12/12/2011 MM: "Flashback to the Future"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
I thought flashback was going to be exiled after it was reused in Time Spiral. Tongue Out

I'm a big fan of flashback, didn't start playing until Mirrodin, but always liked the look of the flashback cards from Odyssey block, and was glad they returned in TS and again in ISD.  Looking forward to see how flashback evolves over this block, and hope some new things happen with it this time around!
I think I like flashback even more than I like cycling, and I like cycling a lot. I can't think of anything competitive with those two for the best-expert-keyword-ever slot. My off-the-cuff guess at a top five:

1. Flashback
2. Cycling
3. Morph
4. Wither
5. Kicker
"I'd love to hear from all of you what you think of [Flashback]."
I like Flashback very much, but I have one bone to pick with it: I feel that it's clumsy and often annoying to have to page through a graveyard stuffed with often irrelevant cards in order to see my Flashback-ready cards. The good thing about using the graveyard as a flashback card's new hand is that it uses a zone that already exists and doesn't often get attention. But I wonder if there is another better way to store or separate Flashback cards.

The Analytical Engine has no pretensions whatever to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform.

I'm placing money that there was a previous flashback article! I know your tricks, Rosewater...

"I'd love to hear from all of you what you think of [Flashback]."
I like Flashback very much, but I have one bone to pick with it: I feel that it's clumsy and often annoying to have to page through a graveyard stuffed with often irrelevant cards in order to see my Flashback-ready cards. The good thing about using the graveyard as a flashback card's new hand is that it uses a zone that already exists and doesn't often get attention. But I wonder if there is another better way to store or separate Flashback cards.



Odyssey-block flashback cards had little tombstones at the top to help people find them. See Crippling Fatigue. WotC didn't feel they were necessary, and cut them in future designs.

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

I'm placing money that there was a previous flashback article! I know your tricks, Rosewater...

"I'd love to hear from all of you what you think of [Flashback]."
I like Flashback very much, but I have one bone to pick with it: I feel that it's clumsy and often annoying to have to page through a graveyard stuffed with often irrelevant cards in order to see my Flashback-ready cards. The good thing about using the graveyard as a flashback card's new hand is that it uses a zone that already exists and doesn't often get attention. But I wonder if there is another better way to store or separate Flashback cards.



Odyssey-block flashback cards had little tombstones at the top to help people find them. See Crippling Fatigue. WotC didn't feel they were necessary, and cut them in future designs.



Despite this, on MTGO, all cards with flashback have the tombstone on them, even in Innistrad. Meaning, they added the stone to the cards frames despite removing them from paper. If a graveyard is sufficiently large, it can be difficult to thumb through all of it, although you can "pop out" the 'yard online, it just makes a mess of more windows.
"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)
Flashback is a fine ability, but not a particularly good one IMHO.  It definitely wouldn't make my top ten.  As others have mentioned, the hassle of looking through your 'yard (and your opponent's) for relevant cards breaks the flow of the game.  Furthermore, you almost never feel more stupid than when you get burned by an opponet casting a flashback card that you've forgotten about (or, just as bad, realize that you could've cast a relevant spell several turns ago).

My favorite non-evergreen mechanic is scry.  Seriously, WotC, make it evergreen.  It adds so much good to the game.  If you're worried about complexity creep, feel free to get rid of some non-essential evergreen mechanic.  I suggest hexproof.
"I'd love to hear from all of you what you think of [Flashback]."
I like Flashback very much, but I have one bone to pick with it: I feel that it's clumsy and often annoying to have to page through a graveyard stuffed with often irrelevant cards in order to see my Flashback-ready cards. The good thing about using the graveyard as a flashback card's new hand is that it uses a zone that already exists and doesn't often get attention. But I wonder if there is another better way to store or separate Flashback cards.



You are allowed to reorder the graveyard in post Urza's Saga formats, so you can sort them however you want. The downside is that this makes it easier for your opponent too. 


Flashback is a fine ability, but not a particularly good one IMHO.  It definitely wouldn't make my top ten.  As others have mentioned, the hassle of looking through your 'yard (and your opponent's) for relevant cards breaks the flow of the game.  Furthermore, you almost never feel more stupid than when you get burned by an opponet casting a flashback card that you've forgotten about (or, just as bad, realize that you could've cast a relevant spell several turns ago).

My favorite non-evergreen mechanic is scry.  Seriously, WotC, make it evergreen.  It adds so much good to the game.  If you're worried about complexity creep, feel free to get rid of some non-essential evergreen mechanic.  I suggest hexproof.


 
No! Green needs hexproof. It only becomes annoying when Blue touches it (as everything does, like even Buyback). Green has little else going on for its creatures as is. 
I absolutely love Flashback, and I think it should be an evergreen mechanic. It does so much! It fights mana flood, expands the decision-making space, enables strategies like self-milling and self-discard, and lets you cheat by putting multicolor-ish cards in a non-multicolor set (like Travel Preparations etc in Innistrad.) It's fun and flavorful and having Flashback cards in my graveyard is always a great feeling.

To fight gamestate complexity, I would suggest making most Flashback cards sorceries, to lessen the number of stupid "gotcha" moments where I have to constantly be scanning my opponent's graveyard or get blown out by a Flashback instant I should have seen coming (constantly keeping track of my opponent's graveyard is awkward and not fun.)
 
Flashback is one of my favourite mechanics ever. Madness is right up there - maybe we could see it back some time this block? ;)

I had a bit of a question about the article regarding this section on the idea of flashback:

So I spent two days every Pro Tour standing and watching the best of the best play Magic head to head. The games were exciting when close, but not every Magic game is close. When one player was clearly ahead of the other, to make the match more interesting to watch, I would, in my head, give an advantage to the player in the worse condition. What do I mean by that? I mean that I would grant them a secret power that they could use. Then I would figure out how best they could use the power I gave them.


All of the secret powers were really just Vanguard-ish abilities that allowed the players to do special things in the game. The losing player maybe got an extra turn or had boosted creatures or had discounted spells. They were usually things I could figure out from what I could see. Once again, I should stress that this was all in my head.


One power I granted was the ability to cast cards out of your graveyard. I called it gravecast. I tended to grant this power when the game had gone along for a while before one player gained momentum and got way ahead. Of all the powers I would grant, the gravecast ability was one of my favorites.


I vividly remember one day as I'm watching a match where I'd mentally granted one of the players the gravecast ability, I said to myself, "This is fun. We should do this one day."
 



I swear you have told this story before - in fact, I feel like I remember some parts almost word-for-word. I'm pretty sure it is not a false memory, as I remembered the end of the story as soon as I read the beginning - unless it was some very seriously weird deja vu.

Did you tell this bit in an article previously, or perhaps in an interview somewhere? Or, am I just crazy? If you did, was that an intentional sort of "flashback" usage of the passage, or was it one of those things that just happens?

I swear you have told this story before - in fact, I feel like I remember some parts almost word-for-word. I'm pretty sure it is not a false memory, as I remembered the end of the story as soon as I read the beginning - unless it was some very seriously weird deja vu.

Did you tell this bit in an article previously, or perhaps in an interview somewhere? Or, am I just crazy? If you did, was that an intentional sort of "flashback" usage of the passage, or was it one of those things that just happens?




I'm pretty sure I've read about this before as well
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The Story of My Love
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.
I swear you have told this story before - in fact, I feel like I remember some parts almost word-for-word. I'm pretty sure it is not a false memory, as I remembered the end of the story as soon as I read the beginning - unless it was some very seriously weird deja vu.

Did you tell this bit in an article previously, or perhaps in an interview somewhere? Or, am I just crazy? If you did, was that an intentional sort of "flashback" usage of the passage, or was it one of those things that just happens?




I'm pretty sure I've read about this before as well



I was considering posting about that, myself.
Who wants to bet Maro sneaks the "Flashbacked" annotated version of this column in during one of the "best of" weeks (probably the second one)? Seems like the perfect setup for him. (If it were anyone else I would say maybe he wouldn't want to write an extra column during an off week, but Maro's often commented on how he has to restrain himself/be restrained from writing much more than is called for/required for the site.)
Flashback is brilliant. Not the best mechanic ever, but one of the best at least.
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card: [c]cardname[/c]-> [c]Vampire Nighthawk[/c] -> Vampire Nighthawk
But I wonder if there is another better way to store or separate Flashback cards.


You are allowed to reorder the graveyard in post Urza's Saga formats, so you can sort them however you want. The downside is that this makes it easier for your opponent too.


Can you link the relevant rules? I was under the impression you weren't allowed to, specifically because of older formats, and it seems very strange to have different sets of rules depending on what format you are playing.
Can you link the relevant rules? I was under the impression you weren't allowed to, specifically because of older formats, and it seems very strange to have different sets of rules depending on what format you are playing.

Relevant bits:

Comprehensive Rules:
404.2. Each graveyard is kept in a single face-up pile. A player can examine the cards in any graveyard at any time but normally can't change their order. Additional rules applying to sanctioned tournaments may allow a player to change the order of cards in his or her graveyard.

Tournament Rules:
3.14  Graveyard Order
In formats involving only cards from Urza’s Saga™ and later, players may change the order of their graveyard at any time. A player may not change the order of an opponent’s graveyard.

Can you link the relevant rules? I was under the impression you weren't allowed to, specifically because of older formats, and it seems very strange to have different sets of rules depending on what format you are playing.

Relevant bits:

Comprehensive Rules:
404.2. Each graveyard is kept in a single face-up pile. A player can examine the cards in any graveyard at any time but normally can't change their order. Additional rules applying to sanctioned tournaments may allow a player to change the order of cards in his or her graveyard.

Tournament Rules:
3.14  Graveyard Order
In formats involving only cards from Urza’s Saga™ and later, players may change the order of their graveyard at any time. A player may not change the order of an opponent’s graveyard.




Thank you! I wonder now how many other fomat-based rulings there are that I was unaware of?
Thank you! I wonder now how many other fomat-based rulings there are that I was unaware of?

That's pretty much the only one.

Flashback is one of my favourite mechanics ever. Madness is right up there - maybe we could see it back some time this block? ;)

I had a bit of a question about the article regarding this section on the idea of flashback:

So I spent two days every Pro Tour standing and watching the best of the best play Magic head to head. The games were exciting when close, but not every Magic game is close. When one player was clearly ahead of the other, to make the match more interesting to watch, I would, in my head, give an advantage to the player in the worse condition. What do I mean by that? I mean that I would grant them a secret power that they could use. Then I would figure out how best they could use the power I gave them.


All of the secret powers were really just Vanguard-ish abilities that allowed the players to do special things in the game. The losing player maybe got an extra turn or had boosted creatures or had discounted spells. They were usually things I could figure out from what I could see. Once again, I should stress that this was all in my head.


One power I granted was the ability to cast cards out of your graveyard. I called it gravecast. I tended to grant this power when the game had gone along for a while before one player gained momentum and got way ahead. Of all the powers I would grant, the gravecast ability was one of my favorites.


I vividly remember one day as I'm watching a match where I'd mentally granted one of the players the gravecast ability, I said to myself, "This is fun. We should do this one day."
 



I swear you have told this story before - in fact, I feel like I remember some parts almost word-for-word. I'm pretty sure it is not a false memory, as I remembered the end of the story as soon as I read the beginning - unless it was some very seriously weird deja vu.

Did you tell this bit in an article previously, or perhaps in an interview somewhere? Or, am I just crazy? If you did, was that an intentional sort of "flashback" usage of the passage, or was it one of those things that just happens?




I feel exactly the same way.  My guess is that he spliced a few paragraphs from previous articles, "flashbacking" to them.
I like Flashback a lot. It's one of my favorite keyword mechanics.
Well, it pretty much was a flashbacked column. The gravecast story has been told before multiple times, and I remembered it the moment he started talking about the Pro Tour. The returns of flashback in Time Spiral and Innistrad were also discussed before, I believe.

I like flashback. It's not my favourite mechanic (morph!), but it always works nicely. It adds the interesting self-mill strategy to the game and it just does nice things overall.
76125763 wrote:
Zindaras' meta is like a fossil, ancient and its secrets yet to be uncovered. Only men of yore, long dead, knew of it.
I am so glad flashback made it into Innistrad!

I love UG self-milling Spider Spawning decks as well as UR Burning Vengeance decks.
I love the way different decks can value cards like Mulch and Armored Skaab at completely different pick orders. One man's trash bin is another man's library! It really is a great tool for archetype diversity.

It's clever how some flashback cards had off-color flashback costs to give certain color combinations like UR or WG their own identity.

Being able to play a spell-centric deck in Limited is exciting, and I liked the Grixis rebound deck in Rise of Eldrazi too, although it must be a seriously hard thing to balance.

It feels different enough from Odyssey block because in Odyssey you mostly used flashback with self-discard, while in Innistrad it's more about self-milling as well as instants & sorcery triggers.

Goblin Artisans - A Magic Design Blog by GDS2 Contestants and Collaborators
"I'd love to hear from all of you what you think of [Flashback]."
I like Flashback very much, but I have one bone to pick with it: I feel that it's clumsy and often annoying to have to page through a graveyard stuffed with often irrelevant cards in order to see my Flashback-ready cards. The good thing about using the graveyard as a flashback card's new hand is that it uses a zone that already exists and doesn't often get attention. But I wonder if there is another better way to store or separate Flashback cards.


When playing my Burning Vengeance deck, I split my graveyard into two piles: those which are graveyard-active (mainly Flame Jab and Oona's Grace but also flashback spells), and those which aren't. This is permitted because of the rules already quoted. This makes it much easier.


I think I like flashback even more than I like cycling, and I like cycling a lot. I can't think of anything competitive with those two for the best-expert-keyword-ever slot. My off-the-cuff guess at a top five:

1. Flashback
2. Cycling
3. Morph
4. Wither
5. Kicker


I definitely agree with this list of keyword mechanics. (I might just about nudge cycling above flashback.) (Kudos for including wither, which is often neglected or even tarred with the infect brush. I love wither even as I dislike the poison half of infect.)

Now, if we were including "mechanics" in the broader sense, then split cards and hybrid mana might have to fight for those slots; I'm not sure if I love hybrid in and of itself, or just because of how fantastic Shadowmoor-Eventide block was, but I think hybrid is just inherently fun. There's a lot of mileage left in hybrid; even if we don't have another block like Shadowmoor, there could be the set with the {G}{G/W} and {G}{2/W} costs, the set with the {G/W}{W/U} costs (Gaea's Skyfolk / Leonin Skyhunter), the set with {G/W}{W}{W/U} costs, and the set with {G/W}{W/U}{U/B} costs...


There's a lot of mileage left in hybrid; even if we don't have another block like Shadowmoor, there could be the set with the {G}{G/W} and {G}{2/W} costs, the set with the {G/W}{W/U} costs (Gaea's Skyfolk / Leonin Skyhunter), the set with {G/W}{W}{W/U} costs, and the set with {G/W}{W/U}{U/B} costs...



Lets hope a couple of those crazy costs are on legends we can use for commanders; it would be an easy way to get a couple of quad color commanders into the mix
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