Category: Magic: The Gathering

Contraptions: Then and Now

This is an article written by two men; one from 2007, one in 2017. I was there when Steamflogger Boss was printed, a card that I had a personal complaint with. It arrived at a period where Magic: The Gathering was growing in cost for me; when shipping costs for singles became a bulk of the cost of buying them, because there was no local store selling them; a period when I felt keenly that boosters needed to be fun to open, and where I was heavily focused on the feel-bad moment of opening not a niche rare but a rare that I felt was ‘too bad.’

This was a period when Wizards were communicating about their work – and one of the things they did, was to share with us Multiverse quotes, from the internal database. I took these comments very personally, trying to read into them a tea-leaves situation that painted Wizards employees as thoughtless and removed from concerns like mine. Which, to be fair, they probably were but they weren’t responsible for international delivery and my being scrape-behind-the-couches-for-coins poor.

What I wrote back in 2007 for The Money That Was That Week’s Magic: The Gathering Budget, is presented here, redacted to get rid of any really gross language and for brevity. If you want to go read the whole text… don’t. Continue reading

Planar Chaos Sucks (But It Doesn’t (But We Learned Nothing From It))

Back when Planar Chaos came out I mostly said at the time that it was a fine opportunity for Wizards of the Coast to address its failings, and start setting a new hard precedent in what the game should be, citing the examples of Damnation and Prodigal Pyromancer as signs of what the game’s colours should feature. This perspective, broadly speaking is wrong because Planar Chaos wasn’t meant to be that. I was the one in the wrong, with my sensible-seeming but incorrect assumption.

As it turns out, I was not alone

It’d be pretty easy to just call Planar Chaos a series of mistakes, but it’s a mistake of a different kind to the sort that filter out of R&D. The mistakes of Urza’s Saga are failures of development and refinement, the ‘mistake’ of Fires of Yavimaya/Saproling Burst as a combo was a failure of pre-loading time, and so on. Most of the time, the failures are also pretty ludic: Players are presented with a system, and engage with that system in a way that selects for optimal play experiences. Environments become saturated with ‘best decks’ or draft formats grow stale as optimal strategies surface or combos speed up the game in general.

These are, broadly speaking, problems and mistakes that come up in the conventional tournament play of the game. But Planar Chaos is a mistake of the culture of the players, and a culture that was only going to come to head as social media and real, immediate interaction with the game developers became more of A Thing. As development of the game became more connected to the play environment and made more – reasonable! – concessions to the wider variety of players, there was a more centralised community of people who were interested in the game for its design sake. They even got an archetype name – Mel!

These are the players who, as a community, care about not what Magic will do, or does do, but about what it can do. What the rules permit, what the design space of the game could allow for, within the limitations of still being the game. Now there’s a sad illusion in the Mel group that because they care about rules, Mel players are largely dealing with objective information. This can mean Mel conversations wind up being rather about designing within parameters that R&D actually build within (which tend to be player-focused systems and rely on a lot of playtesting and human activity), they try to basically reduce human engagement with the game into math. These Mels, the ones who fall into this trap, are the lovers and fans of precedent.

Precedent in Magic: The Gathering is a dangerous thing, because we already know that it doesn’t work. We know that Alpha had bad balance. We know that Mercadian Masques wasn’t a great set. We know that Mirrodin-era standard had Problems. But yet, when you extract a card from its greater context, it’s often easy to forget that. Hey, Wizards printed Storm spells twice, we can revisit that mechanic without fear, right1.?

In this game of semi-objective reference-sniping, in the climbing of Mount Cleverest, there is one set that stands head and shoulders above all others as an example of Precedent That Is Definitely Not Precedent.

Planar Chaos was printed in 2007 as part of the insular2. Time Spiral Block. Amongst its cards was a smaller subset of cards that were ‘Planeshifted,’ cards from an alternate present of Magic: The Gathering, where cards that were once printed in one colour were re-flavoured to be printed in a different colour, if the flavour of the colour pie had been interpreted differently. This was a chance for Wizards to do some really big, splashy, impressive things, like-

yeah, that.

Now I’m not going to argue much about whether or not Damnation was right at the time. I personally see it now as a relic of when Wrath of God was the lynchpin of white power (whoah is that a phrase that feels bad) back in the day and when Day of Judgement took over and things opened up and became very different,  and therefore, Damnation is just part of Modern and it sucks that Black has this in terms of how The Game Should Go, but hey, we’ve been moving away from Regeneration and anyway. Point is, Damnation isn’t a card that led to black getting global Destroy All since then.

Planeshifted cards also included Prodigal Pyromancer, a card that was then reprinted in a core set. I personally view that now in that Prodigal Pyromancer is from an alternate past where Wizards never made the mistake of Prodigal Sorcerer. That’s not how it works, but this is the problem: Planeshifted cards didn’t have a single, fixed, sensible and coherent interpretation for what they were. What’s more, Planar Chaos also featured cards that weren’t Planeshifted, but were also meant to be from this ‘alternative present’ – like Needlepeak Spider.

Now, mostly these cards vanished under the waves because for all that Planar Chaos was full of weird cards, most of them weren’t very good. Standard at this time was having a hard time dealing with very straightforward problem represented by Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, a control card so ferociously strong that players were cutting counterspells they didn’t need any more, and a blue-base prison combo was standard legal in the form of ‘Pickles’ a deck that ran on Vesuvan Shapeshifter and Brine Elemental. Aeon Chronicler jumped into these decks and there was a land destruction deck running around, but broadly speaking, Planar Chaos didn’t do much that anyone cared about. The enduring Planar Chaos cards have been reprinted, like Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth.

These cards were not going to be lasting influences on constructed formats – very few sets really are. Mostly it’s individual cards that have an impact, and in Planar Chaos, most of those weird cards don’t provide that impact. For the players who care about precedent in design, though? Planar Chaos is a hand grenade, it blows apart all sorts of assumptions about what Wizards would or wouldn’t do. It’s full of too-complex cards, cards that could be printed in a colour but shouldn’t be because they don’t provide useful tools or interesting play experiences compared to the cards that already exist in that set. There are not really any breaks, but there are some bends. I mean, it’s not like Pyrohemia is as potent an effect as Pestilence in a colour that lacks lifegain, card draw and mana expansion like Cabal Coffers.

Really, the fact is we should be ignoring Planar Chaos in its entirety. Any card that’s printed only in Planar Chaos isn’t a useful example for field of reference and should instead be evaluated not as a card Wizards made but as a card Wizards might make.


1. This was such a recurrent problem in the social media space around Wizards that the name of Mark Rosewater’s scale of not coming back to the game is literally The Storm Scale.

2. Insular in this case refers not to the mechanics but the motifs and themes of the set. More than any set before it or after it, the theme of Time Spiral block is Magic: The Gathering. It’s a set so full of references to other places it’s quite dizzying to dig into them – and often they’re not actually particularly clever, they just exist.

MTG: Modern Rock

Let me show you something embarassing, and old.

Back in 2007 – ten years ago, dear god, Lee Sharpe Ken Nagle and Kelly Digges all work for Wizards now what have I done with my life – I wrote an article for StarcityGames about Rock. Rock, the deck, Rock, the archetype, Rock the type of deck that isn’t really defined by what’s in it – not really – but is really more about how you relate to it.

I wrote about this deck, as a deck that I had had since it was an Onslaught-legal standard deck, with Oversold Cemetery returning Ravenous Baloths.

Ten Year Rock

Creatures (27)
Darkheart Sliver
Frightcrawler
Krosan Tusker
Nantuko Vigilante
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Twisted Abomination
Werebear

Support (10)
Oversold Cemetery
Death Cloud
Life from the Loam
Lands (23)
Forest
Swamp
Barren Moor
Overgrown Tomb
Terramorphic Expanse
Tranquil Thicket

This deck was weird. Looking back on it I mostly remember it being kind of awkward about some of its draws, based on a deck Richard Feldman spoke about once upon a time that was about using Skullclamps to Not Draw Two Cards. It was a different time, but with one lesson I never really got rid of in my deck building.

I like to think this is about having a plan but it’s a little more bald than that: The lesson I learned is that if my deck wants to cast Death Cloud, I want to make sure that every card I draw is okay after a Death Cloud.

This lesson bears out in a lot of other decks I make; I try to think in terms of what I’m trying to do, and then if that plan holds together; does anything work against it? It’s a decision process that sometimes leads to seeing things others do as suboptimal – I don’t like, for example, running expensive cards alongside Dark Confidant, even if the math of it and the play of it works out. I never added Golgari Guildmage to my build of this, even if it was a bear after the Cloud, because it was just a bear. Even Werebear was an iffy include in this deck – because it meant I sometimes wanted to Death Cloud for not as much as possible – because that would leave me with only 2 mana on the board.

The cards that left this deck over time as Extended turned to Modern were cards that were replaceable – Frightcrawler – and cards that very much weren’t – Barren Moor. Strangely, despite what you’d think, nothing ever stepped up to take the place of Oversold Cemetery, a card that lives through a cloud and rebuilds after it; a card that gives you a way to hang on before the cloud and a way to blow out after a cloud. I thought, at first that surely a Planeswalker existed which could take this spot – even just some three mana walker that could ruin an opponent’s face after a cloud, but I’m really surprised to find that there isn’t. Maybe I could splash for Gideon of the Trials, he laughed, but even Liliana The Last Hope doesn’t seem to fit.

When I first penned this article, Ixalan was on the horizon, full of potential. It had the possibility of adding a exciting Vraska planeswalker, perhaps, a 3-mana GB planeswalker that resembled, say, Nissa, Steward of Elements, you know, some filtering, some card advantage, some way to be useful after a Cloud. This has, unfortunately, not proven to be the case. I was hoping there’d be something I could present from Ixalan that would serve as an object lesson how it plays into the plan, but the problem is that there’s almost nothing that could. Sure there are creatures that could be put in the deck, because they cost 3 mana or less and are green and black. None of them do things to advance the plan of the deck, though. Tishana’s Wayfinder is not meaningfully better than Civic Wayfinder, for the purpose of the deck’s plan, after all, and I stopped running that a while ago.

Still, there surely must be something, he told himself, rummaging for an option, until he came to Deadeye Tracker.

Now look.

Deadeye Tracker superficially looks like it could belong in this deck. It costs less than 3, and its abilities – 2 mana+1 mana – tie together nicely to make a 3 mana cost. In a world with haste that would be very efficient unlike some other creatures that tried for this spot like Nezumi Graverobber or Nezumi Shortfang. Plus, after a Cloud, it will absolutely have fodder to feed its exiling ways. If that happens it’ll start fuelling my own card selection and, if not, provide me with more lands as a way to rebuild. It compares favourably to something like Phyrexian Arena.

Problem is, before the Cloud it’s stone worthless. Well, it’s nearly stone worthless.

I do not hold hopes for this one-mana 1/1 to meaningfully beat up other creatures. It will not stand in the path of bears, it will not trade with anything and it will not slow tramplers. It is, before a cloud, not a mid-rangey card, and does not stick with the plan. The plan wants to draw the game out and make a Cloud happen… and the Tracker isn’t going to be any good getting to there. What that means is that if I’m putting this in the deck it’s for the same reason the deck once had a lone Crypt Creeper; it was because I wanted, nay needed, at times, a way to flush out something troublesome from an opponent’s graveyard. Is it better than Nezumi Graverobber, that could trade up, and maybe even flip if it ever somehow did? Probably not.

I was really hoping this format would shake up this little modern toy of mine. Alas, alack, and we move on.

MTG: Blue Pirates

With the arrival of Ixalan comes new flavour, new themes, new mechanical things and with that comes new discussions of how Wizards shouldn’t be doing the things they’re doing, because we’re much better at it than they are. Perhaps.

One topic that’s been brought up is why are the pirates blue? Now, this is one of your classic types of arguments: An argument that doesn’t mean anything, resolves itself, but is still fun to engage with. Far be it from me to complain about fun!

Pirates have been blue in Magic’s history for a while, following an annoying pattern of ‘well we put it in blue and now it’d be just rude to not keep it there’ that defined Magic’s past. They first appeared in Mercadian Masques, a set whose whole theme was ‘uh, sorry,’ and yet despite that still had two cards in it broken enough to get banned in block constructed, because of course.

Now, back in Mercadian Masques I really disliked the pirates as presented – but there’s a lot of stuff in Mercadian Masques that’s a problem (rebels in white? c’mon). I remember reflecting on how Pirates didn’t belong in blue at the time, and, at the time, I was right. The opinion has refined a little though. Pirates don’t belong in just blue.

Still, we’re talking about now, so what are some things about pirates that do fit, wholly and squarely in blue?

Theft

One of the defining actions of the pirate in fiction is taking things that aren’t yours. It’s sort of what defines a pirate. Things like navigating into the ocean, focusing on the self, indulging in strong liquor and being willing to fight over needless nonsense, if it lacks for theft isn’t actually being a pirate – you’re just Jimmy Buffett.

Blue steals! Blue is the colour that steals the most! In fact, blue is the colour that gets the most efficient forms of long-term theft! It’s an area it overlaps with black and red, too, so, yes. Pirates steal.

Change Of Identity

There’s this old rhyme used by outlaws in America.

Oh what was your name in the states?
Was it Johnson or Jenkins or Bates?
Did you kill your wife?
Or flee for your life?
Oh what was your name in the states?

Grim, but it showed a part of the American outlaw life that was by no means unique. Without any kind of central government to control identifying information, outlaws in the wild west would change their names and in so doing, shed entire histories, letting them choose who they wanted to be. Usually, they chose poorly.

This is true for sailors and pirates, too. It wasn’t an uncommon thing for pirates to change their name, head to the docks, and head for nowhere. There’s a simplicity to a life on the sea. Once you’re out, you’re out, and there really isn’t anything else you have to worry about but what’s on the ship. It meant that whoever you were or whatever you had to say, it wasn’t like anyone was going to google it.

Now you can make a case for these sorts of things not being a result of personal choices – after all, many criminals commited crimes of desperation then fled because they knew the society they were in wouldn’t handle it fairly or reasonably. The blue mage could then argue that choices in the face of circumstance are still choices and then you’re in the larger argument about the colour pie, period.

Escape

For all that pirates have reputations as being combative and taking what they want, it’s worth remembering that most of them had fast ships rather than warships – they wanted to catch up to people and take their stuff, but they also wanted to get the heck out when they were at risk of taking on more than they could handle.

Conventionally we see speed as a red thing, or a green thing – Flash creatures leaping in as predators, or red’s hasted beasts. Blue doesn’t get speed in that way. But blue does get the thing speed is used for: Evasion.

Information As Currency

 What’s the conventional thing Pirates are All About? What’s the thing most pirates go out of their way to find? What is usually the object that instigates entire piratical stories?

Treasure maps!

The nature of the pirate as someone driven by information should stand larger than it does, perhaps because the typical pirate movies we’ve seen have been well, thoughtless silliness and nobody reads books any more, apparently. In none of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies is much made of knowing things, or of discovering things as much as the treasure-map stage of things is replaced with a sort of ricochet-from-point-to-point approach.

None of this is to say that people who dislike blue pirates are wrong (though they are, sorta). It’s more that I thought about it for a little bit and realised how neat it was that many pirate things are Very Blue.

MTG: Seasons Of Standard Bannings

Magic: The Gathering is a game with a long and storied history in a player base populated mostly by people who seem to be drawn to this game so they can tell other people how to do things better. During the history of Standard, there have been four major rounds of bannings, and, until this most recent I had this personal hypothesis about the impacts of these and what they told R&D about the way the game worked.

Round 0: THE DARK TIMES

I’m not going to lie to you, I barely understand early bannings. Things were the wild dang west. There was a format where ten cards from alpha, the original duals, were made legal, but only them. I don’t know this period well. Moving on.

Round 1: Combo Winter

Randy Buehler gives a fantastic rundown of the decks of this first great era of standard bannings, the time when Standard was A Thing long enough that bannings were themselves, A Thing. This period was known as Combo Winter, which was not the same thing as Black Summer or the Era Of Fruity Pebbles or the like. The impact of Urza’s Block and to a lesser extent, Tempest, on the various other formats like Extended was huge and all, but this is about Standard.

Standard having an era of Combo is noteworthy because combo is kind of one of the easiest things to develop against. Combo decks want to interact as minimally as possible, and if you can just have the time to grind through permutations or tested versions of decks you can head them off. You don’t make combo looking for your opponent to do a thing, you make combo looking for your opponent to not do things.

These three events, by the way, are compared to one another, but it needs to be said and re-said: None of the other eras were as bad as Combo Winter. Combo Winter was a period where you could actually lose on the first turn, or where you could functionally lose on the first turn. Combo Winter was when Wizards banned a card as an emergency. The closest we got to that ever since is when Mind’s Desire was restricted in Vintage before it was ever legal.

Round 2: The Year Of Aggro

Fast forward to Onslaught-Legions-Scourge Mirrodin-Darksteel Standard for the next bannings. Then Skullclamp got axed. Despite that, what followed along with that was a full year of Affinity aggro being the most widely played powerhouse deck in Standard. There’s some argument that Sarnia Affinity, a build popularised by Geordie Tait, was the best affinity deck pre-Darksteel, because it was basically a permission deck that just played double-lands until it could vomit a Broodstar  into your face, but it didn’t matter too much because Affinity aggro decks were good enough that ‘best’ was meaningless. Best builds of Affinity were negotiating winning the game on turn 2.3 as opposed to 2.4, so it didn’t really matter who was ‘best.’

This period is notable because Onslaught Goblins were also running around so you couldn’t even double down hard on your Affinity strategy. Kamigawa wasn’t going to help any either, because by that point the game had bled a lot of player base. Affinity decks were made mostly of commons and extremely expensive rares, meaning they weren’t a bad place to jump into this very awful tournament format, too! Affinity had power but it also had reach, and flexibility and resilience.

Aggro is harder to balance for than combo. It wants to interact. Blockers can gum up the ground. It fails to mass removal without resilience. It’s harder to be sure you haven’t done something like this.

Weirdly, Wizards have actually printed a bunch of much stronger creatures than were being printed back then, and relaxed on global control – but the relaxation of global control has made it so aggro decks are a little more prone to have to deal with blockers, and therefore, aggro decks don’t have to be so utterly cutthroat as they did back then to deal with things like Astral Slide.

Round 3: Control Summer

Cawblade is an interesting thing it is was the first truly oppressive control singular deck that deformed a standard environment. When there were 4-5 permission decks that could shut the game down and keep the environment miserable for all the things people tended to want to do, single decks like that didn’t stand out.

The issue of Cawblade wasn’t instantaneous loss of power. It wasn’t that it was capable of snapping the game out without you ever having a chance to do anything: It was that it was a control deck that could play like a prison, that could just answer everything, that was so powerful and had so many good options for answering anything.

Cawblade was not a deck that won fast. It was just a deck that didn’t lose and took forever to do it. And as a control deck, it was the hardest to hit with bannings.

Round 4: Today

Hey, Standard’s been weird hasn’t it! It’s had a bunch of bannings! But at the same time, the bannings have been about disabling a number of decks, which is pretty weird. Particularly, Smuggler’s Copter was the most obvious one – it was nuked just for being everywhere and going in every deck.

I’m not going to restate things Wizards have said about these rounds of bannings. They’ve been in aid of diversity of the format, of making some cards good enough to play, but most interestingly to me, the decks they’ve hit have been mostly different types. There’s been a combo deck, a control deck with a potentially explosive win condition, a midrange tribal deck, and a control powerhouse finisher that was being played in a lot of decks.

None of these are good things to have to hit. Standard got bannings because Standard had problems.

But oh my god they are problems of a totally different scale as the ones in the past.

The Lesson

This represents an interesting set of ways to view balance, to view ways of balancing. First, make sure no player can do too much on their own. Then, make sure player interactions don’t pressure players into the fastest iteration, and your design isn’t being pushed to force players to go too fast for there to be any meaningful responses. Then, ensure that the game isn’t built to allow for too many useful responses, solutions to problems.

MTG – Balancing Beatsticks

Magic The Gathering is what we in the dank academia call a ludic game1.. There’s not a lot of room for entirely non-system play, not a lot of room to give things an individually boundless creativity.  There’s some creativity in deck building, but it’s not boundless. You have to put in the cards that already exist, for example, and those cards have to be put in with some limitations and to work, they need to be put in in certain proportions and you wind up being fed into a system.

This isn’t a criticism, by the way. Just a basic analysis. This is just something of how the game works.

During spoiler season we saw Sky Terror printed. There was some concern about how pushed that was, about if that was too much for 2 mana, and there was some talk about its impact in limited. It’s actually super interesting to me, to learn how gold cards shape your early picks – it’s the difference between 3 slots and 11 slots in your mana base, I learned.

Anyway, this prompted something of a conversation about how powerful this card was, while a certain body of people, myself included, responded with… big deal. It’s a flier and it has menace. From that, I wrote – mostly – the following explanation.

In Magic, not all evasion abilities are equal. In fact, some evasion abilities, when they start to interact with one another, are pretty weirdly weak. Sometimes this is obvious, like giving a creature with flying reach, or giving a creature with fear intimidate. On the other hand, sometimes it’s a little subtler. Lemme tell you about Coldsnap.

Back in Coldsnap, there was this card, Phobian Phantasm, which was a FEAR FLIER. It cost 3 for a 3/3 and it had cumulative upkeep and people thought it would be really strong, because it’d be able to fly and not be blocked and it hit for 3. This was the first impression of myself and others2..

The problem is, fear means nothing on a creature that already flies. Most fliers aren’t getting blocked anyway, because the things that can block it are your opponents’ fliers and most of them don’t want to block because they are also turning sideways. When it comes to the way constructed works out, evasive creatures rarely get involved in creature combat, because they don’t tend to have a lot of varieties of bodies, and combat tricks aren’t commonly played (because they’re not so valuable when people rarely get into combat!). You can usually look at evasive creatures and know whether or not they’re going to get blocked at all. Now, this isn’t always true; sometimes a format will feature something that can gum up the air like say, Hornet Queen, but that’s not the norm.

The reason you tend to kill these creatures by combat in limited, of course, is because you don’t have reliable access to removal, and the removal you have is sometimes truly terribad. R&D have almost made a game of designing bad removal spells just to see who still runs them, and boy, turns out they still do.

The thing with this card looking so pushed (and it is pushed, by the way, just not in the scary way it may seem), is that we’re very much conditioned to think of cards as being generally made as a formulation; that every card is about as good as that card can be. This is something that drove me batty until I internalised it whenever Wizards printed a 4/4 for 5, like say, Game-Trail Changeling .

A menace flier may look impressive but it’s not going to get blocked anyway. In constructed, it’ll get abraded or shocked or pulsed or planked or whatever, because that’s what spot removal is for – wiping out individual things that are trying to carry the game, and a 2/2 creature needs to live for four or five turns to make a big difference on its own. It’s why constructed creatures tend to either be capable of swarming out cheaply, rebuilding after a clean-up, or closing the game on their own in a few short hits. You’ll notice rarely do people bother with 7/Xs in constructed if they can get a 6/X that does the same job cheaper, or a 5/X, because the only real virtue the 7/x has is punching through 7-toughness blockers… which are also suitably rare.

This is one of the magic tricks of design; for most intents and purposes, a number of creatures have invisible or meaningless text on them that still makes them feel interesting, still changes the nature of the game while they’re being played, and it’s very interesting seeing the way they influence the game.


1. The alternative term that’s meant to represent games with more individually creative elements is paidic, by the way.

2. I at least kept my reservations about the card because I hated fear and thought it was bad design.3.

3. A thought that was totally vindicated, mind you.

MTG: The Anti-Legions

Hello, Wizards employees! I understand that you’re not supposed to see unsolicited card designs or conversations about same, and with that in mind I’m going to ask you to head elsewhere. Like to this rad interview with Alison Lurhs about Tumblr and MTG. As for the rest of you, let’s talk about making an Anti-Legions.

Man, that’s frustrating. I can’t help but feel this kind of article – if it’s good – would be great to show as a portfolio of design work. Ah well.
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MTG: GR Madness

Magic: The Gathering is a game which at its root has a sort of culture built straight into the game’s mechanics, with five distinct flavours of play execution forming the centerpiece of the game’s style and mechanics. Players introduced to the game will almost always have something to say about how they relate to the colours based on first impressions, and the flavour of the colour pie represents a truly excellent, trope-level structure for not just game design but wholesale story design. People may not even consciously think of it, but the colour wheel lets them choose how they want to play the game, it gives them strategic insight into how others play the game, and it lets them talk about characters and mechanics with the same fluid ease.

The colour pie is great.

A thing that still surprises me, then, given my deep affinity for them, is how rarely I wind up playing green and red together.

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Ixalan In Review

Ixalan has now been fully spoiled! New cards! New deck potential! Things!

As always, I’m only going to really focus on the things I want to talk about and that means most cards get ignored because so what. The majority of cards are for people who aren’t me, like all the limited cards.

I’ll be looking at cards in terms of if I want to play with it or get a set or copy of them, and that means cards that I can see using in a multiple different decks or in one deck a few different ways, or, crucially, cards I expect will be pretty cheap.

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MTG: Examining A Possible UB Keyword

Hey, WOTC employees! As much as I want you to read my stuff, in the hopes you wind up hiring me to write for your sites like the Mothership and whatnot I have to ask you to not read this one because I’m talking about amateur designs and new mechanics. After the fold, we’re going to discuss The Empty Space For A Blue-Black Combat Keyword.

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