8/5/2013 MM: "Twenty things That Were Going To Kill Magic"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Oh, this is gonna be a good one. I can already see the rhetoric. Please bear in mind: Magic: the Gathering as a game has been evolving constantly. It no longer functions as a game the same way it did when it was initially released. Each time a major rules package was unveiled, the game shifted and became something slightly different. The backbone was still there, it still operated as a card game with a trading functionality in it, but certain aspects of the game were lost. If those aspects were integral to a person's perspective to the game, then they can reasonably say "the game as I knew it is no more." In other words, it "killed" Magic.

Now, as a frachise, Magic: the Gathering is not dead; and certainly MaRo is going to tailor his arguments to the demise of the franchise as a profitable entity for Wizards of the Coast and, especially, for Hasbro. But it's also not the same game it was before, and in this way the game as it used to be is, for all intents and purposes, dead.

Edit: Oh, before I leave and go back to lurking, let me just note that this post with be an excellent, a-ok 4 star (on a 3-5 star rating system) post! Good job, Mark!
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
Now, as a frachise, Magic: the Gathering is not dead; and certainly MaRo is going to tailor his arguments to the demise of the franchise as a profitable entity for Wizards of the Coast and, especially, for Hasbro. But it's also not the same game it was before, and in this way the game as it used to be is, for all intents and purposes, dead.



Because nothing ensures the health and well being of a game (person, band, etc.) like staying exactly the same for twenty years.
Realizing that the extra rarity, something rarer than one in every pack, could add some extra excitement and reinvigorate the collecting aspect of the game act as a shameless money grab, Wizards opted to add the fourth rarity, starting with 
Shards of Alara.


Fixed 
I feel like the rest of this post is overly harsh and not representative of my complete sentiments.  I actually like most of the changes that have taken place.  They have grown Magic in a way that has been, overall, for the better.  I think it would be nice to reconcile some of these changes with Magic's roots, perhaps a shift towards compromise, like the card frame change.  Overall, though, I think Magic has done the right things.

Except here:

In the history of Magic announcements, this was the one that I think had the largest outcry—which is impressive when you see some of the controversies to come. It's interesting that, so many years later, Standard has become the favorite format by such a large margin.


It's not interesting.  You refuse to reprint required staples in a large enough supply that would allow the majority of players to play anything beyond Standard in a competitive fashion.  Standard is the favorite format by default because of your reprint policies.  I won't speak for anyone but myself:

I would rather be playing Vintage competitively if I could actually get the requisite cards.  I am stuck with Standard.  I like Magic, don't get me wrong.  But Standard...It's not my favorite.

Over the years, the Reserved List has remained a contentious issue, with players constantly calling for its abolishment but Wizards of the Coast saying it's going to honor its promise and has vowed to retain it.


A tragedy.  In the Greek sense of the word.

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Looking back I think the two biggest mistakes were clearly the reserved list and the 8th edition card frames.
Calavera on MTGO I collect Zendikar Foil Basic lands. Trade me yours! Things that I want to see changed on MTGO: 1: 64 man drafts added to rotation of Events. 2: Visual/Audible Notification of disconnect, deckbuild/afk time expiring and round starts. 3: Prize Payouts as close to draft sets as possible. 4: Rotate Classic draft queues monthly! 5: MOCS level events for Classic/Pauper 6: Power 9! 7: Award Promo Cards for Constructed PEs (esp for Legacy/Classic) 8: Program Split option back in! 9: Set Favorite version in deck editor (i.e. always use x swamp) 10: Better sorting of gold cards in deck editor. 11: Bring leagues Back!
Of course, not all of these changes were actually positive.  Mythic rares, in particular, were and are and shall continue to be a blight on the game.  Sure, they're great for Wizards' bottom line, but they're terrible for the game.  And, at least for me, that was the change that finally killed Magic.  I haven't played a game of Standard (or Modern, or Legacy, or...) since Rise of the Eldrazi was a newly-released set, and I have no particular plans to start again, either.

I remember Jace, the Wallet Scupltor well enough, and his currently popular friend Voice of Resurgance doesn't seem to indicate that Wizards has a change in philosophy.  Constructed Magic is still pay-to-win, and that's not a game I'm interested in playing, thank you very much.
I had one of each Elder Dragon Legend before Chronicles came out, and I didn't mind seeing them drop in value.  I liked that I was able to pick up other cards I didn't have yet, or additional copies of ones I did have.  I didn't really like Chronicles overall just because it was full of bad cards while skipping many of the best cards from the sets being reprinted, but I liked the idea of reprinting old cards so that people could get more of them, even though I already had a lot of older cards.  I still really like it when good old cards get reprinted, regardless of if I already own them or how valuable they are.

Also, I didn't really like how damage using the stack went away, not because I think damage using the stack makes sense or is better in general, but because so many cards were designed around damage using the stack and no longer worked as intended.  I don't mind rules changes, but rules changes that make large numbers of cards no longer work well are annoying.  Something like getting rid of mana burn, which affects a handful of cards, is alright to me, but the damage on the stack change affected a lot more cards, which I didn't like.  Making artifacts no longer stop working while tapped also annoyed me, but just because my best deck would beat my brother's best deck by using Icy Manipulator to tap The Rack.  I think it was actually a good rule change, but just something that annoyed me at the time due to the deck I happened to have.  In general I think rules changes that make the game more intuitive are good, but I don't think they should be done if they are going to affect tons of cards and mess up a lot of people's existing decks.

Also, I want to say that when I first heard about them I thought Planeswalkers were a bad idea, but I was totally wrong.  As soon as I actually played with one of them, I loved them.
Of course, not all of these changes were actually positive.  Mythic rares, in particular, were and are and shall continue to be a blight on the game.  Sure, they're great for Wizards' bottom line, but they're terrible for the game.  And, at least for me, that was the change that finally killed Magic.  I haven't played a game of Standard (or Modern, or Legacy, or...) since Rise of the Eldrazi was a newly-released set, and I have no particular plans to start again, either.



Super thumbs up.  I have thought about building a Standard deck, but Mythics makes this impossible for me to do competitively, so I don't.  I thought about building one for Game Day, but I just don't see it happening due to the expense.  I may do so for Grand Prix Louisville but that's because I want to play in my "hometown" (I live right across the river and I was born in Derbytown, so...) but that's because I want to say I played at the first one in town.  Mythics are great for the bottom line for WotC/Hasbro, but they are a disincentive to playing competitively.
#3: Cards nobody can get.  Result: players angry.

#4: Cards everybody can get. Result: players angry.

#5: A Promise never to do #3 or #4 again. Result: players angry.

I love it.        
Of course, not all of these changes were actually positive.  Mythic rares, in particular, were and are and shall continue to be a blight on the game.  Sure, they're great for Wizards' bottom line, but they're terrible for the game.  And, at least for me, that was the change that finally killed Magic.  I haven't played a game of Standard (or Modern, or Legacy, or...) since Rise of the Eldrazi was a newly-released set, and I have no particular plans to start again, either.

I remember Jace, the Wallet Scupltor well enough, and his currently popular friend Voice of Resurgance doesn't seem to indicate that Wizards has a change in philosophy.  Constructed Magic is still pay-to-win, and that's not a game I'm interested in playing, thank you very much.


Why do you come here at all then?

Did anyone else notice that he didn't really give a real response to the sliver issue?  He merely explained what the controversy was about. 

I honestly don't care about most of the things on Maro's list, but the Reserved List and mythic rarity are blights on the game.  The Reserved List was a bad idea, and sticking with it despite their awareness of its folly is just another bad idea.  Typically, when one corrects or reverses a bad idea, the result is a good idea.  The mythic rarity just makes cool cards harder to come by, and that can be incredibly grating.  Saying that it's for collectors is a cop out.

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Of course, not all of these changes were actually positive.  Mythic rares, in particular, were and are and shall continue to be a blight on the game.  Sure, they're great for Wizards' bottom line, but they're terrible for the game.  And, at least for me, that was the change that finally killed Magic.  I haven't played a game of Standard (or Modern, or Legacy, or...) since Rise of the Eldrazi was a newly-released set, and I have no particular plans to start again, either.

I remember Jace, the Wallet Scupltor well enough, and his currently popular friend Voice of Resurgance doesn't seem to indicate that Wizards has a change in philosophy.  Constructed Magic is still pay-to-win, and that's not a game I'm interested in playing, thank you very much.


Why does everyone assume that WOTC intentionally prints cards like Voice of Resurgence as a cash-grab? Believe it or not, sometimes people make mistakes. Voice happened because of a change relatively late in the design process. They wanted to move the guild champion cycle to rare, and ended up swapping voice and Emmara Tandris around. They actively try and prevent OP mythics from being printed. Archangel's Light was created to replace such an overpowered card that they simply couldn't allow to see print.

Magic will always be expensive because it's impossible to balance every single card in a set, and the demand for the best cards is very high.
Above poster: One thing I've noticed since mythics (and something Mark mentioned) is that normal rares are cheaper / easier to obtain. When I started collecting in 2000, I could never find rares in my FLGS for less than a dollar. Even if it was total garbage, it couldn't go beneath a buck because it was *rare*. I think the term "dollar rares" (referring to worthless rares) was prevelant in my area because that's the lowest any store owner would sell it for. Now, I can get bad rares for 50 cents sometimes, because storeowners make their money off of Mythics.

  Mark, excellent article. It's something I'll link to whenever I'm discussing change in a fandom, and people are crying "This change will destroy
I'm kinda surprised how raw a lot of these issues are for people. Personally, I hate the Reserved List with a passion, but as the years pass, WotC keeps making new cards better than what's been Reserved, so it's not a big issue for me.

"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

The reason I "quit" Magic is not any one of these.  Its basically that that cost of playing competitive (any format) takes too much money as compared to other hobbies (computer games, even board games).  Admittedly this is caused by the creation of Mythic rarities, the reserved list,  and the NWO - which essentially makes all commons and most uncommons unusable in constructed format.  I still play magic though - playing with my old cards and Cube - but that's about it.

Of all these changes, the ones I did not like most was the 6th ed rules' stacked damage - but Wizards finally realized it does not makes sense and removed it. The 10th edition multiple blocking rules is still confusing, though it barely happens. 

Regarding DFCs, I personally dislike it not because it is a change (we expect new mechanics everytime, right?) but I think it was a very inelegant design.  It is basically a card that does not fit in a card's face, such that the back or an xtra card has to be used.  A card's design shold be able to fit within one card face.

Finally, I don't think people quit Magic just because of these changes.  The uproar merely shows how passionate the players are about their game.
It's amazing how some of these still make my temperature rise.

Mythic Rares + Lands in boosters + NWO:  These were never goiing to kill the game, but they ARE a slap in the face for your consumers.  Just one more way to make being rich more important than being good.  Just one more way for Wizards to up their profits.

M10 Rules (M14 rules changes as well):  The changes seem pointless and arbitrary, while at the same being a pain in the butt.  Lots of change for no real gain.

Slivers (I suppose 8th edition falls into this? Before my time):  You should know as well as anyone that players form an emotional attachment to their fantasy.  There is nothing wrong with the new M14 Slivers, they just aren't Slivers.  Call them Slevers or Slovers or something, because there is a specific way that Slivers are supposed to look and behave -- and these don't fit that model.

DFC's: I think mostly it's just the frustration that out of all the things you could screw up, how do you screw up "putting cards into a deck"?  And more than that, how is your best solution a barely legible checklist card?
One of the largest unmentioned elephants in this room is the deplorable lack of professional competence for MTGO client design.  There are some bright spots but it's eleven years in failed promises mostly.
First off, as Mark Rosewater would tell us himself, if you set yourself a catchy goal like "20 Things That Would Kill Magic" and need to hit 20 for the 20th anniversary, and some of the mentions are a bit of a stretch, that's obviously fine.  Keep the linkbait title, don't say "20 things some people didn't like."  That said...  basic lands in boosters?  Really?  There's "stretch" and "what."  There was some whining sure but never "how dare you break this rule / change this rule / print this / don't print that, I quit."

Second off, there are a few entries where Rosewater implicitly says "okay, yeah, we screwed up a bit and changed it afterward," such as with the Organized Play changes.  Probably worth mentioning the same is true for the 8th edition card frames.  As a reminder, the 8th & Mirrodin block frames were *not* the frames we see now exactly; artifacts looked exactly like white cards, and most baffling of all colored mana symbols were greyscale (check out an old Crystal Shard) with a lame excuse about how the shape is enough to differentiate a COLOR, so we paid the printers for the el-cheapo version.  I believe there's still some issues for the colorblind that were mildly corrected - the old faces had a very different "texture" per color which was less noticeable in the first 8th edition frames, but not an expert on that one.

Mythic Rares...  it's worth pointing out that Mark Rosewater literally cannot tell the truth here, and I don't mean in the ridiculous "Ha$bro cash grab" sense.  No, he's actually right that it's other CCG's fault and the environment.  Here's the issue: people irrationally use rarity to gague "quality."  When Magic started, some cards were RARE and SUPERPOWERFUL!  My friend Bob said he played against a Nicol Bolas and it wiped him out!  etc.  But of course, it's all relative.  Hypothetical conversation 10 years later in 2003:

11-year old: What'd you crack in that Magic pack?  Any legendary ultra-rares?
10-year old: Nah.  Weird, I haven't found any in the Magic packs I tried.
11-year old: Yeah, you need to crack the Yu-Gi-Oh packs to get those.  Legendaries are the best.

Magic not having mythic rares = no card in Magic is cool enough to be deemed a mythic rare.  This is bollocks, but there it is.  And once Magic has embraced this, it can't well tell people "your illusions that merely being mythic is awesome forces us to make this somewhat true," right?  "Yeah, so we make Mythics.  It's pretty silly, but some of our customers actually are convinced this makes our cards specialer!  ... the customers who pay my salary.  Yeah, I'll shut up now, boss."

I personally dislike mythics and they've driven me from competitive Magic, but I respect that the fault is human irrationality here, and I'd rather Magic continue to thrive, so I will grudgingly give them a semi-pass on this.  (Although maybe not on now refusing to hand out mythic rares at prereleases...)
Anyone else finding that first restricted list hilarious? Gauntlet of Might and Rukh Egg, but no Time Walk?
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the NWO - which essentially makes all commons and most uncommons unusable in constructed format.


Yet more people who don't understand NWO. Also, commons see plenty of use in standard.

Why do you come here at all then?...



I come for MaRo's columns, almost exclusively.  They're usually well-written and interesting, and a lot of the ideas apply to all sorts of games, not just Magic.  (I agree with you that the Reserved List is also not good for the game, by the way.  I assume that the reason it hasn't been abolished is because of fear of lawsuits.  My limited understanding of contract law suggests that it's a legal battle that WotC would almost certainly win, but I doubt they're interested in fighting it.)

Why does everyone assume that WOTC intentionally prints cards like Voice of Resurgence as a cash-grab?



I imagine people assume this because the mythic rarity itself is pretty much a cash-grab -- but only if there's at least one chase mythic in the set. (As an aside, it doesn't much matter how many Archangel's Lights get printed, it's primarily the most valuable card or two that determines the demand for the set.  Look what Jace, TMS singlehandedly did for boxes of Worldwake.)  They need a chase mythic, so they're sure to put one in.
MaRo just put a bunch of lit matches near exposed gasoline and told us not to burn ourselves.

I started playing around 7th Edition.

Change #14 made it very easy for me to quit Magic until recently (when I realized that I missed out on some fun sets and wanted to get back in). (I'll confess, the boring sets in Lorwyn and Alara were the main culprit, but mythics did not help.)

I still remember them saying that mythics weren't going to be utility, and they were just going to be for legends and "epic"-feeling spells. Admittedly, upon reviewing the mythics they've printed, they've done a pretty decent job of making good on this meaningless qualification for mythic status.

However, Lotus Cobra, Warren Instigator, Batterskull, Huntsmaster of the Fells, Legion's Initiative, Rakdos's Return, and Sphinx's Revelation feel like such egregious violations of this (again, meaningless) promise that it's kind of difficult to stomach any of this. Yes, these cards have all had variable influence on constructed play, and I don't so much mind when a good card gets printed at that rarity and breaks constructed (it happens), but when the card drops and it feels just like they stapled some flavorless good crap onto a card and threw it into mythic because they just wanted to print stuff at a higher power level, I get upset.

And I AM annoyed that the conversation has shifted to "what should be mythic." That's not healthy. That's dangerous, as in "what power level should we put at a higher raritry." For all the talk you give to welcoming new players to the game, locking away power level at higher rarities is a terrible way to go about it, and it feels like you're doing just that.

Also, maybe the math does work out that other cards are more easily accessible with the introduction of mythics. Let's say that it does. But you should know how meaningless that is and that such a statement is just a way to cover your own rear.

In a secondary market, a rare is still a rare, regardless of where the numbers fall. People are not going to sit and do math to compute a new rare value given the existence of mythics. They will continue treating rares as they always have, and mythics will just be more money on top of that. Math doesn't matter; what a buyer is willing to pay does. Sure, it's not your duty to worry about the secondary market, but then why does the Reseved List exist? We're getting very mixed signals here.

15, 16, and 20 were/are pretty frustrating (I love me some old-school Slivers, Limited is all I'll touch any more, and I played lots of Ghost Council back in Rav 1.0), but not game-quittingly so. Mythics are still a very raw deal from where I sit.

But I'm here posting, right? So maybe you just shouldn't care. Well, I'll put it like this; maybe I will play Magic, because I think that it's a good game overall, but I definitely play much less than I used to, I definitely have little intent of touching any other WotC product (to the point where I have specifically sought out non-DnD systems when  took an interest in pen-and-paper RPGs), and damn near anything WotC does anymore is greeted with skepticism in my mind along the lines of "are they just trying to fleece me for more money?" rather than "are they trying to build a good product?"

Yes, mythics were that bad, and continue to be so.

Finally, MaRo, this whole article struck me as "hey, remember that time we were right and you were wrong so you guys kept giving us money? TOLD YOU SO!" Happy 20th anniversary indeed.
MaRo just put a bunch of lit matches near exposed gasoline and told us not to burn ourselves.

...

Finally, MaRo, this whole article struck me as "hey, remember that time we were right and you were wrong so you guys kept giving us money? TOLD YOU SO!" Happy 20th anniversary indeed.



Yeah, the article did kinda read as "Condescension: the Gathering".
No bone-headed change will ever kill MTG.

This is because irate players don't stop playing the game; we just stop buying product.

I haven't cracked a pack since the fourth rarity was announced. I invite anyone who thinks the fourth rarity was a good idea to please tell me why a fifth rarity would not be an even better one.

Despite their failure to kill the game, Rosewater, many of these changes were poorly conceived.
If Maro is going to use sales to justify things on this list like NWO shouldn't the often refered to poor sales of time spiral be on this list as something that actually was killing the game?

www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwpr9wSLDbM

In this interesting video Aaron said that they had a steady decline from the first ravnica on until shards stopped it so you could argue Lorwyn was the closest magic has been to death by that metric. At least the people working at wizards or knew the sales would have been most worried about it at that time. Or did one of the broken metagames like affinity get even closer? Why isn't the first Mirroden on the list that hurt sales and caused a panic ban everything right?

If this article is about things that were predicted to kill magic by people and showing how wrong they are I'm sure some people somewhere predicted that competition like yugioh or pokemon were going to do it once they started to sell well. And I bet some people will soon be predicting that the million big new digital card games like hex releasing this year will eventually kill magic (or just the magic online part) so that can be on the next list in 20 years.

I'm not sure why he points out people don't debate if Mythic rares should exist anymore when it is probably because they don't expect Wizards to stop it and not agreement that keeps people from debating it. If Maro posted that wizards was considering ending mythic rares I really doubt it would get universal feedback to keep them I'm sure it would start up that debate again.

Why does everyone assume that WOTC intentionally prints cards like Voice of Resurgence as a cash-grab? Believe it or not, sometimes people make mistakes. Voice happened because of a change relatively late in the design process. They wanted to move the guild champion cycle to rare, and ended up swapping voice and Emmara Tandris around. They actively try and prevent OP mythics from being printed. Archangel's Light was created to replace such an overpowered card that they simply couldn't allow to see print.



But why couldn't Emma keep her voice effect after moving to rare from mythic? They had already made the art around her making the elemental token so it is a big flavor miss to change the effect to not do that and Emma got a lot of hate when that card was revealed (Maybe she should be on this list). What if they let her keep the effect and voice could be a slightly better mythic version of Emma's token damage prevention or get the Archangel's light treatment to be a safe mythic? That wouldn't break the game and Emma would have been a really good tournament worthy rare card instead of the current mythic voice but thats ok isn't it? Plus a legendary voice effect on a rare would be a better commander than what Emma became so those players would be happy as well. Why was it important for that one effect to stay mythic?

I actually think the voice effect would have worked well on a legend with the new rule it would prevent stacking the effect with multiples but you could play a 2nd to get a big elemental right away if wanted. It's a shame they didn't keep that.
No bone-headed change will ever kill MTG. This is because irate players don't stop playing the game; we just stop buying product. I haven't cracked a pack since the fourth rarity was announced.



Do you just play with your current collection? Or do you also buy singles and/or trade for cards? Because if you do, you're still driving demand for Magic and driving their bottom line.
The only thing I hate is the reserved list and the visual changes to the slivers.

The reserved list: I feel it's a blight on the game (though I agree some shouldn't be reprinted but that's a different reason) the game shouldn't just be about the price of your cards (I understand better cards would still be worth more but that not the point I'm making) but then again I guess I just can't understand their logic because for me the collection is about the collection and not the pricetag.


Sliver: I just feels too different and too much like alien vs. predator (I understand the ability change).

#3: Cards nobody can get.  Result: players angry.

#4: Cards everybody can get. Result: players angry.

#5: A Promise never to do #3 or #4 again. Result: players angry.

I love it.        


Because people don't know what they want or is best and only care about themselves (but then again that's just human nature)

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So how was my list? Did I fail to include something you would have?


Well, Maro, since you asked for it:


Combo Winter:  I'm sure you don't want to remember a rather heated meeting with the WotC bigwigs about the power level of Urza's block.  However, you cannot deny that it was nearly the death of Magic.


The creature subtype streamline:  There were a lot of heavy complaints from casual players about this one.  Also, the outright removal of Merfolk from print, to make room for the more generically bland "Wizard" subtype, drew a lot of ire.


The set size reduction:  It wasn't just the land in pack that was a problem, but it was also the fact that players knew they were getting less options in their packs due to a reduction of set size.  Limited has suffered ever since, and given the amount of resources your company has, I don't understand why this set size reduction was necessary.


The Prerelease prize reduction/LGS opening:  Prerelease attendance is a good berometer of Magic activity and player retention, so seeing a nearly empty Seattle Prerelease for Shards of Alara made it feel like it could be the end of Magic.  Fortunately, a lot of those changes were repealed in time for the Conflux Prerelease.


Cancel, Baneslayer Angel, and the death of control:  The substitution of Counterspell with Cancel, along with a marked increase in creature power, has led some to believe that WotC will never again print good cards for control decks.  This kind of shift in the metagame, as evidenced by some calling the game "Magic: the Creatures" could end up spelling the death of Magic.


Note that there are several other R&D debacles that were never going to kill Magic but did piss off a lot of players.  These include Coldsnap, Planar Chaos, Kamigawa block (due to weakness), Lorwyn (too soon for a tribal block), Ravager Affinity, and the near removal of -1/-1 counters.

Anyway, just thought I'd list my thoughts.
  

#3: Cards nobody can get.  Result: players angry.

#4: Cards everybody can get. Result: players angry.

#5: A Promise never to do #3 or #4 again. Result: players angry.

I love it.        


Because people don't know what they want or is best and only care about themselves (but then again that's just human nature)



Or different people were complaining about the 3 different things so there is no contradiction about people not being consistant about what they get angry about. Don't act like Magic players have a sliver hive mind.

Even if you could find one individual who was angry about all three points I feel like it is consistent to want cards to be neither almost impossible or super easy to get there is room in the middle. Wizards should have the flexibility to reprint some of the most expensive cards to drop the value a bit without constantly making everything worth almost nothing like chronicles did, or restricting themselves by saying they will never reprint the old expensive cards with the reserve list. Neither extreme is good for the game. That seems reasonable without being selfish or contradictory right?

Replacing shroud with the disgusting abomination that is hexproof is the most heinous thing they've done recently in my book.

BRING BACK SHROUD!

IMAGE(http://i1.minus.com/jbcBXM4z66fMtK.jpg)

192884403 wrote:
surely one can't say complex conditional passive language is bad grammar ?
Not killing MTG perse, but the terrible website sure as hell isn't helping!
This article was pretty neat from an historical perspective and I enjoyed reading it. After reading some of these responses, however, I feel compelled to putting in my two cents. In hindsight, some of it did come across a little condescendingly, though in MaRo's defense, I doubt it was intentional. He kept most of them fairly neutral, and even admitted mistakes.

Did anyone else notice that he didn't really give a real response to the sliver issue?  He merely explained what the controversy was about.


I actually really liked that. As the one thing in the list that still bothers me (though not in a way that would kill Magic for me), I'm glad he didn't try to dismiss the criticism.

I'll just go down the list and talk about how I feel about them. Note, I do not play Magic anymore, but that is primarily because after graduation, the reason I played evaporated for me. I'm still interested in the game though, and follow it in case one day I have a reason to play it again.

#1: The Introduction of Sixty-Card Decks and Four-Card Limits

Seems reasonable enough to me. Being the first trading card game, they had to learn things like what would lead to reasonable balance.

#2: The Creation of the Banned and Restricted List
Again, reasonable. Nobody's perfect. A card powerful enough to ruin the game will inevitably slip through the cracks every once and awhile.

#3: The Start of Type 2 (aka Standard)
While the nature of Standard is clearly good for business (assuming people accept it, of course), I think it does do a pretty good job of keeping the game fresh in a costumer-friendly way as well. It's not perfect, but I don't have a major problem with it.

#4: Nalathni Dragon
Yeah... exclusive, mechanically-unique promos are not a very nice system.

#5: Chronicles
I'm annoyed that this seems to affect the game to this day. I don't want to sound like a jerk, but investing in a game that is built to be a game first, will always be a gamble. Sometimes you lose. Avoiding reprints because of collectors is not fair to the people who are using the product as it's meant to be played.

#6: The Reserved List
I have to say, I'm really, really impressed that Wizards has committed to such a promise for so long. Most businesses would have gone back on the promise the following year, especially if they saw profit in it. Unfortunately, while I was not around to really understand it, from the arguments I've heard... it's not really a promise worth keeping, and if anything is hurting the game in the long run.

#7: Pitch Cards
Honestly, I'm not competitive enough to truly understand how good or bad this decision was. From what I've heard about Force of Will, however, it was probably at least a safe bet.

#8: Premium Cards
Not a big deal to me. I can appreciate foils, but I don't need them and I don't feel compelled to collect them.

#9: Sixth Edition Rules
I wasn't around to have an opinion on the change itself, but the resulting rules seemed fine enough.

#10: Magic Online
I'm honestly not too fond of Magic Online, for a variety of reasons I think would take up too much space in this thread. Suffice it to say that I don't have a problem with it existing, but I think it still has a long way to go to be attractive.

#11: Eighth Edition Card Frame
I remember the first time I saw the new frames was in Ravnica (I owned cards from earlier but didn't get into the game until way later). I couldn't point out what was different, but I knew something was, and I loved it. Part of that was seeing the really neat hybrid frames, but I really do prefer the modern frames. They're simply higher quality. That said, I totally understand the argument that the newer ones have a more... stale look to them, as opposed to the clearly fantasy themed originals. I would fully support new frames that brought back a fantasy look, while still remaining crisp and easily readable.

#12: Evergreen Keyword Reminder Text
Don't see a problem here. Yeah, it can look ugly on some cards, but other than that it just strictly makes the game easier to learn without taking anything away.

#13: Planeswalkers
I was really hyped when rumors started circulating about Planeswalkers. Here was this thing that was crucial to the lore, and there were so many major characters that were Planeswalkers, but they could bafflingly never be represented in game. When they actually came out? Well, I've never really gotten the chance to play with them. The one time I drew one, I realized I had forgotten the rules for them, and no one else at the table knew anything about them.

I primarily learned to play Magic: The Gathering through all the various digital tutorials and stuff they used to have. It taught me the basics, then if I ran into something that didn't work the way I expected, I'd go look it up in the full rules. For some reason, however, Planeswalkers have never appeared in any digital adaptation (aside from Magic Online of course), even in Duels of the Planeswalkers. It drives me nuts. Please start implementing them in your spin-off products so they can get better exposure.

#14: Mythic Rares
I'm not a collector, and I don't keep track of my pulls, so I don't really notice this one too much. That said, I still think it's a really bad idea. Maybe it makes everything else more common, but when what you want is a Mythic Rare, it's no longer fun to try to get the card. Before Mythic Rares, opening boosters already lost its fun after a few similar packs or if you were hoping for something in particular that you were just not finding, I can't imagine what it's like now.

This also helps to exaggerate my previous point about Planeswalkers not getting good exposure. I'm not really versed enough to make a good argument though, so substitute my point here for any of the other endless people who have listed off why Mythic Rares suck.

#15: Lands in Boosters
EDIT: I really don't see the point of this. Veteran players have too many lands, and it's not feasible to expect new players to get reasonable amounts of land from boosters. How many boosters do you think the average new player is going to open? Maybe enough for a single deck, maybe, but surely not enough to be able to build a deck out of every color, or more than one of the same. If you're really worried that new players don't have good access to lands, then reintroduce some kind of starter product, or keep some kind of land collection set in print at all times (you could even make it full art or something to appeal to veterans as well, although as I've heard mentioned, reminder text might be useful for new players).

#16: Magic 2010 Rules Change
I was a huge, huge fan of this. While I think there are still some combat interactions that I still get confused on, I felt this was a huge positive change. The whole damage on the stack thing that allowed people to block, do damage, sacrifice for more damage, then still keep them blocked, was unintuitive and often ridiculous. Then there was mana burn. I literally never saw mana burn ever come up in a game except when a veteran player was trying to use technicalities a new player was not used to in order to beat them.

#17: New World Order
I'm not hardcore enough to notice if this might actually be something I don't like, but regardless, I very much support the philosophy behind this. Spreading out complexity and stuff to ease the learning curve, while making it no less strategic in the long run, is going to almost always be a good thing assuming it's done right.

#18: Double-Faced Cards
I never got the chance to play with these, so I can't really comment. On the one hand, it sounds really awkward to use them, on the other, I can't fault Wizards for experimenting with neat, flavorful things. On a similar note, one of these days I'd love to see them find a way to update the basic card back.

#19: Organized Play Changes
I've done Organized Play before, but only in the most casual way possible, and I have not really read into this, so I have no opinion on these things.

#20: New Slivers in Magic 2014
As I said at the beginning, this is one thing that still bothers me. Not because it kills Magic for me or is even really a serious issue, but because it's so utterly pointless. I understand the mechanical change, sometimes iconic things remain due to grandfather clauses, but the way Slivers used to work is just not how they design cards anymore (whether or not you agree with that on its own). The visual redesign is absolutely baffling though. If you wanted Predators, why not just invent a new race? People would have remarked on the similarity to the Sliver mechanic, but it's not like there aren't people unhappy with this similar mechanic being on "real" Slivers. Slivers are an iconic, unique Magic creation with a very specific kind of imagery.

One argument I heard gain a lot of traction was "People complain that they brought back Slivers with a new look, but if they brought back Slivers looking the same, they would have complained that they hadn't changed." I totally disagree. We've seen Slivers return from an absence before, during Time Spiral. No one complained that they looked the same. People loved to see them back (except the people who just didn't like Slivers as it is of course).

If it was part of a block storyline to have a group of Slivers slowly "evolve," it would have been better received. Some people obviously would prefer the original look, but at least it wouldn't be "Hey, remember those weird insectoid guys? Well guess what, just kidding, they're humanoids with dreadlocks." Imagine if the next Halo game goes, "Hey look, the Flood are back! You remember them. Cybernetic humanoids that travel around in cube-shaped ships and forcibly intergrate others into their species, right?" I understand that different planes have different takes on races, but when you've got an original race that's defined by pretty much one thing (being a sort of weird, floating claw), you can't really just throw that all out and not expect fans to be confused and upset.
No bone-headed change will ever kill MTG. This is because irate players don't stop playing the game; we just stop buying product. I haven't cracked a pack since the fourth rarity was announced. I invite anyone who thinks the fourth rarity was a good idea to please tell me why a fifth rarity would not be an even better one.



Because it doesn't add a concrete quality.
As MaRo states in the article, Mythic Rare adds "A rarity that is not in every booster".
What can a fifth rarity add? 
Interesting that Planeswalkers made the list (brilliant design, never had the slightest chance of hurting Magic) but Hexproof becoming evergreen over Shroud did not.

I live in hopes that this is because WotC are still thinking about that one and may soon reverse the decision.
No bone-headed change will ever kill MTG. This is because irate players don't stop playing the game; we just stop buying product. I haven't cracked a pack since the fourth rarity was announced. I invite anyone who thinks the fourth rarity was a good idea to please tell me why a fifth rarity would not be an even better one.



Because it doesn't add a concrete quality.
As MaRo states in the article, Mythic Rare adds "A rarity that is not in every booster".
What can a fifth rarity add? 



A rarity that is not in every box.

:-p

This article is basically a "F**& YOU GUYS" to every naysayer and doomcryer on this forum. You guys finally made him snap. I love it.   

I'm happy to see that a number of people have already pointed out "didn't kill Magic" =/= "wasn't a mistake". Several of these were clearly mistakes.


Furthermore, Walmart isn't universally "better" than Nordstroms and Grown Ups 2 isn't "better" than Much Ado About Nothing, even if the formers do make more money than the latters. Even if mass appeal is better than niche quality it doesn't make the niche wrong. (Especially when they are the customers who got you there in the first place.)


The addition of mythic rares was introduced in an article I wrote (called "The Year of Living Changerously") and I don't think I've ever written a column that has generated a louder response. Many players hated the idea of a new harder-to-collect rarity, even if it made other rarities easier to collect.

Nope. I don't think Mark's lying, I just don't think he knows any better.

If I kick you in the shin, and at the same time hand you $100, is it accurate for me to hereafter say "getting kicked is good for your wallet"? Rares were made more attainable at the same time Mythics were introduced, but they don't automatically go together. (And then printing more large sets and new cards in Cores largely undid this.)


Please bear in mind: Magic: the Gathering as a game has been evolving constantly. It no longer functions as a game the same way it did when it was initially released. ... If those aspects were integral to a person's perspective to the game, then they can reasonably say "the game as I knew it is no more." In other words, it "killed" Magic.


Or different people were complaining about the 3 different things so there is no contradiction about people not being consistant about what they get angry about. Don't act like Magic players have a sliver hive mind.


You guys might be too smart for this game.

Why does everyone assume that WOTC intentionally prints cards like Voice of Resurgence as a cash-grab? Believe it or not, sometimes people make mistakes.

Oh stop, that excuse isn't warranted. First of all, Voice received 8 high-profile mentions on DailyMTG before it was even released. They knew it would be the must-have chase mythic. (In fact if you read between the lines on the whole "Guild Hero" move, it was done to cause chase Mythics.) You could maybe argue that $50 Baneslayer Angel was something they couldn't predict. And if Voice ends up dominating the entire format the way Jace did then it will have been a power-level mistake. But knowing it would be the chase-rare that's essential in several decks? They clearly knew.

Anyone else finding that first restricted list hilarious? Gauntlet of Might and Rukh Egg , but no Time Walk ?


the NWO - which essentially makes all commons and most uncommons unusable in constructed format.

Yet more people who don't understand NWO. Also, commons see plenty of use in standard.

I would like to start a business that gives away Left shoes for free, and sells Right shoes for $10,000 each. And to anyone who complained about the price, I'd say "you're wrong, we give away half our product for free!"

basic lands in boosters? Really? There's "stretch" and "what." There was some whining sure but never "how dare you break this rule / change this rule / print this / don't print that, I quit."

Well Mark left out that it conveniently happened a few months after they stopped printing Starter Decks. So they eliminated the way that everyone* in the history of Magic had gotten their lands, then said "hey people can't get lands, so now we're selling you 14 spells per pack instead of 15.

And I actually can think of at least 1 person who ?did? quit over this, although to me it's way down the list.


* You over there with the anecdote? I don't care.


Because it doesn't add a concrete quality.
As MaRo states in the article, Mythic Rare adds "A rarity that is not in every booster".
What can a fifth rarity add?

Bezman stole my response, so I'll answer that "concrete difference" is in no way a synonym for "good". They could start replacing some rares with a 7 of diamonds and it would add the "concrete quality" of "a card that has nothing to do with a Magic".

Also the justification is contrived. Every card is already "not in every booster". Your answer implies that people react to the symbol and not the card. I will happily wager that's not the case at all.

If you're on MTGO check out the Free Events via PDCMagic and Gatherling.

Other games you should try:
DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

Planetside 2 - Free to play MMO-meets-FPS and the first shooter I've liked in ages.
Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.


I'm happy to see that a number of people have already pointed out "didn't kill Magic" =/= "wasn't a mistake". Several of these were clearly mistakes.




Exactly this... Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.
Realizing that the extra rarity, something rarer than one in every pack, could add some extra excitement and reinvigorate the collecting aspect of the game act as a shameless money grab, Wizards opted to add the fourth rarity, starting with 
Shards of Alara.



Fixed 


It wasn't a "shameless money grab" when first made.
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)

Except here:

In the history of Magic announcements, this was the one that I think had the largest outcry—which is impressive when you see some of the controversies to come. It's interesting that, so many years later, Standard has become the favorite format by such a large margin.


It's not interesting.  You refuse to reprint required staples in a large enough supply that would allow the majority of players to play anything beyond Standard in a competitive fashion.  Standard is the favorite format by default because of your reprint policies.  I won't speak for anyone but myself:

I would rather be playing Vintage competitively if I could actually get the requisite cards.  I am stuck with Standard.  I like Magic, don't get me wrong.  But Standard...It's not my favorite.




My major issue with standard is that it is the default format of FNMs.  Can't exactly play much else if nothing else is offered.
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)
Re: Mythics (Incidentally, I love how this discussion both proves Mark right, in that it's still a contentious issue, and wrong, in that people still argue over whether or not they should exist)

It is worth noting that, for all the detractors, The Year of Living Changerously, which Mark kindly links to, does a good job explaining how Mythics aren't necessarily just a cash grab. Yes, they are rarer than most (but not all!) rares printed before them, but not outrageously so. The math checks out, he's not lying to us: They seem rarer than they actually are, though I suspect most of the detractors base their opinions on their gut reaction than actual math. If you want to argue about a ~20-30% increase in the rarity of the rarest cards (and making "normal rares" almost universally more common) being a cash grab, go ahead, but at least make your arguments with the right facts.



As for the rest of the list, I don't have much to say, but I can't really say that I've seen anyone claim New Slivers were going to kill the game. I don't like them, sure, but that's going a bit far.
Rules Nut Advisor
A rarity that is not in every box.

:-p




Yeah I guess that would be true =)
I don't think the audience that buys boxes and the audience that is exited by mythic rarity overlap much though.

Bezman stole my response, so I'll answer that "concrete difference" is in no way a synonym for "good". They could start replacing some rares with a 7 of diamonds and it would add the "concrete quality" of "a card that has nothing to do with a Magic".



Yeah of course it's not a synonym for 'good'. I didn't meant that meaning of 'quality', but the other one.

Also the justification is contrived. Every card is already "not in every booster". Your answer implies that people react to the symbol and not the card. I will happily wager that's not the case at all.


Depending on who you mean with 'people', I'll happily wager as well. 
The takeaway from this article is "Don't overestimate the vocal core fanbase, don't underestimate the silent masses"
 
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