9/14/2012 LD: "Bowling for Bumpers"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Everything about this card screams Boros to me, both mechanically and flavorfully. I can only guess it was moved forward to RtR to fight the things it fights, because otherwise this card really seems like it should be with the rest of its guild in Gatecrash.
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Why was Tom allowed to write a Magic article again?  Didn't they learn their lesson the last time he tried to explain something?  Wasn't he transfered to something to D&D?
Whose invitational design was Snapcaster Mage again?

And I mean this to be funny, not creepy, but do we have a picture of his mom on file? Because the art, flavor text, and total effect of this card just screams:

"You're in big trouble young man!"
"Aw, MOM!"

Flash -> Haste
2/1 -> 2/2 first strike
grants Flashback -> don't you dare!
we'll be talking again in a few weeks.



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Here's Terry Soh:

I don't think that's his mother. :P

But holy crap, whoever's mother that is, I wouldn't want to cross her! First strike, haste, 2/2 for 2...and relevant ability? o_O

This is one of the most efficient red creatures ever.
I love how playable this guy is without his ability.
Here's Terry Soh:

I don't think that's his mother. :P

But holy crap, whoever's mother that is, I wouldn't want to cross her! First strike, haste, 2/2 for 2...and relevant ability? o_O

This is one of the most efficient red creatures ever.


Uhhhh, Snapcaster Mage was Tiago Chan's invitational card, not Soh's.

Also re: the spoiled card.

Do you guys at the future league really waste times/designs/cards to come up with answers for Burning Vengeance decks? I can't believe you're that off... Burning Vengeace decks were causal even before you started printing nonsense like Wolfir Silverheart, now they have no chance and are kind of even bad in casual..

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192884403 wrote:
surely one can't say complex conditional passive language is bad grammar ?
This card is too efficient. I question whether it should have been printed. Without that relevant ability, it would still be potentially too good. Isn't there a lesson on why cards like Mogg Flunkies and Jackal Pup got printed in the first place, that Red isn't supposed to get really, really, really efficient weenies?

Oh, can we kick LaPille out of Magic again? I also question why we got a half-hearted mention at the awesome that is Zac Hill last article, which at least was a better attempt than the non-mention Devin Low received.
"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)

Whose invitational design was Snapcaster Mage again?


Gabriel Tsang designed it after winning the 2005 invitational over Tomoharu Saito:



Most people of course know him from his Thursday column, Top Decks.


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Here's Terry Soh:

I don't think that's his mother. :P


Uhhhh, Snapcaster Mage was Tiago Chan's invitational card, not Soh's.



Pretty sure she's not Tiago Chan's mother either.


I think that part of the potential brokenness of the card is helped by the double red in the mana cost... it limits the amount of decks it can be put in, so it doesn't run rampant.  It will help decks like RDW and other mono-red decks, but other decks would have to jump through a few hoops to take advantage of her.
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I play Mono red I love this card, it's always been my opinion that the two drop slot is the big weakness in most RDW decks - 2/2 haste + first strike is good I don't care about the ability the fact it hurts lingering souls and snap caster are just an added bonus as far as I'm concerned.

Look at the two drops we've had in the past

Plated Geopede (Situational)
Kargan DragonLord (slow and easily answered - this was when Path to exile was in standard)
Hellspark Elemental best 2 drop in recent memory[/c]
Stormblood Berserker (situational like geopede)
Slith Firewalker (Well I play Stormkirk noble as a 1 drop now and he is pretty much a worse slith firewalker.
Keldon Marauders Sees play in legacy should give you an idea how good it is

In my opinon this card is up there power level wise with Hellspark and Maruders.

To give you an idea how desperate for a two drop I am I've been toying with the idea of splashing green (the horror) for Flinthoof Boar which is basically a worse Boggart Ram-Gang

Of course the greatest red 2 drop every printed is Goblin Piledriver and this card isn't close to my beloved piledriver but I love it none the less.

Now spoil some instant speed burn (the obligatory upgraded shock you have in every block) and I'll be a happy man for the next 6 month of standard format. A Price of Progress esque card to beat up on all the shockland fueled non basic manabases would be great but thats probably asking way to much.

Whose invitational design was Snapcaster Mage again?


Gabriel Tsang designed it after winning the 2005 invitational over Tomoharu Saito:



Most people of course know him from his Thursday column, Top Decks.




Heh.

Seriously, at this point they have printed SO MANY Snapcaster and general graveyard hate cards at such high power levels that they should have just banned the stupid thing long ago. This is long past the point of being un-fun, and stupidly enough, the answer to poor card design seems to be poorer card design. "Hey, we seem to be having trouble with an overly efficient creature at the 2 mana slot. Why don't we print another overly efficient creature at the 2 mana slot?"

I mean, come ON.
They should've just banned Snapcaster, this is exactly the wrong kind of card for this game. Flashback in general isn't a problem and neither are Graveyard strategies like Rites builds, this is designed against Snapcaster but hoses so much more besides. Most of the time the decks really abusing Snapcaster don't have time for any other Graveyard trick besides Snapcaster, but people that want to go all in on cool Graveyard decks are gonna find this thing a stumbling block.

I was gonna give Green Rites a serious go come October, but now I think I'll just be another B/R zombies guy. 
I want to be Cultured.

Heh.

Seriously, at this point they have printed SO MANY Snapcaster and general graveyard hate cards at such high power levels that they should have just banned the stupid thing long ago. This is long past the point of being un-fun, and stupidly enough, the answer to poor card design seems to be poorer card design. "Hey, we seem to be having trouble with an overly efficient creature at the 2 mana slot. Why don't we print another overly efficient creature at the 2 mana slot?"

I mean, come ON.



Agreed.

Stupidly & unnecessarily overpowered card created to fix a previous mistake. This is wrong way to go WotC.

Wizards gives red a good two drop with a relevant ability and all the blue players cry...
 
Sadly, if grafdigger's cage, cavern of souls and ground seal weren't able to do it, i don't think this is enough to stop snapcaster from being broken. Though the rotation of ponder and mana leak will help.

Wizards, you may keep apologizing for printing such a terrible card. 
Everything about this card screams Boros to me, both mechanically and flavorfully. I can only guess it was moved forward to RtR to fight the things it fights, because otherwise this card really seems like it should be with the rest of its guild in Gatecrash.



Everything about this card including the armor she wears, she is Boros. Monocolored cards without keywords do not have watermarks so they can be from any guild.
Look at Ravnica's Flow of Ideas, Izzet card before Guildpact. 
Or look at a spoiled black card today, that one's Orzhov.
I play Mono red I love this card, it's always been my opinion that the two drop slot is the big weakness in most RDW decks - 2/2 haste + first strike is good I don't care about the ability the fact it hurts lingering souls and snap caster are just an added bonus as far as I'm concerned.

Look at the two drops we've had in the past

Plated Geopede (Situational)
Kargan DragonLord (slow and easily answered - this was when Path to exile was in standard)
Hellspark Elemental best 2 drop in recent memory[/c]
Stormblood Berserker (situational like geopede)
Slith Firewalker (Well I play Stormkirk noble as a 1 drop now and he is pretty much a worse slith firewalker.
Keldon Marauders Sees play in legacy should give you an idea how good it is

In my opinon this card is up there power level wise with Hellspark and Maruders.

To give you an idea how desperate for a two drop I am I've been toying with the idea of splashing green (the horror) for Flinthoof Boar which is basically a worse Boggart Ram-Gang

Of course the greatest red 2 drop every printed is Goblin Piledriver and this card isn't close to my beloved piledriver but I love it none the less.

Now spoil some instant speed burn (the obligatory upgraded shock you have in every block) and I'll be a happy man for the next 6 month of standard format. A Price of Progress esque card to beat up on all the shockland fueled non basic manabases would be great but thats probably asking way to much.


You should be happy because mono red (and zombies) is going to be one of the decks to beat in the new standard before people start figuring THE best deck out, as shocklands will have people really help you along the way.

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192884403 wrote:
surely one can't say complex conditional passive language is bad grammar ?
I don't mind to see something like this being printed, but I really dislike how they keep bumping so many good creatures to rare status, purely out of Limited concern. This creature would've been so much better if they got rid of the graveyard-hate ability (there's enough of it already by this point) and then made it an uncommon instead.

You might have already guessed that my preview card today is one of these cards. We don't know if the environment will dictate that it is needed, but it is here to serve regardless.


I can't say with any certainty that this card will see tons of play like I could with a card like Dreadbore or Abrupt Decay.



It's a 2/2 for 2 mana with first strike and haste. Like that won't see play.
Jesus, Wizards, how many graveyard hosers do we need? Grafdigger's, Groundseal, this, heck, they even reprinted Tormod's Crypt. At some point, it starts to just feel paranoid.
Wizards gives red a good two drop with a relevant ability and all the blue players cry...
 



Hah, seriously. I think Tom is absolutely right, too, that this card is way bigger hate against cards other than Snappy, and that the Snappy hate is more like a side bonus.
Good Red card is good, but now I'll always think of her as somebody's mom.  I love that idea!

Here's Terry Soh:

I don't think that's his mother. :P


Uhhhh, Snapcaster Mage was Tiago Chan's invitational card, not Soh's.



Pretty sure she's not Tiago Chan's mother either.



Including Gab Tsang, we're up to three potential Snapcaster creators, and I'm not even counting the frequent misunderstanding seen elsewhere that Snapcaster was modeled after Mike Flores. 

So people who read DailyMTG can't tell Asian guys apart?  I'm hoping that's not really the subtext here ;) .
So, uh, how exactly is a 2-toughness creature supposed to be good against Burning Vengeance?
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I agree with the annoyance that they decided to make an already useful card into a hoser. It's kinda like my issue with Cavern of Souls: It's a good enough card that people are running it mainboard, which means you don't even get to use your strategy effectively game one.
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
Not happy about this card either.  It seems like a big bump for a very narrow set of decks (mostly mono-red)
I personally find graveyard shenanigans to be way more fun than red deck wins. Gravecrawler is very sad about this card.
The people complaining about the card: Its not that overpowered. Its a very, very solid creature, but also has a doulbe red cost and belongs in a deck that hasn't exsisted since Zendikar block (mono-red aggro)

What really bugs me about this article is this:


We had several decks in our Future Future League that made heavy use of the graveyard for flashback spells. We had Burning Vengeance decks with Forbidden Alchemy and such, and we also had Frites-like decks with Unburial RitesFaithless Looting, and Tracker's Instincts



You guys were playing BURNING VENGEANCE DECKS?!?! I seriously love the idea of the flashback deck (hearkens back to the good ol' Astral Slide decks that got me into competetive standard) but the deck is just so weak because you have beefed up creatures so much and the removal for that deck is so bad that it is TERRIBLE. Your FFL needs to realize they need to be focusing on playing creature beatdown decks so you guys can realize just how much you have powered up creatures. Maybe then you'll stop hosing the only chance Control decks have of being real decks.

I also love how you guys say that this is good against many decks (that DON'T SEE ACTUAL PLAY) yet so many of your points on the card mention how powerful it is against Snapcaster Mage. 

(at)MrEnglish22

I'd like to know why Limited became such a concern for rarity alloc...Wait. Better still. How did Limited get this much prominence in the first place?! (As in, how does it have any real appeal in the first place?)

And I am curious as to why they're obviously so reluctant to just ban the Snapcaster. Fearfulness of backlash from pro players who might get paranoid that their carefully designed (well, carefully designed to them; Rosewater said that if R&D had designed the Snapcaster, he'd be red...Did they at least discuss the possibility of siccing Chaoslace on it with the submitter?) cards might not get them as much glory as they'd like?

Although...I'm remembering from last week, where they mentioned that they try hard to appeal to emotive desires of players. Desires to, if only during the game, feel strong, invincible (q.v. Baneslayer Angel), feared (q.v. Bonfire of the Damned), etc. I have a hunch that what they're trying to do is skirt as close to the broken edge as possible without going over it, that the game not feel over-cerebral. That players might feel the greatest rush of power possible without necessarily cursing the other side to inescapable frustration (and so, feeling of powerlessness). And yet, I was under the impression that "cerebral" was the main thing players are looking for. (Well, at least, it was THE main thing during the time of The Dark, Fallen Empires, Ice Age, etc....) More importantly, they'd do well to remember that there's players who'd rather feel not so much indestructible and overaweing as elusive yet steadfast. (q.v. my own fondness of old for the GU conflation...{sweatdrop}) Yin precepts, not just yang. I doubt there are THAT few players who dislike adrenaline rushes.

Basically, why is the sense of immense power supposed to be strictly more satisfying than the sense of having outmaneuvered several threats and barricades in a row?

I'd like to know why Limited became such a concern for rarity alloc...Wait. Better still. How did Limited get this much prominence in the first place?! (As in, how does it have any real appeal in the first place?)


Why did the format that requires players to purchase new product every time they want to play become a significant focus of the company? I'll let you do the math there yourself.

As for why the players actually enjoy playing such a format, the answer is still fairly simple: In Limited, you get to build a much larger variety of decks using a much larger variety of cards and still win tournaments. Nobody in constructed has ever won a match by abusing Dark Imposter. In Limited, it's amazing. Likewise cards that are cool, but never quite good enough for 'real magic' such as Burning Vengeance and Ghoultree can become seriously powerful cards. So some players enjoy the appeal of getting to use (almost) every card in a pack to win a game.

There's also the appeal of being able to build a new deck every time and trying out entirely new strategies because you happened to end up with an odd combination of cards.

In general, the reason limited is so popular is because it appeals to so many people. Timmys like it because it's the one format where big creatures and odd mythics are actually playable.

Johnnies like it because you can get away with building interesting and bizarre decks that use abnormal strategies and still win. (Burning Vengeance and even Poison (no, not infect, poison) have made high-ranking finishes in limited)

Spikes like it because it's as close to a pure skill test as you can get because cost advantages are removed and players have to build their own decks. Yes, there is still the chance that a player will win because lulzTitan, but most of the time the better player wins.

Plus there's the general appeal of being able to get an actual feel for the set. Playing constructed doesn't give you a very good view of the set as a whole because constant access to everything means that only a small percentage of cards actually get played and entire archetypes can be easily ignored.

Another side benefit of balancing limited is that it simultaneously helps you balance out low end casual play. Most new players work off of what is basically a slightly larger limited pool. If you design a limited environment that's stable and fun to play, you've also designed a good environment for new players to play in.
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
So, uh, how exactly is a 2-toughness creature supposed to be good against Burning Vengeance?



By smashing for 2 right away T2 and every turn after, and then dealing another 3 when it dies. Sometimes Keldon Marauders is all that's needed to close the game.
So, uh, how exactly is a 2-toughness creature supposed to be good against Burning Vengeance?


Because Silent Departure is a sorcery and Geistflame is only one damage.
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
@Dragon_Nut: It really was just the player side I was trying to figure out. I knew full well how the supplier side argument would go. I'm just worried that giving THIS much concern to Limited with regard to rarity allocation isn't doing much good for Constructed accessibility. I'm not even sure there's a way to do good for one without wounding the other...
I just kind of hate how this card and Dryad Militant have this cool, special, magical solution to a problem on another plane.
I just kind of hate how this card and Dryad Militant have this cool, special, magical solution to a problem on another plane.


Yeah, he did acknowledge in the article that these cards are so painfully unflavorful that simply showing them to a Vorthos has about a 73% chance of causing spontaneous combustion.
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
Hell, it's about damn time they started shifting the bellows away from UW and back towards RDW. I like this lady, she looks like she knows how to punish broken mechanics that have really, really gone unpunished for too long. Cage is a nonsense card. It doesn't stop the first half of Ancient Grudge, it can't do squat about Lingering Souls the first time around, it stops working when it gets removed, and it's in no way, shape, or form a Tormod's Crypt. Now, if Wizards would kindly reprint Lightning Bolt or some substitute like Chain Lightning, we could finally have a non-delver, non-green, non-flare, non-zombies deck worth appreciating that's actually cheap to build. Burn, baby, burn.
"Catch!"
@Dragon_Nut: It really was just the player side I was trying to figure out. I knew full well how the supplier side argument would go. I'm just worried that giving THIS much concern to Limited with regard to rarity allocation isn't doing much good for Constructed accessibility. I'm not even sure there's a way to do good for one without wounding the other...

It's also not that healthy for Limited itself. When all the best bombs are Mythic, then Limited tournaments are won more and more often by who was lucky enough to open the Mythic Rares.

But hey, they don't have much choice if they want to make money. Limited puts so much product out there that, in order to sell many more packs for Constructed purposes, they have to put the tournament staples at Mythic.

After all, if they make even a single Mythic a four-of in the best deck, then each copy of that deck that gets played sells 480 booster packs. It's no wonder they're making huge profits: they're exploiting their players.
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@Dragon_Nut: It really was just the player side I was trying to figure out. I knew full well how the supplier side argument would go. I'm just worried that giving THIS much concern to Limited with regard to rarity allocation isn't doing much good for Constructed accessibility. I'm not even sure there's a way to do good for one without wounding the other...

It's also not that healthy for Limited itself. When all the best bombs are Mythic, then Limited tournaments are won more and more often by who was lucky enough to open the Mythic Rares.

But hey, they don't have much choice if they want to make money. Limited puts so much product out there that, in order to sell many more packs for Constructed purposes, they have to put the tournament staples at Mythic.

After all, if they make even a single Mythic a four-of in the best deck, then each copy of that deck that gets played sells 480 booster packs. It's no wonder they're making huge profits: they're exploiting their players.


And eventually players will lose all interest because Magic: The Purchasing stops being fun, and either rotate onto online simulators or other games. Apparently YuGiOh has started to pick up in recent years in terms of skill. Maybe I'll try learning it.
@Dragon_Nut: It really was just the player side I was trying to figure out. I knew full well how the supplier side argument would go. I'm just worried that giving THIS much concern to Limited with regard to rarity allocation isn't doing much good for Constructed accessibility. I'm not even sure there's a way to do good for one without wounding the other...

It's also not that healthy for Limited itself. When all the best bombs are Mythic, then Limited tournaments are won more and more often by who was lucky enough to open the Mythic Rares.

But hey, they don't have much choice if they want to make money. Limited puts so much product out there that, in order to sell many more packs for Constructed purposes, they have to put the tournament staples at Mythic.

After all, if they make even a single Mythic a four-of in the best deck, then each copy of that deck that gets played sells 480 booster packs. It's no wonder they're making huge profits: they're exploiting their players.


And eventually players will lose all interest because Magic: The Purchasing stops being fun, and either rotate onto online simulators or other games. Apparently YuGiOh has started to pick up in recent years in terms of skill. Maybe I'll try learning it.



This is what I thought when I stopped playing a few years ago. However, there is a large enough audience that are/were willing to accept the cost increases from mythics, NWO, or whatever else is pushing a higher percentage of the playable cards to move to a higher rarity which meant that it was a net gain to implement these measures. If you're a business and you have player 1 spending 20 dollars per month and player 2 spending 40 dollars per month and you implement a business decision that would cause player 1 to stop spending money but would also cause player 2 to spend 80 dollars per month then that seems like a good business decision. Anyway whatever they're doing seems to be working out well for them. I'll keep tabs on each subsequent set and if I see a batch of worthy common/uncommon cards one day I might start buying MtG cards again and/or attending some competitive events.
Don't be too smart to have fun
Because the Delver/Vapor Snag/Mana Leak/Gitaxian Probe/Ponder deck is definitely much too rare-intensive. Imagine if those cards were all commons or uncommons, how many people you'd see playing the deck. 
After all, if they make even a single Mythic a four-of in the best deck, then each copy of that deck that gets played sells 480 booster packs. It's no wonder they're making huge profits: they're exploiting their players.

Well, it's not necessarily exploiting... if there are enough different viable decks (that don't overlap in which Mythics they include) that you can build from the same set.  After all, buying 480 booster packs for your playset of a Mythic leaves you with at least a playset of everything else, too.  That's why sets where all of the Mythics and a lot of the rares are good have much lower prices on the top cards than sets where there are only a few cards which anyone wants.  See, for example, the original Ravnica block back when it was in print.
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Part of the situation, of course, is that around the time of Shards of Alara, WotC was pressured into placing the mythic rarity in the first place; I remember that Rosewater brought up industry standards being to have more rarity levels than rarity sheets. What sword was being leveled at WotC's heart, exactly? I was thinking shareholder pullout if WotC didn't cleave to standards, but they'd be connected with Hasbro, not merely WotC. Hasbro threatening a forced cycling of executives, then?

The point is, before then, all the rare-slot candidates were of equal frequency. No situation of a given mythic being half as likely as a given normal rare. So luck wouldn't be quite as much of a problem. Then again, someone at MTGSalvation (and that poster DEFINITELY sounded to be in a minority of one) was complaining about Nagle giving the normal rares more potence than the mythics, when it "ought" to be the other way around. I wouldn't be surprised if the poster was thinking in terms of personal emotional impact ("I wait all this time for a mythic...and it's THIS low-wattage?!"), but I wonder if Nagle, and/or anyone else helping with rarity allocation, might be trying to go back to some semblance of how mythic was first hoped to be allocated (i.e. more of a Vorthos mentality), and/or make keystone rares at least somewhat more affordable on the singles market. After all, the higher the price is, the fewer the customers who can/will make the purchase, even if their demand is genuine. Meanwhile, the more supply you have (rare2 as opposed to rare1, to use the kind of parlance that rarities for The Dark, Homelands, etc. were given), the more easily the demand can be met.
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