7/27/2012 LD: "Attack!"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.

Yes, the emergent complexity of combat is wonderful:


You and I are both at 5 life.  You have three 1/1 soldier tokens.  I have a 2/2 bear token, attacking you, and 1 card in hand.


It's a simple scenario, but the proper play is completely different whether my card in hand is a Giant Growth, a shock, or a land.  This is why Magic has been such a great intellectual game, rewarding players for reading the opponent and playing the odds.


Unfortunately R&D now sees that as a bad situation because, apparently, from 1994 to 2009 nobody ever attacked.  So MaRo's rule is "everything's a sorcery unless it absolutely can't be", and development's one-upping them by putting tricks right on the board.  Now the right play can always be the obvious one, and every player is the best at Magic!

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Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.


Unfortunately R&D now sees that as a bad situation because, apparently, from 1994 to 2009 nobody ever attacked.  So MaRo's rule is "everything's a sorcery unless it absolutely can't be", and development's one-upping them by putting tricks right on the board.  Now the right play can always be the obvious one, and every player is the best at Magic!




I completely agree.  In fact, I made this account just to tell you how much I agree.

After having taken a break for several years, the game I have come back to seems to be lacking.  Having played from Revised Edition until my hiatus around 2009, I can't explain how mind numbingly boring I find the current standard format.  When I go to my weekly FNM, I spend most of the time hoping that the games end quickly so that I can play some Legacy, Commander, or old world championship decks in between rounds.

But let's face it, these guys just want as much money as possible and nothing makes money like bigger, flashier creatures.  Creatures are FUN!  So why am I not having fun?

Give me back my combo, prison, permission decks.  For the love of God, does anyone remember the standard format of 1998 when Necropotence was legal and NOT a very strong deck?  Send me back to Mirage/Tempest/5th edition please or even Invasion.  It beats the current creature fiasco we call Magic.
Give me back my combo, prison, permission decks.  For the love of God, does anyone remember the standard format of 1998 when Necropotence was legal and NOT a very strong deck?  Send me back to Mirage/Tempest/5th edition please or even Invasion.  It beats the current creature fiasco we call Magic.

Zac is talking about M13 Limited here.  What kind of Mirage Limited were you playing?  Creatures were awesome there: flank knights, Breezekeepers, etc.  Sure, the occasional game revolved around Kaervek's Torch instead, but those usually weren't the best games.  And as for Volcanic Geyser... well, it's back in M13!
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...

Unfortunately R&D now sees that as a bad situation because, apparently, from 1994 to 2009 nobody ever attacked.  So MaRo's rule is "everything's a sorcery unless it absolutely can't be", and development's one-upping them by putting tricks right on the board.  Now the right play can always be the obvious one, and every player is the best at Magic!




I completely agree.  In fact, I made this account just to tell you how much I agree.

After having taken a break for several years, the game I have come back to seems to be lacking.  Having played from Revised Edition until my hiatus around 2009, I can't explain how mind numbingly boring I find the current standard format.  When I go to my weekly FNM, I spend most of the time hoping that the games end quickly so that I can play some Legacy, Commander, or old world championship decks in between rounds.

But let's face it, these guys just want as much money as possible and nothing makes money like bigger, flashier creatures.  Creatures are FUN!  So why am I not having fun?

Give me back my combo, prison, permission decks.  For the love of God, does anyone remember the standard format of 1998 when Necropotence was legal and NOT a very strong deck?  Send me back to Mirage/Tempest/5th edition please or even Invasion.  It beats the current creature fiasco we call Magic.



I imagine you accept that a lot of people found being stuck in a stasis lock or in a race to draw combo pieces equally boring and unfun and were just waiting for the game to end so they could play commander or pauper etc.

Different strokes for different folks. There will always be decks that people find unfun. I personally find cawblade, splinter-exarch and an old winter orb lockdown equally boring, but then I mainly play commander and casual.
A huge, huge percentage of 
Magic's total interactions happen in the combat step. It's the attribute of the game that most allows it to be so rich, deep, and interesting, and embeds tons of complexity inside a top-down sensibility ("Whoa! Things are fighting!") that's basically palatable to anyone who has sat down to play.

 The only problem is how Exalted gets abused regularly with non-interactivity. Basically, they find dudes that turn combat into a burn spell step: WCloak makes them completely untouchable, GoSTraft is regularly broken as a tempo master, SMantle is even more terrifying than TSoul, and IStalker is an abomination. These are the cards that don't use their abilities as a means to an end, they are the end plan-- an end plan stroked fondly by Exalted.
Yeah but they've already stated that they will tone down evasion + hexproof/shroud considerably.

I think Tormented Soul is acceptable as it's meh on its own and you can still remove it, even 2-for-1in if it has an aura. 
TSoul as a trigger for Bloodthirst is cool; for exalted, unfun.

I'm big against the mechanic, I see they don't do it often, but they still do it too much (such as in D13, where they pick and choose what cards to showcase). I was thinking about how ninjas were toeing the line but mostly okay-- the evasion is to sneak in ninjas which can be blocked on future attacks. 

Give me back my combo, prison, permission decks.  For the love of God, does anyone remember the standard format of 1998 when Necropotence was legal and NOT a very strong deck?  Send me back to Mirage/Tempest/5th edition please or even Invasion.  It beats the current creature fiasco we call Magic.


R&D has noticed that getting beaten in a creature battle is a lot more fun than getting locked out of the game by non-interactive combos, LD, permission, or discard.  A fiasco, you call it?  I'm sure they're weeping all the way to the bank.  

Pity the massively expanded playerbase today that will never know the joy of being Stasis-locked!  Who could be so cruel as to deny them this unparalleled pleasure?

 

Goblin Artisans
a Magic: the Gathering design blog

Give me back my combo, prison, permission decks.  For the love of God, does anyone remember the standard format of 1998 when Necropotence was legal and NOT a very strong deck?  Send me back to Mirage/Tempest/5th edition please or even Invasion.  It beats the current creature fiasco we call Magic.


R&D has noticed that getting beaten in a creature battle is a lot more fun than getting locked out of the game by non-interactive combos, LD, permission, or discard.  A fiasco, you call it?  I'm sure they're weeping all the way to the bank.  

Pity the massively expanded playerbase today that will never know the joy of being Stasis-locked!  Who could be so cruel as to deny them this unparalleled pleasure?



While I don't go so far as Matt, I also get the feeling that this form of magic is...well...boring.  I remember when control was too heavy and combo the same.  I don't want those to come back as overpowered (Like you, I hated playing against Stasis.).  What I want is a balance, and control is being shoved so far off the wayside that there isn't a balance between the three.  The most fun I ever had playing Magic was when all three were viable, and you had to game plan for all three.  Now, it feels like if you aren't playing creatures in Standard, you can't play, and that bothers me.

Those who fear the darkness have never seen what the light can do.

I've seen angels fall from blinding heights. But you yourself are nothing so divine. Just next in line.

191752181 wrote:
All I'm saying is, I don't really see how she goes around petrifying swords and boots and especially mirrors. How the heck does she beat a Panoptic Mirror? It makes no sense for artifacts either. Or enchantments, for that matter. "Well, you see, Jimmy cast this spell to flood the mountain, but then the gorgon just looked at the water really hard and it went away."
The idea is that Wizards wants to make combat relevant-- it's the defining mechanic of MtG. But that phase is eschewed by control and combo... they're experimenting right now, testing the waters. They're trying to figure out a balance, but there's so much work to do. How do you involve control and combo into combat? These experiments involve Augur, VEntrancer, JPhantasm, MShaman, etc.

While I don't go so far as Matt, I also get the feeling that this form of magic is...well...boring.  I remember when control was too heavy and combo the same.  I don't want those to come back as overpowered (Like you, I hated playing against Stasis.).  What I want is a balance, and control is being shoved so far off the wayside that there isn't a balance between the three.  The most fun I ever had playing Magic was when all three were viable, and you had to game plan for all three.  Now, it feels like if you aren't playing creatures in Standard, you can't play, and that bothers me.


You're entitled to your opinion.  Personally, I can't think of anything more boring than watching my combo-playing opponent win (or whiff) while I twiddle my thumbs.  The metagame is healthiest when viable combo decks form no more than a small part of it.

Control decks are alive and well.  If you want to run a creature-light deck, play Esper or Miracles. 

 

Goblin Artisans
a Magic: the Gathering design blog

While I don't go so far as Matt, I also get the feeling that this form of magic is...well...boring.  I remember when control was too heavy and combo the same.  I don't want those to come back as overpowered (Like you, I hated playing against Stasis.).  What I want is a balance, and control is being shoved so far off the wayside that there isn't a balance between the three.  The most fun I ever had playing Magic was when all three were viable, and you had to game plan for all three.  Now, it feels like if you aren't playing creatures in Standard, you can't play, and that bothers me.

This is something I've been thinking a lot about--being a physicist, abstractly studying constrained interactive systems is kind of a hobby for me. Control has been dragging for several years now, but that's because they've been trying to establish creatures as the mechanical heart of the game. Now that they appear to have done that, the read I've been getting is that they're going to start tuning the knobs so that control and combo decks--which have historically been reliant almost exclusively on spells--are centered on creatures too. It was just a lot easier to figure out how to properly tune creatures along the agro axis then it will be to tune them along the combo and control axes.

"Proc" stands for "Programmed Random OCcurance". It does not even vaguely apply to anything Magic cards do. Don't use it.

Level 1 Judge as of 09/26/2013

Zammm = Batman

"Ability words are flavor text for Melvins." -- Fallingman

Now that they appear to have done that, the read I've been getting is that they're going to start tuning the knobs so that control and combo decks--which have historically been reliant almost exclusively on spells--are centered on creatures too. It was just a lot easier to figure out how to properly tune creatures along the agro axis then it will be to tune them along the combo and control axes.



Except they have been doing that for years.

Hell, they brought back stasis lock on creatures (Brine Elemental + Vesuvan Shapeshifter), and it was a viable constructed deck.  (And this was what...six years ago now?)

As for more recent magic...if you're playing Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, Inferno Titan, and Whip Flare, then WotC probably considers you control.  On the combo end, there's Havengul Lich decks, and also Blood Artist decks.

Cats land on their feet. Toast lands peanut butter side down. A cat with toast strapped to its back will hover above the ground in a state of quantum indecision.

I think your example is a bit too far back, I was under the assumption that the creature-orientated approach started in Lorwyn.  Might have been a bit later.

As for your more recent examples, control decks have always run creatures as finishers.  Kokusho, the Evening Star and Firemane Angel were from before the "creatures should matter more" time.  And Whipflare is a Pyroclasm that doesn't hit artifact creatures.  So...  control decks still have finishers and removal, but the removal has gotten worse.  What's your point?
I think your example is a bit too far back, I was under the assumption that the creature-orientated approach started in Lorwyn.  Might have been a bit later.

As for your more recent examples, control decks have always run creatures as finishers.  Kokusho, the Evening Star and Firemane Angel were from before the "creatures should matter more" time.

They've been on "creatures should matter more" for a very long time - at least since Invasion, even if they haven't always succeeded in their execution.  Check out the power levels of Kavu Titan, Meddling Mage, Spiritmonger, Psychatog, and Ravenous Baloth, to name a few.  The only cards in early sets that could compare to guys like that were the "mistakes" that they later recanted: Hypnotic Specter, Serendib Efreet, Juzam Djinn.  Also note that eventually they realized that these early creatures weren't too powerful after all; Erhnam Djinn was reprinted in Torment, Hypnotic Specter was in 9th Edition, and Plague Sliver was in Time Spiral, and none of them saw much, if any, play at those times.  Magic had passed them by.
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...
Is there no thread for Latest Developments this week?

Just wanted to say that I really liked this week's article (The Extra Mile). Probably my favorite LD in a long time. Maybe my favorite ever.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
Zak, you are obviously rather pleased with your development work on M13. What went wrong with Avacyn Restored compared to Innistrad and M13?
"The solution was to give base-white decks a way to punish those splashes a little bit, making them vicariously better in their "home" color."

Erm... this isn't actually true though, is it? War Priest doesn't punish splashes, it just punishes anyone running Pacifism or Oblivion Ring.

That said, I don't think it's a problem if other colours steal these cards. White is aggressive enough (and deep enough) that it would be entirely playable even with no removal at all.

I mostly liked what I played of Magic 2013, but it's always the things that bother us that we complain about.  So...


I wanted to voice my disagreement with the design and inclusion of Encrust.  One of blue's big strengths has always been its counterspells, and giving it ways to neutralize things that get into play via Encrust instead of some Unsummon variant seems to violate part of the essence of blue.  Blue pre-empts problems, but is bad at solving them when under pressure.  Encrust is essentially an Arrest variant that blue (and only blue) can play.  You were bothered that blue had "only" two ways to deal with powerful artifacts, and they were both counterspells?  If you don't like dealing with problems that way, you don't like playing blue -- play something more pro-active.


I think blue should have gotten some kind of bounce for the rings.  I also don't think that red, white, and green artifact removal being inadequate for fighting artifacts is fixed by printing a blue card with in its mana cost.  And artifact destruction is centered in green -- I think blue and black should both be pretty weak to artifacts in play.  Blue likes to use artifacts, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be vulnerable to them too.  Everyone doesn't get a "good" direct answer to everything -- that's part of how Magic works (or so I thought).

I did enjoy this article a lot.  Idea-wise.  But is anyone else bothered by the multiple uses of the informal "like"?

...if it really needs to deal with like a Stuffy Doll or Staff of Nin.



I haven't thought about most of these decisions in like a year and a half...



Come on, man.  You're a writer for a professional site.  Thousands of people read your article every week.  Most of them are still young enough to be in public school and developing their writing style.  Be a role model.
it's such fun to read about these little deliberate tweaks that development does!

vandwedge said:

Come on, man.  You're a writer for a professional site.  Thousands of people read your article every week.  Most of them are still young enough to be in public school and developing their writing style.  Be a role model



zac's style of writing is one of the things that makes his articles so enjoyable for me to read. because of his colloquial writing style, i feel that he's very /personable/ and extremely genuine. i would be sad to see him write in any other way!
 
on a side note: reprint Flametongue Kavu

I mostly liked what I played of Magic 2013, but it's always the things that bother us that we complain about.  So...


I wanted to voice my disagreement with the design and inclusion of Encrust.  One of blue's big strengths has always been its counterspells, and giving it ways to neutralize things that get into play via Encrust instead of some Unsummon variant seems to violate part of the essence of blue.  




Because Blue never gets anything that isn't an Unsummon effect to deal with permanents in play

Those who fear the darkness have never seen what the light can do.

I've seen angels fall from blinding heights. But you yourself are nothing so divine. Just next in line.

191752181 wrote:
All I'm saying is, I don't really see how she goes around petrifying swords and boots and especially mirrors. How the heck does she beat a Panoptic Mirror? It makes no sense for artifacts either. Or enchantments, for that matter. "Well, you see, Jimmy cast this spell to flood the mountain, but then the gorgon just looked at the water really hard and it went away."

I mostly liked what I played of Magic 2013, but it's always the things that bother us that we complain about.  So...


I wanted to voice my disagreement with the design and inclusion of Encrust.  One of blue's big strengths has always been its counterspells, and giving it ways to neutralize things that get into play via Encrust instead of some Unsummon variant seems to violate part of the essence of blue.  Blue pre-empts problems, but is bad at solving them when under pressure.  Encrust is essentially an Arrest variant that blue (and only blue) can play.  You were bothered that blue had "only" two ways to deal with powerful artifacts, and they were both counterspells?  If you don't like dealing with problems that way, you don't like playing blue -- play something more pro-active.





The problem is that limited is, and should be about combat. Counterspells are generally a pretty bad answer to things because you have to leave up mana for Negate (or even worse, Cancel if that's what you're trying to do) while your opponent develops their board, and if they don't play this thing that you're leaving up an answer for, then they're pressing their advantage in limited in a subtle, but very real way.

With something like the ring cycle, this is especially true. They're pretty cheap, so they can wait until they have a window when the player has tapped out (because they can't afford to leave two mana fallow each turn if they don't want to fall behind on board), and the ring can sit on the table until it's appopriate to do so.

I think there's this perception of blue in limited that it's an extension of what it's been known for in constructed, which is to say that it's a purely reactive color. When in reality, blue in limited is still about creatures, but often with less power/toughness, more evasion, and more utility. Draw-go rarely if ever works in limited, no matter how blue you are. So by saying "you don't like playing blue -- play something more pro-active" misses the point in that if blue was designed to be so reactive, it would be essentially unplayable.

Counterspells are a pretty poor answer in limited, and especially so against cheap threats.
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