Hello, world! I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon and start blogging about what I know, and what I know I know is Magic: The Gathering. I’m a semi-competitive player who is just as comfortable playing EDH in the “study room” of my dorm as I am trying to take down a PTQ with cutting-edge tech. I played my first game of Magic at day care when I was in elementary school, but the first cards I owned were from Mirrodin. I love limited, and no I will not shut up about it. Besides magic, I play tabletop RPG’s, video games, and do some amateur game design when I have time. I'm posting the same content both here and on my Wordpress.com site, so if you're interested use whatever one works best for you.
Enough about me, though. Let’s talk Magic.
Rewind to the Mirrodin Besieged Prerelease. After an interesting debacle involving nets, bird ****, a dead cell phone tower, and a delicious turkey sandwich, my group is very late for the main event at the Columbus Convention Center, and it’s pretty much my fault. Oh well, we’ll just hop on a 32-man.
Naturally, I side with the Phyrexians, because I want to win. (“You can have then start at ten life, or twenty.” ) I rip open my packs, sort my cards, and look at this:
Three Flensermites. Great.
“No problem,” I say. “I’m sure I’ve got plenty of other infect guys.”
I didn’t. My highest-volume color pair (G/B) had a grand total of eleven playable infect guys, and I was calling Core Prowler playable for that number.
So, I did what any good lucksack would do and played R/W good stuff with Hoard-Smelter Dragon, Myr Battlesphere, and Sunblast Angel from the Scars packs, my only infect creatures being a Phyrexian Juggernaut and a Priests of Norn.
Tragic, I know.
That’s not what I came here to talk about, though. As you can probably guess by the title, I came here to talk about this monstrosity of a card:
Let me, in no uncertain terms, state the following: I. HATE. MIRRORWORKS. Few cards in magic’s history have been so juicy, so shenanigous, so begging to be put into a 40 card deck, while at the same time being so obnoxious in actual play.
I don’t mean obnoxious in the “wow, this isn’t as good as I thought it would be” way, though. I mean obnoxious in the “I have seventeen different rules/token cards flipped ad-side up, with names scribbled on, scratched out, and scribbled on again, and I have no idea what any of them are” kind of way. This card single-handedly made every game that I drew it in at the prerelease a massive headache.
I’m not kidding about not knowing what they are, by the way. I vividly remember a game where there were two token copies that neither I nor my opponent could remember how they got there. We had to call a judge to have him tell us to just remove them from play and continue without them, and for him to tell us that if this were a more competitive event, he would have to issue us both warnings for ‘Failure to Maintain Legal Game State’, or something to that effect.
I like tokens. I like copying things. I like copying things with tokens. But when I’m copying multiple different things with tokens, it’s time to stop. It makes brainhurt for both players, and not for any good reason, either. It’s bad game design, plain and simple.
“But Mark,” the astute reader who noticed that this new feature’s title references commander, known us kool kids as ‘EDH,’ asks. “What does this have to do with EDH?”
This, my rhetorical device, is why it has to do with commander:
I am rage. No, I am more than rage. I am so rage that I feel…calm. Uncannily calm. So calm that I could calmly rip this card into little tiny pieces, burn it, burn its ashes, burn its ashes’ ashes, hit it with a shovel, draw dorky moustaches on that smug little asian jerkoff’s face, hit that smug little asia’s moustache-ridden face with a shovel, kick him while he’s down, then pull out a rusty spoon an–
Truth be told, this is a card after my heart. It is R/U/G, known to one blogger who may or may not be me as “the perfect EDH color combination.” I get my time stretches, my kiki-jiki’s, AND my cultivates!?! It’s like Christmas, only with blue added! AND it copies spells!?! I was running twincast and reverberate in Intet, looks like those slots are freed up! Ooh, and I can double up on ETB effects! AWESOME!!!
Except it isn’t. Because this card is Mirrorworks.
Yes, I know that I could just not use the U/G ability. That’s not the point. The point is that, for the rest of eternity, I will now have to deal with that guy who plays Riku and makes lots of tokens. And when I do run into that guy, I (and I suspect the rest of the table, given enough time playing against this **** of a general) will want him (or, at the very least, Riku) out of the game as much as we want the guy who lands Kiki-Jiki/Pestermite turn 7 every game at zero.
Pro Tip: If you’re making your board so complex that you spend ten minutes figuring out what you have before you even start thinking about attacks, you might be making things less fun for other players.
What really bites, though, is that this came from a product specifically designed for (and even named) Commander. Come on, Wizards. Isn’t the point of precons at least partially to teach people how to build good decks for a format? And isn’t part of being a good deck in EDH not causing headaches for other players? I mean, a little complexity is fine, but when EVERY GAME has one player with ten different tokens that are each copies of different things, it goes beyond acceptable. Hell, if he wasn’t legendary, I probably wouldn’t even have a problem with him, since then he wouldn’t be so tempting as a general. As it is, though, he’s going to be causing headaches at tables everywhere, and for what reason?
I honestly would not be surprised if Riku gets put on the official EDH banned list. He’s not too good, but that’s not what the ban list is (or at the very least, should be) about. The question for whether or not a card should be banned is, “does he make the game less fun for everybody at the table who isn’t using him?” I think the answer is yes, but I’ll let the world play with him for a while and decide for themselves.
If, despite my warnings, you still want to play with Riku, though, do yourself everyone around you a favor: get a second copy of all your creatures, and keep them in different-colored sleeves with your Riku deck. That way, when you copy something, you have a token ready that won’t confuse the table. Magic online does this automatically, and it works great. For expensive or hard-to-acquire cards, color-printed proxies are acceptable (it is a token, after all). By doing this, you show your fellow players that you are willing to do what it takes to make sure the game is fun and playable for everyone. And, on a more selfish note, it makes people less likely to kill your general before he does anything!
I like Riku. I really do. But he really should not have made it to print as-is. That one stupid ability will cause more bad games of EDH than any other card, simply because well-meaning people won’t realize how annoying it is until they actually play with it. That’s a problem. Again, a conscientious Riku player can take steps to fix this problem, but ultimately, they shouldn’t have to. A well-designed card shouldn’t need a ton of outside-the-game legwork to be fun to play with. That’s all I’m really saying here.
Until next time, may you always sign off your articles like another guy who shares your name.