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  • posted a message on New Tournament Type: Deckbuilder Tournaments
    Quote from Lithl »
    So the decks with the most cookie-cutter netdeck structure will get {Match Points} as their score. The best you can do with a deck running nothing from the netdecks is {2 * Match Points} score. The problem I see is that in order to get a modifier like that, you'll have to build an extremely suboptimal deck (netdecks are netdecks for a reason), and your Match Points will be close to 0, which makes the modifier useless.

    Somewhere south of 50% on your deck scoring system might be worth building, and you can get in some luck as well to still pull out ahead of the cookie-cutter deck's score. I don't think there is an intersection between expected total score for a 0% unique deck and expected total score for a >0% unique deck (as the expected match points will go down as a multiplier goes up), other than a netdeck that's expected to lose all matches. Of course getting lucky can put the >0% unique deck up higher, but if we're analyzing a format that's not explicitly meant to be gambling I don't think counting on luck should be included.


    Your understanding of how Deckbuilder Percentile affects the final standings is correct.

    But take a look at the linked Excel workbook in the section "Deckbuilder Prizes in Practice", and click on the "Standings" tab. It shows that you can build a deck with Deckbuilder Percentile >85% without having to resort to using bad cards. However, in a tournament in which practically everyone deliberately avoids playing a popular netdecks, I predict the Deckbuilder Percentiles would become less spread out - perhaps between a range of 60%-95%.

    Remember that Deckbuilder Percentile is based on online data, so it's easy to look online, see what the most popular decks and cards are, and deliberately void playing them. Also, presuming the Card Dominances are formally updated every Monday, you would be able to see exactly what your deck's Deckbuilder Percentile would be before the tournament.

    At this date, it would also be certain that the Deckbuilder Percentile of the Mono-Blue Aggro would be lower, since last weekend this deck archetype saw lots of play, probably because it has a good matchup against the previous weekend's most popular deck, Sultai Aggro.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on New Tournament Type: Deckbuilder Tournaments
    DECKBUILDER PRIZES: INTRODUCTION

    (This is a shorter version of an article I wrote. If you want to see the full version, it's at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CJqwASf-be5rDlHi2FTgmGH9uN3a9hPG/view).

    I propose a new subtype of constructed tournaments called Deckbuilder Tournaments, which would be unique in their method of prize distribution. These tournaments would be an incentive to get more players to plunge back into old-fashioned creative deck design. The scoring system for Deckbuilder Tournaments would be automated and therefore impartial and unbiased. Although I can’t realistically propose an automated system that can measure with pinpoint accuracy such nebulous things as creativity and ingenuity, I think this system would strongly encourage players to explore cards and strategies that have been neglected. And it would certainly increase the variety of decks you would play against.

    Now I shall describe my initial proposal for how the Deckbuilder Prize system would operate.


    DECKBUILDER PRIZE METHODOLOGY

    1. Prize support in constructed events called Deckbuilder Tournaments is awarded based on Deckbuilder Points, not match points.

    2. Players register their deck lists for Deckbuilder Tournaments electronically. A new computer program and phone app would be necessary for this.

    3. Each deck has a Deckbuilder Percentile. The Deckbuilder Percentile is dependent upon the mean (average) popularity of the individual cards within the main deck (sideboard cards don’t affect Deckbuilder Percentile for now). It is desirable to have a high Deckbuilder Percentile because a high Deckbuilder Percentile indicates the inclusion of more unpopular cards in your deck. A Deckbuilder Percentile of 50% is the definition of average. The Deckbuilder Percentile of the oddest rogue decks will be close to 100%, and the Deckbuilder Percentile of the most popular netdecks will be close to 0%. That’s really all you need to know! But for those who are interested in math and statistics, search my full article linked at the start of this post for the area enclosed by a box.

    4. At the end of the Swiss rounds, each player is ranked not by match points and tiebreakers, but by Deckbuilder Points. To determine the top Deckbuilders, use the following equation for each player:

    Deckbuilder Points = Match Points + (Deckbuilder Percentile * Match Points)

    The top Deckbuilders, as determined by this descending list of Deckbuilder Points, are awarded prizes at the end of the Swiss rounds. It is up to the tournament organizer to decide how much prize to allocate to the top 8 elimination rounds thereafter, if applicable.

    I acknowledge that this protocol sounds complex. But with computer programming, the whole thing can easily be automated and implemented.


    DECKBUILDER PRIZES IN PRACTICE

    I have assembled an Excel workbook illustrating the ease by which Deckbuilder Percentiles and Deckbuilder Points can be calculated. You can preview, download, and tinker with this workbook at https://drive.google.com/open?id=1jt_VlymQk8wRZDkj_LXr0ImKb8zU2KWm

    This Excel workbook takes 8 different Standard deck lists from the recent SCG Team Open Baltimore that occurred last weekend. I located these deck lists at https://www.mtgtop8.com/event?e=21065&f=ST. I also added two additional decks: my own current Standard deck, Duncan Hills Coffee, and a rogue deck called Mirror Match Wizards by SaffronOlive from https://www.mtggoldfish.com/articles/instant-deck-tech-mirror-march-wizards-standard. On Monday, February 4, 2019 at 3:00pm Eastern time, I collected and calculated Standard card dominances from 92 Standard decks gathered at Mtgtop8.com over the past 2 weeks.

    With these deck lists and a list of card dominances, I set up a hypothetical 10-player tournament in which each player achieved a final record of 3-3-1 (which is 10 match points). You can see below that decks with higher Deckbuilder Percentile ended up with more Deckbuilder Points in this hypothetical tournament.

    This final list of standings, sorted by Deckbuilder Points, indicates that my method for calculating Deckbuilder Percentile might need modification. My Duncan Hills Coffee deck is a simple, linear deck that nevertheless has the highest Deckbuilder Percentile because it uses lots of cards that other people don’t use. Andrew Hung’s stereotypical Mono-Blue Aggro deck has a high Deckbuilder Percentile for the same reason, despite being basically a netdeck. Such high Deckbuilder Percentiles are largely undeserved. Ideally, SaffronOlive’s deliberately rogue Mirror March Wizards deck should have the highest Deckbuilder Percentile. But on the other hand, the two most prevalent netdecks, Sultai Aggro and Esper Control, have the lowest Deckbuilder Percentiles, so at least that is proper.

    Although this system doesn’t appear to necessarily reward creativity all the time, I do predict it would be highly effective for promoting more deck diversity in the Standard metagame. And that might be even more important than awarding creativity, because it gets very dull to play against the same deck archetype for multiple rounds in a single tournament. It should be noted that these Deckbuilder Percentiles were derived from online data that encompassed only 92 decks, which might not be enough. It should also be noted that 9 out of the 10 decks (mine included) that I put on the spreadsheet are designed with the sole purpose of winning matches, with no impetus placed upon being weird or unique. In an actual Deckbuilder Tournament in which players are indeed trying to bring weird, unique decks, I have no idea what would happen with the numbers. Sometimes you just need to put things to the test to see if they work as intended, and I indeed think this system is ready for a few trial runs.

    Now allow me to get grandiose and imagine that Deckbuilder tournaments become popular. A problem looms: Suppose a major Deckbuilder tournament is completed, and a bunch of new rogue deck lists are posted online. It will be necessary to have a method of disincentivizing players from simply copying these new rogue decks and playing them in future Deckbuilder tournaments. To address this, every Monday two separate official lists of Card Dominances for both plain Standard and Deckbuilder Standard would be posted. Until the following Monday, whenever a player registers a deck list for a Deckbuilder tournament, each card in their deck list uses whichever Card Dominance is higher (which could be either that card’s Dominance in the plain Standard list or in Deckbuilder Standard list). I think that these regularly updated lists would promote consistent creativity and deck diversity by always pushing players away from playing cards that are known to be popular.


    CONCLUSION

    I know that no proposal pleases everyone. Would my proposal please more people than it would displease? And would it increase attendance at tournaments and the audience for tournament coverage? Although I identify as a hybrid “Johnny/Spike”, I must endeavor to perceive this proposal from the perspectives of the other player stereotypes. These player stereotypes are described in the article TIMMY, JOHNNY, AND SPIKE at https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/making-magic/timmy-johnny-and-spike-2013-12-03

    I suspect that players belonging to the “Spike” player stereotype (those who want to win by any means necessary) would not participate in Deckbuilder Tournaments. Indeed, the absolute worst sort of Spikes have contempt for rogue decks and the people who play them. By contrast, I suspect that “Johnny” players (those who like to win but are more interested in the crazy and creative opportunities deckbuilding provides) would love this proposal. “Timmys” (those who enjoy epic, profound creatures and effects) would probably like Deckbuilder Tournaments as well. As for the audience, I am very confident that Deckbuilder tournaments would increase the amount of people who view streaming tournament coverage.

    In conclusion, Magic has several aspects behind its appeal. It has a competitive aspect, a creative aspect, a fantasy aspect, and a collectible aspect. I predict that if the creative aspect were emphasized with Deckbuilder Prizes, then there would be a flourishing of innovative new decks which would bring both higher attendance at constructed tournaments and a greater audience for event coverage.

    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on "Cycling" lands revised and upgraded (a lot)
    Quote from DanielDD »
    For these lands to be common, they should read:

    {Name of the card} comes into play tapped.
    {T}: Add {} to your mana pool.
    Exile this card from your hand, (...). Use this ability only if you control a {name of the card}.

    At this point, I would prefer Legendary lands with a Grandeur mechanic, no ETB tapped.


    Grandeur?! That's actually a really smart idea, I reckon. It would work great for constructed formats, although it would be sadly irrelevant for limited.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on "Cycling" lands revised and upgraded (a lot)
    Quote from ElectricEye »
    I don't see why exiling here is necessary.


    Because cycling for zero mana would profoundly empower the cards Hollow One, Life from the Loam, and Knight of the Reliquary, and it would also further empower the delve mechanic.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on "Cycling" lands revised and upgraded (a lot)
    Quote from user_938036 »
    There strength far exceeds what is acceptable on rare lands so putting them at common is completely ignoring what rarity means.


    Does rarity dictate how good a desirable a card should be? By the criteria set forth in an old article https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/making-magic/rare-well-done-2002-02-25-0, I think these cards are fine at common, especially so because they aren't (7) Disruptive to Limited, and another principle is (10)Spread Good Cards Among All Rarities. I do acknowledge that rare cards in recent years tend to be better than common cards on average, probably for the sake of selling more boosters. But I am unaware of anyone in R&D formally stating that rares must be better than commons.

    Your lands are auto 4-ofs in any deck that wants that color of mana as long as they run at least 1 basic.


    I don't know if that's true. A deck with only 1 basic land and 4 ethereal lands probably wouldn't draw that single basic land often enough to capitalize on the ethereal "cycling" ability. I don't think I would run a full set of 4x an ethereal land unless I had at least 3-4x of the corresponding basic land.

    As for violating the better-than-basic rule, that is something I evidently need to fix.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on "Cycling" lands revised and upgraded (a lot)
    Quote from mondu_the_fat »
    Cycling lands from Urza's Saga weren't very good. Cycling lands from Onslaught were slightly better, but still not good enough to see much use outside of limited.


    Hmmm? Slider was very powerful during it's time.


    Anyway, these cards are not just profoundsly good, they're strictly better than a basic land

    and before you complain that they aren't
    https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/making-magic/land-my-land-2003-03-31


    The ramification of the “strictly better” rule is that we cannot design lands that tap for a colored mana without having some kind of drawback. The nonbasic land status, incidentally, is not considered by R&D to be enough of a drawback.


    Your lands tap for colored mana without a drawback.


    Oops, I forgot the old Astral Slide/Lightning Rift deck. But I could still argue that the Onslaught cycling lands weren't great as standalone cards, but rather only great within the context of a deck that capitalizes on the cycling mechanic. And what I am intending to do is create lands that are indeed great for practically all Standard and Limited decks, irrespective of the deck's context.

    As for being strictly better than a basic land, after reading that referenced Making Magic article, I completely acknowledge that I have sinned. I shall add a drawback to these lands, so that they aren't strictly better than basic lands... just usually better.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on "Cycling" lands revised and upgraded (a lot)
    (This has been updated due to some feedback from others, specifically to address the fact that the previous versions of these cards were strictly better than basic lands. I added the text "As this land enters the battlefield, you lose 1 life." These cards are nevertheless still really great, despite not always being better than a basic land.)

    Cycling lands from Urza's Saga weren't very good. Cycling lands from Onslaught were slightly better, but still not good enough to see much use outside of limited. The same was true for cycling deserts from Amonkhet - they were mediocre, but useful for limited. This is a disappointment in my opinion, because the concept of cycling lands could really go a long way towards mitigating something nearly everyone finds annoying in Magic: mana-screw and mana-flood.

    Here I propose upgraded versions of cycling lands. My intent is to make these cards so profoundly good that they will be as popular in Standard as whatever cycles of rare dual lands are available at the time (the currently available rare dual lands are "check lands" and "shock lands"). Rare dual lands have historically been so terrific that it has always been generally correct to include full sets of them in two-color decks, and to include 15+ of them in 3+ color decks. Yet practically nobody complains that such dual lands are overpowered, probably because playing a land as an obligate mana source never feels unfair (unless it's an absurd card like Gaea's Cradle or Tolarian Academy, etc.) But whereas dual lands are profoundly helpful at preventing color-screw, these cycling lands profoundly help prevent mana-screw and mana-flood. They also incidentally protect a little against color-screw.


    Ethereal Field
    Land (common)
    As Ethereal Field enters the battlefield, you lose 1 life.
    T: Add W.
    Exile this card from your hand: Draw a card. Activate this ability only if you control a basic Plains.

    Ethereal Isle
    Land (common)
    As Ethereal Isle enters the battlefield, you lose 1 life.
    T: Add U.
    Exile this card from your hand: Draw a card. Activate this ability only if you control a basic Island.

    Ethereal Marsh
    Land (common)
    As Ethereal Marsh enters the battlefield, you lose 1 life.
    T: Add B.
    Exile this card from your hand: Draw a card. Activate this ability only if you control a basic Swamp.

    Ethereal Peak
    As Ethereal Peak enters the battlefield, you lose 1 life.
    Land (common)
    T: Add R.
    Exile this card from your hand: Draw a card. Activate this ability only if you control a basic Mountain.

    Ethereal Woods
    Land (common)
    As Ethereal Woods enters the battlefield, you lose 1 life.
    T: Add G.
    Exile this card from your hand: Draw a card. Activate this ability only if you control a basic Forest.

    Ethereal Desert
    Land - Desert (common)
    As Ethereal Desert enters the battlefield, you lose 1 life.
    T: Add 1.
    Exile this card from your hand: Draw a card. Activate this ability only if you control a basic land.

    These cards are obviously amazing. But they don't feel amazing/devastating in the same way that format-defining spells like Teferi, History of Benalia, Arclight Phoenix, or Experimental Frenzy do. And how it feels to play with/against cards is profoundly important, because, as a game, the primary goal of MtG is to be entertaining and enjoyable.

    You will definitely want to include Ethereal Marshes in any Standard or limited deck containing basic Swamps, just as you would want to include (for example) Watery Grave in any Standard or Limited deck that casts black and blue spells. The exact number of ethereal lands you would want to include in a Standard deck entails finding the right balance between basic land counts and ethereal land counts. The presence of ethereal lands adds an additional layer of complexity to figuring out the optimal land configuration for your deck.

    I'm guessing that a generic Blue-Black Standard two-color decks would start by trying something like: 4 Drowned Catacombs, 4 Watery Graves, 4 Ethereal Marshes, 4 Ethereal Isles, 2 Ethereal Deserts, 6 Swamps, and 6 Islands. Note that this is 30 lands, which is more than the default of 24. The presence of ethereal lands encourages you to play more lands because you can avert mana-flood by "cycling" ethereal lands. And since you are playing more lands, you are also protected against mana-screw.

    Furthermore, since ethereal lands essentially "thin" your deck, your sideboard cards become a bit more accessible, which I regard as an additional benefit.

    Ethereal lands are at common rarity because limited formats desperately need more mana consistency. It would also be nice to have these cards available in Pauper.

    Why did I choose for ethereal lands to exile themselves rather than cycle like their counterparts in Urza's Saga, Onslaught, and Amonkhet? Because cycling for zero mana would profoundly empower the cards Hollow One, Life from the Loam, and Knight of the Reliquary, and it would also further empower the delve mechanic. There might still be ways in which these cards disproportionately empower specific deck archetypes, but my primary concern is improving mana consistency in Limited and Standard.

    If such cards were in booster packs, I wonder how highly they would be picked in draft by expert players? I'm guessing they would be a typical 5th or 6th pick, at least in packs #2-3 when you have decided on which colors you are drafting.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Kung Fury
    This card is inspired by the greatest martial art film ever: Kung Fury.

    I'm curious if folks this is appropriate, both with regards to the character Kung Fury and with regards to game balance?

    Kung Fury
    Legendary Creature - Human Cop 7/2
    Triple strike (This creature deals first-strike, regular, and last-strike combat damage.)
    T: Kung Fury deals 2 damage to any target.
    When Kung Fury dies, you may yell, “You’re breaking the law!” If you do, return Kung Fury to the battlefield tapped.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Optional rule to reduce mana screw/flood
    Quote from FTW1987 »


    You should only allow Baseball if you have a certain number of cards in library. Even if you have 3 cards left, you have just stacked your next 2 draws in the order you want. With 6 cards, if you baseball 2 times in a row you stack the rest of your library. Getting to both dig 3 and choose the order of the cards is too powerful for a small library.

    Suggestion: You may only Baseball if your library is at least half its starting size (20 in Limited, 30 in Constructed).

    That not only avoids the situations where Baseball stops you from drawing to death, but also prevents abuse from library stacking. Besides, you don't really need Baseball beyond the first few turns. You just need it in the first few turns to hit your first land drops consistently.


    I assume Burn was brought up because Burn is just more abusive about it. The biggest drawback of Burn is that you can manaflood or lose to manascrew. When you remove that variance, it becomes a combo deck that basically always wins the game on turn 3-4. That invalidates slower decks.

    Maybe there should be a gentleman's agreement not to play Burn in this metagame. The point of the house rule is to make random kitchen table creature decks more consistent, not increase Burn's goldfish rate.

    There's a far bigger problem than just considering what lands to make eligible. You just made Brainstorm, already the best card in Legacy, even more broken. Interactions with Sylvan Library and Ponder are also goofy. Thank goodness Sensei's Divining Top is banned.

    Ineligible lands should start with: Strip Mine, Mishra's Workshop, Tolarian Academy, Bazaar of Baghdad, Library of Alexandria, Gaea's Cradle, Karakas, Dark Depths, Maze of Ith, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, Serra's Sanctum, Wasteland. Most others should be OK. Actually even Wasteland might be fair, since the opponent can find new land as easily as you can find new Wastelands, and Wasteland even gets slightly worse when its much harder to get manascrewed.


    I don't think it's worth using Baseball to "topdeck" lands in the late game when your library is thin is worth eventually being able to work off a stacked deck, but I could be wrong. Another alternative is to allow each player just 3 "at-bats" with Baseball per game.

    I agree fully with your assessment of Burn archetype abusing this a little more than other archetypes. Other decks benefit as well, but straight Burn-your-face-with-LavaSpike, Rift Bolt, Lightning Bolt, etc. might get a little too much of a boost.

    Banning Brainstorm would probably destroy cause rioting. Ick. But I like your suggested list, but think Wasteland would be fine to get with Baseball. But again, Legacy wasn't what I really was considering much when writing this rule.
    Posted in: Casual & Multiplayer Formats
  • posted a message on Optional rule to reduce mana screw/flood
    Quote from Xyx »
    1. Isn't this just going to shift the problem around? "Ooh, now I can cut half my lands! Wait... I'm still getting manascrewed? I'm so unlucky!"
    2. Why are fetchlands "ineligible"? They're fair Magic cards. Is it because they're expensive? This rule is basically a soft ban on fetches, since they can now be removed from decks "for free" anyway.


    This rule makes it easier to get your early land drops with Baseball. And if makes it harder to mana flood because you can now include fewer lands in your deck without having such a high probability of being mana-screwed early. It is still possible to get screwed/flooded, but the frequency of either is significantly reduced with this house rule.

    I just think fetchlands are too good, and they power up strategies like delve, landfall, and revolt. They are so good that they are sometimes warranted in mono-colored decks.
    Posted in: Casual & Multiplayer Formats
  • posted a message on Optional rule to reduce mana screw/flood
    Your suggestion to put cards on the bottom, then draw is better. I have altered the rules in the opening post to use it. I suppose if you have fewer than 3 cards in your library, you look at as many as possible before drawing. There is no longer any way to abuse Baseball to avoid losing to library depletion.

    Burn can certainly drop to 15 lands. Even with 15 lands, if the Burn player plays first and uses Baseball on turns #2 and #3, they will have accessed on average 2.92 lands by turn 3, but in doing so they will miss out on an average of 0.83 cards by doing so (if my calculations are correct). But playing a low land count is something all aggressive decks can attempt, not just Burn. Even non-aggressive decks will play a lower land count than they would normally. This isn't necessarily bad, but it is certainly different.

    I agree that the Baseball rule doesn't benefit Tron like it does other Modern decks. But I don't think Tron becomes unplayable. With the Tron deck made weaker, fewer people will use Ghost Quarter, Field of Ruin, and Damping Sphere. So it will balance out.

    Regarding Legacy/Vintage, I wrote previously, "Since I lack experience in such formats, I have no list of ineligible lands to propose. I also think players who play in these tournaments are generally too hardcore to be interested in house rules, anyway." But I'm sure a Vintage/Legacy list of ineligible lands would include lands that produce more than one mana, which would hurt decks using cards like Cloudpost, Ancient Tomb, City of Traitors, Mishra's Workshop, Gaea's Cradle.

    Any house rule will warp an established metagame. With the Baseball rule this is profoundly more true for Legacy/Vintage than Standard or Draft. But some of the fun of house rules is figuring out how to exploit them. If you think Burn is disproportionately powered-up, then play Burn or a deck that beats Burn.

    Also remember that no additional cards are banned. But a few land cards are prohibited from being "found" with Baseball.
    Posted in: Casual & Multiplayer Formats
  • posted a message on Optional rule to reduce mana screw/flood
    These are good questions, which make me double-check the wording of my opening post.

    Q1. Is this option a draw?
    A1. Yes.

    Q2. How does it work with Underworld Dreams?
    A2. You will still take a point of damage with Baseball.

    Q3. What about Chains of Mephistopheles?
    A3. You can successfully use the Baseball option with Chains of Mephistopheles on the battlefield because the Baseball option substitutes for the standard drawing of a card as the draw step begins.

    Q4. What about dredge? Can I look at the top 3, see that there is a land, and then decide to dredge instead of drawing it?
    A4. You can't use Baseball and Dredge at the same time; you need to specify whether you will Draw, Baseball, or Dredge before you touch the top of your library.

    Q5. How do you feel about this invalidating the advantage of Memory Lapse, Hinder, Submerge and other similar cards?
    A5. I feel bad about making cards like Memory Lapse slightly worse. But I don't think most spells that put cards on top of an opponent's library are profoundly worse, because most of the time the opponent would rather re-draw whatever card was put on top of their library than get a land.

    Q6. Can I use this to prevent myself from drawing the last card in my library because it's not a land?
    A6. No, you can't use the Baseball option to protect yourself from library depletion because if you don't reveal an eligible land, you have to exile the card as your draw it. This exile-a-card part of the rule was deliberately intended to prevent a player from immunizing themselves from "Millstone" strategies.

    Q7. Is powering up Grenzo, Dungeon Warden intentional?
    A7. Uh-oh, I didn't know about Grenzo! He would need errata such as, "As long as Grenzo is your commander, you can't use Baseball option." If he were to get out of hand in Legacy, he could be banned.

    Q8. Can I look, see that there is a land, and put it on the bottom of my library?
    A8. Yes, but remember that if you don't reveal a land, you have to exile the card you draw as you draw it.

    Q9. If not, does Obstinate Familiar allow me to do this?
    A9. Anything that would prevent you from drawing a card prevents you from using the Baseball option.

    Q10. Can I Plagiarize this effect?
    A10. Yes, and you will draw a card off Plagiarize regardless of whether your opponent keeps or exiles the card they reveal.

    Q11. Does it get by Possessed Portal?
    A11. No, as with the Obstinate Familiar question, you can't use Baseball if you are prevented from drawing a card.

    Q12. What happens if I have Thought Reflection?
    A12. You will draw an additional card, even if you reveal and draw (and exile) a nonland or ineligible land.

    Q13. Zur's Weirding?
    A13. A player may use Zur's Weirding's effect to force an opponent to discard a land revealed and drawn with Baseball.

    Q14. Uba Mask?
    A14. If the active player reveals an eligible land with Baseball, they exile that land with Uba Mask and may play it this turn. If the active player reveals an spell card or ineligible land with Baseball, they MAY choose to exile that card with Uba Mask and play/cast it this turn.
    Posted in: Casual & Multiplayer Formats
  • posted a message on 5 utility lands that help alleviate mana flood, with illustrations
    Or perhaps the best solution is to just print something simpler, like this:

    World's Edge
    Land (C)
    [T]: Add 1.
    [2],[T], Discard a land card: Draw a card.

    With an activation cost of [2],[T], this card might not be good enough, though. Any thoughts on decreasing the activation cost to [1],[T]?
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Optional rule to reduce mana screw/flood
    Once again, I have been thinking about a simple rule alteration to reduce the frequency of mana screw and mana flood. If you are a competitive player or someone who thinks Magic’s mana system is perfect the way it is, then this won’t appeal to you. I think most other people will like it. It’s obvious to me that most players are peeved when they don’t get to participate in the game due to bad luck. Furthermore, if you search the forums for “mana screw”, you will find many other people have similarly made proposals for house rules to remedy mana problems. Although the motivation of these proposals is something I fully agree with, I think most of these proposals are too game-warping and potentially exploitable in constructed formats. Finally, search for footage of the epic game 5 of the final match in Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica.

    Reducing the prevalence of mana screw reduces variance and luck in the game. I acknowledge that the random mana system gives a novice player a better chance of defeating an expert player, and I also acknowledge that nobody enjoys playing a game that they have no chance of winning. But since different decks have favorable and unfavorable matchups, and since bomb rares exist in limited formats, I dispute the notion that the only way a novice can defeat an expert is via mana screw. Since I have observed both novices and experts become frustrated with mana screw, I think this house rule will be appreciated by most people who try it. I also don’t think it can be exploited in constructed formats, but would like to be shown otherwise.

    This house rule, or any house rule for that matter, isn’t as good a method for addressing mana gripes as printing staple-grade cards that increase mana-quantity consistency. WotC has often printed rare multilands (dual lands, pain lands, fetch lands, shock lands, fast lands, check lands, filter lands, etc.) that have always been Standard staples because they profoundly increase mana-color consistency. But whereas these rare multilands were always staples, the vast majority of cards featuring mana-consistency bolstering mechanics such as cycling, buyback, spellshapers, and retrace have been too weak to play outside of draft. I have created two separate sets of cards that ameliorate mana-quantity problems, but that’s a separate topic. This is a just simple rule change for casual players.

    504. Draw Step

    504.1. First, the active player draws a card. This turn-based action doesn’t use the stack.

    504.1. First, the active player chooses one – Draw or Baseball. If an effect would prevent the active player from drawing a card during the draw step as normal, they can’t choose Baseball. If the active player doesn’t specify Baseball, they are assumed to have chosen Draw.

    504.1a. Draw: Draw a card. This is a turn-based action that doesn’t use the stack.

    504.1b. Baseball: Look at the top three cards of your library. Put two of those cards on the bottom of your library in any order, then draw a card and reveal it. If you reveal a nonland card or an ineligible land card, exile it. This is a turn-based action that doesn’t use the stack.

    702.51c. A player can't use a Dredge ability during the Baseball procedure.


    Ineligible land cards: (remember that ineligible cards aren’t banned)

    Draft/Sealed: None.

    Standard: None.

    Commander: None.

    Modern: Blinkmoth Nexus, Cavern of Souls, Eldrazi Temple, Fetchlands (Flooded Strand, Polluted Delta, Bloodstained Mire, Wooded Foothills, Windswept Heath, Marsh Flats, Scalding Tarn, Verdant Catacombs, Arid Mesa, Misty Rainforest), Inkmoth Nexus, Urza’s Mine, Urza’s Power Plant, Urza’s Tower, Valakut the Molten Pinnacle. (Any other suggestions, folks?)

    Legacy/Vintage: Since I lack experience in such formats, I have no list of ineligible lands to propose. I also think players who play in these tournaments are generally too hardcore to be interested in house rules, anyway. Folks who play Old School 93/94 and/or Premodern, however, might feel like creating a list of ineligible cards.


    When you use the Baseball option, you generally double your chances of drawing a land that turn, albeit at the risk of not drawing a card at all. For example, consider a typical 40-card draft deck with 17 lands – you have a 42.5% chance of topdecking a land if you draw a card, but you have an 82.1% chance of getting a land if you choose Baseball. Consider a typical 60-card Standard deck with 24 lands – you have a 40% chance of topdecking a land, but you have a 79.1% chance of getting a land with Baseball. Not getting a land with the Baseball option is painful, but it’s still usually better than choosing to simply Draw because you “dig” deeper into your deck for that land you desperately need.

    Here are a few of my speculations about the implications of the Baseball rule.

    Draft speculations:
    1. Players will want to play fewer lands. The default number of lands will no longer be 16-17, it will be 13.
    2. Because players will play fewer lands, mana flood will occur a little less frequently.
    3. Because you can Baseball to dig deeper into your deck for the lands you need to cast your spells, playing a 3-color deck will be a little less risky.
    4. Because you will want to play fewer lands, you will need more playable cards from your picks. But this shouldn’t be a problem because the Baseball rule makes drafting a 3-color deck less risky. This also means that you won’t as often have to forego a superior pick in favor of an inferior pick, just because the superior pick isn’t in your 2 colors.
    5. Utility lands that are designed to protect against mana problems won’t be picked quite as highly.

    Standard Constructed speculations:
    1. Players will include fewer lands in their decks. The default number of lands will no longer be 24, it will be 20.
    2. Standard legal multilands will be very slightly less desirable because they often enter play tapped, whereas basic lands don’t. Since you can “dig” for whatever color of mana you are missing with the Baseball option, you will be more likely to fix your colors with basic lands. It might no longer be correct to automatically include a full set of Overgrown Tombs and Woodlands Cemeteries in your Golgari deck, for example.
    3. Cards that smooth out your mana and function as “mana-sinks” will be very slightly less desirable, but many of these cards will certainly remain playable. In Standard, popular examples of such cards are Treasure Map, Azor’s Gateway, and Tormenting Voice.
    4. The explore mechanic will be very slightly weaker, because I think it’s usually better to get a land than a +1/+1 counter when a creature explores. But some creatures with explore will remain good enough to include in Standard decks, nevertheless.
    5. A few cards will become a little better due to less land in your deck, such as Vance’s Blasting Cannons, Twilight Prophet, Precognition Field.

    Modern speculations:
    1. Since fetchlands aren’t eligible, there will be a little less shuffling of libraries! I made fetchlands ineligible because they are by far the best multilands, and they also fuel mechanics such as delve, revolt, and landfall.
    2. Urzatron decks won’t benefit from the Baseball rule as much as other Modern decks. And that’s fine and dandy.

    Posted in: Casual & Multiplayer Formats
  • posted a message on A Simple Anti-Flood Land
    The word "if" is usually associated with triggered abilities, and in such cases the word "if" is important for the intervening-if rule. But while this card uses "if", it doesn't use the word "when", "whenever", or "at" (which dictate a triggered ability). Since this card does use the word "if", but not "when", "whenever", or "at", it could cause some confusion as to whether or not this ability uses the stack.

    If you play Uncharted Wilds as land #6 while you already have 3 of them in play, would you immediately sacrifice all 4 of them and draw 4 cards? If the ability is an static, non-triggered ability that doesn't use the stack, then I think the answer is yes. But if you added "when" to the card text, then the answer would be no, and you would sacrifice just one Uncharted Wilds and draw 1 card.

    This card is also better than a basic land in nearly all situations. But I really like the premise of a card that helps with mana flood. I also think this card should be common because when playing draft mana-screw/flood are more frequent.

    I would recommend something like this:

    Uncharted Wilds
    Land (C)
    At the beginning of your end step, if you control six or more lands, sacrifice Uncharted Wilds. If you do, draw a card and lose 1 life for each Uncharted Wilds in your graveyard.
    [T]: Add G.

    I use Magic Set Editor to create nice looking cards, and recommend it since it's free to download.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
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