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Subject: The absolute best game that I won't recommend to you rss

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Mike Hulsebus
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Despite what the Richard Connell short story may suggest, the most dangerous game is not man, it is Magic: the Gathering.



If you’ve been inclined toward nerd things at all in the past 17 years or so, you’ve probably heard of Magic: the Gathering. It’s the game that, despite spawning all manner of copies, still remains the number one customizable card game out there. I originally played when Magic first came out, and then picked it up all over again about three years ago. Let’s take a look at what keeps people interested after all these years and why, despite loving the game, I wouldn’t recommend it to you.

Magic is a game played between two players in which each player has his own deck he uses to attempt to take his opponent from 20 life to zero. A player chooses which of his cards he wants to put in his 60-card deck, so he has full control over what cards he can expect to see and how he wants his deck to work.

On the most basic level, on your turn, you draw a new card, play one land card if you have one, and then cast spell cards from your hand of cards. Spells can let you get guys onto the table, make your guys better, alter the rules of the game or interact with your opponent’s spells.



Each spell has a cost. For example, the spell Incinerate lets me do 3 damage to a creature or player. But to play it, the symbols in the upper right tell me that I need to have one mountain land card out and one other land of any other type. When I use a land to cast a spell, I turn it sideways to show that it has been used. This is called “tapping” the card. Next turn, I get to untap all my lands and use them again.



This game in progress shows how players arrange their cards on the table in front of them. The player playing the green/white deck has his lands closest to him on the table. So far, this turn, he has used his plans and two forests, which we can tell by seeing that they're turned sideways. Since the opponent's creature is turned sideways, that means he will be unable to block, and the player's creatures (in front of his lands) will be able to swing in and deal some damage. Players also maintain a hand of cards which are not pictured here.

I could fill my deck with the most powerful spells in the game, but that alone won’t win me games. Because I am only able to play one land card per turn, I could only play a card that takes one land on my first turn. In later turns, I will be able to play more land to the table (if I draw it into my hand!) and play more powerful spells, but if I don’t have a good variety of spells at a wide variety of costs, my opponent will be able to beat me before I can even get enough lands to the table to cast my spells.

As players play creature spells, they will be able to use those creatures to attack their opponent and also to defend against the other player’s creatures. Damage from creatures is usually how a player wins a game, but it’s not the only way to win a game.

This is what makes Magic great: you choose how you want to win the game. For example, if I like making a deck that works by making my opponent discard cards so that he doesn’t have anything to use against me, I could make a deck that contains a lot of spells that force him to discard cards.

If I want to take that a step further, I could play a card that says “whenever a player discards a card, this card does 2 damage to him” to make my deck even more efficient. And, with that new card in play, suddenly, a card that says “Each player draws one card and then discards one card” goes from being good for both of us to helping me more than it helps him.



Megrim and Mind Rot are two cards that work well together quite obviously (and not just because they both feature art of people holding their heads).

My opponent, however, might have made a deck that’s a bunch of really cheap-to-cast creatures. With a deck of guys that only take one land to get out, he could try to get an army of guys in play before I can make him discard them. Or maybe instead, my opponent will have a spell that completely cancels my spell card and prevents it from being cast.



Merfolk Looter and Judge of Currents both work well together if you are willing to have two different colors of land in your deck. The sideways arrow on the Looter's card text means that you can turn him sideways to activate his ability. Doing so lets you draw a card and discard a card, meaning you'll get better cards in your hand. In addition, if you have the Judge of Currents creature out, you'll also gain a life point, keeping you further from losing.

Magic is a game of discovery: you get to put a bunch of cards together to see how well they work together and then make tweaks over time to make it the best that it can be and to really make it your deck. You would think that strategies would be obvious, but as new sets of cards come out, it takes a lot of time and testing before the best decks start to emerge. In recent years, one player’s discovery took one card’s price from $1.00 each to $40.00 each.

Ah yes, now we have arrived at Magic’s problem: it costs money. “But Mike,” you say, "every game costs money.”

That is true, but Magic is a game that you have to keep buying over and over again. See, you buy Magic cards in randomized groupings of 15 cards called booster packs. You get one rare card, four uncommon cards and 10 common cards. So if you’re looking to get your four copies of a rare card for your deck, you’re going to have to buy a lot of $4 booster packs.



This is a swamp. It produces one black mana when you turn it sideways as shown by the skull symbol. It costs about 5 cents. If you want a card that can make black or red mana, you can buy that online for about $10-12 dollars each, and you will need four of them for your deck. Without them, you won't win tournaments if you are running a black and red deck.

The best way way to play Magic (to be clear: I don’t mean the wisest way, I mean the most fun) is in tournaments where everyone pits their decks against one another to see which comes out on top. If you get good enough to make the pro tour, you can even play Magic for a living.Â
The problem with tournaments, however, is only the Magic sets that have come out in the past two years are legal in tournaments. You cannot just buy a deck you love once and play forever; eventually your deck is going to be obsolete. This is what keeps the tournaments new and fresh, but this also means that the bare minimum cost for staying current enough to be competitive is to buy a $85.99 box of cards every four months. It will take a lot of work to trade those cards into what you need for your deck, but it’s better than buying a case of four boxes like some people do.

I had fun trying to beat the decks that people had spent $400 armed only with my cheap deck, but eventually I arrived at the point where there was a card that was strictly better than another card in my deck and I would need to replace it if I wanted to really have good odds of winning. I could try out a different deck, sure, but if I didn’t have the cards to make that deck, I would have to find a way to trade my cards to get those cards.

The wisest way to play Magic is to make a pact with a group of friends. Everyone starts with a pre-constructed deck and then has a set amount of booster packs they’re allowed to buy. Without an established agreement, some overzealous player is going to get carried away and buy more cards than everyone else and always win. Then, to compete, everyone else will buy new cards. Then the other guy buys new cards. Then you go in on a box together. Then all is lost and you’re addicted.

I like Magic in the same way I like fireworks. They’re exciting and a lot of fun, but I’m not about to invest a whole bunch of money on them: there reaches a point where the fun I get out of them isn’t proportional to the amount of money I’m investing. And even if you decide to only buy it once and never buy it again, a good deal of Magic is fun is trying out new strategies: the base game wouldn’t be the same without knowing that any aspect of your deck is changeable.

So while I admit that Magic is one of the best card games out there (second to Dominion in my opinion), I don’t advise anything more than playing it casually and playing it carefully. Or as the Dual of the Planeswalkers game available on Steam / Xbox.

This article was originally posted at
http://www.annarbor.com/entertainment/magic-the-gathering-ca...
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Eugene
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Quote:
customizable card game

Did I miss a marketing re-positioning of CCG? That what was once "collectable" is now "customizable"?

Quote:
everyone pits their decks against one another to see which comes out on top

I've likened Magic to geek cockfighting. How much control over the outcome do players have when decks are tossed into the ring against each other?
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Joe F.
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A good write-up, but I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with you on competitive tournaments being the most fun to be had playing Magic. I've been playing Magic for around 17 years, all of which has been casually. By ignoring Standard tournaments, I avoid feeling compelled to maintain a tournament-legal deck (read: constantly buying cards) and I don't have to put up with ultra-competitive kids who value their DCI Rating more than good sportsmanship. I've seen enough expansion blocks come & go that nowadays I'll just buy an occasional preconstructed deck if the mechanic sounds fun, or a Fat Pack if I really like the theme (such as Innistrad).

But, to each their own.
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Tommy Occhipinti
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brilk wrote:
You didn't mention the actual best way to play Magic, which is limited. Booster draft is my favorite by a huge margin, but cube drafts are excellent and require only a one time investment. You can actually put together a really fun all-commons cube on the cheap.

I know a couple of other guys who are in your position in constructed. They bring horrible decks to every tourney and get smashed literally every time. Some of them have been doing this for years. That's their thing and they're free to do it, but it would be pretty silly if they actually expected to win. Playing a $10 deck in a standard event is like playing a completely different game. Competitive constructed costs money. There's no way around that.

As for constructed in general, it's a trap. I'd rather just throw my unsellable cards away after a draft (and I always do).


I almost made a post a lot like this one, but then I realize that I've probably made a dozen such posts in the past, and I didn't want to become repetitive, so thanks for saving me the trouble!

The only thing I'll note is that if you are interested in game design, or printing proxies, or generally have any use for custom printed cards (like, say, the custom deck for Railways of the World or Agricola), Magic commons are fantastic to have around by the ton.
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Mike Hulsebus
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brilk wrote:
You didn't mention the actual best way to play Magic, which is limited.


Yeah, I do enjoy booster drafts, the main reason is because I felt like everyone was on an even playing field. During a brief expensive go on Magic Online, I played a good share of these games, but at ~$15 per go, they got expensive fast. Yeah, you could always resell the cards, it's true, but that's easier said than done.

I've actually wanted to make up my own cube where I just buy some number of boosters, label them all, and then that would make it so that each booster back could be sorted back on into its original back, but my current game group doesn't have Magic players so I scrapped that idea.

For me, my favorite part of magic was going through the big lists of cards and putting together deck ideas that I thought would work. One of my favorite Magic experiences was taking a rogue deck and winning a tournament. Over the course of the tournament, a few people had to stop and read one of my enchantments since it was a card that rarely saw tournament play.
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A Brave New Geek
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Thanks for the great review/overview of the game. I had heard about this game years ago though blissfully ignorant, chose not to investigate it for all the reasons you state!

I refuse to play any CCG's not because I do not imagine them to be bucket loads of fun but because I would simply be a test subject of Ivan Pavlov - constantly drooling/throwing away fistfuls of paper money whenever the CCG printers willed it!

No CCGs or MMORPGs. Repeat mantra.
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Tommy Occhipinti
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mikehulsebus wrote:
During a brief expensive go on Magic Online, I played a good share of these games, but at ~$15 per go, they got expensive fast. .


I'm far from a phenomenal Magic player, although I have been playing for a while. I started playing Magic Online over the summer (with M12) and was worried about the $14 per pop cost of drafts. That said, the drafts online pay out very generously in prizes, and selling cards online is very easy if you are willing to sell to bots (who admittedly give you slightly below market value).

Since I didn't want to go overboard with expenses on Magic Online, I started keeping a spreadsheet to track my profit/loss record on Magic Online. As stated, I'm probably an average player, I sell all but the most expensive things to bots (so I could make more money there if I tried), and I always buy packs from Wizards (where as if you invest more effort you can buy them from bots for a discount), so I'm certainly not completely optimizing my expenses. I also don't think I've opened particularly well (my only major sales in there were a Liliana and a Snapcaster Mage).

So, out of a sample size of 14 drafts and 2 sealed events since ISD released, my average cost per event is $2.06. Also of note is the fact that I don't sell commons/uncommons, and I only sell rares that are worth a decent amount, so I have tons of stuff I can play in the casual rooms, in my standard deck if I'm into that, etc.

It is hard to argue that I haven't averaged $2.06 worth of enjoyment out of the ISD events I have done. I play in the Swiss queues, so I'm always guaranteed of playing three matches per draft (somewhere between 6 and 9 games), plus I hang out in the limited resources clan where a lot of people are always up for doing a match with old draft decks.

The biggest thing I don't like about doing drafts on Magic Online is the time commitment. It could easily be 3 hours from start to finish, depending on a lot of factors, like how long it takes the draft to fire and how quickly people finish their matches. Worse, that up to 3 hours is hardly solid play time, often involving a lot of waiting until the next match. Worse still, playing Magic Online is hardly a social event, usually involving almost no talking (and, well, no talking is not the worst that will happen!). Both of these factors are mitigated somewhat by the fact that I'm a member of a very friendly social clan, so I can hang out there and chat with people during down time. It certainly doesn't compare to having people over to my house for a draft though.

Short Summary: If you want to do a Magic draft, Magic Online is a very affordable place to do it (once you get over a difficult interface), and it scratches the itch very well. It has averaged me just a little over $2 per 3 hour draft, but the up front time commitment stops me from taking advantage of it too often.
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Jerry Martin
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It is also worth noting that not all tournament Magic is standard based. Although unlikely you could buy a Legacy deck and that be the only thing you play. It would be a high starting price but then after that there would be minimal investment.
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Mike Hulsebus
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Syvanis wrote:
It is also worth noting that not all tournament Magic is standard based. Although unlikely you could buy a Legacy deck and that be the only thing you play. It would be a high starting price but then after that there would be minimal investment.


Yeah, that's an argument I've heard a lot, but if you like Magic for building decks, the idea of a one time $300+ spent on a deck you can never change isn't that appealing to me.

Still, this is definitely a huge testament to how great Magic is: there are so many ways to play that there's a gametype for many different play styles.
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Laserwulf wrote:
...I've been playing Magic for around 17 years, all of which has been casually. By ignoring Standard tournaments, I avoid feeling compelled to maintain a tournament-legal deck (read: constantly buying cards) and I don't have to put up with ultra-competitive kids who value their DCI Rating more than good sportsmanship...
Precisely. Assuming that Standard is the "only good way" to play Magic would give me a sour attitude towards it too. But I have friends who still talk about casual, kitchen-table Magic games we've played against each other 15 years ago.
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Andy Stout
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mikehulsebus wrote:
Syvanis wrote:
It is also worth noting that not all tournament Magic is standard based. Although unlikely you could buy a Legacy deck and that be the only thing you play. It would be a high starting price but then after that there would be minimal investment.


Yeah, that's an argument I've heard a lot, but if you like Magic for building decks, the idea of a one time $300+ spent on a deck you can never change isn't that appealing to me.

Still, this is definitely a huge testament to how great Magic is: there are so many ways to play that there's a gametype for many different play styles.


It's true that if you're a big fan of deckbuilding, then Legacy will be prohibitively expensive. But one of the great things about Legacy is that many of the decks are so nuanced and complex that you can be very happy with one single deck for a very long time, especially with the enormous variety of decks you'll play against giving you different challenges all the time.

That said, as much as I love competitive Legacy, and as much as I love drafting and sealed deck, I still agree that kitchen-table, casual Magic (though not multiplayer - blegh!) is the best way to play Magic ever.
 
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Josiah Fiscus
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What was the $1 to $40 card you alluded to?
 
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Mike Hulsebus
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happyjosiah wrote:
What was the $1 to $40 card you alluded to?


Tarmogoyf. Though a quick search now shows they're now over $80/piece. Must be all the zoo decks in legacy?

Edit: this SCG article [from 2008 before price went up further] says that it started at $3, not $1.
http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/misc/16281_Insider_Tradin...
"Tarmogoyf - the most expensive Standard card in Magic's history, charting in at a solid $50 at its peak. We began by preselling it at $3 each in April. It rose in price the first week of June to $8, then to $15 by the end of June. The top-tier Standard cards usually parked in the $20-$25 range, but this was not the case of Tarmogoyf. By July, it was $20. By August, $25. When we got our next last batch in stock, it was September, and we sold out at $32.50 within a week. We moved a ton more in October at $35 each. November brought a $40 price tag, and by the time the New Year hit, Tarmogoyf had hit $50 and we could not keep them in stock!"

Also, I think Jace the Mindscuptor took its title as most expensive card when it was at $110/card before it got banned
http://ark42.com/mtg/pricehistory.php?q=Jace%2C+the+Mind+Scu...
 
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J Jurgens
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mikehulsebus wrote:
During a brief expensive go on Magic Online, I played a good share of these games.


mikehulsebus wrote:

I've actually wanted to make up my own cube.


The developers have said that cube draft will be coming to MTGO at some point in the near future, likely with the version 4 revamp.
 
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Scott Josephus
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mikehulsebus wrote:

The best way way to play Magic (to be clear: I don’t mean the wisest way, I mean the most fun) is in tournaments where everyone pits their decks against one another to see which comes out on top. If you get good enough to make the pro tour, you can even play Magic for a living.


The problem with your reasoning is that this is opinion, not fact; I myself depise the tournament scene. For me, it sucked all the fun right out of the game - it took me years to get back into it. For a while, everyone I knew forgot about the philosophy of, "Let's try these things together and see what it can do, and instead subscribed to the philosophy of, "Let's make a deck that can kill everyone on turn two."

I will play Magic in a casual environment any day, mixing older and newer sets, and nowadays, there are so many cards out there for sale you can get a block of 1000 cards for $20 or less; this is not an unreasonable investment. Will this let you win a tournament? Probably not. Will it let you play the game for a reasonable investment in a casual environment? Definitely.

Quite frankly, I preferred it when the skill behind deckbuilding was, "Let's a make a deck based on a limited card pool", rather than Let's make a deck assuming I can get 4x of any card I need". It took greater skill and was more fun to make a consistantly successful deck.

As far as the tournament scene goes, BLEAAAAGH! Never. Many players get too hyper-competetitve and worked up, and forget that at the end of the day, this is a GAME. I have enough stress in my daily life. I certainly don't need something that is supposed to be fun adding to that.
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Scott Josephus
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garygarison wrote:
Quote:
customizable card game

Did I miss a marketing re-positioning of CCG? That what was once "collectable" is now "customizable"?


Some CCG's of the era were officially called Customizable Card Games from the get go, like the Star Trek CCG. Some were also called TCG's (Trading Card Games). They all mean the same thing.
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Josh Morgan
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What about Commander/EDH? I think that's a pretty fun format. I also ran across a fan made retheme called Space the Convergence which is a SciFi rethemeing of the game into a 450 card power cube. I'm really enjoying playing it and find the restricted card pool refreshing for deck building and leveling the playing field. Plus there are tons of ways you can draft for various player counts! If you are just starting in the game, I think cubes are the way to go. To start easily, just pull 50 unique cards in each color. Try to make sure there's about a 30/20 split between spells and creatures and draft (look up pack wars, Winston, 8 man booster drafts, and Winchester for a starting point). You can tweak your cube over time, perhaps add multicolor cards (make sure each color combo is equally representated) and artifacts, or non-basic lands. Scour the cheap cards at your local game store to flesh things out. Try to keep the card pool under 500. Maybe you start pursuing a theme in the cube (ie no creatures/spells that cost more than 3 total mana). It's your game so play it how you want.
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Mike Hulsebus
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limiter3118 wrote:
The problem with your reasoning is that this is opinion, not fact

Yup, and you're welcome to disagree

rhoubhe wrote:
What about Commander/EDH?

I like EDH for its environment and variability from one game to the next, but I only have played it with my brother just messing around for fun (one word review: yay).

I once got the idea that I would play cheap things by playing Pauper on MTGO, but the silly thing about it were there were these commons/uncommons that were available that would be cheap except they were good in Pauper decks so the price was jacked up when getting them from bots.

Honestly though, I do know that my local game store has EDH games. Maybe I should give them a go. At the very least the act of making a deck will be fun even if my deck gets beaten by legacy-tier cards. If I do, I'll post the results, but the schedule is tough with a baby since she's not old enough to sling spells alongside me yet.

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Peter O
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Something to note for people new to magic is that Magic design and development is intentionally unbalanced. There are MANY substandard cards for every decent card and R&D plans it this way. If you are used to well designed boardgames with cards most cards are moderately usefull, or at the minimum a role player for specific game states. Magic has just flat out BAD cards that are strictly worse than other cards, often in the same set. Contrary to their claims that they want "skill testers" they could easily up the stats of the worse cards in a totally balanced way and have plenty of skill testing. You get far better value for money from a good boardgame designe than you do from magic.
 
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Tommy Occhipinti
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tranenturm wrote:
Something to note for people new to magic is that Magic design and development is intentionally unbalanced. There are MANY substandard cards for every decent card and R&D plans it this way. If you are used to well designed boardgames with cards most cards are moderately usefull, or at the minimum a role player for specific game states. Magic has just flat out BAD cards that are strictly worse than other cards, often in the same set. Contrary to their claims that they want "skill testers" they could easily up the stats of the worse cards in a totally balanced way and have plenty of skill testing. You get far better value for money from a good boardgame designe than you do from magic.


It is definitely true that Wizards makes skills across a wide band of playability (although the band has gotten narrower over time). This is very deliberate, and you can find plenty of columns on Daily MTG about it.

I don't agree with the suggestion of your tone that this makes the game worse. Indeed, I think the gradient of card power is one of the most important aspects of the game. Why is this? The key here is to note that Magic is a game designed for limited (that is booster draft, sealed, etc.). They do give attention to other aspects as well, but the primary thing they do when testing a new set is test how it performs in sealed and draft. This is very reasonable, as most Magic players either play a lot of limited, or play very casually, and casual players have a card pool which while larger than a limited card pool is closely approximated by it. It is worth noting they also do a lot of testing of standard.

So, why is limited better with unequal power?

In sealed, you are given 84 cards and asked to build the best 40 card deck you can out of them in 20 minutes. This means you have to pick a measly 23 cards out of your 84 card pool. Imagine if all the cards were equally strong, this would be crippling (try watching a newer player build a sealed pool out of a cube sometime, there are tears). Of course, you can't just play the 23 best cards out of your pool, you have to pick two (possibly 3) colors. But you can't even just play the best cards out of those two colors (in a good set) because you have to worry about your curve, and about synergy, about consistency, and many more factors. The power level gradient helps get you started in sealed, and is perhaps even more important in booster draft (which would be really boring if all cards were equally strong).

That said, there are limits of how unplayable the worse cards are. They used to regularly print "skill-testers," that is, cards that look much better than they are to new players. For an extended diatribe on my views about this, you can see my article on my Core Set Cube, but I'll just leave it at I don't much like them. Fortunately they don't do them very often anymore, but they did just print Favor of the Woods!

I also don't love it when they print a card that is strictly worse than another card at the same rarity in the same set. The last time they did this was Knight of Cliffhaven and Glory Seeker in Rise of the Eldrazi, but since then Aaron Forsythe has mentioned they probably won't be doing that anymore.

So, what percentage of Magic cards from new sets are unplayable? Well, there was a discussion amongst pros about how many cards in Innistrad they had never played in any draft decks. The pro that had played the most had played all but 6, out of 284 cards. That's a staggeringly high percentage (and most of the 6 were clearly angled at constructed, like Infernal Plunge and Past in Flames and so aren't necessarily unplayable in all formats).

There is also the fact that the WOTC folk are very clever, and often cards that look unplayable aren't. Many serious players played Golden Urn in their draft decks in Scars of Mirrodin despite the fact that the card looks awful. In Innistrad, everyone's set review (including mine!) declared that Memory's Journey and Runic Repetition were unplayable in draft. Months into the format a deck built around these cards (as well as other low draft picks like Gnaw to the Bone and Grave Bramble) was discovered, and is now viewed as one of the better decks it is possible to have.

Short summary: I think any game that is going to have something similar to the joy that is sealed/draft requires a significant quality gradient. I don't necessarily think that Wizards has done this optimally, but they are getting better every set.
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Steve Wagner
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As prior posts have said already, the best way to play Magic is either by drafting or sealed (which can be done cheaply if you want to do it at home) or by playing Commander (or EDH - which stands for Elder Dragon Highlander.)

In fact, I would say Commander is my preferred way to play because even though it can seem more random, it gives you much more choices. You only have one of each card in a deck, so sometimes you have decide when the best time is to use that one card.

I do like constructed tournaments, but sometimes it is more tension than fun for me.
 
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K A
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I never got into magic because the actual game looked rather scripted. It seemed like all the game must lie in deckbuilding (home alone pre-game) rather than in actual play (with other humanoid type persons in-game). For the magic fans, is this perception way off? Are there a lot of non-obvious in-game decisions? I know that drafting can be done with others but what about after the actual card play begins, post-drafting.
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Adam B.
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mikehulsebus wrote:

Honestly though, I do know that my local game store has EDH games. Maybe I should give them a go. At the very least the act of making a deck will be fun even if my deck gets beaten by legacy-tier cards.


Commander is both awesome and intimidating to jump into at a local store w/ people you don't know. On the one hand, i've found that Commander players are generally *much* more interested in having fun and "doing interesting things" with crazy card combos than they are with mercilessly slaughtering everyone at the table. On the other hand, you'll see these crazy decks with insane interactions and whatnot, so there's definitely pressure to also bring something interesting to the table.

One "cheap" way to build a local-store EDH deck is to just pick a fun theme and go with it. My first few goes at EDH decks were just a simple idea, i.e. "I want to make as many tokens as possible" or "I want to use as many cards that use time counters in some way through Fade, Suspend, Vanishing, etc". I then starting messing around with more "tribal" style EDH decks, like "angels and demons together" or "only animals". It was only after doing that for a while I started thinking about making interaction decks that did crazy stuff.

Still, EDH is a total blast, and i've found the game-store EDH scene to be very friendly, albeit high-level players.
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Charles Silbernagel
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I enjoy Magic, and think that the current block's subject matter is very appealing. I actually bought a box of Innistrad simply because I like werewolves and vampires etc. It's been around for so long because it IS a very good game. However, I fully admit that I have ZERO interest in playing in tournaments at my local gaming store. I've played in one sealed event and one standard event.

I was fully prepared to lose, both being new to the game and having an extremely limited card pool. What I wasn't prepared for was the players. I've played a lot of games like magic, in various tournaments, and the simple fact that the Magic players were the least friendly and had the worst sportsmanship I've ever seen was a huge turn-off. If it had been a one-time experience I might have chalked it up as an anomaly, but after two very similar, very unpleasant gaming evenings, I was done.

I still enjoy the game and do have a few friends who are interested in casual games. That's the only way I'll bother to play. If you're interested in Magic at all, you'll have to decide how you want to play, which will determine how much it costs you to play.
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Steve Wagner
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GamePlayer wrote:
I never got into magic because the actual game looked rather scripted. It seemed like all the game must lie in deckbuilding (home alone pre-game) rather than in actual play (with other humanoid type persons in-game). For the magic fans, is this perception way off? Are there a lot of non-obvious in-game decisions? I know that drafting can be done with others but what about after the actual card play begins, post-drafting.


There is a few times during a game it can seem scripted. But like any other card or board game, typically the player who makes the least mistakes will win. There's times that you don't want to play your best card and there's times you play a card to see how your opponent will react.

So for me, deck building is important, but it won't matter if you don't know how to play the deck or you make too many mistakes.
 
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