Cardgame Thread (guilds of ravnica mechanics spoiled!)

I haaaaaaate the amount of ridiculous greed piles that I keep running into on the Eternal ladder. Decks that stand actual 0 chance of surviving any proper aggro deck but take a dump on reasonable big midrange/control. I almost want to start playing Bandit Queen again just to make these people miserable.
 
I haaaaaaate the amount of ridiculous greed piles that I keep running into on the Eternal ladder. Decks that stand actual 0 chance of surviving any proper aggro deck but take a dump on reasonable big midrange/control. I almost want to start playing Bandit Queen again just to make these people miserable.
 
I haaaaaaate the amount of ridiculous greed piles that I keep running into on the Eternal ladder. Decks that stand actual 0 chance of surviving any proper aggro deck but take a dump on reasonable big midrange/control. I almost want to start playing Bandit Queen again just to make these people miserable.
By all means punish them then. There aren't enough players that punish greed IMO and Lord knows there are plenty of greedy control players in this game.
 

Blazade

is a Forum Moderator
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Hey all, so I just got back from my first Netrunner World Championships (where I placed a respectable ~100/250 but am certainly looking to do better next year), so I figured I'd plug the game here since I haven't yet. I actually don't have too many people to play with on the regular, but I don't think I'm gonna spend money on another card game for as long as I can keep milking this one.

So highlights of the game:

Asymmetric Gameplay: One side is the Corporation, the other is a Runner (basically a hacker). Each side uses a different card pool, and plays a different role in trying to win the game. The Corp has cards in their deck called Agendas that they want to protect, and the Runner interacts by choosing a "server" (this can be the hand, deck, graveyard, or any permanents) to try to access to see if they can find the Agendas before the Corp can score them. The runner can also destroy permanents they access this way for a price. There are also alternate wincons, the Runner loses if they discard a card with none in their hand, and the Corp loses if they draw from an empty deck. This alone creates an interesting dynamic.

Flexible Turn Structure
: In lieu of a fixed set of phases, the Runner has 4 "clicks" to spend on each of their turns, which can be used to draw cards, get money, play cards, or try to access cards in the Corp's deck, among other things. The Corp gets 3 clicks and is forced to draw at the start of their turn, to keep the game moving. This lets you prioritize efficiency while being very flexible about your game plan and deck building.

Advantages of a Color System without Fucking up the Economy: The currency you get to pay for cards and abilities is neutral and isn't tied to color, and there are many ways to generate or deny credits, controlling the speed and longevity of your economy, or finding ways to save money with card combos. Runners and Corps come in different factions, and each card has an "influence" value that counts against a limit for out of faction cards you can add to your deck.

LCG model: Basically means you buy fixed packs of cards without relying on a secondary market. A full collection of about 4 years of cards costs about $500 but getting what you need for an individual deck can be more difficult.

Free online client: but none of that matters because there's an easy way to play the game online for free with a full collection on jinteki.net. So really if any of you guys wanted to try this out I'm always down to play with you.

So yeah if any Smogonites play this or are interested hit me up.
 

Acklow

I am always tired. Don't bother me.
Hey all, so I just got back from my first Netrunner World Championships (where I placed a respectable ~100/250 but am certainly looking to do better next year), so I figured I'd plug the game here since I haven't yet. I actually don't have too many people to play with on the regular, but I don't think I'm gonna spend money on another card game for as long as I can keep milking this one.

So highlights of the game:

Asymmetric Gameplay: One side is the Corporation, the other is a Runner (basically a hacker). Each side uses a different card pool, and plays a different role in trying to win the game. The Corp has cards in their deck called Agendas that they want to protect, and the Runner interacts by choosing a "server" (this can be the hand, deck, graveyard, or any permanents) to try to access to see if they can find the Agendas before the Corp can score them. The runner can also destroy permanents they access this way for a price. There are also alternate wincons, the Runner loses if they discard a card with none in their hand, and the Corp loses if they draw from an empty deck. This alone creates an interesting dynamic.

Flexible Turn Structure
: In lieu of a fixed set of phases, the Runner has 4 "clicks" to spend on each of their turns, which can be used to draw cards, get money, play cards, or try to access cards in the Corp's deck, among other things. The Corp gets 3 clicks and is forced to draw at the start of their turn, to keep the game moving. This lets you prioritize efficiency while being very flexible about your game plan and deck building.

Advantages of a Color System without Fucking up the Economy: The currency you get to pay for cards and abilities is neutral and isn't tied to color, and there are many ways to generate or deny credits, controlling the speed and longevity of your economy, or finding ways to save money with card combos. Runners and Corps come in different factions, and each card has an "influence" value that counts against a limit for out of faction cards you can add to your deck.

LCG model: Basically means you buy fixed packs of cards without relying on a secondary market. A full collection of about 4 years of cards costs about $500 but getting what you need for an individual deck can be more difficult.

Free online client: but none of that matters because there's an easy way to play the game online for free with a full collection on jinteki.net. So really if any of you guys wanted to try this out I'm always down to play with you.

So yeah if any Smogonites play this or are interested hit me up.
Jelly that you went to this because my friends went (they play L5R) and I live like half an hour from Fantasy Flight Games Center. I was meaning to sign up for Legend of the Five Rings Worlds event, but didn't get a chance to because I was a week late. btw, Legend of the Five Rings is a great game and if you like a balanced game, L5R is really good about that, even if there are a few op things here or there.
 

Acklow

I am always tired. Don't bother me.
Also tagging General Spoon because we both go to FFG on Friday nights to play a variety of board and card games.

If anyone else that lives in the Twin Cities area that wants to join us is more than welcome to.
 

Blazade

is a Forum Moderator
Moderator
Yeah I saw that L5R game was being played and it looked kind of cool but I'd have to look up the rules in depth to really make a decision on it.
 

Acklow

I am always tired. Don't bother me.
Yeah I saw that L5R game was being played and it looked kind of cool but I'd have to look up the rules in depth to really make a decision on it.
It's fairly new as an LCG, but the flavor is derived from the old CCG. I really like the aesthetics and balance of the game, personally.

And yeah totally let me know haha.
 
Name drop time: Greg Tongue (second at the Netrunner World Championships) was one of my friends in college. He graduated before me, opened a store within walking distance of the campus, and I played Magic at his store several times before graduating.

I'm a Magic player, and my preferred format is draft (which is the Magic format that probably comes as close to Richard Garfield's vision for the game), so I've always felt that I should give ol' Garfield his proper due and give Netrunner a try, but I like playing card games in person and there isn't really a local scene near me.

On the subject of Magic drafting, I've been drafting Ixalan twice a week (Fridays and Saturdays) since the dawn of the format, and I have to admit that it's a bit of a guilty pleasure. There are lots of complaints about it, like the relatively high number of uninteractive games, and the low number of playables, and problems with the balance of the different tribes. All of those complaints are totally valid. The fact that Ixalan (which many regard as the worst format in years) is coming after Hour of Devastation (regarded as many, myself included, as the best format we've had in years) only makes the pain more palpable. And yet, I've grown addicted to drafting this set. I like getting rewarded for finding the correct lane, I like the tension of committing to a tribe versus hedging in pack 1, I like playing decks with eight 2-drops, and though I'm a bit ashamed to admit it, I like winning games by putting Mark of the Vampire onto a flier.

In a weird way, some of the things that make it a "bad" set are the things that make me keep coming back to it: I've had several occasions where I just assembled the perfect Merfolk or RW deck at a table where everyone else got trash, and during deck building looking at my two Shapers of Nature and thinking "I can't lose" and then fulfilled that prophecy. It's like a power fantasy fulfillment that you get from RPGs where you're just over-leveled, or the end of a game of Dota where you're crushing as a carry and just one-shotting people at the end of the game. And then at the next draft you get stuck playing GW dinos and go 0-2 into a third-round bye because your opponent dropped. Every time you open pack 1 there's that feeling of "I could just get the nuts and effortlessly steamroll everyone at the table," which makes it a bad draft format, but also strangely addicting.

Also, I don't mean to exaggerate the badness of Ixalan; it's the worst draft format Magic has had since BFZ (a format so bad that it got me to quit competitive Magic for a year), but even at its worst, drafting Magic cards is still one of the most enjoyable things I could do with my time. It's still a skill-testing format and games are determined by interaction; complaints like "uninteractive" are relative descriptions in the context of earlier Magic sets, and I'll take a bad Magic draft format over a good Pokemon TCG or YGO format any day of the week.

On that note, I look forward to the release of MTG Arena, which will enable me to endlessly draft Magic cards from the comfort of my bed, probably upping my drafting rate from 2 per week to 2 per day.


Oh, and Shadowverse is getting rotation soon, which might get me to start playing it again, as I haven't spent serious time in ranked since RoB, haven't touched take two since ToG, and basically haven't played the game at all since the Tove/BKB/Spawn nerf. Speaking as someone whose most-played deck is d-shift, the game will be in a much healthier state once that card is gone. That being said, it will take time to see if they try to steer the game toward a point where midrange combat and removal actually matter, or whether they'll continue to print cards that allow you to go "all in" on strategies that just go face (plethora of storm cards in tribes like sword and dragon, plus cards like Silver Bolt that just actually go face). I've always been fond of playing alternate wincons like Seraph and D-shift, but it's tough to have a healthy game when control decks have literally no way to interact with major combo archetypes.
 

Blazade

is a Forum Moderator
Moderator
Cool I liked Greg's play, his games were fun to watch.

Draft is fun and it's my preferred way of playing magic too but I haven't found an enjoyable draft format since Theros. Maybe Kaladesh was ok but even then the set design has been really weak for years.
 

Acklow

I am always tired. Don't bother me.
Name drop time: Greg Tongue (second at the Netrunner World Championships) was one of my friends in college. He graduated before me, opened a store within walking distance of the campus, and I played Magic at his store several times before graduating.

I'm a Magic player, and my preferred format is draft (which is the Magic format that probably comes as close to Richard Garfield's vision for the game), so I've always felt that I should give ol' Garfield his proper due and give Netrunner a try, but I like playing card games in person and there isn't really a local scene near me.

On the subject of Magic drafting, I've been drafting Ixalan twice a week (Fridays and Saturdays) since the dawn of the format, and I have to admit that it's a bit of a guilty pleasure. There are lots of complaints about it, like the relatively high number of uninteractive games, and the low number of playables, and problems with the balance of the different tribes. All of those complaints are totally valid. The fact that Ixalan (which many regard as the worst format in years) is coming after Hour of Devastation (regarded as many, myself included, as the best format we've had in years) only makes the pain more palpable. And yet, I've grown addicted to drafting this set. I like getting rewarded for finding the correct lane, I like the tension of committing to a tribe versus hedging in pack 1, I like playing decks with eight 2-drops, and though I'm a bit ashamed to admit it, I like winning games by putting Mark of the Vampire onto a flier.

In a weird way, some of the things that make it a "bad" set are the things that make me keep coming back to it: I've had several occasions where I just assembled the perfect Merfolk or RW deck at a table where everyone else got trash, and during deck building looking at my two Shapers of Nature and thinking "I can't lose" and then fulfilled that prophecy. It's like a power fantasy fulfillment that you get from RPGs where you're just over-leveled, or the end of a game of Dota where you're crushing as a carry and just one-shotting people at the end of the game. And then at the next draft you get stuck playing GW dinos and go 0-2 into a third-round bye because your opponent dropped. Every time you open pack 1 there's that feeling of "I could just get the nuts and effortlessly steamroll everyone at the table," which makes it a bad draft format, but also strangely addicting.

Also, I don't mean to exaggerate the badness of Ixalan; it's the worst draft format Magic has had since BFZ (a format so bad that it got me to quit competitive Magic for a year), but even at its worst, drafting Magic cards is still one of the most enjoyable things I could do with my time. It's still a skill-testing format and games are determined by interaction; complaints like "uninteractive" are relative descriptions in the context of earlier Magic sets, and I'll take a bad Magic draft format over a good Pokemon TCG or YGO format any day of the week.

On that note, I look forward to the release of MTG Arena, which will enable me to endlessly draft Magic cards from the comfort of my bed, probably upping my drafting rate from 2 per week to 2 per day.


Oh, and Shadowverse is getting rotation soon, which might get me to start playing it again, as I haven't spent serious time in ranked since RoB, haven't touched take two since ToG, and basically haven't played the game at all since the Tove/BKB/Spawn nerf. Speaking as someone whose most-played deck is d-shift, the game will be in a much healthier state once that card is gone. That being said, it will take time to see if they try to steer the game toward a point where midrange combat and removal actually matter, or whether they'll continue to print cards that allow you to go "all in" on strategies that just go face (plethora of storm cards in tribes like sword and dragon, plus cards like Silver Bolt that just actually go face). I've always been fond of playing alternate wincons like Seraph and D-shift, but it's tough to have a healthy game when control decks have literally no way to interact with major combo archetypes.

D-Shift is the most played deck game on ladder right now actually. As a player who was always fond of control Blood, I will be happy to see it gone, though the loss of huge vengeance based cards like revelation and sustain in luci is a bummer. Also people are saying that next expac will need to give haven some love. Hype for portalcraft otherwise....
 
As a player who was always fond of control Blood, I will be happy to see it gone, though the loss of huge vengeance based cards like revelation and sustain in luci is a bummer. Also people are saying that next expac will need to give haven some love. Hype for portalcraft otherwise....
I wonder if we will get any "reprints" to keep some older classic cards in rotation, like MTG used to do with the core sets. Or as a compromise, print new cards that retain most of the functionality of old cards, with slight nerfs if they think it's necessary for game balance (like Wrath of God to Day of Judgment). There are some spells that just seem so iconic like Dragon Oracle, Elven Princess Mage, Quickblader, Revelation, and Themis's Decree, and keeping some of the cards that seem so central to the philosophy of each craft would allow each of them to retain a consistent sense of identity as the game continues to march on. Even if Themis's Decree ends up being too powerful in the context of a meta that features midrange combat prominently, it would feel really weird for Haven to suddenly not have some kind of boardwipe.
 

Acklow

I am always tired. Don't bother me.
Been playing midrange sword and it feels like back when Darkness Evolved came out. The variety of decks on ladder is great and the only times I've felt completely out matched is when playing vs the dreaded Dshift matchup.
 
The Eternal ladder is full of idiots. The season ends in a couple of days and like 70% of the players I've run into while in diamond play decks that literally cannot beat a decent Rally Queen draw. What the hell? Choosing to have a 30% matchup against the best aggro deck in the format that can also kill you on turn 4 just leaves me speechless.
 
Guys, I know this take is coming late, but the limited format for the latest Magic: The Gathering set, Dominaria, is really good.

Like, really, really good.

Like, the best experience I've ever had playing a card game, as someone who has played both limited and constructed Magic competitively since RTR.

How good is Dominaria? So good that yesterday, I got home from US Nationals after spending the entire day playing an 8-round sealed event, and after a 3-hour drive home the first thing I did was boot up my computer and start jamming more Dominaria drafts online.

The format is just amazing. It's the most skill-testing and interactive Magic format I've ever played, the set is incredibly well-balanced and the games are long and interactive. It strikes the perfect balance between giving you powerful cards that feel awesome to play with (many of them at uncommon) and giving a high density of answers at common to deal with those bombs, it somehow manages to have many moments of making you feel like a powerful wizard while never putting you in the position of feeling like your opponent is so advantaged that you're completely helpless. Also, the artwork and flavor of the set are all home-runs, they designed sagas in a way that makes them part of fun and interactive gameplay while also giving them the feeling of being "spellbooks" that you progress through chapter by chapter.

If I could only play one game for the rest of my life, it would be Dominaria limited, no doubt about it. The following set, M19, has its pre-release this window, so this Friday might be your last chance to go to your local game store and draft Dominaria -- if you are on the fence, do yourself and go play it, this format is sweet and awesome and will put your skills as a Magic player to the test.


With that endorsement out of the way, I've been playing a lot more Magic recently in Premiere events. Highlights from the past month include: making top 4 of a team sealed PTQ (which was an awesome experience for all of the reasons described above, plus it was a team sealed event), making day 2 of a standard GP (finished 10-5 and got my first lifetime pro point), qualifying for and attending US Nationals, and "winning" a sealed PPTQ the weekend of US Nationals to secure myself a RPTQ invite. (Actually it was just 8 rounds of swiss with a cut to top 8, but because the event was >96 players all players in top 8 got an invite, and they didn't play out top 8 since the prize structure was flat.) This modest list of accomplishments has left me with six boxes of Dominaria sealed product in prizes, so I fortunately have the means to continue drafting my favorite format for many years to come.


On the online front, I've been using the Magic Arena beta, which is in a pretty decent state right now, you can actually play standard and draft (with the minor stipulation that the game doesn't let you choose to be on the draw, which occasionally is relevant in Dominaria limited games). Playing in "real drafts" costs around $10 worth of the premium currency, but you can "go infinite" by going 3-2 in "real drafts," which I've found pretty easy to do since the competition is a lot softer than on MODO. Also, you can play in "bo1 drafts" using the F2P currency, and wins in the bo1 draft give you the premium currency, so you can use the bo1 drafts to "launder" your F2P currency into premium currency and use those to play real drafts. I know a lot of constructed players have complains about the game's economy, but if you just want to draft it's a pretty good experience and cheaper than MODO or drafting in a store, and drafting can give you the start of a collection if you do decide to build a constructed deck.


In today's news, Gitaxian Probe and DRS just got banned in legacy, so I might have to sleeve up my Tundras again, thinking Miracles but maybe Stoneblade is good again, who knows.
 
My thoughts on Core 19 draft so far:

White is my least-drafted color. This is not because I think white is bad (quite the opposite, I think white is actually quite good), but more due to the fact that everyone else seems to draft white quite highly, probably more highly than I do. My two most-drafted archetypes are UR and BG.

I'm not sure if Blue/Red is the best color combination, but it certainly is my favorite to play. Blue/Red "spells matter" is my favorite archetype in any draft format where it's viable, and maybe the best thing about it is that it comes with built in "flood protection" because Tormenting Voice and Sift allow you to pitch extra lands, and Sparktongue Dragon being a common gives you a reason to actually want to hit your 8th land drop. All of these cards are a lot better than I think a lot of people initially rated them because the format is definitely on the slow side.

I find myself drafting Green/Black a lot as the "goodstuff" combination that I seem to end up with in a lot of drafts where people just pass me a lot of green cards, based on the number of Rabid Bites I keep getting passed I think people are really undervaluing this card. Another undervalued green card that people pass a lot: Bristling Boar is a really important card for punching through crowded boards where your opponent has the board crowded up with a lot of 2/3's and 2/2 knights and whatnot, which is a pretty common board situation to be in. Slap a Talons of Wildwood on it and it can smash through any board where your opponent lacks a creature with 4 or more power, which is pretty common. Talons of Wildwood isn't an amazing card but I've found it to be pretty playable due to the slowness of the format. Colossal Dreadmaw is great for all of the same reasons.

I really do not like the black/white lifegain deck at all. There are a few cards like Skymarch Bloodletter that are basically a freeroll, but nearly all of the lifegain cards are bad in a vacuum, and the payoff cards do not seem good enough to justify playing the bad lifegain cards in your deck. Every time I see my opponent play a card like Leonin Vanguard or Daybreak Chaplain I smile because it probably means I'm going to win because my opponent is just going to have more bad cards than me, and even if they do manage to get their synergies the payoff will not be enough to steal a game.

I'm not sure where to come down on auras right now. On one hand sometimes you have games where someone just slaps a Knightly Valor on a 1-drop and then immediately starts swinging with a 4/5 Novice Knight or 3/4 flying Rustwing Falcon, but I have never been a fan of "play 2 bad cards to try and assemble one good creature" even if I have lost games when my opponent managed to put multiple auras on their 1-drop and I had no way of dealing with it. On the other hand, the aura strategy does actually match up well against a lot of the removal in the set, especially if you can get your aura on when your opponent doesn't have the mana to Shock the creature you're enchanting, so you suit it up to a high-toughness to dodge a lot of damage-based removal. (One of the reasons white seems so good in this format is that their removal doesn't care about toughness.) Sometimes your opponent's removal is all in black, you pump your creature out of Strangling Spores range, and then you get to get a lot of damage in before they're able to cast Lich's Caress. On the other hand sometimes your opponent just has a Murder and you just get real sad. My appetite for risk is not high enough to draft auras highly (even though I have played the Druid of Horns deck a couple of times), but the threat of auras is definitely on my radar enough for me to want to maindeck bounce effects like Disperse.

Overall I have been having fun playing Core 19, after a period of adjustment of having to realize that I'm not on Dominaria anymore. On the other hand, I feel like I'm a bit "ahead of the curve" on this format, and after awhile I imagine people will wise up and I won't be able to draft as many sweet green decks with all of these late-pick Rabid Bites, so who know how things will be weeks from now. All I know for now is that I've played over half a dozen M19 drafts so far and I'm still not tired of it, and given the choice between M19 and Dominaria for the time being I would rather draft M19, not necessarily because it's a better set, but because it still feels fresh and I feel like I'm continuing to learn new things every time I draft it (whereas I feel like I had Dominaria pretty much figured out).
 
a bunch of people on #hearthstone recently got into magic through mtga so I thought id lay out some tips for m19 draft
  • Try to stick to 2 colours during draft otherwise you can get some really wonky manabases if you go 3 or more colours. If you have some dual lands (lands that tap for more than one colour) or cards that tap for any colour (gift of paradise, manalith) then you can get away with running 1 or 2 single symbol cards of a third colour but otherwise stayaway.
  • you want to look out for the following - Bombs (powerful cards that aim to win the game), evasion (cards that are difficult to block - trample, flying, menace are all examples of this), removal (cards that get rid of other cards - murder, luminous bonds)
  • Try and get a good mana curve. Mana curve refers to how expensive each of the spells in your deck are. If you take your 60-card deck and put each spell in a pile based on how much mana it costs, how many cards are in each pile? If you were to plot the converted mana cost of those spells onto a graph, what would that graph look like? The expection to this is that most 2 drops in m19 suck because they get outclassed easily (2/2 for 2 isnt beating much in combat, theres plently of big blockers) so you can skimp on those a little bit. I do like 2 drops that do stuff later in the game or are harder to block like omen speaker or departed deckhand.
  • https://draftsim.com/draft.php?mode=Draft_A25 -> is a really good practice tool if you want to get the feel for drating before actually spending any $$$.
  • Other good magic resources include channelfireball.com, starcitygames and tcgplayer (articles and stuff).
Hopefully this is helpful, if theres anything i missed lmk and ill see what i can do
 
the good
  • its magic the gathering - super fun game
  • interface looks good
  • no stupid format restrictions like what the previous mtg sim had
  • you can draft!
  • the wildcard system is reasonable
  • devs are listening and actively improving the game unlike modo
the bad
  • no older format support as of now (standard and draft only with a little bit of singleton)
  • the interface isnt super user friendly - i misclick a ton
the ugly
  • still some dubious dealings - you had to wait 2 weeks for m19 to show up on pleb draft (apart from an 8 hour period) while it came to premium currency immediately
  • reset incoming at some point so dont invest too much in terms of $$$
this what i can think of atm, honestly enjoying it. I did start playing a couple of weeks ago so I avoided a few of the rougher patches the game had. I also think the p2w is okay - its not terrible but its not amazing either. I can work with it.
 
Playing both Eternal and M:TG (played first during Kamigawa, took a break, have been drafting on-and-off since KTK and have sunk countless hours into Duels). Got a beta key for Arena this weekend, so decided to try it. After doing so, I have mixed feelings about it.

The economy in Arena seems fine enough; you get a fairly good pool of cards to start and the wildcard system is fairly well thought through IMO.

My main complaint is the same as the one by the pugilist - the interface is hella ugly. Misclicks are bound to happen, choosing attackers and attack targets is tedious as hell (no shortcut for all creatures attacking the planeswalker, for instance), many interactions are not presented clearly (Cast Out, for instance, is cast immediately over your planeswalkers and you can't determine which one is targeted if you have more than one; or Verdurous Gearhulk shows all of its targets for counters, but you cannot discern whether one target gets 3 and the other gets one or both targets get 2).
 
My thoughts on Core 19 after several more weeks of drafting it at FNM (and maybe around 20-30 drafts online):

I like it way more than I expected to. I felt that way early on, and that opinion has not changed. My enjoyment mainly for the reason that it is a slower format. I think you can really judge the speed of a format based on how much people value Divination, because Divination can be really bad in a fast format where you're just never going to be able to have the mana free to cast it, but it's great in a longer game where it just turns one card into two, and Divination feels like one of the better commons in the set. I also love the fact that counter-magic is highly playable in this set, I have always felt that treating counterspells as removals is one of the biggest traps new players fall into, and yet when I look at how games in M19 frequently play out, Essence Scatter starts to look a heck of a lot like a removal spell.

Core 19 also continues a trend that I feel started with Dominaria, which is managing to strike the perfect balance in pricing removal spells fairly. I started playing Magic in an era where Doom Blade was a common, and those days of having 2-mana kill spells at common are obviously never coming back. Then there was a period of several years where they swung hard in the opposite direction, where WotC struggled to print fair and efficient removal to answer the bombs that you inevitably encounter in any set; I sometimes get flashbacks to Theros where the black removal spells were Sip of Hemlock (a six-mana hard removal) and Pharika's Cure (BB to deal 2 damage to something) where all of the removal was too expensive or too narrow to feel good about playing it. Dominaria was the first set in a long time where I felt the removal was powerful enough but fairly costed for what it was, and Core 19 feels exactly the same way. Each color (bar green) basically gets two removal spells which you're happy to play at common (if you bend the definition of removal spell to include Essence Scatter), and all of the removal spells are cards that I'm happy to draft (with Take Vengeance being the one piece of removal whose usefulness is sort of dependent on what deck you're playing it in).

The main "issue" with Core 19 is the same "issue" that exists for every core set, which is that you can't really go deep on any of the archetypes, with Black/White lifegain being the main exception and even the BW lifegain deck doesn't go extremely deep. In sets in Ixalan (tribal synergies) or Dominaria (specific archetypes/themes for each color pairing), you needed to balance drafting enablers with payoffs, and you'd often run into situations where your evaluation of a specific card would vary depending on what part of the draft you encountered it; a card like River Heralds' Boon could be the best or worst card in your deck depending on how many merfolk you had. Core 19, conversely, feels like a set where pretty much every draft can be boiled down to "pick the good cards, don't pick the bad cards," and pretty much every deck ends up being just a collection of good cards. This is something that LSV pointed out in a recent episode of Limited Resources, where Sarkhan's Unsealing is a great example of something that looks like a "build-around" card, but the truth is that when you first-pick Sarkhan's Unsealing the optimal strategy is to just draft cards like Thornhide Wolves and Colossal Dreadmaw and Onakke Ogre, and these are just generically okay-to-decent cards that you could play in any random RG deck, so the difference between a mediocre RG deck and a good RG deck isn't about how synergistic your deck is, but how powerful your cards are.

All of that being said, none of this is inherently a criticism of the format. In fact, the fact that pretty much every draft boils down to "pick the good cards, don't pick the bad cards" means that drafting Core 19 feels like more a test of your fundamentals than your experience with that particular format. I think that can make it a gratifying experience for experience players (who feel rewarded for the time they've spent mastering those fundamentals) and also for newer players (who can use it as a way to learn those fundamentals without having to learn a ton of exceptions). It's much easier to master a format like this, and you can feel like you have a pretty good idea of what's going on in Core 19 even if you haven't played every archetype...which again, can be seen as both a good thing (easy to learn) and a bad thing (not a ton of replay value). And yet, despite the fact that none of the archetypes are particularly deep, and none of the bombs are particularly sweet, I keep on going back to it. There are some draft archetypes that keep drawing you in because of the allure of doing sweet things (like Ixalan block), and there are some draft archetypes that keep drawing you in because the gameplay is good and interactive (like Core 19). Dominaria was a really special set because it offered you the ability to do sweet things and go deep AND it also had very solid gameplay.


Since the last time I got to post in this thread, I've gotten to actually draft a lot of white decks (including RW), and white is indeed all it's cracked up to be. I think the biggest thing that White has going for it are two marque commons in Star-Crowned Stag and Pegasus Courser that kind of serve the function of both being pseudo 2-for-1's in the context of an aggressive deck: Stag adds a creature to your side of the board while invalidating one of your opponent's blockers, and Pegasus Courser can give flying to something that would otherwise get gummed up on the board, effectively giving you two fliers for the price of one. It also helps somewhat that there are two kinds of white decks: the aggressive ones that want Stag, and the defensive ones that want Take Vengeance, and so if you commit to playing the white aggressive deck you can pick up these cards more easily than something like, say, a Luminous Bonds (the kind of card that ANY white deck is going to want). Also, I've gotten to play Heroic Reinforcements, and that deck is sweet, I find myself hesitating to say that RW is the best deck in the format, and yet I struggle to name a deck that's better.

I've also ended up playing blue/black control a lot. Blue has an incredibly deep suite of counterspells, and black is also good at getting you to the late game; the black removal is obviously important, but Vampire Neonate has also been an importat piece of the puzzle that both serves as a blocker early on against aggressive decks while also providing a mana sink in the late game, and being able to hold up an Essence Scatter on your opponent's turn while having the option to use that mana to activate Neonate on the end step if you didn't use the counter is great. Both Blue and Black have the tools to get you to the late game, where you just start running away with things by getting value off your Divinations, chipping in with evasive creatures. I've also been extremely impressed with Gearsmith Guardian, which ends up just being a 5/5 in almost every game.

Green does feel like it gets the short end of the stick in a lot of ways, but I find myself picking up green in a lot of drafts where I find myself picking up a lot of removal early and then looking for a second color, the situation of, "Well, I have a bunch of black removal spells but not a lot of creatures, so I'll guess I'll move into green because I'm guaranteed to get some number of decently-sized creatures if I'm in green," and that doesn't sound amazing but the other colors are deep enough that it often ends up being enough. Green probably pairs best with red (which has the best early removal and also has 4-powered creatures if you get Colossal Majesty or Sarkhan's Unsealing as your payoff), with green black also being decent at just doing the "pile of good cards" thing.

So, I'm having a good time with Core 19, but that being said, I feel like I've already fully explored this format and pretty much every time I start a new draft it's "I want something to entertain me for the next hour" rather than "I'm ready to learn or experience something new." Guilds of Ravnica doesn't come out until October and that feels like an eternity away.
 

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We should assemble a smogon MtG playgroup and play on cockatrice regularly.

I have at least two arena codes with no takers left and I could probably get more trivially. If anyone's interested I'd be glad to give them one. You can also go to the MtG subreddit, search for a arena codes thread, and find codes or pm people for them.

m19 is fun to draft but fuck vinemare

dominaria is beautiful but fuck Lyra Dawnbringer

I wish I could draft kaladesh again before rotation. I loved that draft format.
 
To anyone that has ever drafted mtg- I desperately want a pokemon draft, with "packs" full of random battle premade mons/sets.

I tried to suggest that here a while back(it was the reason I joined in the first place lol), but really seemed to confuse people.

Drafting itself is seriously 50% of the fun or more(definitely over for me), then afterwards you do a mini-tourney(likely pods of 8).

I really think people will greatly enjoy this, and just dont know it from hearing it.

Anybody here able to get this train rolling?
 

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