03/26/2012 Feature: "Editor's Notes—Changing the Lineup"

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This thread is for discussion of this weeks's Feature Article, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Let me guess...BoaB is getting canned?
Let me guess...BoaB is getting canned?

I hope not. As much as I don't like the direction it's been taken with the current author, the column still fills a vital role. It is the only column that is supposed to cover the deckbuilding process; From the Lab builds decks, but is much more about demonstrating a cool combo than examining the choices made in putting together a decklist. If they are dropping Building on a Budget, I hope they replace it with another column that demonstrates the deckbuilding process. There are enough resources out there to find and copy a finished decklist, but not nearly as many that teach you how to build your own.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
I loved Doug's stuff and sad to hear that he won't be writing on a reagual bases anymore. Savor the Flavor is one of my favorite weekly MTG articles. 

Now I'm hoping that the transition will be a fast one and that we don't miss out on to much of the amazing flavor of Innistrad's final chapter. 
A hole to fill? Hmmm... how about posting two Limited columns a week? For example: a regular draft walk-through feature in addition to Steve's column? (so that Steve's workload does not double up all of a sudden Wink) Steve is a great guy, but he tends to write in a phylosophical/strategic style, while nothing teaches newer/weaker players as well as practical examples. (Noah Weil, where art thou??) A weekly draft walkthrough would be a perfect complement! Done with a set or a core set de jour, with occasional deviations into exotics, like the Frankendraft.

Hey, wouldn't the R&D experts love to do an extra draft a week and record the process for all of us readers to peruse? Smile
I'm glad to see that they're actually giving us a deck-building column. My hope now is that when Savor the Flavor comes back, it replaces Building on a Budget. After all, the Building aspect is no longer required for that column, and in these times of increasing frequency of netdecking and rising deck costs, the Budget aspect is both harder to follow and less relevant (sadly).
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
What about Jenna Helland for Savor the Flavor? I thouroughly enjoy her writing style, and whenever she has guest written the column in the past, the results have been good.
Profile picture by Mackenzie Schubert www.plaincomics.com
So... What keeps creative so busy if they're workloads been constantly reduced since what, '07-'08?
I'm sad to hear that Doug Beyer's column is getting shut down for a bit. I find Savor the Flavor to be one of the most interesting of the columns. 

That being said, I'm also looking very much forward to the ReConstructed column. It will be a column focused on deck building, specifically aimed at helping players modify and improve their own decks. 

I especially like the columns that cover deck building strategies, concepts, and ideas. It's one of my favorite aspects of Magic, and one of the areas I'm constantly needing help with. (I also thoroughly enjoy the Building on a Budget article for similar reasons).

Hearing about the thought process is what I really like about those types of articles. When I ask players that are better than me, I always have to ask why a decision was made. That way I can understand some of the finer points of the game a bit better, and start thinking on a higher level.
In all honesty I respect that JvL has put in his time over the past years for BoaB.  And like all authors/deckbuilders he has had some good and some bad ones.  However, I do think it might be time to start looking for a change in that article as well.
I like fun, but competitive decks. So I might not play what is optimal but they have normally been tested to have a 2/3 winrate.

It is a shame that there is no mention about what's happening with BoaB. The community has been replying on JvL's articles for some time now. It's not even mentioned in the article. I'd like to ask WotC to take a good look at the BoaB articles. Please respond to what your community is asking of you. Either rename and give a new function to BoaB or get a writer that can write BoaB articles.


what your community is asking of you.



I don't think the small group of people posting on the boards is necessarily representative of this nebulous "community" you're speaking of. 
I also find it interesting that there is no mention of BoaB in the announced changes.  I really like JvL's articles, and his deck building style is very similar to my own, but even I have to admit that it's not really about low budget deckbuilding anymore... which is an important niche when it comes to attracting new players.  Even a name change would have been a step in the right direction. (When I first saw the name ReConstructed, I thought that might be what had happened). However, the concept of the new article sounds very exciting indeed.

If there is to be two articles on constructed Magic, I would humbly suggest to the Editors that one focusses on actual paper magic rather than the online world of tickets and mouseclicks.  Although MoGo is an important element of modern competitive Magic, deckbuilding in the real world is not the same animal. With (potentially) two articles covering similar territory it does seem like a good opportunity to cater to players both media.

Also, I agree with the poster on the first page who suggested JH for Savor the NuFlavor.  She does amazing things, especially the features with in-universe elements that absolutely drip with flavor.
~ Current Decks I'm Playing or Building ~ (Click a deck's name to see list) [] CorpseJunk Menace/Township Counters (Standard) [] Reanimation/Clerics Theme Deck - Commander: Ghost Dad [] Devouring Tokens (Planechase, Multiplayer) [] Krark-Clan Ironworks: 2012 Edition (Modern) [] Azorious Turbo Fog (Modern)
What card image is used for this article on the main page?
ReConstructed sounds awesome!

Sad to see Doug go, but four years is a long time - I think he's earned a break.
They are listening to the feedback on the BoaB column. A lot of people posted feedback saying things like "we need someone who teaches new players how to build decks" and "please do multiple columns per deck so we can see a deck evolve". ReConstructed addresses both of these issues since it will start with a deck someone has sent in and then evolve it.

They don't have to destroy BoaB to give people what they want. I think there are still people who like BoaB, and since Savor was leaving anyway (it did seem like the column that took longest to write) there was room to add something without destroying BoaB. 
Really missing Bleiweiss right about now.

ReConstructed sounds cool. Is it going to be for all formats, though?

Also, totally seconding the "Give STF to Jenna" suggestion.
Chiming in just to counterbalance some of the BoaB hate. I'm making an official statement: I love BoaB the way it is and would hate to see Jacob go.

I'd also like to point out that it is not uncommon to see positive comments on BoaB articles voiced elsewhere. For example, in the forums on another site: "- Hey guys, comment on my new deck!" "- Hey dude, cool deck, be sure to check out JvL's article [link] where he builds a similar cool deck!"
What card image is used for this article on the main page?



Seventh Edition Pacifism.

I'm sad to see Doug go, but I'm really looking forward to seeing articles from Gavin Verhey again. When he got hired to Wizards, I was afraid they'd just make him do boring techie work, or something, but they're actually going to use his skills as a writer. The column's premice isn't too bad, either.

Also, yes, BoaB should get replaced. JvL just randomly forgetting that Ponder's banned in Modern was kind of the last straw.
IMAGE(http://stat.rumandmonkey.com/tests/1/6/5261/20802.jpg)
Magic is turning more and more into Yu-Gi-Oh.
in a few years, it will all be about funky big creatures battling against each other with absolutely no thought about the where and why anymore.
they stopped making novels (word about that hasn't spread far yet)
now they stop the flavor-column.
soon they won't bother to come up with stringent settings for blocks and just release a random batch of cards.
Abbot Pheldy OSM Mafia Awards 2010 Most Unique Playstyle Designer of Game of the Year 2010 Designer of Most Flavorful Game My achievements random hum

March 2012


Everytime I look  at  my bookshelf and glance at “The Quest for Karn” I remember how bad that story was and this makes me feel sad/upset when I look back into my mind how good it used to be in the past with extraordinary books like “The Brother’s War”, “Planeswalkers”, the Ice Trilogy and so on.


Regarding the past few years, I am not able to understand what have happened to the Creative Team to mess up with Dominaria’s story that much in so many weird ways. OK!  I might have a clue concerning true-walkers, new players and the massive marketing regarding the neo-walkers.


It was written that “…changes are inevitable” but do not fool yourselves presuming that most of it were good to eager old readers - the ones who still really care (and perhaps always will) despite everything that was badly written in the past recent years. It seems to me that Creative Team simply don’t care to keep continuity intact (most because of the new players I guess).


There was a time when each book was a true part of a block and its expansions. If that reality was gone (but not lost) maybe it’s the time to change again and bring it back. You’ve said:  ”...the stories from Magic will continue to flow”. Not just flow but flow with coherence we hope!


* * *


“… we're exploring how best to serve the story audience ...”


If you truly meant that, you may try to find the people bellow in order to “Save the Flavor” - and perhaps much more.


travishamer@gmail.com (Eid)


kuthuman@gmail.com (MORT)


jayaprime@yahoo.com (Jaya)


Please, do not ignore it. All the best!

JV


It is a shame that there is no mention about what's happening with BoaB. The community has been replying on JvL's articles for some time now. It's not even mentioned in the article. I'd like to ask WotC to take a good look at the BoaB articles. Please respond to what your community is asking of you. Either rename and give a new function to BoaB or get a writer that can write BoaB articles.




I am sorry. I have complained about his articles a few times, but I've been forgiving because he has proven that he can do great things. Honestly, I design decks first and check banned lists later; it's entirely possible if you're playing with cardboard for noone to notice. Ponder isn't on a level of broken like JtMS, it's just a very good utility card.

The "community" on these boards seems very often to be poisonous to, well, everyone. It is possible to make mistakes; you try writing a ~10 page article a week about something as esoteric as Magic without clerical errors. The harpies who want JVL gone don't seem to understand one very important thing: ALMOST all the "good" CONSTRUCTED cards are at rare or higher. When even Tunnel Ignus is a rare, when the power level is that of an uncommon, it gets ugly.

I understand that this is intentional on the part of R&D, but it's still *bleeping* annoying.
Well ReConstructed sounds really really cool. But I am upset to be losing my favorite columnist to get it...

Mono Blue Delver in Legacy

Garrin, The Valiant, Noble Cleric of Heironeous

 

I don't know about anyone else, but about 3 and a half weeks out of 4 that's the only article I ever give a crap about. Damn
I never take the time to post here (obviously), but this is something worth my time....

Savor the Flavor is the only article I definitely read EVERY week.  The flavor is what keeps the game interesting (to me, after playing for 9 years).   Hmm, I guess that's why I read StF every week, since I didn't get the (Innistrad) storyline anywhere else.   (How annoying is it that we don't know who Lilianna killed in that fantastic teaser/promo from last spring when she's sitting on that throne?!   What a wasted piece of artwork - it could have been so much of a story (BOOK).)

Don't abandon the story.  Do MORE with the story!!!
ReConstructed sounds like the JMS/Ben-era Building on a Budget, but in a column with a fitting name. I remember Ben in particular did several deck evolutions based on user-submitted decks, which seems like it'll be the focus this time, so that's great. Hopefully the people who preferred that version of BoaB (and I certainly include myself in that number) will enjoy this column. I actually remember saying in a BoaB thread a couple weeks ago that I wanted a column just like this, as I felt that the lack of a column about deckbuilding was a big gap in the site's content, what with it being one of the most important things in the game.

Here's hoping Gavin is an entertaining enough writer to make it work.
blah blah metal lyrics
JUST FIRE JVL ALREADY EVERYONE WANTS IT!
I hope you get a new writer soon, Savor the Flavor is the best out of all the columns.

This is not the post you're looking for.

I've been reading the columns for a long time, but this is the first ime I've actually posted anything; that's how strongly I feel about this. Savor the Flavor has been by far the most interesting of all the weekly columns. Like Iron_Golem said; it's the one article that I made sure to read EVERY week (though I like MaRo's Making Magic a lot too).  I really hope they get it up and running again with quickness. There wasn't any mention that I saw of why they are cutting it right at this time, but I wish they would have waited for this block to be finished before making a change in this area. Personally this is one if my favorite blocks and I really wish there was a lot MORE storyline stuff going on (read: give us a good book about this plane written by a decent writer instead of the hacks that have been "writing" the recent ones). Out of all the games out there I think Magic has such a rich backdrop to draw stories from that it could/should be on top for flavor, side stories and published novels about what happens oustide the cards, but sadly it seems that there just isn't a lot of emphasis put on that aspect. Please Wizards, get a Margaret Weis, or an R. A. Salvatore or someone with their caliber of fantasy writing to do some stories and you may actually make some money on your book sales and make a lot of your fan base pretty darn happy in the process!!
Out of all the games out there I think Magic has such a rich backdrop to draw stories from that it could/should be on top for flavor, side stories and published novels about what happens oustide the cards, but sadly it seems that there just isn't a lot of emphasis put on that aspect.

Blame disposability.
Good books take at least 2-3 years to write.  Magic sets have a lead time of about 9-12 months, then get tossed in the trashbin for the next new hotness.

Howdy folks!

I want to thank you for your feedback, both positive and negative. I have read it all, though I won't reply to each individual post.

Savor the Flavor
I want to stress that Savor the Flavor will be coming back. I am 100% serious about this, it is simply a matter that the timeline ran out and we weren't able to get a new person and plan in place to take it over. It might be gone for a few weeks but it will be coming back.

ReConstructed
I'm glad to see many of you are as excited as I am about having Gavin start a full weekly column, I've loved using him for the Daily Decks but I feel that he can provide even more insight and value as a full columnist. He'll continue doing Daily Decks until I find someone else to replace him there.

Building on a Budget
For those of you frustrated with Building on a Budget, your feelings are not being ignored. The column has a lot of responsibilities, it has to be about deck building, it has to keep decks easy to get, and it has to be competitive. That's a tall order for someone to do once a month and we're asking Jake to do it weekly. There will be good and there will be bad weeks. Jake had two off weeks in a row. He and I have talked about it and we're working to refocus and improve the content that's being put out in the column. Ben Bleiweiss, while writing for the same column, was also writing for a different column. At that time it was a more casually aimed column and today the column is given a more competitive leaning.

I inherited the columns (except Gavin's) and I'm constantly reviewing and exploring whether their focus remains where they need to be. As with card design, I will do my best to make sure you all have content which interests you and draws you into DailyMTG, but it may not be every piece of content nor every column. I've got to cast a wide net and capture as many of you as I can.

Communication
Please send me feedback. Let me know how we're doing and I'll do my best to keep you all in the loop on future changes. I wouldn't message me on here as I am horrible at checking messages on forums, but do email me using the link at the bottom of my articles, or tweet me @trickmtg.

Thanks for reading and for caring enough to give your feedback,
//Trick
Editor-in-Chief of DailyMTG.com @trickmtg Email Me
I am sorry. I have complained about his articles a few times, but I've been forgiving because he has proven that he can do great things. Honestly, I design decks first and check banned lists later; it's entirely possible if you're playing with cardboard for noone to notice. Ponder isn't on a level of broken like JtMS, it's just a very good utility card.

The "community" on these boards seems very often to be poisonous to, well, everyone. It is possible to make mistakes; you try writing a ~10 page article a week about something as esoteric as Magic without clerical errors. The harpies who want JVL gone don't seem to understand one very important thing: ALMOST all the "good" CONSTRUCTED cards are at rare or higher. When even Tunnel Ignus is a rare, when the power level is that of an uncommon, it gets ugly.

I understand that this is intentional on the part of R&D, but it's still *bleeping* annoying.



That's definitely true... the game is getting incredibly expensive, especially if you play non-eternal formats like Standard.  But that just makes a column like BoaB more important because new players shy away from the expensive tier one decks, and a column that shows them that you can play the game without having to go without food for a month helps lessen that barrier to entry.

Now as I mentioned, I really like JvL's deckbuilding style and some of columns are some of my favourites.  But the focus of his articles isn't on deck building or budgets. He talks about card choices, but not really the process of actually building the deck, and he has admitted even in his own articles that he will purposely throw cost concerns out the window if it means improving the deck. His play style (and thus the decks he likes building) are not compatible with low cost decks... he wants to make a deck that will WIN even if that means sacrificing budget or creativity.

BoaB used to be weekly 12:01 reading, and had been that way for years... but now if I want creative (and often cheaper) deck ideas, I'll read From the Lab instead. (I say 'often cheaper' because cards that shine in wacky combo or theme decks are usually not too hard on the wallet).
~ Current Decks I'm Playing or Building ~ (Click a deck's name to see list) [] CorpseJunk Menace/Township Counters (Standard) [] Reanimation/Clerics Theme Deck - Commander: Ghost Dad [] Devouring Tokens (Planechase, Multiplayer) [] Krark-Clan Ironworks: 2012 Edition (Modern) [] Azorious Turbo Fog (Modern)
Building on a Budget
For those of you frustrated with Building on a Budget, your feelings are not being ignored. The column has a lot of responsibilities, it has to be about deck building, it has to keep decks easy to get, and it has to be competitive. That's a tall order for someone to do once a month and we're asking Jake to do it weekly. There will be good and there will be bad weeks. Jake had two off weeks in a row. He and I have talked about it and we're working to refocus and improve the content that's being put out in the column. Ben Bleiweiss, while writing for the same column, was also writing for a different column. At that time it was a more casually aimed column and today the column is given a more competitive leaning.

I agree that the increasing emphasis on making the decks competitive is a large part of the problem. The thing is, I don't see why that became the focus, nor do I think it should continue to be so. Lately, with the advent of mythics and the rise of netdecking, the prices of competitive decks have risen; I'd argue they've risen so much that you can't be both budget and competitive (with a few exceptions, but not nearly enough to write a weekly column). So Building on a Budget needs to pick which is more important, the budget or the competitiveness.

I feel JVL has made the wrong choice. There are a lot of sources out there to find competitive decks (Top Decks on this site is just one example). There are not nearly as many sources for finding cheap yet functional decks, decks you can put together for a casual game, or bring to FNM if your main goal isn't to win but to play. Therefore, the more important goal should be to make the decks more affordable, at the expense of competitiveness.

Furthermore, it is my belief that the limit on budget serves a two-fold role. The first, obviously, is to make the end results affordable. The second, however, is to force the builder to examine choices. As an example, let's say BoaB settles on a fixed budget, say $50. Now let's say JVL first decides to run Dismember, one of the best removal spells in Standard, in his deck. Later, he finds that he is over his budget, and decides to look at other possible removal spells, ones that cost less. Not only does this then yield a list of pros and cons for various removal spells in Standard, it also forces the author to explain the reason a certain choice was made over another. It's one thing to say "I chose to run this card because it's good"; it's quite another thing to say "Of these choices, this one is best for our deck because...".
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
I'm pretty new, but I've been keeping current with columns for a couple months at least. I didn't pay much attention to Savor the Flavor because the story wasn't the reason I got into the game, and I haven't been around long enough to really understand the Magic mythos. However, I do think it's a valid aspect of the game that many people enjoy, so I'm glad they haven't planned to cut it entirely.

 As for Building on a Budget, I read it a couple times, but I didn't really see the "budget" aspect that seemed central to the theme. Then when I saw the error with Ponder, I decided not to give the column more thought.

I do like columns that focus on deckbuilding, though. It's one of my favority parts of the game. So I'm glad for ReConstructed's introduction. Here's hoping it'll be fun to read!

WARNING! SLIGHTLY OFF-TOPIC OPINIONS!
I gotta say, one big impression I get from the Magic community, something that I feel holds true for many fanbases, is that it really gets a bit ragey about things. I get that you've invested a lot more time and money into the game than I have, but it feels like every time Wizards announces something, people get ragey. Really guys? Calling for a writer to be fired because you're not fans of his column? Declaring that you'll quit the game because a card got banned? If a game makes you this upset, maybe that's a sign you need to step away and chill a bit. Magic should be treated as a game, a time to have fun, whether you're playing casually or competing. Don't let a game get your blood boiling.

I see a lot of slippery slope arguments in this thread. The fact that a column on flavor is ending for a while does not mean the game's story is going to be forgotten, or that Magic's going to turn into Yugioh. The announcement itself even says that the column will come back, that they didn't cut it because it was unimportant (in fact, I felt that it implied that it was on hiatus because the writer was burnt out after writing a weekly column for four years).

I guess what I'm saying is don't take things so seriously. Read the columns you enjoy, and sure, let the staff know what you like and don't like, but don't freak out because things aren't going exactly the way you want them. We're not discussing the future of a country here, we're talking about a hobby we all happen to enjoy. It's no fun to get angry all the time over something you're supposed to enjoy.
END OPINIONS.

Furthermore, it is my belief that the limit on budget serves a two-fold role. The first, obviously, is to make the end results affordable. The second, however, is to force the builder to examine choices. As an example, let's say BoaB settles on a fixed budget, say $50. Now let's say JVL first decides to run Dismember, one of the best removal spells in Standard, in his deck. Later, he finds that he is over his budget, and decides to look at other possible removal spells, ones that cost less. Not only does this then yield a list of pros and cons for various removal spells in Standard, it also forces the author to explain the reason a certain choice was made over another. It's one thing to say "I chose to run this card because it's good"; it's quite another thing to say "Of these choices, this one is best for our deck because...".


I agree completely! MaRo's oft-repeated truism that "restrictions breed creativity" doesn't only apply to card design; it also applies to deck design. Using the budget as a restriction would not only make the column less of a cop-out, it would increase the creativity of the decks he builds!

Egoentropy, you're right on the money with the, shall we say "emotional reactivity" of readers of this site. I understand that not everything coming out of Magic HQ is meant for me. I appreciate what is and ignore the rest; these people need to stop taking this do seriously. Savor the Flavor was my second favorite column, an I will sorely miss it; however, it is what it is and I'm sure they'll find a competent replacement for Doug Beyer. (Aside to Trick Jarrett: LD is my third favorite. You can use this hiatus to improve your ranking in my book! Hint: flesh out your articles a bit more. They're good, but they don't have quite as much meat as Tom LaPille's did. End aside.)
I agree that the current BoaB concept needs to be more focused.  Asking for both competitive and budget while not mandating one over the other is going to satisfy neither audience most of the time.  Ben Bleiweiss may have been writing for a "different" column, but it was a focused column that picked an audience and catered specifically to them -- and it was, I think, a better column for it.
I know the perfect person to write Savor the Flavor.

Wait.. first, can I have a job in the creative team?  I guess I'd need that for this to work out.  You give me a job, I promise I'll chain myself to the desk and write StF for as long as you could possibly want.
JUST FIRE JVL ALREADY EVERYONE WANTS IT!



LOL. Where did you get that? I've been upset when he's used cards that are ~$7, but I've come around a bit recently. I've been trying to make a Feed the Pack deck work lately and have found that the deck needs an effective 5-drop. I've tried just about every green/white constructed playable 5-drop creature before I realized that the only option that synergized with the deck while still being playable w/o feed the pack is Vorapede.

So, no, not everyone wants it. Not even every one of you trolls wants it.
Just adding my voice that StF was my favourite column by far. I couldn't wait to get to the computer to read it each Wednesday morning. Really glad to hear it's only a temporary hiatus: pleeeease don't let it be for too long...
It's a shame to see Doug go. Loved his columns. Hope you find a replacement soon.

About BoaB, I said many times Jacob tries to do too much. You can't do a budget interesting competitive deck every week. I could live with a spike column, trying to breed rogue decks and crash HIS local tournament scene, with deck lists, tournament reports and all. Anything else just go back to budget and a little wacky decks that tackle the magic online casual meta...
Am I the only one who suspects that Jenna Helland and her universally acknowledged awesome writing skills may be too busy making the game's flavor awesome to write a column about the game's flavor?

I guess probably not since if they had someone with free time to write the column, they obviously wouldn't be cancelling the column since no one has free time.
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