8/26/2013 Feature: "Unpopular Cube"

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This thread is for discussion of the feature article "Unpopular Cube", which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
I definitely popped seeing the Homelands Tri-lands.
I definitely popped seeing the Homelands Tri-lands.



Same. A complete cycle of bad cards!

I also had a hearty chuckle at the Null Rod reference.
Seems fun.  I kinda want to make a cube like this someday...
I received a box of several hundreds Magic cards from someone who had found it in a garage sale earlier this summer. I was a bit disappointed at first to find out that none of the cards in that box were uncommons or rares. They were all commons. I was left with another stack of cards that would go in my bin of Rest In Peace cards, which is gathering dust in my basement, until... I decided, in the same vein as Ethan, that there was no way I could let these cards to sleep. The Commoner cube was born. The best f the rest... Check it out! mdubuc.freeshell.org/Magic/Cube

Building (and playing cube) is a lot of fun! 
Does anybody know what the actual average score is for all cards in gatherer?
Gatherer ratings will never be a very good way to assess cards for two reasons:

1) Players with more free time are more likely to rate cards, which biases the results.

2) It's not clear what you're rating, so the same card might be rated ***** by one player for being powerful and * by another player for having bad art. The resulting aggregate rating is meaningless.
Honestly, all I have to say about this is that Aladdin's Ring seems like an absolute house in this format.

I have had a cube like this for almost a year except I aim specifically for the worst cards ever printed (although I have been using gatherer ratings as a guide).  My only rule is that the card has to have at least some chance to be useful and if a card is too good (or good at all) I remove it.  I call it my Cube of Despair and it has made for some very good games.  I particularly enjoy that moment when you first see the cards you have to choose from and try to decide which sucks the least. 

I also enjoyed threatening players with an upcoming flashbacked Scorching Missile when I finally get 10 mana someday

This type of article always gets under my skin. While keeping this comment from bateleur_ firmly in mind:

Gatherer ratings will never be a very good way to assess cards for two reasons:

1) Players with more free time are more likely to rate cards, which biases the results.

2) It's not clear what you're rating, so the same card might be rated ***** by one player for being powerful and * by another player for having bad art. The resulting aggregate rating is meaningless.




if I were a Magic designer and I heard about a format like this or Reject Rare Draft, I would probably feel like crawling in a hole and dying. 

I know not every card can be Jace the Wallet Slayer, but so often it feels like there's a point in the design of a set where they just give up and start throwing words at cards and seeing what sticks.

It's one thing to see cards like that land that gives banding to green legends from the early days, but we're in year 20 now folks... 
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
To each, his own..... and all that.

However, isn't this like spending an entire saturday intentionally watching movies and TV you don't like? 
To each, his own..... and all that.

However, isn't this like spending an entire saturday intentionally watching movies and TV you don't like? 



Sums up this whole concept pretty perfectly. Drafting the cards that suck the least? Oh yeah, that sounds like tons of fun for days.
Drafts like this are actually tons of fun for people who aren't spikes and enjoy the challenge of building decks from cards that don't jump up and down and ooze power.
To each, his own..... and all that.

However, isn't this like spending an entire saturday intentionally watching movies and TV you don't like? 


There are a LOT of people who delight in bad movies.  See for example: Troll 2, Birdemic, The Room and the recent addition Sharknado.

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.

Saying that a card "sucks" can mean many different things. Often, it means that the card has a low power level, not that there is anything wrong with its design. A weak card can still be fun to play with, especially in an environment where its power level is no longer subpar.

 

Goblin Artisans
a Magic: the Gathering design blog

I enjoy "bad" movies and such (though watching with a janitor and his robots cracking wise certainly helps) and I don't deny there can be fun in playing with cards you might not normally play with. I have had a lot of kitchen table fun with the 2 player battle packs that we've seen for the last few sets. Frankly, sealed limited is how the game is meant to be played. Get some cards, throw together a deck and try to make it work. 

The problem is that there's enough "bad" cards out there that formats like this are actually viable *and* this pool of cards will only continue to grow as long as WOTC designs for draft, not caring about the percentage of cards that become basically useless for constructed (unless you do things like this "unpopular" cube or reject rare draft. 

 
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

alextfish wrote:

 

I find it astonishing that Ascending Aven is in Gatherer-Terrible territory. It was an absolute all-star in Onslaught limited, a Phantom Monster that could attack on turn 4. In fact, a lot of perfectly playable cards from that era seem to be Gatherer-Terrible now. Blessed Orator ain't as good as Veteran Armorer, but it's fine at getting the job done.

But then, somehow even Vedalken Entrancer is Gatherer-Terrible too, and he was the MVP of many a Dimir draft back in original Ravnica. The fleeting favours of fashion.

I'm delighted and astonished to discover there is actually a printed card called Coastal Wizard, though. Heee.

As for this point:

Angoth1 wrote:
To each, his own..... and all that.
However, isn't this like spending an entire saturday intentionally watching movies and TV you don't like?
I think the appeal comes from the fact that we all have boxes of these old junk cards sitting around taunting us with their uselessness. It's like every time we bought a DVD of a movie we wanted to see, it came in a bundle with 4 others that are mostly junk, but we still paid for. It's psychological. We paid for this rubbish. Why would we do that? It's got to have some use, right? So we come up with formats like this to get some use out of them

Another fun way to justify your boxes of commons is to come up with a Scavenger Hunt list for friends. It was fun years ago making this Scavenger Hunt list, then scouring card search engines to find cards that fit it, then searching binders and boxes for cards meeting the obscure criteria. When we all eventually met up and played our decks against each other it was a pretty cool time.


Oh. One more note, to the Gatherer maintenance team and everyone who encourages us to rate cards. I'd rate and comment on far more cards if Gatherer remembered my login! It's a cookie, it shouldn't be difficult, but somehow it logs me out seemingly every hour or so. Plus the login form is one of those irritating DHTML ones which doesn't use a proper HTTP POST, so Chrome can't autofill the name and password. Between these two factors it's far too much hassle to bother logging in to rate cards and comments, so I just don't bother.

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

tmich wrote:

 

alextfish wrote:

I find it astonishing that Ascending Aven is in Gatherer-Terrible territory. It was an absolute all-star in Onslaught limited, a Phantom Monster that could attack on turn 4. In fact, a lot of perfectly playable cards from that era seem to be Gatherer-Terrible now. Blessed Orator ain't as good as Veteran Armorer, but it's fine at getting the job done.

But then, somehow even Vedalken Entrancer is Gatherer-Terrible too, and he was the MVP of many a Dimir draft back in original Ravnica. The fleeting favours of fashion.

I'm delighted and astonished to discover there is actually a printed card called Coastal Wizard, though. Heee.

There are 6 card from modern master that are rated less than 2.

Five of them are in the cube and saltfield recluse kind of looks more useful than gate hound seeing how people in the limited forum talked about serra's blessing and the presence of no more than 2 beneficial auras in every color(1 in white, black and red, 2 in blue and green).


"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

Knifethrower wrote:

 

bateleur_ wrote:
Gatherer ratings will never be a very good way to assess cards for two reasons:

1) Players with more free time are more likely to rate cards, which biases the results.

2) It's not clear what you're rating, so the same card might be rated ***** by one player for being powerful and * by another player for having bad art. The resulting aggregate rating is meaningless.

This is a true thing to point out, but
1. No one is claiming these results have serious or scientific merit, and
2. I'm unsure of a competing system to use in place of it.

I'm content to use an imperfect tool if the job doesn't require a perfect tool.

Angoth1 wrote:
To each, his own..... and all that.

However, isn't this like spending an entire saturday intentionally watching movies and TV you don't like?

Not at all; not in the context of a limited environment.  Movies are evaluated for goodness and badness by comparing to them to all other movies you could watch, i.e. all movies in existence.  In limited, cards are good or bad compared to the other cards you could put in your deck, i.e. the overall nature of the cube you have created.  Many of these cards are flavorful and/or have unique and interesting mechanics (this is because mana cost is what predominately affects rankings, not flavor or interestingness).  It's more like playing a different game with different rules then it is like playing a game of "bad" magic.


"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

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