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  • posted a message on Katingal: Plane of Chains
    Well I'm back after a much-needed mental health break, let's get into the feedback.

    Quote from rowanalpha »
    I think you're overloading your set by adding vanishing. Morph was only kept in Khans after they came up with the Clan model because it worked well as pseudo-color fixing in a set that needed it. Vanishing is only adding complexity to the set here.

    That will be somewhere between difficult and impossible. Vanishing is mechanically critical to the second set where it's referenced by about 20% of the set (the tension of getting short-term value from removing counters from cards that want more counters is the conceit of that set) and is how the flavor of the plane's dwindling time is communicated in mechanics. Honestly, it would be easier to diminish or jettison the five mono-colored mechanics than vanishing as they largely exist for mechanical definition and utility for each color and take a backseat in set two. Don't get me wrong, I understand killing your darlings, it's just not easy to lift out vanishing from the block without creating issues.

    What does this overloading/complexity look like for you? Perhaps if I understood your perspective, alternatives would be more clear.

    Restore needs to be reworded at the very least, because current wording lets you restore when you have no cards in hand. Also, it will trigger for each restore card in your graveyard regardless of how it is worded, but it currently lets you return your most valuable restore card for the lowest restore value among cards in your graveyard.

    Thank you, I was concerned about the wording. Would the following work?

    (At the beginning of your upkeep, if you have at least N cards in hand you may return this card from your graveyard to the top of your library. If you do, put exactly N cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.)

    Finally, your wording will put the restored card on top, and then the cards from hand on top of that, meaning you don't get the card you restored for multiple draws.

    Yes. The mechanic is my take on Buyback and one of the things that made it so crippling in certain decks (blue permission, mostly) was that you had the card back in hand for use again immediately. Since restore was going to be on the exact same types of spells that made buyback so oppressive, I wanted to give a degree of delay so that playstyle wouldn't be as easy to sustain.

    Restore 2 (At the beginning of your upkeep, you may put exactly two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order. If you do, put [CARDNAME] on top of you library.)

    This is better wording/order and it creates the dependency that you must have card in hand to restore. However, this mechanic is (a) will potentially create repetitive game states (like Buyback does) and (b) cost more than the effect is worth due to the loss of card advantage. Putting the restored card in hand instead of the top of the deck would solve the second problem, but not the first.

    The first point is the aspect of buyback I wanted to solve a little bit. I always liked that the mechanic helped make relatively basic effects more interesting because they could be reused consistently. I dialed back on the immediacy as well as the consistency (restore requires cards in hand you don't mind going a turn or two without which means restore can be "turned off" by gamestates more frequently than buyback) to restrict the repetitiveness and oppressive nature of buyback. I was also inspired by the cycle of spells with suspend in Future Sight that re-suspend themselves upon resolution with a three-turn clock. I liked the sense of an impending effect, though I wanted a bit more flexibility and decision-making than that cycle since once they got going there was really not much more input from the caster and limited points of interaction for opponents.

    The second point is a concern I had from the mechanic's inception. Balancing the individual cards was challenging as not being careful would result in Buyback 2.0 in terms of controlling/dominating games, and playing it too safe would render the cards too weak to be usable. Plus, balancing Limited with Constructed. I decided to not put restore on any cards that would be exceptionally back-breaking like a counterspell, it's largely utility pieces like twiddling, making a creature unblockable, etc.

    I suppose the right balance is the greatest number of turns players are willing to

    Manaburst is an interesting idea. It might make the effect more interesting if you found a way to make the ability scale with the amount of mana in the pool, rather than being two or more. This would encourage actually tapping out rather than tapping just enough to get the bonus.

    The mechanic started out like that originally, and stratified by rarity. I think it was 2-3-4 or 2-4-6 with the rares being bomby for the extra required mana and the mythic had an effect that scaled with the amount of extra mana. They were too bomby, though, and in the last pass on the set before I started posting it I synced up all the values to one value. I think the challenge with variable values is that the mechanic felt too complex.

    Do you think it would help to have both? Most cards "turn on" at two extra mana, but a few scale the effect based on the amount to encourage some bigger commitments or late-game bomb plays?

    I don't think hunt will play as well as you want it too, so you'd need top playtest this a lot. The opposite ability (Thorn Elemental) is good because it breaks stalemates, but in hunt's case it will rarely be better to deal damage to a create in place of just reducing the opponent's life total.

    Having the hunter deal damage to the marked creature in addition to the player would create some more interesting choice, but mostly would just force the player to block with the marked creature. Having each creature hunting a different creature and changing those targets each turn will also create memory issues.

    I'm not sure the in addition rider increases choices, my feeling is that it would restrict choice in that there would be a right choice of doing both and rarely would a player do otherwise. And like you said, the defending player would likely just block with the creature(s) being hunted.

    The interesting choice to me for the player doing the hunting is whether the loss of damage to the dome is worth it to pick off a creature. Take, for instance, the 5/5 trampler with hunt. If it isn't blocked, it's probably best to just hit the face but that math can change depending on the state of the board. Are you hunting a flying finisher? Maybe killing it is worth the turn. Chumped with a bit of trample damage spilling over? Maybe that couple points of damage are better used picking off a creature that's making life difficult. And on the other side, playing against hunt is interesting in that it puts the pressure on. Which creatures to chump with to buy a turn an important utility creature or a bomb that can win the game for you in a few turns, when to let the hunter through and when not to, when to play a creature that may be a soft target, etc.

    Memory issues are a fair point, though in playtesting, it was rare to have more than three creatures hunting at any one time, and relatively uncommon for them to be all hunting different creatures. Usually, the hunting player went all in on one creature to ensure its death (either in redundancy of attackers in case of blocks, or to tag team a bigger creature), sometimes only two creatures were selected to keep the defender guessing, or (least frequently) all different creatures were picked to create a pseudo board wipe. I actually expected memory issues, to be honest, and I was surprised that the tendency was to employ hunt in a way that wasn't all that memory-intensive. Whether that was because of real strategic choices or to avoid the memory issues isn't clear.

    One of my favorite moments was when the hunting player had two 2/2s attacking into a lone 1/5 that was being hunted by both. It would block one, and would take another 2 from the unblocked hunter because the attacking player had effects that trigger when a hunted creature is damaged by a creature hunting it. It was worth redirecting that 2 damage for a couple turns to get a bit of advantage from the triggers because that advantage led to a faster win than the 2 damage would have.

    Here's an out of the box idea, based on the monarch:

    When this creature enters the battlefield, target creature or planeswalker becomes the hunted. (Whenever that permanent's controller is dealt combat damage, that much damage is dealt to the hunted)

    The hunted becomes a marker that only one creature at a time can have, and means that whatever damage the player doesn't block also gets dealt to that creature. There might be a way to make it only relevant to creatures with the Hunt ability, but I'd need to think harder on the wording.

    I'd probably leave the "or untaps" component since I want a hunting creature to be able to hunt more than once without requiring other hunting creatures, but I like this version (with the addition of "by creatures with hunt" to the combat damage clause). The most common strategy was to limit the hunted creatures to one a lot of the time, anyway, though I have concerns I'd want to playtest out. At the end of the day, hunt was the most utility-driven of the five and this version preserves that intent, I just want to make sure losing the choices made as a result of the current wording doesn't make the mechanic less fun/interesting.

    There's not really cross mechanic synergy (think Surveil/Jumpstart in GRN or Outlast/Ferocious in Khans), so you'll need to find ways to make archetypes between colors that are relevant for draft.

    The mechanics aren't supposed to have obvious overlap, the intent was for them to encourage focus on one color with splashes as needed. The original intent was to encourage mono-color play more purposefully, but I eased back as the second set pulled in a direction that would be hard to make work if the first set was harshly mono-colored.

    When we did a few playtest drafts, players were generally pulled towards one color with a splash of another though no two examples of a color combination played quite the same. gU tended to be more controlling and focused on restore with green providing ramp to offset the tempo delay from restore, and Gu tended to be creature-based control with blue tap/untap antics assisting hunt. Color pairs don't have strict archetypes for Limited, and the requisite ten uncommon gold cards aren't strictly signposts, they're largely utility cards that can typically slot into any version of that color pair.

    The draft environment of set two is much more archetype-focused, with signpost uncommons directing specific strategies, I just liked the old school feel of Katingal's Limited environment.

    Quote from DJK3654 »
    Feign (latest version) seems like a lot of searching and shuffling for what you're getting out of it. The cost there is also pretty small in practice, as your opponent will lose a lot of value repeatedly trying to kill creatures to bleed you off feign cards and may therefore often not bother, so these cards are going to be quite powerful. And that may make it a little hard to balance, and may be frustrating to play against.

    Early on, I'd considered feign working more like grandeur and only working by discarding the card rather than searching it out from the library, but it was difficult to picture it happening frequently. The last version I tried before retreating to the initial version posted here discarded any black creature but that didn't feel like it'd play well and lost a lot of the flavor.

    As for the power level, I recognized early on that the mechanic did not want to be on creatures that were a) big, and/or b) highly threatening without feign. It really gravitated towards creatures on the more fragile side so most of their interactions would create scenarios where feign was relevant. As a byproduct, that also limited how difficult they were to handle. I tried to build it as similar to regenerate with a more flexible payment and a limitation on uses (though that limitation is looser now with the less parasitic wording).

    Feign is not problematic in Limited as the pool is usually so small that the ability can only trigger a few times per game, even with the updated version. Still useful, as that kind of resiliency matters in Limited games even if it only buys two or three turns. It may be more potent in Constructed, though even in that environment it didn't seem frustrating to deal with. The most potent plays I saw where feign was the decisive factor were board wipes into a lethal swing with feign creatures.

    I would suggest changing the cost from searching for feign cards to mill to discarding any creature card. This makes them more flexible and less parasitic, removes the fiddle time of searching and shuffling, and means you get more out of trying to kill a feign creature so you're encouraged to do it more often and feel less bad about it when you have to do it.

    I think my greatest concern is that recursion that puts creatures in your hand would easily break the mechanic if the cost is discarding a creature. A Palace Seige would make a feign creature largely indestructible and if you have anything that triggers on a discard, that could be potent.

    I agree with your points, do you think this adjustment would make playing against it less fun?

    The problem with defensive mechanics like Indomitable is not just whether they encouraged stalled board states, it's that they are not proactive and don't encourage interaction in the game. When you are encouraged to attack, you and your opponent who's on the defence are both forced into making interactive decisions. Things happen. When you are encouraged to hold up blockers, your opponent is often going to be forced to hold back more as well and may not attack at all. Even if the overall board states with a mechanic don't become less interactive and more stalled, the mechanic itself wants to be at the center of the interaction in the game because that's the fun part. Mechanics that live in the less fun parts of the game, well, they're less fun.

    In regards to the bolded point, indomitable only ever wants to hold back one blockers. In playtesting, holding back other creatures to keep an opponent guessing was something people did once or twice before just using those creatures to attack. More often than not, the trickiest plays were ones where the white player swung with their indomitable creatures along with other creatures while keeping back a strong blocker. The defending player often had the choice of blocking the creatures with indomitable (hopefully picking off enough to make the lone blocker less challenging to swing into) or the other creatures (this was particularly nasty in GW combinations as this tactic worked well with hunt).

    Your point on encouraging/discouraging interaction is well taken. And numerous defensive mechanics that limit interactions (protection, shroud/hexproof) have proved troubling for WotC, I just don't see indomitable as problematically discouraging interaction in the same way (or at least same degree) as those mechanics. Hiding behind a small blockade of indomitable creatures is the most non-interactive the mechanic gets, and even that isn't a strategy decks are going to want to do to win and most decks will play right through it as the blockade is typically pretty susceptible to damage and removal.

    Indomitable is often going to serve to intimidate the opponent into making different attacks, maybe attacking with more creatures to force you to block with multiple or not attacking at all, in such a way that it isn't always going to actually trigger and often won't actually make any big trades. Especially with newer players who can often be intimidated by the prospect of losing their creatures when they attack. Exalted, on the other hand, is often going to trigger every turn, and actually directly affect the game with a big swing of damage going somewhere.

    Yes, indomitable will be a bit of a rattlesnake, that's its job. Wink

    For what it's worth, I really only saw a decrease in activations in the late game. In the early game, indomitable triggered almost every turn as long as there was an attack. Indomitable only discouraged attacks the first few times a player played against that, most caught on quick that they needed to outrace it and apply more pressure. So early game scenarios with an indomitable creature or two on the board usually resulted in opponents swinging in to force trades and chumps as a way of limiting how impenetrable things could get. It frequently came down to who played combat smartest on turn(s) 3-5 with the right blocks/trades/tricks making the difference, which what I'd hoped for.

    Restore gives me terrible flashbacks to dredge. That is not a good comparison for a mechanic to have. That said, the mechanic is actually too weak right now, in line with what Rowanalpha said. Not only are you losing card advantage, you're not even getting the card you wanted for multiple turns.

    Hahaha, well it was loosely inspired by dredge, so that makes sense.

    My feeling was that between card draw and library manipulation, restore was more formidable than at first glance (which is why the cards themselves have relatively weaker effects). A Jace's Erasure, for example, could speed things up by a turn and put more restorable cards in the yard. In playtesting, scrying was effective at this as well.

    Manaburst is interesting, but I think it has two issues. One is that the mana pool is on the high end of complexity for something you're going to want at low rarities in some number (it's a large part of why they removed reference to the mana pool from mana generation effects). This is especially so given the unconventional way this effect wants you to play with mana. The second is that this effect is almost always going to function exactly like Kicker when you just let the mana expire or like Surge when you play it with another effect.

    The mana pool complexity is something I'm just unconcerned with. I understand completely why WotC felt it necessary to do to simplify things for some players, I just don't feel it's as important a consideration for a homebrew set, especially since it's not a dramatic breaking of things.

    Your second point is on point, that's precisely what I wanted the mechanic to play like. It was my attempt at marrying spellslinging and red's love of big, bomby single spells even though those aren't naturally cooperative strategies. You can play a manaburst card pretty flexibly, playing it when you need with no bonus, waiting until you get the bonus and letting the mana go (which may limit your plays until you untap), or playing it for the bonus and chaining into something else. All very red things, and the decisions of how to play it forced some challenging decisions.

    Hunt suffers from similar reactive problems to Indomitable. Set mechanics usually want to do something good for you, not hurt your opponent's things, because players don't like having their stuff hurt as much as they like getting good stuff, and because it's dependant on what your opponent is doing as to how useful it is.

    Not a bad point, set mechanics that hurt opponents more than they just give the player good things are used relatively sparingly. They do exist (wither, annihilator, extort, overload, ingest, and afflict are all examples imo), it's mostly a matter of justifying their inclusion and ensuring they play in ways that don't feel too crushing to play against. Hunt, I believe, is fine in this regard. Green needed a mechanic that could serve a utility role of conditional creature removal, and hunt was never too dominating to make playing against it unfun.

    If your opponent is playing weenies, then hunt isn't going to be as rewarding when you're just hitting 1/1s and 2/2s, or if your opponent is playing a creature-light (or creatureless) control deck then hunt might do nothing much of the time.

    The weenie comment is odd as hunt was designed specifically to help green deal with utility creatures that never engaged in combat (which were usually on the smaller size). Some 1/1s and 2/2s are rewarding to pick off. Wink

    A weenie army is more challenging, sure, but hunt is still useful. Trample up and then pick off that Mentor of the Meek or Rhys, one strategy suggested was using untapping combat tricks (Benefactor's Draught or Vitalize) with trample to trick an opponent into chumping with your "target" only to pull a 2 for 1. And we actually playtested a hunt-focused deck against a creatureless deck and while hunt didn't kill any of the opponent's creatures, the hunting player just picked one of their own creatures that would survive the hunt damage to get their triggers the deck was built around. A similar version of that trick worked in multiplayer where player A had turtled up and had some creatures affecting the board that the hunting player couldn't attack into successfully so they instead attacked player B who was creature-light and picked off player A's headache-inducing creatures.

    There are certainly scenarios where hunt is going to be less effective, and some where it won't be able to do anything at all, but that's a bit of a reductive argument. A lot of mechanics aren't always rewarding, and deckbuilding is often about shifting the balance in your favor. That's no excuse for bad mechanics, but I don't think hunt is.

    Posted in: Custom Set Creation and Discussion
  • posted a message on The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Future of the Local Game Store (LGS)
    Quote from mikeyG »
    Did MtG sales dip through the spring? Are sales rebounding this summer with things reopening? I've seen conflicting reports (evidently Q1 revenues were up, but covid really only struck in the last slice of that quarter so Q2 sales will be the better datapoint). Q3 may see that uptick with reopens shifting perception, but I do wonder how the unemployment and housing crises may have blunted the MtG sales recovery.

    There was a recent Hasbro Report stating that Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths was the best selling Spring set in the history of the brand though they were actually referring to sales on Arena / MTGO not Paper Magic.

    Indeed. Like I said, I think the overall picture from Q2 matches what we should have expected given the tens of millions in America alone unemployed (or otherwise seeing a reduction in income) due to covid. That is likely to continue even if LGSs are open, sadly.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Future of the Local Game Store (LGS)
    Quote from motleyslayer »
    One of the two stores in my area is running in store events right now, so I can see them running some kind of pre-release for Zendikar Rising. I think that we'll probably get more information in regards to what will happen with these events over the next few weeks, as the events will probably be late September.

    I think that'll depend on one thing: schools.

    Schools will be back in session in the next five weeks, and given the piss-poor plans to reopen them, outbreaks are inevitable. Despite rhetoric to the contrary, kids aren't immune and can serve as convenient spreaders, and reopening schools without the resources to do so safely just so parents can get back to work and the economy can look better in time for elections later in the fall is doomed to failure. Once that happens, the smartest play would be to go back into lockdown, with nonessential businesses like LGSs being closed again. I don't know if Zendikar events will be able to run, or if they'll be safe to attend if they do. A spike in cases due to schools opening again that doesn't become apparent until October may not trigger lockdowns that disrupt prereleases, but that might even be worse in some ways.

    One way or another, though, LGSs are going to get rolled. Either by a new lockdown, or by decreased sales/play. Even if, by some miracle, there are no outbreaks related to schools (though kid-related outbreaks are already happening, and they had similar issues overseas when countries opened schools again), the pandemic isn't going away and a second wave is predicted in the US and Canada.

    Quote from Narvuntien »

    I live in the capital city and I was talking about that, just the store that closed was in the country.

    Federally sure politics is trash, ours isn't great but at least took COVID threat seriously since March. I am suggesting you go to your State and even local governments they are much more responsive to citizens. They need to keep their small business running or they might never recover.

    How to stop the spread: 2 months lockdown, everything except supermarkets/pharmacies closed, 2 person groups only, mask orders. I am not sure if the USA constitution allows the closing of state boarders, but there needs to be people checking every single border and giving out 2 week stay at home orders.
    Once you stop community spread you can start testing and carefully tracking sporadic outbreaks that will continue. locking down apartments and suburbs following the persons travel history to find where they got it from. Test and Track. just doing testing isn't enough you need to track where they got it from. The testing needs to be free or people won't get it done.
    A further 2 months of slowly allowing more businesses to open and larger groups to meet.

    The economy is just gone its too late to save it, forget it! save lives instead. You effectively need to hibernate the economy until the emergency is over. No rent, no rates, no power or water bills, no one gets fired but everything is closed. You need to have your local small business to still be there when you get out of lockdown so their bills need to go away until they can open. The economy is dead just go into however much debt is required to solve the problem, doing nothing or doing a huge amount are both bad but only once saves lives.

    Leaders in failed states don't care about people, just siphoning off as much value as they can while they still can.

    Though, that does impact MtG as people aren't going to have as much disposable income and many will need to prioritize what they spend their limited resources on. Last I checked, the Senate took a recess rather than figure out what to do in regards to supporting people out of work or experiencing a drop in income due to covid. And the impending eviction crisis will compound that with tens of millions at risk of losing their homes. I don't find it illogical that luxury products sales will suffer.

    Did MtG sales dip through the spring? Are sales rebounding this summer with things reopening? I've seen conflicting reports (evidently Q1 revenues were up, but covid really only struck in the last slice of that quarter so Q2 sales will be the better datapoint). Q3 may see that uptick with reopens shifting perception, but I do wonder how the unemployment and housing crises may have blunted the MtG sales recovery.

    Not sure If anyone's heard about this yet however there were some YouTube videos recently of a group of doctors in front of the U.S. Supreme Court including Stella Immanuel claiming that she had cured COVID-19 in 350 patients at her clinic using a combination of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc and that public health measures such as wearing face masks and social distancing were no longer necessary. Apparently the antimalarial medication hydroxychloroquine had previously had its emergency use authorization for COVID-19 removed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which said it had not been proven to be an effective treatment for the virus. Even If it hadn't been proven yet that still doesn't give them the right to silence these doctors from getting the information out there to test whether or not If it is an effective treatment against COVID-19.

    Do you think that passes the smell test? Demon sperm, my dude, demon sperm. And whatever scientific arguments they tried to make have been thoroughly debunked.

    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on What's going on lately?
    Quote from Xcric »
    What exactly is happening around this forum lately?

    I know it can be a tough gig to be a moderator, and that we lost a lot of people when the forum was sold. there was the threat of it being closed for good and a lot of people jumped ship but just what exactly has this place become?

    1. I'm seeing ad-bots constantly.

    The threads they start are left up for days on end before they're locked. Its especially true in the rumor mill. Do moderators just not go into the forum any more at all? personally, i'm in there multiple times throughout the day. why are the moderates not also active throughout the day? if they are, why are these threads left up so long? I know reporting those threads helps however; they're blatantly obvious without even clicking them. it shouldn't even get to the point of needing to be reported most of the time if moderators are active.

    I also ask why there isn't a waiting period for new threads on accounts. It wouldn't take much, 5 replies before you get new thread privileges. This goes on at other forums so why not here? it would stop the ad-bots pretty fast. there could be a limitation i'm not aware of with this particular style of forum, but as that's been a pretty standard practice everywhere else i'm not entirely sold on that.

    2. I see there's a disclaimer thread about what the forum won't tolerate regarding sexism, racism, and all that other jazz.

    My question here is... why is that only in this sub forum where no one even bothers to go?

    Why is that post not stickied in every single forum across the entire place? Now more than ever that post (or one like it) should be stickied at the top every single forum and sub-forum. If you put it out there everywhere you can better hold people to it. You make the values and standards known. Making that statement helps make the environment here healthier, and helps make the playerbase healthier too. Hiding those values and standards away is almost if you're condoning those negative behaviors. Why hide that statement? Why be silent? Is now not the time to say we won't stand for this here, and if its not, why stand for it at all?

    3. What's going on with moderation in the general forum?

    General should be a place for general discussion no?

    Why do we see so many threads locked up, and people getting infractions for being "political"? This has been especially true when discussing decisions made by wizards regarding magic that are... well... political. If they can't be discussed there, then where? There is no way to separate the politics of those discussions from the discussion because they're so political in nature to begin with. If those threads are being locked up when legitimately discussing the politics of those topics, well then what's left to discuss? is this a forum for speaking on ideas, or nothing more than a news blog?

    I understand when its flaming, or trolling, that's legitimate (though there hasn't been much action in holding people accountable to that either). When its a politically charged topic, in a general discussion forum, what exactly is the rationale behind locking the threads for being "too political"? even more so when we take into account that the statement on racism and such is buried deep in the bowels of this place where you actively have to look for it and that there is virtually no other forum to filter that kind of discussion into.

    so... what gives? is there anyone behind the wheel here any more?

    I think that this thread sat with no responses (from other posters or staff) for three weeks is kinda indicative of the issue, no?
    Posted in: Community Discussion
  • posted a message on MTG Needs New Leadership and Why Mark Rosewater (MaRo) Should Step Down
    Sounds to me as though Wizards of the Coast are mostly taking heat for Hasbro corporate's mistakes where Wizards of the Coast are just following orders while their parent company Hasbro are the ones calling all the controversial shots that makes their business partner look terrible as a company.

    Corporate policies wouldn't dictate some of this behavior, the descriptions of the work environment paint a picture of *****ty management, not harsh corporate policy. Yelling, treating employees like they don't matter, disrespect, and tokenism are very much issues with management within WotC since they would be in charge of the tone of the work environment.

    Hasbro may be increasing pressure or things along those lines, but that doesn't mean they are responsible for the work environment, that's on WotC leads. I've seen it countless times (I think most people who've been in the workforce for any length of time has likely experienced or heard of some version of this), people in leadership roles or positions of power for reasons other than their leadership skills who create toxic work environments through their failures of leadership. That's not on corporate, not really, it's on the managers of the toxic environment.

    The irony is that before Hasbro bought out Wizards of the Coast in 1998 they had none of these problems back when the only Social Media outlets we had were message board forums such as the one we're using now.

    Well, I'm not sure we can really draw that conclusion. Social media has exposed a lot of poor behavior and bad business practices in many industries, gaming very much included. More often than not, those behaviors predate social media. In some cases bad work environments take time to develop, which may be the case here. And sometimes the environment doesn't change, but social standards and who is getting hired does so newer team members are seeing what the veterans considered the norm and thought nothing of. A work environment of tokenism, disrespect, devaluing of heterodox perspectives, etc may not be as noticed if the team is overwhelmingly from a very specific demographic, after all.

    So did the work culture at WotC sour recently and they had none of these problems before? Maybe, I'm not sure we're going to really know for sure. That said, however, we're seeing that in a lot of cases of exposing bad work environments that complaints are being heard is new, but the culture and work environments have issues going much farther back.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Is the Boros Guild Racist?
    So somebody posted a message on reddit awhile ago accounting an incident where he/she was wearing a Boros Legion shirt in public where a woman thought it might of been inappropriate due to inciting racism:


    The Boros Guild symbol does have connotations of being a white power / white supremacist symbol of some type.

    Does it, though? A raised fist in iconography is very heavily connoted with the Black Panther Party and BLM itself uses it today. White power movements have tried to co-opt it (it's a symbol of meeting oppressive institutional forces with force of your own, so it's most frequently used by underclasses and groups like socialists to portray their will to literally "fight the bower" and white supremacists tried to tap into that), but honestly I don't associate it with them and your question confused me at first. Like, the protests after George Floyd's murder literally use that iconography today.

    There's an argument to be made that the Boros Legion is depicted as an abusive police force, particularly against the Golgari who are frequently depicted as a disenfranchised underclass. Vraska's backstory is a great example. Though the Boros and Azorius are framed as the bad guys in those scenarios, so it's not as if the game is promoting abusive behaviors of the state, if anything the game is critical and frames the underclass being abused as sympathetic. WotC will likely try to avoid such scenarios in the future but they could also lean into it, if they wanted to.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Wizards cuts ties with artist Terese Nielsen
    Quote from Mystic_X »

    Ben Mulroney just stepped down as host of eTalk (a dreadful show by any barometer) for this exact reason.
    He didn't personally do anything wrong, but his wife makes him look bad, because people automatically assume that if he's married to a racist, that either makes him one as well, complicit in her views, or willfully blind to them, all of which speak to his lack of good judgement and inability to be a good role model.
    He obviously never needed that job, but still seemed to enjoy it and did it to the best of his ability, so it seems unfair that he should be pressured to step down which is almost certainly what happened behind closed doors.
    It's surprising his wife didn't have more poise and restraint as you'd expect anyone marrying a celebrity or public figure (especially the son of a politician) would know to keep a clean low profile and filter any negative comments which are inappropriate as to not reflect poorly on the family.
    Rest assured, he wouldn't have stepped down if she didn't get embarrassed in the spotlight, so I don't buy the explanation that it was solely influenced by his apparent noble selfless intention to make room for someone of a less privileged background to fill that role instead.

    Ben Mulroney isn't stepping down because of "guilt by association", he stepped down because Lainey (one of his coworkers, she covers celebrity gossip) wrote a column about how Ben and Jessica have been abusing their wealth and status for years and are both known for it. Now they are suspected of strategizing a way to weather this storm and then come out on the other side with the renewed privilege of destroying the careers of those who crossed them using their status and connections. Ben's public image was already on shaky ground in Toronto (even among the deluded "elites" in Toronto, I don't get the impression that he's viewed as important outside of his family's connection to the Royals, and there are stories of him using political connections to intimidate detractors as far back as his Canadian Idol hosting days), he only kept his status because of his "celebrity" and the power afforded him by being wealthy and connected.

    I don't buy that it was a noble act, either. Largely because Ben and Jessica are notably in lockstep with each other, he just has enough years of media training from being a Prime Minister's kid to show his ass in public. This move is just their strategy for rehabbing their image (or at least step one in a longer plan), not because of any sort of "guilty by association" outrage given that there isn't really much outrage pointed in his direction to begin with.

    So not only is this not germane to the discussion of Terese Nielsen, it's not even proving the point you were trying to prove. If you want to discuss this via PM, let me know, I don't think we should be pulling this thread off track, I just wanted to contextualize your argument.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Wizards cuts ties with artist Noah Bradley
    Quote from SpeedGrapher »
    So just a summary from the scenario here. He's a famous artist that seduced women. Famous in a small circle of people. Not rock star famous but still famous.
    That's pretty much how every rock concert works. Rock star fans chat up the rock stars and then they have intercourse.
    Am I missing something?

    By his own admission, he was a creepy sexual predator who used whatever status he had to pressure women into sex. Accusations that were thinly-veiled to be about him said he would grope women at cons, and was once bitten by a girl he was force-feeding drinks to when she was already drunk (presumably to make her pliant). That thin veil didn't do much veiling since the responses to the vague assertion rolled in since evidently Bradley's predatory behavior is in certain circles as infamous as it is commonly experienced.

    That you don't seem to understand that power dynamics exist in sexual relationships is a bit concerning. The rock star analogy is particularly cringe given the ubiquity of predatory behavior by rock stars. They are quite literally infamous for abusing their power and status, being coercive and grooming, and in many cases being unconcerned with things like consent and whether a sexual partner is even an adult. I mean, the stories from Lori Maddox alone are terrifying and the 70s were a time of rampant exploitation of "Baby Groupies", but rock history is littered with its stars abusing their status to sexually exploit women.

    Is everyone happy they made magic political yet? That's 3 articles in a month. First was racism, 2nd was sexual identity?, 3rd one is on rape. Anyone else see a pattern?

    Yes, that people/experiences that had so often been ignored by or spoken over by the average MtG players are finally being taken seriously.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Wizards cuts ties with artist Noah Bradley
    I found his apology competent, though WotC's actions are still certainly justified. They don't need to keep an admitted predator on their platform.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Katingal: Plane of Chains
    Quote from rowanalpha »

    For instance, earlier you said that each color has its own mechanic, but now there's Vanishing as well?

    Indeed, it's used sparingly in this set to set it up for being more of a focus in set 2. In Katingal, each color gets a vertical cycle (with standardized vanishing at each rarity: 2 at common, 3 at uncommon, and 4 at rare) of a creature at common that cares about dying, a creature at uncommon that's just stronger for the cost, and a rare enchantment that triggers a sizable bonus for you during your upkeep. There is also two cycles of lands with vanishing, common monocolored manlands that eat their time counters to animate, and a cycle of uncommon allied duals.

    You are right about indomitable as it has less potential to lead to stalemate, but consider that a player is disincentivised to attack if they are going to lose their biggest/best creature, and having one huge blocker is going to make that scenario very common. Remember that combat naturally favors the defending player, so your design will need strategies to compensate for a single big blocker.

    Absolutely, I ensured players would have plenty of answers at common and uncommon for all of the major mechanics. Indomitable is, I think, a relatively fragile mechanic in that it doesn't take much to answer one big blocker, particularly when it's bigness relies upon other creatures, so answers to it are fairly commonplace in the set.

    * * *

    The blue mechanic is called restore and is intended to embody blue attempting to quantify everything about the plane while facing constant threat. The sphinxes know there's something wrong with Katingal, they just don't know what and believe that only through amassing study and carefully preserving learnings will they solve that riddle. So mechanically, that translates to reclaiming and safely storing away knowledge, or spells.

    Restore n [i](At the beginning of your upkeep, you may return a card with restore from your graveyard to the top of your library. If you do, put exactly n cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.)

    So you can recur spells, but at a (temporary) cost of cards in your hand. It creates an incentive to play more strategically and leans into blue's natural love of card draw in that it both draws you deeper towards a restored card and it also keeps your hand full enough to be able to restore in the first place. It allows to to plan out your draws for a few turns at the expense of having those cards in your hand right now. Cards with restore are typically more utility in nature, the types of cards that don't warp formats when able to recur on their own.

    Repeated Mistakes 1U
    Instant (C)
    Tap or untap target artifact, creature or land.
    Restore 2 [i](At the beginning of your upkeep, you may return a card with restore from your graveyard to the top of your library. If you do, put exactly two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.)[/i]

    Ylloran Research 2U
    Sorcery (C)
    Draw two cards then discard a card.
    Restore 3 [i](At the beginning of your upkeep, you may return a card with restore from your graveyard to the top of your library. If you do, put exactly three cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.)[/i]

    Red gets an ability word, Manaburst, that cares about you having excess mana in your pool (standardized at two extra mana). Red in Katingal is highly fixated on hoarding more power and it wants players to hold nothing back and commit to bigger plays. It is a subtle cousin of red's general mechanic of caring about casting more spells per turn, but allows the flexibility of spending that mana on other things like activated abilities. It rewards players for committing to big turns by dumping all (or most) of their mana into their pool at once and chaining together spells and abilities that are improved when there's mana leftover in your pool.

    Molten Sentence 1R
    Sorcery (U)
    Destroy target artifact.
    [i]Manaburst[/i] — If you have two or more mana in your mana pool, Molten Sentence deals damage equal to that artifact’s converted mana cost to target creature.

    Thundercrack 1R
    Sorcery (C)
    Thundercrack deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
    [i]Manaburst[/i] — If you have two or more mana in your mana pool, Thundercrack deals 4 damage to that creature or player instead.

    Green is more feral in Katingal, and territorial. It is very focused on identifying rivals and threats, and hunting them down doggedly until the threat is taken care of. Once it has identified you as prey, it will pursue you doggedly until you are dead or something even more threatening diverts its attention for a while.

    Hunt [i](When this creature enters the battlefield or untaps you may choose another creature. When this creature deals combat damage to an opponent, you may have it deal that damage to the chosen creature instead.)

    Hunt started as a mechanic that wasn't keyworded where a creature could fight a creature controlled by a player its dealt combat damage to, but it didn't feel special enough and offered too much flexibility. So I changed it a bit, slowed it down so that the target is specified well in advance and gives green some manner of creature removal that felt authentically green without giving it too much of a leg up on other colors with more effective removal. It does offer you the ability to hunt creatures other than the defending player, thus making hunt quite interesting in multiplayer. You can swing at the player with less defense and pick off a creature controlled by someone with more of a presence on the board. It can also hit your own creatures, should that be ]something you want to do.

    Nolbiri Prowler 2G
    Creature — Elf Rogue Assassin(C)
    Hunt [i](When this creature enters the battlefield or untaps you may choose another creature. When this creature deals combat damage to an opponent, you may have it deal that damage to the chosen creature instead.)[/i]

    Writhing Gapewurm 4GG
    Creature — Wurm (U)
    Hunt [i](When this creature enters the battlefield or untaps you may choose another creature. When this creature deals combat damage to an opponent, you may have it deal that damage to the chosen creature instead.)[/i]
    Posted in: Custom Set Creation and Discussion
  • posted a message on Wizards cuts ties with artist Terese Nielsen
    Quote from Kryptnyt »
    It is not the fault of Terese Nielsen or of WotC that we won't get further artwork from her on our cards. It's the fault of Outrage Culture. Everyone has to be outraged about something or another, especially on Twitter.

    Interesting that the frame you're using here assumes there's no justification for any outrage in this or evidently any case.

    Maybe a bunch of dumb people screaming about things on Twitter has a lot of weight now. I wonder if the world will grow up and grow toughskinned to this sort of thing? Or if the real trials are yet to come.

    So you perceive the issue being that people who engage in call-out/call-in and/or canceling behaviors are some combination of dumb, immature, and/or thin-skinned? Does that not strike you as a particularly broad brush to paint people with?

    I'm not even sure what I've seen in the response to Nielsen's social media behavior could be described as outrage, really. At most intense, it was disdain for her opinions and a reluctance to let their money in part go towards benefiting Nielsen. I'm sure there were the usual fringe histrionics, probably some idiotic threats, but my perception is that that doesn't really describe the overall mentality of people who were speaking against Nielsen. Although, I'm talking about the contemporary response and not the response in 1018-2019 which I was not paying attention to outside of lurking here.

    In other news, Noah Bradley is a total creepy scumbag who apparently goes around giving out sex invitation cards, and his wife is a cuck who supports him, and that's much more upsetting to me than Terese Nielsen liking goofy politics.

    The use of 'cuck' and framing Nielsen's politics as 'goofy' aside, we can walk and chew gum at the same time. Bradley and Nielsen can both have tarnished brands for different reasons, and their responses to controversy can carry different consequences. I read Bradley's acknowledgement and apology, and it was far more compelling than anything Nielsen said in defense of herself over two years, if nothing else.

    By all accounts she's a very sweet and kind woman, how many of you have moms or aunts who have weird political or religious beliefs?

    Yes, some of their beliefs aren't just 'weird' they are openly bigoted and hateful, and I limit my interactions with them to restrict how much their beliefs can impact me. And I breathe a sigh of relief when they get denied opportunities to share their beliefs or when they face consequences for what they say. Kinda like Nielsen.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Wizards cuts ties with artist Terese Nielsen

    So there is no current evidence then. I have to take her past deletions at face value as mistakes she made on her part and corrected them. Cancel culture continues sadly. Forgiveness seems to be character trait that much of society has lost. Frown

    Forgiveness is important, what society has largely lost is a commitment to earning it. Why presume that since she hasn't done anything controversial in public for a year that her views have changed? Is there evidence of that change?

    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Katingal: Plane of Chains
    Quote from rowanalpha »
    To your first point, you're not trying to market a set for sale. If you want to get critiqued on a specific mechanic, post in the main card creation forum and get feedback on that one item. This is subforum is for set creation and feedback, and getting feedback on a single mechanic without seeing how it interacts with the rest of the set makes the feedback less valuable.

    Alright, I've explained what works for me and why. I do not like posting dozens of cards at once because I don't find that useful or fun, I don't like sifting through that and I don't expect others to do it for me either. I find too much gets missed or glossed over when assessing that much at once, and on a personal level it challenges my super awesome ADHD/anxiety combo to respond to that much at one time (particularly when its my designs and I feel more of a need to answer everything). It really hasn't been a contentious thing until now.

    But that said, I can bend. What would you suggest?

    On indomitable itself, you have to be careful with defensive combat keywords, since they can lead the game to becoming staring contests where no one wants to attack. That's not to say "defensive exhalted" can't work (its been proposed enough times in different threads) but without the understanding of how the rest of the set interact with it, it is hard to evaluate.

    Incidentally, indomitable started out almost the opposite, it was more along the lines of "When a creature you control blocks, each other blocking creature you control gets +1/+1 until end of turn." that encouraged you to go wide with blockers, which obviously encouraged exactly what you're talking about. I switched to the current version specifically because it's defensive but also encourages more aggressive play against you. Only blocking with one creature carries risks, alpha strikes/attacking with more creatures and removal can quickly upturn the strategy.

    One thing I'll say is that the set needed some more focus on defense because the early shape of the set was considerably aggressive. Vanishing is a returning mechanic in all colors and really encourages players to play more aggressively to maximize utility. Indomitable was, in part, a response to that increased incentive to play aggressively without gumming the field up so much that players wouldn't be stuck with vanishing creatures as dead plays or stalled to death.
    Posted in: Custom Set Creation and Discussion
  • posted a message on Wizards cuts ties with artist Terese Nielsen
    Quote from FunkyDragon »
    Quote from 5colors »

    Sorry I won't treat an antisemitic with any compassion when they don't respect my personhood. Liking antisemitic conspiracies and propergnadia is what let Hitler and the Nazis rise up to power in the first place. It wasn't all book burning prison camps, but agreeing, spreading and not fighting back that ideas that lead into actions that made nazis.
    And yet, by dehumanizing the Other, you have become the very thing you claim to fight.

    No, refusing to tolerate antisemitism doesn't make you a Nazi. Or as bad as one, or however you'd like to frame it. I think a quote from Karl Popper will help clarify it, and even pivot things back to Nielsen herself:

    Less well known [than other paradoxes Popper discusses] is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.—In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.

    To be blunt: not all perspectives merit equal weight or attention. Some should be challenged, some should be explored in dialogue, some should be educated about to limit its spread, and a select few need to be removed from the public discourse. Equating all perspectives really only serves to empower the intolerant and endanger the vulnerable. Which is why I find it disconcerting that nuanced conversations about cancel culture are seemingly rare and people largely have absolutist views on it. It's a phenomenon borne from disenfranchised groups to speak truth to power when they lack the institutional power to do much else, which is why the comparisons to McCathyism fall apart for me. Like any tool, it can be misused (and given the social dynamics at play, including social status, ingroup-outgroup relationships, and systemic inequality, it's unsurprising that misuse occurs), though I don't believe that's the actual source of much of the pushback against cancel culture. I don't think the fear is being held accountable unfairly, I think it's a resistance to accountability in the first place.

    How does this relate to Nielsen? Accountability is important if we're going to have a meaningful conversation about how tolerant our society is, and in her case accountability meant having her conduct questioned and losing a job when her weak response to that questioning (and a degree of continued questionable behavior) began eroding her brand. If there's a 'target' of cancel culture here at all, it's WotC, and even with them, there was not any significant call for a boycott. They simply saw that an artist tied to a flagship brand was drawing controversy and took steps to ensure they weren't implicated in it because at the end of the day it all comes back to accountability and WotC preferred to upset some now rather than risk the bigger public image battle should their business practices (in this case, continuing to platform someone with a controversial reputation) come into question. We can debate how likely it was that Nielsen's conduct would blow back on WotC, but obviously they considered it enough of a risk to cut ties with her now.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Wizards cuts ties with artist Terese Nielsen
    Quote from leslak »
    Quote from mikeyG »
    Quote from leslak »
    Well leaving Standard, Modern, and Pioneer paper formats was never soo easy. Thanks WotC now i will have more money to invest in other games and time to continue my dead games and boardgame library.

    If I may ask, why? Was this the straw that broke the camel's back or is the situation with Nielsen on its own enough to make you drop the game?

    Not dropping the game, just not buying new products. Probably not selling my entire collection but if i can will not buy new products (at least in the same rate as i did before) and the ones i buy (eventual draft/pre release) i will try to sell as quick as i can. In resume no more 4 boxes for each new set will just open boosters for draft and avoid buying new cards from the seccondary market.

    I liked Nielsen as an Artist and as a person bought some playmats from her and after this will buy more. I m ok with WotC banning old cards for racist content, i m ok with WotC having a inclussion discuss. I m not ok with WotC droping an artist for what i can only call "assumption of guilty by association" spread by people that would openly do what many call "bullying" to said artist.

    I don't agree with that assessment, I think the HipstersoftheCoast article does a good job of outlining how Nielsen's brand/public image was tarnished, though I can appreciate this move turning off her fans. I will say that I don't support harassing Nielsen. For a start, if she does have *****ty political views and believe conspiracy theories, that's not going to make her consider other perspectives. We can hold people accountable without harassment.

    Sincerily hope that WotC starts promoting black and trans artists into the game, contracting those for future card art, otherwise all those HR moves are just lies for views-likes done by one of the whitest company ever (with lots of cis people who think they know better and can judge everyone and everything).

    That I certainly agree with.
    Posted in: Magic General
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