11/1/2013 LD: "Developing Commander"

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

"Graft, as an example, lets you put the counter on any creature. While it opened up design space to allow for Cytoplast Manipulator, it also requires that you click "no" a half dozen times or more per game as your opponent plays guys. In my opinion, the added space for the mechanic just wasn't worth it for the hit in online play. "
Yes, this is a problem... but this is more Magic Online's problem, not your problem. It would *not* be hard to add a checkbox that is on by default that says "never put Graft counters on enemy creatures unless Cytoplast Manipulator is in my deck," similar to the old checkbox that was basically "do not troll myself with Butcher Orgg's misleading question and ask me if I want to use the ability when I am the blocker." If somebody wants to play their casual Constructed Graft / Meekstone combo deck in the casual room, well, they can go navigate to the shortcut settings and uncheck it so they can power up their opponent's creatures. The vast majority of people it'll be invisible to, which is the point. The general point is reasonable, of course, but I think Graft is a bad example. (also insert usual whine that the new forums totally mangle responses on Chrome... I see that Firefox works, at least.)

Sam writes:

 

"The idea seemed pretty reasonable -- commanders with global effects can just be recast, so making the effects a bit weaker but permanent seemed interesting, but even small effects with absolutely no way to interact with them just aren't interesting, but even small effects with absolutely no way to interact with them just aren't great for game play."

 

What leaps out at me is that the statement seems so self-effacing, yet at the same time blind. You did it anyways. Oloro is the one hold out from tossing all these cards away, presumably because you made lifegain seem so weak in contrast. But in this, you are wrong. The problem with this is that you made that effect unassailable, and thus the effect uninteresting. it doesn't engage the opponents. Moreover, it, and other effects that cause incidental lifegain to come out the proverbial wazzoo, have been the sole reason justified for the continue non-banning of cards like Magister's Sphinx, Sorin Markov, and the irregular methods you gusy have for dealing with effects that care about how much life you have.

 

The Rules Committee refuses to deal with the issue, claiming among other things that some cards will be better in EDH, others worse. When those "some will be better" include things like Luminarch's Ascension or Serra Ascendant, for a man on the back heel when faced with these cards it is very difficult to deal with them because they take almost no effort to build up to. In fact, they take none at all. Lifegain and even casual "your lifetotal is now" ignores the special qualities of EDH (Commander) in ways that break the card's costs. But you ignore these nonetheless.

 

So if the Rules Committee cannot solve the issue, I look to the rules handling of effects that care about your starting lifetotal, and apply these generally. Also, just put pressure on Meanery to ban Sphinx and Sorin (and Primordial and that other bloody Sphinx, while you're at it). And stop printing cards that get atrocious or suppressive in multiplayer ... because I don't think you guys quite GET 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)

Qilong, you seem to be forgetting that EDH is a completely optional format that does not receive tournament support from Wizards. That also means that the players playing the game get to decide how the game is played. The beauty of EDH is that if you don't like playing against something, you don't have to play against it. There are no rewards or penalties in EDH for winning or losing, all that matters is that you're having fun. You'll never get paired up against a deck you don't want to play against in EDH. There's no penalty for scooping up your cards and saying "nah, I'm not really having fun, I'm going to play with someone else". I personally make it a rule not to play against decks that use infinite loops to win, and when someone in a play group "goes infinite", I let them declare themselves the winner and suggest to everyone that we finish the game without them.

 

If you find there is a card that Wizards has printed that you think is unfun, then suggest to your play group that the card not be used. If your playgroup agrees, then problem solved. If your play group disagrees with you, then obviously your opinion is in the minority and Wizards is actually doing it right for that particular card.

 

As a side, I don't really understand why you have an issue with Sorin Markov. Sure, you get to 1/4th someones starting life total instead of 1/2, but you also have 1-3 other players to worry about instead of just a single opponent, so it's not exactly game-breaking.

I'll just note that the phrase "starting life total" on Chalice of Life and Path of Bravery is presumably introduced specifically to address the Serra Ascendant issue that Qilong mentions. Which rather seems to imply that Wizards would rather they'd used different terminology on Serra Ascendant, but don't think it worth the hassle that banning it would cause.

putting an exploration effect on a general from the command zone was clearly a bad idea. exploration is a $15-$20 card for a reason, with its main drawback being it doesnt do much in the late game. So if they made exploration with a zero mana cost and always starts in your opening hand its a bad idea.

personaly i think [cards that do things from command zone type of cards] should have been left in vanguard, but its not a big deal if the effect is small. If you want a commander with a small effect thats hard to deal with I reccomend thassa, god of the sea.

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