy singles from someone else who has bought piles of packs) looking for those tiny handful of cards he needs to stay competitive, thus those complex cards that win games will tend towards rare and mythic rare.

Seems like there's a bit too much panic going on here over the reduction of complexity. Innistrad, the most recent set we've seen, has plenty of depth and interest in Limited.

Sure, at some point in the future R&D will misjudge a set again (qv. Zendikar) and make it too dull, but this isn't inevitable at all.

It's worth remembering that neither card complexity or on-board complexity are the same thing as strategic complexity and WotC have never suggested they're planning to reduce that.
Response round-up:

I mean maybe even not do a full set. Go ahead and do a one-off set with a wacky theme. Down the Rabbit Hole, with lots of complicated, but competitive effects, that can be used in competitive play.



Back when I started, we had cards like Ice Cauldron.  It's mechanics are fundamentally pretty simple: you get to stash away a spell (one at a time, please), make a downpayment of mana, and finish casting the spell once you get the rest of the mana.  Given staples of the time like Dark Ritual, actually a pretty neat effect.  Nobody knew that, however, because they never read the 11 lines of text.  I've seen more serious players than I look at a less complicated card, then put it down saying, "I'm not reading that; what does it do?"  This type of card complexity is honestly not missed among most players.

Slightly more players miss the in-built rules complexity they grew up with.  Sure, once you know that you can double dip and sacrifice your Mogg Fanatic while his damage is on the stack, why would you do it any other way?  But all that type of complexity means is that the card doesn't say what it really does.  The card, plus a subsection of the complete rules (which most newbs don't even know exists) says what the card reallydoes.  In that case, R&D has to be more careful about what they print, older players have an additional, needless edge over newer players, and the game rewards fundamentally non-resonant tricks like dealing damage after you've died.  I would say that simplifying the game this way isn't dumbing it down, just making it more sensible.  Complaining about losing rules support these kind of tricks is a little like an accountant complaining about the IRS dumbing the new Form 1099-A.  You have more exploitable knowledge about layer, stack, and trigger interactions than a newbie would even suspect exists.

The reason I stopped to  make a post at all was a line from the article:
R&D meets regularly to discuss how to adjust the color pie to make the colors distinct from each other


Do you have plans to give White an actual identity any time soon?  Jack of all trades is the best description that can be said of it and that really doesn't fit.



Unfortunately, white has alway struggled with identity. Originally, it was (mechanically) life gain, protection, bands of weenies, and "fair" destruction. Soon people realized that lief gain was weak, there was no point is having five spells that essentially did the same thing but with different colors (CoPs, wards), that most of the original "fair" hosers were really unbalanced, and that the mechanics that made white weenie workable (banding, armageddon soft lock) are questionable in practice. Today's control/weenie white is shaping up better than most of its previous incarnations. Bringing back a weenies-matter mechanic like Exalted (which I always thought of as workable replacement for banding) would really lock it in.

So instead of making the better game they are making the game that caters to the brainless masses? That is really sad and I hope they change direction on this.



I quit Magic for the first time during Mirage. The reasons were pretty simple: the introduced the phasing drawback, they brought back cumulative upkeep (which really had no reason to be in the first place), and they introduced the shadow mechanic (which I took to calling "the other flying"). Most things were similar, but with superficial tweaks that actually made the cards worse.  What turned me off was that it felt like they were trying to pass off superficial changes and riders as a new experience, when it really wasn't.  My point here is that novelty, complexity, and change for their own sake can be just as annoying as opening nothing but vanilla cruft.

That being said, the modern metagame demands certain things always be present.  You need some sort of counterspell, and it's probably going to be blue.  You need some sort of spot removal, and it's probably going to black with a targeting restriction.  You need green mana dorks.  You need red burn.  You can fiddle with the costs and power levels and change the trimming, but you cannot successfully create a completely new metagame every block and expect it to go well.  Sure, it's easy to be cynical about them trying to sell the "new" terror/doom blade/go for the throat/victim of night that's essentially the same as the last.  But they're also the glue that makes a lot of deck work.  Unlike the stuff that made me quit originally, these aren't old crap with new sequins, but cards that actually pull some weight at the kitchen table.  More and more of the sets are actually playable, and that strikes me as a pretty good thing.
I strongly dislike the message being sent in this article. It is glorifying the dumbing down of the game that has been going on in recent years and is implying that current design completely caters to new, inexperienced, and poor Magic players while ignoring the seasoned veteran. So instead of making the better game they are making the game that caters to the brainless masses? That is really sad and I hope they change direction on this. Time Spiral block was a complete blast to play and Riftmarked Knight was awesome in draft. If you're ever drafted Odyssey block for a while and got reasonably well versed in the mechanics it was an awesome set to have fun strategic games with your opponent. What's going on now is very disheartening.



I can't agree more! Congrats man!


...

You are letting elitism set in.  Wizards isn't actually catering to idiot noobs.

...


  • ...

  • We've determined that the best way to get veteran players to spend a crapload of money on Magic is to make him buy piles of packs (or buy singles from someone else who has bought piles of packs) looking for those tiny handful of cards he needs to stay competitive, thus those complex cards that win games will tend towards rare and mythic rare.




Really wise of your part. I'm with you.

Regarding some lines from the article:

"The profusion of choices became confusing for many players, which could lead to frustration when they made too many mistakes"

Yes! Because when you get pissed off by your boss, teachers or everyone else, the entire world conspire to easy your pain by changing the rules. You're doing this WRONG WotC!

"Nowadays we try to include more "vanilla" creatures (ones with no rules text) and "virtual vanilla" creatures (ones that have an ability that triggers once when they enter the battlefield) in sets at common rarity."

Be careful! Keep doing this and one day Standard shall be ruled by "vanilla players". Tsc tsc tsc...

JV
I strongly dislike the message being sent in this article. It is glorifying the dumbing down of the game that has been going on in recent years and is implying that current design completely caters to new, inexperienced, and poor Magic players while ignoring the seasoned veteran. So instead of making the better game they are making the game that caters to the brainless masses? That is really sad and I hope they change direction on this. Time Spiral block was a complete blast to play and Riftmarked Knight was awesome in draft. If you're ever drafted Odyssey block for a while and got reasonably well versed in the mechanics it was an awesome set to have fun strategic games with your opponent. What's going on now is very disheartening.



Then you should've brought more of it. Both Time Spiral and Odyssey sold poorly, so they'll be hesitant to make anything like it. 
In all forms of entertainment and art, there is a disconnect between what the masses appreciate and what the connoisseurs appreciate. Look at Hollywood versus arthouse, or triple-A games versus indy games. Yes it's disheartening for us that magic is like the first, but it's a valid choice and I don't think it'll change soon.


R&D had begun to understand that this sort of complexity had to be toned down if the game was to be accessible.

No! While I don't mind there being sets that have mechanics that are simple to understand, I *do* want inaccessible cards, and inaccessible sets. I want complicated sets that do lots of different things. I like complicated cardsNot every set has to be accessible to lower level players. 

I mean maybe even not do a full set. Go ahead and do a one-off set with a wacky theme. Down the Rabbit Hole, with lots of complicated, but competitive effects, that can be used in competitive play. The *worse* that'll happen, is that players will only play with 5 or 10 cards from the set, or the set only will appeal to Classic players. However, it would be fun, and it is something that I would look forward to. 



This is a very interesting point. Commander has experimented with all-new cards outside of sets. The new Planechase has more of them, so it's seen as a succes. It is possible that in the future, Wizards will release a Veteran product that includes new complex cards. What formats they'd be legal in would be another issue.
"The profusion of choices became confusing for many players, which could lead to frustration when they made too many mistakes"

Yes! Because when you get pissed off by your boss, teachers or everyone else, the entire world conspire to easy your pain by changing the rules. You're doing this WRONG WotC!



It all depends on who depends on who. Who needs what.
Yes, you can get pissed off with your teacher or boss and quit, but that's your loss, as you're the one who needs an education or a job.
Yes, you can get pissed off with the rules of magic and quit, and that's Wizards loss, as you can spend your free time and money on any of the myriad possible hobbies, whereas Wizards has lost a customer. 

A game is a voluntary activity for people, so it has a much harder time to correct wrong notions people may have, as opposed to catering to them.  
Here's the thing. I actually think they've got limited down to a fine art. Yes, it sucks when a carefully played sequence gets blown out to a random mythic (or even rare) bomb, but apart from that limited games are more interesting than they were with the exception of Time Spiral, where for a few of us they were great but for the great unwashed they were confusing. At the same time, they managed to create a product which caters for limited whilst allowing a 'drop- in' point for constructed cards which keep the format balanced. All of which is great, right?

Except that it isn't. The price of this new regime is that cards are being designed for rarity slots, and the rarer the slot the more powerful the card, and the more powerful the card the more expensive it is. Yes, we've always had a difference between the commons and the rarities, but never this power gap, especially where the format defining cards tend to have that layer of compleixty which requires rare or mythic status. Which means constructed, and to a certain extent casual, formats have seen a price tag increase to the point where it is prohibitive to enter.

So whilst R&D may have balanced the books, they have widened the price and power gap between mythic/rare and the lower rarities, and that has led to there being less interest in 'cashgrabbing' modern formats and more interest in legacy, and driven those players back to the cards which R&D hold up as being what they have improved.

Irony much?
I now require a card with Lobsterstorm.
Man, how many more times we have to listen some R&D guy talking about complexity? First,  time spiral was a much better set than Innistrad so is Lorwyn, just because it didnt sell does not mean it was bad. Second stop treating your audience like idiots. Third are you the guy who designed walking corpse? Looks like they hired the guy who designed simplest card.
Man, how many more times we have to listen some R&D guy talking about complexity? First,  time spiral was a much better set than Innistrad so is Lorwyn, just because it didnt sell does not mean it was bad. Second stop treating your audience like idiots. Third are you the guy who designed walking corpse? Looks like they hired the guy who designed simplest card.



It doesn't mean it's bad, but it does mean it's bad for business. Aaron has said on twitter he'd rather make Avatar than win Cannes. 
Why should they stop treating us like idiots? Apparently it works.  

Do you have plans to give White an actual identity any time soon?  Jack of all trades is the best description that can be said of it and that really doesn't fit.



You mean Green, right? Because white has plenty of identity at the moment.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/0a90721d221e50e5755af156c179fe51.jpg?v=90000)
White's mechanical identity is pretty loose (Greens flavor identity is not very good). At the moment White can get:

Weenies
Big Flyers
Tokens
Evasion
Spot Removal
Mass Removal
Card Draw
Pump
Mass Pump
Permanent Pump (counters)
Auras
Life Gain
Damage Prevention
Land Fetching (we haven't gotten this in a while though)
Bounce
Counterspells
Graveyard Hate
Regrowths/Reanimation
Protection

They all make sense flavorfully. But its a lot of mechanics.
Green's identity is pretty obvious - it's all about Creatures.  Creatures that generate extra mana, creatures that cost a lot but are huge or have some great effect, destroying anything that's NOT a creature.

White, on the other hand , is all over the place.  It gets a piece of black's removal and ressurection, a piece of green's creatures and pump, a piece of blue's evasion and counters, and a piece of red's fast weenies.  The only thing which is truly it's own is lifegain(and green and black are both encroaching here and doing it better).
I would argue that there's an important difference between complex cards(ones that have many parts to them) and complicated cards(ones that are hard to understand).

Cloudchaser Kestrel (Hi, Time Spiral!), yeah it has a lot of text on it because there are three abilities packed in there, but none of them are hard to understand. You can try to argue that the color-changing ability is hard to find a decent use for, but the Cloudchaser Kestrel package as a whole is not complicated, and people like having multitaskers like this at common because plain vanilla things are boring. Thanks for the Riot Devils.

Now look at Soul Burn and cry. Complexity is okay to have at any rarity. It's the complicated stuff you want to avoid making.
Here's the thing: Over the past...let's say four years, what color _isn't_ about creatures?
Just reprint Armageddon or Ravages of War, and white immediately has its "identity" back.

Cloudchaser Kestrel (Hi, Time Spiral!), yeah it has a lot of text on it because there are three abilities packed in there, but none of them are hard to understand. You can try to argue that the color-changing ability is hard to find a decent use for, but the Cloudchaser Kestrel package as a whole is not complicated, and people like having multitaskers like this at common because plain vanilla things are boring.



I agree with your arguement of complex vs complicated, but honestly, you picked Cloudchaser Kestrel as your example of a well designed complex card?! The whole point of not liking complex cards isnt that the abilities are hard to use, its that it makes no sense at all why the card does what it does! Cloudchaser Kestrel has a bunch of unrelated abilities tacked on, seemingly at random, and while I understand why and where the abilities come from, it doesn't come of as a particularly compelling or elegant design. Might as well design by rolling dice and looking up abilities on the "Chart O' Mediocre Abilities".  Keep in mind that this is coming from someone who is fully in favor of Time Spiral-levels of complexity, and I would never use Cloudchaser Kestrel as an example of a fun, complicated common.



I quit Magic for the first time during Mirage. The reasons were pretty simple: [. . .] and they introduced the shadow mechanic (which I took to calling "the other flying")



Small correction: shadow was introduced in the block after Mirage, Tempest
I only got into Magic a few months ago. The text on cards (aside from having to ask to read every card someone played because I had no idea what any of them did), was not part of the learning curve. With cards, I can always read the text, think it out, and understand what it does and why it does it. 

Where the entry barrier is for new players is all the stuff that isn't on the cards: the phases of a turn, priority, how combat damage is assigned, etc etc. Why does Day of Judgment kill my hexproof, protected from white creature? Why does Black Sun's Zenith kill all my Indestructible knights? What the heck is a planeswalker, and how is it different from a creature? The little rules booklet tries to explain some of this, but it does a miserable job. Honestly, Duels of the Planeswalkers was a pretty good tutor on some of these topics. 

At no point as a newbie was I ever excited about vanilla creatures like Riot Devils. However, I'm already tired of drawing vanilla cards from boosters, and I understand now why many vets don't buy boosters except for drafts. And that's a shame, because I love buying boosters and seeing what random, cool cards I'll get. But when I know that only 1 out of those 15 cards is going to be fun, that certainly dampens the excitement.
Green's identity is pretty obvious - it's all about Creatures.  Creatures that generate extra mana, creatures that cost a lot but are huge or have some great effect, destroying anything that's NOT a creature.

White, on the other hand , is all over the place.  It gets a piece of black's removal and ressurection, a piece of green's creatures and pump, a piece of blue's evasion and counters, and a piece of red's fast weenies.  The only thing which is truly it's own is lifegain(and green and black are both encroaching here and doing it better).



The trouble is that white wants to be the color of protection, fairness, and bands of creatures. It wants to be white weenie, backed up by a solid "teamwork" mechanic. The trouble is that protection can be confusing, life gain doesn't advance the game, Wrath effects are the only "fair" spells that haven't been banned, and white weenie without armageddon is a bad strategy.

White has a lot of mechanics trying accomplish one thing: make having a lot of weenies a competitive strategy. So it goes for quick tempo wins in the early game, and it tries to buff small guys with counters and equipment in the late game, and probably clears the board only to build it right back up with token generators in the midgame. All because it lost it's workhorse mechanic early and never fully recovered.

Modern white has shaped itself into some identity. The Mirrodin Aurioks and Zendikar Kor are all about equipment (to keep your weenies relevant). Kithkin like Gaddock Teeg now care about CMC rather than power when determining what is big enough to be hosed, while Sun Titan uses it to determine what's small enough to safely bring back from the grave. Soldiers try to keep up with elves and goblins in tribal (and sometimes do). But the most recent WW mechanic is probably the most successful: Squadron Hawk.

The main problem with all weenie decks is that if you can't pull off the beatdown, you will either waste mana or fall behind on cards because of all the cheap guys you have left in your hand, and then you die. Rebel decks cut into the problem by giving you an ability to recruit new creatures with your excess mana, and SH cut right to the heart of the problem by providing card advantage. Both proved to be ridiculously strong. They will need to be tweaked, either by slowing down cards with similar abilities, or by having cards fetch unlike types to prevent chains of creature-fetching, but R&D would be crazy not to create "lite" versions of rebels and hawks in the future, because those mechanics let White be what it was originally meant to be.

I quit Magic for the first time during Mirage. The reasons were pretty simple: [. . .] and they introduced the shadow mechanic (which I took to calling "the other flying")



Small correction: shadow was introduced in the block after Mirage, Tempest



I guess memory really is the first thing to go... ;)
I agree with your arguement of complex vs complicated, but honestly, you picked Cloudchaser Kestrel as your example of a well designed complex card?! ...



I will amend my statement.
Aether Web (Hi, Time Spiral!), yeah it has a lot of text on it because there are four abilities packed in there, but none of them are hard to understand. You can try to argue that the shadow-blocking ability does some non-intuitive things when combined with a Shadow creature, but the Aether Web package as a whole is not complicated, and people like having multitaskers like this at common because plain vanilla things are boring.
Green's identity is pretty obvious - it's all about Creatures.  Creatures that generate extra mana, creatures that cost a lot but are huge or have some great effect, destroying anything that's NOT a creature.



While I don't think there's a lot wrong with green at the moment, it's not all fine. 
It's about creatures, sure, but the most exiting creatures are rarely green. Just look at reanimator decks, which is pretty ironic. Inkwell Leviathan is the primary offender here, green should've gotten the fatty with trample and shroud. Other colors have angels and dragons and sphinxes and demons with interesting abilities. Green gets size but that's about it, now that hexproof is in blue too.
Glad to hear that R&D is treating you well, Ethan.  Now get Lobsterstorm printed!

 

Goblin Artisans
a Magic: the Gathering design blog
I'll let a lot of things go, but I'm drawing the line at Lobsterstorm.

Down with the Homarid menace!
I feel like "creatures matter" has become way too strong of an influence in Magic lately, but I have faith. Titans are broken, should not have the ETB triggers IMO, Eldrazi should flat-out be banned and all EDH players should play tribal and for-fun decks Smile

BUT, after 18+ years this game has come to a point where it needs to be broken down and rebuilt.  Many old notions about the color-pie and how the game plays to this day need revamping.

I have faith that things are going to get better from here.
BUT, after 18+ years this game has come to a point where it needs to be broken down and rebuilt.

To my recollection, this has aready happened at least three times: Revised Edition, Mercadian Masques, and Champions of Kamigawa.
Many old notions about the color-pie and how the game plays to this day need revamping.

R&D could completely redefine the Color Pie over a year or two, if they chose to do so.
The color pie today is no indication of what the color pie will be tomorrow.
BUT, after 18+ years this game has come to a point where it needs to be broken down and rebuilt.

To my recollection, this has aready happened at least three times: Revised Edition, Mercadian Masques, and Champions of Kamigawa.



And their most succesful attempt, Scars of Mirrodin =D
I was gonna post here about card complexity after reading the article a couple days ago, but when I got here, I saw the same sentiment repeated multiple times and decided it wasn't necessary to add to it. But...I also read the q&a's in the rules forums just for the heck of it, and maybe I'm a jerk, but if people can't figure how to use condemn without asking, we're all screwed.
...but if people can't figure how to use condemn without asking...

Morbid curiosity rising.
Examples please, preferably a forum thread.
...but if people can't figure how to use condemn without asking...

Morbid curiosity rising.
Examples please, preferably a forum thread.


Sure thing

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79035425 wrote:
BURSTING WITH VIGOR!
Trolljuju wiped the sweat from his brow as he continued his slow trudge up the snowy mountain. The wind was strong and fiercely cold, but he pressed against it. Juju knew Beast Engine was somewhere at the peak, waiting for him. But this was not a matter of confronting the forces of nature themselves; that had been accomplished long before, and was now too easy to maintain the manly man's interest. Today, Beast Engine was here waiting for a friend. Trolljuju's mind drifted from his appointment to thoughts of Beast Engine's manliness. The only man in history to punch the fossilized remains of a dinosaur back to life just to punch it to death again. The man who deflected bullets with his pectoral muscles during his daily assassination attempts. The man who cured cancer with a serum made from pure crystalized virility. The man who burst with vigor. Not just a man but a Man- the manliest of all men. A god of masculinity in physical form. Trolljuju's heart fluttered at the memory of him and lightened his steps as he pressed on. Suddenly, he was shaken from his reverie by a deep, powerful rumble in the mountain that shook him to his core. Instinctively, he threw himself to the ground just before the slope ahead of him exploded in a fiery wall of light and heat. So great was the force that the entire upper section of the mountain was vaproized. It scorched Juju's coat, then rose on the air to drift far away, a plume of white-hot ash. When Trolljuju lifted his head to see what was left behind, he beheld a wide, perfectly flat stone plateau, and in the distance he could see a muscular figure, his foot still held up from the kick. There was no doubt it was Beast Engine. As soon as the ground beneath him cooled, Juju cast his heavy pack aside and ran. As the figure grew with closeness, he could see Beast Engine was nude, as was expected. The snow that fell near him turned to a thin wall of steam, looking to Trolljuju's eyes like a barrier. Engine was too strong, too manly to occupy the same space as the ordinary universe. He lived in a world all his own. But fortunately for Juju, it was only an illusion. He ran at full speed into Engine, who caught him with both arms and effortlessly twirled with him, resting with Juju dipped low to the ground in Engine's arms. "Beast Engine, my love," Trolljuju breathed, sturck with awe at Engine's masculine beauty despite the familiarity of his face. Engine just smiled, radiating from every inch of him with incredible strength, yet gentle warmth. "It's been so long, Juju. I've missed you." "Forgive me. I lost contact with you while you were boxing with Death to win back and consume the soul of Theodore Roosevelt. But now I'm here..." Juju lifted one tentative hand to Engine's face, but he pulled away. "You know I cannot give you what you seek. Were we to make love, your body would be destroyed by the force." "I know, of course I would," Juju responded, tears in his eyes. "May I have, at least, one kiss?" "Very well. For you, my friend." Slowly, gingerly, they came closer. But the moment their lips met, a flood of unbridled manliness rushed into Trolljuju, body and soul, and every cell in his body exploded. Beast Engine fell to his knees, and in his grief, he wept. The tears that fell from his face burned deep into the rock beneath him. But slowly, his sorrow turned to conviction. He beat the crap out of Death once. He could do it again.
And its not like Condemn is the only one.
I was gonna post here about card complexity after reading the article a couple days ago, but when I got here, I saw the same sentiment repeated multiple times and decided it wasn't necessary to add to it. But...I also read the q&a's in the rules forums just for the heck of it, and maybe I'm a jerk, but if people can't figure how to use condemn without asking, we're all screwed.



Posted by MTGforever
Date Joined: 11/23/11

Come on. We've all been new to the game. 
I only got into Magic a few months ago. The text on cards (aside from having to ask to read every card someone played because I had no idea what any of them did), was not part of the learning curve. With cards, I can always read the text, think it out, and understand what it does and why it does it. 

Where the entry barrier is for new players is all the stuff that isn't on the cards: the phases of a turn, priority, how combat damage is assigned, etc etc. Why does Day of Judgment kill my hexproof, protected from white creature? Why does Black Sun's Zenith kill all my Indestructible knights? What the heck is a planeswalker, and how is it different from a creature? The little rules booklet tries to explain some of this, but it does a miserable job. Honestly, Duels of the Planeswalkers was a pretty good tutor on some of these topics. 

At no point as a newbie was I ever excited about vanilla creatures like Riot Devils. However, I'm already tired of drawing vanilla cards from boosters, and I understand now why many vets don't buy boosters except for drafts. And that's a shame, because I love buying boosters and seeing what random, cool cards I'll get. But when I know that only 1 out of those 15 cards is going to be fun, that certainly dampens the excitement.


Excellent post, excellent points! Wizards HQ really need to read this.

To lower the entry barrier it would be a much better idea to offer rule books in stores than to clutter draft packs with vanillas.

Excellent post, excellent points! Wizards HQ really need to read this.



Except it works by the numbers. So they will read this, but then have way more other stories pointing in another direction. 
Excellent post, excellent points! Wizards HQ really need to read this.



Except it works by the numbers. So they will read this, but then have way more other stories pointing in another direction. 



And -- as if to prove a point -- today's Deck of the Day is Alexander Shearer's modern Gifts Ungiven deck, which required him to call over a judge 4 times at Worlds to explain why "search your library for four cards with different names" really means "search your library for up to four cards with different names".  The "hidden card text" in CR is a problem at all levels of play.
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