Friday, November 25, 2011

It's the Magic: Attack Bears Coming to Grips With the Size of the Job Before Them

Huh, That’s Funny
Alright, so I have two plans on how to address the issues I talked about last week: adding more cards to my hypothetical lands-and-vanilla creatures format or making stuff up.

Adding Cards
Additional cards let the format address the issues without making it just another way to play Magic, but with dumber creatures. However, the criterion for including cards must be simple and, obviously, include cards which address our problems.

-Offset the sorcery-speed, summoning sickened creatures that make up the core of game play.
-Don’t always support the format. Jace's Ingenuity, for example, does address the issue of drawing out, but doesn’t add much, to the centrality of creature combat to the game.
-Do not provide a permanent effect, so they don’t complicate the board state.
-Evens the playing field for non-Green decks.

-Auras are very strong without activated abilities or instant effects to two-for-one.
-On the other hand, for a strictly vanilla format, Auras can give creatures abilities that aren’t normally in the format. Granted, this is no more a problem that it is for normal creatures with those abilities in another format in that you just have to have the right answers.
-Murganda Petroglyphs is virtually a must for this format.
-No enchant removal.
-Just like Instants, Enchanments don’t specifically affect the creature-combat part of the game. That’s probably going to be a consistent issue going forward.

-Don’t always support the format.
-Don’t provide a permanent effect.
-More versatile than Instants, so more danger of breaking the format.
-More versatile than Instants, so provides greater versatility.

Non-Creature Artifacts
-Gives Green the versatility of artifacts versus giving other colors vanilla artifact creatures. Exacerbates inherent color imbalance.
-Does provide versatile removal, answers, etc.
-Equipment plays to the creature combat aesthetic.
-Powerful equipment makes creatures matter less, as they’re just there to hold the shinies. Plays against creature combat aesthetic.
-Again, the possibility of play becoming a matter of potent (non-equipment) artifacts instead of vanilla creatures.

Creatures – Including better creatures is an option. It might not be abandoning the format so much as allowing a certain number of creature cards with abilities that accelerate the game.
-The stipulations for what non-vanilla creatures can be used should be important. A number? A percentage? What abilities should they have? Flat buffs? One-shot, ETB abilities? Abilities that only effect power and toughness? Abilities that only effect their own power and toughness? Only French vanilla creatures? Should they be defined by the abilities they don’t have? No indestructible creatures? No tap-down creatures? No creatures with an ability that nets you a card? No creatures with evasion? 

After some thought, I think that the first thing I need to do is to additionally constrict the card pool. While vanilla creatures from all sets and printings are legal, for the sake of simplicity, any other cards I add should come from the current standard format (Innistrad, Scars of Mirrodin, and Magic 2012). I'm not saying those cards won't be in the format, or that they won't be looked at, but for the purposes of divining guidelines, those sets will be the baseline.

Full disclosure: This bores me now. There's a whole different project I'm working on next week. If you've got any suggestions for the bear problem, let me know. It might spark something.

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