Timewalking Archive Trap

Last week I wrote about Keyforge and its intriguing attempt to “fix” Magic. I want it to succeed, but it won’t. Nothing will ever supplant Magic as the grindy, pay-to-win king of the CCG genre. It’s got too much market share and the pay-to-win stuff is a feature, not a bug, for the most committed players. There are ways to create something better than Magic though.

I’m committed to Dead Parents Dungeon right now—

—shut up, I am—

—and even though I’m too lazy to do any actual work on it, I take that commitment seriously enough that I’m not getting into it too deeply.

Only a little bit.


Ideally, it’d be electronic. A lot of the bitch is based on real, physical cards, so why electronic? Electronic cards can be changed. A card that costs 5 to play today can cost 4 tomorrow. Imagine grouping cards by seasons and shifting their power up or down four times a year (if by some unlikely chance a Magic developer is reading this, you’ll have to imagine it with a lot of aspirin). Is this card valuable now? No. But it could be.

Good ol’ Lightning Bolt

Magic believes in bad cards. I believe in cards that are good in certain contexts; Lightning Bolt is a solid card when your opponent starts with twenty life and you can put 4 of them into a 60-card deck. In Commander, when your opponent starts with forty life and you have 1 Lightning Bolt in 99 cards, it’s garbage.

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It sounds like the cardstock for most Magic cards made since Amonkhet has been bad. I’ve bought a few cards and they seem kinda crappy. Could be the power of suggestion, but I see a lot of pics of curled cards and I’ve seen The Professor’s video and read that post from the card stock guy and mostly, seen folks talk and talk and talk about it.

The pictures of curved cards are great. The open letters are adorable. The saga of returning bent cards to Wizards of the Coast’s customer service is gripping. The personal oaths to not buy more cards are—if I say so myself—brave.

But seriously, could all of you who are passionate about this get your shit together, get organized, and, y’know, do stuff to get the thing you want? It’s like watching folks posting pictures of a fire to instagram, live from the showroom floor of The Fire Extinguisher and Above Ground Pool Expo.

Magic players want to fix this, but no one seems organized enough to generate pressure on Wizards of the Coast to achieve that end. I’d be happy to forward folks I speak with to y’all, but where would I send them?

I’m not an expert on this shit, but I’m just going to shoot some ideas from the hip: you should get a name, set up some kind of virtual homebase, articulate your issue in specific terms, explain to folks how it affects them, make specific demands, and form a plan of action to press Wizards to meet those demands.

Again, I am an idiot who doesn’t know anything about organizing, but I’ve got an evening’s worth of work to put off and I can’t drink this month, so have an evening of idle thought on how to actually do this shit:

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I saw this mentioned on Tumblr recently and thought I’d spend some time toying with it. I don’t have time to dig into it and it’s not the kind of project that’d be satisfying, even if I did. So here are my notes from a few hours’ work.

The Whiteboard – The Whiteboard is a list of the ideas that should be included when exploring an idea. Reference here (https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/feature/cmon-innistrad-part-2-2011-09-12)

Cattle Drives
Small Towns
Civil War Veterans
Gold Mines and Boomtowns
Federal Agents
Crooked Families
Jail Sieges (Rio Bravo)
Mountains, Forests, Plains, Deserts, Mesas
Madams and ladies of the evening

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So a long time ago I used to play and write about Magic. I had more money then, which I’m sure is a coincidence. This starts with that Magic: Campaign System I posted. Actually I never posted it here (link to Reddit), but I’ll queue it up for next week.

Long story short, it’s a campaign where teams of three decks use 1 v 1 duels to gain control of planes that are worth points. Damage is tracked from game to game and decks can sit out a game to heal. First team to ten points worth of planes wins.

One of the things I wanted to do for the system–which I have only played once and no person has ever expressed interest in–was to create bonuses which affected games of Magic. The planes themselves do things on the campaign level, but don’t affect gameplay. So I opted to make some macguffins that a team draws from a deck when they win a duel. It’s an actual artifact any member of the team can then use in their deck. First, I’ll throw up a picture of one, then I’ll start going down the checklist of what I wanted them to do and how that worked out. Album link here.

For those of you who don’t keep up with Magic, this is a double-faced card. The left side is the front. The right side is the back (transformed side).

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Magic: the Gathering is widgety. Its got tokens and counters and double-faced cards and exile zones and emblems and all kinds of things. What I was thinking of was a simpler way to play. If two folks somewhere that’s not traditionally built to accommodate Magic–like an airport or a coffee shop–they could play a game with nothing more than the cards they had on hand.

Construction rules would be generic: 60-card decks with banned and restricted cards from the Vintage banned and restricted list.

It would have to remove counters and tokens, including life counters. All permanents would be cards. No extra dice or tapped pennies; just actual cards.

Finally, I think that there needs to be a hard cap on permanents, to respect the limitations of table space in some places. While somewhere might support more, a one-size-fits-all approach gives players some ideas of their limitations when building decks. Maybe twelve or so.

I think there’s a lot of potential here and plenty of interest. I’d love to formalize the rules and test them, but I don’t think I’ll get an opportunity any time soon. If there’s anything I’ve missed, lemme know.

So I’m still playing Commander games of Magic as a way of getting out of the house on Thursdays. I’ve been trying to make a deck to get Progenitus out. Progenitus was my first mythic and it’s a mythic worth building a deck around. The deal is that I can get to Progenitus, but there’s a disturbing trend where I die before I can get him onto the battlefield. Progenitus relies on attacking to win, which makes it a very slow win condition. I’ve made a few adjustments to hurry that up. Decklist here.

Can’t be targeted, damaged, blocked, or enchanted/equipped by anything that has that card’s type, subtype, specific name, converted mana cost, colors, or controller. A ten-ten nope.

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So on Thursdays, my local game store has their Commander/EDH nights for Magic: the Gathering. In an effort to get out of the house more, I usually head over and play.

I got there early, as usual, and used the time to retool the deck I planned on using, Slide. Slide’s commander is Mayael, the Anima.

The Mayael deck likes big creatures, but in EDH, big creatures are big targets. The best way to drop a few creatures and get some use out of them is to give them haste. Ergo, Slide is also known by it’s battlecry, “Fuck yeah, hasting Eldrazi.”

I hadn’t played slide since Battle for Zendikar came out, so it had a lot of new Eldrazi that needed to be added to it and I’d learned a bit about the local metagame too (what’s everyone playing and what do I need to play in response). I removed a few Eldrazi that weren’t pulling their weight and added some cards like Manamorphose that would move me closer to stronger cards. I also tuned the mana base to make sure that I could cast the deck’s few spells that needed colored mana.

“I’m sorry Mr. One, we’re looking for someone a bit less ‘Green but worse.'”

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