9/17/2012 MM "Return on Investment, Part 3"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
The expectation with cycles is that they are a cycle: they hit all subsets that "get" the cycle:

If you have three rarities, one for each; now, we have "four" effective rarities, and so will hit all four -- common, uncommon, rare, mythic.

If you have two-color cards, one for each two color combination.

And if you have ten guilds, you spread the cycle across them. Creating an obvious cycle and then limiting it is like breaking the comedy rule of three: only do so when the violation of the expectation -- breaking the rule -- is the joke. Otherwise, it would be like making a "cycle," but only putting Golgari, Azorius, Simic, and maybe Gruul in it. Or three of out five, or omitting the uncommon in a vertical cycle, etc.

If you break the rule, make the payoff worth it, don't do it for giggles.
"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)
The Invasion Apprentices / Apocalypse Disciples deserve a mention as guildmages!
You botched your trivia question. A non-charm with charm in the name? How could you possibly have forgotten about Charm School?
You say the guild leaders in the original Rav cost two of each of the guild's colors. Then you go on to say that only 4 of the guilds kept their guild leader. Why does Isperia cost two white and two blue if she wasn't her guild's leader?
You say the guild leaders in the original Rav cost two of each of the guild's colors. Then you go on to say that only 4 of the guilds kept their guild leader. Why does Isperia cost two white and two blue if she wasn't her guild's leader?



He's explained this incredibly badly - if I remember correctly the legends that had the double mana costs were the 'big monsters' while those with single costs were the smaller, humanoid legends. In most cases the big monsters were the guild leaders, with the exception of simic (whose leader was momir vig, not experiment kraj) and azorius (whose leader was grand arbiter augustin IV, not Isperia)

On the Gate lands: I'm delighted to see common Coastal Tower-alikes, especially in enemy colours. In enemy colours the shocklands are about the only variant of that mechanic that have ever been printed (there are loads of ally-colour variations, but almost all at rare). It'll be great to be able to slurp up loads of these common lands for assorted casual decks. I look forward to seeing what things care about the Gate type.


As Qilong hinted, I'll be rather disappointed if many of the cycles being set up in RtR are missing their other halves in Gatecrash.


On the Gate lands: I'm delighted to see common Coastal Tower-alikes, especially in enemy colours. In enemy colours the shocklands are about the only variant of that mechanic that have ever been printed (there are loads of ally-colour variations, but almost all at rare). It'll be great to be able to slurp up loads of these common lands for assorted casual decks. I look forward to seeing what things care about the Gate type.


As Qilong hinted, I'll be rather disappointed if many of the cycles being set up in RtR are missing their other halves in Gatecrash.




Of everything we've seen, I wouldn't count on the uncounterable cycle being continued -- there's no special flavor reason why every guild needs an uncounterable spell, unlike the charms and the gates.

I am skeptical about how the gate lands aren't "strictly worse" than the shock lands.  While I can follow your argument, changing a card's type doesn't carry a lot of weight unless it's something you do a lot.  Being a Goblin matters a lot; being "Arcane" did not matter as much as you seemed to think it did at the time.


The signets did a lot of heavy lifting for the original block; they shouldn't be forgotten.  Telling me that the commons had "more power than intended" is disheartening too.  I'm convinced that one of the reasons Ravnica was popular was because of the powerful common mana-fixers.  The signets (like Boros Signet) were both common and perfectly matched to the set's theme.


I think the common lands ought to have been farther removed from the rare lands.  It's too easy to look at the two cards side by side and say "Oh, that's what playing rares buys me".  I think it was also great that the commons showed up in tournaments in good decks.

So I followed this game for many years. I initially got into as Revised was getting hard to find. My buying and playing ebbed and flowed, and over the years the game kept moving in directions that just weren't for me. Now I didn't expect WOTC to change the game just for me, but I wasn't alone in many of my criticisms. Last year, my issues with the game came to a head with the one two punch of Command Tower (a narrowly designed card only playable in one format) and then the dual faced cards that basically broke the game for me.

And I quit.  

I never got around to selling my sizable collection because I had seen too many people on the forums complain about quitting the game and it being difficult to get back in after selling off their cards. So I said to myself, maybe I'll give it a year, see what changes.


And now, it has. I didn't mention above, but one of the other problems I long had with MTG was the constant slotting into rare of the dual lands, essentially making it so you had to have money to play the game well. And now you've finally put the taplands where they belong, at common.

I'm honestly glad to see this change, it's long overdue, and it's making me reconsider buying a few packs here and there, but the truth is the lack of a LGS nearby, and the lack of a casual play group makes me realize it will just be more cards to sit on the shelf and gather dust. 

Maybe if this guildgate cycle had come sooner, I would have been able to weather the storm of the dual faced cards and would still be a customer, but unfortunately it's too little, too late. I am glad though that all the kitchen table players, the cube groups, the pauper groups, will all now have a good mana fixing solution, I don't think the game is for me anymore.
Proud member of C.A.R.D. - Campaign Against Rare Duals "...but the time has come when lands just need to be better. Creatures have gotten stronger, spells have always been insane, and lands just sat in this awkward place of necessity." Jacob Van Lunen on the refuge duals, 16 Sep 2009. "While it made thematic sense to separate enemy and allied color fixing in the past, we have come around to the definite conclusion that it is just plain incorrect from a game-play perspective. This is one of these situations where game play should just trump flavor." - Sam Stoddard on ending the separation of allied/enemy dual lands. 05 July 2013
n farther removed from the rare lands.  It's too easy to look at the two cards side by side and say "Oh, that's what playing rares buys me".  I think it was also great that the commons showed up in tournaments in good decks.

AFAICT, the article is saying they tried lots and lots of designs for the common lands that were more distanced from the shocklands, but none of them were suitably common/effective.
You botched your trivia question. A non-charm with charm in the name? How could you possibly have forgotten about Charm School?

There's also Charm Peddler. Maybe he was referring to spells with the word "Charm" in their names that also represent charm objects?   


I am skeptical about how the gate lands aren't "strictly worse" than the shock lands.  While I can follow your argument, changing a card's type doesn't carry a lot of weight unless it's something you do a lot.  Being a Goblin matters a lot; being "Arcane" did not matter as much as you seemed to think it did at the time.


The signets did a lot of heavy lifting for the original block; they shouldn't be forgotten.  Telling me that the commons had "more power than intended" is disheartening too.  I'm convinced that one of the reasons Ravnica was popular was because of the powerful common mana-fixers.  The signets (like Boros Signet) were both common and perfectly matched to the set's theme.


I think the common lands ought to have been farther removed from the rare lands.  It's too easy to look at the two cards side by side and say "Oh, that's what playing rares buys me".  I think it was also great that the commons showed up in tournaments in good decks.



well for one there's that card that can fetch basic lands or gates so that's one where shocklands can't go


I am skeptical about how the gate lands aren't "strictly worse" than the shock lands.  While I can follow your argument, changing a card's type doesn't carry a lot of weight unless it's something you do a lot.  Being a Goblin matters a lot; being "Arcane" did not matter as much as you seemed to think it did at the time.


The signets did a lot of heavy lifting for the original block; they shouldn't be forgotten.  Telling me that the commons had "more power than intended" is disheartening too.  I'm convinced that one of the reasons Ravnica was popular was because of the powerful common mana-fixers.  The signets (like Boros Signet) were both common and perfectly matched to the set's theme.


I think the common lands ought to have been farther removed from the rare lands.  It's too easy to look at the two cards side by side and say "Oh, that's what playing rares buys me".  I think it was also great that the commons showed up in tournaments in good decks.




Why are so many people so rebelious about the term "strictly worse"?

Arcane did matter a lot in limited, and that was its purpose.

They didn't like how the signets shaped constructed, whether they were common or rare.  
I hope the Centaur token looks just like the Call of the Conclave art.

I also second that we can do without the "uncounterable" cycle in Gatecrash.
We're getting Guildgates, Charms, Shocklands, and Guild Leaders as 10 card cycles (plus the strongly hinted 10 guild champions in Sinker), so long as the "unfinished" cycles don't feel like each of the guilds necessarily SHOULD have them then I'm perfectly fine with them remaining incomplete.

Oh and on a related matter I would like to thank R&D for not  bumping the shocklands up to mythic rarity as I personally assumed they would based on power level.  Thank you for leaving them at rare.

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From Mark Rosewater's Tumblr: the0uroboros asked: How in the same set can we have a hexproof, unsacrificable(not a word) creature AND a land that makes it uncounterable. How does this lead to interactive play? I believe I’m able to play my creature and you have to deal with it is much more interactive than you counter my creature.

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Post #777

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MaRo: One of the classic R&D stories happened during a Scars of Mirrodin draft. Erik Lauer was sitting to my right (meaning that he passed to me in the first and third packs). At the end of the draft, Erik was upset because I was in his colors (black-green). He said, "Didn't you see the signals? I went into black-green in pack one." I replied, "Didn't you see my signals? I started drafting infect six drafts ago."

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MaRo: I redesigned him while the effect was on the stack.

I wonder about the Gates matter" cards actually making the gate designation matter enough too... which was one of my biggest problems with this article.  Not only did the preview card not have any connection whatsoever to the article itself, but Mark's point about the Gates falls flat without being able to show off something that really shows us that having the Gate subtype has value.

Also, I've always wondered how the duals from Ravnica got the name "karoos".  Does anybody remember why they have such an odd nickname?
~ Current Decks I'm Playing or Building ~ (Click a deck's name to see list) [] CorpseJunk Menace/Township Counters (Standard) [] Reanimation/Clerics Theme Deck - Commander: Ghost Dad [] Devouring Tokens (Planechase, Multiplayer) [] Krark-Clan Ironworks: 2012 Edition (Modern) [] Azorious Turbo Fog (Modern)
Karoo is the name of land from Visions that came into play tapped and required you to return an untapped plains to your hand. Karoo tapped for 1 white and 1 colorless.
So I followed this game for many years. I initially got into as Revised was getting hard to find. My buying and playing ebbed and flowed, and over the years the game kept moving in directions that just weren't for me. Now I didn't expect WOTC to change the game just for me, but I wasn't alone in many of my criticisms. Last year, my issues with the game came to a head with the one two punch of Command Tower (a narrowly designed card only playable in one format) and then the dual faced cards that basically broke the game for me.

And I quit.  



A card only usable in one format and only purchable in products that were designed for the same format caused you to quit?  What a sad reaction.  If you don't play commander, don't buy those cards.


Maybe if this guildgate cycle had come sooner, I would have been able to weather the storm of the dual faced cards and would still be a customer, but unfortunately it's too little, too late. I am glad though that all the kitchen table players, the cube groups, the pauper groups, will all now have a good mana fixing solution, I don't think the game is for me anymore.



I agree this cycle was needed, but the Karro cycle was actually more powerful.  There is also a common set of three color lands that come into play tapped.  I was able to build an playable five color EDH deck without rare or expensive lands.  Good, cheap lands exist.  More expensive lands would be better, obviously, but not needed.
I wonder about the Gates matter" cards actually making the gate designation matter enough too... which was one of my biggest problems with this article.  Not only did the preview card not have any connection whatsoever to the article itself, but Mark's point about the Gates falls flat without being able to show off something that really shows us that having the Gate subtype has value.

Also, I've always wondered how the duals from Ravnica got the name "karoos".  Does anybody remember why they have such an odd nickname?



Karoo

Named for the desert like plateau of far-south Africa, "the Karoo", covered in woody scrub and surrounded by a rainshadow of the southern mountain ranges. Here's a pretty picture, from wiki:



"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)
Thanks for the info guys!

~ Current Decks I'm Playing or Building ~ (Click a deck's name to see list) [] CorpseJunk Menace/Township Counters (Standard) [] Reanimation/Clerics Theme Deck - Commander: Ghost Dad [] Devouring Tokens (Planechase, Multiplayer) [] Krark-Clan Ironworks: 2012 Edition (Modern) [] Azorious Turbo Fog (Modern)
So I followed this game for many years. I initially got into as Revised was getting hard to find. My buying and playing ebbed and flowed, and over the years the game kept moving in directions that just weren't for me. Now I didn't expect WOTC to change the game just for me, but I wasn't alone in many of my criticisms. Last year, my issues with the game came to a head with the one two punch of Command Tower (a narrowly designed card only playable in one format) and then the dual faced cards that basically broke the game for me.

And I quit.  



A card only usable in one format and only purchable in products that were designed for the same format caused you to quit?  What a sad reaction.  If you don't play commander, don't buy those cards.




I always scratch my head at Command Tower hate. You typed pretty much what I was going to.

So I followed this game for many years. I initially got into as Revised was getting hard to find. My buying and playing ebbed and flowed, and over the years the game kept moving in directions that just weren't for me. Now I didn't expect WOTC to change the game just for me, but I wasn't alone in many of my criticisms. Last year, my issues with the game came to a head with the one two punch of Command Tower (a narrowly designed card only playable in one format) and then the dual faced cards that basically broke the game for me.

And I quit.

A card only usable in one format and only purchable in products that were designed for the same format caused you to quit?  What a sad reaction.  If you don't play commander, don't buy those cards.

I always scratch my head at Command Tower hate. You typed pretty much what I was going to.


Flusterstorm and Chaos Warp are also only purchaseable in Commander precons, but are playable in formats other than Commander. The argument quoted above (Xactiphyn's) misses the point, and ignores that Milo was using it as PART of his argument. Talk about a strawman.

In fact, it is the secondary applications for these cards outside of Commander that drives the price of things like Scavenging Ooze up, but also helped bring the availability for non-Commander use of Sol Ring down. There were several cards placed in the decks that were designed for the purpose of making them available in Eternal formats, and help reduce the cost of admission to the more powerful ones.



"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)
To me it's funny how there's so much going on with this set, everything is amazing and deserves attention, but the one thing I've truly fallen in love with is the gate mechanic. A mere subtype on a common cycle of lands, that doesn't look like it will have much of an impact.
Ever since I saw that Ogre Jailbreaker, I got the feeling these explode with flavor. It just works so amazingly well.
It makes me a bit sad that there won't be that many cards that use the mechanic, I really hoped to see the mechanic a lot in limited.
Well, I probably will. Gatedeck here I come!

PS: Haha, I am just imagining how I draft tons of all kinds of gates for my deck to build a 5 colored deck with all the Ogre Jailbreakers the other drafters didn't want.

I am skeptical about how the gate lands aren't "strictly worse" than the shock lands.  While I can follow your argument, changing a card's type doesn't carry a lot of weight unless it's something you do a lot.  Being a Goblin matters a lot; being "Arcane" did not matter as much as you seemed to think it did at the time.




They are strictly worse than the shock lands (assuming were talking about  the shockduals here), because they don't allow you to play a M13 dual untapped next turn. Thats why I also consider evolving wilds better than the gates. I love the art on rakdos guildgate, but I propably won't be playing it .. 
"Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional." Proud member of the Rakdos guild
They are strictly worse than the shock lands (assuming were talking about  the shockduals here), because they don't allow you to play a M13 dual untapped next turn.



Assuming we're not talking about what "strictly worse" actually stands for.
They are strictly worse than the shock lands (assuming were talking about  the shockduals here), because they don't allow you to play a M13 dual untapped next turn.



Assuming we're not talking about what "strictly worse" actually stands for.

Yes, they're not strictly worse by a technicality: giving them a unique subtype that a handful of cards care about.

I propose a hypothetical: If I make a card:

Giantize the Bears -
Instant
Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn. If that creature is named Runeclaw Bear, it gets +4/+4 until end of turn instead.

Does this mean Runeclaw Bear is no longer strictly worse than Fauna Shaman?
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
Whether or not the gate subtype pulls its weight is up for debate. What is not, is that "because they don't allow you to play a M13 dual untapped next turn." is sufficient reasoning.