01/16/2011 MM: "Dancing in the Dark Ascension, Part 2"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
So.... 2x Burning Vengeance + 2x Gravecrawler + Flayer of the Hatebound? Nice deck!
Doesn't work that way. Gravecrawler is cast from the graveyard, which means it enters the battlefield from the stack.
blah blah metal lyrics
Yay! Another win-more card!

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Yay! Another win-more card!

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It actually seems more fun than what you might make it seem. Heartmender wasn't a "win more" card, but this one does promote a quick clock!
"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)
Sounds to me like his wife gave him A Whack On The Side Of The Head! ;)


Seriously, I think the contrast between Persist and Undying should be taught in design classes. It's so elegant and obvious-once-you-see-it.  

"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

Seriously, I think the contrast between Persist and Undying should be taught in design classes. It's so elegant and obvious-once-you-see-it.  

Why, it's almost as if Wizards finally figured out why Rebels were so much better than Mercenaries!

It's like warstorm surge, only grave-ier! And it's in a intro pack! Nice.
It's like warstorm surge, only grave-ier! And it's in a intro pack! Nice.

Imagin having them both in play ... Surprised. And I love the fact that this guy is a lil expensive to cast + in a intropack, means I should have no trouble getting a playset of him. I wuv devils!! Too bad most of them suck and the good ones never seem to synergies with each other. 
Seriously, I think the contrast between Persist and Undying should be taught in design classes. It's so elegant and obvious-once-you-see-it.  

Why, it's almost as if Wizards finally figured out why Rebels were so much better than Mercenaries!




Depends, if Kitchen Finks was a 4 mana creature with undying instead, it wouldn't see the play it sees now. The good thing about (partial) downsides is that you can cost aggressively. 
Doesn't work that way. Gravecrawler is cast from the graveyard, which means it enters the battlefield from the stack.



Nothing enters the battlefield from the stack.  When a card mentions entering the battlefield, it either doesn't care where it comes from or (like here) it mentions a specific zone.  The hand, graveyard, library, and exile are zones.  In this case, the Flayer doesn't care how your creature gets out of the graveyard, only that that's where it's coming from.  Therefore, the combo mentioned does work, as does playing cards with unearth, Zombify, etc.
So New Phyrexia was "3.  Burn down the tree"?

Or were the Mirrans never the heroes to begin with?
So the hated combo of Melira, Sylvok OutcastKitchen Finks win 2 lives now gets do 3 damages?

 
Phrexia is the protagonist, arguably.

Also if you take the entire block as step 1 of some new story, New Phyrexia is the bad guys climbing the tree.

The thing I like about that is that having longterm bad guys also means having longterm good guys. As in, a return to our old home.
Doesn't work that way. Gravecrawler is cast from the graveyard, which means it enters the battlefield from the stack.



Nothing enters the battlefield from the stack.  When a card mentions entering the battlefield, it either doesn't care where it comes from or (like here) it mentions a specific zone.  The hand, graveyard, library, and exile are zones.  In this case, the Flayer doesn't care how your creature gets out of the graveyard, only that that's where it's coming from.  Therefore, the combo mentioned does work, as does playing cards with unearth, Zombify, etc.

I think you may be mistaken here, because the stack is also a zone, just as much as the graveyard is. So when a spell is cast from your graveyard it will enter the battlefield from the stack, when it enters the battlefield via a Zombify it comes from the graveyard.

So Unearth will work, becuase it's an activated ability on a card that puts it onto the battlefield, Zombify and friends will work, as will Undying, but not cards cast from the graveyard because they will go to a different zone in the interim.
"Personally, I believe $50 is the roof that someone will pay for a Standard card, Mythic or otherwise." - Ben Bleiweiss, StarCity Games ----------------------------------------------------------
Doesn't work that way. Gravecrawler is cast from the graveyard, which means it enters the battlefield from the stack.



Nothing enters the battlefield from the stack.  When a card mentions entering the battlefield, it either doesn't care where it comes from or (like here) it mentions a specific zone.  The hand, graveyard, library, and exile are zones.  In this case, the Flayer doesn't care how your creature gets out of the graveyard, only that that's where it's coming from.  Therefore, the combo mentioned does work, as does playing cards with unearth, Zombify, etc.



This is wrong.  The stack is just as much a zone as the hand and the graveyard.  If a permanent card is cast from the graveyard, it goes graveyard->stack->battlefield.  In this case, there isn't a graveyard->battlefield transition, so Flayer of the Hatebound won't trigger.

Consider River Kelpie.  It has one ability for the graveyard->battlefield transition and another one for the graveyard->stack transition.  Something that puts a card directly from the graveyard onto the battlefield, such as undying or persist, will trigger only the first.  Something that lets the card be cast, such as Gravecrawler, will trigger only the second.
So New Phyrexia was "3.  Burn down the tree"?

Or were the Mirrans never the heroes to begin with?

The third step doesnt state how you shall put the hero down the tree. :-) He can either climb down or fall off...that tree methaphor is really good. Gonna remember it.
Ah, so it wasn't that Mana burn wasn't understood or anything, it was just they wanted to get rid of it so they could design more cards.  Suspensions confirmed.  Sigh.
When I saw Undying for the first time I figured the design story would be something along the lines of: we needed a mechanic and someone figured we could use persist and change it to work with +1/+1 counters. In a way it was, but it is nice to be reminded of how hindsight can make things seem obvious when they are not. When you see undying you might be reminded of persist and think it was a simple thing to come up with, but if you wouldn't have undying to look at in the first place, it wouldn't be so obvious. 

On the card:
Am I reading this card correctly? If I have this guy on the battlefield and my opponent uses rise from the grave to get a creature out of my graveyard, he gets to deal damage to me or a creature I control?
On the card:
Am I reading this card correctly? If I have this guy on the battlefield and my opponent uses rise from the grave to get a creature out of my graveyard, he gets to deal damage to me or a creature I control?


Wouldn't the Flayer's controller get to choose the targets? He or she controls the source of the triggered ability, so he or she makes all choices for that triggered ability, no?
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
On the card:
Am I reading this card correctly? If I have this guy on the battlefield and my opponent uses rise from the grave to get a creature out of my graveyard, he gets to deal damage to me or a creature I control?


Wouldn't the Flayer's controller get to choose the targets? He or she controls the source of the triggered ability, so he or she makes all choices for that triggered ability, no?



The controller of the Devil controls the abilities, and thus the targets, regardless of whom is controlling the effect that brings a critter out. If someone Rises, then they control that creature, but you, as the controller of the Flayer, get to choose targets ... including making that creature shoot itself.
"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)
So New Phyrexia was "3.  Burn down the tree"?

Or were the Mirrans never the heroes to begin with?



No.
Scars--put Mirrans up a tree.
Beseiged and NPH--throw rocks then boulders at the Mirrans
???--Put phyrexians up that tree
????--throw rocks at NPH
?????--MIRRODIN PURE AT LAST!! 
So New Phyrexia was "3.  Burn down the tree"?

Or were the Mirrans never the heroes to begin with?

The difference is that MaRo was describing a comedic arc - tragic stories tend not to end so well. As a rule, comedies get worse, so that they can get better; tragedies get better, just so that they can get worse. The problem is that, as an audience, we're generally accustomed to that, and we cringe when things get better in the middle of a story, because we know that it can't last.

Scars block intentionally subverted this trope, in order to disguise the third act - they intentionally played the first half of a comedic arc, and then ended the story tragically. That being the case, it is very much an exception to the normal rules for storytelling...
1 - Mirrodin block (Memnarch's corruption plants the seed for Phyrexia)

2- Scars block (Phyrexia nearly wipes out Mirran life)

3 - Next Mirrodin block (Who knows?)   

"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

Ah, so it wasn't that Mana burn wasn't understood or anything, it was just they wanted to get rid of it so they could design more cards.  Suspensions confirmed.  Sigh.



Let me just throw in there that this sounds like a great reason to get rid of mana burn, which had an impact on less than 1% of the games I played.
Ah, so it wasn't that Mana burn wasn't understood or anything, it was just they wanted to get rid of it so they could design more cards.  Suspensions confirmed.  Sigh.



Let me just throw in there that this sounds like a great reason to get rid of mana burn, which had an impact on less than 1% of the games I played.



There's an element of the argument that mana burn was so unimpacting to the average player that it would have no impact were it to leave. Problematically, several cards were designed to take this effect into account, or even outright use it to advantage, including Mana Echoes and Wars' Toll, or Mana Geyser. Loss of the effect caused these cards to shift functionality, or lose portions to which they were not only designed for, but we were told to employ them for. MaRo said that he tried to keep it in, but Aaron Forsythe was the one that wanted to toss it for two, and really only two reasons:

1. It didn't make sense to new players, who felt being punished by the mechanic was off-setting. To get new players, the effect should go because it wasn't a positive that could be enjoyed by the majority of players. It was essentially employed by a few as a griefer or pillowfort strategy. The problem with this argument is that Richard Garfield introduced it as a strategy to caution players about extending their mana useage, and employ careful play and tapping, and understanding of the costs of cards and abilities you were using them, punishing you for not taking that extra care. it taught you to manage your mana carefully, and was exploitable in a few strategies.

2. There were strategies or cards that R&D had in mind that they wanted to use that could only be done when mana burn was gone, and one of those was pointed out by the ridiculous reminder text on Obsidian Fireheart -- which, incidentally, doesn't tell you what "burn" means in context despite being rules text. It's not the only card they made that could be done when mana burn was gone, but you get the point. Allowing mana burn would have, in the R&Ders minds, opened designed space, essentially made in the opposite direction from that which mana burn created (which resulted in no net gain of design space, as what was gained matched what was lost).
"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)


1. It didn't make sense to new players, who felt being punished by the mechanic was off-setting. To get new players, the effect should go because it wasn't a positive that could be enjoyed by the majority of players. It was essentially employed by a few as a griefer or pillowfort strategy. The problem with this argument is that Richard Garfield introduced it as a strategy to caution players about extending their mana useage, and employ careful play and tapping, and understanding of the costs of cards and abilities you were using them, punishing you for not taking that extra care. it taught you to manage your mana carefully, and was exploitable in a few strategies.

2. There were strategies or cards that R&D had in mind that they wanted to use that could only be done when mana burn was gone, and one of those was pointed out by the ridiculous reminder text on Obsidian Fireheart -- which, incidentally, doesn't tell you what "burn" means in context despite being rules text. It's not the only card they made that could be done when mana burn was gone, but you get the point. Allowing mana burn would have, in the R&Ders minds, opened designed space, essentially made in the opposite direction from that which mana burn created (which resulted in no net gain of design space, as what was gained matched what was lost).



Seems like you're reading too much into Obsidian Fireheart, which just looks to me like the rules text is unusually highly flavorful. If a land has a blaze counter on it, then it is literally burning in the context of the game. That is quite grokkable isn't it? What's the problem?

As to point 1, doesn't it seem pretty obvious that keeping your land untapped is always the superior play anyway, as you get to bluff that you might play an instant spell at any time? It doesn't really matter if the creator introduced it as a strategy, what really matters is that strategy's continued relevance. Seems to me like it was pretty darn irrelevant except in corner cases. There are plenty of things in Magic that teach you to manage your resources carefully, punishment for accidental land tappage just seems excessive.

I don't REALLY want to hijack the thread with a resurrection of mana burn debate, mind you, so this will be my last post on this particular topic.



1. It didn't make sense to new players, who felt being punished by the mechanic was off-setting. To get new players, the effect should go because it wasn't a positive that could be enjoyed by the majority of players. It was essentially employed by a few as a griefer or pillowfort strategy. The problem with this argument is that Richard Garfield introduced it as a strategy to caution players about extending their mana useage, and employ careful play and tapping, and understanding of the costs of cards and abilities you were using them, punishing you for not taking that extra care. it taught you to manage your mana carefully, and was exploitable in a few strategies.

2. There were strategies or cards that R&D had in mind that they wanted to use that could only be done when mana burn was gone, and one of those was pointed out by the ridiculous reminder text on Obsidian Fireheart -- which, incidentally, doesn't tell you what "burn" means in context despite being rules text. It's not the only card they made that could be done when mana burn was gone, but you get the point. Allowing mana burn would have, in the R&Ders minds, opened designed space, essentially made in the opposite direction from that which mana burn created (which resulted in no net gain of design space, as what was gained matched what was lost).



Seems like you're reading too much into Obsidian Fireheart, which just looks to me like the rules text is unusually highly flavorful. If a land has a blaze counter on it, then it is literally burning in the context of the game. That is quite grokkable isn't it? What's the problem?

As to point 1, doesn't it seem pretty obvious that keeping your land untapped is always the superior play anyway, as you get to bluff that you might play an instant spell at any time? It doesn't really matter if the creator introduced it as a strategy, what really matters is that strategy's continued relevance. Seems to me like it was pretty darn irrelevant except in corner cases. There are plenty of things in Magic that teach you to manage your resources carefully, punishment for accidental land tappage just seems excessive.

I don't REALLY want to hijack the thread with a resurrection of mana burn debate, mind you, so this will be my last post on this particular topic.



Understand I am not arguing for or against the removal of mana burn here. I am discussing why it was removed. Both reasons are valid and (as far as I can tell) proven. I agree that the mana burn removal helps new players, and for that I laud forsythe's removal of it.

I find Obsidian Fireheart stupid. The ability is not grokkable in pure reflection of its reminder text. If it were, it wouldn't need the reminder text. "The land continues to burn" makes no sense, because it only occasionally deals you damage, or not at all with things like Mark of Asylum. Mana burn ignored dmaage prevention because it wasn't damage, but loss of life. Even if the ability is grokkable without recourse to the reminder text, the latter just makes it confusing because it makes no sense in matters relating to the rules, as it reflects the developers' inside joke at mana burn lovers.
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
I find Obsidian Fireheart stupid. The ability is not grokkable in pure reflection of its reminder text. If it were, it wouldn't need the reminder text. "The land continues to burn" makes no sense, because it only occasionally deals you damage, or not at all with things like Mark of Asylum. Mana burn ignored dmaage prevention because it wasn't damage, but loss of life. Even if the ability is grokkable without recourse to the reminder text, the latter just makes it confusing because it makes no sense in matters relating to the rules, as it reflects the developers' inside joke at mana burn lovers.



I never knew it was a reference to mana burn, "the land continues to burn", pretty funny =)
Has there been a Wizards person talking about this connection. All I remember is that they talked about how they wanted reminder text, which is not rules text,  more flavorful and less technical, just like the text for Wither a while back.
On the card:
Am I reading this card correctly? If I have this guy on the battlefield and my opponent uses rise from the grave to get a creature out of my graveyard, he gets to deal damage to me or a creature I control?


Wouldn't the Flayer's controller get to choose the targets? He or she controls the source of the triggered ability, so he or she makes all choices for that triggered ability, no?



The controller of the Devil controls the abilities, and thus the targets, regardless of whom is controlling the effect that brings a critter out. If someone Rises, then they control that creature, but you, as the controller of the Flayer, get to choose targets ... including making that creature shoot itself.



I'm not much of a hard core rules guy so maybe you are correct, but what confuses me then is the wording, it says: THAT CREATURE deals damage equal to its power....etc. Which to me would indicate the risen creature doing the damage dealing, and thus it's controller. But again I'm more of a intuitive follower of the rules not someone who knows and follows Magic's rules strictly by the (rules)book.
On the card:
Am I reading this card correctly? If I have this guy on the battlefield and my opponent uses rise from the grave to get a creature out of my graveyard, he gets to deal damage to me or a creature I control?


Wouldn't the Flayer's controller get to choose the targets? He or she controls the source of the triggered ability, so he or she makes all choices for that triggered ability, no?



The controller of the Devil controls the abilities, and thus the targets, regardless of whom is controlling the effect that brings a critter out. If someone Rises, then they control that creature, but you, as the controller of the Flayer, get to choose targets ... including making that creature shoot itself.



I'm not much of a hard core rules guy so maybe you are correct, but what confuses me then is the wording, it says: THAT CREATURE deals damage equal to its power....etc. Which to me would indicate the risen creature doing the damage dealing, and thus it's controller. But again I'm more of a intuitive follower of the rules not someone who knows and follows Magic's rules strictly by the (rules)book.


The trick here is that unless the card specifies who controls the ability, like Pandemonium's "that creature's controller," Flayer of the Hatebound simply says "that creature," meaning that it only makes the creature card a source, not its owner or controller a controller of the ability. This defaults the control of the ability to the object that chooses targets, i.e., the Devil itself. Warstorm Surge lacks "that creature's controller," but includes "under your control," so there is no confusion about who is choosing the targets here.
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
The controller of a triggered ability is always the player who controls (or, in those cases where it has no controller, owns) the source.  And the controller of an ability is the player who chooses its targets, unless it specifically says otherwise, as Pandemonium does (the "of his or her choice" is the relevant part).

Suppose, for example, that Alice controls Pandemonium, while both Alice and Bob control White Knight, Silver Knight, and Gladecover Scout.

In this situation, if any creature entered the battlefield, Bob's Gladecover Scout couldn't be targeted, while Alice's Gladecover Scout could (Alice controls the triggered ability).  Also, neither Silver Knight could be targeted (it's a triggered ability from a red source).  The ability can always target either White Knight, but if it's a black creature that entered the battlefield, the damage it would deal is prevented.

Flayer of the Hatebound works the same way, except that the ability is mandatory and the controller of the Flayer is always the one to choose the target (and it only works if it's coming from the graveyard).
The trick here is that unless the card specifies who controls the ability, like Pandemonium's "that creature's controller," Flayer of the Hatebound simply says "that creature," meaning that it only makes the creature card a source, not its owner or controller a controller of the ability. This defaults the control of the ability to the object that chooses targets, i.e., the Devil itself. Warstorm Surge lacks "that creature's controller," but includes "under your control," so there is no confusion about who is choosing the targets here.



The controller of a triggered ability is always the player who controls (or, in those cases where it has no controller, owns) the source.  And the controller of an ability is the player who chooses its targets, unless it specifically says otherwise, as Pandemonium does (the "of his or her choice" is the relevant part).

Suppose, for example, that Alice controls Pandemonium, while both Alice and Bob control White Knight, Silver Knight, and Gladecover Scout.

In this situation, if any creature entered the battlefield, Bob's Gladecover Scout couldn't be targeted, while Alice's Gladecover Scout could (Alice controls the triggered ability).  Also, neither Silver Knight could be targeted (it's a triggered ability from a red source).  The ability can always target either White Knight, but if it's a black creature that entered the battlefield, the damage it would deal is prevented.

Flayer of the Hatebound works the same way, except that the ability is mandatory and the controller of the Flayer is always the one to choose the target (and it only works if it's coming from the graveyard).



Ok, thanks for the clarifications, sometimes the intuition approach goes a bit wrong but luckily that is usually restricted to corner cases. I like my games much better if the rules play their role "in the background",so to speak. Nevertheless it is always good to learn about things like this, if only to sharpen ones intuitions.