9/10/2012 MM: "Return on Investment, Part 2"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
I kinda wish it/they made a random saproling token, just so that if you didn't have one, you could do so...but I expect that turned out a bit too strong. :P
Time to break this card in half.

*goes to drawing board* 
Hmm...way back during the first Great Designer Search, one of the questions they asked during the written portion was something along the lines of "Which keyword currently in Standard would you have done differently?"  The keyword I picked was hellbent, and the replacement keyword I submitted was an abiliity I called paincast.  I have to admit that MaRo's limited description doesn't quite sound like what I submitted (mine was a cost-reducing mechanic, and those are somewhat out of vogue now anyway), but now I'm actually really, really curious to see what ability shows up on the new Rakdos.
preview card + Kiki-Jiki = clones. Kind of obvious.

preview card + Kiki-Jiki + Mirror Gallery = growing math problem! May as well put Spawnwrithe in the deck just to be funny.
So far, the best idea I can think of for abusing her in Standard is to keep the deck G/W, using her, Thragtusk, Garruk Relentless, and Thraben Doomsayer as ways to generate tokens from the creature/planeswalker side.

Gather the Townsfolk, Midnight Haunting, Increasing Devotion, and Fungal Sprouting are sorcery-speed token generators that are in those colors.  Parallel Lives can double token generation, and Champion of Lambholt gets larger for every creature put onto the battlefield, token or not.  Another alternate win-con can be Chalice of Life, as once it flips you have a 4 turn clock at the least.

And we don't even know what other token generation cards are in RTR.
For a while, all five of the Gatecrash guild keywords were creature-centric, most of which had a big impact on creature combat.


Oh my God, even Dimir? I know you're pushing creatures and combat hard, but come on, Dimir? This makes me so sad.

I hope the Dimir keyword was one of those that got changed...

It encouraged weird deck building, where you were trying to get as many different types of tokens into your deck as you could.


I find this to be incredibly interesting.

re: paincast;
Paincast COST (When you cast this spell, if you paid the paincast cost, target opponent loses X life, where X is this spells converted mana cost.)

IMAGE(http://i1.minus.com/jbcBXM4z66fMtK.jpg)

192884403 wrote:
surely one can't say complex conditional passive language is bad grammar ?
Personally I like Detain a lot. The main reason is that it leads the Guild to play in a very different style from the original Ravnica block. Forecast encourages slow, grindy play. Detain encourages tempo play.

Unleash is the mechanic in this set I'm not very taken with. The problem is, it forces Rakdos to play aggro or lose a lot of card power, which means it becomes the guild that wins or loses games based on the contents of its opening hands. Like "Suspend" it's a mechanic which appears to offer a decision, but in practice the decision will usually be obvious and the mechanic just generates swinginess. (Although obviously I haven't played with it yet, so hopefully I'll turn out to be wrong...)
I'm picturing Paincast as a sort of bloodthirst meets prowl.  If the opponent took damage this turn, you can cast cheaper. Feels Rakdos to me.

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Other games you should try:
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Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

preview card + Kiki-Jiki = clones. Kind of obvious.

preview card + Kiki-Jiki + Mirror Gallery = growing math problem! May as well put Spawnwrithe in the deck just to be funny.



How does the Gallery add anything there?

For a while, all five of the Gatecrash guild keywords were creature-centric, most of which had a big impact on creature combat.

 
Oh my God, even Dimir? I know you're pushing creatures and combat hard, but come on, Dimir? This makes me so sad.

I hope the Dimir keyword was one of those that got changed...

 

Dimir is the guild of spies and thieves. It's possible they get a saboteur-enabler mechanic, like Ninjitsu or Morph. 
preview card + Kiki-Jiki = clones. Kind of obvious.

preview card + Kiki-Jiki + Mirror Gallery = growing math problem! May as well put Spawnwrithe in the deck just to be funny.

How does the Gallery add anything there?

I assume he was thinking that Kiki-Jiki could copy himself. It's easy to forget the "nonlegendary" word on Kiki-Jiki.

Trostani + Mirror Gallery + something like or Spitting Image lets you channel even more mana into making even more Trostanis, and the lifegain might approach a growing math problem, albeit a fairly simple one.

I agree with Amarsir: paincast must be something that makes spells cheaper if pain has happened this turn. (Remember that convoke was called crittercast in playtesting.) I don't know if it would key off damage to opponents, to yourself, or to creatures though. 

Oh my God, even Dimir? I know you're pushing creatures and combat hard, but come on, Dimir? This makes me so sad.

I hope the Dimir keyword was one of those that got changed...

 

Dimir is the guild of spies and thieves. It's possible they get a saboteur-enabler mechanic, like Ninjitsu or Morph. 



Transfigure

Oh my God, even Dimir? I know you're pushing creatures and combat hard, but come on, Dimir? This makes me so sad.

I hope the Dimir keyword was one of those that got changed...

 

Dimir is the guild of spies and thieves. It's possible they get a saboteur-enabler mechanic, like Ninjitsu or Morph. 



Transfigure



That's not a saboteur-enabler though, and it is a tutor which Wizards doesn't like =p
Well, that solves the mystery of why Unleash and Detain appear to have pretty much zero relation to Hellbent and Forecast, respectively. The other three guilds certainly feel like they'll play together well with their older brethren, but those two just seemed tacked on. And apparently they were.

And although I doubt this is going to happen, I really hope one of the tokens in RTR is an emblem-like "Detained" reminder. Temporary invisible Arrests are going to cause problems.
I totally agree that Detain appeals to players who like Azorius. By far my favorite color combination to play in limited is UW, and Detain is perfect for that color combination. I'm really looking forward to tempoing people out with UW decks in RTR draft using this mechanic. We haven't really seen any Detain cards that seem pushed for constructed play (though the archon is alright, I guess), but hopefully we'll get some of those soon.
The mechanics in this set are all really nice, but i think my ranking for them would be:

1. Detain - It could have been Populate, but for me personally, my play style leads me to a natural comfort zone with Detain.

2. Populate - As not broken as they tried to make it, it will still end up being broken....

3. Overlaod - Nice idea, great EDH cards.... I just havent seen many overlaod cards that really appeal to me... or any blue ones for that matter....

4. Scavange - I didnt like dredge that much either....

5. Unleash - It just doesent seem as powerful as any of the other mechanics in this set....
So far I really like Scavenge and Overload as mechanics. Populate is interesting, but for my play style at least I prefer mass token makers in my token decks than a few large ones. Also, calling it now: Sinker will expand Overload by having non-player specific effects (e.g. 2 dam to all creatures, not just opponents')

Unleash is interesting for limited. The trouble is, of the ones shown so far the commons are the only onesinteresting to make for an interesting choice.

Seriously doubt detain will be pushed the last thing Wizards wants is a third straight year of U/W tempo dominance.
So now we see how Rakdos ended up with a pathetically boring mechanic ("+1/+1 sometimes" is about the minumum effect that a mechanic can have on them game) that doesn't represent what the guild is all about.  Combat is only one of the many ways in which the cult's members like to have fun; hellbent was a good (not great) mechanic for them because it could do many different things, and B/R is all about having options, as long as they're "in the moment" things that you can do all at once if you feel like it.  Also, if they were going to do this mechanic, "must attack" was clearly the correct execution, probably along with the creature gaining haste.  Detain is also somewhat disappointing but nowhere near as much so.

I'm also saddened that the designers sabotaged the feel of the Izzet guild by making it impossible for them to screw up their overload spells - this is a guild of mad sorcerers blowing themselves up through reckless experimentation, yet somehow they've reliably put a " you +/- control" clause onto every spell so it can't go wrong.  Mizzium Mortars is an example of a spell that should have had that clause, but after reading the preview of it, I had to go back and read Street Spasm to realize that it also had the clause, because there it wasn't necessary and didn't feel natural.  If you rip up the entire street, shouldn't some of your own guys be in there?  The flying/nonflying distinction is the only dividing line you need to make this spell work; if you want your own guys to escape unscathed, just give them flying?  Even more disappointing is the inability to innovate with the mechanic by creating spells like this:

Brain Expansion Wave
Sorcery, 7U
Target player draws five cards.
Overload 1UU (Instead, each player draws five cards).

Or this:

Big Explosion
Sorcery, 1RRR
Big Explosion deals 5 damage to target player.
Overload 1RRR (Instead, it deals the damage to every player including you.)

Or even this:

Extract Brains
Sorcery, UR
Extract Brains deals 1 damage to target creature.  Its controller draws a card.
Overload XUURR, where X is the number of creatures in play.  (Instead, this deals 1 damage to every creature in play, and each player draws a card for each creature they control.)

The Izzet totally wanted to have spells like this, spells that play with the implications of their mechanic.  We may see some such innovation in the third set of the block, but more likely someone will just decide that they don't want to challenge the player's brains that much, or risk any possibility that anyone might ever regret playing one of the new cards (all while they intentionally cultivate the "griefer" fanbase).

If the design goal for RTR was to avoid innovating, I with they'd just gone the whole hog and said "this is exactly the same Ravnica as before, redone from square 1 to use new design technology but with the same story as before" instead of "this is Ravnica having undone all the changes that happened over the course of the past eight years".  The latter is deeply depressing; apparently nothing that anyone did had any real effect, which is just sad.

And I'm really getting sick of MaRo and the rest of design inventing new jargon.  First "as-fan", now "Reese's cup mechanic".  It doesn't actually say anything that needed to be said.  (On the other hand, "square" stats is a reasonable term for something that could actually use a term to describe it.) 
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
The mechanics in this set are all really nice, but i think my ranking for them would be:

1. Detain - It could have been Populate, but for me personally, my play style leads me to a natural comfort zone with Detain.

2. Populate - As not broken as they tried to make it, it will still end up being broken....

3. Overlaod - Nice idea, great EDH cards.... I just havent seen many overlaod cards that really appeal to me... or any blue ones for that matter....

4. Scavange - I didnt like dredge that much either....

5. Unleash - It just doesent seem as powerful as any of the other mechanics in this set....



I agree on Populate. And to think just a few months people couldn't figure out what they were supposed to do with Séance. As with profilerate, it's fun to have a new corner of the environment to manipulate directly.

Overload and Scavenge are also good and fit (although I'm surprised that The Mimeoplasm did nothing obvious to inspire Scavenge). Detain was weird for me, as my right and left brain went to war over how unexciting, yet effective it is.

Unleash really does seem the runt of the litter here. Just doesn't look as powerful. And between Undying and Unleash, we're also starting to get an (un-)theme in black of "+1/+1 counters tell you this guy just lost some other power." It's just weird to look down at a card with a counter on it and think of it as a sign that your options have narrowed.

Now that I think about it, I supposed trading other abilities (such as the ability to "regenerate" or block) does fit with other black tradeoff mechanics like life-for-cards and life/sacrifice-for-upkeep, though.  I kind of wonder if there are any other boost/ability tradeoffs like that that might work in the future.
So, supposedly the RTR cards are meant to play well with the RAV ones. In looking at the keywords for each guild (so far), I find this largely true, but there is a glaring exception:

Golgari - Dredge & Scavenge
Both keywords work while in the graveyard, but rather than milling for the "right" card to come along, it makes the card in there immediately extractable useful to the board state, rather than requiring an extra draw. It only comes on creatures, and only cares about creatures, which focuses the mechanic less to Johnnyness and instead to just raw aggro. While both keywords operate from the graveyard, and thus Dredge can benefit Scavenge by increasing availability, the reverse is not true.

Selesnya - Convoke & Populate
Both keywords care about numbers, and more importantly both keywords care about tokens. This is a very token-centric guild. There is amazing overlap between these two, as the increased number of tokens Populate provides helps benefit Convoke, while Convoke saves you mana to then Populate with.

Izzet - Replicate & Overload
These keywords are practically the same, giving you an amazing effect (or number of copies) by dumping mana into them. Problematically, Overload is a LOT more powerful than Replicate, for despite allowing Replicate to sculpt what it would hit, Overload is indiscriminate and the cost may be completely negligible as a result. This disparity gets more obvious when you are playing a very long game, in which both players have managed to amass a large field, or when you are playing multiplayer, in which case Overload is almost always going to be the better choice.

Rakdos - Unleash & Hellbent
Arguably, these cards have little to no overlap, but they work well in some cases because Rakdos doesn't need to care about opportune moments for play: Play it out now, as soon as you can, and the "drawback" shouldn't be a problem if your opponent is going to be dead in a turn or two. This was much the same feeling as Hellbent, without the impression that you had to try to dump your hand to make it useful.

Azorius - Forecast & Detain
These two keywords have virtually NO overlap, nor do they have any synergy. You forecast a card to set up a situation, but you keep the card: it's an effect in your hand that can stay there. Or, you play a card with Detain, and get a body out of the deal, which reads more like Court Hussar than it does like Pride of the Clouds, a token machine. In the off-chance that, to make it useful, you are using the cards that can trigger Detain frequently, then you are paying no mana, revealing no information, and are simply behaving as a normal creature-player. I suspect most Detain cards will be one-shot effects, but this was never the case with Forecast, even if you wanted to consider the "set up" abilities of Dream Leash or Writ of Passage. Cards like Proclamation of Rebirth deny there is any semblance between the two.
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
On green, white, and creatures: I suppose Mark's forgotten that "bigger" not only isn't necessarily "better" in Magic, but is usually antithetical to it. Also, why do so many of my green creatures range from "maybe GILBIC at best" to "synergy with Bonfire of the Damned" (not the card; it's just my pet name for my lighter).
139359831 wrote:
Clever deduction Watson! Maybe you can explain why Supergirl is trying to kill me.
---- Autocard is your friend. Lightning Bolt = Lightning Bolt
So, supposedly the RTR cards are meant to play well with the RAV ones. In looking at the keywords for each guild (so far), I find this largely true, but there is a glaring exception:

Azorius - Forecast & Detain
These two keywords have virtually NO overlap, nor do they have any synergy. You forecast a card to set up a situation, but you keep the card: it's an effect in your hand that can stay there. Or, you play a card with Detain, and get a body out of the deal, which reads more like Court Hussar than it does like Pride of the Clouds, a token machine. In the off-chance that, to make it useful, you are using the cards that can trigger Detain frequently, then you are paying no mana, revealing no information, and are simply behaving as a normal creature-player. I suspect most Detain cards will be one-shot effects, but this was never the case with Forecast, even if you wanted to consider the "set up" abilities of Dream Leash or Writ of Passage. Cards like Proclamation of Rebirth deny there is any semblance between the two.



I agree with this, but Forecast was such a crummy one, with Detain feeling like a much better Azorius fit, that I can't help but approve. Wouldn't mind if the same ends up true for Boros, too.
willpell, your post was one of the most insightful I've ever read on these boards. My two favorite parts:

So now we see how Rakdos ended up with a pathetically boring mechanic ("+1/+1 sometimes" is about the minumum effect that a mechanic can have on them game).


Ha, that's so true about "+1/+1 sometimes." But there actually aren't that many. A quick list of mechanics that fall under that umbrella:

+1/+1 counters:


  • Amplify (if you only reveal one )

  • Bloodthirst 1

  • A lot of the creatures with Clash in Lorwyn and Kinship in Morningtide

  • Reinforce 1


+1/+1 until end of turn:


  • Bushido

  • Exalted

  • Landfall (the cycle of +2/+2 creatures)


Also "+1/+1 sometimes" is the #1 minimal mechanic, then I'd nominate "put a lot of X onto the battlefield" (as in Metalcraft) for #2.

I'm also saddened that the designers sabotaged the feel of the Izzet guild by making it impossible for them to screw up their overload spells - this is a guild of mad sorcerers blowing themselves up through reckless experimentation, yet somehow they've reliably put a " you +/- control" clause onto every spell so it can't go wrong.


Huh, I didn't think of it that way. From a flavor perspective, you are so right: "the spell blows up in their face" is perfetly Izzet. However, I trust that R&D playtested both versions and found that the "all upside" versions of the cards played better. They can still present an interesting choice -- burn the one flier now, or save it until you have enough mana to Flame Wave them?

I mean, taken to an extreme, would you really want a maximally flavorful Izzet mechanic?

Reckless Research
{R}{U}
Sorcery
Draw three cards.
Overheated -- Flip a coin. If you lose the flip, Reckless Research deals 5 damage to you.

BLOWS UP IN YOUR FACE. Laughing But they wouldn't print it. Players want to play their spells, not blow themselves up, so most players would hate it. (Although, don't get me wrong, some thrill-seeking Timmys would love it.) And it's not even as mean as my first version, which countered the main effect of the spell if it overheated.


Reckless Research
{R}{U}
Sorcery
Draw three cards.
Overheated -- Flip a coin. If you lose the flip, Reckless Research deals 5 damage to you.

BLOWS UP IN YOUR FACE.  But they wouldn't print it. Players want to play their spells, not blow themselves up, so most players would hate it. (Although, don't get me wrong, some thrill-seeking Timmys would love it.) And it's not even as mean as my first version, which countered the main effect of the spell if it overheated.



That sounds like it could also be a really good Spike card, honestly. Spikes don't care about their life totals if it gets them major resource advantage.
I mean, taken to an extreme, would you really want a maximally flavorful Izzet mechanic?

Reckless Research
{R}{U}
Sorcery
Draw three cards.
Overheated -- Flip a coin. If you lose the flip, Reckless Research deals 5 damage to you.

BLOWS UP IN YOUR FACE.  But they wouldn't print it. Players want to play their spells, not blow themselves up, so most players would hate it. (Although, don't get me wrong, some thrill-seeking Timmys would love it.) And it's not even as mean as my first version, which countered the main effect of the spell if it overheated.



The mechanic of that card is beyond broken. Overheated or not, 3 cards for 2 mana, multicolor intensive or not, it goes beyond the expectation you should have for a BASE 3 card draw. There is also no upside that makes this card useful for having added Red to Ancestral Recall.

Try:

Reckless Research
- uc
Instant
Discard your hand, then draw that many cards. Reckless Research deals damage to you equal to the number of cards discard this way.
A discovery to a elementsmith is equal parts excitement, absentmindedness, and a healthy dose of hours cleaning the lab up afterward.

or

Reckless Research
- uc
Sorcery
Draw two cards, then discard a card at random. Repeat this process two more times.
Niv-Mizzet does not always leave the memory of the experiment's results in the minds of the elementsmiths working on perfecting the weirds.
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
Try:

Reckless Research
- uc
Instant
Discard your hand, then draw that many cards. Reckless Research deals damage to you equal to the number of cards discard this way.
A discovery to a elementsmith is equal parts excitement, absentmindedness, and a healthy dose of hours cleaning the lab up afterward.


Tolarian Winds except you have to pay an extra and you take a Sudden Impact to the nug? I'll pass.

Try:

Reckless Research
- uc
Instant
Discard your hand, then draw that many cards. Reckless Research deals damage to you equal to the number of cards discard this way.
A discovery to a elementsmith is equal parts excitement, absentmindedness, and a healthy dose of hours cleaning the lab up afterward.


Tolarian Winds except you have to pay an extra and you take a Sudden Impact to the nug? I'll pass.




Not all cards are available in all formats, nor are all cards flavored for specific settings. In this case, the card is built to Izzet specifications, not to be "the best" or "most ideal" build per effect. I am also attempting to do a top-down design, from name to cost to speed, with a constraint to rarity. Seriously, do all new cards have to be somehow superior? There are people who play Cerebral Vortex? What a waste of a rare! That said, I can drop the cost.

Reckless Research
- uc
Instant
Discard your hand, then draw that many cards. Reckless Research deals damage to you equal to the number of cards discard this way.
A discovery to a elementsmith is equal parts excitement, absentmindedness, and a healthy dose of hours cleaning the lab up afterward.
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
Make it cost :URM: and we're talking.
There's a difference between 'not being superior' and 'flat out strictly worse on multiple levels'.



Reckless Research
{R}{U}
Sorcery
Draw three cards.
Overheated -- Flip a coin. If you lose the flip, Reckless Research deals 5 damage to you.

BLOWS UP IN YOUR FACE.  But they wouldn't print it. Players want to play their spells, not blow themselves up, so most players would hate it. (Although, don't get me wrong, some thrill-seeking Timmys would love it.) And it's not even as mean as my first version, which countered the main effect of the spell if it overheated.



That sounds like it could also be a really good Spike card, honestly. Spikes don't care about their life totals if it gets them major resource advantage.



No it doesn't. Spikes dispise coin flips.

MaRo has talked about Izzet's flavor disconnect (at least on his tumblr, not sure if on the site). The answer: gameplay trumphs flavor.
Make it cost :URM: and we're talking.
There's a difference between 'not being superior' and 'flat out strictly worse on multiple levels'.



Reckless Research
{R}{U}
Sorcery
Draw three cards.
Overheated -- Flip a coin. If you lose the flip, Reckless Research deals 5 damage to you.

BLOWS UP IN YOUR FACE.  But they wouldn't print it. Players want to play their spells, not blow themselves up, so most players would hate it. (Although, don't get me wrong, some thrill-seeking Timmys would love it.) And it's not even as mean as my first version, which countered the main effect of the spell if it overheated.



That sounds like it could also be a really good Spike card, honestly. Spikes don't care about their life totals if it gets them major resource advantage.



No it doesn't. Spikes dispise coin flips.



Spike doesn't give a toss (ha ha) about coin flips when Spike would gladly take the downside to the coin flip every time. Do you not think "UR, draw 3 cards and lose 5 life" would see play by itself, even without the 50/50 chance that you would lose no life at all?
Spike doesn't give a toss (ha ha) about coin flips when Spike would gladly take the downside to the coin flip every time. Do you not think "UR, draw 3 cards and lose 5 life" would see play by itself, even without the 50/50 chance that you would lose no life at all?



Spike would like that card, but not the one with the coin flip. Because Spike wants Magic to be a game of skill. Spike hates it when the outcome of a match is determined by random factors, rather than superior play. Wizards is very conscious about making their coin flip and random cards weak enough to not see serious tournament play. 
Spike doesn't give a toss (ha ha) about coin flips when Spike would gladly take the downside to the coin flip every time. Do you not think "UR, draw 3 cards and lose 5 life" would see play by itself, even without the 50/50 chance that you would lose no life at all?



Spike would like that card, but not the one with the coin flip. Because Spike wants Magic to be a game of skill. Spike hates it when the outcome of a match is determined by random factors, rather than superior play. Wizards is very conscious about making their coin flip and random cards weak enough to not see serious tournament play. 



If the argument is that Spike would like losing to the coin toss card less, then I agree. Spike would clearly play both though.
If the argument is that Spike would like losing to the coin toss card less, then I agree. Spike would clearly play both though.



Just because a card is powerful, is played, doesn't make it a Spike card. There can be a difference between the cards that Spike likes and the cards that Spike plays. The better the set is designed for tournament play, the smaller that difference.
If the argument is that Spike would like losing to the coin toss card less, then I agree. Spike would clearly play both though.



Just because a card is powerful, is played, doesn't make it a Spike card. There can be a difference between the cards that Spike likes and the cards that Spike plays. The better the set is designed for tournament play, the smaller that difference.



I agree with that too, but I still think that 2 mana and 5 life for 3 cards would be a trade Spike would love to make, and that that love of raw resource advantage would significantly counterweigh the dislike of a coin flip.
If the argument is that Spike would like losing to the coin toss card less, then I agree. Spike would clearly play both though.



Just because a card is powerful, is played, doesn't make it a Spike card. There can be a difference between the cards that Spike likes and the cards that Spike plays. The better the set is designed for tournament play, the smaller that difference.



I agree with that too, but I still think that 2 mana and 5 life for 3 cards would be a trade Spike would love to make, and that that love of raw resource advantage would significantly counterweigh the dislike of a coin flip.



The reverse actually. It only makes it worse. Current coin-flip cards have effects Spike isn't interested in, so Spike doesn't have to play the coin-flip cards. If you make a coin-flip card with an ability Spike is interested in, he will have to play with it and against it, and he will despise it.

If someone doesn't like something, making a card that forces him to play with it isn't really helping.

As the saying goes: 
"If you put a drop of wine in some sewage, you have sewage. If you put a drop of sewage in a vat of wine, you STILL have sewage."
A very long time ago (in Magic terms) Wizards printed a coin-flip card good enough to see tournament play. That card was Frenetic Efreet. The Spikes all played it. They also all hated it. That card is the reason Wizards no longer prints coin-flip cards which are good enough to see tournament play.

"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

Which is funny because Frenetic Efreet wouldn't even be marginally playable now. 
Also true. And I'm a fan of both changes.

"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

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