My conclusion: MaRo is the better debater, but Zac has the insurmountable advantage of being right.
No longer a commander as of 7/29/13.
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 - 2USorceryChoose 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.
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.
(And in that analogy, Windows is "You may draw two cards, but only in MS Paint.")
The lawmage's argument was clever and well-reasoned,
But Blunk's response proved irrefutable. - Skullcrack
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.
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.
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.
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Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.
Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.
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.
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.