Magic Pros Validating Our Cube Design shift from the Last Year

Discussion in 'Cube Talk' started by Grillo_Parlante, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Grillo_Parlante Contributor

    Commentating on



    "...all of the play is in immediacy, there is nothing about investment and drama and suspense...the format is more creatures that summon and do something immediadly, more jackle pups, and more creatures you can't kill."



    Cathartic to listen to.
  2. Energy at least is still a blast to play with though, it does have play to it, but yeah, can't disagree too much. Even though I still like a modicum of etb effects, the Chupacabra was not anywhere near my wants list for this set.
    Alfonzo Bonzo likes this.
  3. Grillo_Parlante Contributor

    Here is another articulation, that mimics our discussions from actual years ago about removal needing to become hyper efficient to keep pace with ETB creatures.


    Its nice to see people slowly becoming cognizent that power/efficiency/value max can hurt a format, and be quite dull.
    RavebornMuse and Onderzeeboot like this.
  4. It’s always a weird feeling when you witness someone else sharing your very own ancient epiphanies on a public forum :)

    There has never existed a better site for MTG than this www.riptidelab.com!
    vennythekid likes this.

  5. I'm not sure idea what he's talking about with the whole "low power formats are good, high power formats are good, but medium power formats are bad" thing.

    Tangent: Power is not just relative. If every creature had 20 power, magic would be a very different game.
    RavebornMuse and Tzenmoroth like this.
  6. I'll drop this link here. Personally, this article has been my favourite bit of Magic writing in quite a long time, and even gave me some things to chew on in regards to my own format.

    From the tl;dr:

    His whole section on investment is a goldmine, really.

    He discusses specific examples in the article which are just great; really recommend it.
  7. Grillo_Parlante Contributor


    Yeah, I wasn't sure either. It seems like everyone is kind of dealing with this phenomenon for the first time, and some of their explanations are reaching.

    It seemed to me that he came to the conclusion that a very tight power band is bland (which is probably fair, though a more complicated problem for standard than he makes out--thats ok though, one step at a time), though he seemed unaware that parts of the argument that he presented in support contridicts that conclusion (but whatever). Than he made the mistake you pointed out, and made up a fairely arbituary looking scale that isn't helpful at all, and probably where I should stop looking the other way.

    He got closer to right at the end, when he suggested reducing the top end of the power band somewhat. Which would probably end up being closer to the tapered but not too narrow power band I keep on advocating. So I gave him points for at least being directionally correct.
    RavebornMuse and Velrun like this.
  8. This article really makes me question my decision to run two Longtusk Cubs to support energy. It honestly is one of the only reasons to go into green p1p1 though, there's just more cards in other colors that do that. Idk... Maybe I should make a topic about that.
  9. Really great article. Thing that honestly stood out the most to me was hieroglyphic illumination. Why does this have cycling? It is just flexibility for flexibility sake, doesn't really push an interesting angle. Dissenter's Deliverance feels like the better design here, as there are valid decisions in deck building, and valid decisions in pulling the trigger on cycling or not.

    Is it just me, or does it seem slightly absurd that Baneslayer Angel is given as one of the "good" examples, and it really does look pretty fair in this context? I weep for standard...
  10. Chris Taylor Contributor

    It's always been a different beast. Constructed will always be defined by t's outliers, while limited is far more affected by the average. (Median? Mean? One of those. It's early :p)
    Velrun likes this.
  11. Grillo_Parlante Contributor


    To their credit, both in Chapin's article and SCG article they seem conscious that these shouldn't be hard rules:

    Maybe they could come out and be more clear about this, but the issue is more when design enters a positive feedback loop, having to become more and more extreme until it hits a point thats unfun. There is an issue that eventually arises with too many baneslayers as well, but in a format thats become hyper focused around low-investment threats, baneslayer seems a shining beacon of enlightenment. In my format, I ended up triming the ETBs, and when I went to the extreme of banning them completly, the results were net worse. The trick was getting to the point that Chapin describes as between automatic exclusion and automatic inclusion, and which seems like a spirtual partner of the archetype design we've been doing (that sweet spot where the decks have approachable structure and identity, but it isn't overly stifling to the drafter's creativity), as well as reflected in our discusions on tapered power bands.

    Once you enter that positive feedback loop, and things begin to shift towards ever more extreme versions of itself, distorting and bringing the rest of the format with it, is where you can have problems. Thats why Chapin's critiques of long-tusk cub within the context of standard where energy is overrpresented might be true, but it also might be true that its fine in Onder's formats, where energy might not be overrepresented.

    Like you noted though, the baneslayer comparision does seem pretty absurd, but when was the last time standard really had baneslayers? Probably when Baneslayer was printed. Basically its something like SOM->Ponder/Titans/hellrider-> into lower powered conditional focused Theros/Khans (we had a whole fight on this forum about the power level drop with removal/sweepers during this era)->into this low investment standard with a more homogenized and stifling structure.

    But thats where the analysis gets a lot more complicated, and where there are interesting holes in how the argument is presented. People always want to go back to OG RAV-TSP as an example of a well designed format (and you see shades of that in some of the CF articles), but they ommit that tournament attendence was down in that era, but the player base grew tremendously during the hyper efficient SOM->ID era. For a lot of people, ponder, grave titan, and hellrider was the high point of their magic experience.

    I've gone on this topic before, where I argu that a big part of standard's problem is that WOTC has to cater to both a core crowd, and a tournament crowd. Core players are going to love hyper diverse formats like Modern, but those are unacceptable for a player trying (frutlessly) to make a living off of magic. Chapin's point about the homogenization of cards (leading to more consistent matchups and interactions for tournament players) in standard is likely, at least in part, the result of a WOTC push to make the pro-scene more attractive. Its a natural outgrowth from years of articles from Pro players like paulo ranting about how much they hate modern as a competive format, and it being dropped from the pro-tour, even if by all accounts modern is the most popular magic format. This is why I advocated for too seperate card indexs, a large, more diverse core list for FNMs, and a smaller, more homogenized core list for high stakes tournaments. This way, you don't have to try to please everyone, and end up making no-one happy.

    Which makes it funny that so many pro players seem to dislike this new standard, and I have to re-examine those positions somewhat. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that meaning seems to be trumping materialism again, and despite pro-player's rants, they would rather have a more meaningful experience with a less structured, but not overly chaotic standard. The problem seems to be that the excess levels of homogenization means that the unexplored terrority (in terms of both decks and the depths of interaction between decks) is being too rapidly depleted, resulting in boredom. It also suggests something about people's actual motivations when playing this game.

    Its also where Chapin's homogenization levels might provide the beginnings of a crude sketch. Modern seems to be too chaotic for pro-players, standared too stifling, but legacy seems to have a reasonable level of homognization (which is probably the actual basis for people saying its the best format ever, so we can stop purely attributing it to brainstorm->fetch/wasteland). It seems to have enough cards to create form and structure, but not too many that it excesively cuts down on exploration: an outdoor playground, rather than an intimidating open wilderness or a familiar but stifling house.

    Also if whats really motivating players is format/interaction exploration within an open but not too constrictive structure, than it kind of throws the entire idea of mere power maxing ($$$ maxing) out the window.

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