02/08/2012 Stf: "Creature Combat"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Savor the Flavor, which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Me: "And if I don't like creature combat?"
Wizards: "Your in the minority. So sucks for you!"
You have failed to properly differentiate between 'your' and 'you're', therefore your point is invalid. In other news, there's just as much flavor behind spells, but this article happens to be about creatures. At any rate, creatures are efficient. One creature keeps on working until it dies. Even an Eager Cadet can eventually kill a Planeswalker on its lonesome, even if the Planeswalker basically has to be asleep in order for that to happen.

No, this doesn't mean every creature is better than every spell. That much is obviously untrue. What it does mean is that having creatures are important for being able to maintain momentum unless you're either generating massive card advantage or comboing out. 
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
I really liked the images that popped into my head after reading this:

A Sanctuary Cat can't "chip away" at a Ghoultree turn by turn, unless multiple cats team up and block it in huge numbers all at once.



An army of cats wildly attacking the Ghoultree like it's a giant scratching post.  I'm imagining this looks similar to a thousand soda-filled kindergardeners unleashed all at once on a giant jungle-gym.

This makes me smile...alot.
So we're planeswalkers again? I thought wizards dropped that idea once they made planeswalker cards.
So we're planeswalkers again? I thought wizards dropped that idea once they made planeswalker cards.



We're still planeswalkers.  Not in the rules sense (there, "player" and "planeswalker" are entirely different and non-overlapping concepts) but certainly in the flavor sense.  That never changed.
Why do we use mana to summon other planeswalkers?

Is there a chance of some random planeswalker summoning us on a bad day?
Ok, before I start my babbling, let me say that gameplay-wise, I'm ok with the blocking rules of MtG. It might be some balancing stuff or something. Now that's out of the way, let me start.

So, in this article Mr. Doug explains what happens at each of the step in the combat phase. At the combat damage step, that's when the attackers deal their damage to their respective blocker or the defending planeswalker. All the while I'm imagining  the battle and I remember that even if you kill a blocker, if an attacker is declared blocked, it remains blocked.

Imagine:
=Declare attackers step.=
"Go, my Balefire Dragon. Attack that fool."
=Declare blockers step.=
"Stormfront Pegasus, defend me!"
=response=
"Prodigal Pyromancer, burn that flying horse!"
=Combat damage step.=
"Meh, doesn't matter, that dragon is still blocked."

"FUUUUUUUUUUU------------"

So, what gives? Anyone know how that blocking rule can tie in with the flavor? Does the corpse stay that the attacker can't get through? (assuming dragons are that stupid) In that case, what if you exiled it with Path to Exile? Gamewise, it's still blocked but come on, flavorwise, nothing is stopping that dragon.
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i love how Wizards is printing article after article about how awesome creature aggro is.  They are clearly trying to brainwash idiots.  I have no problem if you enjoy creature aggro, but why cant I play what I like?  And where does this guy get off thinking that creatures are more complicated to play than spells?  That is just an asinine comment.  Most of these new 1-drop, 2-drop, lord decks are so damn auto-pilot its gross.  I would say this game take less and less thought and strategy each release.  Seems mainly like a game of... win the dice roll... get lucky... pull the threat first.  There isn't any strategy there.

The most disturbing thing is that Wizards is trying to F with modern as well by making combo and control harder and harder to pull off.  THANKS.  It is only a matter of time before Magic becomes a game for 12 year olds.  
Ok, before I start my babbling, let me say that gameplay-wise, I'm ok with the blocking rules of MtG. It might be some balancing stuff or something. Now that's out of the way, let me start.

So, in this article Mr. Doug explains what happens at each of the step in the combat phase. At the combat damage step, that's when the attackers deal their damage to their respective blocker or the defending planeswalker. All the while I'm imagining  the battle and I remember that even if you kill a blocker, if an attacker is declared blocked, it remains blocked.

Imagine:
=Declare attackers step.=
"Go, my Balefire Dragon. Attack that fool."
=Declare blockers step.=
"Stormfront Pegasus, defend me!"
=response=
"Prodigal Pyromancer, burn that flying horse!"
=Combat damage step.=
"Meh, doesn't matter, that dragon is still blocked."

"FUUUUUUUUUUU------------"

So, what gives? Anyone know how that blocking rule can tie in with the flavor? Does the corpse stay that the attacker can't get through? (assuming dragons are that stupid) In that case, what if you exiled it with Path to Exile? Gamewise, it's still blocked but come on, flavorwise, nothing is stopping that dragon.



Creature attacks the player it is after.  That player sends a creature to block it.  The attacking creature gets ticked at the creature that is blocking it and wants to kill that creature and in the interrem forgets about the player it was attacking.  The creature that blocked died to the fire magic but the attacking creature has already forgotten about the player and probably proceeds to beat the blocking creature's corpse into the ground.

A trampling creature on the other hand goes after the player so singlemindedly that anything blocking it simply causes it to lose momentum and therefore causes the creature to cause less damage on impact.  If a creature blocking it dies, none of it's original momentum is lost and therefore deals full damage to the player.

(This is just something I came up with.  It isn't written down anywhere) 
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i love how Wizards is printing article after article about how awesome creature aggro is.  They are clearly trying to brainwash idiots.  I have no problem if you enjoy creature aggro, but why cant I play what I like?  And where does this guy get off thinking that creatures are more complicated to play than spells?  That is just an asinine comment.  Most of these new 1-drop, 2-drop, lord decks are so damn auto-pilot its gross.  I would say this game take less and less thought and strategy each release.  Seems mainly like a game of... win the dice roll... get lucky... pull the threat first.  There isn't any strategy there.

The most disturbing thing is that Wizards is trying to F with modern as well by making combo and control harder and harder to pull off.  THANKS.  It is only a matter of time before Magic becomes a game for 12 year olds.  



You know, it's funny. I've been reading people saying this since I first starting going to this website (around 8th edition-time), and somehow I still only see two people under 18 at a 135-man prerelease. Is this some sort of Zeno's Paradox of magic de-aging, where the game is always getting simpler but will never arrive at its destination?
Great article!

I really liked the images that popped into my head after reading this:
A Sanctuary Cat can't "chip away" at a Ghoultree turn by turn, unless multiple cats team up and block it in huge numbers all at once.



An army of cats wildly attacking the Ghoultree like it's a giant scratching post.  I'm imagining this looks similar to a thousand soda-filled kindergardeners unleashed all at once on a giant jungle-gym.

This makes me smile...alot.


This post is made of win.

Why do we use mana to summon other planeswalkers?

Is there a chance of some random planeswalker summoning us on a bad day?


"Summoning" a fellow Planeswalker isnt like summoning a creature. Its more like sending them a telepathic message (or a messenger) through the aether, making a bargain with them, or calling in an old debt.

So yes, if Jace/Garruk/Chandra/whoever saves your butt one day, they might call on you to save theirs at some point in the future. Afterall, you owe them.

~ Tim
I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)

Creature attacks the player it is after.  That player sends a creature to block it.  The attacking creature gets ticked at the creature that is blocking it and wants to kill that creature and in the interrem forgets about the player it was attacking.  The creature that blocked died to the fire magic but the attacking creature has already forgotten about the player and probably proceeds to beat the blocking creature's corpse into the ground.

A trampling creature on the other hand goes after the player so singlemindedly that anything blocking it simply causes it to lose momentum and therefore causes the creature to cause less damage on impact.  If a creature blocking it dies, none of it's original momentum is lost and therefore deals full damage to the player.

(This is just something I came up with.  It isn't written down anywhere) 



Your answer is acknowledged. However...

That doesn't quite cut it. The planeswalker commands the creature to attack the opponent. The defending one sends a blocker. That creature would try and get in the way of the attacker, but the attacker's target is still the opponent - even if it doesn't have trample. So if that blocker would die or vanish, the attacker would deal its damage to the opponent.

Although, strength of focus would vary from creature to creature. Your explanation may be applicable to some creatures, like goblins and, er, goblins.

I am Blue/Black
I am Blue/Black
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
I'm both selfish and rational. I'm scheming, secretive and manipulative; I use knowledge as a tool for personal gain, and in turn obtaining more knowledge. At best, I am mysterious and stealthy; at worst, I am distrustful and opportunistic.
I think a lot about flavor. So that is why my answers "sound" knowledgable, but makes a lot of assumptions there's no information on. So now questions with my thoughts of how they work:


So we're planeswalkers again? I thought wizards dropped that idea once they made planeswalker cards.


No, just because planeswalker spells exist doesn't mean planeswalkers exist. That's what your Garruk, Primal Hunter is, a planeswalker spell. Anything can be turn into spells-- undead, people, rituals, animals, blasts of fire, foresight-altering eyeball containers, and now Planeswalkers.

When you summon Garruk, Primal Hunter, you're casting a spell that's not actually him. It doesn't pull him from the local tavern and make him work for you (after all, he may have died years ago). The spell comes from somebody who knew him at a certain point in time, and made a spellform of him at that time. Either you are that person, or you owe your thanks to him for coming upon the spell.

When you summon him, he is the version in the spellbook that copied him from that time. However, spell-production is a sort of time travel-- the spells you cast ultimately have an origin from where it is "stolen", another dimension in which you can take from that spell (which is good because there are infinite dimensions in this theory).

The reason it is time travel is because you are summoning Garruk, Primal Hunter from a dimension in which he is transported to where you are. The problem with Planeswalkers is that they have a special essence, a uniqueness about them that makes it impossible for them to run into themselves, no matter what time they're from. Two spells of Incinerate don't conflict because no two Incinerates are alike. However, all Garruks are based off the exact person Garruk Wildspeaker, no matter what point in the timeline you're referencing with your spell's version of Garruk.

So in the end, you bring a Garruk, Primal Hunter into the fray to help you. You've got control of him, but another planeswalker is too complicated to make an exact spell of. He has a few tasks spells you can control, and when you make him do too much work (-x) and not have things more his way (+x); or he gets hit by creatures (by getting attacked), he loses loyalty to you; again, because he's a planeswalker and is too powerful to completely control.

So that's how planeswalkers have spells of planeswalkers.

Ok, before I start my babbling, let me say that gameplay-wise, I'm ok with the blocking rules of MtG. It might be some balancing stuff or something. Now that's out of the way, let me start.

So, in this article Mr. Doug explains what happens at each of the step in the combat phase. At the combat damage step, that's when the attackers deal their damage to their respective blocker or the defending planeswalker. All the while I'm imagining  the battle and I remember that even if you kill a blocker, if an attacker is declared blocked, it remains blocked.

Imagine:
=Declare attackers step.=
"Go, my Balefire Dragon. Attack that fool."
=Declare blockers step.=
"Stormfront Pegasus, defend me!"
=response=
"Prodigal Pyromancer, burn that flying horse!"
=Combat damage step.=
"Meh, doesn't matter, that dragon is still blocked."

"FUUUUUUUUUUU------------"

So, what gives? Anyone know how that blocking rule can tie in with the flavor? Does the corpse stay that the attacker can't get through? (assuming dragons are that stupid) In that case, what if you exiled it with Path to Exile? Gamewise, it's still blocked but come on, flavorwise, nothing is stopping that dragon.


I usually see battles as huge. Not all the time, but if I were to make a show then many of the battles planeswalkers get into would involve lots of running around large expanses of land (because they need better positioning to tap into the mana of an Island a mile away. This usually takes a whole turn to do, although turns aren't defied as a certain amount of itme).

Given that, it makes sense to me that when the creatures you send to the enemy's location 500 yards away, they run into some opposition that changes things. Once your Balefire Dragon is in the fray of battle with Stormfront Pegasus, even though neither has done enough damage to each other to be noted significant, a late Prodigal Pyromancer shooting down the SPegasus causes the battle to end right in the middle.

Neither killed each other like may have happened with other warriors, but the dragon didn't just stand there waiting, its opponent just happened to have disappeared before any damage showed up in game context. (I say Prodigal Pyromancer was late because he could have shot the SPegasus down before the opponent ever could have arranged an interception.)

I usually see battles as huge. Not all the time, but if I were to make a show then many of the battles planeswalkers get into would involve lots of running around large expanses of land (because they need better positioning to tap into the mana of an Island a mile away. This usually takes a whole turn to do, although turns aren't defied as a certain amount of itme).

Given that, it makes sense to me that when the creatures you send to the enemy's location 500 yards away, they run into some opposition that changes things. Once your Balefire Dragon is in the fray of battle with Stormfront Pegasus, even though neither has done enough damage to each other to be noted significant, a late Prodigal Pyromancer shooting down the SPegasus causes the battle to end right in the middle.

Neither killed each other like may have happened with other warriors, but the dragon didn't just stand there waiting, its opponent just happened to have disappeared before any damage showed up in game context. (I say Prodigal Pyromancer was late because he could have shot the SPegasus down before the opponent ever could have arranged an interception.)



Yes, indeed. In an actual game, I'd shoot the pegasus down with the Pyromancer's ability way before this point.

Well, this is kind of a better explanation than the previous one (It only works under the assumption that every creature is awfully stupid and easily distracted).

We can't expect game rules and flavor to go along perfectly with each other, anyway. But my Vorthos blood just couldn't resist asking that question. I'll be exercising my neurons to come up with my own explanation (maybe mixing in these inputs). I hope you won't take offense if I don't accept your explanation as it is. :D

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Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
I'm both selfish and rational. I'm scheming, secretive and manipulative; I use knowledge as a tool for personal gain, and in turn obtaining more knowledge. At best, I am mysterious and stealthy; at worst, I am distrustful and opportunistic.
That's fine, I mean it's all just our own interpretations based off the little flavor compendium we had.

I'd like to see more interpretations, too. I'm always up for being persuaded if the idea makes more sense. 
None of the combat flavor in the article really works for me. I'm perfectly fine with how the game handles combat, because abstraction is necessary to make good gameplay, but the flavor of "let's take turns attacking each other" is atrocious.

The way I picture combat flavor is as a free-for-all melee, with both planeswalkers (or all planeswalkers in multiplayer) sending their attackers into the fray at once, or positioning those summonations that can't attack into the best defensive positions. You don't summon a dozen soldiers in shining platemail and then have them stand there waiting for your turn to command an attack. No, you summon your army and immediately march it into the ongoing fray, where the battle continues until one of the two sides calls a retreat.

A lot of the flavor in Magic works brilliantly, like what exactly a creature or spell represents, or what certain actions mean. However, the crunchier aspects of the rules, like what exactly a library or graveyard is, or what turn order means, or what the phases of a turn represent, should most definitely not be directly converted to a flavor concept. After all, the half-mad, raging pyromancer across from you won't stand there waiting until you "pass priority" before he throws a fireball at your head. And a dragon won't sit patiently while a pegasus flies up to get in his way; no, the dragon will scorch that pegasus out of the sky with its firebreath and then keep going after its real target.

So what I'm saying is, the entire duel should be pictured as one gigantic grand melee, not a sequence of "turns" of traded assaults and spells.
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Why do we use mana to summon other planeswalkers?

Is there a chance of some random planeswalker summoning us on a bad day?



Its like having a collection of dirty magazine (Mana) and going "Heeeeeey SORRRRIN! Yo I got some of them good stuff if you want some!... I'll TRADE!" Sorin comes in and say "Oh ****! YOU FO REALZ!"

Kinda like that.


My assumption is that you made a prior pact with the Planeswalker in question, which involved learning/acquiring the spell to summon him (perhaps you paid Sorin, Lord of Innistrad $50 for a copy).  When you remember and cast that spell, you activate the pact, perhaps giving Sorin some further payment at that time (an agreement that he can summon you, or some of the mana from your casting).  Sorin then stays and helps you out, until he feels he's finished upholding his side of the bargain (loyalty 0), his existence is threatened (Vindicate), or your opponent also activates a pact with Sorin, and the conflict in his loyalties forces him to leave rather than fight against either of you.
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My assumption is that you made a prior pact with the Planeswalker in question, which involved learning/acquiring the spell to summon him (perhaps you paid Sorin, Lord of Innistrad $50 for a copy).  When you remember and cast that spell, you activate the pact, perhaps giving Sorin some further payment at that time (an agreement that he can summon you, or some of the mana from your casting).  Sorin then stays and helps you out, until he feels he's finished upholding his side of the bargain (loyalty 0), his existence is threatened (Vindicate), or your opponent also activates a pact with Sorin, and the conflict in his loyalties forces him to leave rather than fight against either of you.

I mostly agree with this, with one main difference. I don't think the planeswalker card in your deck represents a spell to summon that 'walker, but instead a beacon to send a message to him wherever he is. The planeswalker cards are like a multiversal cell phone number. It's up to the 'walker whether or not he actually shows up (though the game abstracts this to "always shows up", for better gameplay).
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