03/16/2012 LD: "Blurring the Edges: Mana Cost"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Fantastic article! I'll be honest - as a very long-term reader of the site (I was reading Latest Developments when one R. Buehler was the man penning it) I hadn't yet been completely won over to Mr. Hill as an author. This has made me a fan. This gets to the meaning of mana cost in a way that feels like fresh and incisive thinking. I've often felt that there was a lot more to be said about mana costs in determining the "feel" of a card and not just its power, and using the example of Isamaru really drives the point home. The comments about how design creates sets as a whole so the issue of casting cost is "bigger" than a single card are also well-considered.

The topic of mana cost and flavor is interesting. For instance, I think one of the reasons Ball Lightning is such a perfect card is the casting cost. The triple red makes the cardboard feel hot to the touch! Well, almost.
This is why Vindicate is vastly superior to Desert Twister, and why Ember Shot and Chimney Imp are little more than weak punchlines to bad in-jokes.


Really, though, a more fitting title would have been "Why Homelands Sucked"
Someone should have read this article before designing Dark Ascension.

We've got an overcosted fog, an overcosted Plummet, and an overcosted Pride Guardian all at 3cc.  None of these cards are exactly first pick material even at their usual costs.  Add this to the poor green in Innistrad and it makes limited extremely hit or miss.  If you pull 20 green cards, and 9 of them are 3cc spells that don't affect board position, it kinda ruins your day.
Well, they've explained Clinging Mists as being an attempt to avoid a TurboFog deck happening. (Not that it stopped my friend from building one anyways) Crushing Vines is a solid card since it is removal. I have no freaking clue how you get that Crushing Vines doesn't 'affect board position.' I'll give you Favor of the Woods though. Card freaking sucks. It can go be buddies with Defensive Stance.
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)

I like the way that after the comment about Baneslayer Angel's power level being (ahem) "pushed" for tournament play, there's just a picture of the card that most epitomises that effect carried to the next level. The text doesn't even mention Primeval Titan at all, but just seeing his face evokes ripples of revulsion across vast swathes of audience. It's enough to make us long for the days when Baneslayer was the only overpowered mythic Core Set creature!


Oh well, roll on M13, when the Titans' extended day in the sun will finally be over and they can get their sunburned backs inside...


...and just saying that, I realised that although I've been pinning a lot of anticipation on the sheer absence of the Titans, the bottom just fell out of my mental image of M13. I should have realised: of course M13 will bring its own stupidly strong tournament-calibre mythic creatures. I mean, that's what we all know mythic is for. D'oh.

Well, they've explained Clinging Mists as being an attempt to avoid a TurboFog deck happening. (Not that it stopped my friend from building one anyways) Crushing Vines is a solid card since it is removal. I have no freaking clue how you get that Crushing Vines doesn't 'affect board position.' I'll give you Favor of the Woods though. Card freaking sucks. It can go be buddies with Defensive Stance.



Defensive Stance is a good card against certain type of infect decks. It's lightyears away from the unplayability of Favor.
They're basically still the same type of card - they arise from the situation "(color) is too powerful in limited, create an awful card to balance it out"
This was a nice read. The flow of it made me think that Baneslayer angel should have been legendary or costed 4WW. Jumping to 5WW in the article skipped the point.
Someone should have read this article before designing Dark Ascension.

We've got an overcosted fog, an overcosted Plummet, and an overcosted Pride Guardian all at 3cc.  None of these cards are exactly first pick material even at their usual costs.  Add this to the poor green in Innistrad and it makes limited extremely hit or miss.  If you pull 20 green cards, and 9 of them are 3cc spells that don't affect board position, it kinda ruins your day.



A: Clinging Mists is a lot more powerful then Fog.  If you don't think so, you've never had to play around Tangle.  Come back when you do.

B: Crushing Vines costs more than Plummet because it removes more things than Plummet does.  Or did you just not notice that it kills artifacts?

C: Pride Guardian is almost as unplayable as Favor is, I don't really see the complaint here.  It's just one more in a long line of terrible lifegain cards.

D: Green is actually really good in INN limited.  White/Green was amazing in 3x INN, and DA adds a lot of power to green.  Dawntreader Elk makes Green worth playing almost all by itself!
Ignoring obvious superiority of kitties to—ahem—hounds, this Isamaru guy is a far superior design. It's coherent, and it's coherent entirely because of the mana cost.



Well, not entirely due to mana cost. Imagine you're reading the paper one day, and see the headline, "Man killed by wild dogs." How gruesome! Now imagine you read instead, "Man killed by feral cats." Wait, what? A big cat? No? Then how?

If R&D feels there's insufficient granularity in system and wants to move up to 1/2 house cats and 6/6 giants, that's fine. But dear lord stop putting humans at 1/1. It's bad enough that a Sanctuary Cat is the perfect foil to a Savannah Lion, but it's positively pythonesque imagining it jump a tear through a group of armed pikemen.
This was a nice read. The flow of it made me think that Baneslayer angel should have been legendary or costed 4WW. Jumping to 5WW in the article skipped the point.


Nah, I think 3WW was fine. Legendary would be fine, though.

It gives Control a powerful tool, but not a tool that tapping out for immediately wins you the game with (you have to untap and protect her). The Titans, while not as epic in combat (which Baneslayer Angel never gets blocked anyway, and blocks like a boss when she comes out, and swings net 10), are even bigger, and provide immediate advantage. Not only this, but if they make it to untap, they get more advantage.

They cut the unbeatability of BSAngel in combat to make quasi-beatable dudes who immediately pay for themselves even if Doom Blade gets it, and instead of just swinging net 10 after untap, they swing net 6 (sometimes more) and multiply their advantage. Disgusting. BSAngel was plenty enough powerful, if less interactive (you can interact more with the Titans, but most of the time it's pointless to).

So I'd take BSAngel any day of the week over the Titans, but TBH a new mythic should be made that takes off BSAngel's flying, and maybe adds a situational EtB ability (get 2 2/2's, deal 3 damage, return CMC 3- from GY, etc., are not situational).
This was a nice read. The flow of it made me think that Baneslayer angel should have been legendary or costed 4WW. Jumping to 5WW in the article skipped the point.


Nah, I think 3WW was fine. Legendary would be fine, though.

It gives Control a powerful tool, but not a tool that tapping out for immediately wins you the game with (you have to untap and protect her). The Titans, while not as epic in combat (which Baneslayer Angel never gets blocked anyway, and blocks like a boss when she comes out, and swings net 10), are even bigger, and provide immediate advantage. Not only this, but if they make it to untap, they get more advantage.

They cut the unbeatability of BSAngel in combat to make quasi-beatable dudes who immediately pay for themselves even if Doom Blade gets it, and instead of just swinging net 10 after untap, they swing net 6 (sometimes more) and multiply their advantage. Disgusting. BSAngel was plenty enough powerful, if less interactive (you can interact more with the Titans, but most of the time it's pointless to).

So I'd take BSAngel any day of the week over the Titans, but TBH a new mythic should be made that takes off BSAngel's flying, and maybe adds a situational EtB ability (get 2 2/2's, deal 3 damage, return CMC 3- from GY, etc., are not situational).




I just meant that since the article started off discussing the difference between the cat and hound, it looked like adding legendary to BSA might have been a good move. I am not sure it would have changed how it played in constructed, but at least it gives it a 'drawback' for all the upgrades it had compared to serra angel. I agree w/ the author that BSA at 5WW is just another card, but at 4WW, would people have still liked it? The author didn't address it, and I would have been interested to see what he thought. I wasn't trying to compare her to a titan based on what you should get for 6 mana.

Totally off topic, but the titans were the greatest greifer cycle ever for one segment of the Magic population. When they came out, they were so obviously good that bad players with money bought them at 'week of release' prices. Then they proceeded to crush better players that couldn't afford titans. The titan-less guys all complained about how those cards are so powerful and unfun. But then, the titans got cheaper and those guys had titans. They got their revenge as their play skill allowed them to beat the guys that bought in early. So then the guys that bought in early complained that titans are too powerful and unfun since they are now losing to them. And, if you were lucky, you could even hear some of those guys say: "I was using it first!" Like he's got dibbs and the poorer guys are supposed to stop using titans and go back to losing.     

the titans and the eldrazi (?) were made as griefer cards, and i just wonder why they are okay, but sinkhole and hymn to tourach are banned, lol.  none of them are fun to lose to
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