12/06/2011 LI: "Good Cards, or Good Decks?"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Limited Information, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.

Recent sets like Innistrad (and at least as far back as Zendikar) certainly reward the kind of drafting discussed in this article.  I think this is part of the reason I've stopped playing drafts.  I know that R&D believes that cards with wildy different values in different draft decks adds strategic complexity to the game, but to me it just makes every deck a gimmick deck.  I hope the pendulum swings the other way again someday.
I always admire people with the guts to build a Burning Vengeance deck and decks like that in draft. I still end up beating them a good amount of the time, but it's such a different way to play that I can't help but be fascinated.
Good article, I enjoyed it. It's good reading on the how/when/why to change, though mentioning archetype defining cards needs more explaining, like a whole article. I'm just thinking of newer players when I say that, because they're still very likely to think of "Good cards" as a static thing, as opposed to applied archtype picks.

But yeah, was good. More meaty than "how to do this kind of deck" stuff, so yay! 
Recent sets like Innistrad (and at least as far back as Zendikar) certainly reward the kind of drafting discussed in this article.  I think this is part of the reason I've stopped playing drafts.  I know that R&D believes that cards with wildy different values in different draft decks adds strategic complexity to the game, but to me it just makes every deck a gimmick deck.  I hope the pendulum swings the other way again someday.



See, to me its the exact opposite - triple Rise was the greatest draft format ever, even beating out RGD (heresy?). Having GoodStuff.dec be the best limited strategy means that a bot who can analyze pick orders is a better drafter than me; not exactly fun being forced to go on autopilot. Whereas, having many different draft strategies means that I can have a wildly different draft experience based on what deck I draft - its not just gonna be GoodStuff, its gonna be something unique. Again, triple Rise really nailed the fun and playability of this paradigm, with a broad variety of decks you could draft, and a seemingly lower reliance on just drawing into bombs + removal as the best strategy.
Having GoodStuff.dec be the best limited strategy means that a bot who can analyze pick orders is a better drafter than me; not exactly fun being forced to go on autopilot. Whereas, having many different draft strategies means that I can have a wildly different draft experience based on what deck I draft - its not just gonna be GoodStuff, its gonna be something unique. Again, triple Rise really nailed the fun and playability of this paradigm, with a broad variety of decks you could draft, and a seemingly lower reliance on just drawing into bombs + removal as the best strategy.



I agree. You can draft goodstuff in ISD, but the build-arounds are strong enough that you have to be able to assess when goodstuff is a viable archetype.

ISD is IMO a tough set to draft, but not in the convoluted way TS drafts were. I am not very good at it yet, but it's because I am not as skilled, studied or practiced as most of my friends are. That's a good thing.   

Personally, I think Innistrad and Scars of Mirrodin block before it are the two most fun sets I've ever draft, perhaps ever.  I really like that they require you to build around a theme.  I'm very good at Core Set Limited, but let's face it, you're pretty much drafting good stuff.dec in the core set.  The core set is relatively constant, so there will always be a format where you can just draft bombs plus removal or maybe flyers and win.  The expansion sets should favor archetypes, flavor, and complexity.  Innistrad is the perfect balance of bombs being great but not too great, removal being both prevalent and ranging from bad to awesome, drafting good stuff.decs being possible, but archetypes being more powerful.  Even the mana is balanced.  There is enough fixing so that you are able to splash a third color without having too.  Imo they got so much right in Innistrad limited.

Also, this article introduced me to an archetype I haven't seen much of-BUG mill yourself.  I think I saw a BG player splash blue once, but I didn't know it was an established archetype.  Seems like it would be awesome to try.  Mulch often gets tabled and compares favorably to Forbidden Alchemy in that archetype. Spawning often get tables tabled as well.  Maybe I'll try this next draft if everything comes together. 
A good follow up to this article (which was one of my first LI faves in a while) would be discussing what these various archetypes are in ISD limited. There are a ton of build around me cards in this set (which is why this is one of my favourite sets for constructed in a while), and taking a look at them and what complementary cards would fit the bill for that deck would be cool and would help players who are either new to drafting, new to this environment, or are just looking for some more creative ideas than your typical kill spell, counterspell, evasive creature  draft deck... (the evasive creatures btw are being especially highly valued in my location's metagame.)
~ Current Decks I'm Playing or Building ~ (Click a deck's name to see list) [] CorpseJunk Menace/Township Counters (Standard) [] Reanimation/Clerics Theme Deck - Commander: Ghost Dad [] Devouring Tokens (Planechase, Multiplayer) [] Krark-Clan Ironworks: 2012 Edition (Modern) [] Azorious Turbo Fog (Modern)

See, to me its the exact opposite - triple Rise was the greatest draft format ever, even beating out RGD (heresy?). Having GoodStuff.dec be the best limited strategy means that a bot who can analyze pick orders is a better drafter than me; not exactly fun being forced to go on autopilot. Whereas, having many different draft strategies means that I can have a wildly different draft experience based on what deck I draft - its not just gonna be GoodStuff, its gonna be something unique. Again, triple Rise really nailed the fun and playability of this paradigm, with a broad variety of decks you could draft, and a seemingly lower reliance on just drawing into bombs + removal as the best strategy.

Drafting "good stuff" and having variable pick orders are not mutually exclusive.  There is always a "best card for your deck" that isn't necessarily the "best card in the pack". The problem I see with more recent draft formats is that more cards are absolutely useless outside of specific (often gimmicky) archetypes.  Rather than increasing strategic complexity, this lessens it, as more cards are condemned to forever sit on the sidelines, and a card that is never played is a card with no strategy at all.

I didn't play much triple Rise, so I can't speak to that format in particular.  But I think it's no coincidence that the beloved RGD draft format happened to be the peak expression of the "All Tier 2" design paradigm that was touted at the time.  I'd like to see that notion return.  I understand that the current draft paradigm can still be fun, interesting, strategic, etc., but it's ultimately just not something that I enjoy.
Drafting "good stuff" and having variable pick orders are not mutually exclusive.  There is always a "best card for your deck" that isn't necessarily the "best card in the pack". The problem I see with more recent draft formats is that more cards are absolutely useless outside of specific (often gimmicky) archetypes.  Rather than increasing strategic complexity, this lessens it, as more cards are condemned to forever sit on the sidelines, and a card that is never played is a card with no strategy at all.


I can definitely see your point, and I agree with it; I think that there is a wide gulf between "heres the pick list you need to draft the best deck" and "heres a motley assortment of crufty cards that only work in a certain deck", and I think that curently magic isn't particularly close to either extreme. Neither draft format sounds particularly exciting, to be sure, but I'm more afraid of the first case because I feel like its easier to lean too far in that direction than it is to lean to the other
The other point, and one that I didn't really realize, is that you very likely find different things in a draft deck fun than I do (not trying to speak for you, just hypothesizing); I love when a draft deck has high internal synergy, and so the extreme of the all-gimmick format is a lesser of two evils to me, because at least with that, you end up with decks with high internal synergy. The extreme of "heres the pick order" doesn't leave much internal synergy, except maybe to someone who luckily opens the best cards.

I didn't play much triple Rise, so I can't speak to that format in particular.  But I think it's no coincidence that the beloved RGD draft format happened to be the peak expression of the "All Tier 2" design paradigm that was touted at the time.  I'd like to see that notion return.  I understand that the current draft paradigm can still be fun, interesting, strategic, etc., but it's ultimately just not something that I enjoy.


Didn't play much triple Rise?! You gotta get on that!
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