So, the current buzz about Innistrad is cards with no MTG card back. I have some mixed feelings about them. The mechanic seems REALLY fun, but the desing of the mechanic is poor, from a game designer's perspective. I understand why they did what they did (if they did it the logical way, normal card + "token" that matched the normal card the printing company couldnt guarentee a 100% match in all packs) but I don't like the execution. There are considerable down sides to double faces cards for new and old players. The downsides make me wonder if WOTC is trying cause a reaction, or if they just hoped that the overall fun level of the mechanic, plus most players already having a vested interest in Magic would prevent them from loosing customers. The reasons I would have not designed double faced cards are twofold:
1. New players don't own sleeves. They arent goign to want to use the ugly checklist, and 1 in 4 packs won't even have one. Several older players that are more casual do not use sleeves, or use clear/penny sleeves and will also have problems with the double faced cards. With WOTC's heavy investment in "New Player Aquisition" I am frankly suprised that they would print double sided cards, these things considered.
2. Older players hate change: From my experience, vested Magic players hate huge, major changes to the game that break the mold in a way that they feel it should not be broken. My wife quit playing when Planeswalker cards were introduces and I know several more older players who are irritated by Planeswalkers, Flip cards, and now likely double sided cards as well. The other beef I have with double sided cards that may or may not be a shared sentiment is the interaction with Ixidron and other cards that turn something face down. The fact that playing an [card]Ixidron[/card] after a double faced card is on the board does not transform it, but turns it into a face down 2/2 morph creature is a backwards synergy that could have endeared the mechanic to many an oldschool player in my opinion.
In the end, I think the mechanic will be fun to play, but I worry for the torunament crowd. Be sure to pack extra Opaque sleeves or prepare for a possible DQ for marked cards! Glad that around the kitchen table no one cares!
Thats all I have for today, so until next time...
Use YOUR shoes as counters!
In case you don't currently follow it, or know, I have started using @shoe_wooberg again on Twitter. Any time an article goes up, new format is added or change is made to the site I will be posing, as well as just some random Magic musings!
Welcome back to the Unsung Heroes of EDH series. When we last left our heroes, Shoe had run out of creative titles and we were on the letter M, part one. Today, we continue where the last episode left off.
Mirri, Cat Warrior
I'm not too sure about Mirri here. She has a somewhat relevant evasion ability, can play both offense and defense, AND has first strike for 3 mana. What she doesn't have, is a big enough body to be relevant in EDH. Do I think she would make a good voltron general...Not sure. Green isn't exactly known for its synergy with equipment, but it might be fun to do some sort of Enchantress deck with Mirri at it's helm. Throw in a little [card]Mythic Proportions[/card], [card]Wurmweaver Coil[/card]. [card]Rancor[/card] and [card]Dowsing Shaman[/card] and I think we have the beginings of a very unconventional voltron deck. Makes me want to give her a shot.
EDIT: Built me a Mirri deck just like that. Check it out Here!
I pretty much discussed this guy at length with his brother [card]Gallobraid[/card]. At least Morinfen flies.
Rating: F, but not as F as Gallowbraid
Myojin of Infinite Rage
The Myojin here are all a victim of the EDH rules. They basically are vanilla overcosted giants from the command zone. This is a rule I highly would like to see changed, but I doubt it will be. So many more generals would be playable if it just counted as cast from hand. Even so, this guy is a DICK move in all but the most competative metagames if the rule were different. Not broken, just mass LD + a fatty seems good.
Myojin of Life's Web
Same problem as all of the Myojin, just doesn't DO anything as a commander. Life's Web and Night's reach are at least somewhat easy to get to your hand from the graveyard.
Myojin of Night's Reach
Same problem as all of the Myojin, just doesn't DO anything as a commander.
Life's Web and Night's reach are at least somewhat easy to get to your hand from the graveyard.
Myojin of Seeing Winds
Same problem as all of the Myojin, just doesn't DO anything as a commander. Blue bounce could make this dude ok like his green and black brothers(?)
Not sure who is playing the white Myojin, but props to you! I'd love to see that deck work. White can recur the guy to some avail. Anyway, on to our last Unsung Hero for the day:
There is only one general choice that no one will claim that starts with the letter N. Unsuprisingly he comes from one of the top 3 sets to show up on this list, Champions of Kamigawa.
Nagao, Bound by Honor
Nagao here isn't a TERRIBLE card. If you are into tribal samurai he is a decent choice of general compared to ...say...[card]Kentaro, the Smiling Cat[/card], but there just aren't enough good samurai to make a deck, but at least he isn't [card]Gallowbraid[/card].
I have been reworking my Big Box lately. It has been a long time since I have added cards to it and, at some point, I had sorted the whole thing by color and it was all kinds of not shuffled. I built my Big Box just a bit differently than the standard rules on the Big Box format’s website. I prefer a little bit more randomness and a little more …well what’s the nice way to put it “mana management”in my Big Box environment. Mana management is just my polite way of saying “Mana screw can be fun!” My Big Box is riddled with [card]Castle Sengir[/card] and [card]Rainbow Vale[/card] in the land deck, and I merge the non-land decks all into one.
You never know what color of card(s) you will be drawing, and it makes for all kinds of interesting situations. I once saw someone end up tapping something like 6 lands to play an [card]Elvish Warrior[/card] ([card]Koskun Keep[/card], 2 to activate it and a [card]Henge of Ramos[/card] with 2 to activate it).
My Big Box is also mostly commons and uncommons with around 8 rares per color, most of which are jank. I like the fact that having only jank and utility in the big box suddenly makes unplayable cards sitting around my Magic table into the biggest bombs. I have seen [card]Ronom Serpent[/card]s blow out a whole table, and wins on the back of [card]Pyromatics[/card]. However, when you are in an environment that is a closed pool of cards, most of which are jank and can’t do things that rares normally do, you have to tweak things to make the game progress…at all…ever.
Beautiful proxies for Fork and Wheel of Fortune.
The first major thing that my Big Box has that speed things up and keep things fun are proxies. When I was introduced to Big Box, [card]Ember Shot[/card] was always treated as a [card]Wheel of Fortune[/card], and [card]Malicious Advice[/card] was treated as a [card]Fork[/card] (both of which showed up in great abundance). Another thing that has been suggested to me by a multitude of players is to have some sort of wrath effect proxied in. I am considering doing just that and maybe even proxying in a powerful spell of each color. Something like: change Fork to [card]Twincast[/card], keep [card]Wheel of Fortune[/card], [card]Wrath of God[/card]…I like where this is going, but I am less sure of what to do in the other 2 colors. Tutoring for non-land is forbidden (God that would take forever, the non-land deck is something like 1500 cards!) and I don’t know what to even do with green. Basically all Green does in Big Box is fix your mana anyway. It’s something to think about anyway.
Second, NO TUTORS Mui card draw! Tutoring is BRUTAL in multiplayer to begin with. If there were tutors in a 1500 card shared deck, people would just plain QUIT! The land deck is much smaller, coming in at 200-250 cards-ish (like I would actually count.) and you basically have to search that deck to make Big Box work with all of the colors in the same deck.
Finally, you have to put in a LOT of extra staples and don’t forget the haymakers. Out of the approximately 250 green cards going into my box, 100 of them are land fetch. Blue and card draw will probably be similar, as will white and artifact/enchantment removal, black creature kill and red burn spells. Also, there needs to be as many haymaker spells in the deck as possible. I’m talking [card]Fireball[/card], [card]Overrun[/card], Giant evasive creatures…you know what I mean. Something has to end the creature stalemates and that is somewhat
difficult in a format where everything is limited fodder.
I hope my random ranting about my Big Box gave some insight on how to make a good one for yourself, and I honestly hope that you try the format out if someone around you has one, and if not, make one yourself out of your 5+th copies of your draft crap. You will never has this much fun with [card]Bog Hoodlums[/card] anywhere else!
So until next time, Use YOUR shoes as counters!
This week I have no idea what I want to write about. I have done EDH to death, and it's nearly impossible to get anyone around here to play anything non-competitive unless it is EDH. Having no idea made me think maybe it was time to discuss a format unlike any other. One where you can't metagame, or even discuss the actual strategy because the cards do not exsist yet.
I forget where I first heard about Custom Draft, but extensive searching on the web directed me to this website where players each created 45 custom cards in Magic Set Editor. The cards were then approved by either a "Head Judge" or by the group to make sure none of them were too broken or too weak. Then the cards were randomized into 15 card booster packs and then drafted just like any other draft. Those who know me know I am an independent game designer, and an aspiring Magic card designer as well as Variant Format Enthusiast. Obviously this format tickled my fancy as soon as I laid eyes on it. I have yet to get anyone interested enough in it to give it a shot, but I do have the proper equipment to print out decent proxies of the created cards, and I REALLY want to try and sucker my playgroup into trying this. There is, however, a certain level of
dedication that comes with the format. Players have to be willing and capable of putting in a lot of work to design balanced, fun cards for multiple rarities without slipping into any of the many bad design tendencies that MaRo often discusses on WOTC's main site. Obviously I don't have a lot to say about a format that I have never yet played, but I wanted to put it out there and let everyone know about the super cool idea. One of these days I will likely play this and post my custom cards as well, but until then, I guess I still don't have anything to write about...oh...wait...I guess I just did write something.
Until next time...Use YOUR shoes as counters!
I'm not going to talk too much about making a stack for Type 4 today, as that has been done to death by other writers. What I want to talk about is the actual rules set of Type 4. The rules my local playgroup use are very different from what I am used to and there are tons of "variations on a theme" of the format's rules.
First, The starting hand size that my local playgroup uses is 0, max hand size 5. I find this method to be much less interesting because there are far fewer choices of what I can play for several turns and it tends to make card draw cripplingly overpowered. I personally would vote for the 7 card hand just like normal Magic. You can still only play one spell per turn and that in and of itself is a limiting factor for the format.
Second, How spells can be played each turn varies from group to group. In his recent article Abe Sargent mentioned that paying an alternate cost
(like the one on [card]Force of Will[/card]) does not count against the one spell
per turn rule. Also, the limitation on how many activated abilities can be
played per turn varies as well. I don't think I like the option that Abe
proposed/his group uses because you are still playing the spell. I am ok
with cards with Cascade still working properly, so an exception for that may
be in order, but with cards like the [card]Bringer of the[/card]_ Dawn and Zendikar Traps in the mix, some
alternate costs play like a cost reduction, not like using an altogether
different resource to play cards.
Activated abilities seem to cause some of the most fuss for Type 4,
some people restrict to only one activated ability per turn, others allow any
number of activations, preferring to simply not include unbounded activated
abilities in their stack (like [card]Firebreathing[/card]). Sometimes X spells and
abilities are left out of a stack, other times they are restricted to 5, or
10, or really any arbitrary number agreed upon by the group. I think that the
best option amongst these is to simply leave unbounded activated abilities and X
spells out of your stack. Most of those cards are good in other formats
and Type 4 should be (in my opinion) to play cards that are simple, fat and/or
expensive and do crazy things.
Finally, I have seen many groups alter the starting life total of this format. As far as I know, that is a new thing (my group used 40, then 30, and now 25). I have not played enough Type 4 with changing life totals to have much of an opinion, but it does seem like a decent idea to be able to take a bit more damage than usual in a format with first turn [card]Stalking Vengeance[/card]. One of these days, if it continues to be popular, a consistent version of Type 4 that everyone is comfortable with should probably be thrown together. I am not sure that every playgroup would adopt it, but standardization is good for a format. EDH and other more popular formats can attest to this.
Shortly, I plan on making my own stack and experimenting with what the best setup is.
Use YOUR shoes as counters!
Moderator of WOOBERG.net, the Encyclopedia of Magic Variant formats, Shoe has been playing MTG since mid to late 1994, He acquired the nickname ‘Shoe’ through a stupid joke made during a MTG game about the Chimpokomon episode of South Park. He loves MTG and gaming in general and hopes to work designing games one day. He plays mostly with his 6 year old daughter these days, but multi-player, and weird formats are his preference.