1/31/2013 MM: "Storming the Gatecrash, part 1"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
I don't quite get why Cartel Aristocrat saw print.  Aren't you always telling us that ideas should be saved for sets where they fit?  It doesn't seem to do much in this set.  Unless there's some sort of theme in the final set of the block that really makes this guy shine, it seems like including him was a misuse of both a card slot and a potentially good idea.  I'd probably have liked to see something like this card instead:

Cartel Aristocrat
WB
Creature
Whenever you gain life, if an opponent lost life this turn, Cartel Aristocrat gains protection from the color of your choice until end of turn.
2/2
The Aristocrat is still "cool" as they call it and relevant in Limited. A hard-to-deal-with creature is good no matter what, and there are some cool Auras in the set (the white/black hybrid that gives flying and lifelink, for example).

There aren't a lot of places to not use these, though, because it's a white-black multicolored card, and it isn't particularly flashy to be a rare. Most sets don't really have slots for it.

I mean, they could have replaced it, but they liked it enough, and it wasn't going against the themes, so they chose not to, and that's fine.
Why are there no cycle of uncounterable spells for Gatecrash guilds ?
We decided long ago that a healthy environment is more important than aesthetics, so from time to time we end up with a card like this that does good work and is fun to play but is slightly clunkier than our normal standards.


Slightly? Ok...

Also Billy Moreno is the Gatecrash Hero.

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192884403 wrote:
surely one can't say complex conditional passive language is bad grammar ?
Why are there no cycle of uncounterable spells for Gatecrash guilds ?



The full spoiler list hasn't been released. When the list is released I would expect the other five guilds to have uncounterable bombs. If not that would create some disfunction with the block as a whole.

Have you read Ishmael? "Teacher seeks pupil, must have an earnest desire to save the world."
The full spoiler list is out, and no, there aren't any. MaRo has repeatedly said the uncounterable cycle was only for Return to Ravnica.

I think the Cartel Aristocrat is a good addition. It's a very Orzhov card without needing to be constantly on the nose. Orzhov got a good number of these; I think partly because extort extends the bleeding function to all your cards. 
Why are there no cycle of uncounterable spells for Gatecrash guilds ?



The full spoiler list hasn't been released. When the list is released I would expect the other five guilds to have uncounterable bombs. If not that would create some disfunction with the block as a whole.


I stand corrected. Sadly even though uncounterables were for RTR they should have been included in Gatecrash. That's unbalanced design to have 5 of the 10 guilds with uncounterable spells and the other 5 don't, imho.
Have you read Ishmael? "Teacher seeks pupil, must have an earnest desire to save the world."
Why are there no cycle of uncounterable spells for Gatecrash guilds ?



The full spoiler list hasn't been released. When the list is released I would expect the other five guilds to have uncounterable bombs. If not that would create some disfunction with the block as a whole.


I stand corrected. Sadly even though uncounterables were for RTR they should have been included in Gatecrash. That's unbalanced design to have 5 of the 10 guilds with uncounterable spells and the other 5 don't, imho.


5 uncounterable cards in one set is gross enough, 10 would be awful.

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192884403 wrote:
surely one can't say complex conditional passive language is bad grammar ?
the thing I dislike about the aristocrat is when would I sacrifice my other creatures to protect my 2/2? The 2/2 is almost always the weakest creature in play, I could see it mattering if damaged stacked or something or if they were at exactly two life, possibly 4 life but in general this guy is just a hard to cast grizzly bear. Also a possibly sideboard card against multiple stab wounds.
the thing I dislike about the aristocrat is when would I sacrifice my other creatures to protect my 2/2? The 2/2 is almost always the weakest creature in play, I could see it mattering if damaged stacked or something or if they were at exactly two life, possibly 4 life but in general this guy is just a hard to cast grizzly bear. Also a possibly sideboard card against multiple stab wounds.

I think you're forgetting all that protection does. In particular, it's an evasion ability. If you've got a bit of a ground stall with your Gruul opponent, who happens to only have red and red-green creatures on the battlefield, then bam, sac one of your useless ground creatures to get in for 2 with a prot-red creature that can't be blocked by red creatures.

(I imagine you might already know this, but for those who don't, the definition of protection is:


Protection has four effects, abbreviated "DEBT". The permanent or player with protection can't be [D]amaged, [E]nchanted/Equipped/Fortified, [B]locked or [T]argeted by anything that it's got protection from.

I don't quite get why Cartel Aristocrat saw print.  Aren't you always telling us that ideas should be saved for sets where they fit?  It doesn't seem to do much in this set.

I'm with you.  There's nothing inherently wrong with the card, but a case like this belies all that stuff about how the sets dictate which cards are right for them.

I stand corrected. Sadly even though uncounterables were for RTR they should have been included in Gatecrash. That's unbalanced design to have 5 of the 10 guilds with uncounterable spells and the other 5 don't, imho.

I guess that's a bit of a tug-of-war.  What's more interesting: seeing new implementations of a cycle we know, or getting something more unpredictable?  If it's definitely the first, then you push toward the conclusion that the two sets must be designed together.  In which case we also have to accept they might decide that 10 cards is too many and kill the cycle entirely.

In this case, I actually think they should have considered marrying the design.  The  marketing and ensuing enthusiasm are about the block, not individual sets.  The whole name, "Return to Ravnica", doesn't even define the set so much as the block.  (Contrast this with Innistrad, which didn't require much thought about Dark Ascension.)  So players aren't thinking "here's RTR, then Gatecrash is something new".  We're thinking "here's a Ravnica block in three pieces."


So my personal preference would have been for one super-large set that was then broken up, where the desired cycle size was consistently 10.  But then I favor completion over variance. I can understand the desire to make Gatecrash seem more of a break from the first set.


------------------------


Is it just me, or do a lot of the playtest names seem far more flavorful than the ones "Creative" changed them to?  I like how they did top-down City design, and whoever changed "Street Festival" to "Debtor's Pulpit" is a bad person.

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the thing I dislike about the aristocrat is when would I sacrifice my other creatures to protect my 2/2?



Cipher.
(The B part from DEBT)

Is it just me, or do a lot of the playtest names seem far more flavorful than the ones "Creative" changed them to?  I like how they did top-down City design, and whoever changed "Street Festival" to "Debtor's Pulpit" is a bad person.



Well that's more a name for a spell like Festival of the Guildpact.
Originally I agreed - Cartel Aristocrat doesn't feel like a slam-dunk fit into this set.

But then again, maybe it does.  White ability = protection, black ability = sacrificing a creature.  From the perspective that this has to be a W/B card, it's a better fit for this block than at first glance.  It's just that the story MaRo told didn't really sell it this way.

Is it a good card?  My gut says no, but I could see there being a couple niches where it could fit.
Why are there no cycle of uncounterable spells for Gatecrash guilds ?



The full spoiler list hasn't been released. When the list is released I would expect the other five guilds to have uncounterable bombs. If not that would create some disfunction with the block as a whole.


I stand corrected. Sadly even though uncounterables were for RTR they should have been included in Gatecrash. That's unbalanced design to have 5 of the 10 guilds with uncounterable spells and the other 5 don't, imho.

I think people are also forgetting that they had to stretch the color pie pretty far just to extend the RTR cycle to five cards. (Supreme Verdict, I'm looking at you.) So how on earth were they going to justify giving "Can't be countered" to ?

"Proc" stands for "Programmed Random OCcurance". It does not even vaguely apply to anything Magic cards do. Don't use it.

Level 1 Judge as of 09/26/2013

Zammm = Batman

"Ability words are flavor text for Melvins." -- Fallingman

I like color cycles and rarity cycles. I don't really care about guild cycles.
Aristocrat + Auras, gives you a reason to keep it alive. Though it'd be better suited to something with hexproof in constructed, in limited, it can be very problematic for your opponent. Especially if you've also got a token generator on the table.
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Also, it will be nice to have a white monster besides Avacyn that can survive all the Wrath of God variants white gets...
Why are there no cycle of uncounterable spells for Gatecrash guilds ?



The full spoiler list hasn't been released. When the list is released I would expect the other five guilds to have uncounterable bombs. If not that would create some disfunction with the block as a whole.


I stand corrected. Sadly even though uncounterables were for RTR they should have been included in Gatecrash. That's unbalanced design to have 5 of the 10 guilds with uncounterable spells and the other 5 don't, imho.

I think people are also forgetting that they had to stretch the color pie pretty far just to extend the RTR cycle to five cards. (Supreme Verdict, I'm looking at you.) So how on earth were they going to justify giving "Can't be countered" to ?




That's a good point. With WB an aura giving one of your creatures lifelink and deathtouch for something like 2wb or 3wb that is uncounterable would make a great card. Or a flying creature with deathtouch and lifelink for 3wb.  A sorcery destroying an opponent's creature and returning a creature from your graveyard to the battlefield that is uncounterable at 2wwbb sounds reasonable.

Have you read Ishmael? "Teacher seeks pupil, must have an earnest desire to save the world."
The Aristocrat is still "cool" as they call it and relevant in Limited. A hard-to-deal-with creature is good no matter what, and there are some cool Auras in the set (the white/black hybrid that gives flying and lifelink, for example).

There aren't a lot of places to not use these, though, because it's a white-black multicolored card, and it isn't particularly flashy to be a rare. Most sets don't really have slots for it.

I mean, they could have replaced it, but they liked it enough, and it wasn't going against the themes, so they chose not to, and that's fine.



I'll give you that it doesn't go against the themes, precisely, but MaRo is always saying how ideas should be saved until there's a good place for them, how just "doesn't work at cross-purposes" isn't enough.  Yeah, it's a WB card, which limits it to only a few sets, but maybe it will be "just right" for one of those future sets in three years or so.  Heck, with a name change it would have fit great in Innistrad block.  If WB can get Midnight Haunting, it probably could have got this card -- which, I'll have you note, fits a whole lot better with all the token making and morbid abilities of that block than it does with this one.

Also, I think you give the card more credit for synergy with auras than it actually deserves.  Say you enchant this card with the WB aura.  Better hope your opponent doesn't use, you know, a white or black kill spell to deal with it.   Or if you want to use the Aristocrat's ability for evasion purposes, better hope he doesn't have white or black creatures to block with.  Not to mention that the flying benefit of the aura clashes somewhat with the evasion benefit of the ability.

This just wasn't the set (or, so far, the block) for the card.

Edit: And by Midnight Haunting, I of course mean Lingering Souls.
While it is true that giving uncounterability to some color pairs becomes strange, why does Gruul not have an uncounterable card when it is the color pair known for it?  Though I suppose that since bloodrush is basically varying degrees of an uncounterable Giant Growth that they don't really need a specific uncounterable spell.
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While it is true that giving uncounterability to some color pairs becomes strange, why does Gruul not have an uncounterable card when it is the color pair known for it?

A 6-out-of-10-cards cycle is even less elegant than a 5-out-of-10-cards cycle.
While it is true that giving uncounterability to some color pairs becomes strange, why does Gruul not have an uncounterable card when it is the color pair known for it?

A 6-out-of-10-cards cycle is even less elegant than a 5-out-of-10-cards cycle.



How does putting an uncounterable card in a guild whose two colors are known for it make the "cycle" any less elegent then it already is?  The fact that they stopped the cycle halfway through already keeps it from being a true cycle.  Then there is the fact that Gruul had an uncounterable spell last time.

Simply put, there is plenty of reason to put an uncounterable spell with the Gruul and little reason not to.  Having a set with uncounterable spells does little to change that.
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While it is true that giving uncounterability to some color pairs becomes strange, why does Gruul not have an uncounterable card when it is the color pair known for it?

A 6-out-of-10-cards cycle is even less elegant than a 5-out-of-10-cards cycle.



How does putting an uncounterable card in a guild whose two colors are known for it make the "cycle" any less elegent then it already is?  The fact that they stopped the cycle halfway through already keeps it from being a true cycle.  Then there is the fact that Gruul had an uncounterable spell last time.

Simply put, there is plenty of reason to put an uncounterable spell with the Gruul and little reason not to.  Having a set with uncounterable spells does little to change that.



Because now the line is clear. RtR got an uncounterable cycle, and Gatecrash does NOT continue that cycle. If Gruul did get one people would expect the other 4 as well.
How does putting an uncounterable card in a guild whose two colors are known for it make the "cycle" any less elegent then it already is?  The fact that they stopped the cycle halfway through already keeps it from being a true cycle.  Then there is the fact that Gruul had an uncounterable spell last time.

As far as cycle domains go, "the five guilds of RtR" is not as elegant as "all ten colour pairs" but it is a step up from "the five guilds of RtR plus a single guild from GTC".

(For one thing, it requires less bits to describe, which is a decent approximation of the human concept of "elegance".)
And a red and green uncounterable spell would need a miniscule amount of explaination, if any.

If they can push merfolk into a block that didn't have them the first time and provide a decent explaination then they can put a red and or green uncounterable spell in a set where it would already belong even if they don't "complete the cycle".

Having said all that, I am not trying to push overly hard for a RG uncounterable spell.  I just feel that it is a glaring void to not have an uncounterable spell in the guild that would typically have one. 
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