8/19/2013 MM: "Design 104"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Ooh, I like Mark's Design class columns; I can't wait to read it.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

Not as good as 103, better than 102.  101 I can't judge because all that stands out are how many rules it seems they've broken recently.

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 had to carefully parse what was said about the "Explorers Mistake" because the double-face card was actually done in Kamigawa block.  In fact, they could have just left the Sun and Moon icons without describing them with rules text on the card (and instead just made it a rules addendum) and used the Kamigawa split card model.

What he was saying was use innovation to solve problems rather than using innovation for innovation's sake.  It's just that the example presented wasn't really an example of innovation used to solve a problem, it was just a kludge they had to do. 

I wish Aaron Forsythe would write an article or two about card design.  I was watching www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwpr9wSLDbM and learned what made a set successful or not.  That guy has to have some real insight into what it takes to craft a good experience through the cards you design.
 
It's unfortunate that this was another "mistakes" article, because Maro's best design articles are where he talks about what to do as opposed to what not to do.

The reality is that it all boils down to "create a fun and cohesive experience for the player".  An article describing design mistakes should describe what is either unfun, uncohesive, or both.  This article did none of these, so it fell flat for me.
I remember at the time double-faced cards were introduced, they were highly controversial. One of the objections was that the kind of cards used in Kamigawa could have done everything they did without the inconvenience of doing without the card back.

Given that alternative - and the other one of a side-by-side design with one card upside down, it's hard to understand how the flip card could have been the perfectly fitting solution as presented. It's only advantage is that there's twice the space for the pictures and text on each half of the card.

That may have been a decisive reason in the final analysis, but as the difference between the double-faced card and the alternatives is so small, it's hard for me to see it as a necessary and fitting solution. Instead, it seemed to me that the main thing going that way solved was a marketing imperative of being cool and making the art on the cards attractive. But that kind of stuff is nothing to sneeze at, of course.

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

 

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

Given that alternative - and the other one of a side-by-side design with one card upside down, it's hard to understand how the flip card could have been the perfectly fitting solution as presented.

Is it really that hard to understand why R&D chose to go with these over this?



Also, Garruk Relentless/Garruk, the Veil-Cursed. Just try to fit that on a flip card and see how far you get.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

I really appreciate that link, fireball2000.  I'd never seen that video and it's very interesting to get Aaron's business insight and high-level direction, even when I disagree with some of the choices.  (For example, his angle on sorcery-speed Level Up is one I hadn't quite heard expressed.)


Given that alternative - and the other one of a side-by-side design with one card upside down, it's hard to understand how the flip card could have been the perfectly fitting solution as presented. It's only advantage is that there's twice the space for the pictures and text on each half of the card.

That's quite the advantage, though.  They've also been pretty consistent in prioritizing "cards on the table" over "cards in hand" lately.  Creatures over Spells, as they like to say.  And once you disregard stuff like reading the cards in hand and drafting without flashing the table, it's clear where they would have gone.

Also, Garruk Relentless /
Garruk, the Veil-Cursed . Just try to fit that on a flip card and see how far you get.

Cart before the horse.  If they hadn't done DFCs, Garruk would have been a different card and we wouldn't be having this conversation.  No single card is worth a whole mechanic.

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.

Is it really that hard to understand why R&D chose to go with these over this?


No, it isn't. There were good reasons for the choice they made.

It's just that those reasons don't seem to fit what Mark Rosewater said about the double-faced cards in this article: that they made everything fit, that they made the set work. Since an existing type of card would have performed exactly the same function, but it just wouldn't have looked as pretty, I can't see the DFCs getting credit for that, even if they were a good idea for other reasons.

However, I also remember that some people, at the time, commented that sleeves on the one hand, and the checklist cards on the other, were a poor answer to the issue created by DFCs, and Wizards could have done much better. I can't imagine how they thought Wizards could do that - although I do agree that a space for writing in the card name on a checklist card, in the same place as the card name appears on a regular card, would have been a useful improvement.

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

 

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

On the article as a whole: This was a little disappointing, because it's all stuff that Mark's mentioned several times before. (Well, perhaps the Judge's mistake hasn't been done, but I can't really understand how that would apply to anyone outside R&D. I've never heard of anyone designing a fan-made cardset with a separate design and development team.) The lessons of "don't break the rules for the sake of it", "pare down your top-down designs to the minimum rules text", and "just because the card is awesome doesn't mean this is the set for it" have all been mentioned multiple times before. 

(Though I think this presentation of the Artist's Mistake is the clearest I can remember it, so I guess this article is a good reference for that point.)

On DFCs:
However, I also remember that some people, at the time, commented that sleeves on the one hand, and the checklist cards on the other, were a poor answer to the issue created by DFCs, and Wizards could have done much better. I can't imagine how they thought Wizards could do that - although I do agree that a space for writing in the card name on a checklist card, in the same place as the card name appears on a regular card, would have been a useful improvement.

Although I weigh in on the DFC debate each time it appears, I'd like to let it be known that I don't bring it up myself. That said:

The ideal solution was one that they tried to make work, where the DFCs themselves are out-of-game objects, effectively tokens. They're put onto the battlefield by sorceries that have the usual card back. That wouldn't work for Garruk, but again, no card is worth a mechanic. By my count, the sorceries+tokens approach would have addressed about ten of the 15 problems with DFCs. Only (1b2), (2), and most of the 3s would have still remained as problems.

The reason Wizards stated for not using sorceries+tokens is the astonishing argument of technical difficulties at the printers. Obviously you'd need to ensure that in each booster, the sorcery came with the matching DFC token, and apparently WotC's printers could only ensure that for about 90% of boosters, which is clearly nowhere near acceptable. I'm rather dubious that the printers couldn't find any way to cut two sheets and ensure the cards in the same position on each sheet went in the same booster, but I guess I don't understand the technical details of printing randomised product.
Two thoughts

First:  the usual one when I see them telling how to design cards "Hey, here's how to design cards. What? No you can't send us your card designs you silly peasants!"

Second:  still hard to stomach anything telling how to design something that uses those DFC's as a positive example. Frankly, it fits the description of the first lesson he gives. Considering the functionality would have been the same using flip cards, it feels like they only went with DFC's because it was something they hadn't done before (and that other CCGs had done before). 

I ended up skimming the rest of the article, just couldn't get my brain to mesh with it after those glaring issues throwing it off.

The other is Maro's admission that less than 5% of the cards he designs sees print, even after 18 years of designing cards. I completely get that the design process means you go through many rough drafts during the process, but surely over time that percentage should have climbed a little bit? Unless he's just spitballing that percentage, but even then he should be giving himself a little more credit.

Seems like he loves talking about all he's learned over the years, but then they act like every year their design experience gets reset to almost nothing. 


Edit to add

The reason Wizards stated for not using sorceries+tokens is the astonishing argument of technical difficulties at the printers. Obviously you'd need to ensure that in each booster, the sorcery came with the matching DFC token, and apparently WotC's printers could only ensure that for about 90% of boosters, which is clearly nowhere near acceptable. I'm rather dubious that the printers couldn't find any way to cut two sheets and ensure the cards in the same position on each sheet went in the same booster, but I guess I don't understand the technical details of printing randomised product. 



I still don't know what to think of their printers - they're obviously complex enough to fit one basic land, one rare, three uncommons, ten commons and a token/ad card. Then you add in premium cards which always replace common. Also, go back to the Time Spiral cards which had a card from the Time Shifted sheet in every pack. Then think about Planar Chaos and Future Sight which had specific distributions of plane-shifted and future-shifted cards in each pack...

But they couldn't gaurantee that a specific type of token couldn't match a certain card in each pack?


(Also, they can somehow guarantee that I'll pull multiple Clones but if I want a dual land? Hah!  Seriously, I need to do something with all my Clones...) 
Proud member of C.A.R.D. - Campaign Against Rare Duals "...but the time has come when lands just need to be better. Creatures have gotten stronger, spells have always been insane, and lands just sat in this awkward place of necessity." Jacob Van Lunen on the refuge duals, 16 Sep 2009. "While it made thematic sense to separate enemy and allied color fixing in the past, we have come around to the definite conclusion that it is just plain incorrect from a game-play perspective. This is one of these situations where game play should just trump flavor." - Sam Stoddard on ending the separation of allied/enemy dual lands. 05 July 2013
DFCs were a workable solution to a host of problems, the crux of all of them being that Magic cards are terrible at conveying transformation between two states if you assume both states are relevant.

Atristically, the best they can do is the "mid-mutation" motif from cards like Transmutation, Polymorph, the new Beast Within, etc. There are some "cheap tricks" in art composition like the split pane from split second cards like Sudden Death, Extirpate, and Krosan Grip, or the foreshadowing (With literal shadows) on Haunted Angel, Penumbra Kavu, and Doomed Traveler, but in general there's only so much you can do with that.

In terms of table-readability, you had the flip cards like Cunning Bandit//Azamuki, Treachery Incarnate and the stacked design of planeswalkers and "level up" cards like Kargan Dragonlord. Flip cards were hard to read, had art that was difficult to decipher (to the point it may as well not be there), and I would argue still presents a masive cheating risk anytime you have to tap or untap it. Stacked formats don't do anything to help the art problem.

Mechanically, a single-card solution is best. I can believe the printing issues 100% tokens or "official proxies". The entire chain for 20 years has been gear towards cutting a sheet, randomizing the resulting cards fairly well, and then taking 10 from one pile, 3 from another, and 1 from another and dropping them into packs. Making sure two cards appear in the same pack amounts to creating a new rarity, and complicates the randomization process. All that for what turned out to be 2 sets of a single block. It's not worth a major restructuring for a small set of six months worth of cards.

And this assumes that we've already embraced the challenge of creating a creature that transforms meaningfully (rather than "enchant creature" auras which is not really the creature itself transforming, or creatures with counter or threshold mechanics which I would argue are not particularly meaningful transformations.)

DFCs are an imperfect solution to a difficult problem that I think Magic will have to tackle again in the future.
I still don't know what to think of their printers - they're obviously complex enough to fit one basic land, one rare, three uncommons, ten commons and a token/ad card. Then you add in premium cards which always replace common. Also, go back to the Time Spiral cards which had a card from the Time Shifted sheet in every pack. Then think about Planar Chaos and Future Sight which had specific distributions of plane-shifted and future-shifted cards in each pack...

But they couldn't guarantee that a specific type of token couldn't match a certain card in each pack?


The main point is that in the normal printing process you don't care what any particular card is at any point. You have a sheet of rares which includes mythics less often than other rares. You have another sheet of basic lands, another sheet of uncommons, and another sheet of commons. Cut the sheets, keep them in isolated piles, Do some light randomization, and create a pack by dumping 1 card from the rare pile, 1 from the land pile, 3 from the uncommon pile, and 10 from the common pile. The common and uncommon sheets probably have card faces distributed across them in such a way that it's unlikely that two copies of the same card will but cut and piled together at the same time (to prevent duplicates of a single common per pack).

I'm not sure about the foils, but you could do that by having a mixed set of foil sheets (hence a foil pile), and knowing a priori that you're building a certain number of "foil packs" which have a slightly different distribution (9 commons and 1 foil).

First thing you'll notice is that it's actually easier to guarantee 1 DFC per pack than it is to mix them in with the ordinary commons and uncommons: just print all the DFCs on the same sheet and keep them in their own pile, as I describe with foils. I'm sure it's still more costly because I'm sure that they're running up sheets with the standard card back in one batch well before they divide them up into sheets for rarities. In essence, DFCs require 2 unique printing stages, whereas standard-backed cards can better leverage economies of scale for one side.

The second thing you'll notice is that none of those processes care about having a certain card.  It's a simple matter of producing piles, and pulling cards from piles in some distribution to make a pack. The task of cutting two cards, making sure they stay together and that they both end up in the same pack is difficult (read: costly) but may be possible. But if one of them is a token they aren't using the same card stock, and the task is then to correlate two separate printing lines. That sounds like a huge pain. 90% accuracy, while unsatisfactory, actually sounds pretty impressive by those standards.
I like MaRo's articles like this one in which he describes design/development in THEORY far more than I like his articles where he talks about specific cards/actions and the reasoning behind them.  From what I gather, he has learned a lot about human nature.  However, he has made a lot of specific mistakes about Magic.  I perceive him to be more of an "idea guy" than a "detail guy", which helps explain why only 5% of his ideas make it to print.  A lot of writers are like that, great ideas, but can't stand to edit their own work.  Nothing wrong with that, just an observation. 
But they couldn't gaurantee that a specific type of token couldn't match a certain card in each pack?


I'm sure they could. However, it would come with the following costs:
The sorceries that summoned a DFC could never be foils.
And, also, if any DFCs were especially sought after... forget about randomizing them to frustrate box mapping.

Basically, they could do it as long as the two positions in the booster used for those cards were outside the normal way in which the pack was made. And the DFC token couldn't be added to the packs after the fact the way normal tokens likely are; they'd have to be treated like normal cards.

The ideal solution was one that they tried to make work, where the DFCs themselves are out-of-game objects, effectively tokens. They're put onto the battlefield by sorceries that have the usual card back. That wouldn't work for Garruk, but again, no card is worth a mechanic.


Actually, though, they could have done exactly that, simply by making the checklist cards into the sorceries that summoned the DFCs.

For purposes of deckbuilding, though, the DFCs would be the cards you had to have real copies of, whereas the checklist cards would be the tokens, even though they were in your deck. So the checklist cards would be proxies for the sorceries, not printed as cards, and the DFCs would be proxy licenses - instead of the checklist cards being proxies for the DFCs themselves.

Ah. That's why they didn't do that. The rules would be just slightly more confusing than what were actually the case, enough to be too confusing.

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

 

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

Since an existing type of card would have performed exactly the same function, but it just wouldn't have looked as pretty, I can't see the DFCs getting credit for that, even if they were a good idea for other reasons.


Flip cards cannot perform the same function purely because they do not have enough space for rules text. Look at the example for tormented pariah. There would not be a way to fit anything other than the werewolf ability in there.

You could say that they'd use a different mechanic, but what possible mechanic for flipping the werewolves back and forth could be made that wouldn't take up all of both sides of the text box?

IMHO the werewolf text was too wordy anyway.  Because there were non-werewolf DFCs, and because there was non-flip text alongside the flip text on most of the DFCs, I found myself reading that day/night reminder text way too many times.  Not until I'd memorized the card (which is a bit down the road) did I mentally shortcut it.  So against the coolness of double-face you have to offset that text burden.


For perspective, the poster child of "too much text is Ice Cauldron, an Ice Age Rare:


X,T:Put a charge counter on Ice Cauldron and exile a nonland card from your hand. You may cast that card for as long as it remains exiled. Note the type and amount of mana spent to pay this activation cost. Activate this ability only if there are no charge counters on Ice Cauldron.
T, Remove a charge counter from Ice Cauldron: Add Ice Cauldron's last noted type and amount of mana to your mana pool. Spend this mana only to cast the last card exiled with Ice Cauldron.


Here's Afflicted Deserter at Uncommon:


At the beginning of each upkeep, if no spells were cast last turn, transform Afflicted Deserter.
The rising of the first full moon eliminated any doubt as to the horrible truth lurking within.
---
Whenever this creature transforms into Werewolf Ransacker, you may destroy target artifact. If that artifact is put into a graveyard this way, Werewolf Ransacker deals 3 damage to that artifact's controller.
At the beginning of each upkeep, if a player cast two or more spells last turn, transform Werewolf Ransacker.

It's a simpler card because there's no X or counters, and part of that is italicized flavor text.  But in terms of wordiness they aren't that far apart.  They were just able to hide it better because there are two sides, but if we believe what we've been told that wordiness is a turnoff to players this wasn't something they should take for granted.

Which is not to say werewolves were a bad mechanic.  I would have recommended they have a large icon like Sun vs Moon with the text (not on top of the card) to make it more instantly recognizeable what the paragraph says.

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 have to say i like the dfc's. it was really the best way to do the transform idea. flip cards are too hard to read or really understand the pictures especially if your opponent is the one playing them. The idea to do them all as sorceries that summon token DF cards seems dumb, not only does it require an extra card, but creatures are creatures for a reason and not sorceries. You could say the sorcery is summoning the creature, but by that logic all creatures should be sorceries. I do not like the checklist card, but after the set is out of print people dont do draft or sealed anymore and they are not needed much. Most people i know playing constructed use sleeves.

For anyone that does like flip cards,

kitsune  
full version  images.onesite.com/community.wizards.com...
Given that alternative - and the other one of a side-by-side design with one card upside down, it's hard to understand how the flip card could have been the perfectly fitting solution as presented.

Is it really that hard to understand why R&D chose to go with these over this?



Also, Garruk Relentless/Garruk, the Veil-Cursed. Just try to fit that on a flip card and see how far you get.


The problem with the "not enough space" argument is that it's simply not an issue if you use keywords or define the conditions with rules. NONE of the rules for Planeswalkers are printed on the cards, even when dealing with emblems. This is one of the reaons the card type continues to provoke issues for new players, despite being pushed very heavily. See, rules text always suffers the "space limitation" problem, and the typical solution is either find ways to simplify the mechanic or remove the problem. With DFCs, the two-sidedness was dialed-in; they couldn't remove it. So that meant you had to have keywords. Instead of solving the issue of two-cards-in-one the way split cards (which have returned not once, twice or even three times the lady, but four times) or flip cards, it's "solved" by mucking with the rules. My example above takes all of the problems the concept had and converts it into a single face. It takes the "level up" fix to cards with various functions (especially as those cards had not one but three different "phases" represented by one image, and were also presented as "innovative").

Here's what I wrote 2 years ago when Tom LaPille tried to defend the issue (as their creative designer):

Show
I am willing to "give the cards a shot," but it won't be on paper. I have the glarign problem of dealing with them online. Meaning, the game system will likely pretend these cards have "backs" just like the other cards in the game. Moreover, the system doesn't reveal backs to my opponents when playing Limited, so I breeze through this part of playing Limited easily. Sucks to be a paper player, I guess. They must now deal with what was normally accepted practice to permit players to manupilate their piles while drafting, and must now be force to broadcast this information, which seems like a detriment to drafting Innistrad. Why such a change? "Worrying about manual dexterity" is not the issue: you're punishing new players for learning to draft on this set. Shame on you.

Of course, my real response is technical and art related.

A response, though, is warrented on how you guys justify this (MaRo has also used LaPille's points to dismiss the value of flip cards):

1. "Tiny" Art Box.
While Kamigawa had "upside down" left sides of all flip cards, some artists did this extremely well, and players took as a cue that turning it upside down showed you the other side of the box. The art box was actually a little smaller than in normal cards, but it created a more "letterbox" frame for the art, emphasizing left and right. Turning these cards around allows the sides of the box to demonstrate the image. This was no challenge to the players or card developers, just to the artists. As an artist, I can say that such challenges as this would appear to be useful to develop ways to display information. I cannot certainly see you guys use this to try to redefine split cards, but I can only imagine you suddenly thinking "Two spells, one card! One spell per card side! You choose the spell!"

This is a cheesy excuse, and valueless, in my opinion, as a reason to choose the obverse face for information.

2. Limited Room for Rules Text -- No Room for Flavor Text.
Admittedly, this is true. The alternative is with something dumb like Greater Morphling or its more recent now-banned copycat Jace, the Mind Sculptor. You guys have no problems changing things to make room for text boxes. You just didn't want to in regards to the flip cards because you wanted two- to three-line flip conditions (some triggered, some not) and extra abilities.

Simply having special rules with keywords (as possible with the Werewolf transform scheme, but unemployed) solves this problem. Flipping, in fact, could have involved more keyworded abilities than others in order to solve this difficulty. It would have solved the issue with "transform" cards, especially since several of them have no "re-transform" conditions, or limited amounts of rules on them to begin with. Have you seen them so far? I'm sure you have. The number of cards with more than one ability per side revealed so far are low, most werewolves have the transform conditions and a keyword, or are a lord-effect, and thus have "two" abilities, one of which can simply be keyworded (Aggressor 3: Attacking creatures you control get +3/+0 until end of turn, etc.)

3. Which is "Up" When Tapped.
Ordinarily, when I was playing with these, I'd make a note of how my opponent taps his permanents: all of mine tap to the left, and most players I know tap to the right. This was even handled on a poll on this site where (I forget whom) aksed the question of how they tapped their permanents: most people are fairly consistent in going around 45 degrees to the right.

When you see this, you can also pay attention to the game and note where a player would have flipped his card. If you're not paying attention, such as getting up and getting a drink and finding something different, you can ask your opponent "what the heck happened?" Reasonably, no player should be unaware of the board state and changing conditions, EVER. Newer players are excused for being learners, and my understanding is that noting changes can be done easily by the use of counters.

This isn't a problem of the cards, it's a communication problem, although I admit it is also the worst thing about flippers. There are plenty of solutions, however, including the hideously ugly "level up" cards, that do not require two faces to "solve." Some of your cards, such as those that don't transform back, might as well be level up, or have "[CARDNAME] becomes [thing]" instead of transforming.

4. "Hard" to Show Transformation.
Your post MASTERFULLY demonstrates the reason the art choice issue will actually be a hinderance, although you do so seemingly without realizing it. Previously, artists have had to descend to the surreal to show "before and after" on cards, testing their skills to demonstrate the aspects of a transformation. Greater Werewolf showed this creepily by "capturing" the transformation moment. Other cards have done this. When Magic tackled "time," they did this with "fields of time" holding frozen objects (my favorite being Shivan Meteor, although Ith, High Arcanist is no slouch) where the slow "unfreezing" is indicated by "temporal energies." But even better were the split second cards, where perhaps best you had Krosan Grip capturing the same object, in the process of its destruction.

You guys can capture time before than you have now. Instead, you opted for a technical problem as a "solution." In this I mean you have to turn the card over to see the "next" or "previous" moment. When you depicted Kruin Outlaw, however, you did so by throwing the art together (side by side, Kamigawa-style) with its transformed condition. What does that say to you? If I were to tell you I had a "before and after" series, but I painted them on each side of a two-sided frame, and you wanted to compare the intricate detail of how I had perfectly transposed the background elements to show something mere minutes later, how would it be easiest for you to compare them? Flip it around, back and forth? Or side by side? Your own showcase of Kruin Outlaw proves that in the moment, these works are even painted side by side, presented side by side, compared and prepared side by side. You created an unnecessary technical issue as a supposed "fix" to a "problem," one in which you guys had solved long ago with brilliant artists like Gabor & Szikszai.

I think, honestly, you guys are inventing problems with the flippers to justify "the new crank," so it's not really your fault. I'd like to say it's R&D in general, or MtG management, or WotC, or Hasbro, but since you guys don't actually describe the full discussions and reasoning for your decisions, it's rather hard to do other than "agree or disagree". And that means we can't really have an honest conversation, and that is the real failure here.



As for making a flipping planeswalker ... yeah. Under the non-DFC ruleset, it would never have happened. And that's a good thing. Innovation for the sake of itself is not a good thing. The solution would be to make more dynamic flippers, cards that encouraged or cared about flipping, or in my example shifting states ("when [this]" or "whenever a [card] transforms" triggers). And because of their novelty, such cards would have been more useful and expansive in the set, and thus made more useful and plentiful. Yet the design as made was deliberately restricted to reduce players from having to constantly shift things around, similar to how flipcards worked. DFCs, or as I like to call them Transformers, do not solve any of the problems flipcards brought to MtG, the chief amongst them having the information you needed just by glancing at the card. Instead, it replaced one problem with another (and indeed, more than one). To solve flippers, they invented a card that has three, if not four, times as many problems:

1. Not all information is available; 2. requires card sleeves that can't have opaque backs; or 3. forces the players to remove cards from sleeves; and 4. increases cognitive load by forcing accounting of spells turn to turn for cards that drop at different times.

In many ways, DFCs remove player agency through the actions they force you to deal with (triggers with cumbersome physical handling problems). These are not fixes to a problem.

Mark Rosewater is defending another problem with his design philosophy and painting the wrong issue as "the problem." It's called "building a strawman," and he does an expert job of knocking it down.
"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)
The creation of the barely-supported Modern Format now means we have an extra couple of years before Rosewater will admit that some-damn-thing was a bad idea.

The problem with the "not enough space" argument is that it's simply not an issue if you use keywords or define the conditions with rules.


That is not true, while your card idea here is very neat it still limits the cards they could make this way. you chose a very basic werewolf for this, but try it with Mayor of Avabruck, Huntmaster of the Fells, Mondronen Shaman, or  Afflicted Deserter. the text box will get real crowded real fast and while it may not be complicated text it will look like it cause of its size, and none of the cards would be able to have flavor text.  Also no matter how you argue it the art on the dfc's is going to be better and easier to decifer than any kind of split card could be.





This is a Magic: The Gathering card.


DFCs are not.


The card back has been an implicit promise ever since Arabian Nights. DFCs broke that promise. If it cannot be done on one side of the card, it shouldn't be in the game. It seems like they violated one of Maro's principles - don't do something just because it hadn't been done before.  
Proud member of C.A.R.D. - Campaign Against Rare Duals "...but the time has come when lands just need to be better. Creatures have gotten stronger, spells have always been insane, and lands just sat in this awkward place of necessity." Jacob Van Lunen on the refuge duals, 16 Sep 2009. "While it made thematic sense to separate enemy and allied color fixing in the past, we have come around to the definite conclusion that it is just plain incorrect from a game-play perspective. This is one of these situations where game play should just trump flavor." - Sam Stoddard on ending the separation of allied/enemy dual lands. 05 July 2013
This is a Magic: The Gathering card.


DFCs are not.


The card back has been an implicit promise ever since Arabian Nights. DFCs broke that promise. If it cannot be done on one side of the card, it shouldn't be in the game. It seems like they violated one of Maro's principles - don't do something just because it hadn't been done before.  



First, I have to wonder if you believe tokens and counters also fall into things that "cannot be done on one side of the card". More than anything, I think the implicit promise of a card fame is that it's a game with cards. Just cards.

Second, Magic has hundreds of implicit promises, which are broken regularly. It a game of exceptions. The card back is a long-standing one, andif you're going to have a back it makes sense to keep it standard. But it was not always a sacred cow, and it not without its controversies: it was almost changed in Arabian Nights, it was always intended to change in each major set such as Ice Age, and even after they decided against it was still almost changed to remove the obsolete Deckmaster trademark. But that doesn't mean you have to be a slave to the idea. At its core, it's packaging and presentation, just like the card layouts (almost changed in 6th edition) and card frame (actually changed in eighth edition). Five colors is a much more critical component to the game itself, and they still tried to make a sixth color work as a one-set gimmick. What about the legend rule? Damage on the stack? The damage prevention step? These were all "implicit promises" to someone.

DFCs, now and forever, add practical difficulties to Magic games that use them. The same is true for Miracles, which breaks drawing in a fundamental way. I personally feel the same way about rules that let you rearrange the graveyard at will (which really doesn't work with all my old favorites like Ashen Ghoul and Death Spark. (side note: was the phrase "shuffle your graveyard" on new cards really so bad?) What about face-down cards, which kill at the root any simple implementations of traps and Camouflage? All of these are obstacles to some style of play. But any one of them is also less than 20 cards out of 10,000. At some point, you have to accept that having new things means hammering down a few proud nails.

Finally, the argument is exactly that they're not doing it just to do something new: they're doing it because transformation is a key takeaway from the top-down design of horror, but other ways of doing it in Magic have fallen short for various reasons. Although they will never pitch it this way, if you want to do transformation then DFCs are the least-bad execution they've come up with so far.
Of course, the DFC issue is largely irrelevant, because they don't seem to have seen much play after rotating out of Standard.
It's just another dumb set gimmick much like any other, gone the way of Splice and Clash and Homarids.
This is a Magic: The Gathering card.


DFCs are not.


The card back has been an implicit promise ever since Arabian Nights. DFCs broke that promise. If it cannot be done on one side of the card, it shouldn't be in the game. It seems like they violated one of Maro's principles - don't do something just because it hadn't been done before.  



First, I have to wonder if you believe tokens and counters also fall into things that "cannot be done on one side of the card". More than anything, I think the implicit promise of a card fame is that it's a game with cards. Just cards.




Apples and oranges. In fact, the token and counter issue is also a longtime pet peeve issue of mine, the way that from the very start, the game referred to tokens and counters, without any official support for those materials. Sure, after a while, you could get tokens in Unglued or as special promos, but they're selling a game and not making all the piece available. That the tokens they put in the packs don't have the Magic back is actually preferable to avoid confusion with regular cards (though instead of ads I would prefer something that clearly marks it as a "Magic: The Gathering Token"). 

The back of the cards is an almost sacred institution that predates MTG by, oh, when did humans invent card games? It creates a base line of trust, that whatever happens on the other side, the back is something that holds the game together and identifies it as Magic: The Gathering card and is part of something that is held in trust by the creators of the game. 

Heck, I just pulled up a DFC on Gatherer and confirmed something that just occurred to me. They don't actually say "Magic:The Gathering" on them anywhere. If I were feeling pedantic, I could make the argument that they're not really Magic cards and shouldn't be allowed in the game. 

And even if they had started the different card backs for each expansion, that would still be creating a pattern and a promise of a similar cardback. Mixing multiple expansions would mean requiring all decks use certain percentages of each kind of back to prevent "marked cards", but there would still be a baseline standard of how a Magic card is supposed to be put together.






Second, Magic has hundreds of implicit promises, which are broken regularly. It a game of exceptions. The card back is a long-standing one, andif you're going to have a back it makes sense to keep it standard. But it was not always a sacred cow, and it not without its controversies: it was almost changed in Arabian Nights, it was always intended to change in each major set such as Ice Age, and even after they decided against it was still almost changed to remove the obsolete Deckmaster trademark. But that doesn't mean you have to be a slave to the idea. At its core, it's packaging and presentation, just like the card layouts (almost changed in 6th edition) and card frame (actually changed in eighth edition). Five colors is a much more critical component to the game itself, and they still tried to make a sixth color work as a one-set gimmick. What about the legend rule? Damage on the stack? The damage prevention step? These were all "implicit promises" to someone.

DFCs, now and forever, add practical difficulties to Magic games that use them. The same is true for Miracles, which breaks drawing in a fundamental way. I personally feel the same way about rules that let you rearrange the graveyard at will (which really doesn't work with all my old favorites like Ashen Ghoul and Death Spark. (side note: was the phrase "shuffle your graveyard" on new cards really so bad?) What about face-down cards, which kill at the root any simple implementations of traps and Camouflage? All of these are obstacles to some style of play. But any one of them is also less than 20 cards out of 10,000. At some point, you have to accept that having new things means hammering down a few proud nails.

Finally, the argument is exactly that they're not doing it just to do something new: they're doing it because transformation is a key takeaway from the top-down design of horror, but other ways of doing it in Magic have fallen short for various reasons. Although they will never pitch it this way, if you want to do transformation then DFCs are the least-bad execution they've come up with so far.



The game is about changes, the product is not. DFCs are not a Magic product. They feel like a gimmick. Something thrown in from another game or on a drunken whim. Every other card with the back can be (more or less) played with all the other 13,000 cards in existence. There are parasitic designs and things like Command Tower (which I also have a major problem with), but even ante cards, well they still work for ante if you want to play that way, and you can even still use them for things like affinity and metalcraft. They're just cards with a cost that don't do anything* else. But they still work within the parameters of the game. 

To me, playing with a DFC, either using a sleeve and constantly having to pull it in and out putting excessive wear on the card, or using their bizarre little proxy checklists (proxies in Vintage? Get out of here! Proxies in Standard? You betcha!) is akin to slipping a Pokemon card in your deck. I don't care if it's a first edition foil Charizard, it's an outsider. It doesn't belong. 


For years, I never bothered with buying singles (unless I was scavenging from the common bin for fun), but you can thank Innistrad block for changing that. In order to not have to deal with any of those cards, I've only bought singles from this set and frankly, my wallet thanks me for not wasting so much on packs. 






*"But it doesn't do anything! No, it does nothing." 
Proud member of C.A.R.D. - Campaign Against Rare Duals "...but the time has come when lands just need to be better. Creatures have gotten stronger, spells have always been insane, and lands just sat in this awkward place of necessity." Jacob Van Lunen on the refuge duals, 16 Sep 2009. "While it made thematic sense to separate enemy and allied color fixing in the past, we have come around to the definite conclusion that it is just plain incorrect from a game-play perspective. This is one of these situations where game play should just trump flavor." - Sam Stoddard on ending the separation of allied/enemy dual lands. 05 July 2013
The card back has been an implicit promise ever since Arabian Nights. DFCs broke that promise.

I don't think this can be supported. Yes, DFCs didn't have the standard card back. That did not mean that Innistrad cards could not be used together with Magic: the Gathering cards from other sets to play Magic.

Instead, if the Aragian Nights promise was broken, I would have to say that it was broken when Wizards created formats other than what we know as Vintage, in which some older Magic sets are not allowed to be used! And that was made inevitable when they dropped Unlimited in favor of Revised, which didn't include the Power Nine.

So there you are. The Reserved List was a promise, but so was the Arabian Nights card back. Therefore, it doesn't matter which way Wizards goes...

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

 

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


The problem with the "not enough space" argument is that it's simply not an issue if you use keywords or define the conditions with rules.


That is not true, while your card idea here is very neat it still limits the cards they could make this way. you chose a very basic werewolf for this, but try it with Mayor of Avabruck, Huntmaster of the Fells, Mondronen Shaman, or  Afflicted Deserter. the text box will get real crowded real fast and while it may not be complicated text it will look like it cause of its size, and none of the cards would be able to have flavor text.  Also no matter how you argue it the art on the dfc's is going to be better and easier to decifer than any kind of split card could be.



Of course it limits the mechanics that can also be included on the card. Unfortunately, this is also true of a broad range of things. Simple card type also limits mechanics, but even more so the Planeswalker card type, Level-Up, and the need to spell out the Transform mechanic on every DFC (most times twice) limited mechanics. This happens. You can do one of two things with this: Run with it, and let the mechanic be its own thing and limit how you can play with it -- or you can not use it, and find something that permits more things to fit on the card. I mentioned this above.

The card frame doesn't necessarily permit a lot of stuff; it certainly doesn't permit Takklemaggot under the current text size limitations Magic has imposed on itself for legibility, and the text had to be tweaked slightly to render Animate Dead printable again -- and still at Planeswalker-sized text. But Planeswalkers show that you can print text at very small size, sometimes at what is effectively over twelve lines of thin text (including hard returns). And the popularity of these cards (and the fact that Yu-Gi-Oh cards are printed with consistently tiny text) shows that not only can it be useful, the cards themselves will enable you to play them even whilst very young.
"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)

The card frame doesn't necessarily permit a lot of stuff; it certainly doesn't permit Takklemaggot under the current text size limitations Magic has imposed on itself for legibility, and the text had to be tweaked slightly to render Animate Dead printable again -- and still at Planeswalker-sized text. But Planeswalkers show that you can print text at very small size, sometimes at what is effectively over twelve lines of thin text (including hard returns). And the popularity of these cards (and the fact that Yu-Gi-Oh cards are printed with consistently tiny text) shows that not only can it be useful, the cards themselves will enable you to play them even whilst very young.



Yes i understand that when a card is  powerful enough people will use it no matter how much text it has, but when faced with a wall of text it is more likely people will dismiss the card.

The other poblem with  doing a split card design is no flavor text and the art would not be able to convey it as a transformation very well. Like the split second cards from time spiral the mechanic was the only thing that the art showed and the flavor of the card was lost. You may not like the DFC's or think they were unnessary or broke sacred rules of the game, but you have to admit they show the transforming aspect better than any of the alternatives.

The card frame doesn't necessarily permit a lot of stuff; it certainly doesn't permit Takklemaggot under the current text size limitations Magic has imposed on itself for legibility, and the text had to be tweaked slightly to render Animate Dead printable again -- and still at Planeswalker-sized text. But Planeswalkers show that you can print text at very small size, sometimes at what is effectively over twelve lines of thin text (including hard returns). And the popularity of these cards (and the fact that Yu-Gi-Oh cards are printed with consistently tiny text) shows that not only can it be useful, the cards themselves will enable you to play them even whilst very young.



Yes i understand that when a card is  powerful enough people will use it no matter how much text it has, but when faced with a wall of text it is more likely people will dismiss the card.

The other poblem with  doing a split card design is no flavor text and the art would not be able to convey it as a transformation very well. Like the split second cards from time spiral the mechanic was the only thing that the art showed and the flavor of the card was lost. You may not like the DFC's or think they were unnessary or broke sacred rules of the game, but you have to admit they show the transforming aspect better than any of the alternatives.



Perhaps you misunderstand my point about the wordiness of JTMS: this discussion has nothing to do with power; merely how much text is being thrown at the card text box. R&D has not made any issue of putting 7-9 or even 14 lines of text on a modern card, including expanding the text box to accodate it, when necessary. The text isn't even that small, and as such one can get away with printing cards with smaller text. WotC has set a general limit on point size for text so as to limit their wordiness, the reason being that the cards have to be translated into other languages, some of which (Russian, Spanish, Portuguese) require more room than English even if others (Chinese, Korean, Japanese) require less. Text size and wordiness are constantly put through the translation wringer and adjusted accordingly, so that the rules and relationships of parts are consistent.

As to your second point: No Planeswalker card has flavor text; nor do any level-up cards. But the latter were still made, and the former continue to be made. Flavor text is not such a necessity that it must be accomodated in card designs, or those variants wouldn't be made. Or indeed many cards wouldn't be printed for they lack it, like Murder. The lack of flavor text can be just as significant for art's sake and impact as a function of the card design. Flavor text is simply not that big of an issue.

But this goes back to something I wrote before, and linked to before:

If you find yourself with a mechanic that is causing disruption of certain needs and rules, then it may be that you shouldn't be using that mechanic. And back further: a new mechanic for the sake of itself is a violation of one of Mark's design rules. DFCs break more than a few of his rules, not the least of which is that; but there is also the fact that the werewolf mechanic should have been keyworded, and that would have allowed far, far more space on the cards than we were given.

Indeed, the absence of that space-saving quality was a reason they cited they needed extra text space, validating their argument for two faces with circular reasoning: two-faced cards are validated by needing more space, which is validated by spelling out the mechanic in full, which is validated by having the extra space provided by two-faced cards.

The point is: They didn't have to do it this way; or at all. They did it because they wanted to, and because they felt it would be a great gimmick to get money from schmucks for Limited and (somewhat) Standard, and as soon as the season rotated they would be gone. For that, they broke a Golden Rule and bent over backwards to justify it.
"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)
Keywording the werewolf mechanic would have been pointless. At common and uncommon it would still need reminder text, limiting those cards to vanilla or french vanilla.

The value of a design choice is based not only on how much it solves your problem, but how much design space it opens up. Without DFCs, cards like Garruk Relentless, Huntmaster of the Fells, and Withengar Unbound literally could not have been made. You can insist all you want that it was unnecessary, but it allowed them to do things that they couldn't do with any other method.
Keywording the werewolf mechanic would have been pointless. At common and uncommon it would still need reminder text, limiting those cards to vanilla or french vanilla.

The value of a design choice is based not only on how much it solves your problem, but how much design space it opens up. Without DFCs, cards like Garruk Relentless, Huntmaster of the Fells, and Withengar Unbound literally could not have been made. You can insist all you want that it was unnecessary, but it allowed them to do things that they couldn't do with any other method.



I am quite happy that a mechanic that doesn't work for cards like those shouldn't be employed for them. DFCs that don't flip back aren't making full use of their abilities, and indeed amongst them only Huntmaster ever saw decent tournament play. The card would have been a lot less wordy if it could be keyworded, and thus saved eye strain, but this is true for the rare lord and the few other cards that had large additional abilities on either aspect. But this doesn't stop you from keywording the thing, as indeed it didn't stop the Time Spiral block mechanic Suspend from being made (and employed in exactly this method).

Some of your may be missing the point, and are still employing circular reasoning. You do not take a card like Garruk Relentless and decide to justify the whole DFC/Transformer/two-facedness/loss-of-the-Golden-Rule thing on its back, or one other card like it. Yes, the mechanic for "transformation" would be messier, and it is possible the card might not have seen print, but it doesn't mean an alternative could not have been found. It doesn't mean another, more enticing card could have found it's way in there. It doesn't mean cards like Chalice of Life couldn't have had "becomes" or "loses all abilities, then gains" effects on them.

Only the Werewolf cards "justified" the Transformers, and as such the effect should have been better streamlined. Especially given how clunky the wording is when read at first, and how it takes practice and a little more reading to "handle." It was, effectively, a throwaway mechanic, as it was used merely for Limited/Block play and one tournament staple, required very, very little support from additional cards (three, in fact; two in a large set, one is a smaller set), and immediately abandoned in the next (large) set. When Forsythe admits it is a "gimmick," you begin to lose faith in the ability of R&D to have any care for the longevity or quality of their decisions, and their impact down the road. It really is change for its own sake, despite MaRo's aphorisim.
"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)


I am quite happy that a mechanic that doesn't work for cards like those shouldn't be employed for them. DFCs that don't flip back aren't making full use of their abilities, and indeed amongst them only Huntmaster ever saw decent tournament play.


there are some other DFC's that got to see tournament  play


When Forsythe admits it is a "gimmick," you begin to lose faith in the ability of R&D to have any care for the longevity or quality of their decisions, and their impact down the road. It really is change for its own sake, despite MaRo's aphorisim.


The card jace, the mind sculptor is a favorite of many people was a gimmick card (and a mistake in my opinion). They tried to make a planeswalker with 4 abilities just because it hadn't been done before and got an overpowered card as a result.
weather or not you like dfc's they did their job well and look good doing it. they chose flavor and style over rules and I like it (you don't obviously), but thats why they did it. the cards look good, not too wordy, convey transformations well, and opened lots of design space unavailable before. they broke a rule to make better looking (and functioning) cards.


I am quite happy that a mechanic that doesn't work for cards like those shouldn't be employed for them. DFCs that don't flip back aren't making full use of their abilities, and indeed amongst them only Huntmaster ever saw decent tournament play.


there are some other DFC's that got to see tournament  play


I recall making my concept card on the basis of Waif, which was deliberately pushed beyond what it should have been. However, part of this discussion is that the mechanic was not really employed for most DFCs: Only Werewolves can "transform back." Delver cannot. Which means the card could have been as effectively accomplished with:


Indeed, one of the points against DFCs is not the economy of the space they save on one side, but on the space they waste on both. Look at Insectile Aberration's one word of rules text, and you realize that the very wordy Delver text box is doing nothing for the card it is actually on, or will eventually be. We can accomplish the goals that most Transform cards attempted to reach without using two faces, and this means that what DFCs were trying to do, and how they went about doing it, are distinct from what many people defending them in practice think they were about. Forsythe knew this when he wrote:

It is not without controversy, however, as many players are not fans of the marquee components of the set—the transforming double-faced cards. Let me be clear that such controversy was anticipated and was part of the appeal of doing them for me. I realize they put a logistical strain on the game and throw a hand-grenade of public information into the otherwise pristinely private world of Booster Draft. But their goal was not to be the next great innovation in good gameplay. They were meant to be what they are—a gimmick. A conversation starter. A shocking development that makes you sit up in your chair in disbelief and then compels you to check out the set. They aren't meant to be the future of how Magic will be played—they'll be gone in a few months, replaced by the next cool thing. But in the meantime, they give Innistrad a centerpiece, an identity, because they fit so well. Transformation is a huge part of horror. The double-faced cards tell stories better than any cards before them.



Disbelief, shock, the thrill of something new that probably shouldn't be tried, and will likely never be done again (MaRo seems to want more of them, though). A gimmick. It doesn't qualify what their goal was so much as most people think, but that is part of the conversation. And aside from this effectiveness debate we're having now, the majority of the discussion around them wasn't their quality of play, but how you went about playing them: Sleeves, handling, manipulation, needing to read both sides readily despite other effects in the game or the sleeves themselves, the cognitive load which Aaron refers to as logistics.

weather or not you like dfc's they did their job well and look good doing it. they chose flavor and style over rules and I like it (you don't obviously), but thats why they did it. the cards look good, not too wordy, convey transformations well, and opened lots of design space unavailable before. they broke a rule to make better looking (and functioning) cards.


This entire argument is up for debate, and indeed was debated extensively a while ago. The issue was not thatr they were able to do what they wanted to accomplish well, but that the cost of this effect was not worth it. There is a reason that not many new or "good" counters are printed these days, and that reason is the absolute hatred a good number of players have for the enabling of counter-control strategies. To limit this, R&D doesn't print as many below the 3 mana threshhold, and even then begin restricting scope of the counter.
"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)
on the second spell cast in a turn; transform this.

 a lot of times opponent/controller differences aren't worth the words
I recall making my concept card on the basis of Waif, which was deliberately pushed beyond what it should have been. However, part of this discussion is that the mechanic was not really employed for most DFCs: Only Werewolves can "transform back."

That's nonsense.

Transforming back was employed for most DFCs, because 19 of the 33 DFCs--a majority--are Werewolves. Overall, 21 out of the 33 DFCs, just barely shy of two thirds, can transform back.

Delver cannot. Which means the card could have been as effectively accomplished with:

[...]

Indeed, one of the points against DFCs is not the economy of the space they save on one side, but on the space they waste on both. Look at Insectile Aberration's one word of rules text, and you realize that the very wordy Delver text box is doing nothing for the card it is actually on, or will eventually be.

And you're saying the incredibly wordy text you just showed us...doesn't waste space? That it does do something for the card it will eventually be? Because it looks to me like the card you just showed us loses...pretty much everything that makes it viscerally appealing. (You also made some mechanical changes--0/1? Mill? Only an Insect?--but I'll assume those were accidental and ignore them.)

Your one-face Delver loses almost all resonant connection to its The Fly flavor basis and creates memory issues that simply don't exist with the DFC version. It wastes all of its space, and does so with an ability that literally does nothing for the card it eventually becomes. The ability does something until it hits, and then ceases to be relevant to the game, but must still be read again and again to figure out the card's current stats.

Compare that to DFC Delver, where the transformation ability does something until it hits...and then quite literally disappears. The stats you actually need to know about the new Delver appear right where they exist on a normal card, allowing you to parse it as easily as you would Snapping Drake.

DFCs are just plain better.

And aside from this effectiveness debate we're having now, the majority of the discussion around them wasn't their quality of play, but how you went about playing them: Sleeves, handling, manipulation, needing to read both sides readily despite other effects in the game or the sleeves themselves, the cognitive load which Aaron refers to as logistics.

Yes, most of the discussion of them on the boards was indeed about the logistical problems. Because if you weren't discussing the logistics, there's very little reason to talk about them as a group on the message boards.

This entire argument is up for debate, and indeed was debated extensively a while ago. The issue was not thatr they were able to do what they wanted to accomplish well, but that the cost of this effect was not worth it.

...What cost? Yes, I realize you're talking about logistical concerns--that you can't read the card fully in your hand, that you need to use opaque sleeves, that there's a revealed card in draft--but as far as I'm concerned, those costs are pocket change at best.

We already had cards you couldn't read fully in your hand, foreign, textless, split, flip, or just plain old cards. We already had cards you needed to use opaque sleeves for--worn, warped, Alpha, or white-bordered cards. And while Innistrad draft was different than normal, why is a different format working differently a cost?

DFCs introduced a few minor logistical hiccups for an incredible win on all other fronts. They were absolutely worth the cost.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

We already had cards you couldn't read fully in your hand, foreign, textless, split, flip, or just plain old cards. We already had cards you needed to use opaque sleeves for--worn, warped, Alpha, or white-bordered cards. And while Innistrad draft was different than normal, why is a different format working differently a cost?

DFCs introduced a few minor logistical hiccups for an incredible win on all other fronts. They were absolutely worth the cost.

An anecdote for you. The last casual deck I was building was built with no particular format restriction, like most casual decks. Flipping through my binders for potential cards for the deck, I discovered a DFC in my binder that'd work great for it. (I think it was Mayor of Avabruck, but I'm not quite sure.) I put the DFC into my shortlist pile. When it came to making the cuts, the DFC would have been great in the deck, but... if I include a DFC in that casual deck, I either have to try to find 60 sleeves of the same colour and quality, or more likely, have to root around in my junk boxes to find where I put those checklist cards, and carry around the DFC in a 1-card "sideboard" attached to that deck that I somehow have to prevent my opponent seeing (which is hard when that sideboard is inherently double-faced).

I cut the card based on those reasons. It wasn't worth the logistical hassle. Those "minor logistical hiccups" disqualify every card with that flagship mechanic from all my casual decks for the rest of time. (In a few cases I might force myself to find the checklist card and cart around the real card in a sideboard, but I'd frown with annoyance every time I draw the checklist card.)

I take good care of my cards; I do my very best not to let them become worn or warped. But the best TLC in the world won't prevent DFCs having the same problems. (I play with plenty of white-bordered cards and I've no idea why you'd lump them into the same category; they're not marked-from-the-back like those other categories.) I enjoy playing with split and flip cards, and I can read them entirely in my hand (mentally rotating text or reading "uʍop ǝpısdn" isn't that hard). DFCs I cannot. The entire mechanic has massive logistical interference that still to this day makes me much less likely to want to play them in my decks.