FIxing Cipher

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So some of the issues with Cipher actually pushed me into making an account here.

Each Cipher card basically acts like an enchantment, which of course allows it to be encoded to hexproof creatures (I first thought they should have changed the word to include "target" for cipher but realized it still would work with Invisible Stalker).

I feel like these overcosted cards would be worth it more if they just required a creature to attack, not necessarily connect. That makes the keyword act more like subterfuge that the Dimir would be known for. This puts pressure on an opponent to destroy the encoded creatures quickly, either through removal or blocking, and insures that Cipher cards would hit twice.
Each Cipher card basically acts like an enchantment, which of course allows it to be encoded to hexproof creatures (I first thought they should have changed the word to include "target" for cipher but realized it still would work with Invisible Stalker).


Not only that. You wouldn't be able to encode on the tokens made by Call of the Nightwing and Stolen Identity, and if the original didn't have a target, you could suddenly counter the original spell by removing the target, which seems pretty bad for a mechanic that is in the end optional.

While cipher would still work only on attacking with the evasive guys, it would make the mechanic infinitely more overpowered, and so drawing a card would cost like and wouldn't be common. Keep in mind that these card advantage-y mechanics are often a lot better in Limited so they have to balance them a bit. But I think Hands of Binding and Stolen Identity are actually good cards. 
Each Cipher card basically acts like an enchantment, which of course allows it to be encoded to hexproof creatures (I first thought they should have changed the word to include "target" for cipher but realized it still would work with Invisible Stalker).


Not only that. You wouldn't be able to encode on the tokens made by Call of the Nightwing and Stolen Identity, and if the original didn't have a target, you could suddenly counter the original spell by removing the target, which seems pretty bad for a mechanic that is in the end optional.

While cipher would still work only on attacking with the evasive guys, it would make the mechanic infinitely more overpowered, and so drawing a card would cost like and wouldn't be common. Keep in mind that these card advantage-y mechanics are often a lot better in Limited so they have to balance them a bit. But I think Hands of Binding and Stolen Identity are actually good cards. 




You would still be able to encode with tokens made from Call of the Nightwing and Stolen Identity wouldn't you? The current wording is "Then you may exile this spell card encoded on a creature you control." The change would have been "target creature you control" which tokens count for. Unless the word "target" doesn't operate the same in rules text on cards.

I disagree that a draw card would have to cost so much. The new one Last Thoughts is basically Curiousity but costs 3 more. WotC really should have looked at the equivalent enchantments that do the same thing before designing these cards. I'd be okay with the 4cc cost of Last Thoughts if it required an attack to only be declared.
You would still be able to encode with tokens made from Call of the Nightwing and Stolen Identity wouldn't you? The current wording is "Then you may exile this spell card encoded on a creature you control." The change would have been "target creature you control" which tokens count for. Unless the word "target" doesn't operate the same in rules text on cards.


No, you wouldn't.  Requiring cipher cards to target a creature would mean that the target would have to be on the battlefield at the time of casting the spell.  The tokens generated from Stolen Identity and Call of the Nightwing aren't on the battlefield when you cast those spells, so you wouldn't be able to encode them.  This is the exact reason why cipher spells don't target.  Requiring a target would also mean that you would have to have at least one targetable creature (that is, a creature without shroud, or protection from blue or black, both of which cipher ignores because it doesn't target) on the battlefield when you cast the spell.  If the target becomes illegal before the spell resolves--it dies or gets bounced somehow--then your spell gets countered and you don't get to benifit at all.  You need to be able to play your cipher spells with or without a creature, and the spells shouldn't be able to get countered so easily.
I disagree that a draw card would have to cost so much. The new one Last Thoughts is basically Curiousity but costs 3 more. WotC really should have looked at the equivalent enchantments that do the same thing before designing these cards. I'd be okay with the 4cc cost of Last Thoughts if it required an attack to only be declared.


You need to stop thinking of cipher in terms of enchantments.  Yes, four mana is expensive to draw one card, especially in blue.  However, the simple fact that you can encode this card onto a flyer or an unblockable and be able to repeatedly draw a card is why the spell costs so much.  What if a card read, "Draw a card.  [This card] deals 1 damage to an opponent of your choice.  Draw a card."  Is that spell overcosted at four mana?  (For the record, that's an actual question; I'm no good at costing cards.)  I can tell you right now that a card that reads, "Put a token of target artifact or creature onto the battlefield.  [This card] deals 1 damage to an opponent of your choice.  Put a token of target artifact or creature onto the battlefield (you may choose a new target)." priced at is a card I would play, and that's pretty much what cipher is doing.

Oh yeah, and having the encoded spell trigger solely on attacking is grossly overpowered.

Rules Advisor

I understand that recast triggers are creatures dealing combat damage to a player.
conceptually, I prefer unopposed attacking creature deals no damage (to do something else)

my boat is empty
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I understand that recast triggers are creatures dealing combat damage to a player.
conceptually, I prefer unopposed attacking creature deals no damage (to do something else)

my boat is empty


"Whenever this deals combat damage to a player." and "Whenever this attacks and isn't blocked, prevent all combat damage it would deal this turn. If you do," don't play that differently (they would cost about the same), except one gives you a choice you don't want to make because you already struggled to get through the blockers. They (now) never use the second. It's also wordier (and cipher's reminder text is giant).
I love making the players make tough choices
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Keeping Cipher playable, fun, and unbroken, while having it be basically the same effect, wouldn't be easy.

Right now it's too overcosted to really matter in constructed, which is somewhat sad.  If you can use Lazav with something like Paranoid Delusions or Whispering Madness to turn him into some giant fatty or evasive creature and then encode the spell on him (turning him into a hexproof, encoded Griselbrand or Drogskol Reaver or something equally terrifying) then you win.

Otherwise you'll get it off once, maybe twice before your creature is bounced and the card is stuck in exile. 
None of you have ever even played with Cipher before. How can you already say it's overcosted?
None of you have ever even played with Cipher before. How can you already say it's overcosted?



+1
None of you have ever even played with Cipher before. How can you already say it's overcosted?


Its actually very easy to do: "Cipher is overcosted."

Fixing cipher requires we -1 to all mana costs. 

3DH4LIF3

None of you have ever even played with Cipher before. How can you already say it's overcosted?


Its actually very easy to do: "Cipher is overcosted."

Fixing cipher requires we -1 to all mana costs. 




Hi guys, can I come out to play now? :D

Yep, that's right. Totally calling Grixis control. 
fixing cipher... -2 colorless mana for each cipher spell, and ban invisible stalkers in standard.
None of you have ever even played with Cipher before. How can you already say it's overcosted?


Its actually very easy to do: "Cipher is overcosted."

Fixing cipher requires we -1 to all mana costs. 




Hi guys, can I come out to play now? :D

Yep, that's right. Totally calling Grixis control. 


ooooh... sexy. That might be really fun.

3DH4LIF3

None of you have ever even played with Cipher before. How can you already say it's overcosted?


Its actually very easy to do: "Cipher is overcosted."

Fixing cipher requires we -1 to all mana costs. 




Hi guys, can I come out to play now? :D

Yep, that's right. Totally calling Grixis control. 


Because there's nothing control likes more than playing cheap creatures and attacking with them.

Why does everyone think I'm phantom lancer? QFT:

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139359831 wrote:
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166199665 wrote:
omg snortng so much febbdelicious /intocixated in rl
Also Hypersonic Dragon. Poor man's Thundermaw Hellkite + instant speed cipher = good deal
Standard Pauper! (play it on MTGO)
The main problem is that cipher is costed for how broken it can be in constructed, while everyone is just looking at it in the limited format at this point.
Cipher is at least 2 castings of a spell if played right and it makes your opponent use removal on weaker creatures To prevent that,  instant speed would be preferred though.   I'm waiting for a cipher spell for index, 1uu (or just uu) look at the top 5 and rearrange.
Don't forget, some things also care about the number of spells cast as much as whatever their effects may be.
Don't forget, some things also care about the number of spells cast as much as whatever their effects may be.



huh. you're right, nivmagus can take it lol

I think cypher is reasonably costed since most of the time you'll get 2 activations of that spell when you have a creature with evasion(either flying or unblockable). Even if it was a non evasive creature, cypher is in the colors of control and point removal so 80% of the time you can get 2 uses out of the spell the turn you play it.  

Cipher is a bit pricy, but when using it in comparison to an enchantment you don't add the damage from the creature's attack on immediately anyways. It still has to attack. You wouldn't add the damage from a regular enchantment on there just because you're probably gonna get at least one attack through in any deck you would use it with.

Anyways, if you wanna make the straight enchantment: aura comparison you have to throw something like shroud+indestructible (even that doesn't quite cover it) because you CANNOT remove the effect from the creature w/o killing/exiling it (as far as I know anyways). So keep these things in mind.

However, auras have gotten ridiculously low costs recently, so I don't know what they're thinking making some of these more expensive ones.
I am Blue/Black
None of you have ever even played with Cipher before. How can you already say it's overcosted?



Because, compared to enchantments of similar price, all cipher cards come with a +3 or +4 manacost on top of the enchantment.

Enchantment hate is sideboard-material -- at best.

Curiosity -- Allows you to play it on a Memnite on turn 1.
Rancor -- Allows you to play it on a Ornithopter on turn 1.
Mark of the Vampire -- A 4 life swing on each hit -- and this actually helps the creature survive in combat and defensively.
Dark Favor -- 3 life swing on each hit, playable turn 2, and helps when blocked or when blocking.
Holy Mantle -- a 2 life swing per hit -- but makes the creature unblockable and infinitely useful for defense.
Curse of Bloodletting -- Double damage, no questions asked.
Cipher cards still get you the effect once even if your creature is killed in response. Auras with ETB-abilities don't give you anything if your opponent has instant-speed removal.

Compare the cipher cards with Auras that have an ETB-effect in addition to granting a lasting benefit (that's similar in size as the ETB): Knightly Valor, Soaring Hope. And remember that the cipher cards can't be answered completely with a kill spell like those cards.
Point is: They are, on average, just as bad as unplayable auras, for their manacost alone.

Admittedly, there are few cards in standard that lets you draw three cards, but then again, som cards already let you draw on attack.
Look back at the previous Ravnica block to see the change in overall power-level.

Hey.
I'm for a lowering of power-level -- but that only makes the price for modern even steeper, as the growth in the pool of cards playable there stagnates 
It may seem overcosted, but unless you've got evasive guys *cough*Invisible Stalker*cough*, I would say "when this creature attacks, cast ~" is OP by a factor of 128.
139359831 wrote:
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It may seem overcosted, but unless you've got evasive guys *cough*Invisible Stalker*cough*, I would say "when this creature attacks, cast ~" is OP by a factor of 128.



My original idea was to fix the mechanic of Cipher to somehow keep it from being attachable to Invisible Stalker but there really was no way around it without putting obvious hate into the Cipher mechanic like (Then encode onto a creature you control without Hexproof..." but that gets clunky and too obvious. Plus it limits Lazav too. So Idk.

However, I'm glad people are picking up on the aura comparisons. Another one I was thinking off that someone brought to my attention was Shadow Slice is basically Dark Favor.

Now, I get there are some differences. Some cards like Guttersnipe are gonna benefit from the free casting of Cipher spells. But unless you are playing a near perfect control deck to be able to keep one out, play these high costed Cipher cards, and keep them coming, I wouldn't count too much on benefiting from multiple casts.

The only thing I can see the higher costing cards doing are being bombs. I honestly don't think WotC intends for Cipher cards to be played more than twice, which comes across as just a rewording of Rebound. The lower costing Cipher cards though will have multiple activations, I'm sure.

T1: Land, Tormented Soul (or evasive flyer for limited)
T2: Land, Hands of Binding or Paranoid Delusions, attack
t3: Land, probably keep hand open for counters or play additional creature (Bane Alley Broker anyone?), attack
T4: Land, Whispering Madness for better play set up, Soul Ransom for some creature control, or maybe Call of the Nightwing for blockers, attack.
T5: Hopefully land, I'd play some creatures or keep mana open (Shadow Slice, although cool art, does not seem worth tapping out for), attack
T6: Land, Stolen Identity or Undercity Plague, attack, rinse and repeat

This is  probably the basic template for Dimir decks wanting to use Cipher cards

Mechanically, Cipher is fine.  The problem is that other than Hands of Binding, Paranoid Delusion and Stolen Identity all Cipher spells are massivley overcost.  In fact, Stolen Identity is overcost (Compare: Cackling Counterpart), it's jsut a potent enough effect that you can overlook that.

All those overcost cipher spells would be fixed if they were instants, instead of sorceries.  Yes, even Mental Vapors.  This is because the surcharge of for Cipher seems to expect that you will always get one hit (Three is the cost to copy) in.  If they were instants, you could cast them after blockers and get a free hit in, like Ninjustu.  Alternativley, they could cost or D over their baseline instead of

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Mechanically, Cipher is fine.  The problem is that other than Hands of Binding, Paranoid Delusion and Stolen Identity all Cipher spells are massivley overcost.  In fact, Stolen Identity is overcost (Compare: Cackling Counterpart), it's jsut a potent enough effect that you can overlook that.

All those overcost cipher spells would be fixed if they were instants, instead of sorceries.  Yes, even Mental Vapors.  This is because the surcharge of for Cipher seems to expect that you will always get one hit (Three is the cost to copy) in.  If they were instants, you could cast them after blockers and get a free hit in, like Ninjustu.  Alternativley, they could cost or D over their baseline instead of



I actually don't think Stolen Identity is overcosted, at elast when compared to Rite of Replication. Obviously, I'm just talking in general cost terms here, not strictly standard.

Assuming a single source of mana is added to each turn, you can get either 1 copy on turn 4 or 5 copies on turn 9 with the Rite and that's all at once.
With Stolen Identity starting on turn six, and assuming the spell works like it should, meaning connection every turn, you get 2 copies on turn 6, 3 copies on turn 7, 4 on turn 8, and 5 on turn 9. So in the end, it matches [c]Rite of Replication in terms of turns vs. number of tokens, although it's slower if you need a copy immediately. However, Stolen Identity has added flexibility in that the 5 copies by turn 9 don't have to be all the same creature. It turns the card into a blocker, a Legendary killer (although an expensive one), and aggro creature, and whatever is on the field.

I'm actually perfectly okay with this card and I'll use it both in standard and edh.
Mechanically, Cipher is fine.  The problem is that other than Hands of Binding, Paranoid Delusion and Stolen Identity all Cipher spells are massivley overcost.  In fact, Stolen Identity is overcost (Compare: Cackling Counterpart), it's jsut a potent enough effect that you can overlook that.

All those overcost cipher spells would be fixed if they were instants, instead of sorceries.  Yes, even Mental Vapors.  This is because the surcharge of for Cipher seems to expect that you will always get one hit (Three is the cost to copy) in.  If they were instants, you could cast them after blockers and get a free hit in, like Ninjustu.  Alternativley, they could cost or D over their baseline instead of


You're forgetting Whispering Madness.
I am Blue/Black

I think cypher is reasonably costed since most of the time you'll get 2 activations of that spell when you have a creature with evasion(either flying or unblockable). Even if it was a non evasive creature, cypher is in the colors of control and point removal so 80% of the time you can get 2 uses out of the spell the turn you play it.  




Since they already require a creature in play do to anything, requiring additional support makes the ability even worse.

Players don't want an ability that's good if you have this and this or that. They want an ability that's just good. 

I think cypher is reasonably costed since most of the time you'll get 2 activations of that spell when you have a creature with evasion(either flying or unblockable). Even if it was a non evasive creature, cypher is in the colors of control and point removal so 80% of the time you can get 2 uses out of the spell the turn you play it.  




Since they already require a creature in play do to anything, requiring additional support makes the ability even worse.

Players don't want an ability that's good if you have this and this or that. They want an ability that's just good. 

You do realize that while aura's require a creature in play to do anything, Cipher cards do not, right?
Notably, Stolen Identity, which is a clone that will repeat the effect whenever it connects.
God dammit! I promised I'd stay out of this stupid thread.


I think cypher is reasonably costed since most of the time you'll get 2 activations of that spell when you have a creature with evasion(either flying or unblockable). Even if it was a non evasive creature, cypher is in the colors of control and point removal so 80% of the time you can get 2 uses out of the spell the turn you play it.  




Since they already require a creature in play do to anything, requiring additional support makes the ability even worse.

Players don't want an ability that's good if you have this and this or that. They want an ability that's just good. 

You do realize that while aura's require a creature in play to do anything, Cipher cards do not, right?
Notably, Stolen Identity, which is a clone that will repeat the effect whenever it connects.
God dammit! I promised I'd stay out of this stupid thread.




It's doesn't need a creature in play for you to cast the card. But for cypher do do anything, it does. Otherwise, it's just an overcosted spell.
You all do realise that cipher is in Blue Black right? With the amount of good evasive and hexproof creatures available they would dominate the game if cipher were more aggresively costed. And people are already complaining about hexproof dominating with creatures like stalker and geist of saint traft. Man you guys complain about everything.
my shadow deck and my fairy deck handle creature enchantments just fine without hex proof

ofcourse, me opponent would rather just bolt me in the head

my fix would be to make all instants and sorceries into cypher

Cypher Shade creature weird shade
When this enters play,
 you may take a sorcery or instant of mana toll X
 from your hand and attach it to this.
When this damages a player,
 cast a copy of the attached spell if applicable.
(X values in the copied spell are set to 0)
If Cypher Shade leaves play, discard the attached spell.
1/4
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They've killed Fritz
I've been shadow banned by youtube my comments only show when I'm logged

does any see my comment here ?

Everyone seems to think that Wizards' goal in each set is to churn out non-stop aggressively costed, flashy and powerful spells.

This is not the case.

Sometimes WotC makes "strictly worse" cards.  This is especially so when they are testing a new mechanic, such as cipher.  Rather than risk completely unbalancing the current game state, they would rather take cautious steps and measure how the mechanic plays in all formats.  Making the comparison to more aggresively costed cards that confer a similar result is a bit 'apples-and-oranges.'  Your expectations do not match their goals.

Plus, come on -- Invisible Stalker is still in standard.  Any card ciphered onto him is going to be worth its casting cost.
Everyone seems to think that Wizards' goal in each set is to churn out non-stop aggressively costed, flashy and powerful spells.

This is not the case.

Sometimes WotC makes "strictly worse" cards.  This is especially so when they are testing a new mechanic, such as cipher.  Rather than risk completely unbalancing the current game state, they would rather take cautious steps and measure how the mechanic plays in all formats.  Making the comparison to more aggresively costed cards that confer a similar result is a bit 'apples-and-oranges.'  Your expectations do not match their goals.

Plus, come on -- Invisible Stalker is still in standard.  Any card ciphered onto him is going to be worth its casting cost.



the problem is everywhere else BUT on stalkers cipher will be useless.
Besides, all my decks run Mutilate or a wrath variant.

All of them.
NO exceptions.

It's a failsafe.
Oh. I just got multilate.
Attack all out on this turn, then see what he does.
If he causes havoc or spends spells protecting or killing creatures, the more power to me. 
staying power is more important for cypher on base creatures than evasion

hex proof, regeneration, indestructabe, toughness, protection from ~, absorb

evasion can be executed by secondary support

flight, unblockable, tap, detain, death touch, protection from ~

Holy Mantle


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They've killed Fritz
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1. Cipher as an ability is fine. Not every card is going to be OMG OP OP OP. Hands of Binding is very likely to see competitive play.

2. We haven't actually seen the current meta. 5-6 mana spells might be fringe playable. Even if the chance is slim, the timmy in me really like the one sided pox and is hoping. The spike in me says rubbish. But we'll see.
ciphor spells

hands of binding turns blockers aside
too bad there's no unsummon cypher


Shadow Alley DenizenHarbor Bandit

discards would mean by the time most ciphers are cast, The opponent may have no cards to eliminate your ciphered creatures
NO WAR

 

They've killed Fritz
I've been shadow banned by youtube my comments only show when I'm logged

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