03/06/2012 LI: "Double-Fate Cards"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Limited Information, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
What is this I keep reading about, wherein people actually get good first-pick cards in a draft?  It certainly never happens to me.
Are they still trying to convince us that Soul Siezer isn't garbage?
Oh, yeah, Limited.  Yay garbage!
I enjoyed the article.  Since I don't really get to draft cardboard, but hope to in the near future, it's always nice to get insight into how double faced cards affect communication.

I also was appalled by the fourth pick Soul Seizer though.  Let that garbage wheel even if you are in blue. 
Heh. Wizards decide on this really bad idea (DFCs), and have to change the rules of drafts to accommodate it. The fact that they didn't change MTGO to also display DFCs indicate that it's not a desired aspect of the idea, but an unfortunate consequence of having to, y'know, play with physical objects in a three-dimensional world. It's tantamount to admitting there are big problems with DFCs.

It means there's eight months where drafting is affected in the wacky way that Steve describes here. I find it interesting and amusing that good players generally want to reveal some information to their neighbours, but are prevented from doing so by the rules, and the very fact of being not a proper card with a proper back makes something a desirable pick. And yet, Rochester draft is not so popular; there's no desire to reveal everything about your deck. It's an interesting dynamic: if you had the choice, how many of your picks would you choose to reveal to your neighbours?

Maybe once DFCs have died the death they need to die, and been buried deeper than Arcane and Banding, Wizards will invent some new draft format whereby players can reveal as many of your picks as you like; we'd get pros discussing whether 1 or 4 or 8 is the right number to reveal. Interesting thought experiment. (Whaddaya know, some good things do manage to come from even the worst ideas!)
Heh. Wizards decide on this really bad idea (DFCs), and have to change the rules of drafts to accommodate it. The fact that they didn't change MTGO to also display DFCs indicate that it's not a desired aspect of the idea, but an unfortunate consequence of having to, y'know, play with physical objects in a three-dimensional world. It's tantamount to admitting there are big problems with DFCs.



Or maybe, there are just problems getting MTGO to implement it properly?  I can't imagine the impact of DFC on Limited was a surprise; it's the first thing anyone would think of when contemplating a change to the card back.
Heh. Wizards decide on this really bad idea (DFCs), and have to change the rules of drafts to accommodate it. The fact that they didn't change MTGO to also display DFCs indicate that it's not a desired aspect of the idea, but an unfortunate consequence of having to, y'know, play with physical objects in a three-dimensional world. It's tantamount to admitting there are big problems with DFCs.



Or maybe, there are just problems getting MTGO to implement it properly?  I can't imagine the impact of DFC on Limited was a surprise; it's the first thing anyone would think of when contemplating a change to the card back.


You say that, but in his original article on DFCs, Mark Rosewater doesn't mention draft at all. He enthuses about the horrible, horrible checklist cards as a solution for "Limited" (principally meaning Sealed Deck AFAICT), but doesn't mention draft once.

The closest he gets is this laughable paragraph:
It created all sorts of logistical headaches not just for game play but for the entire Organized Play system. (By the way, we never at any point took this lightly.)

Yes, yes it did...

So yeah, I'm sure MTGO could have been made to show when other people pick DFCs. Every new set brings new coding challenges for MTGO, be it the new card frames of planeswalkers or level-up cards, or the new targeting conditions, replacement effects, and bizarre oneoff cards that every set has. 
Can somebody point me to an article that explains this whole 'signalling' thing? I've been trying for years to figure it out and I don't get it.

For instance, with respect to this essay, Steve talks about the 'signal' you send to the entire table by first-picking a Loyal Cathar. Short of announcing, 'Woot! I just first-picked a Loyal Cathar!', which I'm pretty sure is illegal, how would anybody know that's what you're picking? If I got handed a pack with the double-faced slot missing, I'd be far more likely to assume that the card picked was an actually good double-faced card like a Huntmaster than something like a Loyal Cathar.

I do understand the general concept of 'color signals' -- if you're consistently getting passed packs that are heavy in one or two colors, you can be pretty sure that your nearby neighbors to that side aren't in those colors and are thus drafting from the other colors -- but specific card-based signals make no sense to me, unless drafting is a lot different than the way I've generally experienced it.

--
Pauper
Short of announcing, 'Woot! I just first-picked a Loyal Cathar!', which I'm pretty sure is illegal, how would anybody know that's what you're picking?


When you play with real cards (as opposed to MTGO) and you pick a double-faced card like Loyal Cathar, everyone at the table can see what you picked. So if you first pick a DFC, yes, you're announcing it to the table.

As far as signalling, it's not just about reading what your neighbors are doing. You also want to send your neighbors a clear message about your own intentions. Remember, the reason for this is that you are all trying to build the best deck with scarce resources, and generally if you can choose different colors or draft plans from your neighbors, you will all benefit. If you choose the same plan/color, you will all suffer.

So passing someone a Mikaeus the Unhallowed (a mono-black bomb) or Fires of Undeath (one of the top limited removal spells) says, "You should play black or red." First picking a Loyal Cathar says, "I am playing white. Don't fight me for it."

The problem with signalling is that most players are bad at both sending and reading signals, which makes analyzing signals a waste of time. Even if you are with a group that gets the basic concept, the group still needs a solid understanding of which cards are powerful in a format. So sometimes even decent players end up sending mixed signals. This leaves with situations where you would've done better sticking to your basic bombs-removal-evasion plan instead of worrying about what everyone else was doing. It's also why there aren't very many articles about signalling; it's kind of a fringe topic that isn't always useful.

Steve does have a couple older posts about signalling...
www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.a...
www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.a...
Can somebody point me to an article that explains this whole 'signalling' thing? I've been trying for years to figure it out and I don't get it.

For instance, with respect to this essay, Steve talks about the 'signal' you send to the entire table by first-picking a Loyal Cathar. Short of announcing, 'Woot! I just first-picked a Loyal Cathar!', which I'm pretty sure is illegal, how would anybody know that's what you're picking? If I got handed a pack with the double-faced slot missing, I'd be far more likely to assume that the card picked was an actually good double-faced card like a Huntmaster than something like a Loyal Cathar.

In the case of double-faced cards, they're supposed to look at the stack of cards you're drafting and see whether or not the most recent card you picked is double-faced (and, if so, which one it is).  I would like to be able to draft in this way, but frankly I don't trust the players at my new local shop to be paying that much attention.  On the off chance that they are paying attention, I also don't trust them not to go out of their way to hate-draft if they do know what I'm playing.  (The upside, if there is one, is that many of them aren't very good - I split the finals of a much higher percentage of drafts than I did at my old shop.)
Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
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Kicker Aggro (Invasion Block) Sunforger/Izzet Guildmage Midrange (Ravnica/Time Spiral/Xth Standard) Dragonstorm Combo (Time Spiral/Lorwyn/Xth Standard) Bant Midrange (Lorwyn/Shards/M10 Standard)
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Angel Resurrection Casual Soul Sisters Sindbad's Adventures with Djinn of Wishes Sphinx-Bone Wand Buyback Morph (No Instants or Sorceries) Cabal Coffers Control Zombie Aggro Hungry, Hungry Greater Gargadon/War Elemental Flashfires/Boil/Ruination - Boom! Call of the Wild Teysa, Orzhov Scion with Twilight Drover, Sun Titan, and Hivestone Slivers Rebels Cairn Wanderer Knights Only Gold and () Spells Captain Sisay Toolbox Spellweaver Helix Combo Merfolk Wizards Izzet Guildmage/The Unspeakable Arcane Combo Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and his Wizards Creatureless Wild Research/Reins of Power Madness Creatureless Pyromancer Ascension Anarchist Living Death Anvil of Bogardan Madness Shamen with Goblin Game/Wound Reflection Combo Mass damage Quest for Pure Flame Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle/Clear the Land with 40+ Lands Doubling Season Thallids Juniper Order Ranger Graft/Tokens Elf Archer Druids Equilibrium/Aluren Combo Experiment Kraj Combo Reap Combo False Cure/Kavu Predator Combo Savra, Queen of the Golgari Sacrifice/Dredge Elf Warriors Eight-Post Sneak Attack Where Ancients Tread Zur the Enchanter with Opal creatures Tamanoa/Kavu Predator/Collapsing Borders Esper Aggro Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and his Darksteel Reactor Theft and Control Unearth Aggro Soul's Fire Vampires Devour Tokens Phytohydra with Powerstone Minefield Treefolk Friendly? Questing Phelddagrif Slivers Dragon Arch Fun I'm probably forgetting a few...