05/18/2012 LD: "Mixed Bag, Part 2"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.
I would say it should be "highest power-to-look ratio" or "lowest look-to-power ratio." Now it sounds like it looks good but plays badly.
76125763 wrote:
Zindaras' meta is like a fossil, ancient and its secrets yet to be uncovered. Only men of yore, long dead, knew of it.
The way we are envisioning it right now, green falls quite a bit behind colors like black and red in terms of its ability to just kill a creature. But we're trying to give it the tools to leverage its creatures to fight those on the other side—and to leverage its size advantage into something meaningful.

I hope this means you're looking into ways to help Green push damage through. It sorely lacks evasion.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
i know it might be not expected in a development column, but one of the things that make me look forward to fridays so i can read zac's column is that he puts so much of his goofy personality into it! i grinned when thinking of pigs with little wings, or the image of zac getting pummelled by vexing devils repeatedly, or zac's outright admission (which we all would think of if he never mentioned it!) of how similar this looks to the much-beloved (and much-dislike-aimed-at-him at times??) face of M:TG PR, Mr Rosewater. i've always loved goofy humor, and though i'm sad that Doug Beyer has left the team, i'm delighted and tickled that Zac has joined! who knew reading about development could be so entertaining?
I expected I would enjoy today's column, and I did!  :D
You're not Doug Beyer, nor the Savor the Flavor column or a replacement for it, but you are a rival in quality, and I hope to see more of your columns like this again, Zac Hill!  If a Savor the Flavor column does return, this kind of feature would be nice.  I want to know about Hound of Griselbrand from creative's standpoint!
I mentioned this in last week's thread too: I miss the multiverse comment trawls - while it's interesting getting one man's view of a set, it's also interesting to get a cross-section of R&D's views (and a glimpse of some of the byplay involved in development).

It's possible that Latest Developments isn't the right place for them (though the only other "obvious" slot is the Feature Article) but it would be nice to see them come back.
M:tG Rules Advisor
Hmm, I would've liked Reforge the Soul better with a miracle cost of :2r::G: to mirror Wheel of Fortune, just like the Time Walk thingy.
 
The 
 manacost can be tough to grasp—there haven't been a huge number of tournament staples like it—but your up-front deal (most often  for 2 damage's worth of [card]Flame Wave[/card]) isn't usually all that bad in the matchups you want it.

After Archwing Dragon and its story, this part also made me realize what I like about this game is that you guys dig deep. You have extensive memory of what cards there, which have been great, and which have been subpar. Then you seek out to give an old dog new tricks, but make sure that one isn't strictly better than the other-- each card has their applications. The new one may be arguably better, but rarely do you make cards that are strictly better in every way to another. I appreciate that level of research and the explanations for the costs of new cards.




Burn at the Stake


I love reading "three times", "deals damage to target creature or player equal to three times..."



Descendants' Path


Fantastic story.



Avacyn Restored Limited features several powerful Equipment, and this card was originally envisioned to offer a narrow but potent solution to those. With Standard being defined, to a degree, by certain other fliers wielding certain other Pikes and Swords, I expect this card to make at least a few sideboard appearances.


1) I don't get this limited tool, TBH. It just doesn't do anything narrowly. It's flying hate, that's what it's for. It's unbelievably rare that I have trouble with both a nasty creature and a nasty equipment. The reason? Because the "several powerful equipment" you mention don't exist. Equipment is kind of rare, even in sealed. There are two situations:
...a) Moonsilver Spear. I need to deal with the equipment. Did they put it on a flying creature? Probably not... I can handle the Thraben Valiant on my own; I need Demolish

...b) A nasty flyer needs to be answered. Probably not even equipped. Maybe a Voice of the Provinces with Bladed Bracers? I need an answer to the flyer... I mean, thanks for the narrow incremental advantage interaction, but Thunderbolt would've been just fine.

2) Constructed? Possibly. Delver. Aha. Ahaa. It's awful. Delver equipped? Yeah that happens almost never. You know what's equipped? Traft or Stalker... good luck with that. Well, maybe it's on a token! Again, thanks for the incremental advantage on that token... CVines is just better.



Somberwald Sage


Go for t3rd GaGa.



Ulvenwald Tracker


Fight is a good solution to green's problems. Although, it needs more so it has reasonable solutions to fliers. The situation is nothing like blue, who solved bad creatures by making under-costed Clones and the best creatures mana can be spent on. 
As I'm sure everyone's been able to tell with decks like Burning Vengeance and Gnaw to the Bone in Innistrad draft, we're trying to make certain aspects of Limited a little more "Constructed-like" in terms of archetypes, strategies, and power along a linear axis (which is basically a fancy way of saying "do something very specific very well").


If I wanted to play constructed, I'd play constructed. Bring back real limited!
I don't see Wolfir Silverheart as a "sleeper hit". I got the impression a LOT of people were talking about it for a while, and they certainly still are, especially after last weekend.

I'm very glad to see more "marginal" removal spells, rather than "auto-pick the removal card". Hopefully this trend can mean (as Jay Treat realised) that you can stop needing creatures to be so irritatingly noninteractive (hexproof) or so absurdly powerful (Titans).


I also like finding the pockets of deep synergies (such as "lots of Humans ETBing") in Limited (or in few-boosters-opened Casual, which sometimes looks similar).


But... "Sleeper"? "Sleeper"? In what sense is Wolfir Silverheart a "sleeper"? It's absolutely ludicrously sized. Yes, it's no Titan (which is a very good thing), but it still seems far more power and toughness than any five-mana card ought to be supplying.


But... "Sleeper"? "Sleeper"? In what sense is Wolfir Silverheart a "sleeper"? It's absolutely ludicrously sized. Yes, it's no Titan (which is a very good thing), but it still seems far more power and toughness than any five-mana card ought to be supplying.



It could be bought for less than a euro (dollar?) before the PT
Yeah.  EVERYBODY thought that NOBODY ELSE HAD IT at PT: AVR.  It was kind of funny talking to so many different players who all thought they had the technology.  It reminded me of Berlin.
My mind has been blown.  Silverheart is a $8-9 card now?  Time to sell the playsets I have leftover from my last couple drafts, I guess.

Magic players are so fickle and silly.
The single best card in this whole set, the one to most likely shape the standard metagame for a long time, the one that was best positioned for Pt AVR even, is.........




Somberwald Sage. Hear me out.
At the PT, no one played geistflames or tragic slips. It was always mass removal, except with fight club. A deck with Pilgrim and Sage could have been powering out huge (7-mana) creatures as quickly or even faster than Reanimator. Hardest matchups would have been Hallelujah and Fight club, So it very likely would have top-8'd.

As for standard, it creates the oppurtunity for bigger creatures than titans in more than two colors. Seems there is also less one mana removal there. This is the sets real sleeper, even the developers don't realize.
Really?  Nothing more to say about Vexing Devil?
I really don't understand the desire to nerf removal in limited.  I can understand that in this particular set you don't want instant speed removal because it kind of kills the whole point of the soulbond mechanic, but sorcery speed removal seems not only fine for the set but just necessary for limted play.


Removal makes limited games more fun.  It lets the games go longer, and lets you fight through mana screw, and basically just lets you try to get what your deck was trying to work.   With no removal games often end extremely quickly and in non-interactive ways.  It's not exactly fun to have your opponent play a Druid's Familiar and realize that you can't possibly win if your opponent knows what he's doing because your only removal is 2 defangs and a Pillar of Flame.


You make an argument about people always taking the doom blade over the Wind Drake, but that's a terrible argument.  This format isn't any different, you're just taking the good creatures over the worse creatures adn the bad removal every time.  In this set you just take the Mist Raven or Trusted guy every single time. 


I just don't get this change.  Rise of the Eldrazi is widely lauded as one of the best limited formats of all time, and it has a lot of strong common removal.  Ravnica, Invasion, and Time Spiral, 3 other very popular formats were similarly full of good removal, yet had tons of viable archetypes and interesting and diverse game play.


Both locally and among the writing community, the consensus seems to be that this is a very mediocre set for limited, so hopefully you'll realize that when something isn't broken, you don't need to fix it.  Decent common removal is necessary to a healthy limited format. 
I also agree that the doom blade over wind drake argument is bad.  First pack first pick this is true but later on you stick to your colors.  If you are UG then you take the Drake.  However the problem arrises when you have LESS removal because every removal card is so much more valuable.  That's when you have people taking mediocre removal over significantly better cards because otherwise you will have 0 interactivity, or just lose to a bomb (which wizards seems to be pushing way more.  I remember a quote along the lines of "we want people to be able to play their dragon" which is great until you realize that the way you are doing it is to say "whoever draws their dragon first wins").  I love formats with a solid number of removal spells because that lets you safely pick wind drakes and work on your curve with the knowledge that you don't need to scramble for every removal spell you can get.
I really don't understand the desire to nerf removal in limited.  I can understand that in this particular set you don't want instant speed removal because it kind of kills the whole point of the soulbond mechanic, but sorcery speed removal seems not only fine for the set but just necessary for limted play.

Innistrad had nerfed removal, and it was awesome.  That said, I don't think Avacyn Restored needed to be particularly lower power level removal than that.  As you note, sorcery speed would have been a good solution.
Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
My Decks
These are the decks I have assembled at the moment:
Tournament Decks (4)
Kicker Aggro (Invasion Block) Sunforger/Izzet Guildmage Midrange (Ravnica/Time Spiral/Xth Standard) Dragonstorm Combo (Time Spiral/Lorwyn/Xth Standard) Bant Midrange (Lorwyn/Shards/M10 Standard)
Casual Multiplayer Decks (50)
Angel Resurrection Casual Soul Sisters Sindbad's Adventures with Djinn of Wishes Sphinx-Bone Wand Buyback Morph (No Instants or Sorceries) Cabal Coffers Control Zombie Aggro Hungry, Hungry Greater Gargadon/War Elemental Flashfires/Boil/Ruination - Boom! Call of the Wild Teysa, Orzhov Scion with Twilight Drover, Sun Titan, and Hivestone Slivers Rebels Cairn Wanderer Knights Only Gold and () Spells Captain Sisay Toolbox Spellweaver Helix Combo Merfolk Wizards Izzet Guildmage/The Unspeakable Arcane Combo Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and his Wizards Creatureless Wild Research/Reins of Power Madness Creatureless Pyromancer Ascension Anarchist Living Death Anvil of Bogardan Madness Shamen with Goblin Game/Wound Reflection Combo Mass damage Quest for Pure Flame Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle/Clear the Land with 40+ Lands Doubling Season Thallids Juniper Order Ranger Graft/Tokens Elf Archer Druids Equilibrium/Aluren Combo Experiment Kraj Combo Reap Combo False Cure/Kavu Predator Combo Savra, Queen of the Golgari Sacrifice/Dredge Elf Warriors Eight-Post Sneak Attack Where Ancients Tread Zur the Enchanter with Opal creatures Tamanoa/Kavu Predator/Collapsing Borders Esper Aggro Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and his Darksteel Reactor Theft and Control Unearth Aggro Soul's Fire Vampires Devour Tokens Phytohydra with Powerstone Minefield Treefolk Friendly? Questing Phelddagrif Slivers Dragon Arch Fun I'm probably forgetting a few...