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  • posted a message on 2/14 Secret Lairs: Theros Stargazing
    In b4 Tiro drowns the world with a biblical flood of drool.

    personally, this is something that I would’ve loved a couple years back... but no longer need. Hooray for my wallet.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on 5 New Secret Lairs to be announced on Feb 14
    Personally, I might buy if they release a special art for defense of the heart on Valentine’s Day... or if they’re daring enough to do an Earthbind reprint with (slightly) tamer art.

    while I don’t like how this was done, after all, I still have my own tastes.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on 5 New Secret Lairs to be announced on Feb 14
    Quote from buffntuff »
    So what is to be done? Just kill the whole game? Or maybe we could just kill the profit motive that spurs these inventions. Re-establish the game as a co-operative enterprise whose first responsibility is to the people who play it, rather than the people who own it.

    What is to be done?

    In this case, either spread out the drops over a greater period (likely making a similar amount of money in the long run) or spoil the contents in advance (making the product seem less predatory). In the long run, maybe hire a single psychologist as a part-time consultant to aid with maintaining a customer engagement while avoiding these problems.

    If a company is incapable of turning a profit while maintaining basic ethical standards to avoid the blatant exploitation of compulsive behaviors... then yeah, cancel it.

    In most cases, though, there are ways to make profit without such exploitation. I do not question that MTG’s ultimate responsibility is to make its owners money but that does not mean that all means of doing so are equally acceptable.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on 5 New Secret Lairs to be announced on Feb 14
    Quote from RSSR »
    People are having near-conniptions over something they can 100% ignore. This is starting to approach comedic levels.

    I'm not angry about these products because of myself. From where I'm standing, Secret lairs can't really be bad for me. Either they're good and they're a positive or they're bad and I ignore them. For most players, that is the start and end of the equation. With that said, there's a predatory element to this release that I don't like as a matter of principle.

    To show what I mean, let's first indicate why this event is different from, say, a "one-day-only-sale" at a clothing store:
    1. A one-day-sale at most stores put sales prices on items you could purchase at any point. While all secret lairs hold reprints, these items are being marketed in part as unique items, sold for only one day.
    2. This isn't an old fashioned sale that requires some sort of effort to learn about and take advantage of. If you watch the championship or hang out on any MTG websites this weekend, you will learn what's in the drop and have what you need to purchase it. Gone are the days of needing to read the newspaper and drive to the mall.
    3. VERY few stores would have 10+ unique "one-day-sales" that pressure customers to keep coming in again and again over in the space of 90 days.

    So yeah, people compare this to freemium trickery for a reason. Even if it doesn't hurt you or me, the practice of not showing what cards are being sold in advance is likely an attempt to get impulse buys from players with poor impulse control... which makes me kind of sad.

    In fact, let me go on the record as saying that this stuff is WORSE than most freemium tricks I've seen in some ways:
    1. Getting a single copy might feel incomplete: When I buy a character or set of gear in a Free-to-play app, I don't typically feel the urge to by it again 3 more times (if doing so is even an option). For some players and cards, though (Rat colony and snow covered lands, to list examples that have already been used) getting multiple copies is a very real temptation.
    2. The item enters a real economy: In most games, I don't have the ability to sell a special skin, XP-booster, or new character once I've made a microtransaction. For cards, however, we are going to see impulsive buys not only by players who want to use the cards but by collectors who are making snap decisions with the idea that they'll be able to flip it for profit... which may or may not work out.
    3. Multiple offers don't obviate each other: If an app offers me multiple chances to buy premium currency (diamonds, tokens, free summon tickets, etc), I won't feel tempted to take every sale that comes up. In many cases, buying top-tier gear or characters for your playstyle would likewise make future sales of similar products a bit less tempting. No matter how many copies of one lair you buy, however, the temptation to buy the next isn't intrinsically diminished.

    To be clear:
    • If these things didn't cost $30-40 a pop, I wouldn't be angry.
    • If they came out less frequently to ease wallet fatigue, I wouldn't be angry.
    • If Wizards released what was in them ahead of time so players wouldn't be forced into snap-decisions, I wouldn't be angry.

    When you mix all three of those together, though, it's kind of a mess.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on 5 New Secret Lairs to be announced on Feb 14
    I'm happy for Secret Lairs.

    The ones I want/need and can afford are great for me and the others I can ignore.

    This new practice of revealing what's in these lairs right as they become available, however, is Predatory with a capital "P". From where I'm standing, it's seeking to trick people into impulse purchases that they wouldn't otherwise take if they had time to weigh the pros and cons and talk about things online. While I respect that WotC needs to show growth, doing so at the cost of their consumers... by using the type of tactics I'd expect from a freemium game... kind of gets me mad.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on 5 New Secret Lairs to be announced on Feb 14
    Honestly, this seems like an interesting gamble from a marketing perspective.

    If I’m reading things right, all five drops will be available on the same day... which is also the day they’re revealed.

    instead of giving previews and letting players process things and discuss to make informed decisions on which ones are worth it and which ones aren’t, they are trying to force impulse purchases.

    While the lack of previews might cost this release some hype, announcing things at a championship will still push things into common consciousness (and the lack of hype might catch some players off-guard, leading to more impulse buys).

    Personally, I think that using this approach is predatory and more than a little bit evil. With that said, I can still appreciate it from the business end of things.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Seven White Cards
    1. Humble Master 1 mana white mana white mana
    Creature- Human Monk (Mythic)
    Other creatures lose all abilities.

    I think that this thing works properly. "combos" with a few cards like Dreadnaught and turns off creature-based value-engines along with most commander-focused strategies. On the other hand, it is easy to kill and doesn't stop an opponent in a better position from attacking. Wouldn't be printed outside of a commander deck or similar situation due to complicated rulings with layering that emerge with these effects, though I think this card works.

    2. Norn's Confessor 1 mana white mana
    Creature- Horror Cleric (Rare)
    As an additional cost to casting noncreature spells, players must exile a card from their graveyard.
    "Progress is restricted by memories of flesh."

    A two-prong hatebear that simultaneously hates on graveyard-themed decks while stopping early game tutors, mana rocks, and similar tricks. While the tax doesn't seem too nasty on the surface, it has some real capacity to mess with storm decks (if played early enough) and smash it's way through Vintage (even though fetch-lands produce some easy "food" for this card, which makes things a bit more sane).

    3. Runewarden white mana
    Creature- Human Cleric (Uncommon)
    2 mana white mana : Target creature gains protection from instants and sorceries until end of turn.

    A Mother of Runes type card that runs by the logic of cards like Jade Mage. While it doesn't grant unblockability and its protections are somewhat more limited, this card can be activated several times per turn and can be activated on the same turn it is cast.

    4. Harsh Archivist 2 mana white mana white mana
    Creature- Elephant Advisor (Rare)
    Players may choose to skip their draw step.
    Whenever a player draws a card or searches their library, spells cost that player 2 mana more to cast until their next turn.

    In some ways, I dreamed this up as an expensive and beefy Fatespinner effect... or as a Rule of Law effect. This card is simultaneously more and less restrictive than both of those cards. While this card is symmetrical, can be ignored in the late-game, and can be played around to some extent (using tutors/draw spells after casting any other spells, for example), it is often going to impose a pretty hefty tax by tax standards. I think that it about evens out in the long run.

    5. Desperate Recruitment 1 mana white mana white mana
    Enchantment (Rare)
    At the beginning of your end step, if you have not cast any creature spells this turn, you may pay 1 mana white mana white mana . If you do, search your library for a creature card with toughness 2 or less, reveal it, and put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.

    As white is pretty excellent at getting tutors, I wanted to try giving it a reusable tutor that isn't named Land Tax. It searches for something that white has already searched for in the past and generally requires you to be in a bad situation to use it. Unless you're grabbing the few flash hatebears (and ruin the surprise factor), you're only getting this effect once every other turn at most, making it much slower and clunkier than card advantage engines in other colors... which seems pretty fitting for white.

    6. Loxodon Faithmender 3 mana white mana white mana
    Creature- Elephant Cleric (Rare)
    During each of your turns, you may cast one creature, artifact, or enchantment spell with converted mana cost 3 or less from your graveyard.

    A limited Sun Titan effect for one mana less that doesn't require attacking. As far as a general card advantage engines go for white, this seems like a rather realistic direction to go for.

    7. Unbreakable Dreams 3 mana white mana white mana white mana
    Creatures you control have Indestructible.

    In my opinion, white needs this card. One mana more than Privileged Position and two mana less than Avacyn, Angel of Hope. Not a one shot effect like Lena, Selfless Champion, Selfless Spirit, or Teferi's Protection. Not a glass cannon that fails to protect itself like Sephara, Sky's Blade. A straightforward enchantment that makes go-wide token strategies palatable and protects key hate/combo/engine pieces.

    If one or more of these ideas is actually terrible, I look forward to hearing how.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on [UND] All 16 new cards and the decklists.
    ...put assault suit on a beeble and I think B.O.B. becomes invincible.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Full art Basics from Unsanctioned
    ...You have my attention, Unsanctioned.


    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on How to Factor Haktos' Random Protection Values in Your Favor
    The great Achilles'. Man, this was yet another poor name choice. Should have been like Akelets. They are getting too old for this.

    Anyways, Haktos the Unscarred. Kind of a mind-boggling ability, huh? Well, not to despair. I'm going to teach you how to not only easily choose the value at random, but also how to do it in a way that puts the odds in your favor.

    The jist is simple: You flip three coins. Label each one heads, two heads, or three heads result a number. The one you want most label as the two heads result, and your best backup label as the one heads result. These are the two most probable results. The one you want least, label as the three heads result.

    And there you will easily be able to choose this effect at random and will have the best odds in your best favor.

    I don't... I can't even begin to explain how little sense this makes.

    You think that "probability" = "random"?

    Sure. Why not. Fine.

    What I don't get, though, is why you're bothering with coins at all? You seem to insist that the individual pieces of calculating that random value have to have even weight (such as dividing a d6 three ways) and stacking them in a way that creates uneven outcomes but that seems utterly unnecessary if your only guiding force is that "probability = random". Why not skip the "middle man" altogether, in that case?

    "Let's roll a D20. If I roll a 1, it's *unwanted value 1*. If I roll a 2, it's *unwanted value 2*. Otherwise, it's *wanted value*"

    Bam! Just upped the probability from 75% to 90%.

    Why stop there, though. There are plenty of random number generators available online. Why not roll a digital d100? A d1,000?

    Everyone MTG player on the face of the earth must be incredibly silly to see the word random and not immediately ignore it when a random number generator can give me a 99.9% chance (or better) of getting exactly what I want. I mean, it's a total mystery why Wizards even prints that word "random" on cards when anyone with a brain would just pull out an RNG app.

    From where I am standing, the only difference between your coin-flipping method and my RNG method is that an inexperienced player may not notice what's happening with your method... which shouldn't bother you as you're not doing anything illegal. It's not like a judge will lay out ad-hoc rulings right there at the table based on their own feelings and disqualify you, right?

    Is there any difference between the coin-flips and the RNG method that I'm not seeing? I mean, there are multiple possible options and one of them is chosen by random means. That meets all of the hallmarks of probability, which we all know = random.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Where's the exile in MTG world ?
    From what I can tell, exile is the concept of “gone” in the same way that the graveyard is the concept of “dead”

    “Gone” may mean that they are literally gone, as the spells path to exile, exile, swords to plowshares, or cast out

    If may imply vanishing altogether as with Merciless Eviction or Final Judgment. Cards like Return to Dust and Eat to Extinction represent a very thorough manner of destruction that leaves nothing left.

    Even blinking represents quick jaunts to elsewhere/nowhere before returning.

    It’s possible that we’ll see a set in the future where exile gets more meaning in the same way that the graveyard is linked to the underworld in Theros. To be certain, exile was strongly linked with Eldrazi corruption (if not a place) in Battle for Zendikar.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Need advice for a non stax Alela build
    Hmmm... I guess that I have a couple cards to recommend, though YMMV.

    Dimir Signet: Might as well run all three if you're willing to use sky diamond.
    Arcane Signet: Another straight upgrade to the diamonds.
    Talisman of Hierarchy: Another good 2-drop mana rock.
    Talisman of Progress: This one, too.
    Anguished Unmaking: Better than Utter End for many EDH decks.
    Teferi's Protection: Is basically a white counterspell. Doesn't hurt your tokens, either.
    Divine Visitation: Because Faerie tribal stuff is relatively shallow.
    Lightning Greaves: Because every commander needs this.
    Cyclonic Rift: Another universal answer that doesn't touch your own tokens.
    Idol of Oblivion: No-brainer draw engine to replace something like night's whisper
    Grasp of Fate: Even with three colors, I like this better than O-ring for multiplayer.
    Kindred Discovery: Beats the pants off of Coastal Piracy
    Cover of Darkness: Making those tokens extra-hard to block.
    Dictate of Erebos: An excellent rattlesnake card to make 2/1 flying faeries look like scary blockers.
    Archetype of Finality: While it's a bit expensive, it's another enchantment that makes all of your tokens into terrifying blockers.
    Flickering Ward: If you can get it, it's an excellent enchantment that can protect itself, protect your commander, and essentially pump out 1/1 faeries for white mana white mana when Alela is out.

    Other Generic Goodstuff
    Land Tax: While it isn't "ramp", per se, it's still one of the best 1-drop enchantments you'll find.
    Necropotence: Difficult to cast in a three color deck but still worth considering. It's that good.
    Luminarch Ascension: 4/4 fliers on demand is really, really fun.
    Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite: Because it's a buff spell that also wipes your foes.
    Vampiric Tutor, Demonic Tutor, Diabolic Intent, Enlightened Tutor, Mystical Tutor, Idyllic Tutor: Because Tutors.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Run more interaction! Run more fast mana! Or: The death of interesting edh deckbuilding
    Another viable alternative might be applying a point system to powerful cards like Canadian Highlander.

    That way, choosing which powerful cards becomes another important choice to make and you don't need to outright ban a huge array of cards.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
  • posted a message on A Proposal: White needs "X"
    Quote from DJK3654 »

    There was a time in the game's history when green was very weak. That problem wasn't solved by removing green's limitation of relying on creatures. Instead, WotC just found more ways to allow, and pushed more cards that allowed, green to do better at some of the things it was weak at within its critical weakness of relying on creatures. Similarly, the answer to white's relative weakness right now is not to abandon its critical weakness, but find and push more ways for it to work around that without breaking it. If breaking weaknesses was your go-to just because a color is weak, the color pie would just slowly dissolve into nothing over time.
    It's not like white has consistently been the weakest colour— it's just been the last few years roughly. (EDIT: Here's a blogatog comment from just four years ago complaining about how white gets to have in-colour ways to work around its weakness but red doesn't). Red didn't get 'rummaging' and 'impusive draw' because WotC gave up on it's critical weaknesses— because card draw was never that, it was late-game sustainability and being unable to deal with enchantments. Card draw does help with late-game sustainability, so they gave red card draw and card selection that was less effective at that.
    Giving up on white's critical weakness being a lack of card draw would require a reassessing of the whole color's strengths and weaknesses. Maybe that is necessary, but WotC hasn't had that much of an opportunity yet (with their delayed schedule) to try working around it in color, so I think it's premature to call for that.
    I do think white should get more filtering though, in line with what I was saying about getting lands and mana. White is already allowed to get scry and do some dig and tutoring cards, and it would be simple enough to just print and push a little more of these cards. It's quite possible WotC is already doing this with current and upcoming sets. They are reprinting Idyllic Tutor, after all.

    If you look back at the history of the game, the first green card draw that really existed (other than a single color hoser and incidental cantrips/delayed cantrips that existed in white a la Ritual of Steel, Blessed Wine, and Carrier Pigeon) seems to be Fugitive Druid in tempest... well after white received Truce and Temporary Truce.

    I am happy to see white getting mana filtering through specific tutors. White has also been pretty good about getting a whole bunch of highly specific tutors for enchantments/auras/equipments/weak creatures/planeswalkers/legendary creatures, which is nice. White also gets decent reanimation from time to time, which shouldn't be discounted. I feel that the renewed presence of symmetrical advantage in cards like Happily Ever After and Shatter the Sky are the final key to this system, though it needs to be done in a way that "breaks" the synergy.

    For example:

    Stern Guidance 1 mana white mana
    Opponents can't cast spells until the end of your next turn.
    Each player draws 2 cards.

    (everyone gets cards but you get to use them first and get a decent haste effect.

    Mass Aurafication 2 mana white mana white mana white mana
    Destroy all creatures. Each player draws 2 cards.

    (card advantage tied to destruction that lets you pull ahead)

    Generous Benefactor 2 mana white mana
    Creature- Human Noble
    At the beginning of your end step, each player with three or fewer cards in their hand draws a card.

    (situational card advantage for everyone that may not be symmetrical in practice)
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on [TBD] CalebdMTG preview - hateful eidolon
    Honestly, black doesn’t have the most terrible engine for these things.

    Turn 1: Eidolon
    Turn 2: Aphemia
    Turn 3: cast the -3/-3 aura on an opponent creature, draw a card, and turn that aura into a zombie.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
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