04/30/2012 MM: "Avacyn-gle Ladies, Part 2"

78 posts / 0 new
Last post
This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
These articles ask for feedback about what people would like, but then don't deliver. That is disappointing. As far as discussing appearances, the most notable of those is the lack of a comma. Goldnight Commander is a rather unremarkable card except you remarked on it. Goldnight, Commander is a potentially cool legend for Commander.
For those who have never played a game with turn undead, the idea is that a cleric uses his faith-based magic to destroy the undead—usually zombies. We designed a card in Innistrad but ended up not having space for it.



Didn't make it into Innistrad? "Turn" -- which generally repels monsters, and only destroys them once you really outclass them on a level vs. HD basis -- is what I always thought they were going for with Avacynian Priest.
I wonder if design realized that though the humans were on a rise and were banding together, making a large majority of the cards deal with humans was too lopsided, as well as create extremely powerful connections with token generators, unlike all the other tribes. I also found it amusing how he mentioned R/W was his favorite draft color, and he built a R/W deck to test with, and then mentions R/W a few times throughout the article (showing the amount of focus on these colors in design), and then many people who went to the prereleases saw a dominance in R/W decks being played/winning.
I am Blue/Green
I am Blue/Green
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
I am both rational and instinctive. I value self-knowledge and understanding of the world; my ultimate goal is self-improvement and improvement of the world around me. At best, I am focused and methodical; at worst, I am obsessive and amoral.
I'm glad to see the Gristlebrand "why didn't this cost 7" question addressed, although I find the answer rather lacking.  It's a little hard to believe that this would be overpowered at 7, especially if the cost were, say, BBBBBBB.  Or you could tone down the lifegain a bit, making it only trigger off of hitting players, or something similar.  Personally, I like the prohibitive casting cost solution better, and I'm willing to bet that it could have been done.
Should have made it 7 with some additional cost: loss of life (7 haha would make it astetically nice but much worse a card), perhaps sacrifice a creature instead.
About Holy Justicar 'turning the undead'... 90 degrees? :-)
Gallows at Willow Hill is an "awesome" or "cool" card?

-3 mana to cast
-3 mana and 3 untapped humans to activate to destroy, not exile, but just destroy a target creature.
-And even if I can assemble all this, I still am giving the other guy a 1/1 flyer.

This card is marginally functional in limited, and can only work in the human heavy environment that is AR limited. And even now, there's so much better removal. And speaking of removal, even if you manage to assemble all the pieces to make the gallows work, it is still subect to greet and and red's removal. Althought it wouldn't fit the story, making the gallows industructable would help.

I realize there's always some combo out there that might somehow make this worthwhile, but why oh why did it need to be RARE?!  It would have been fine as an uncommon...

Listen, WOTC: I've spent the last 15 months getting back into Magic, and I can't tell you how many times I've struggled and strived to build good decks, play good games, and win FNM's. And when that dilligence pays off, and you manage to win a pack, it is INCREDIBLY frustrating to open up a pack and get something like this, or like knowedge pool (admittedly KP found a home, but it took 2 releases before it happened.) 

Fortunately, I haven't gotten any Gallows yet, but when I do (of course I'lll get them) I'll see about sending them on to Maro since he's so pleased with them.  ^_~
 
These articles ask for feedback about what people would like, but then don't deliver. That is disappointing. As far as discussing appearances, the most notable of those is the lack of a comma. Goldnight Commander is a rather unremarkable card except you remarked on it. Goldnight, Commander is a potentially cool legend for Commander.




Umm... do you mean Gisela, Blade of Goldnight? Who the Goldnight cards are named after? Goldnight is a flight. It's like a division in the military, so unless you think "3rd Infantry, Commander" makes for a great legendary cardname, I'm going to disagree.
I'm glad to see the Gristlebrand "why didn't this cost 7" question addressed, although I find the answer rather lacking.  It's a little hard to believe that this would be overpowered at 7, especially if the cost were, say, BBBBBBB.  Or you could tone down the lifegain a bit, making it only trigger off of hitting players, or something similar.  Personally, I like the prohibitive casting cost solution better, and I'm willing to bet that it could have been done.


If the only viable choices for Griselbrand's casting cost were  or , I'm glad they chose the latter. Either way you'd prefer to cheat it into play somehow, of course, but at least this version can be cast by some decks that aren't completely monoblack.

I think people are overthinking the aethetics of Griselbrand anyway. When I first saw people talking about it, someone had pointed out that it even had seven words of rules text, so the mana cost should obviously have been seven, right? but counting its rules text as seven words depends on templating "7 life" with a numeral but "seven cards" with a word, which is kind of arbitrary. And then why doesn't it have seven abilities, or seven words in its flavor text, or seven letters in its name? They have to stop somewhere.

Someday they should print a card named "Mike", a 4/4 creature with four CMC, four colors, four abilities (each one a keyword that uses only one word, so maybe haste but not first strike), and the flavor text "Yes, it is intentional." Only in an Un-set, though.
Should have made it 7 with some additional cost: loss of life (7 haha would make it astetically nice but much worse a card), perhaps sacrifice a creature instead.


"Sacrifice a creature" would have broken the symmetry too. But that gave me a great idea for what they should have done: "When Griselbrand enters the battlefield, sacrifice seven other creatures." Fits the black-wants-only-one-creature theme of this set, and it actually does maintain symmetry a bit. They could have given it a CMC of 7 with some colorless in there with a drawback like that.
In the discussion of Ghoulflesh, you say:
The flavor here is simple but potent—being raised from the dead as a zombie takes a little bit out of you. You're undead; you're not quite alive. As such, you're a little less of a threat.

Yet the default size of vanilla Zombies (especially tokens, but also things like Walking Corpse) is 2/2, while vanilla Humans (especially tokens, again) are 1/1.  Yes, many Humans are larger (usually explained by being a Knight or whatever else), but I think it's reasonably well-established that a run-of-the-mill 1/1 Human would become a run-of-the-mill 2/2 Zombie.

I definitely like the "slow-but-strong" flavor of ETBT (Diregraf Ghoul, Geralf's Messenger) or "can't block" (Gravecrawler, Carrion Feeder) though.

I'm also not sure what I think about turning a living Human into a Zombie (not raising it from the dead) flavor-wise.

As far as the mechanics go, I think it's fine, but I think the tacked-on -1/-1 is the actual reason it will ever get played, with the "black Zombie" part only being relevant occasionally. 
In response to the use of Flicker in AVR and your speculation on the future of it:

I understand why Flicker effects were altered in this set, and it makes perfect sense. You're trying to push the soulbond theme, and besides the obvious benefit of only being able to flicker your own permanents, the last thing you want is to flicker your opponent's creature, only to have it return and get bonded to an even better creature.

In regards to standardizing how flicker is handled in the future, I do not believe that retaining control of an exiled creature is the best policy. From a flavor sense, when a creature is exiled, it returns to the battlefield as a new creature with no memory of its former self. Would it remember who had previously hypnotized it, or the ownership which has been ingrained upon it? From a  rules sense, when a player makes a misplay, usually a simple correction will prevent future mistakes, just as it has with other rules (mana leaving pools, upkeep step, etc.). So if that is the primary reason for a change, I would argue against a change for change's sake. Lastly, from a strategic standpoint, flexibility is at its best when I can target any creature and return to its owner. It allows a player to protect their own creatures and get more milage out of ETB/LTB effects, while at the same time giving a wider range of answers to the player that likes to Bribery others. It turns Mystifying Maze into not just a deterrent from being attacked, but a mini Homeward Path.

I would encourage Development to take another look at Flicker, and rather than trying to standardize everything that they can, look at each case by case and see if there is enough reason for variety to leave some things alone. I believe that there is a time and a place for insta-flicker, EOT flicker, and retain control flicker.
The insta-flicker effects don't kill tokens. State based effects aren't checked in the middle of resolutions. This seems very important since there are many common insta-flickers and many token producers.
On Grave Exchange: Yes, the original design returned the creature card to the battlefield, which was an exact mirror of the other effect. Unfortunately, that turned out to be too good to cost at anything reasonable so the creature card was sent to the hand instead.


If you care about balance, you shouldn't be costing this effect at 6 mana; instead of making it too powerful like the previous version, you made it not nearly good enough. Let it be 4 mana, or 5 at most.

"Oh, but bad cards need to exist, to tell people what's-"

No, they don't. At least, bad cards that are blatantly overcosted for what they do don't need to exist, because they're a waste of cardboard, and they only serve the purpose of giving easy choices to newbies instead of promoting interesting deck-building. Cruel Revival, a removal card printed back in Onslaught (Before a lot of the recent power creep for removal), was an instant speed, selective version of the same effect at 5 mana that only returned zombies; it still was bad.
You don't need to stop printing bad cards entirely; I love some bad cards (Ludevic's Abomination, anyone?). What I'm sick of are bad cards that just exist, giving overcosted versions of everyday effects that could easily be printed at a mana cheaper without breaking any format. I know you care about limited, but limited would not be broken by a 5 mana (Or even 4 mana) Grave Exchange.
The insta-flicker effects don't kill tokens. State based effects aren't checked in the middle of resolutions. This seems very important since there are many common insta-flickers and many token producers.



Once a token leaves the battlefield, nothing can bring it back.  So after the flickering spell/ability has resolved, SBAs will cause the exiled token to cease to exist.
In response to the use of Flicker in AVR and your speculation on the future of it:

I understand why Flicker effects were altered in this set, and it makes perfect sense. You're trying to push the soulbond theme, and besides the obvious benefit of only being able to flicker your own permanents, the last thing you want is to flicker your opponent's creature, only to have it return and get bonded to an even better creature.

In regards to standardizing how flicker is handled in the future, I do not believe that retaining control of an exiled creature is the best policy. From a flavor sense, when a creature is exiled, it returns to the battlefield as a new creature with no memory of its former self. Would it remember who had previously hypnotized it, or the ownership which has been ingrained upon it? From a  rules sense, when a player makes a misplay, usually a simple correction will prevent future mistakes, just as it has with other rules (mana leaving pools, upkeep step, etc.). So if that is the primary reason for a change, I would argue against a change for change's sake. Lastly, from a strategic standpoint, flexibility is at its best when I can target any creature and return to its owner. It allows a player to protect their own creatures and get more milage out of ETB/LTB effects, while at the same time giving a wider range of answers to the player that likes to Bribery others. It turns Mystifying Maze into not just a deterrent from being attacked, but a mini Homeward Path.

I would encourage Development to take another look at Flicker, and rather than trying to standardize everything that they can, look at each case by case and see if there is enough reason for variety to leave some things alone. I believe that there is a time and a place for insta-flicker, EOT flicker, and retain control flicker.



MaRo only talked about standardizing for #3. 

Also, from a design sense, if players keep making the same mistake, you should change your design rather than try to educate the players. This also happened with suspend and haste. It's not a change for change's sake. 
On Grave Exchange: Yes, the original design returned the creature card to the battlefield, which was an exact mirror of the other effect. Unfortunately, that turned out to be too good to cost at anything reasonable so the creature card was sent to the hand instead.


If you care about balance, you shouldn't be costing this effect at 6 mana; instead of making it too powerful like the previous version, you made it not nearly good enough. Let it be 4 mana, or 5 at most.

"Oh, but bad cards need to exist, to tell people what's-"

No, they don't. At least, bad cards that are blatantly overcosted for what they do don't need to exist, because they're a waste of cardboard, and they only serve the purpose of giving easy choices to newbies instead of promoting interesting deck-building. Cruel Revival, a removal card printed back in Onslaught (Before a lot of the recent power creep for removal), was an instant speed, selective version of the same effect at 5 mana that only returned zombies; it still was bad.
You don't need to stop printing bad cards entirely; I love some bad cards (Ludevic's Abomination, anyone?). What I'm sick of are bad cards that just exist, giving overcosted versions of everyday effects that could easily be printed at a mana cheaper without breaking any format. I know you care about limited, but limited would not be broken by a 5 mana (Or even 4 mana) Grave Exchange.



I strongly agree with this statement. This is the one thing I will always hate about Magic design, as it seems so pointless. I also hate it when they put amazing art on terrible cards, such a waste (i.e. Moorland Inquistor, whose ability should have at least granted double strike [fits the picture as well]). I've played a variety of ccgs/lcgs/and other similar games that do not create bad cards for the hell of it. If they did, I don't think the game would even last on the market (part of the reason Magic still sells is because of its massive card base and nostalgia, which is only due to being such an old game, like Monopoly). And when you don't create terrible cards, you allow the players to have so many more interesting options to build decks and the game is even more fresh. Imagine taking the 20 or so terrible cards in a large set like AVR (I'd venture to say the number may even be higher) and make them balanced, usable cards. You just created a huge variety of new options for deck building and game play. And bad cards do not balance limited. If all cards instead were created on a balance, except for the occasional slips (i.e. Skullclamp), limited play would be even more intriguing and there would be even more options available. All bad cards do to limited is add a large element of luck to the game that is unnessecary and unfun. How many players have lost limited games due to one player pulling three or more bomb rares and over-powerful uncommons (especially sealed) when you weren't even close to having the same options? As strategic as limited is, it can be overtaken by lucky pulls. No head designer of any game will ever be able to persuade me that bad cards ever create game balance (and I'm not talking about Chance-like deck draws for board games like Monopoly, etc.)
I am Blue/Green
I am Blue/Green
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
I am both rational and instinctive. I value self-knowledge and understanding of the world; my ultimate goal is self-improvement and improvement of the world around me. At best, I am focused and methodical; at worst, I am obsessive and amoral.
When loking at Grave Exchange, in addition to thinking it was an inaccurate parallel I really felt the sacrifice should be first, and the disentomb should be untargeted.  That way I could target myself as a very expensive bounce, or maybe get back a stolen creature.  Unfortunately I'm sure they really wanted to target, which is why the order is so.  But then why make target player and not target opponent?

Honestly the whole card feels sloppy now that you've drawn attention to it, and I don't think you get elegance-of-design points just for intentions. 

If you're on MTGO check out the Free Events via PDCMagic and Gatherling.

Other games you should try:
DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

Planetside 2 - Free to play MMO-meets-FPS and the first shooter I've liked in ages.
Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

I strongly agree with this statement. This is the one thing I will always hate about Magic design, as it seems so pointless. I also hate it when they put amazing art on terrible cards, such a waste (i.e. Moorland Inquistor, whose ability should have at least granted double strike [fits the picture as well]). I've played a variety of ccgs/lcgs/and other similar games that do not create bad cards for the hell of it. If they did, I don't think the game would even last on the market (part of the reason Magic still sells is because of its massive card base and nostalgia, which is only due to being such an old game, like Monopoly). And when you don't create terrible cards, you allow the players to have so many more interesting options to build decks and the game is even more fresh. Imagine taking the 20 or so terrible cards in a large set like AVR (I'd venture to say the number may even be higher) and make them balanced, usable cards. You just created a huge variety of new options for deck building and game play. And bad cards do not balance limited. If all cards instead were created on a balance, except for the occasional slips (i.e. Skullclamp), limited play would be even more intriguing and there would be even more options available. All bad cards do to limited is add a large element of luck to the game that is unnessecary and unfun. How many players have lost limited games due to one player pulling three or more bomb rares and over-powerful uncommons (especially sealed) when you weren't even close to having the same options? As strategic as limited is, it can be overtaken by lucky pulls. No head designer of any game will ever be able to persuade me that bad cards ever create game balance (and I'm not talking about Chance-like deck draws for board games like Monopoly, etc.)



Yes, Sealed is more luck-based and a sucky format, so let's just talk about draft. Terrible cards add spice. If all cards had equal power level, it basically doesn't matter which one you pick. Variance creates meaningful choices.

Also again, Azure Drake versus Amphin Cutthroat and countless other examples. Playing Limited for 10 years will remain more interesting if effects are costed differently in some environments. Overcosting cards is one of the things that make the game tick long-term.

There are a few truly dead cards that are unplayable. Except I still see people at the lowest ranked draft tables at my local FNM jamming Favor of the Woods in their decks. Magic's design philosophy is that not every card has to be for everyone. Every card just has to be for someone. Even superbad cards have their place. 

You don't need to stop printing bad cards entirely; I love some bad cards (Ludevic's Abomination, anyone?). What I'm sick of are bad cards that just exist, giving overcosted versions of everyday effects that could easily be printed at a mana cheaper without breaking any format.



Ludevic's Abomination has won me many a game in the Just for Fun room of MTGO. I think it's a little ridiculous to label that a bad card just because it doesn't make the Delver decklists, even if you do like it. As MaRo and others have said many times, there can only be so many best cards in a cardpool, which makes the other ones bad by comparison. More generally, I trust Development to understand what the costing needs to be through an entire set rather than those who want every card to be "playable".
These articles ask for feedback about what people would like, but then don't deliver. That is disappointing. As far as discussing appearances, the most notable of those is the lack of a comma. Goldnight Commander is a rather unremarkable card except you remarked on it. Goldnight, Commander is a potentially cool legend for Commander.




Umm... do you mean Gisela, Blade of Goldnight? Who the Goldnight cards are named after? Goldnight is a flight. It's like a division in the military, so unless you think "3rd Infantry, Commander" makes for a great legendary cardname, I'm going to disagree.



It was a joke. A card with 'commander' in the name can't be a commander in commander. Adding a comma like 'stop clubbing, bably seals' is an image of baby seals leaving a nightclub, not baby seals getting hit on heads by clubs.    

Ludevic's Abomination has won me many a game in the Just for Fun room of MTGO. I think it's a little ridiculous to label that a bad card just because it doesn't make the Delver decklists, even if you do like it.


I call it a bad card because it's not playable in any competitive format. I have no problem with cards that are not competitive.

What I do have a problem with are cards that are horribly overcosted for no apparent reason, especially at the common level. The majority of a new player's experience is going to be with commons and uncommons; why can't Wizards at least try to make all commons at a certain level? I remembered MaRo's great response to someone complaining about bad rares; "You want to see more of them?" Yet I keep seeing blatantly awful cards made at common.

 As MaRo and others have said many times, there can only be so many best cards in a cardpool, which makes the other ones bad by comparison. More generally, I trust Development to understand what the costing needs to be through an entire set rather than those who want every card to be "playable".


Grave Exchange is not "bad in comparison to the good cards". It's just bad. The same applies to Mindless Null, Scoria Elemental (Which they made a functional reprint of in AVR), Crawling Filth, Aven Trooper, and God knows how many other awful cards that were printed with an extra 2 in their mana cost.

These are not cards that casual players have fun with; they don't do anything particularly unique. They're just there.

On a side note, Development should never be treated as infallible. Ever. I know that they are professionals, and that they probably know more than I do. I also know that this should never stop us from raising criticism about the problems we have with their strategies.

Yes, Sealed is more luck-based and a sucky format, so let's just talk about draft. Terrible cards add spice. If all cards had equal power level, it basically doesn't matter which one you pick. Variance creates meaningful choices.


Obviously sucky cards don't provide meaningful choices; that's why I dislike them. They provide an obvious choice, which is why they're typically in the last two or three cards getting passed around.

Let's be honest; what's the only time that you're going to keep Ashenmoor Cohort in a Shadowmoor draft? Answer: When it gets passed to you and there are no other choices.

Also again, Azure Drake versus Amphin Cutthroat and countless other examples. Playing Limited for 10 years will remain more interesting if effects are costed differently in some environments. Overcosting cards is one of the things that make the game tick long-term.


I understand the "some things are costed differently in some environments" argument. A good creature in Invasion will not be the same as a good creature in Zendikar. However, it can only be taken to a certain point.

Grave Exchange treads that point. It's removal, which usually has some spot in draft, and it's reanimation, but it's so overpriced, and sacrifice effects are so much weaker in draft, and Black has better options even in this set... I probably wouldn't pick it until the last four cards of a pack. There are just too many better options. 

There are a few truly dead cards that are unplayable. Except I still see people at the lowest ranked draft tables at my local FNM jamming Favor of the Woods in their decks. Magic's design philosophy is that not every card has to be for everyone. Every card just has to be for someone. Even superbad cards have their place. 


That's great. You know what would be even better? If Favor of the Woods costed one less mana. Who is that going to hurt? Certainly not the people enjoying the card already.

If every card is for someone, then why wouldn't a better version of the card be for that very same person?
Grave Exchange is not "bad in comparison to the good cards". It's just bad. The same applies to Mindless Null, Scoria Elemental (Which they made a functional reprint of in AVR), Crawling Filth, Aven Trooper, and God knows how many other awful cards that were printed with an extra 2 in their mana cost.



Mindless Null was playable, and we're talking 3-0 decks here. Had it been , the format would've been even less fun.

I was thinking about boarding Raging Poltergeist in an aggressive deck against the green fatty decks.

LSV gives Grave Exchange a 3.0, calling it the second-best black limited common in the set (www.channelfireball.com/articles/avacyn-...) (not saying he's right, you might be, just that evaluations differ)

In the first few weeks of Innistrad Limited, people thought Gnaw to the Bone was unplayable.
 

Guessing versus finding out where the border lies between useful and unplayable is actually one of the more interesting things. 

I gladly give you Aven Trooper (but how many of those cards are printed every year?). That card is so laughably overcosted. It makes me smile every time I see it. Meaning I care more about it that half of the other Torment commons. 

Obviously sucky cards don't provide meaningful choices; that's why I dislike them. They provide an obvious choice, which is why they're typically in the last two or three cards getting passed around.

Let's be honest; what's the only time that you're going to keep Ashenmoor Cohort in a Shadowmoor draft? Answer: When it gets passed to you and there are no other choices.



There are more choices to be made. Deckbuilding for example. Perhaps you have a choice between 3 'bad' 23rd cards.
But, more importantly, it makes other picks matter more. It makes seeing and sending signals matter more. If Ashenmoor Cohort was just a good card (and every other common with it) you could just slam that off-color black bomb in pack 2 and pick up a deck as good as everyone else's (except better, as you have a bomb), because there's no difference between the 4th and 14th pick.

The choice Ashenmoor Cohort gives you is thinking about what will be more powerful to draft, a deck where every card is good or a deck with bombs but a few less good cards. Otherwise, you wouldn't have this choice, as every deck would be "bombs + good cards" where whoever opens the best bombs would be highly favored. 

I understand the "some things are costed differently in some environments" argument. A good creature in Invasion will not be the same as a good creature in Zendikar. However, it can only be taken to a certain point.



Yes, where this point lies is the interesting discussion. I think it's much further. I think a card like Grave Exchange is within that point. Aven Trooper would be beyond that point.

But you actually need Aven Trooper for that. As I showed above, card evalutations can fluctuate during a format's lifespan, and some cards will go from unplayable to pretty interesting. However, for that you do need some cards to be actual unplayable. Otherwise, you know for certain every card is playable (otherwise it wouldn't be printed), so you wouldn't have this skill-testing evaluation metagame (using the non-tournament meaning)

Also, as I said, I actually like that card. Just like there are people who like Elf cards, or people who like coin-flipping cards, there are people who like super bad cards (Chimney Imp has a cult following). Just like coin-flipping, as opposed to Elves, it's a niche audience, so it shouldn't get too many cards like this. 

That's great. You know what would be even better? If Favor of the Woods costed one less mana. Who is that going to hurt? Certainly not the people enjoying the card already.

If every card is for someone, then why wouldn't a better version of the card be for that very same person?



It certainly will hurt them as it'll cost them even longer to find out not to play it =)
While at the same time, it would help no one, as a 2-mana Favor of the Woods is still unplayable for everyone in the know.
But that's just in this specific example. For a more general answer, you shouldn't make cards better just because you can. That would lead to either an arms race or that flat power curve that removes more decisions than it adds. The card connects with its target audience, so it does its job.
However, for that you do need some cards to be actual unplayable. Otherwise, you know for certain every card is playable (otherwise it wouldn't be printed), so you wouldn't have this skill-testing evaluation metagame (using the non-tournament meaning)

I agree with most of your post, but I disagree with you here. The key shouldn't be making some cards that are literally unplayable in all situations, but cards that have extremely limited use, or vary wildly in power level in different types of decks. The skill-testing, then, is figuring out how to use a given card, which is typically much more skill-testing, and almost always more rewarding, than just having a card with the answer "don't ever play this".

If a card can be unplayable in every format, even in casual, then it's a waste of cardboard, and would be better as a second basic land in the booster pack. This is far, far worse when such cards waste a booster's rare slot (I'm looking at you, Moonlace).

They can make cards that are good for different formats, such as Pauper, but aren't good in Limited or Standard. They can make cards that are only good if you build a deck around it, and are absolutely worthless otherwise (such as Flowering Lumberknot). What they should never do is make a card that serves no role other than to be a bad card.

Also, as I said, I actually like that card. Just like there are people who like Elf cards, or people who like coin-flipping cards, there are people who like super bad cards (Chimney Imp has a cult following). Just like coin-flipping, as opposed to Elves, it's a niche audience, so it shouldn't get too many cards like this.

This is actually the most compelling reason for unplayable cards being printed. I, myself, am guilty of liking the card Defensive Stance.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
I agree with most of your post, but I disagree with you here. The key shouldn't be making some cards that are literally unplayable in all situations, but cards that have extremely limited use, or vary wildly in power level in different types of decks. The skill-testing, then, is figuring out how to use a given card, which is typically much more skill-testing, and almost always more rewarding, than just having a card with the answer "don't ever play this".



But then, upon seeing Gnaw to the Bone, people would immidiately think "okay, this doesn't look very good, but there must be a reason". So there aren't really any hidden surprises. Only hidden plants. And games are all about surprises. 

Take these 2 games for example:
1. You choose between $1 or a mystery box which contains anything from $1 to $10
2. You choose between $1 or a mystery box which contains anything from $0 to $10

Which game is more exiting? #2, because everybody in game 1 will choose the box, there is certainty, there is no tension.
The existence of unplayable cards is what makes the tension of every card in the game go up.

Take these 2 games for example:
1. You choose between $1 or a mystery box which contains anything from $1 to $10
2. You choose between $1 or a mystery box which contains anything from $0 to $10

Which game is more exiting? #2, because everybody in game 1 will choose the box, there is certainty, there is no tension.
The existence of unplayable cards is what makes the tension of every card in the game go up.



Yeah, they should bring back the rare island (www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.a... #12). /snark

Take these 2 games for example:
1. You choose between $1 or a mystery box which contains anything from $1 to $10
2. You choose between $1 or a mystery box which contains anything from $0 to $10

Which game is more exiting? #2, because everybody in game 1 will choose the box, there is certainty, there is no tension.
The existence of unplayable cards is what makes the tension of every card in the game go up.

Yes, it may be more exciting, but I'd definitely rather player game 1.

Besides, a more accurate metaphor would be:

1. You pay $4 to get a chance to open a mystery box, which contains anything from $4 to $20.
2. You pay $4 to get a chance to open a mystery box, which contains anything from $0 to $20.

If you're paying for something, you should get value out of it. While, yes, a single unplayable card in the pack doesn't mean the entire pack is valueless, it does still feel bad to know that Wizards is willing to give their paying customers things of zero value.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
Take these 2 games for example:
1. You choose between $1 or a mystery box which contains anything from $1 to $10
2. You choose between $1 or a mystery box which contains anything from $0 to $10

Which game is more exiting? #2, because everybody in game 1 will choose the box, there is certainty, there is no tension.
The existence of unplayable cards is what makes the tension of every card in the game go up.



What does this show, if not that some people overvalue "excitement" and "tension"?
Okay, bad example, as it has shifted the discussion from gameplay value to monetary value. 
Of course as a player you'd rather play #1, but that's because the example breaks the magic circle and is not really a game.

I was only using the example as a metaphor for gameplay value, not actual monetary value.
That for limited (which is a huge focus for Wizards) cards aren't judged in isolation, but in the bigger picture. An unplayable card can still contribute to this.
I was only using the example as a metaphor for gameplay value, not actual monetary value.
That for limited (which is a huge focus for Wizards) cards aren't judged in isolation, but in the bigger picture. An unplayable card can still contribute to this.

I too meant gameplay value when I said "If you're paying for something, you should get value out of it." Magic is a game, first and foremost. If you pay for a game, you should be able to play it. Unplayable cards are like software glitches on release in video games; they detract from the overall value of the game, regardless of how good and functional the rest of it may be. Except Wizards of the Coast can't patch their unplayable cards later.

Unplayable cards add nothing to Limited. Your point about unplayable cards adding skill-testing and variance could just as easily be accomplished by having cards that vary in power level based on the context of the deck in which they're played. People not looking to build that sort of deck can safely glaze over such cards, which accomplishes the (I forget when) stated goal in "bad cards" of making Draft easier to handle. The only thing gained by having unplayable cards in packs is that the people unlucky enough to get the 14th-pick blank have one fewer card for their deck, which just increases the luck factor (which is bad enough with swingy mythics in the format).

I'm not advocating a flat power level across all cards. I understand that some cards have to be better than others. But an unplayable card contributes nothing. Magic is a game, and games are meant to be played. Game pieces that have no gameplay value should simply not exist.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
I'm not advocating a flat power level across all cards. I understand that some cards have to be better than others. But an unplayable card contributes nothing. Magic is a game, and games are meant to be played. Game pieces that have no gameplay value should simply not exist.



I agree with the bolded part. But unplayable cards, in moderation, do not detract from this. Magic is a game about customizing, about inclusion and exclusion. You pick your game pieces, you don't have to play them all. 

Aren't art and flavor pieces of the game without gameplay value? Just like flavor text is just a part of a text box, an unplayable card is just a part of a set. 

Unplayable cards add nothing to Limited. Your point about unplayable cards adding skill-testing and variance could just as easily be accomplished by having cards that vary in power level based on the context of the deck in which they're played.



About what kind of cards are we talking about here? Almost every card has some kind of niche application. If you look at it in this way, there aren't any truly unplayable cards. 

For example, I'd gladly put that Aven Trooper in my triple Soulcatchers' Aerie deck for critical mass. I know someone who has Moonlace in his casual EDH deck, which catches people with Mother of Runes or All is Dust etc completely by surprise, and has generated many a laugh.
I agree with the bolded part. But unplayable cards, in moderation, do not detract from this. Magic is a game about customizing, about inclusion and exclusion. You pick your game pieces, you don't have to play them all.

They certainly detract from my enjoyment when I get them in a booster pack. And they detract from the Limited experience, as well.

Aren't art and flavor pieces of the game without gameplay value? Just like flavor text is just a part of a text box, an unplayable card is just a part of a set.

Art and flavor text are purely additive. They don't remove rules text from cards to make room for flavor text, after all. An unplayable card, however, is subtractive; it's effectively a blank. It removes a card in the booster pack; it removes a card from the set; it removes a card from your card pool in Limited.

About what kind of cards are we talking about here? Almost every card has some kind of niche application. If you look at it in this way, there aren't any truly unplayable cards. 

For example, I'd gladly put that Aven Trooper in my triple Soulcatchers' Aerie deck for critical mass. I know someone who has Moonlace in his casual EDH deck, which catches people with Mother of Runes or All is Dust etc completely by surprise, and has generated many a laugh.

A card which is only playable because of tribal interactions has limits. I could print a three-mana 1/1 vanilla wolf and you could claim that it's not unplayable because it could be used to reach critical mass in an wolf deck.

It's very difficult to qualify 'unplayable'. Things that are strictly inferior to other options in the same format... Cards that would still be fair, even underpowered, at one or more mana cheaper... Cards which serve no role in any deck, or serve a role better performed by another card in the same format...

Thanks to the focus on Limited these days, very few cards are unplayable in all formats, but they still do exist.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
Ooh, this is starting to get interesting.  I'll come back with a more detailed response when I have more time, but I just want to get a foot in here for now.

I agree with most of your post, but I disagree with you here. The key shouldn't be making some cards that are literally unplayable in all situations, but cards that have extremely limited use, or vary wildly in power level in different types of decks. The skill-testing, then, is figuring out how to use a given card, which is typically much more skill-testing, and almost always more rewarding, than just having a card with the answer "don't ever play this".


But then, upon seeing Gnaw to the Bone, people would immidiately think "okay, this doesn't look very good, but there must be a reason". So there aren't really any hidden surprises. Only hidden plants. And games are all about surprises.


I agree with chronego completely here.  I don't really understand your point about "surprises" versus "plants."
Of course as a player you'd rather play #1, but that's because the example breaks the magic circle and is not really a game. I was only using the example as a metaphor for gameplay value, not actual monetary value. That for limited (which is a huge focus for Wizards) cards aren't judged in isolation, but in the bigger picture. An unplayable card can still contribute to this.


Well, as "the house" Wizards would rather have everyone play #2--obviously they have outside-the-magic-circle concerns as well.

Aren't art and flavor pieces of the game without gameplay value? Just like flavor text is just a part of a text box, an unplayable card is just a part of a set.

Art and flavor text are purely additive. They don't remove rules text from cards to make room for flavor text, after all. An unplayable card, however, is subtractive; it's effectively a blank. It removes a card in the booster pack; it removes a card from the set; it removes a card from your card pool in Limited.


I think what TobyornotToby is getting at is that unplayable cards could be seen as an additive, depending on one's perspective.  In terms of game design, there wouldn't be much difference between Scars of Mirrodin block and a hypothetical Scars of Mirrodin minus Defensive Stance block, in the same way that Lightning Bolt is functionally the same regardless of whether it has flavor text or not.  The problem, though, is that whenever someone buys a booster pack, that person is paying for the possibility of opening a Defensive Stance instead of one of the playable cards.
  
About what kind of cards are we talking about here? Almost every card has some kind of niche application. If you look at it in this way, there aren't any truly unplayable cards.

 

It's very difficult to qualify 'unplayable'. Things that are strictly inferior to other options in the same format... Cards that would still be fair, even underpowered, at one or more mana cheaper... Cards which serve no role in any deck, or serve a role better performed by another card in the same format...


I agree; it is very difficult to qualify unplayability.  Competitive Pokémon deals with the issue by dividing Pokémon into tiers (uber, overused, underused, never used), but Pokémon isn't updated nearly as often as Magic, and it isn't played under nearly as many different formats and variants.

I'm not advocating a flat power level across all cards. I understand that some cards have to be better than others. But an unplayable card contributes nothing. Magic is a game, and games are meant to be played. Game pieces that have no gameplay value should simply not exist.



If you made a set of the 250 best cards in Magic history, cards #225 - 250 would be unplayable because they'd get the snot beaten out of them by cards #1 - 100.
If you made a set of the 250 best cards in Magic history, cards #225 - 250 would be unplayable because they'd get the snot beaten out of them by cards #1 - 100.

That is not true. They may be unplayable in Standard, but not in Limited or Casual or other formats.

The sorts of cards I'm talking about when I say 'unplayable' are cards like Favor of the Woods that are just plain bad in any situation.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
Ooh, this is starting to get interesting.



Welcome!

I agree with chronego completely here.  I don't really understand your point about "surprises" versus "plants."



Oh oh I just thought of another example:

You're watching a horror/thriller. They're ramping up the tension, music is getting more intense, you can feel it. There are 3 things that can happen here.

1. Something happens. You flinch. 
2. Nothing happens. Then just as you let out a breath of relief, something happens. You flinch. 
3. Nothing happens. You curse the movie for making you scared.

Not knowing what will happen is what makes them scary and thus exiting and fun. If #3 was removed, those scenes would be a lot less scary because you're certain something will happen, you just need to brace yourself for when it happens. There would be no surprise, as you know for certain the director planted a moment of something happening there.
The same can be said about evaluating magic cards. 

1. They're playable.
2. They look unplayable, but then hidden usages emerge.
3. They're unplayable. 

Again, if #3 was removed, the discovery of new magic cards (which is a huge part of magic's appeal, and why so many cards are released each year) would be less exiting and less fun. 

Favor of the Woods made Gnaw to the Bone more fun, and I see that as a net positive. 

The problem, though, is that whenever someone buys a booster pack, that person is paying for the possibility of opening a Defensive Stance instead of one of the playable cards.



They certainly detract from my enjoyment when I get them in a booster pack.

 

Yes this is the problem with them. There are many levels to look at Magic. At the set level, at the booster level, at the playing-a-game-of-magic level, etc. Perhaps we're discussion different levels here. It's true that in boosters, they waste slots. I find that an acceptable sacrifice though, as long as it isn't the rare slot. But commons? Whatever you wanted to open in that Defensive Stance slot you can buy for 10 cents. Or get for free from anyone with draft piles at home. 

I stopped buying boosters a long time ago because I got sick of opening crap rares. But I never minded crap commons. 

And they detract from the Limited experience, as well.



Well this is where I disagree, as the "Limited experience" is something shaped by more than individual cards. A 'the whole bigger than the sum of the parts' thingy. 

Art and flavor text are purely additive. They don't remove rules text from cards to make room for flavor text, after all. An unplayable card, however, is subtractive; it's effectively a blank. It removes a card in the booster pack; it removes a card from the set; it removes a card from your card pool in Limited.



This is true, which is why we're having this discussion (should unplayable cards exist?) and not that discussion (should flavor text exist?). However, I was merely using this point to refute your statement, "elements without gameplay value have no reason to exist". 

A card which is only playable because of tribal interactions has limits. I could print a three-mana 1/1 vanilla wolf and you could claim that it's not unplayable because it could be used to reach critical mass in an wolf deck.



If the set has a tribal component, yes. I couldn't make the same excuse for Chimney Imp I think.

It's very difficult to qualify 'unplayable'. Things that are strictly inferior to other options in the same format... Cards that would still be fair, even underpowered, at one or more mana cheaper... Cards which serve no role in any deck, or serve a role better performed by another card in the same format...



A legacy burn deck plays a lot of cards strictly inferior to Lighning Bolt, but it's for the better. I'm at a loss thinking about such cases for limited (Skillful Lunge and Zealous Strike are not in the same environment for example, even being just a set apart), unless you count rarities? But rarities have a gameplay value in limited. 

Many cards would be fair for a mana cheaper, many cards that are regulary played already.

"Having no role in any deck" seems like an interesting qualification for "unplayable".
I'm sure that my experience at the AVA pre-release was improved thanks to the range of power levels. Frankly, I don't buy cards very often and don't even play /that/ often (and when I do, it's usually with equally inept players). I appreciated being able to go through my cards and - on 2nd reading - ditch nearly half of them for being 'worse' and use the others to determine what colour(s) I should play.

I probably made some mistakes in both stages - some folk who beat me pointed out cards that are actually playable. Someone suggested I switch colours completely and I did fare a tiny bit better after that.

But I'm definitely not the worst - finishing higher than median - and even I appreciate the fact that I'm able to discount some cards, making deck-building (or drafting) a bit less stressful. 

I find that the better that players are, the more they want the power-curve of all cards to be closer together, making evaluation harder and encouraging deckbuilding to be about synergy and specific deck needs rather than simply putting in the most powerful cards of your colour. MtG has to differentiate between all abilities on the 'spectrum' though and I like being able to beat someone worse than me, despite not being very good myself.

If MtG became the game that forum-posters and pros often seem to ask for, there wouldn't be much differentiation in skill levels until you'd reached a certain point.
If you made a set of the 250 best cards in Magic history, cards #225 - 250 would be unplayable because they'd get the snot beaten out of them by cards #1 - 100.


Actually, this makes me wonder about the Cube format (which I have never played or designed for).  Do people intentionally stick cards like Chimney Imp into their Cubes?  I imagine that, for a particular Cube, certain cards are less likely to be played--do those cards get replaced or deleted?  Is a hidden strategy seeded into the card selections to make the apparently weaker cards worth choosing?

You're watching a horror/thriller. They're ramping up the tension, you can feel it. There are 3 things that can happen here...

Not knowing what will happen is what makes them scary and thus exiting and fun. If #3 was removed, those scenes would be a lot less scary because you're certain something will happen, you just need to brace yourself for when it happens. There would be no surprise, as you know for certain the director planted a moment of something happening there.
The same can be said about evaluating magic cards.


This is a nicely constructed analogy.  I think I get what you're saying--in order for "looks unplayable but has hidden uses" to mean anything, there have to be cards that actually are unplayable.  Otherwise, there are just obvious good cards and less obvious good cards.  I think your analogy falls down in a few places, though:

1.  The horror/thriller can only pull off that trick on the first viewing.  Magic is designed to be played multiple times.
2.  I don't think surprise and discovery are quite the same thing.  Regardless, discovery still exists without #3.  Instead of discovering whether a card is playable, a player can discover why a card is playable.  In fact, because anyone can look up card prices online, the "whether" is often obvious.  (This Jace, the Mind Sculptor card is pretty expensive; it must be really good!)
3.  As has been mentioned before, cards aren't necessarily playable or unplayable in a vaccuum; sometimes they are situationally so.
4.  There isn't any discovery to be had when a card is obviously unplayable.  To quote Extra Credits, "choice is about overcoming internal conflict."  If the card is obviously unplayable, there's no conflict--the correct decision will always be to not play the card.  For there to be conflict, the card must be useful in some kind of situation.

There are many levels to look at Magic. At the set level, at the booster level, at the playing-a-game-of-magic level, etc. Perhaps we're discussion different levels here.


I do think this is the heart of the problem.  You seem to be discussing at the "playing-a-game-of-magic" level where players can effectively ignore bad cards by simply not including them in their decks.  But then, if players are ignoring the cards, that brings us back to why design them in the first place?

And they detract from the Limited experience, as well.



Well this is where I disagree, as the "Limited experience" is something shaped by more than individual cards. A 'the whole bigger than the sum of the parts' thingy.


I agree with you here, TobyornotToby.  As you mentioned before, sometimes you do have those situations where you have to choose from among three bad cards to be the last card in your Limited deck.  Or you have to decide whether it's better to splash for that off-color bomb or stick to weaker cards with a more consistent mana base.

Art and flavor text are purely additive. They don't remove rules text from cards to make room for flavor text, after all. An unplayable card, however, is subtractive; it's effectively a blank. It removes a card in the booster pack; it removes a card from the set; it removes a card from your card pool in Limited.



This is true, which is why we're having this discussion (should unplayable cards exist?) and not that discussion (should flavor text exist?). However, I was merely using this point to refute your statement, "elements without gameplay value have no reason to exist".


Remember Zac Hill's hypothetical Raging Centaur?  Bad cards are like the ": Lose 10 life" ability.  Even if they're additive in the sense of being an extra option, their psychological impact is negative--they're actually worse than having no gameplay value.  This is true at the booster and set level regardless of whether the bad card takes a rare or common slot.

It's very difficult to qualify 'unplayable'. Things that are strictly inferior to other options in the same format... Cards that would still be fair, even underpowered, at one or more mana cheaper... Cards which serve no role in any deck, or serve a role better performed by another card in the same format...



A legacy burn deck plays a lot of cards strictly inferior to Lighning Bolt, but it's for the better. I'm at a loss thinking about such cases for limited (Skillful Lunge and Zealous Strike are not in the same environment for example, even being just a set apart), unless you count rarities? But rarities have a gameplay value in limited. 

Many cards would be fair for a mana cheaper, many cards that are regulary played already.

"Having no role in any deck" seems like an interesting qualification for "unplayable".


I wish I could be more helpful here.  In Pokémon, tiers are generally standardized by one of the competitive battling websites (read: Smogon.com) through playtesting, tournament results, and community opinion.  The "serves a role better performed by another Pokémon" reasoning does come up fairly often, though.

I'm not sure there's a way to meaningfully define "having no role in any deck."  I mean, I'd gladly take the 3 mana vanilla 1/1 Wolf if I need to chump-block a Homicidal Brute.
I still have no clue how to do Multi-Quote other than just copy and pasting each person I want to quote, so I'm going the lazy route here. Also to keep my post shorter.

@TobyOrNotToby:

Your Horror Movie example is a good one, and tempts me to change my position. Yet I still feel that it's better to be able to go back to any given card and eventually find a use for it, rather than occasionally have "never touch this card again" be the actual, valid answer. It's exciting to finally crack the puzzle, after all.

Yes, commons are easy to pick up, so having a common slot wasted isn't that big a deal. I, too, have stopped bothering with booster packs, but it is in large part because the commons and uncommons have gotten so much less Constructed viable these days. In Time Spiral, I would buy a bunch of boosters and put many of the cards I opened into decks, or build new decks with the cards. I've tried doing the same thing recently, a few times, and found that if I'm lucky, maybe two or three cards in the pack will be worth a spot in a Constructed deck, and that's counting the rare.

Obviously this isn't proof that unplayable cards have gotten more commonplace, since many of those commons I discount are good in Limited. Still, opening a card that would literally be better if replaced with a second basic land is never a good feeling, easily replaceable or not.

Fair point about the Limited experience. I merely meant that unplayable cards decrease your card pool in Limited, rather than being another situationally useful sideboard card.

I understood your point about flavor text and art. Perhaps I should qualify my original point: "Gameplay elements that affect gameplay yet aren't actually playable shouldn't exist."

@Bezman

A fair defense of unplayable cards in Limited. I still feel that this role could be just as equally served by having cards that are only good in some situations, so you can discount them if you don't want to play that type of deck, or don't have the cards to go with them.

I'm not advocating a flat power curve. I'm just advocating that cards which literally serve no role except to be bad, unplayable cards, shouldn't exist. There could still be a range of cards from Primeval Titan to Craw Wurm, since those are playable at all points on their spectrum (at least in Limited).

@notthephonz

Welcome to the discussion!

Good counterpoint to the horror movie metaphor.

The Limited experience isn't necessarily served by having unplayable cards. Having to choose from among three bad cards for the final place in your deck would still exist without unplayable cards. What unplayable cards do is take a spot in your card pool and give absolutely nothing back. You wouldn't even look to run them if they were the last card in your chosen colors; you'd be better off running another land. I'm not talking about bad or weak cards; I'm talking about cards that will never be played. This does mean most creatures don't count as unplayable, because no matter how bad they can still chump block or attack.

Agreed with the Zac Hill Raging Centaur analogy. When a person opens a card that is completely unplayable, it feels like Wizards of the Coast is insulting their intelligence. "We think you're dumb enough to fall into the trap of playing this." And for the people who do fall into the trap of playing it, when they eventually find out just how bad the card is, they feel even more insulted, or at least embarassed.

I know it's hard to define "having no role in any deck", which is why I added the second point, "or a role that is better served by another card in the same format". So yes, you might want that 3-mana 1/1, but you'd be better off running almost any other 3-drop creature in the format for that role.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
1.  The horror/thriller can only pull off that trick on the first viewing.  Magic is designed to be played multiple times.
2.  I don't think surprise and discovery are quite the same thing.  Regardless, discovery still exists without #3.  Instead of discovering whether a card is playable, a player can discover why a card is playable.  In fact, because anyone can look up card prices online, the "whether" is often obvious.  (This Jace, the Mind Sculptor card is pretty expensive; it must be really good!)
3.  As has been mentioned before, cards aren't necessarily playable or unplayable in a vaccuum; sometimes they are situationally so.
4.  There isn't any discovery to be had when a card is obviously unplayable.  To quote Extra Credits, "choice is about overcoming internal conflict."  If the card is obviously unplayable, there's no conflict--the correct decision will always be to not play the card.  For there to be conflict, the card must be useful in some kind of situation.



1. True. Luckily for Wizards it takes quite a few drafts/weeks before a format is 'figured out'. However, they've published a number of articles now on how the SCG circuit is endangering their model as people are playing Magic at a hugher frequency than before (and thus formats take less weeks to be figured out). It could be that they need to change their current model in the future, and this 'trick' doesn't work anymore.
2. Certainly, a game without unplayable cards is still functioning and good. They're not essential. I'm just saying the game is better with than without them.
3. Not sure in what way this makes the analogy fall. 
4. But what is obvious and what isn't? There are only a few truly obvious unplayable cards. Many are not obvious but still unplayable, others seem obvious but are actually playable. 

Remember Zac Hill's hypothetical 
Raging Centaur?  Bad cards are like the ": Lose 10 life" ability.  Even if they're additive in the sense of being an extra option, their psychological impact is negative--they're actually worse than having no gameplay value.  This is true at the booster and set level regardless of whether the bad card takes a rare or common slot.


Yeah, again, that's why we're having this discussion. Unplayable cards definitely add something negative to the game. My opinion is just that their benefits outweigh that. It's just that it adds positive things on different levels than where it adds negative things.

Yes, commons are easy to pick up, so having a common slot wasted isn't that big a deal. I, too, have stopped bothering with booster packs, but it is in large part because the commons and uncommons have gotten so much less Constructed viable these days. In Time Spiral, I would buy a bunch of boosters and put many of the cards I opened into decks, or build new decks with the cards. I've tried doing the same thing recently, a few times, and found that if I'm lucky, maybe two or three cards in the pack will be worth a spot in a Constructed deck, and that's counting the rare.



True. I do wonder how much this has to do with New World Order. With commons being simpler, there are less knobs to turn for variation, so it's harder to make something that isn't just strictly worse than another card.

Fair point about the Limited experience. I merely meant that unplayable cards decrease your card pool in Limited, rather than being another situationally useful sideboard card.



Yes this could theoretically be a problem, but I don't think it is one in practice. Sometimes it's a foil basic. Sometimes it's a card in a color you're not in. Sometimes it's a card playable only with synergies you don't have. A limited pool can handle a few "never-looked-at-again" slots. When the boosters went from 15 to 14 cards, the world didn't end either.

I understood your point about flavor text and art. Perhaps I should qualify my original point: "Gameplay elements that affect gameplay yet aren't actually playable shouldn't exist."



Just out of curiosity, are you in the "Incite shouldn't change colors" camp?
Yeah, again, that's why we're having this discussion. Unplayable cards definitely add something negative to the game. My opinion is just that their benefits outweigh that. It's just that it adds positive things on different levels than where it adds negative things.

I suppose I can agree that they do add something. I just disagree that the something couldn't be added in other ways that don't have such a negative impact elsewhere.

True. I do wonder how much this has to do with New World Order. With commons being simpler, there are less knobs to turn for variation, so it's harder to make something that isn't just strictly worse than another card.

Very much so. In Magic, simpler almost always means weaker. There are a few exceptions, where the simplest effect is at the top of the power curve for that cost (Lightning Bolt) but for the most part, the "vanilla" effect, at any given cost, could be made more powerful by adding more complication.

This is especially true for creatures, where adding a point to power or toughness could take the card over the power level for its cost quite easily while there is still plenty of room to add additional abilities without crossing that line. Coral Merfolk vs. Azure Mage.

Yes this could theoretically be a problem, but I don't think it is one in practice. Sometimes it's a foil basic. Sometimes it's a card in a color you're not in. Sometimes it's a card playable only with synergies you don't have. A limited pool can handle a few "never-looked-at-again" slots. When the boosters went from 15 to 14 cards, the world didn't end either.

In Sealed not so much, but in Draft, opening a pack with unplayable cards, or being passed one, yields fewer choices. That card might mean the difference between a situationally useful card that would push your deck in a new direction, and a pack from which you get absolutely nothing in your colors.

Just out of curiosity, are you in the "Incite shouldn't change colors" camp?
No, that's fine. The card, as a whole, still serves some purpose. I enjoy the occasional extra bit of flavor, as long as it doesn't go too far.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
Sign In to post comments