9/5/13 Latest Developments: How Theros Got Its Scry On

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.

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

Teluin wrote:
 

wow, these suck 

 

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

Demento_Recraves wrote:
 

If you listen closely, you can hear all your copies of New Benalia crying.

 

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

Teluin wrote:
 

also, not at all what people were guessing 

 

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

Ertai87 wrote:
 

Now, most decks don't have too many turn-one plays
And the Zac Hill award for Stupidest Comment in a Daily MTG article award goes to... Seriously, do you guys actually play decks anymore, or just randomly throw cards together into piles and shuffle them?

 

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

DDBen wrote:
 

So gates that scry one and they are suddenly rare... why the heck are these not uncommons at best these are super disappointing. 

 

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

Shaven_Wookie wrote:
 

These are rare? I don't get that. 

 

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

Jamas wrote:
 

Without being tied thematically to anything in the set like the shocklands were to the guilds, the choices of which two-colour combos got into this set seem really random. 

 

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

SadisticMystic wrote:
 

Taking a step back for a second—one of the design goals of Theros was to get players to actually cast Auras on their creatures.

What other distinctly self-crippling tasks can we expect in the future to be written off as "design goals"? "One of our design goals for $FUTURE_SET is to get players to give themselves hand-made tattoos using far-from-sanitary equipment because our market research tells us tattoos are fun"?

 

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

12three45 wrote:
 

So...these cards are the scene from The Big Lebowski before Walter smashes up a Corvette. 

 

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

SkyknightXi wrote:
 

They're thinking more in terms of which color pairs got dual lands earlier; this is effectively paying the temporal debt to the Gatecrash dyads.

I'll admit these seem more like uncommons as well. I know they usually only try to put non-rare duals in sets meant to focus on multi-color, primarily to keep non-multicolor Limited from getting flooded with them (duals don't help quite as much there, and options are more important), but the Zendikar refuges (I think the Scars of Mirrodin borderlands, as well?) speak otherwise. Never mind that I worry that they're giving Limited TOO much attention...

One wonders what rares, if any, got shoved into uncommon, though.

(And what WOULD it take to get the rest of you to consider putting auras on your own creatures as a legitimate option?! Are you SURE you're not over-valorizing card advantage?)

 

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

Demento_Recraves wrote:
 

For those keeping score at home:

Salt Marsh is too weak. If you add a sub-type, it drops to common. If you add a super-type, it stays uncommon. If you add an extra color, it stays uncommon. If you add a marginal benefit, it stays uncommon.

So let's see, looking at Temple of Deceit they added a marginal benefit so logically...

TROLOLOL

 

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

Shiny_Umbreon wrote:
 

DDBen wrote:
So gates that scry one and they are suddenly rare... why the heck are these not uncommons at best these are super disappointing.

Well, they probably had in mind rare slots for lands that would replace the Innistrad/M10 lands. But the article shows that they were really struggling with what to put there. After they found they could put scry (which was probably late), it wouldn't have been possible to downgrade them to uncommon without shaking everything up.

Which is why one must figure out the lands necessary for the set way, way early.

 

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

Flopfoot wrote:
 

These are awesome 

 

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

.Blaze. wrote:
 

Jamas wrote:
Without being tied thematically to anything in the set like the shocklands were to the guilds, the choices of which two-colour combos got into this set seem really random.



"Tom LaPille made a strong argument, though, that the previous year in Standard had extra time with theReturn to Ravnica shocklands, and that the Gatecrash color pairs could use some extra time in the spotlight, so that is the model we went with."

Yea, it wasn't random at all.


Anyway, agree that they aren't flashy or anything, but they get the job done.

 

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

Fenix. wrote:
 

Teluin wrote:
wow, these suck

Card evaluation skills: non-existant.

These lands are quite strong, actually in non-blitz decks they are better than shocklands. What I find funny is that these are probably going to backfire on them and make 3-color decks even easier to assemble now.

But I agree that the rarity is a pretty huge bummer.

 

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

Jamas wrote:
 

.Blaze. wrote:
Jamas wrote:
Without being tied thematically to anything in the set like the shocklands were to the guilds, the choices of which two-colour combos got into this set seem really random.



"Tom LaPille made a strong argument, though, that the previous year in Standard had extra time with theReturn to Ravnica shocklands, and that the Gatecrash color pairs could use some extra time in the spotlight, so that is the model we went with."

Yea, it wasn't random at all.


Anyway, agree that they aren't flashy or anything, but they get the job done.  

Yes, I read the article.

Without being tied thematically to anything in the set, the choices of which colours combos did and did not make it SEEM random. Having to read in a development article that the colour choices are related to the block that came before it will not help a player who looks at the card set list, see these five cards, and think "Where are the other five? Why aren't they the allied five, the enemy five?"

Edited to remove defensiveness/hostility.

 

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

Amarsir wrote:
 

Like everyone else, my immediate reaction was "those are uncommon-level duals.". So that's a bummer.  They're certainly not bad though.  If Theros and AVR were to share a Standard, these would surely be Miracle-enablers.  (Likely too slow for Modern.)

What's amusing about the cycle chosen is that it was basically put in motion 10 years ago.  These duals are the ones in Gatecrash, which are the ones not in RTR, which were chosen to avoid repeating Ravnica's original pairing, which was released in 2005.  Since colors were chosen there with a big lead time on the first set, we're basically talking about dominos since 2003.  That's why the Theros lands are what they are.  

Lots of gold in this article besides the duals talk.  (As has been standard for Sam.).  I think this is a heavy statement:

One of the lessons from Avacyn Restored was that getting your mechanic to work by reducing the effectiveness of the removal can work in a vacuum, but it doesn't help when people try and play those cards in other settings.
Admission of a mistake, sort-of, but also the implication that creature removal is a pesky thing they wish there was less of.  (A trend I first suggested jokingly years ago when the war on counters and LD started up.)

 

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

FineVintage wrote:
 

Jamas wrote:
Without being tied thematically to anything in the set like the shocklands were to the guilds, the choices of which two-colour combos got into this set seem really random.


Read the article. They chose the Gatecrash color combinations to compensate for those color combinations having been in Standard less time than the Return to Ravnica color combinations.

 

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

Jamas wrote:
 

FineVintage wrote:
Jamas wrote:
Without being tied thematically to anything in the set like the shocklands were to the guilds, the choices of which two-colour combos got into this set seem really random.


Read the article. They chose the Gatecrash color combinations to compensate for those color combinations having been in Standard less time than the Return to Ravnica color combinations.

I did. As I said, they SEEM random. I know they are not random due to the article, but they will SEEM random to anyone who did not read this article.

 

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

TVboyCanti wrote:
 

So these are supposed to make up for the shocks missing from RTR? Right, because guildgates are practically unplayable compared to these right?

R&D really dropped the ball here, they've completely underestimated the effect of burning earth on the metagame. In fact, I think this is going to mean that three-color decks will have better mana bases than two-color decks, which kind of defeats the purpose of these lands. 

 

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

Bedford wrote:
 

I think MaRo forgot one of the lessons he said they learned from Odyssey, that yes players may play cards because they have no choice, but it doesn't mean they like them and it could be harmful to the game. 

 

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

carrionpigeons wrote:
 

These lands are so stupid, I'm not even sure if I can express my disappointment.

Firstly, they follow one of the very few successful models for uncommon lands that we've been offered, and yet are rare.  Secondly, they demonstrate complete tone-deafness on the part of WotC to the constant requests for mana bases not to be the major expense for players when deckbuilding, because these are both rare and very good.  Thirdly, they completely fail to fit in a set which seems from most perspectives to be about rewarding people for playing monocolor decks.  These lands are so good that they could be played in monochrome decks, and by the simple fact that such decks can gratuitously produce basically whatever mana they feel like, monocolor decks won't exist.

These are bad design.  They're overpowered, the wrong rarity, the wrong context, and they look mediocre and don't sell themselves at all.  They're an insult to good long-term planning and marketing and they demonstrate that Wizards has no interest in carving out design space for reasonably priced, competitive mana fixing.  They harm the ability for Theros standard to develop any competitive monocolor decks, which really OUGHT to have been a selling point after having a huge multicolor block right before.  The first thing I did after looking at these and finding them to be rares was grit my teeth and shake my head.

The worst part is that it's the first thing they've showm us about this set that is a bad design decision.  So much of this set looks like an absolute blast, and then they have to go and ruin the ride by printing five cards which will be incredibly core to the upcoming format, forever, which hurts everything they looked like they were building towards.  You guys screwed up, bad.

 

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

lkbob wrote:
 

I think they're fine. We knew they would be at the rare slot, which is the logical choice in a limited environment that's thematically monocolored. I'm actually happy that they're not that impressive (not underestimating the ability to scry), so that the price will be reasonable. For newer players getting the shocks will be an investment enough in the standard environment.

The shocklands were 10+ to start with, hopefully these will probably be just a couple of bucks. I think that's a good thing, even though you will be overpaying a bit since they probably won't be needed in other formats. So just buy the 4 you need for your 2-color deck and enjoy playing.  

 

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

alextfish wrote:
 

lkbob wrote:
The shocklands were 10+ to start with, hopefully these will probably be just a couple of bucks. I think that's a good thing, even though you will be overpaying a bit since they probably won't be needed in other formats. So just buy the 4 you need for your 2-color deck and enjoy playing. 
Yeah, see, that's the problem. Some of us have more than one deck. "A couple of bucks" is indeed the price of some low-power rare duals from a while back.

By contrast, the Zendikar Refuges are $0.30, the Alara trilands are $1, the Guildgates are peanuts, and the original Ravnica bouncelands are $0.30. 

Now. I have about 10 Commander decks and about 20 casual constructed decks reasonably active at any given time. I don't know what colours the next deck I build is likely to be, but I know it's annoying to not have the staple utility cards like dual lands on hand.

I'd spend $10-$20 on a set of 4x each of the original Ravnica bouncelands. In fact, I did, several years ago. When I used up all of those in my more preferred colour pairings, I went and bought 8x more of several guilds' ones. I snap up Alara trilands where I can get them for a good price, because I know there'll always be something to use them on. 

Rare duals? You just can't do that. I picked up a few Celestial Colonnade when they were cheap and have enjoyed throwing them into decks; same with Murmuring Bosk and a few others. But you can't just buy 4x any every rare dual for casual deck purposes. At least, not at what I'd consider a sane budget.

Of course, the thing is, Wizards really don't care. Players like me? We're not increasing their revenues very much more than a random 16-year-old in the US somewhere*. They'd far rather print rare duals because that simply increases their profit. And with profit comes the ability to hire more designers and developers, make more fun things like Commander precons, and put more time into making the sets better. Except... the definition of "better sets" now doesn't include budget accessibility, because players like me don't contribute enough to Wizards' bottom line.

In other words, when carrionpigeons says
they demonstrate complete tone-deafness on the part of WotC to the constant requests for mana bases not to be the major expense for players when deckbuilding, because these are both rare and very good.
Wizards have heard, there's just no reason for them to obey. Nothing short of an Affinity-level of abandoning the game will make them stop printing blatant cashgrabs like these.

(And, well... Even though I've been basically abandoned by WotC, I still love Magic. I don't spend enough on it for them to care, but I don't want to agitate for players to abandon the game. Perhaps instead I should just agitate for players to buy "casual" products like the Commander precons when the new ones come out in November, to help ensure that even if rarity in expansions is aimed more at grabbing cash from tournament players, there are other products that we can enjoy.)

[*: Well, as it happens I do host a board gaming evening and teach people Magic on a fairly regular basis, but that doesn't count, it seems...]

 

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

Paralistalon wrote:
 

Reading the comments, some people think they are horrible, and others think they're overpowered.  I think MaRo is secretly (or not so secretly) smiling.  

I learn on the side of they're underwhelming, but I'm glad, as a mostly limited player, that I won't see them all the time when I'm trying to go monocolor.  I think these will be nice to pick up in draft if you can get them late and can help with splashing a second color while giving you a free scry.  In constructed, I can definitely see a handful going into control and combo decks.

 

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

rickster_ wrote:
 

Maro admitted a year ago that they often put dual lands at rare to sell packs

www.reddit.com/r/magicTCG/comments/s6iw9...

 

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

IsgardTheTerrible wrote:
 

Guys, these lands are awesome.

We are used to seeing awesome dual lands at rare. And these are awesome dual lands. So I'm not sure why everyone is surprised that they are rare.

Yeah, sure they look kind of like Refuges, if you apply zero thought to the matter. But Scry 1 is a lot better than gain 1 life. Like, a lot.

It would be nice if they were uncommon, for sure. But let's focus on what we're getting here: Lands that fix our mana and our next draw step, and hence, our chance of hitting the land/spell count we need. That's huge. That's going to make Magic games more fun in every format these are played in (which is to say, probably just standard, limited, and EDH, but still). I'll pay a couple bucks for that. 

 

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

Jman22 wrote:
 

As for these lands, why the explitive did Mark Rosewater and the others think we WANTED these lands? They're generic lands that have been at uncommon (hell, common in the last block) that have scry 1 instead of whatever other gimmick that WotC puts on it depending on the block (being a gate, being a snow land, whatever)

And the worst part is that these are rare. These should not be rare.

You said that people had been asking for these lands for a long time. Who wanted these lands?

The guildgates were common, and these should be uncommon. Not rare. 

Not to mention that scry 1 is weaker than drawing a card. Anybody who thinks these are as good as the Core Set buddy land cycles is a fool. You should be comparing them to the guildgates, which they are a bit better than.

 
The only reason I can believe these are rare is that Wizards wanted to force players to buy more packs. These lands will only ever see play in standard, because people will HAVE to play them. And that just makes me furious.

So, again, I ask:

WHO WANTED THESE LANDS?!? These lands are boring, and its a slap in the face to players to place them at rare. 

 

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

Jman22 wrote:
 

IsgardTheTerrible wrote:
Guys, these lands are awesome.

We are used to seeing awesome dual lands at rare. And these are awesome dual lands. So I'm not sure why everyone is surprised that they are rare.

Yeah, sure they look kind of like Refuges, if you apply zero thought to the matter. But Scry 1 is a lot better than gain 1 life. Like, a lot.

It would be nice if they were uncommon, for sure. But let's focus on what we're getting here: Lands that fix our mana and our next draw step, and hence, our chance of hitting the land/spell count we need. That's huge. That's going to make Magic games more fun in every format these are played in (which is to say, probably just standard, limited, and EDH, but still). I'll pay a couple bucks for that.


Lets get this out of the way first: Don't assume they are awesome because they are rare lands. That's what that first statement seems to imply.

Maybe you don't know this (reprhrase: you don't) but Scry 1 is worth less in terms of mana than Drawing a card. Not by much, but its worth less than drawing a card.
And they do a pretty terrible job of fixing our next draw step. I have a feeling you haven't played a lot with Scry 1.

You won't pay a couple of bucks because these cards are good. You'll pay a couple of bucks for this card because its the only dual lands in standard and we need them to fix our mana.

If the refuges had been balanced correctly, by the way, you would have gained 2-3 life instead of 1.

 

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

EyeballFrog wrote:
 

Jman22 wrote:
Not to mention that scry 1 is weaker than drawing a card.

This is true, but why is it relevant?

 

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

Jman22 wrote:
 

EyeballFrog wrote:
Jman22 wrote:
Not to mention that scry 1 is weaker than drawing a card.

This is true, but why is it relevant?


Because these cards shouldn't be rare. I'm mostly just trying to frame the actual power level of these cards for people that don't understand.

 

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

Teluin wrote:
 

Fenix. wrote:
Teluin wrote:
wow, these suck

Card evaluation skills: non-existant.


that's certainly true of one of us

 

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

lathspel wrote:
 

I also see the choice of two ally duals and three enemy duals, with no other in-block thematic or flavor tie-in, as pretty weak.  Basically, the mistakes of the last block are being solved here in a non-obvious way, which to me is poor design.

The scry part is neat.  No comment on the rarity aspect.  

 

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

unspeakable wrote:
 

Lands are always a contentious issue, and I'm sure they have become a difficult design challenge for WOTC.  I think the lands are an interesting variant, and will look forward to including them in my decks.  More interesting is the discussion of why scry was emphasized in Theros.  The idea that it was included to help provide creatures AND enchantments makes a lot of sense.  It's going to be a real paradigm shift for me to start playing with auras; for years I've shied away from them, but it seems that WOTC is doing everything they can to make auras work.


I look forward to Sam's articles; they provide the nuts and bolts behind why cards are made at WOTC, without the smugness than has unfortunately crept into many of Maro's articles.   

 

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

PureLiquidAwesome wrote:
 

lathspel wrote:
I also see the choice of two ally duals and three enemy duals, with no other in-block thematic or flavor tie-in, as pretty weak.  Basically, the mistakes of the last block are being solved here in a non-obvious way, which to me is poor design.


Personally, I found the change up from the ally/enemy model refreshing. But then again I've been playing since Ice Age, so I've had enough time to get bored with it.

The only thing that really disappoints me about these lands is that they're so biased towards control decks. It's significantly easier for a control deck to deal with the comes into play tapped drawback, and they profit more from the card selection. (There are no wrong threats, only wrong answers; scry 1 lets you dig for the right answers.) So in Theros standard, if you're playing aggro, you basically have to run an Xy color ballance, or bad land.
 

 

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

mtgraptor wrote:
 

Jman22 wrote:
EyeballFrog wrote:
Jman22 wrote:
Not to mention that scry 1 is weaker than drawing a card.

This is true, but why is it relevant?


Because these cards shouldn't be rare. I'm mostly just trying to frame the actual power level of these cards for people that don't understand.

and you had dual lands that draw a card where ?

 

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

jetcape15 wrote:
 

*Reads new dual lands*

*Does a double take*

*Reads them again to make sure something I'm not missing something*

Ugggggh these are terrible. Slightly better than the refuge cycle and the guildgates. These definitely should have been uncommon. 

 

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

Black_Egg wrote:
 

The rarity is disappointing, but aside from that I don't get why people are panning these things. Outside of rarity considerations, these lands are quite good. 

 

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

IsgardTheTerrible wrote:
 

Jman22 wrote:
Lets get this out of the way first: Don't assume they are awesome because they are rare lands. That's what that first statement seems to imply.

Maybe you don't know this (reprhrase: you don't) but Scry 1 is worth less in terms of mana than Drawing a card. Not by much, but its worth less than drawing a card.
And they do a pretty terrible job of fixing our next draw step. I have a feeling you haven't played a lot with Scry 1.

I'm not saying they're awesome because they are rare. I am saying they are awesome, and hence it makes sense that they are rare.

I am pretty sure everyone knows that Scry 1 is worse than drawing a card dude. That's not exactly a piercing insight. If you think we're ever getting dual lands with a draw a card rider, you're delusional.

Magic is often a game about small edges. That's why we're excited for lands that produce two colors in the first place. Scry 1 doesn't guarantee that you'll draw the perfect card, but it makes it much less likely you'll draw the wrong one. That matters. That's powerful.

 

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

Ertai87 wrote:
 

IsgardTheTerrible wrote:
Jman22 wrote:
Lets get this out of the way first: Don't assume they are awesome because they are rare lands. That's what that first statement seems to imply.

Maybe you don't know this (reprhrase: you don't) but Scry 1 is worth less in terms of mana than Drawing a card. Not by much, but its worth less than drawing a card.
And they do a pretty terrible job of fixing our next draw step. I have a feeling you haven't played a lot with Scry 1.

I'm not saying they're awesome because they are rare. I am saying they are awesome, and hence it makes sense that they are rare.

I am pretty sure everyone knows that Scry 1 is worse than drawing a card dude. That's not exactly a piercing insight. If you think we're ever getting dual lands with a draw a card rider, you're delusional.

Magic is often a game about small edges. That's why we're excited for lands that produce two colors in the first place. Scry 1 doesn't guarantee that you'll draw the perfect card, but it makes it much less likely you'll draw the wrong one. That matters. That's powerful.


As JMan said, I'm pretty sure you've never played with Scry 1.  Allow me to quote Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (and if you'd like to argue with the person who is likely the second-best Magic player on the planet right now (not counting Jon Finkel, he's actually an alien from the future), that's your business):

First, let’s talk a bit about scry. How much is scry worth? It depends on what deck you’re playing and what situation you’re in. If you scry two cards to the bottom and that means you hit your third land drop, then scry is worth a lot. Scry also gets exponentially better, since when you see two cards you can play ahead—sure, you don’t want Channel, but what if the very next card is Fireball? In this case, with scry 1, you will put the Channel away and draw the useless Fireball, as opposed to keeping both and killing them. Scry 2 is also lot better than two instances of scry 1 because you still get to do something even if you want to keep the top card.

So, I don’t think it’s worth paying anything more for scry 1.


Reference: www.channelfireball.com/home/pvs-playhou...

 

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

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