03/30/2012 LD: "Point/Counterpoint: Targeted Card Draw?"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Both authors brought up fine points. I'm really conflicted on this now, and I can see how much you guys care about your job that you're willing to devote entire articles to this seemingly pointless debate. I definitely enjoyed it!
I was ready to give this to Maro, but then Zac Mocked up Option Charm, and he sold me right there.
Mark Rosewater forgot a very critical point: redirection.  Those spells are less usable without targeted draw, and we don't want players to find seemingly fun cards useless in most games.  So the more targeted spells that are possible, the better.
How often did Johnny show up in those market research studies? Because having all those weird footholds to grab onto is what makes the game actually interesting to him.

For the record, I use Linux.

(And in that analogy, Windows is "You may draw two cards, but only in MS Paint.")
My conclusion: MaRo is the better debater, but Zac has the insurmountable advantage of being right.
My conclusion: MaRo is the better debater, but Zac has the insurmountable advantage of being right.


I was having very similar thoughts. MaRo's argument was much more convincing than Zac's, but in the end, I still personally agree with Zac. I think the default should be as simple as possible. "Expert-level" expansions will always get some targeted card-draw, but I think that for things like core sets, going with the simple "Draw two cards," effect just fits in better.

And I don't mean to offend you, Zac, if you're reading this. Your argument wasn't bad, but MaRo has been writing about game design for a very long time, and was able to draw on game design concepts in a convincing way. I think Zac brought up good reasons to support non-targeted card-draw, but I think there was just a bit of hyperbole that sort of set me off.

IMAGE(http://steamsignature.com/status/default/76561197995631463.png) No longer a commander as of 7/29/13.

i have to side with maro on this one... there are also lots of cards that hurt opponents when they draw like underworld dreams or , or give you benefit when opponents draw, like consecrated sphinx... and when i read a card like blue sun zenith, i read it like draw x cards unless i know it is in a deck where i can get an advantage from an opponent drawing a card... i really dont think targeting complicates it at all.
I've always prefered things to be more useful, and more complex. I don't love complicated, but I hate simple.
Remember again, we're talking about just the default card drawing spells. There will always still be both, but specifically here we mean the simple core set commons.

Zac knocked it out of the park. Good job, buddy.
My conclusion: MaRo is the better debater, but Zac has the insurmountable advantage of being right.



Well put.

My issue is: the question isn't "do we never ever print any targetted card draw," but "should every common draw card target."

I believe the answer to both is no.
An excellent and persuasive argument.  Well done, Zac.

 

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a Magic: the Gathering design blog
I gave the nod to Mark, but then I did favor target before this week any way (I was dissapointed that Jace's Ingenity did not target) which is relavant to this actual.

Since we are talking about base card draw, what was the original card draw? Thats right, ancestral recall, and what did it do? target. I'm 90% sure if ancestral recall did not target, I would be on Zac's side, but I am on Marks side, and 95% sure its becuase of Recall.

There are other reasons, ushc as psycology wise
Spikes like it as it helps them be the best by allowing them to do the most optimal plays
Johnnies like it as it helps them find unique interactions
Timmies find the least in it but I feel they do not care one way or the other, they will play their big spell if it said target or not.

but I feel because the orginal did it that way, the base should do it that way. Isn't that why Time vault was etera'd back to its original wording, so it could combo with twiddle. against going back to its roots, or why we have lords?
What a strong start for this article series. I agreed with Maro up until I saw Option Charm. I'd word it like this:

Option Charm - 2U
Sorcery
Choose one - draw two cards; or if your opponent's library has 2 or fewer cards, you win the game.

Beg: you may choose a new target and mode for Option Charm. Any player may play this ability, but only when Option Charm is announced.

It could be considered a plus that my card draw can't be Commandeered.

I am baffled that the interaction between ancestral recall and misdirection wasn't brought up once in either side of the debate. There have been various points in vintage history where misdirection has seen heavy amounts of play and I think that interaction was good for the format. If ancestral recall was simply "draw 3 cards" it would indeed by simpler, there would indeed be very little sacrifice to the options you would use this spell for, but there would be an enormous vulnerability to the spell removed. It is the existence of that vulnerability that I think card draw should be targetted regardless of how many relevant spells can interact with it at any given time, or how minimal the option to actually target somebody else when you cast it is. 


I have always enjoyed cards like Seht's Tiger and Goblin Flectomancer despite never actually casting them myself. I am simply happy they exist as tools to disrupt common tactics. I hope in the future there will be more spells that interact and disrupt opponents in similar ways. "Change the target of target spell" and "Target player gains shroud" are very appealing lines of text, regardless if they're attached to an instant, an activated ability, or a permanent with flash. It is important that there exist spells and strategies worth using this method of disruption against in order for these cards to be relevant; keeping the vulnerability of targetting in as many aspects of Magic as possible helps keep these types of plays alive. 


"Draw 2 cards" can be disrupted in fewer ways than "Target player draws 2 cards" but has a very miniscule option removed. I think as a whole that increases the overall strength of the effect. Looking back at the strength of Ancestral Recall, Fact or Fiction, Gifts Ungiven, or even powerful 187's like Flametongue Kavu should be enough motivation to keep raw card advantage spells with as many weaknesses and vulnerabilities as possible.


Please, I hope targetting remains on card draw spells. I think it allows for more interaction. I will let you in on a long-time Magic player's secret; ever since I saw Seht's Tiger spoiled I have been waiting for the following card: G, Instant, Target permanent, player, or spell gains shroud until end of turn. If card draw loses targetting, permission counters all spells on the stack instead of target spell, or removal starts to work in the same, non-targetting way as clone effects then I will be giving up all hope of ever seeing a 1cmc maindeckable, interactive green instant entirely. Would you really crush a dream like that!?


All joking aside, excellent debate; I appreciate all the thought and effort you go through to making magic as enjoyable as it is and I'm thoroughly enjoying the whole point/counterpoint concept.  Great job guys, and I hope I've contributed something to your debate here. 

What a strong start for this article series. I agreed with Maro up until I saw Option Charm. I'd word it like this:

Option Charm - 2U
Sorcery
Choose one - draw two cards; or if your opponent's library has 2 or fewer cards, you win the game.

Beg: you may choose a new target and mode for Option Charm. Any player may play this ability, but only when Option Charm is announced.

It could be considered a plus that my card draw can't be Commandeered.



That can certainly be Commandeered to full effect. And it has no targets whatsoever, so that part of the activated ability is rather pointless.
I agree that in general complexity and "bad choices" are things to avoid in Magic (and board games in general).  Seasoned players will appreciate such things and see them as an advantage (if a very situational one), new players will get confused or dislike the cards.  Great.  This is something that any board game designer should take to heart.

But I'm not sure that targeted draw really adds complexity or "bad choices," at least from how the new player sees things.  MaRo touched on this a bit, but didn't really make it the central point, so I'll discuss what I mean.

Basically, drawing cards is a good thing, so you will assume that card drawing spells are meant to be for you, in the same that a lightning bolt is probably not supposed to be aimed at your own head (though you can do it, since it doesn't specify that it must target opponents.)  Thus to a new player "draw two cards" and "target player draws two cards" are pretty much identical (unless he doesn't understand what "target" means, but you can't get very far in Magic without knowing that).

By the time that it occurs to a devleping player that another player could draw cards from the spell, he will probably be experienced enough to conceive of situations where this would be advantageous (teammates, decking, cards which punish drawing or having large hand sizes, etc.)

The big difference between "target player draws two cards" and an activated ability which causes you to lose life is that the activated ability has no obvious purpose to a new player, while "target player draws two cards" does.  Sure the new player won't realize why he might want another player to draw cards, but he also won't realize that this is an option since he thinks that he already understands the complete purpose of the card.

What's especially noteworthy is that the standard discard card, Mind Rot, allows you to target yourself.  They didn't replace it with a discard that says "target opponent discards two cards" even though many of the arguments for removing targeted discard would suggest only having "negative" spells target opponents.  (The arguments which only apply to using non-targeted draw are that it uses fewer words and doesn't use the word "target", but you'll note that Zac doesn't make these arguments).  Likewise, you could argue that targeted burn should target "opponents" and not "players" to avoid confusing players with nonsensical options, but for some reason we don't have a problem with those.
Mark Rosewater forgot a very critical point: redirection.  Those spells are less usable without targeted draw, and we don't want players to find seemingly fun cards useless in most games.  So the more targeted spells that are possible, the better.

Here are some barely coherent arguments.  I'll try harder next time - I promise.


  • Card advantage is something that needs reliability.

  • Redirect effects still cost too much, and the only one that ever really saw significant play was "free".  The core issue is that they require both waiting for the opponent to do something, and for that something to be redirectible.

  • The only draw (even barely-competitive) players want to be targeted is X-Draw which is far more likely to mill-out an opponent than "target player draws two" ever will.

  • Draw is largely irrelevant in multiplayer.  Those games naturally last longer, and are already prone to every other form of kingmaking, which makes raw card advantage less important both for winning and helping some other guy win.


(And in that analogy, Windows is "You may draw two cards, but only in MS Paint.")

Nah, man.  That analogy in Microsoft-land would be "I'm trying to run drawtwo.msc, but it says 'not found'?" quickly followed by "That's not included in the OEM home version.  You need Pro or Ultimate for that."  (or alternately "You need to upgrade to Magic Live Gold to use DrawTwo.  Upgrade now for only $60 a year to have access to all that stuff you can do for free on pretty much any other platform!")
Rosewater just got told, son! But targeted card draw should exist, and should be in black (much like looting is supposed to be in red) and it should have a downside. Blue draw should inherently be selfdraw, unless it's like some crazy Blue Sun's Zenith X spell. IMO.
This... was the worst written article Zac has made so far. In nearly every other article, Zac makes some great points using facts, past experience, and well articulated explanations. This article felt like a barrage of emotions barely wrangled into wordform, not unlike a forum post.

"Apple products are good! My option is like Apple! Here's a weird card that doesn't exist! This card is like targeted drawing! People who like targeted drawing want to make weird cards! MaRo doesn't knowing that losing ten life is as bad as an opponent drawing 2 cards! Why doesn't he know this? Here's a horrible card I made up! It's exactly like Divination if it targeted! A lot of people liked to use targeted draw to win, but they're wrong! I like to use targeted draw to win! But don't worry: if a draw card is not useful enough to win by targeting your opponent, we'll let you target your opponent! It's always better to have less options in multiplayer!  

It's like an Old Spice commerical on ecstasy.

"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

I think it comes down to how much credit you give a new player's intelligence. To me, the non-targetted version seems overly protective of new players by removing any choice. When I look at the targetted version I know it's going to function just like the non-targetted version does 99% of the time, but I also know there's potential to use it another way. I think it's fine if the default version was targetted as it's really not a complicated matter to understand, and any confusion that might come up would be quickly cleared up by the person who is teaching the new player the game.
I think Zac is correct. But I think he also did a bad job with his argument. In particular, the Mac/Linux comparison was an unforced error. If you're going to use a comparison, you have to make sure that your side is the unarguable winner in the comparison.

I also think he buried his strongest argument in a parenthesis:

"This produces in players the exact same kind of discomfort that having the option to halve their life total does. It's not so much that they are going to run around doing it all the time, although that will certainly happen (I am thinking, for example, how frequently I've had Sign in Blood cast against me at Prereleases on the second turn). It's that Magic is demonstrably more successful when it minimizes the extent to which its cards are counterintuitive. " [Emphasis mine]

Sign in Blood is an absurdly good argument against targeted card draw. If it had been "Draw two cards and lose 2 life", it would have been a much more intuitive card for players, especially newer or weaker players, to use properly. Instead of which, weaker players end up giving the other side two free hits from the Necropotence pipe.

Finally, I have the feeling that a lot of players, when they read "target player", instinctively interpret it as "target other player", and this is bad for cards that should be cast on yourself most of the time.
Firstly, I really enjoyed this first debate, it was nice to get a glimpse into how R&D thinks.

With that out of the way, I'm firmly on Mark's side on this one. The core of Zac's primary argument is that making card draw target by default gives you a trap option, which is bad and makes an otherwise good card look unattractive.

To me, however, comparing ": Lose 10 life." with "Target player draws two cards." is invalid. The former serves no readily apparent purpose, as you're simply willfully sacrificing both mana and life. The latter does have an obvious purpose, you target yourself and draw two cards.

Furthermore, every offensive spell reinforces this. Lava Axe doesn't need to say "Lava Axe deals 5 damage to target opponent." for players to realize that you point it at your opponent. Doom Blade doesn't need to call out that it's supposed to be aimed at the opponent's creatures.

And shifting the default draw to targeting opens up a lot of interactions. Underworld Dreams is one example. How about decks focused on killing the opponent through Megrim or Lilliana's Caress? Don't have a hand to discard? You do now. In dedicated mill, the card draw doubles as auxillary mill. Redirect can steal it. Johnny can come up with much more.

Finally, Mark has a point with target being mandatory vocabulary and the discovery inherent in the game. I've won a game by terminating my own creature. Finding out why it's important that the card read "target player" rather than not give you a choice at all is part of what makes Magic fun.
Firstly, I want to scold you, Zac, for not specifically mentioning Penguinscape! 

For those who are unaware (or.. oh god.. weren't even alive at the time..), at the Magic Invitational back in 2001 (which was won by Kai Budde and resulted in the unfortunate Voidmage Prodigy), Oliver Ruel's card submission was the following:

Penguinscape [manacost]U[/manacost]
Enchantment
All Penguins become blue.

If only he'd won.  If only!

Anyway, back to the meat of the article(s).  I greatly disagree with the sentiment that targeted card draw is a false choice.  The choice is in the hands of the opponent however.  Many sets - including the core set - contain target-switching effects.  Case in point: M12 has Redirect.  It also has Divination.  These two cards do not interact with each other and that is a bad feeling for a new player.  In my opinion, the negative feeling of this non-interaction far outstrips the negatives associated with the "false choice" of being able to give your opponent two cards.

New players will not be turned off from Magic by confusing occurences like "why would I want to make my opponent draw cards?" nearly so much as "why does my Redirect not do anything sometimes?".  No player has ever been confused by the purpose of Ancestral Recall.  It draws you cards.  The fact that it can make your opponent draw cards is probably not even noticed by many because it's the kind of information that just gets dismissed.

A good example of this dismissal is the card Yavimaya Dryad from Time Spiral.  It allows you to find a Forest of your own and give it to target player.  The intent here is that you can give your opponent a Forest to make it unblockable.  The thing is, this kind of cleverness isn't confusing to players so much as it is dismissed.  I drafted a lot of Time Spiral and I only saw the "give your opponent a forest" trick happen a couple times.  When it did happen, the opponent's response was never "wow I never thought I'd see that happen" but rather "wait, let me read that card - I didn't know you could do that".  Experienced players who had played with Time Spiral a lot still didn't notice the "target player" clause on the Dryad because it's the kind of information that simply gets dismissed. 

New players may be slightly more vulnerable than experienced ones to the potential confusion because (hopefully) they're reading their cards closely.  However, the intent behind giving your opponent a Forest is clear as long as you read the part where it says Forestwalk.  The intent behind making your opponent draw cards is not spelled out as well as with Yavimaya Dryad's land fetch, but it is supported on other cards.

We already make the assumption that new players understand that running your opponent out of cards will make you win.  Cards like Jace's Erasure and Merfolk Mesmerist are printed at common in core sets.  These cards do not spell out their purpose on the card any more than a targeted card draw spell does for its optional mode.  However, these cards have only one mode (well, I guess the Mesmerist is also a creature, but you get what I mean).  You need this piece of information (that decking can occur) to understand these cards.  Even if you don't understand how decking works, you know what targeted card draw is for.  Once you learn that nuance of the game, you can recognize the secondary trick of the card draw spell.

Figuring out how to use cards you thought you fully understood in different ways is one of the best things Magic has to offer.  Every time a card is printed, it creates subtle (or not-so-subtle) ripples in the pool of available cards, changing the meaning of each one.  Cards having more options means that these is more chance of a significant ripple occuring.  That is a very, very good thing.
I believe that card draw should not be targeted by default. However, I agree with the people here who have said that Zac's argument wasn't that convincing. Almost all of the points I would make have been mentioned already here: Milling is not the only reason you'd want to make your opponent draw two (see Megrim fodder, see Consecrated Sphinx, see Underworld Dreams); The option to target your opponent is not nearly as negative in appearance as Zac's "lose 10 life" example because it's immediately obvious you just target yourself; non-targeted draw is more elegant and that should have been mentioned.

However, there is one argument that I feel Zac should definitely have covered, and I don't think anyone has said it here yet. It's this:
If targeting becomes the default for card draw, then non-targeted card draw spells will pretty much cease to exist; there's very little reason to opt for a non-targeted draw spell when the default is targeted. However, if the default is non-targeted, then there will still exist plenty of targeted versions, since there are many reasons to make a card draw spell targeted: milling subtheme, multiplayer politics, helping allies, making big splashy effects like Blue Sun's Zenith. The point is, by making non-targeted default, we get both versions; by making targeted default, we only ever get targeted card draw.

One last note: I thought Zac's point about multiplayer, at least, was very well-structured and convincing. That was what I felt was MaRo's strongest point, and Zac answered it very nicely.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)

I know these 2 writers care about new players but for me the biggest issue is how many clicks it takes on magic online. I'm fully in favour of divination.


also the issue with shunt and redirect effects matters but if they ever planned to print another ivory mask that would be twice the issue. I imagine locking yourself out of card draw would be the worst feeling. 

Good play is win more "A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in his own opinions" - Proverbs 18:2
I'm with Maro on this one. Adding 'target player' wouldn't be anything that new players would have problems comprehending. If they did then cards like Incinerate and Mind Rot would be confusing them and they'd be targeting themselves with these spells, which they don't. They understand it's a bad idea to target themselves with those spells. Divination wouldn't be any different.

I think everyone else has more than covered the advantages to switching to the targeted clause. It's a big enough boon in multiplayer that that alone should warrant adding it. I don't think the percentage of people who play duels over multiplayer really has weight in the conversation. Multiplayer is still a format that sees play so the game should try to cater to all of their player base at once.

I don't think there's anything wrong with someone in multiplayer to just naturally take the draw themselves. They're using it in their deck, I'm more than happy to let them take the draw. There are far more games though where you're coordinating with someone you've played a few games with, you know each others decks, and know that they're the only one who could draw into something that will help. Divination doesn't help there at all on my end. Those are the moments where I actually get frustrated with a card, when it can't function like I need it to. And for what reason?

The point here is that adding the 'target player' text on all draw won't typically change many games, but it'll vastly improve the experience for the games where it will matter. I think at the end of the day that's really what this comes down to.
I think the sign in blood argument is for targeted draw. I have lost matches with one card left in my deck due to sign in blood. It teachs players the importance of card drawing and makes for a better card.
If anything, Sign in Blood is better targeted because an opponent with two life left is going to happen way more often than an opponent with one card left.
I also think he buried his strongest argument in a parenthesis:

"This produces in players the exact same kind of discomfort that having the option to halve their life total does. It's not so much that they are going to run around doing it all the time, although that will certainly happen (I am thinking, for example, how frequently I've had Sign in Blood cast against me at Prereleases on the second turn). It's that Magic is demonstrably more successful when it minimizes the extent to which its cards are counterintuitive. " [Emphasis mine]

Sign in Blood is an absurdly good argument against targeted card draw. If it had been "Draw two cards and lose 2 life", it would have been a much more intuitive card for players, especially newer or weaker players, to use properly. Instead of which, weaker players end up giving the other side two free hits from the Necropotence pipe.

Actually, I think that makes it an excellent argument for targeting--at least in the case of black's draw-and-lose-life spells.

Almost universally, new players undervalue card-drawing and hate losing life. If Sign in Blood wasn't targeted, many of them would avoid the card entirely, because they'd see the life-loss clause and wonder why they'd ever do that to themselves. But because Sign in Blood is targeted, they do play with it--sure they're almost always going to be using it wrong, but they're still using it. And because it's in their deck, eventually they're going to have a nigh-empty hand against a scary board, draw Sign in Blood...and have the lightbulb go on. Boom! Crystallization, to use Mark's term. If it wasn't targeted, they'd have just left it in a box somewhere and never touched it.

However, there is one argument that I feel Zac should definitely have covered, and I don't think anyone has said it here yet. It's this:
If targeting becomes the default for card draw, then non-targeted card draw spells will pretty much cease to exist; there's very little reason to opt for a non-targeted draw spell when the default is targeted. However, if the default is non-targeted, then there will still exist plenty of targeted versions, since there are many reasons to make a card draw spell targeted: milling subtheme, multiplayer politics, helping allies, making big splashy effects like Blue Sun's Zenith. The point is, by making non-targeted default, we get both versions; by making targeted default, we only ever get targeted card draw.

There'd still likely be a significant number of non-targeted card-drawing spells and abilities; there are still significant reasons for things to not be targeted. Flavor likely being the strongest: something like Scroll Thief or Vivisection isn't going to become targeted any time soon.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

The problem with Zac's argument regarding Option Charm (and all the rest of the extreme examples he presents) is one of psychology.  MaRo's Learn spell ("Target player draws two cards.") isn't functionally much different from Zac's Option Charm, but Learn is a much better-designed card because it doesn't leave all the complexity laying all over the card making a mess.  Until Zac can make his argument effectively without resorting to deliberately using poor wording to strawman the other point of view, he isn't going to gain much traction.

That said, I still agree with him, and did from before I read either article.  Losing to mill is almost never a feel good moment, and losing to mill when your opponent isn't even playing mill cards, out of nowhere at the end of a game, is even less of one.  (I realize that losing isn't usually a feel good moment ever, but there's a difference between a loss that feels like you could see it coming and you got outmaneuvered, compared to a loss where you've been playing under the assumption you were going to win by an empty library for the past 10 turns after a long and difficult game, only to lose for no particular reason at the last second.  The first is just a loss, while the second is a reason to throw your cards away and swear never to play again.)
First of all, I feel compelled to mention that Ancestral Recall is only a 2 card advantage, since you have to cast it first.

Secondly, although I was going to agree with Mark, I just thought of a few points that make this a harder decision.

A) I can see now what Zac's comparison with the life-loss ability really boils down to.  Why print something on a card that is only a benefit to you in an incredibly small number of cases, and that you can safely ignore without making the card worse.  Yes, you can just ignore the word 'target' and no one gets hurt (actually, that's not even true, as I'll point out below).


As an aside, what if the ability instead read: (G)(5): Target player other than you gains 10 life.
Is it still a trap?  I'd argue not, since you can use it to benefit an ally.  Card draw is the same.

B) Life gain cards in M2012 also have no targets "You gain 7 life" or whatever.  I'm surprised neither Mark or Zac mentioned this parallel.  Or did they and I missed it?  

C) If you somehow gain shroud, you would not be able to draw cards using Mark's version of divination.  I'm wondering if this would come up even more often than using it to deck an opponent.

On the whole I'd still favour the targetted version, mainly because I mostly play multiplayer and would really prefer the chance to mess around / help my allies, or whatever.  I feel the arguement that only 10% of Magic games are multiplayer is invalid in this case, because the benefit to players that do want to use it in multiplayer far outweighs the damage it does to single player games (not very much.  Odds are it changes nothing)

PS: I also think that claiming that commons shouldn't lead to hard choices in MP is balony.  Casting Giant Growth on your creatures is the same as NOT casting Giant Growth on your ally's creatures. Duskblading a creature that threatens your board position is the same (in cases) as NOT Duskblading a creature that threatens your ally's board position, and so on.  That's just multiplayer, the cards involved are irrelevant.  The -ability- to make that choice with Divination would be worth it.
Sign in Blood is an absurdly good argument against targeted card draw. If it had been "Draw two cards and lose 2 life", it would have been a much more intuitive card for players, especially newer or weaker players, to use properly.

If Sign in Blood had been "Draw two cards and lose 2 life", it would just be a bad Night's Whisper.
Had it been "Target opponent  loses 2 life and draws two cards", it would just be an utterly terrible Misery Charm.

Sign in blood is a good card because it's burn when the card disadvantage is irrelevant and draw when the lifeloss is irrelevant.  Using it as an argument for or against targeted draw just misses the entire damn point of the card.
The Option Charm argument is completely bogus.  Consider the following card:

Option Blade
[manacost]1B[/manacost]
Instant
Choose one - Destroy target nonblack creature an opponent controls, or sacrifice a nonblack creature.

This card looks worse than just "Destroy target nonblack creature an opponent controls", right?  So does that mean that all harmful targeted spells should be restricted to target only your opponents and their permanents?

Option Charm is an even worse example than this because it gratuitously includes the text "lose the game", which was obviously inserted for the sole purpose of making the card look bad, even though it is not a possible use of targeted card draw.  (Okay, it is if you cast it on yourself with less than two cards in your library, but that would still be true with untargeted card draw.)

The key feature of both Doom Blade and Opportunity is that the "bad" options are mostly invisible.  You know in the back of your mind that they're there, but they aren't what you think about every time you draw the card.
Zac's argument was a bunch of strawmen and imaginary cards thrown together, whereas MaRo's argument was much more grounded in the reality of the game.

I think the moment a player realises he can use a card in a way that is not the "usual" one and as a result carry the game is a memorable one, and one that should be allowed to exist.
I said it on MaRo's article and I'll say it here again. The defaut should stay as is, but I absolutely think there should be more targeted draw than there is now. Not at common, but uncommon should be fine to see it too. That seems like it would be a good compromise.
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Zac's argument was a bunch of strawmen and imaginary cards thrown together, whereas MaRo's argument was much more grounded in the reality of the game.

Yeah, I'm starting to suspect "Point/Counterpoint" was actually "Good Cop/Bad Cop" all along also.

I'm going to give it to Maro because Zac's argument was so bad. He set up a strawman by designing ridiculous spells and saying, "See, complexity is bad! Vanilla's are good!" Not until the end of the article did he make a valid point. Maro had solid reasoning, examples, and better yet, didn't condescend to his audience. 
Zac: As usual, your writing/debating is top notch. Unfortunately, as a primary 2 Headed Giant player who has played a lot of both Compulsive Research and Sign in Blood, and very little Divination because I can't help out my ally, you were fighting an already lost cause for me. The amount of mental real estate required in that 'target player' is small enough that everybody I can think of that I've played with has understood it without a struggle.
i was for targeted draw, after MaRo is was wondering why i was for targeted. And now i know why.
I ll stick to targeted draw. If only it is coz it can be redirected. 
I am amazed at how many people are on Zachs side of this. 

the "Option Charm" argument is a blatantly fallacious argument that assumes that the options presented on the card are the ONLY options available to a targeted draw card. 

it totally ignores any other possibile uses for the card as if to say "I dont want to use the card any other way. so why should you?"

Long story short, Magic: The Gathering is played by intelligent people. allowing the basic draw spell to have options is not going to cause any one to rip out their hair in frustration. 

on the other hand giving players options is always more fun and when it can be done in an extreamly simple way... why restrict it?