Mana screw is bad. Here's how to fix it!

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I hate being mana screwed. By mana screw I mean missing a land/mana drop during the first 2-4 turns of the game. I feel this is poor mechanic and here are 3 reasons why.

It adds harmful variance to the game. Essentially the mana screw mechanic is roughly equivalent to rolling a 20-sided die before a game begins, if you get 20 or 19 you lose, otherwise you can actually play the game. The reason the mana screw is such a bad mechanic, is that it prevents the player from taking any action and also removes interaction between players.

It's not fun. Not being able to take any action in the early game simple because of random chance, is not an enjoyable experience.  Losing because you had to mulligan down to 4 because you didn't get any lands in your draws is an incredibly frustrating.

It punishes bad/new players more then it punishes good players. Given the same deck, a new player is going to have a harder time playing a low land hand than a good player. This disadvantage is exaggerated further when you consider a deck a new/bad player builds compared to a good player. All in all it means that new/bad player loses more games due to mana screw compared to good players. Edit: Read further on why we should care about bad/new players. This is a counter argument to some of the "benefits" of mana screw.

The Solution:

At the start of a game you select up to 3 basic lands from your deck and reveal them to your opponent. These lands are considered your "Starting Territory" and make up the beginning of your hand.

After you pick your Starting Territory you then draw the rest of your hand from your deck. If you should mulligan, you still draw one less card, but the first few cards would always be your "Starting Territory."

Example:
I pick a Swamp and a Plains as my Starting Territory. I then draw 5 more cards to create my first hand of 7 cards (the 2 cards that make up my starting territory count towards the hand size. If I decide to mulligan, then I set aside the 2 lands, reshuffle the rest of my hand and draw 4 cards.

Essentially your starting territory places a lower limit on the mulligan and ensures that at least some of your cards are basic lands.
For tournaments, the starting territory would be set at signup and could not vary between matches.

Possible problems with this solutions:


  • 4 might be too high. It might need to be changed to 3.

  • It might be ok to vary which lands you want between matches.

  • It could be to abusive in legacy. I don't believe it will, I think worst case it would make some decks more consistently powerful, but it would not enable any drastically new decks.

  • 1cc and 2 cc creature are devalued. Below is why is are some resons why I think that this would not be a problem.


What do you think? Terrible idea? If so what problems do you think it would create?

Edit:
Plenty of fair points made, here are my replies.

Why should we care about bad/new players?
This was in response to an article by Mark Rosewater on Mana Screw, specifically to the “It allows anyone the chance to win/It allows anyone the chance to lose” reasons cited in that article. My counter-argument is that mana screw does not actually accomplish those things.

Magic is about variance.
This is true. My solution however, does not eliminate variance, but reduces what I consider negative variance. Every card but your starting territory is still random. The only thing that has been eliminated is auto losing a game because you can’t cast anything during the first few turns of the game.

This negatively affects Deck Construction.
Not at all, I believe that it actually shifts some of the emphasis of deck construction away from rote mathematical mana curve towards preparing for the meta-game.

Cheap Creatures are devalued.
I believe this is somewhat true, however I feel like there are substantial gains that I will go into below.

I would never put lands in the deck!!
You definitely would, but let me explain how I feel this change would affect the state of the game.

First, I think up to 3 lands is safer than 4, so my arguments will be based on starting territory with up to 3 lands.

The simple approach would be to build a deck that only needs the starting territory and not add any more lands. This however greatly limits your deck to a few colors and splash-able spells thereby making your deck weaker and less versatile. Furthermore, you open yourself up to crippling mana denial strategies, so even aggressive decks would still have to dedicate some of their cards to lands or risk losing to a few Craterize/Stone Rain or Wastelands.

I imagine that an aggressive deck with some land destruction would probably be the first powerful deck under this change. However this type of deck could be combated by cheap tempo, early mana/hand disruption, bounces/stall tactics or just any deck that packs more lands than the initial starting territory. Decks would have to ensure that they had something to do during the early game, so while 1cc and 2cc creatures may be devalued, 1cc and 2cc spells would actually increase in value.

I net result is that the meta-game would change but remain just as if not more exciting than it is currently. I believe this change would slightly increase the cards we consider tournament worthy, since low casting spells become more important and decks now have more room to dedicate to things that aren’t lands.
if your deck can function on 4 or fewer lands, you literally don't need to run any more lands. I can run 56 burn spells and 4 mountains and be guaranteed to draw gas every turn for the entire game.

 

120.6. Some effects replace card draws.

 

why are you here when NGA exists and is just better

And here I thought the best way to eliminate mana screw would be to put mana symbols on the bottoms of the cards, upside down, so that they could be played upside down as basic lands.

Like in Duel Masters.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

It actually takes immense creativity to eliminate mana screw simply because there are decks that do not actually need lands even.


I think your suggestion would work in Standard, but in eternal formats like legacy/modern, it's not doable because for the right combo decks for instance, it'd trim their maximum deck size to 56.

Plus I'd personally prefer 3 lands to start just to have 1 more spell ^_^ (or the chance).


Cheers!
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Cheers!

Magic is a game of skill, skilled players should be able to beat unskilled ones more often then not. The variance is there so there can be upsets and the suspence of luck. Because if it wasnt, we might as well be playing chess. 

Part of being a good magic player is accepting that there is variance in the game

Part of being a great player is knowing that you can do everything in your power, be it mulligans, deck builds, correct plays/bluffs, ect, to reduce variance to its minimum.
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Deck construction and resource management are important parts of playing magic. If you learn these things mana screw will become less of a problem. 
Also I disagree with the initial premise here. The whole "affects bad players more than good players" bit is prolly true, but then your solution has the same effect since bad players will still run twenty lands whereas good players will be like "AGGRO OUT THE FACE BLAM!" and really the same can be said of any rule. Mulliganing wrong can definitely screw you, and it takes skill to know when to hold em/know when to fold em.

Harmful variance and fun though are both matters of opinion. On the one hand, yeah it kinda sucks to occasionally get my face beaten in by slivers while I'm one plains away from a wrath, but on the other hand it's incredibly exhilerating to be able to properly manage your resources and win a game with only two lands.

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Funny story: InQuest Magazine (I think it was InQuest) had an oversized Chaos Orb which I totally rooked someone into allowing into a (non-sanctioned) game. I had a proxy card that was a Mountain with "Chaos Orb" written on it. When I played it, my opponent cried foul: Him: "WTF? a Proxy? no-one said anything about Proxies. Do you even own an actual Chaos Orb?" Me: "Yes, but I thought it would be better to use a Proxy." Him: "No way. If you're going to put a Chaos Orb in your deck you have to use your actual Chaos Orb." Me: "*Sigh*. Okay." I pulled out this huge Chaos Orb and placed it on the table. He tried to cry foul again but everyone else said he insisted I use my actual Chaos Orb and that was my actual Chaos Orb. I used it, flipped it and wiped most of his board. Unsurprisingly, that only worked once and only because everyone present thought it was hilarious.
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195392035 wrote:
Hi guys! So, I'm a sort of returning player to Magic. I say sort of because as a child I had two main TCG's I liked. Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon. Some of my friends branched off in to Magic, and I bought two pre-made decks just to kind of fit in. Like I said, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon were what I really knew how to play. I have a extensive knowledge of deck building in those two TCG's. However, as far as Magic is concerned, I only ever used those two pre made decks. I know how the game is played, and I know general things, but now I want to get in the game for real. I want to begin playing it as a regular. My question is, are all cards ever released from the time of the inception of this game until present day fair game in a deck? Or are there special rules? Are some cards forbidden or restricted? Thanks guys, and I will gladly accept ANY help lol.
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Oh I have a standing rule. If someone plays a Planeswalker I concede the game. I refuse to play with or against people who play Planeswalkers. They really did ruin the game.
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And that's why you should never, ever call RP Jesus on being a troll, because then everyone else playing along gets outed, too, and the thread goes back to being boring.
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See, this is why RPJesus should be in charge of the storyline. The novel line would never have been cancelled if he had been running the show. Specifically the Slobad and Geth's Head talkshow he just described.
57461258 wrote:
Not only was that an obligatory joke, it was an on-topic post that still managed to be off-topic due to thread derailment. RP Jesus does it again folks.
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I think I'm gonna' start praying to Jesus... That's right, RPJesus, I'm gonna' be praying to you, right now. O' Jesus Please continue to make my time here on the forums fun and cause me to chuckle. Amen.
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56957928 wrote:
It was wonderful. Us Johnnies had a field day. That Timmy with the Grizzly bears would actually have to think about swinging into your Mogg Fanatic, giving you time to set up your silly combo. Nowadays it's all DERPSWING! with thier blue jeans and their MP3 players and their EM EM OH AR PEE JEES and their "Dewmocracy" and their children's card games and their Jersey Shores and their Tattooed Tenaged Vampire Hunters from Beverly Hills
Seriously, that was amazing. I laughed my *ss off. Made my day, and I just woke up.
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.....would it be a bit blasphemous if I said, "PRAYSE RPJAYSUS!" like an Evangelical preacher?
Perhaps, but who doesn't like to blaspheme every now and again? Especially when Mr. RPJesus is completely right.
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I don't say this often, but ... LOL
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You... You... Evil something... I actualy made the damn char once I saw the poster... Now you made me see it again and I gained resolve to put it into my campaign. Shell be high standing oficial of Cyrix order. Uterly mad and only slightly evil. And it'll be bad. Evil even. And ill blame you and Lizard for it :P.
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I'm trying to work out if you're being sarcastic here. ...
Am going to stop you right there... it's RPJesus... he's always sarcastic
58335208 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
112114441 wrote:
we can only hope it gets the jace treatment...it could have at least been legendary
So that even the decks that don't run it run it to deal with it? Isn't that like the definition of format warping?
I lol'd.
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Uktabi Orangutan What the heck's going on with those monkeys?
The most common answer is that they are what RPJesus would call "[Debutantes avert your eyes]ing."
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...Am I the only one that thinks this is reaching the point of downright Kafkaesque insanity?
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Save or die. If you disagree with this, you're wrong (Not because of any points or arguements that have been made, but I just rolled a d20 for you and got a 1, so you lose).
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This just won the argument, AFAIC.
That's just awesome.
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HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THE BEAR PRODUCING WORDS OF WILDING?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!
That's what RPJesus tends to do. That's why I don't think he's a real person, but some Magic Card Archive Server sort of machine, that is programmed to react to other posters' comments with obscure cards that do in fact exist, but somehow missed by even the most experienced Magic players. And then come up with strange combos with said cards. All of that is impossible for a normal human to do given the amount of time he does it and how often he does it. He/It got me with Light of Sanction, which prompted me to go to RQ&A to try and find if it was even possible to do combat damage to a creature I control (in light that Mark of Asylum exists).
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heaven or hell.
Round 1. Lets rock.
GG quotes! RPJesus just made this thread win!
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Blue players get all the overpowerered cards like JTMS. I think it's time that wizards gave something to people who remember what magic is really about: creatures.
Initially yes, Wizards was married to blue. However, about a decade ago they had a nasty divorce, and a few years after that they began courting the attention of Green. Then in Worldwake they had a nasty affair with their ex, but as of Innistrad, things seem to have gotten back on track, and Wizards has even proposed.
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Surely RPJesus gets Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius?
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First: I STILL can't take you seriously with that avatar. And I can take RPJesus seriously, so that's saying something.
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Learning about mana curve and how to gauge how many lands (of which type) go into a deck is part of growing in Magic-related skill.

Providing an option to skirt around learning how to build decks properly only leads to stagnation.

Go read Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron for an (albeit extreme) example of what happens when everyone is made equal on the lowest level, rather than the highest.

Cheers!
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Variance is what makes a game a game.

Bad luck is part of games.

Bad luck affects all players equally- the difference between a good player and a bad one is the ability to win through bad luck. 

Magic in built around the need to have mana in the deck- making a change to the fundamentals of the game by allowing 4 free lands changes everything. 

(at)MrEnglish22

AT Agent8261, as you can see by the responses, most players(especially seasoned ones) are going to disagree with your premise and your proposed solution.  At it's heart, managing your resources is what MTG is all about.  Once you learn to, build better decks, play them better, and know when to mulligan, you'll understand why we (most) all feel the way we do.  I agree with every statement posted in response above.

"Mana screw ruins the game" is the cry of the noob.  Becoming a better player is the solution.  Listen to the advice seasoned veterans might have to offer, these forums are full of awesome, intellegent individuals more than happy to help.(You may have to wade through a little sarcasm, but that's the price of admission.)
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Admittedly, Richard Garfield himself is on record somewhere as saying if he could go back and change Magic, the biggest thing he would change is the mana system. That said, that would require a massive redesign of the whole system. You could build a TCG that didn't include mana screw/flood in any way, but it wouldn't be Magic. Moreover, it wouldn't be free of similar issues. I imagine if we didn't have lands and did the whole Duel Masters 'every card is a land' thing you'd hear players complaining about 'creaturescrew' or 'instantscrew' or whatever. Personally I like the Duel Masters system just because of how skill testing it is to have to decide what cards you need this game and which you don't. The problem with it is that, as mentioned, giving Aggro decks the ability to draw nothing but gas for the entire game really warps the format if the designers didn't build the game with that in mind.

SIDE NOTE: I haven't actually played much Duel Masters, and certainly not at a level above 'this is how you play the game' so I have no clue how tournaments for it shake out.
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
One other thing that should be pointed out is how the land system feeds into balancing mono-colour decks vs. multi-colour decks. Every decks has to worry about getting a sufficient quantity of mana, but multi-colour decks have to worry about quality: getting all the right kinds of mana at the right amount. 
If you change your mono deck into a deck, you double the number of cards you can play, at the expense of mana consistency. It's a trade-off that keeps players from playing all 5 colours all the time.

Another is making cheap creatures worthwhile. If M:TG games naturally gave us lands whenever we needed it, big creatures would naturally be highly favoured, since you could always cast a Titan by turn 6. In real M:TG, sometimes you have to keep alive hiding behind a Wall of Omens and top-decking a Llanowar Elves is a big thing. Part of the balance between Baneslayer Angel and White Knight is that you don't always get to 5 mana, or don't get there fast enough to win the game. 

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

I was being somewhat facetious when I said that the Duel Masters method was the best way to deal with mana screw. It would kill mana screw dead, all right, but that may not be a good thing.

The OP's suggestion is more moderate; another option would be a free mulligan (no decreasing your hand by one card) if you have no lands and show your hand - this was the original mulligan rule in Magic.

Reading this thread, though, the comment that mana screw is good because it forces players to appreciate the value of low CMC cards has suggested something to me.

One way to reduce variance on the one hand, but continue to force players to include cards with low mana costs in their strategies... would be to allow players to play lands only on every second turn. That is, if you play a land on one turn, you can't play one the next turn. (If you skip an opportunity, though, you can play a land the very next turn.)

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

Games already rarely last beyond 7 turns. That would turn the whole game into an Aggro Fest. As a player that likes Combos, I find that a horrible idea.
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4 is a lot of land to pull out of a deck even if we're just taking about standard.

I'm for one free mull. But if you want creative... maybe before drawing hands you search out 1 basic land draw your hand and put the basic on top once you keep.

3DH4LIF3

Free mulligans just mean 0-land Belcher can have a god hand every game.
Asking what the function of mana screw is for is exactly the same as asking what the function of time is. They both keep everything from happening at once. They let you BUILD.

It is also not very limiting. Anything in the game can be cast in the first few turns as long as you are willing to BUILD.

This is one of the reasons I was always against the removal of black lotus and dark ritual. They taught two important concepts. Speed and cards as a resource. Tempo and monies.

You cannot remove it without also removing the framework everything else is built on. There are many people who just cannot handle bridge or chess. They play checkers and canasta and while some people may snicker at them we generally try and hide it. Asking to remove the land component is really jsut asking to eat at the little guys table. That is probably not the impression you intend to be fostering.
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Variance is what makes a game a game.


Pretty sure Chess is a game.

Magic is a game of skill, skilled players should be able to beat unskilled ones more often then not. The variance is there so there can be upsets and the suspence of luck. Because if it wasnt, we might as well be playing chess.


When you get those upsets, do you really want them to be "I hit a wall until he died because he couldn't cast anything?" Any game with severe manascrew is tremendously boring, and unsatisfying. Yes, the chance is minimal, but it's still a terrible aspect of the game.
Admittedly, Richard Garfield himself is on record somewhere as saying if he could go back and change Magic, the biggest thing he would change is the mana system. That said, that would require a massive redesign of the whole system. You could build a TCG that didn't include mana screw/flood in any way, but it wouldn't be Magic.


I'm in the opinion that this is by far the biggest issue. Magic is really old, you can't just go back and change the fundamentals of the resource system without any severe consequences.
SIDE NOTE: I haven't actually played much Duel Monsters, and certainly not at a level above 'this is how you play the game' so I have no clue how tournaments for it shake out. 


The game is called Duel Masters, so that much is clear :p

Yxoque wrote:
This forum can't even ****ing self-destruct properly.

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Variance can be a good thing.  For starters, theres the obvious point that "fixing" the mana system now would completely and utterly break the game at this point.  But theres more to it than that.  Having that variance forces players to work around it, making deck building much more complicated than just "throw all the good cards together".

Perfect symmetry may create a more clear evaluation of skill, however it is bad for a number of reasons.  I'll just let these guys explain the disadvantages of perfect balance: www.youtube.com/watch?v=e31OSVZF77w

Current decks
Comments or suggestions are always welcome

Modern
nothing at the moment

Bad luck affects all players equally- the difference between a good player and a bad one is the ability to win through bad luck.


[<o>]
I can't wait to play burn in legacy now. :D
Bad luck affects all players equally- the difference between a good player and a bad one is the ability to win through bad luck.



Bad luck affects everyone equally on average, the whole point of luck is to create different gamestates.

Yxoque wrote:
This forum can't even ****ing self-destruct properly.

IMAGE(http://img.pokemondb.net/sprites/black-white/anim/normal/plusle.gif)

I'm just not that sure why a resource management system which hurts bad players more than it hurts good players is something that we in any way consider anything other than a benefit. It's a resource system. You have to manage it. That's a big part of the game.

Everyone can get the screw, but mulligans and making your deck properly keep the odds lower. It's always there, but... that's the game. It keeps everything honest. 
76783093 wrote:
Luckily, we have stop-having-fun guys to remind us that having anything more than 60 cards in your deck is tantamount to being a rapist and anyone considering it should be strung up by their ****.
I hate being mana screwed. By mana screw I mean missing a land/mana drop during the first 2-4 turns of the game. I feel this is poor mechanic and here are two reasons why.

139359831 wrote:
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I hate being mana screwed. By mana screw I mean missing a land/mana drop during the first 2-4 turns of the game. I feel this is poor mechanic and here are two reasons why.





Ok you got me, there are more than two reasons.

Hate to tell you this, but the resource system of this game is never changing.

I will now feast on your delicious tears.
Plenty of fair points made, here are my replies.

Why should we care about bad/new players?
This was in response to an article by Mark Rosewater on Mana Screw, specifically to the “It allows anyone the chance to win/It allows anyone the chance to lose” reasons cited in that article. My counter-argument is that mana screw does not actually accomplish those things.

Magic is about variance.
This is true. My solution however, does not eliminate variance, but reduces what I consider negative variance. Every card but your starting territory is still random. The only thing that has been eliminated is auto losing a game because you can’t cast anything during the first few turns of the game.

Cheap Creatures are devalued.
I believe this is somewhat true, however I feel like there are substantial gains that I will go into below.

This negatively affects Deck Construction.
Not at all, I believe that it actually shifts some of the emphasis of deck construction away from rote mathematical mana curve towards preparing for the meta-game.

I would never put lands in the deck!!
You definitely would, but let me explain how I feel this change would affect the state of the game.

First, I think up to 3 lands is safer than 4, so my arguments will be based on starting territory with up to 3 lands.

The simple approach would be to build a deck that only needs the starting territory and not add any more lands. This however greatly limits your deck to a few colors and splash-able spells thereby making your deck weaker and less versatile. Furthermore, you open yourself up to crippling mana denial strategies, so even aggressive decks would still have to dedicate some of their cards to lands or risk losing to a few Craterize.

I imagine that an aggressive deck with some land destruction would probably be the first powerful deck under this change. However this type of deck could be combated by cheap tempo, early mana/hand disruption, bounces/stall tactics or just any deck that pack more lands than the initial starting territory. Deck would have to ensure that they had something to do during the early game, so while 1cc and 2cc creatures may be devalued, 1cc and 2cc spells would actually increase in value.

I net result is that the meta-game would change but remain just as if not more exciting than it is currently. I believe this change would slightly increase the cards we consider tournament worthy, since low casting spells become more important and decks now have more room to dedicate to things that aren’t lands.

Still a bad idea. This change would seriously impact the kinds of spells that can be printed at 3cmc and below.

It would be a fine thing if the game was new, however.

3DH4LIF3


Why should we care about bad/new players?
This was in response to an article by Mark Rosewater on Mana Screw, specifically to the “It allows anyone the chance to win/It allows anyone the chance to lose” reasons cited in that article. My counter-argument is that mana screw does not actually accomplish those things.


It does all of those things.  You cant even argue that, the entire basis of your argument revolves around mana screw's potential to cause people to lose games.

Magic is about variance.
This is true. My solution however, does not eliminate variance, but reduces what I consider negative variance. Every card but your starting territory is still random. The only thing that has been eliminated is auto losing a game because you can’t cast anything during the first few turns of the game.


That is most certainly not the "only thing" that your idea eliminates.  Whether through ignorance or intent, you are completely misrepresenting the effects that this would have on the game.

Cheap Creatures are devalued.
I believe this is somewhat true, however I feel like there are substantial gains that I will go into below.


Im not following this at all, the games could likely end before you can play any creature over 4cmc.

This negatively affects Deck Construction.
Not at all, I believe that it actually shifts some of the emphasis of deck construction away from rote mathematical mana curve towards preparing for the meta-game.


It doesnt shift anything.  You already have to prepare for the metagame.  You are removing an element of deck construction.

I would never put lands in the deck!!
You definitely would, but let me explain how I feel this change would affect the state of the game.

First, I think up to 3 lands is safer than 4, so my arguments will be based on starting territory with up to 3 lands.

The simple approach would be to build a deck that only needs the starting territory and not add any more lands. This however greatly limits your deck to a few colors and splash-able spells thereby making your deck weaker and less versatile. Furthermore, you open yourself up to crippling mana denial strategies, so even aggressive decks would still have to dedicate some of their cards to lands or risk losing to a few Craterize.

I imagine that an aggressive deck with some land destruction would probably be the first powerful deck under this change. However this type of deck could be combated by cheap tempo, early mana/hand disruption, bounces/stall tactics or just any deck that pack more lands than the initial starting territory. Deck would have to ensure that they had something to do during the early game, so while 1cc and 2cc creatures may be devalued, 1cc and 2cc spells would actually increase in value.

I net result is that the meta-game would change but remain just as if not more exciting than it is currently. I believe this change would slightly increase the cards we consider tournament worthy, since low casting spells become more important and decks now have more room to dedicate to things that aren’t lands.


This would completely shatter the meta-game and end up resulting in one or two decks once everyone managed to calculate the optimal possible combinations with the variance taken out.


Every time I see one of these threads I am left honestly believing the OP is just a horrible deck builder.  Either that or I am somehow blessed by some magical entity to prevent me from being regularly effected by this issue.  Surely only a completely horrific and constant problem could possibly validate the desire to destroy the basis of the game's balance and rules up to this point?

Current decks
Comments or suggestions are always welcome

Modern
nothing at the moment

My new and improved goblin deck just got better, I can replace 18 lands with 18 spells to bring it to 4 lands, 56 spells! My 0 land charbelcher will change to a 1 land charbelcher with a much higher win rate!

Seriously, the game is NOT designed to have any kind of suredrop lands, the cards would be unbalanced, playing 3-4-5 colors wouldnt have much drawback. 5+ CMC would disappear from the game completely since 4 land, 56 spells will work better.
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Mana screw used to be a lot worse. You kids are lucky with your Paris mulligan.
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Why should we care about bad/new players?
This was in response to an article by Mark Rosewater on Mana Screw, specifically to the “It allows anyone the chance to win/It allows anyone the chance to lose” reasons cited in that article. My counter-argument is that mana screw does not actually accomplish those things.


It does all of those things.  You cant even argue that, the entire basis of your argument revolves around mana screw's potential to cause people to lose games.

Magic is about variance.
This is true. My solution however, does not eliminate variance, but reduces what I consider negative variance. Every card but your starting territory is still random. The only thing that has been eliminated is auto losing a game because you can’t cast anything during the first few turns of the game.


That is most certainly not the "only thing" that your idea eliminates.  Whether through ignorance or intent, you are completely misrepresenting the effects that this would have on the game.

Cheap Creatures are devalued.
I believe this is somewhat true, however I feel like there are substantial gains that I will go into below.


Im not following this at all, the games could likely end before you can play any creature over 4cmc.

This negatively affects Deck Construction.
Not at all, I believe that it actually shifts some of the emphasis of deck construction away from rote mathematical mana curve towards preparing for the meta-game.


It doesnt shift anything.  You already have to prepare for the metagame.  You are removing an element of deck construction.

I would never put lands in the deck!!
You definitely would, but let me explain how I feel this change would affect the state of the game.

First, I think up to 3 lands is safer than 4, so my arguments will be based on starting territory with up to 3 lands.

The simple approach would be to build a deck that only needs the starting territory and not add any more lands. This however greatly limits your deck to a few colors and splash-able spells thereby making your deck weaker and less versatile. Furthermore, you open yourself up to crippling mana denial strategies, so even aggressive decks would still have to dedicate some of their cards to lands or risk losing to a few Craterize.

I imagine that an aggressive deck with some land destruction would probably be the first powerful deck under this change. However this type of deck could be combated by cheap tempo, early mana/hand disruption, bounces/stall tactics or just any deck that pack more lands than the initial starting territory. Deck would have to ensure that they had something to do during the early game, so while 1cc and 2cc creatures may be devalued, 1cc and 2cc spells would actually increase in value.

I net result is that the meta-game would change but remain just as if not more exciting than it is currently. I believe this change would slightly increase the cards we consider tournament worthy, since low casting spells become more important and decks now have more room to dedicate to things that aren’t lands.


This would completely shatter the meta-game and end up resulting in one or two decks once everyone managed to calculate the optimal possible combinations with the variance taken out.


Every time I see one of these threads I am left honestly believing the OP is just a horrible deck builder.  Either that or I am somehow blessed by some magical entity to prevent me from being regularly effected by this issue.  Surely only a completely horrific and constant problem could possibly validate the desire to destroy the basis of the game's balance and rules up to this point?



All of these things, combined with all the comments already made.  I don't think any more arguments are needed.  

You want to completely change the basics of a game that has been around for almost 20 years.  I think you would have an easier time getting WotC to develop a new game that was not MTG.  Mana-Screw sucks, I won't argue that.  The answer? Build around it, mulligan or go cry in a corner away from everyone else.  You have lots of options available.  Choose one and act accordingly.


It does all of those things.  You cant even argue that, the entire basis of your argument revolves around mana screw's potential to cause people to lose games.



The argument about “It allows anyone that chance to win” misrepresents/hides facts about the game and uses this representation for justification of a poor mechanic. It is indeed true that the better player could be without lands and the worst player would have a great hand however, it is much more likely that the worst player will be on the short end of the stick.

Edit:So although we have given you a chance to win, we also ensured it is a pretty low chance and in exchange:

  • some loss are going to be outside of your control

  • sometimes the first few turns nobody will do anything but play draw, and say go

  • around 40% of you deck with do nothing but let you play the game


To me that’s not a fair deal. 


The argument about “It allow anyone the chance to lose” is based on the idea that it is really poor play that causes a person to lose and that mana-screw is used as an ego relief, this of course ignores the fact that sometimes mana screw is the cause.  Where is the relief for those losses? Isn’t the investment in a deck still just as important? I am of the opinion that losses I had control over are much better than losses I didn’t.


That is most certainly not the "only thing" that your idea eliminates.  Whether through ignorance or intent, you are completely misrepresenting the effects that this would have on the game.



I have no problem acknowledging a bad idea. If you would elaborate on how you feel the meta-game would develop under this addition I would like to hear it.


Im not following this at all, the games could likely end before you can play any creature over 4cmc.



How would game end before turn 4? They don’t end before turn 4 now. How has knowing that 3 of your opening cards are basic lands caused such a sudden shift in standard play?


This would completely shatter the meta-game and end up resulting in one or two decks once everyone managed to calculate the optimal possible combinations with the variance taken out.



Variance has not been removed. There are still 57 cards that are randomly ordered in your deck.


Every time I see one of these threads I am left honestly believing the OP is just a horrible deck builder.  Either that or I am somehow blessed by some magical entity to prevent me from being regularly effected by this issue.  Surely only a completely horrific and constant problem could possibly validate the desire to destroy the basis of the game's balance and rules up to this point?



I’m not asserting that mana screw happens very often. I have, however come in second place in a few limited events simply because of it. It is beyond frustrating to play very well for several matches, get to the final round win game 1, lose game 2 and then have game 3 decided on before anybody has even started their turn.

I dont' think it is a good mechanic and suspect that it could be changed with no negative impact to the game. That is what this thread is about.


All of these things, combined with all the comments already made.  I don't think any more arguments are needed.  

You want to completely change the basics of a game that has been around for almost 20 years.  I think you would have an easier time getting WotC to develop a new game that was not MTG.  Mana-Screw sucks, I won't argue that.  The answer? Build around it, mulligan or go cry in a corner away from everyone else.  You have lots of options available.  Choose one and act accordingly.



To the contrary, I don’t want to change the basis of the game. I firmly believe that this addition would not cause a great impact and have provided justification for that belief. I don’t propose however that I know everything about the game.

Perhaps there are cards like Goblin Charbelcher that would have to banned. It could be that the number of lands for the starting territory needs to be adjusted down to 2. That’s the exact reason I posted the idea the see if other people could come up with things I couldn’t think of.
Still a bad idea. This change would seriously impact the kinds of spells that can be printed at 3cmc and below. It would be a fine thing if the game was new, however.



I agree that it would certainly change what could be printed at 3 cc and below. I don’t however see this as a bad thing. Standard cycles cards out all the time, so WOTC can always add cards with the starting territory mechanic in mind. For existing formats there might be some bans and/or restrictions but the meta-game would still be pretty diverse.
Your determination is admirable, but as with all things internet, if people could find a solution, they would have by now. Other people have tried fixing mana screw in many different ways, and while I applaud your efforts, fixing mana screw may be impossible.

Sometimes though, it can cause some epic games, maybe not having 0,1,6,7 land hands all the time, but I was once able to hold a game like 15-20 turns on two lands due to all the low-drop kill spells I had while the other guy is trying so hard to keep and Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite or Drogskol Reaver in play.

I just see mana screw as "I simply wasn't meant to win that game. If I didn't accept mana screw, I probably wouldn't play Magic. I would play something else."
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I currently run a deck for Standard, Modern, Commander and Legacy. For standard, I have a typical, horribly budget Rakdos Deck Wins. For Modern, I have a B/G/U/W Draw-go Reanimator featuring my favorite creature, Wurmcoil Engine. For Legacy, I'm trying too hard to break Pyromancer Ascension. I also run a Naya Zoo with all the oldies. For Commander/EDH, I'm running The Mimeoplasm. A little morals thing about me, I like winning through combos, but not infinitely. However quiet, I am a Christian, so feel free to tell me you are too, it's always a relief.
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@agent8261; I ahve to agree with Lord_of_fuddies.  I think that the time you took to make your arguments and develp your idea's are adimirable.  

I do not agree with your argument that it would not drastically change the game.  Decks would be constructed to run on 3-4 mana as has already been stated.  The fact that you even mention cards that would need to be banned is an argument AGAINST your plan.  I believe that there are already to many bannings/restrictions; I realize most of them are necessary due to card combos, etc.  However, do we really want to change a format of the game that will cause more bannings almost immediately?  No we do not.

As to your complaint about coming in second because of mana screw...this justifies what I believed from the start of this thread; that is was started, primarily, because of your personal negative experiences.  You can try and deny that fact, but as you have used those experiences to help support your argument I don't belive you will be very successful.  

If you lost the third game because of mana-screw, mulligan accordingly.  Also, you are not the only person to lose a tournament because of it and your opponent was not the first to win because of it.  As has been stated several; times in this thread that is part of the game.  yes it's annoying and it sucks when it happens to you but deal with it, learn from it and move on.
Your determination is admirable, but as with all things internet, if people could find a solution, they would have by now.


Not true, a solution won't be found until the day it is found. Perhaps other solutions were too complicated. Part of the reason I feel so adamant about this solution is because of how simple it is. It only removes the variance in a few cards of your opening hand. It doesn’t add any drastically new mechanic that conflicts with established rules.

Decks would be constructed to run on 3-4 mana as has already been stated.


If deck only has 4 lands, what do they do against a deck that has land destruction/mana denial spells? lose?


However, do we really want to change a format of the game that will cause more bannings almost immediately


This is a fair argument. Cards may have to banned/restricted. I don’t believe it will be a large amount and I think it is worth it. So I’ll agree to disagree on this point.


…is was started, primarily, because of your personal negative experiences.




I hate being mana screwed.


So, uh yes, I agree, that is why I started the thread. The rest of the post is dedicated to reasons beyond my personal feelings as why it should be changed, why it not a useful mechanic, how to change it, and request for opinions/ideas on how people feel this change would impact the game.
Your determination is admirable, but as with all things internet, if people could find a solution, they would have by now.


Not true, a solution won't be found until the day it is found. Perhaps other solutions were too complicated. Part of the reason I feel so adamant about this solution is because of how simple it is. It only removes the variance in a few cards of your opening hand. It doesn’t add any drastically new mechanic that conflicts with established rules.



This is just mathematically wrong.  It also greatly decreases the variance of every single subsequent card you draw.  You no longer have to ask yourself "is this a land?" as you pick up a card, you know that it isnt.  Therefore there is much less variance.


Decks would be constructed to run on 3-4 mana as has already been stated.


If deck only has 4 lands, what do they do against a deck that has land destruction/mana denial spells? lose?


Find me turn 1 basic land destruction.  As 2cmc we have Sinkhole and Smallpox.  None of these are particularly terrifying to a combo deck, or even a burn deck.  There are already plenty of decks that run on just 1 or 2 lands in play at a time.  This makes them drastically more efficient.

Current decks
Comments or suggestions are always welcome

Modern
nothing at the moment


This is just mathematically wrong.  It also greatly decreases the variance of every single subsequent card you draw.  You no longer have to ask yourself "is this a land?" as you pick up a card, you know that it isnt.  Therefore there is much less variance.


Huh? The cards you choose for your starting territory no longer vary. So how is the statement “It only removes the variance in a few cards of your opening hand” false?
Every other card varies in the exact same matter that it does now. If the assumption in your argument is that players only have 3 lands total in their deck then, yeah, you know that you didn’t draw a land; you still don’t know which card out of the library you will draw however. Do you feel that non-land card order is not important?

Find me turn 1 basic land destruction.  As 2cmc we have Sinkhole and Smallpox .  None of these are particularly terrifying to a combo deck, or even a burn deck.  There are already plenty of decks that run on just 1 or 2 lands in play at a time.  This makes them drastically more efficient.


Does it need to be that early? If your deck only has max 4 lands, then all I have to do to completely stop you from casting a single spell is destroy 4 lands. So if I can stall/prevent what-ever strategy you have, while destroying 4 lands, what can you do?

It is true that this addition will decrease the number of lands in a player’s deck, but this is true for all players, not just weenie agro decks. So while low-cc decks have more room for gas, so does midrange, and control.