1/2/2013 Feature: " From the Director's Chair: 2012"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's "From the Director's Chair: 2012", which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.

the takeaway for me from that piece is how successful the program is despite the imperfections


v3 is awful. v4 beta is a steaming pile. I still play MODO despite that. Congratulations. You've managed to make a product so good that I am willing to put up with its delivery system. This puts you ahead of companies like EA.

And yes, this is a sincere compliment to those of you that make Magic: the Gathering. (It's also targeted at everyone ever involved with MODO. I hope they get the message.)
New Gideon looks like he came out of some scrubs custom card creation thread. The formatting is really awful. WotC should be ashamed. I don't want this garbage representing magic.
Khyber is a dark and dangerous place, full of flame and smoke, where ever stranger things lie dormant.
I don't see the problem, original had pretty much the exact same large-test ability except with 6/6 rather than x/x.

Seems awesome to me, athough you better have a token opponent or the 2nd will be useless after an ultimate.
I think the year overall was a success.  I don't play upper-tier competitive (I play drafts and sealed now and then, but mostly just casual).  I will say I disagree with the claim that DKA made for a more interesting draft environment... Innistrad had an amazing draft environment, so I didn't really expect DKA to make it that much better, but I also didn't think it would drag it down as much as it did.  It just felt unfocused and scatterbrained.  You provided lots of Tribal-ness to DKA, but there wasn't much to play off it in Innistrad, so unless you forced/got lucky with spirit tribal it just didn't pan out.  Still better than Avacyn Restored though...

As far as Commander's Arsenal goes, I feel part of it's negative reaction was from the price (We all know that much cardboard doesn't cost $75) and partially from the name itself. Commander's Arsenal just sounds like it's almost something essential for playing/being successful in Commander, but then you make it an extremely limited release and it shifts it to make it feel like you want Commander to be the new Vintage in that you need this crazy rare/expensive cards to be successful (this also goes back to the price).  It just seemed to clash with the spirit of Commander as a fun casual multiplayer game.
Avacyn Restored managed to sold that much by piggybacking on Innistrad and Dark Ascensions success, and the buildup they created for the 3rd set resolution of the story. But Avacyn Restored failed even THAT, as the story that was presented felt like a hastily written wrap up that left many questions and ultimately was a huge let-down. When you're being as successful as you were in 2012, a huge punt like AVR can go relatively unnoticed and not do much damage, but you really shouldn't call it a success.

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192884403 wrote:
surely one can't say complex conditional passive language is bad grammar ?
Gideon is fairly sweet. Although, it is fairly redundant to give him damage prevention and he has indestructible. It truly is.


One irony about AVR is how Aaron says they "can't destroy the world every time!" but in a way, they kind of did. They drew a curtain of fine plot wrapping that completely destroyed horror plane and turned it into heaven on earth. It can certainly be returned to, and it will, but it will be very difficult to restore the plane's bleakness without a retcon or awkward cover story. I like forward to neither, despite wanting to return.
Gideon is fairly sweet. Although, it is fairly redundant to give him damage prevention and he has indestructible. It truly is.

It really isn't redundant at all. Indestructibility prevents him from dying to destruction effects like Murder. However, if he only had that, whenever he was dealt combat damage by blockers he'd lose that much Loyalty, so you could basically never attack with him. This is an interaction that is pretty unique to Planeswalkers. Likewise, if he only had the damage prevention, he'd be vulnerable to destruction spells. They do two completely different things.

New Gideon looks like he came out of some scrubs custom card creation thread. The formatting is really awful. WotC should be ashamed. I don't want this garbage representing magic.



I agree with this. Even the name sounds like an eleven yrs olds fan creation.
If you want to get real information about what people do and do not like about magic, go visit some card shops and ask the regular joe players you see there what they think.  Talking to pro players and people that use twitter is not going to get you unbiased information.   I noticed a big chunk of your "positives" are about pro play stuff, which most regular players think is a waste of WOTC money that could be used for more prizes, player rewards, ect.
One irony about AVR is how Aaron says they "can't destroy the world every time!" but in a way, they kind of did. They drew a curtain of fine plot wrapping that completely destroyed horror plane and turned it into heaven on earth. It can certainly be returned to, and it will, but it will be very difficult to restore the plane's bleakness without a retcon or awkward cover story. I like forward to neither, despite wanting to return.

It's amusing how it's pretty much Scars block backwards.

What really got me about AVR from a flavour POV was how awesome it should've been. I called (and wanted) a happy ending for Innistrad from the beginning, but it was just handled in such a copout, deus-ex-machnica type of way as opposed to the badass climax the block deserved. It should've been demons versus angels on equal ground, humans versus monsters but now the humans are starting to win. Faith in Avacyn has power again, and the undead are driven back from Thraben, but they're still out there, praying on those who leave. The serfs in Stensia rise up against the vampire families, but it's only the start of a long and bloody war. The werewolves are granted the power to resist their beast side, but it's still not easy, and most humans still don't trust them. The angels are back and doing their best to protect humanity, but there's a demon army preparing to wage war. And so forth.

To put it another way, I remember it was said somewhere that Innistrad is twilight and Dark Ascension is midnight. Continuing that, Avacyn Restored is high noon...but it should've been dawn.
blah blah metal lyrics
The set was intentionally light on removal, which meant some games became hopeless quickly.

I think this is a very misleading way to represent what went wrong.

Yes, some games became hopeless quickly, but that problem was not intrinsically due to the lack of removal. Making a set with Limited play not based mainly around first picking removal then deciding when best to deploy it was a good idea. And in fact I think Return to Ravnica itself does a great job of showing how less removal than usual can create some excellent and original gameplay.

The problem was just a bias towards attack over defence. This is essentially the same trouble as Zendikar, but at a mercifully slower pace. Read through the list of Commons and a really high proportion of the cards provide excellent tools for an aggressive deck. But if you want to defend yourself you get... Angelic Wall? Cathedral Sanctifier? Moonlight Geist? I think Undead Executioner is the only respectable one (unless you count just not attacking with a Seraph of Dawn).

I respect the desire to make a Timmy-friendly set, but it turns out that just dialling up the offensive options in isolation doesn't play very well. At least not in Limited.
Gideon, Champion of Justice - an amazing card that will be priced beyond my budget, out of the gate.

I have curiously opposite reactions to the two mentions of miracle in this article.


I'm somewhat startled to see the $40,000 Bonfire topdeck listed as part of one of the "good" list. It's literally the randomness of a coinflip, at the highest levels of Magic. And yes, every topdeck is to some extent, but Miracle just amplifies and draws attention to that. I'm mystified why people can think of this as a good thing.


...And yet, I do identify a lot with the mention of how Avacyn Restored was popular with casual crowds. I'm a casual player, not a tournament player, and I did greatly enjoy the soulbond and Angels from AVR. (On the flavour front, I'm in favour of ending a block on a positive note, but the plotline was a bit too deus-ex-machina for me as Nyktos said, so those rather cancel each other out too.)


(I also really don't care about tournaments, so I don't have any interest in points 9, 8, 7, 6 or 2. I was glad to see Aaron comment on points that might not have been mentioned by his hardcore tournament-player Twitter followers.)


As for Return to Ravnica: I enjoyed it, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't seem to have the sparkle that Ravnica had. RtR feels somehow more formulaic. Populate is great, but doesn't play at all well with all the Saprolings from Rav. Overload is fine, but not at all Johnnyriffic like I'd hope from an Izzet mechanic. (Especially as it doesn't even have the explode-in-your-face potential that's so much a part of the Izzet alchemist flavour, with the more boring all-upside wording.) Things like imprint or gating feel much more Izzet. Unleash fits Rakdos mechanically but the flavour is very dull. And RtR just doesn't seem to have that... excitement about it that the original Rav did.


Maybe it's just that Glogari and Rakdos are both boring to me, and when Izzet are disappointingly un-Johnny and Azorius don't represent what white-blue is really about, those five guilds were always going to fail to excite me. Most of my favourite guilds are coming in Gatecrash, so maybe that'll save the block for me.

Honestly, my biggest disappointment of the year, was the Commander's Arsenal quanitities. Especially, when I really only wanted it for oversized Sliver Queen, and Karn, the sleeves, and the unique life counter. On the plus side... you guys brought back RAVNICA. And, that pushes out my gripes. It was the first block that I began trying to play in Friday Night Magic tournaments, with, and other than Time Spiral, nothing else has topped my joy for that block. So, having it back, and having new cards for my favorite guilds is, awesome. I can't wait to see what else Gatecrash gives me! RtR had all of the guilds I hated. Gatecrash has all of the ones I loved!
One of the biggest disappointments that should be listed is the volume level on all the mtg videos uploaded to youtube. You have to crank your volume up to "11" just to be able to hear the dialogue. And you had better hope you remembered to turn it back down before you play an mp3 or something, lest you blow out your speakers.

It's 2013. In a world where my 3 year old son can navigate around my wife's tablet to load up and play angry birds, certainly the wotc crew is tech-savvy enough not to repeatedly run into this issue again in the upcoming year.
I think it is also important to note, in the "disappointments" section, that horrible program known as the Wizards Event Reporter. Though this does not matter to the vast majority of our players, every judge I've talked to (including myself) thinks the program is one of the worst ever designed. I'm not saying this to be insulting or degrading, but it's just how it is right now. I think the entire judging community would be thrilled if it could be improved, and it would make tournaments everywhere run more smoothly (making customer service improve) if it were made more transparent and easy to use.
I came to this thread excited about the new planeswalker and looking for other magic player's opinions on the new Gideon. Once again I leave a Magic: The Gathering thread having broken the world record for most eye rolls in less than 5 minutes.
Under the "Magic Online Issues" header, I wonder: does that include the outcry over the removal of 4-Booster Sealed and the Cube Ticket payout system, or does that just mean technical bugs? I do hope it's the former.
Gideon, Champion of Justice - an amazing card that will be priced beyond my budget, out of the gate.


Don't worry.  Just wait a few months and he'll be down in the mid-teens price range.
I'm pretty certain of that.  He's not a card advantage engine, he's a stalemate breaker.

Not saying he isn't good, he can get out of control easily with just one or two +1's and start breaking face, but he doesn't clog the board or lock it down (or draw you cards) all by himself and that will let his price fall.

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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'm glad to see that RtR is such a success, but I'm hoping that Wizards will still take more risks in the future; RtR is a surprsingly risk-free set, and risks are what shake up the game and make it interesting.

I came to this thread excited about the new planeswalker and looking for other magic player's opinions on the new Gideon. Once again I leave a Magic: The Gathering thread having broken the world record for most eye rolls in less than 5 minutes.

If you want opinions about the new card, go to the Future Card forum. Most people are going to discuss the article in the Daily Magic forum.
ATTENTION EVERYONE!
GATECRASH PARTY!


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Good to see some recognition of the "what went wrong" stuff, as that's always going to happen, and without looking for it, the game won't improve. Just the fact that a section like this exists encourages me as a player of the game. (In particular: Pack Rat and Trigger Troubles.)

However, I really hope that this thread is also read by Aaron, as there are some further excellent responses and issues made. (In particular: Criticism of Bonfire/Miracles and further analyses of Avacyn Restored.)

Regarding Gideon: Seems pretty cool. Not quite sure he's got Wolverine's claws turned into paper measuring tape, though. Effectively the opposite of an army in a can yet still a finisher. I must admit, I'm disappointed he isn't W/R...:P
Whether it's Thragtusk, Pack Rat, Sphinx's Revelation, Cavern of Souls, Bonfire of the Damned, or something else, some card in the environment is always going to be everyone's least favorite.



I played up until Kamigawa, then quit, then came back in Alara.  Pre-Mirrodin, I don't recall this problem happening.  In Mirrodin, WotC banned the entire Affinity deck.  In Kamigawa, Jitte was publicly stated as a giant mistake on R&D's part, caused by a last-minute change to the card file without time to test it (they don't do this often, and when they do we end up with stuff like Sudden Disappearance; a lesson learned by Jitte).  I skipped Ravnica and Time Spiral, so I don't know about those formats, but as best I can tell, this "worst card" phenomenon seems to start around Lorwyn, specifically Morningtide (Bitterblossom).  Morningtide was released in February of 2008.  Aaron Forsythe's article where he revealed that he became Director of R&D is dated March 2007.  Sets generally are in development for roughly 1 year prior to release.  Since Morningtide, every block seems to have one of these "worst cards".  I dunno, I think these are some interesting data points.  Make of them what you will.
Whether it's Thragtusk, Pack Rat, Sphinx's Revelation, Cavern of Souls, Bonfire of the Damned, or something else, some card in the environment is always going to be everyone's least favorite.



I played up until Kamigawa, then quit, then came back in Alara.  Pre-Mirrodin, I don't recall this problem happening.

Enh...Psychatog, Fires of Yavimaya, Tolarian freaking Academy...it's been around for a while.
As far as Commander's Arsenal goes, I feel part of it's negative reaction was from the price (We all know that much cardboard doesn't cost $75) and partially from the name itself. Commander's Arsenal just sounds like it's almost something essential for playing/being successful in Commander, but then you make it an extremely limited release and it shifts it to make it feel like you want Commander to be the new Vintage in that you need this crazy rare/expensive cards to be successful (this also goes back to the price). It just seemed to clash with the spirit of Commander as a fun casual multiplayer game.

I think the biggest problem was the name. They should have called it From the Vault Special Edition: Commander. People were already used to From the Vault products being expensive luxury items. When people heard the name Commander's Arsenal, they expected it to be like the Commander decks: available from any retail store for $30.
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