I've been researching the American economy for the past three years. I know that doesn't sound impressive, it's not, but I'm often asked to give lectures in economics classes and I've been devoting a lot of time and attention to what's going on. I think I have a few ideas and I'd love to hear what everyone thinks of them.
One major policy suggestion is that the government should buy the banks, clean em' up and sell them to a company once their profitable. Problem is, even if you could find someone who actually could buy an entire bank, that leaves a lot of tax payers holding the bag.
I think we can do a lot more good with a lot less money by going to the root of the problem. The only reason banks are in trouble is because they owe more money than they have. If they had extra cash they'd still be humming along and be viable businesses.
So why not go to the root of the problem: the assets and liabilities. Instead of having the government try to fix the whole banking system (no mean feat) AND THEN sell the banks let’s cut out the middle man. Let’s give their balance sheets to people who can handle the debt, make money with them and aren’t so desperate for cash that they send thousands of people into homelessness.
How do we do this?
I think we should put the banks contracts up for sale – not the whole bank, just their contracts.
Rich businesses buy failing businesses all the time. They have enough income to take the initial loss and then they pay off the debt over time. No one business is big enough to take on the entire banking system (our own government might not be enough) but if we split up the contracts it would make things a lot easier. Companies could buy a piece of the banking industry's obligations without actually buying the bank.
For example, right now Coca-Cola has about half a billion dollars in Gross Profits. That's a lot of buying power. Now let's say a portion of AIG's balance sheet includes 100 billion in debt but 95 Billion is assets. Coca-Cola could pay AIG a nominal fee (say hundred million dollars). And take all those assets AND debt off their hands.
Imagine hundreds of similar transactions (it would only take about ten on this larger scale to buy ALL of AIG's balance sheet ) with dozens of companies, even small companies, buying bits and pieces of the bank. What would happen at the end? AIG would be wiped clean on their balance sheet with all their obligations taken care of... And have over a billion dollars in their pocket (from the companies paying those nominal fees) to start lending money again and start paying back all those bailouts.
This gets a lot closer to the root of the problem, without requiring massive allocation of government funds.
But why would businesses want to do this?
Because it's a great investment.
Coke would invest all that extra money over the next few years paying off the debt with their current earnings. Even assuming that all those houses they bought NEVER went up in value (which we know is not true, espescially at a low market like this) they would be able to pay off the excess debt of 5 billion within about ten years even if their earnings don't grow at all (which we also know is not going to be true, their earnings will grow).
Besides, these aren't just financial bets we're settling - there's real value here. Real estate developers would make use of the land, building companies could harvest the materials etc.
What are your thoughts?
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Mar 25, 2009These people didn't put someone else's life in danger - they're just hurting themselves. Is it smart? No. But it shouldn't be a crime either. If we prosecuted everyone who spent their time and money on things that most people don't consider productive or healthy, I'd be doing consecutive life sentences for, "possesion and intent to use Magic Cards" =).Posted in: Debate
Drug use isn't about law enforcement, it's about healthcare - and the millions we spend prosecuting it it could be better spent curing diseases and defending us against actual crimes that put our lives in danger.
Mar 25, 2009One of the things I've always wondered about is prayer. If you think about it, it's a little confusing.Posted in: Philosophy
People pray for several reasons; a common one being to ask god for something - saving a loved one, ending a war, winning the lottery etc.
Now, God doesn't answer every prayer - this is obvious. Praying for something isn't a guaruntee of it happening. God uses his own judgement to determine what prayers should be answered.
However, God takes actions on his own too. There was no one around to ask him to create the world and I doubt anyone prayed for the great flood.
Additionally, God knows everything we think and feel - he's omniscient. He knows our pains, our hopes, our fears and our struggles.
I don't think any church-goer would disagree with the above statements.
To sum up: God doesn't answer every prayer, god acts even if you don't pray and god already knows all your trials, tribulations and virtues.
So, if god already knows what you need and takes actions on his own the only time prayer matters is if God would do something and thinks it's a good and just action... But only if you really beg for it.
Even if that is true, it seems like a pretty narrow gap to try to hit.
Mar 25, 2009Posted in: New Card Discussion
Ah, forgot about the blightning! Very good point. Thoughtseize didn't seem like a huge issue to me because they'd never choose to kill a wilt-leaf cavalier (they'd just be giving you a free creature) but the blightning is a different story.
I don't think the cavalier's friendly aid to mono-green creatures is a big deal. The only mono-green creatures I see played in standard are birds of paradise, noble hierarch and cloudthresher. Obviously, giving these guys +1/+1 hardly matters. Am I forgetting about some other green creature? It's hard to keep all of standard in your head at once =).
If we're just thinking about a GW deck or even a GW deck the Cavalier is unquestionably better. It's a boost to all your guys, has blightning resistance and is a little more durable. Also, he's a relevant threat on his own. I'd never choose to play Knight of Alara over Wilt-leaf cavalier in a pure GW deck. The reason I like the Knight is because it enables new options for hybrid cards that ar GU or WB but can still be played easiliy off of a decent manabase.
Mar 24, 2009Posted in: New Card DiscussionQuote from Slio9You are aware that Wilt-Leaf Liege is a card, right?
You claim to be a competitive deck builder and not once do you bring up the point that this guy is unplayable compared to him? It's like Shock and Lightning Bolt, One is undercosted and amazing, one is just unplayable, especially so if it's in the same format as the other.
I don't see how you can call a format with Jund Charm and Volcanic Fallout highly played as a great format for a 4 mana 2/2.
Sigh... my point was that the availability of boardsweepers made the knight MORE viable, not less so.
Wilt-leaf liege is more narrow and a little harder to cast. It doesn't let you put cold-eyed selkie and kitchen finks in the same deck and it doesn't give as big a boost to the rhox war-monk. Yeah, it dies to burn less but seriously - with all the terrors, path to exiles, oblivion rings, wrath of gods and more out there the difference in toughness is negligeable. The difference in power is not.
The liege can get some beats in alone and it's a little more resilient but that's it. So what if the knight dies? They're probably not going to kill it the very turn you drop it and even if they did, so what? It's a massive boost stapled to a creature with a lot more potential than wilt-leaf liege. Plus, there's certainly going to be a lot more cards that come out with Alara reborn that the knight will make absurd (it is an all gold set after all).
As for the shock/lightning bolt analogy... I completely agree. They both cost the same but one does an extra point of damage; that's a huge difference. It doesn't always matter, but when it does it's awesome.
But Knight of Alara is the lightning bolt in this case, awarding an extra +1/+1 to all your tri-colored creatures. An extra glorious anthem is awesome and certainly worth risking a 2/2. After all, you don't see people playing sudden shock over tribal flames because the sudden shock is uncounterable. The flames might fall to spell snare but it's effect is SO much bigger.
Besides, who would say no to wilt-leaf lieges 5-8? And forget not revilark...
It's been nice talking to you.
Mar 24, 2009Well, in answer to your question... Maybe I have the wrong link but the card looks absolutely terrible. First strike is irrelevant on a 7/7, because it's big enough to roll right over anything in it's path. You can keep blocking it with 1/1 creatures, or even 0/1 sheep tokens and it won't ever do anything. it would be a bad card even if it didn't require an upkeep much less such a huge cost! It can't be gotten out cheaply, through reanimation because you still need to manage the upkeep cost and even if you did it wouldn't really DO anything. It's big and that's it.Posted in: Legacy Archives
Moreover, the only decks that would want to play a big creature like this from their hand would be a control deck that waits until turn seven or eight to drop a big creature and win with it. The problem is that once it makes it's big guy a control deck needs to have a lot of mana open to stop the opponent from killing it or playing any other spells that could hurt the control player. The huge mana requirement makes this impossible. So the only strategies something like this could actually work in (reanimation, control) are destroyed by its drawback.
Besides, even if the drawback didn't exist there are jsut better alternatives out there. I mean, check out Oona, Queen of the Fae which is a kill card used in a lot of standard decks. Easier to play mana wise, she can fly so she's harder to block and has a great ability. But even she doesn't make the cut to legacy - where cosmic horror resides.
And that's why no body wants to play cosmic horror.
Mar 24, 2009Hmm... I'm having trouble figuring out what this deck does. It doesn't seem built for the end game with all those fragile, unimpressive threats and it seems highly vulnerable to blightning beatdown or kithkin aggro. Volcanic fallout is really your only defense and it happens to kill all of your creatures too (well, maybe not Nyxathid) while leaving an opponent's plumeveils unharmed. Plus your ultimatum is the only tool you have to recur your creatures.Posted in: Standard Archives
In short: Rush can pummle you, control can ignore you and revilark can outlast you.
But it doesn't have to be this way!
Blightning's always been hell on control, espescially faeries, and sedraxis specter is the same thing. Think about it: the specter's in your grave. You unearth it and swing into your opponent. They ditch a card and take 3 damage, but you didn't have to spend a card to do it, you just reused an old one. That's the same as blightning advantage, plus the specter can hurt them the first time around.
With 4 specters and 4 blightnings you can make things very difficult for control, just watch out for Plumeveils and Wall of reverence. TO deal with those guys (and the occasional cloudgoat ranger) I'd up the shriekmaw count to four.
I don't think you need mulldrifter here, you should be paying attention to taking advantage of the crippled control player rather than upping the card advantage count.
Revilark's a major threat right now and the best recipe is a sower of temptation. If you steal their revilark they're in major trouble - espescially since you can kill it with a terror or agony warp in response to them burning your sower; bringing back some of your own troops for a pile of card advantage. Plus, sower of temptation is just a good card in general and is worth playing - it can even just steal a big blocker to make room for your assault.
Dealing with rush is more problematic. Stillmoon cavalier basically shuts down BW token decks and wreaks havok with kithkin too, but I like goblin Outlander. I don't know why, but I do and he's a little easier on the curve. Still, the Cavalier is probably better.
Against Blightning Beatdown? Well, there's always COP Red =). But seriously, I think Wild Richochet is a good idea. It can beat out a banefire, turn a blightning aimed at you into curel ultimatum level card advantage and completely wreck the ultimatum itself. They're also great for messing with cryptic commands that try to bounce your permanents and can turn opposing removal against your opponent's creatures. I'm rarely unhappy to draw them.
Well, that's my two cents. I need to take these lists out for a spin.
Mar 24, 2009I like this idea but I'm worried about the top-deck war. If someone top-decks a wrath of god you're in trouble. Sure, it's a minor problem but it needs to be considered.Posted in: Decks for Critique
The main worry I have about the deck is Nyaxid. Sure he's big but he feels like a, "win more" card. I'd rather play more Descendents in order to have a better chance of coming from behind if I loose my momentum, as well as more kitchen finks to help rebound from an opponent's wrath.
Oh, and if you're worried about afinity Kataki War's Wage is the best medicine. I actually prefer is over fracturing gust for some decks, since it's a relevant threat and some of those decks get going awfully fast.
I can't say much more until I've taken this puppy for a spin. Get back to you soon!
Mar 24, 2009I agree about the Pentad Prism being superior, and the nice thing is that it screams you're playing combo. So your opponent gets ready to face off against an enduring ideal or mind's desire (or maybe even tezzeret) and then you lay down the ad nauseum. Completely wrecks their play.Posted in: Decks for Critique
I like conflagrate over lightning storm because you don't care if it's discarded via thoughseize - allowing you some resiliancy to disruption. You're very vulnerable to an extirpate though, so I'd reccomend siding out the conflagrate for games two and three against rock and such. They side in all extirpates and you bring in a lightning storm or something - laughing quietly as they rigiously keep a swamp untapped in order to play a completely irelevant card.
Mar 24, 2009Building on a Budget is a great exercise for rich tournament-goers and an essential for casual players that don't want to get chewed up by their friends. Don't forget, magic is essentially about fun and making connections with people (in between slaughtering their life total). Building on a Budget is not only important for competitions, as incredible cards are often hiding in the bulk prices, but it's the great equalizer for the player that doesn't want to mortgage their house to buy a set of Demigods.Posted in: Community Discussion
Budget Deckbuilding is exciting, it's David and Goliath. It's a fantastic challenge to build and infinitely more satisfying when you win. I still remember the look on my opponent's faces when I first dropped a Theif of Hope onto the board at local tournaments back when Ghost Dad was still an unknown quantity. They laughed until they cried. And then they died.
Embrace the Budget. You'll feel better inside.
Mar 24, 2009Okay, this is my third post (well, 2nd if you don't count my reply) and I'm totally pumped up =)! Actually, I've read through dozens of these forum posts but never bothered actually getting an account until I saw the spoiler on Knight of New Alara. Sometimes, you just need to speak.Posted in: New Card Discussion
So this dragon. I'm a hardcore tournament deckbuilder so, while I like fun, I need to be convinced of power and efficiency to really love a card.
Here's my checklist for evaluating playability. I hope it proves useful =).
1: The Environment (Dinosaurs died out to climate change. So did Legacy Fish)
2: Relative Cost (Is what it does worth paying for?)
3: Potential Power (Okay, say everything goes right... How awesome can it get? Grizzly bears are always a 2/2. Bloodball Ooze? Not so much.)
4: Card Utility (How much stuff does it do? A civic wayfinder is two cards in one - a creature and a landsearch. A little like card advantage but it encompasses more.)
5: Card Support (What kind of cards or decks make it even better? A Wren's Run Vanquisher is great, but are the other elves any good? Hint: yes.)
So Where does the dragon fall on this scale? Not nearly as good as the knight but I think it has some potential. The current environment, removal galore in every color, makes devour decks nearly impossible. The good thing is that I don't think it belongs in that deck anyway.
If we ignored the devour clause and just imagined it made 2/2 flying tokens with no abilities I think we could agree it was powerful. Your opponent or you wrath the board on turn four and then lay this puppy down to rebuild. FAST.
Thing is, devour likes other creatures who won't be around any longer, and you don't want to devour many guys, you'll just be handing your opponent card advantage. It's a nice trick, but most often these guys will be 1/1 fliers.
The real trick here is the blocking. Broodmate dragon is great because it's like serra angel, it's a 4/4 that can attack and block at the same time (well, the token can block) and also swing in for 8 when blocking isn't necessary. The mother dragon can send in a token for some damage and then make another token during your opponent's upkeep, devouring the tapped one and providing a sizeable blocker. Offense and defense!
Verdict: The environment is bad for a devour deck, but good for this card.
The other categories are simpler - only the relative cost worries me. I'd much prefer it if this dragon had a black mana symbol instead of one of those red ones. Three red mana is a lot to ask of a deck. Sure, we'll pay 1UUU for a cryptic command but still, that's a lot of red mana. it's certainly doable, just a little worrisome.
Potential power is obvious. Left unchecked this thing can own the skies and use tricks to make blockers and attackers at the same time. It's size bothers me, since it can't risk running into a plumeveil.
For card utility, this guy's great for rebounding from a wrath but if you want her to be really good you've got to risk a bit of card disadvantage.
Card Support though is something else alltogether. I think we're thinking about the dragon the wrong way. Yes, she's great with spouting thrinax and torrent of souls but here's the card I think I'd find most appealing to play side by side:
Think About it. Persist. It's beautiful. Drop the redcap, blow something up, sacrifice it to a token, blow something else up, wash - rinse - repeat. Kitchen finks is also very happy here. Persist guys are fanstastic with devour, espescially when they can take down two decks at once: resisting the wrath effects of control decks and slowing the assault of aggro. I could see a Proactive Control deck playing persist guys, boardsweepers, and a Broodmother dragons for cleanup. A torrent of souls here, a spouting thrinax there...
It could get very, very scary.
Play the Persist.
Mar 23, 2009Ah, but that makes it even better! It's so much more powerful BECAUSE of all those sweepers. It allows a bigger bash before the Wrath reset button and is such powerful support for your other threats that it requires someone to spend their removal before they would want to.Posted in: New Card Discussion
Because it grows your existing threats to epic proportions it requires more frequent wrathing and removal, exhausting the control player's resources.
Lots of things die to those boardsweepers, that's why they're call boardsweepers =). The point is it makes a tiny board into a big threat, putting the pressure on control decks while keeping a lot of cards in your hand to play post-wrath. Also, it lets you outgrow your aggro opponent's army to shut them down.
But the greatest power of this card is that it makes sub-par cards playable. Cold-eyed selkie is good, but not good enough on its own. Throw it together with Knight of New Alara and it's a card-drawing machine.
Deck builders just got a lot of new tools.
And Dark Bant just got a lot scarier.
Mar 23, 2009I'm a competitive deck-builder and I spend a ton of time sifting through card lists, trying to find what makes a card powerful enough for tournaments. As I've researched I've found that there's several elements: the environment, relative cost, potential power, card utility and card support. I have to say, Knight of New Alara excels at all four of these categories. This card isn't just playable, it's a Tier 1 threat, though subtly so, and I'm sure will find a home in competitive decklists around the globe.Posted in: New Card Discussion
Let me explain.
The Environment: It's a new day in standard and removal has almost never been more common. Even WHITE has a ridiculous amount of power, since when has that been the case? With path to exile, oblivion ring, terror, lash out, shriekmaw, executioner's capsule, hallowed burial, wrath of god, volcanic fallout, firespout and even more floating around, creatures have never had such a hard time of it. Worse yet, the new lands make it easy to play all these spells at once (curse you 5 color control!)
This is the perfect environment for Knight of New Alara.
When board-sweepers and spot removal are common it's very important to make your creatures matter and matter quickly. Being able to give all your creatures an immediate +2/+2 bonus at the very least is an excellent way to pile on the damage and fight through all those wrath effects. Usually aggro decks' 4 drops are rendered useless by the turn 4 wrath of god. But this creature makes all your other guys hit for a lot more the very turn he hits play and if he's countered or burned before you can attack - so much the better. Your opponent just played two spells to sweep your board, giving them only half the card advantage and a whole lot of hurt.
Also, multicolored creatures have never been so common OR colored. Hybrid mana can turn a pathetic little guy like slippery boggle into a terrifying beat-stick that puts nimble mongoose to shame once you lay down your Knight. Will you play this combo? Probably not. But you'll always know you could, while happily swinging in with your 5/4 kitchen finks that's going to come back three more times =).
In short: The creatures are stronger, as are the tools to deal with them. Thus a creature that sharply tips the scale to the creatures side of things or draws removal away from your REAL threats (pay no attention to that war-monk behind the curtain!) is a fantastic bit of weaponry.
Relative Cost: One famous adage of competitive deck-builders is, "if it costs 4 or more, don't put it in unless it wins you the game". Knight of New Alara does an amble job of that - giving each of your other multicolored creatures at least +2/+2 immediately. He's a discount overrun or a super-charged glorious anthem with a free creature thrown in. If your opponent can't kill him in the next two turn, they're going to find it impossible to come back from your huge advantage.
Power Potential: Playing a bitterblossom on turn 2 is incredible. Playing it on turn 7 is less attractive. Topdecking a bitterblossom halfway through the game is often a dead draw and is no way to some from behind. It does nothing to the board the moment it hits and hardly buys you any extra time as it bleeds you last bit of life away. And if you're allready winning... Well, who cares about an enchantment that can backfire?
But if you play it on turn 2... Wow, it's just absurd. It's one of the best two drops in the history of the game.
Knight of New Alara is like that? Could it be removed if you happen to play it while they have mana open and you have no way to save it? Sure. But it's POTENTIAL for power is ridiculous. If you can protect it for even a few turns you're way ahead. If they get mana-screwed this will insure they NEVER come back. And if you get two out... Well let's not even think about that. It's not nice.
Whole decks are built on this principle. Elves is the most powerful deck in extended but it's fragile. It's still highly dangerous though, even with an environment obsessed with hating it, because of it's POTENTIAL to go off as early as turn two and consistently on three and four.
Knight of Alara has immediate board presence and ridiculous potential power. Plus, if it dies you've only lost a card; not a game like with Elves.
Card Utility: Most people consider this slot card advantage as in, "how many cards can I expect this creature to be worth". Tidings is easy, it's a 4 for 1. Phantom Centaur is more complex but will frequently 3 for 1 as black removal can't hit it. However, sheer amount of cardboard isn't enough for me. I need to know what it will cost my deck to run this card. What am I giving up if I choose to shuffle up this card as part my sixty?
Consider Phantom Centaur. It's a cool card. But if I'm running a GW deck I have other 4 drops to choose from, like Loxodon hierarch. The Centaur jsut can't stand up to the hierarch so, while the card is good, the cost of running it (i.e. not getting the hierarch) is too much to pay.
Knight of Alara checks out beautifully on this scale because it's two cards in one. Think about Civic Wayfinder, a constructed staple in BG Rock decks and Lorwyn Elves. It's a land-search engine with a creature stapled on top. It serves two roles at once. If a Rock deck wanted the land-search effect they'd usually have to give up a creature for it. Not so with the wayfinder in.
The Knight is similarly powerful. He lets you play a super-charged glorious anthem without giving up a creature. He gives you the explosive power of an Overrun but with the permanency of an enchantment. True, he might force out some powerful mono-colored creatures but seriously, who needs mulldrifter when you can play a Cold-Eyed Selkie and pick up 3 cards a turn? And did I mention that YOU DON’T HAVE TO GIVE UP A CREATURE!?! The card might actually be LESS valuable in enchantment form.
Card Support: This category asks, “What cards make this one better?” For New Alara’s Knight, this list is just far too extensive to put down. I mean, come on, aside from all multicolored creatures, any type of counter magic to protect it and the entire dark-bant archetype; this card makes ITSELF so much better. If you get two copies on the field not only do they turn even the lowliest slippery boggle into a 6/6 shrouded monstrosity but they also turn each-other into very sizeable threats and protect against all but the most devastating burn. When a card makes even ITSELF better you know you’ve got something special.
Summary: If Knight of Alara was the ONLY multicolored creature in the new set, he’d still be incredible. The interactions with the sleeping hybrid creatures floating around plus an incredible power boost to war-monks, kitchen finks and redcaps around the world – he’d still be incredible. But we’ve got an entire set of over-powered gold monstrosities coming our way. I shudder to think how ridiculous this knight is going to become.
Oh, and a final word before I part; just one. This is one word I left out of the Card Support category because I thought it was so packed with power that it would explode everyone’s imaginations to new vistas, vanquishing the protests of the unbelievers who claim the card is too fragile and spinning assorted deck-lists through our minds.
Yeah, it scares me too.
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May 6, 2015Cantrips are powerful and fun. "Mystery Box" ones are merely reasonable, but we do have some of those in the form of cycling cards. Ones that let you choose the card, like ponder, are extremely dangerous. In general though, we've kept most of the card draw in our auction block at moderate power level - or require jumping through hoops (like Ordeal of Thassa). This is because we like to mostly have control over the auction, so that each player has a chance to buy the game-winning cards. With a lot of card draw, you get fun surprises that can feel awesome - but you lose control over the skill-based experience.Posted in: Articles
That said, we love the card draw effects and always try to snap them up. It just depends on the experience you're looking for. I have a hunch we'll be making a second auction block that plays very differently from the one in the article too.
As for going to 0, yes - it's super dangerous. You can afford to do it when bidding on a creature (because the auction ends after a creature is purchased and you'll get 3 gold at the start of the next turn, before the next auction) but if you do it while it's not your turn and bidding on a non-creature, your opponent can pick free cards off the top of the deck. If you do it while it's your turn, they only have to pay 1 gold per card (because they still have to raise your bid of zero). It's an added layer of risk/reward strategy.
May 6, 201515% means that answers are rather rare. You usually only get 1 or 2 each game. Our auction block is built around that, with few creatures being must-kill targets. If you run a higher power block, or just one with higher variance of power (more must-kill creatures compared to the other ones in the block), 25% could absolutely be the correct number.Posted in: Articles
Also, yes, if you run out of cards in the auction block you shuffle both graveyards in and use them as the new pile.
May 4, 2015Absolutely, there are lots of great things to discuss here.Posted in: Articles
The situation where all players have 0 gold while the auction is continuing has not ever showed up in testing but it does need an answer. The reason it almost never happens is because when one player is at 0 gold, the other player only has to spend 1 gold to buy each card that shows up. The auction is probably going to end before one player runs out of gold.
The current rules about neither player bidding, which say to auction again, are designed as a safety valve so that if a designer includes a useless card in his block - players have an inbuilt way to say "let's not play with this card". However, it does create problems when both players have 0 gold. I'd either suggest either immediately ending the auction if both players are at 0 gold, or change the rules so that bidding "0" is a legitimate first bid - and that if no one raises the bid the player that bid "0" gold gets the card for free. Both would solve the problem, though the second is more elegant (since it just tweaks an existing rule rather than adds a brand new rule).
For constructing an auction block, there are no limits whatsoever. You can build a block however you like. You can build it singleton, like Commander, or you can put in 10 copies of a card you like. You can also shuffle several booster packs together and try playing with their contents. The only limits are what you think will make the best experience for your players.
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