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By: oraymw, Oraymw
Aug 30 2011 9:45am
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Spoiler season is upon us, and this one is a doozy. If you’re a Magic player on planet Earth, then you’ve probably got a strong opinion on the Transform mechanic, perhaps the riskiest thing that WotC has ever done with Magic. I’m not here to offer an opinion on the mechanic; regardless, I’m going to be drafting this set for an entire year, and I wanted to give an early sketch of what the Innistrad set is going to look like. The purpose is to help you as you look at the spoilers and discuss the set so that you have a better idea of how to evaluate the cards.

You can find the Mothership article about Innistrad’s mechanics here:

http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/feature/157a


To summarize, there are five special mechanics in Innistrad:

  1. Transform
  2.  Morbid
  3. Flashback
  4. Curses
  5. Fight

In addition to these five, we also know that Innistrad is going to have a significant tribal element, as well as a significant graveyard focus. I decided to start with Transform and work my way down the list, but you will quickly see that there is just too much info to cover in one article. Just the section on Transform took up the vast majority of my word count, leaving me just enough to talk about Flashback. I didn’t even get to touch on the other five important factors, which means that this is going to have to be extended to a two part series. By the time the next installment is finished, there will be many more cards spoiled, which means that I’ll be able to look back and see what things have changed as far as my evaluation. In any case, my goal isn’t to give you a guide on how to draft the set. The goal is to help provide some insights so that you can more accurately evaluate the spoiled cards for yourself.

Transform

Also known as Double-Faced Cards

Well, we might as well start with the big one. The transform mechanic is found on a group of cards called Double-Faced Cards. This is because the card has two faces. With the above card, the Mayor is on the front of the card, and instead of the typical Magic and Deckmaster logos on the back, you’ll see the Howlpack Alpha. Transform cards are not only the most controversial mechanic from Innistrad, it is also the hardest to evaluate for limited, on top of being the mechanic that will probably affect limited the most dramatically.

As shocking as the transform revelation proved to be, DFCs are actually not that much different from the Kamigawa flip cards. Mechanically, the main difference is that since there is so much more room for text on a DFC, they are simply more complicated than the Kamigawa cards. Just take a gander at the Mayor up above, and you can see just how complex a DFC can be. There are basically six major things going on here: 1. Pumping humans, 2. No spells transformation, 3. Pumping Werewolves, 4. Putting wolves onto the field, 5. Two spells flip, 6. Changing from 1/1 to 3/3. Whenever this card is on the battlefield, you are going to have to take all six of these things into consideration before you even decided which spells you are going to cast (if any). Even a “simple” werewolf, like Gatstaf Shepherd, which changes from a 2/2 to a 3/3 intimidate, is pretty complex.

This is the biggest impact that Transform cards will have on Innistrad limited: complexity. Each transform card effectively doubles or triples your decision tree. There are also 20 transform cards in the set, and Mark Rosewater has also revealed that every Innistrad pack will have one transform card in it. They are predominantly red/green, so they will be featured heavily mainly in about 2 decks at each table. The big question is “What do such complex cards do to a limited format?”

First, let’s think about a simple limited format: Zendikar. A typical turn in Zendikar often went something like this:

  1. Do I have a land?
  2. Do I have landfall creatures? If yes to both, play land and attack with everything.

Here is a partial sketch of the kinds of things you will have to remember in Innistrad. I’ve included some elements from the other mechanics to illustrate the point:

  1. Are there flip cards?
  2. Which side is up?
  3. What does the reverse side do?
  4. Can I cast two spells this turn?
  5. Can I get away with casting no spells this turn?
  6. How many cards are in my opponent’s hand?
  7. How much mana available?
  8. Based on 6 and 7, does my opponent have the ability to cast two spells?
  9. Are there flashback spells in the graveyard? (important because they could flip a werewolf).
  10. Will my opponent remove my creature in response to activating a flip?
  11.  What on board tricks are available from flip creatures?
  12. What tricks become available on a flip?
  13. What tricks disappear because of a flip?
  14. Do I need this creature to block, and will it be able to block if it gets flipped?

And the list doesn’t even end there. The last set to feature a somewhat comparable amount of complexity was Rise of the Eldrazi, which featured the levelers, and which also share a lot of similarities with the Innistrad DFCs. Rise of the Eldrazi was a very skill intensive format, and the levelers made a big contribution to its complexity. In fact, although INN and ROE games are going to play out significantly differently, they actually share a lot of things in common which contribute to the difficulty of their limited play.

So, the first thing we learn about Innistrad limited is that Transform cards make the format more complex, which translates into more skill intensivity. But that is not all that the Transform cards are going to do.

One of the biggest worries about Innistrad is that when you draft the set live, players are going to be able to see what card you are drafting. MTGO won’t have this feature, but many PureMTGO players also play in paper, so I wanted to address the issue briefly.

Essentially, the rule is that you are allowed to show your DFCs to the other players, but that you can also take certain steps to prevent the other players from seeing the card. The truth is that being able to show the card is probably just a bonus. If I take a Mayor first pick, then everyone is going to know that I’m drafting Werewolves, which means that people are not going to want to fight with me over my colors. This creates better cooperation, which probably leads to better decks overall. I would say that this is actually a nice little feature for drafting live. Not having that feature on MTGO is kind of disappointing, but it makes the format a little bit more predictable.

All of this discussion just contemplates the way Transform changes decision making. But another important issue is the playability of the Transform cards.

There are essentially two kinds of transform cards: Those that flip based only on the controlling player’s actions, and those that flip based on both players actions. The first are fairly easy to evaluate. If they meet the vanilla test and do something valuable, then they are good, otherwise they aren’t. The others are significantly more difficult to evaluate. I think it is obvious that the Mayor from up above is a strong card worth first picking. Most of the time, your whole team is going to be in the same form, so his Human lord ability will often be valuable just by itself. As a Werewolf, he is a continuous card advantage, on top of being a lord and a 3/3 for 2 mana.

But what about something like the Village Ironsmith? That card definitely has good potential, having stats that mimic Plated Geopede, which was one of the most dominating common two drops I’ve ever seen in limited. But Plated Geopede was so much easier to control; all you had to do was play a land. It wasn’t something that your opponent could counter, and you already wanted to play lands, so it’s not like it changed your play dramatically.

However, the Ironsmith features two huge disadvantages in the “Werewolf” tribe transformation trigger. First, it gives your opponent actions. Check out this guy from Mercadian Masques:

So… this is a 2/2 shade for 1 mana at common. That is amazing!! But the downside is that your opponent can also shrink the creature, just by tapping mana. Can you guess how good this was? Yeah, not very. Any time you give your opponents options, they are going to do their best to make the choice that is best for them and worst for you. The werewolf tribe definitely suffers from this problem.

There is another big problem with this mechanic. Think about the difference between the werewolf mechanic compared to landfall. Playing lands is something that you typically just want to be doing. The mechanic doesn’t make you choose to do something ineffective to get the benefit. However, the werewolf mechanic says that you need to not play any spells for a turn to transform. Typically you want to be playing spells every turn in limited. Of course, this could activate when your opponent doesn’t play any spells, but that will typically mean that they are mana screwed or flooded, in which case you should probably just be winning anyways. Then, if you play two spells in a turn, you deactivate your werewolves. Usually you want to play two spells in a turn if you can, so this further encourages you to do something unproductive in order to extract a benefit from your creatures.

With that said, the werewolves we have seen so far seem to have upsides that make them worth these disadvantages. The Ironsmith is the worst of them, and he still seems like he will be decent in limited. The others look like the kind of things that you really want to pick up aggressively during a draft.

Another important issue with werewolves is the way they affect tempo. The transform cards in other colors don’t appear to have the same problem, since they mostly activate on your turn. But one of the impacts of the werewolf trigger is that your creatures will often be bigger on your opponent’s turn than on your own. During Zendikar we saw the opposite problem, creatures tended to be bigger on your turn when you wanted to attack, which made the format very aggressive. But the werewolves will often transform to wolf form after your turn because you didn’t play any spells, making them bigger to block. Your opponent will probably have worse attacks and be unable to get through, but they might play two spells to turn off your werewolves again. This sequence of plays won’t actually happen in the majority of turns, since your opponent usually won’t have two spells, or enough mana to cast both, but it will happen often enough to slow the werewolf deck by one or two attack phases per game. Additionally, just playing werewolves means that you are going to take tempo hits in any turn where you don’t play a spell in order to turn on your creatures. Meanwhile, your opponents get rewarded for playing good tempo strategies.

Transfom in Play

One of the biggest puzzles in Innistrad limited is going to be figuring out how to manage Werewolves. They create their own mini subgame, which forces each player to reevaluate every card in hand, on the battlefield, and in the graveyard. Here are a few tips.

First, if you are playing Werewolves, then you need to be able to turn them on. This means that you are going to have turns where you do not do anything. You can mitigate this in a few ways. You can play mana sinks, such as Ludevic’s Test Subject, or Screeching Bat. Also, you can pick up some useful instants like Spidery Grasp which will allow you to play nothing on your turn, and then do something productive on your opponent’s turn. Of course, the best thing is just to pick up this card:

Possibly the best fog ever. Since this is common, I predict that it is going to be very important to any Werewolf deck. Also, it is going to be the source of more horror stories than just about anything in the format. Until we get more information, we won’t know if this is first pickable, but it definitely seems like it will end up being on par with Ethersworn Shieldmage, which was often a first pick caliber card.

Secondly, controlling werewolves is going to be an important subgame. This means that cheap instants, especially cantrips get better, because they allow you to play multiple spells on your turn. There is usually a decent blue cantrip in each set, and I expect it to be better in this set than it would normally be. And something like Shock will be even better; not only can you use it on your turn to flip werewolves back over, but you can use it at the end of your opponent’s turn to kill a creature that is going to Transform out of Shock range by the next turn.

Third, remember that all DFC creatures require some manner of investment in order to transform, be it mana, a tempo hit, or discarding a creature instead of a land. This means that pro-tempo cards, like bounce spells, are going to gain value in the format. We’ve seen one blue bounce spell, and I suspect that most players are going to dismiss it as unplayable, since it costs 4 mana. But remember, it puts the creature back on top of the opponent’s deck, which means it breaks even on card advantage, and bouncing creatures is going to be quite good in the format. I don’t think that bounce spell will be first pick quality, but it will still be good enough to see play in almost all of your blue decks. There is a reason why that spell is an uncommon.

Wow. I’ve already got over two thousand words in, and all I’ve been able to talk about is Transform, and I haven’t even been able to go into it as deeply as I would like. Take that as an indication of the complexity of the mechanic and its dramatic effect on limited. For some key conclusions, remember that Transform is likely to make Innistrad a very skill intensive format. It will take a lot of practice, but it will also reward experience players who are willing to put in the effort to learn the format. Secondly, remember that Transform in general, and werewolves very specifically, have an inherent loss of tempo. Being able to control the tempo of the format is going to be a key part of winning Innistrad limited games.

Flashback

Flashback is the next feature mechanic from Innistrad. It is on Instants and Sorceries, and it allows you to play the card from the graveyard for its flashback cost, and then the card is exiled. Flashback made its debut in Odyssey block limited, which also happens to be the first format that I ever drafted heavily. Here are a couple old Flashback favorites from way back then:

Both of these cards seem fairly unassuming, but they were also both very strong in Odyssey block limited. The first time I saw Firebolt, I knew that it was strong, but I just didn’t get how strong it would be. This is one of only a few burn spells in history that often plays better than Lightning Bolt in limited, and we all know how strong that thing is. The key to understanding Flashback is that the Flashback rider is often as good as cantripping, and it can sometimes be better. It’s easy for a player to understand that a cantripping (Shock0 is very powerful. If you had an instant speed Hill Giant that drew a card when it hit the board, it would be a limited first pick. That is often what these cards are doing. Because Innistrad features Flashback, it has a lot of Inherent card advantage pre built into the set.

This is by far the greatest implication of Flashback. Even aggressive creature decks can piggyback a little card advantage by playing a few Flashback spells. Control decks get a really good way to grind out the long game. As the game goes longer, more and more flashback options become available, which means that there are still going to be plenty of options, even when players are just top-decking. While card draw spells are still powerful, they actually become less vital since you are creating virtual card advantage every time you cast a Flashback spell. This also allows you to take greater advantage of spells with an inherent card disadvantage, or that cause neutral card advantage. Mark Rosewater recently previewed an uncommon looter in this set, and many people in various forums commented on how a 3cc looter was terrible, especially compared to Merfolk Looter. But what they don’t understand is that in a format with Flashback, looters get astronomical value because ditching a flashback spell is like just tapping to draw a card, and since you have so much inherent card advantage already built into the system, card selection becomes even more valuable.

Another important implication of Flashback is that it greatly increases the complexity of a limited format. Perhaps it doesn’t do that as much as Transform, but it is still a skill intensive limited ability. The major complexity point is that it requires players to start paying attention to cards in the graveyard. You can no longer just pay attention to how many cards a player has in his or her hand, and make assumption based on that. I remember playing Odyssey block limited and seeing so many players that would just forget that I had an Elephant Ambush in the graveyard, and walk right into it, costing them the game. I also saw many players who would have the win sitting in the graveyard, and all they had to do was look at it, and cast their spell, but they would just forget and I would go on to win the game. It takes most players upwards of 25 games before they start to get into the habit of paying attention to graveyards, so make sure that you learn this skill before you start drafting this set.

Another implication of Flashback is the way that it adds depth to the format. Depth refers to when a format has relevant picks late into the packs. Rise of the Eldrazi is an example of a deep format; because of the heavy focus on archetypes, there were many cards that gained a lot of value in particular deck types, but that were essentially unplayable in others. These cards would often go around late, which meant that you would be making relevant picks even after pick 12. Flashback does something similar to the format. Most flashback spells are somewhat playable, simply because of their card advantage. The lower power spells will often get passed around the table, but they will often still be playable, which means that you will want to pick them up later in the draft. Flashback, and the set’s graveyard theme, also makes certain kinds of cards more viable, such as cards that mill from the top of your deck. For example, Curse of the Bloody Tome mills the top two cards of the enchanted player’s library at the beginning of their upkeep. Most player’s will assume that this is supposed to be cast on their opponent in order to mill them out, but that is definitely not the best use of this card. There are going to be plenty of decks that want to cast this on themselves in order to get cards into their graveyard. Any time they hit a Flashback spell, it is going to be like they drew a card.

Conclusion

Well, this article is already getting pretty lengthy, and I still need to address Morbid, Fight, Curses, and the Tribal and Graveyard themes. There just isn’t enough room to do all of that, so I’m going to have to sign off for now, and finish this article at a later time. By that time, there are going to be many more cards revealed. I don’t pretend that I’ve addressed all the issues with this format; instead, I’m hoping that this will help players as they evaluate preview cards so that they have a better concept of what this format is going to look like when it is coming out of the boosters. Until next time…

 

28 Comments

Skill intensive is GOOD by grandpoobah at Tue, 08/30/2011 - 11:29
grandpoobah's picture

First off, if you spent fewer words talking about how long your article was going to be, you might have been able to talk about the things you wanted to talk about. Less reflection, more dissection.

Anyway, wearing my paper player hat that drafts at FNM, I hate DFCs because they're clunky and I think other players will hate them and will reduce draft turnout. It's already difficult getting enough people to draft. Wearing my MTGO hat, there's no clunkiness problems, but the whole casting/not casting spells thing seems bad. I haven't played with it, but it sounds bad.

That said, given how there's going to be one DFC in each pack, learning how to value them and play them is going to be CRAZY. Imagine SOM block, but where you were guaranteed that every pack had 1 infect creature in place of a common card. It's going to happen that people will get a decent rare and a rare DFC and will have to pass one. With 24 DFCs being opened per draft, you figure that someone in each draft will have 6 or 7 of them, and in some cases 10+. It will be tedious as heck for that guy flipping his cards over IRL, but it means that you will have to learn how to play with and against these guys. In some cases you might have to hold back spells to prevent them from flipping or to un-flip them on future turns.

So I think they're going to warp the limited format like nothing we've ever seen before, and I don't particularly think that's a good thing, but time will tell.

Thanks for the comment. To be by oraymw at Tue, 08/30/2011 - 11:39
oraymw's picture

Thanks for the comment. To be honest, I knew that this needed to get posted quickly, since it was already outdated by the time it went up, so I didn't do as much editing as I would have liked. Also, there really is only the introduction + two sentences talking about how this was going to go long. I don't feel like that is really a problem.

As for opinions on DFCs, sure you can hate them. In MTGO they are obviously awesome, and I don't deny all the problems that they could definitely cause. As for myself, I think they sound cool, and I'm willing to leave the jury out on their functionality. With that said, I hate hate hate the Kamigawa flips, so hopefully this is a dramatic improvement on that.

I also 100% agree that these are going to be format warping, as I said, but I'm just gonna go out on a limb and say that is a great thing, and that I think this will be one of the best limited formats ever.

I think in MTGO where it's by grandpoobah at Tue, 08/30/2011 - 12:12
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I think in MTGO where it's all strategy and no dexterity, it has the potential to be really cool, but could also suck really badly too. The whole bit where your opponent can transform your dudes back will wind up being un-fun, even if strategically interesting. The thing is, nobody likes playing with the weaker version of a card. If you can keep your dudes transformed 75%+ of the time, then I think people will be ok with it. If it's a 50/50 tossup (or worse) I think it will just get frustrating.

Also, IRL, when you start dealing with counters (and as we've seen this set has +1/+1 counters) and auras and equips, and taking the cards in and out of sleeves, it's going to be a nightmare. I hate this more because I think it will drive players away than because I don't want to play with it. I play more on MTGO anyway.

And I'm already thinking that Moonmist + Mirror Entity (or Xenograft or similar effect) will be combolicious in Modern. I'm curious to see how Transform winds up fitting into the layer system exactly.

dual face cards are a huge by this isnt the n... at Tue, 08/30/2011 - 14:50
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dual face cards are a huge mistake. While they may make little to no difference online, offline drafting is going to be horrible. I wont be drafting this set in paper because it is not worth having to buy sleeves just to do a draft.
This set looks extremely boring so far, and the general consensus seems to be that its already a huge failure as a set.

Transform is a very subpar mechanic even without the dual face nonsense. Its just bad, throw in dual face and it becomes bad and harmful to the game.

I think it needs to be said by dangerlinto at Tue, 08/30/2011 - 15:02
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That if RL drafting is significantly different from MTGO, it might hurt either MTGO or RL. Either people who use MTGO to test for RL events will not be able to replicate the situation or people who draft in RL who would rather not tip their hand will forego drafting in RL, either altogether or simply shift online.

I'm in agreement it is a not a good execution of an idea that really doesn't seem worth climbing out of the box for.

Again, thank you guys for the by oraymw at Tue, 08/30/2011 - 16:31
oraymw's picture

Again, thank you guys for the comments.

Re: DFCs on MTGO

I think this is obviously where these cards will be best. but MTGO always outperforms paper when it comes to technical details like this. For example, shuffling is the most tedious mechanical detail of Magic, but it is handled much better by mtgo. This makes me glad that I play primarily online.

Re: Opponent transforming back

This is my biggest worry with Transform. I can see it as a potential success in limited where you create a fascinating subgame of werewolf flipping, but I've never been one to like a mechanic that gives my opponent choices. i.e. Rhystic...

RE: DFCs are a huge mistake.

They very well could be. I understand someone not wanting to play the cards. For example, I opted out of playing M12 limited at all because I didn't want to play with a set that was only 50% new, that still had the Titans as the top cards, and that had Overrun at uncommon.

However, I'm going to say that I disagree that the set looks boring. I think that the DFCs look like they have a lot of potential to be fun. I love the flavorful stories behind each card, and I love the tension between the different modes of each card. For example, I think the Dr. Jekyll card is one of the best designed cards that I've ever seen. The question for me is not whether the Transform cards will be exciting and fun, but whether these exciting and fun parts are going to outweigh the technical strains.

Also, I don't see how the Transform mechanic is subpar. I think that it is excellently designed. I've long waited for werewolves in magic, and I've tried to design several myself, but they always came out as these clunky, texty, complicated monstrosities that no one would ever play. These, however, are exciting, visceral, and intuitive. I think that you will get a sudden rush of excitement every time you flip the cards, and that your opponent will be sighing in relief every time they are able to flip the cards back.

RE: MTGO drafting different from IRL drafting

I don't think it will really be taht different. People like to talk about how different it is going to be, but I don't see it being quite as huge an impact that people assume it will be. Remember, there will only be one DFC per pack, the majority commons, and not all of them are going to be that playable. Sure there is a little signalling feature that we miss out on online, but I miss out on a lot of the "signals" that players give me IRL anyways. For example, my last casual draft, my neighbor basically told me every card he picked anyways. In others, I can tell just by reading people a lot of what they are doing. Further, most of the drafters IRL are so low quality that it completely changes the format anyways. I think it is a little bit silly to assume that this will create a monumental shift in that dynamic.

In the end, I think Transform is an awesome mechanic, but I'm a little worried about whether the technical execution will overshadow the mechanical benefits.

Just an opinion by Alternate at Tue, 08/30/2011 - 16:38
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But did you see that party they had for Innistrad? I wouldn't be caught dead at something like that. It was like a Star Trek convention with even less women.

But Innistrad scares me. I have a feeling that the whole "warewolves vs vampires vs Humans, etc." will never come into play in constructed. People will stick to what they know in SOM, play the cards from M12 they need like counters, and only use whatever broken cards are in Innistrad, and I'm sure WotC will overlook some cards that are going to be broken.

I doubt the "curses" will have much play in constructed, and I saw one, which was: Enchant player, that player puts the top 2 cards of their library into their graveyard. Doesn't seem like a good use of deck space.

Blue seems like they want to make it mill, but people don't seem to want to play mill in standard. Black will have it's usual removal, and that plus the removal from SOM will be a little overpowered for black, so I think creatures might be thrown out the window, and people will revert back to what they always do, because they can't seem to make a single deck without one, which is planeswalkers.

You already have some pretty good planeswalkers, but I heard that either Lilliana or Garruk, which will both be in the set, will have 5 abilities. That sounds a little too Jace the Wallet Sculptor for me.

Luckily for 99% of players, without fetch lands they were going to freak out, but they added non-aligned colors which is nice. I can finally make that Black Green Glissa/Zombie deck I have been working on.

All I know about Innistrad is that the whole creature dynamic in constructed will be wiped out unless there is the a new "red deck wins".

I think the one thing Wizards grossly overlooked is how slow standard will be when Zen and M11 cycles out. I played SOM block exclusively for about 3 months, and it is arguably 3-4 turns slower than current standard. Standard will be really slow, and I think that will anger some people.

**Modern, Legacy, and Classic players rejoice with the new lands. They love playing 3 color decks.

Limited will be interesting.

And the burning question for everyone is........ What will the broken card be, and how long till they ban it.

Here is a fun picture:

4 mana Lilliana (3)
+1 Discard
-2 Diabolic Tutor
+2 Dark Ritual
-4 Terror
+5 Way of fetching creatures from graveyard en masse.

The thought of a Planeswalker with 5 abilities when the last one with 4 was pretty nasty, eh, Idk.

I'm definitely in love with by oraymw at Tue, 08/30/2011 - 16:51
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I'm definitely in love with the new dual lands. I wasn't expecting them, and I'm very happy.

not sure about 5 abilities, but by apaulogy at Tue, 08/30/2011 - 17:57
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Why would they make a new Garruk? There is already a new one in M12.

I think the speculation that there is a new Liliana is a bit more founded.

@ Dual lands- Sure they are nice, enemy colored and all. They can not be fetched, however. Are they really going to be all that good? I think that "fine" is a word to describe them, but not "awesome".

WotC apparently still has an aversion to put basic land types on nonbasic lands...sigh.

The guy who is the head of by Alternate at Tue, 08/30/2011 - 18:43
Alternate's picture

The guy who is the head of the set design and the person I saw interviewed said (off the record) that Garruk would return. I am not going to say another website, but there is a video and some reporting from the, I guess, it was a release party.

I have seen more by apaulogy at Tue, 08/30/2011 - 18:48
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I think I was asking somewhat rhetoricaly, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised...

What a waste of design space. They could have easily made a new planeswalker...the M12 Garruk is fine.

Garruk is also on the DFC by oraymw at Tue, 08/30/2011 - 19:27
oraymw's picture

Garruk is also on the DFC checklist card, as seen here:

http://media.wizards.com/images/magic/tcg/products/isd/g4cc1x3ges_en.jpg

Apparently he is a DFC that costs 3G...

DFC planeswalker? by apaulogy at Tue, 08/30/2011 - 19:54
apaulogy's picture

Do you think this is a planeswalker? That is what I was talking about. Gosh, I hope there isn't a double-faced planeswalker. The ruling questions alone make my head want to explode.

I expect it to be a legendary by Paul Leicht at Tue, 08/30/2011 - 23:22
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I expect it to be a legendary human /human werewolf with some amazing ability.

What if he transforms into a by grandpoobah at Wed, 08/31/2011 - 00:41
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What if he transforms into a Planeswalker? Having a DFC that's different kinds of permanents on each side rather than just different kinds of creatures would be one of the most interesting uses, and one of the most compelling for using DFCs in the first place.

We also know that there are by oraymw at Wed, 08/31/2011 - 14:29
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We also know that there are Two planeswalkers, one of them has five abilities, and one of them is Liliana which was just spoiled today:

http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/stf/158

It definitely makes sense of Garruk is a DFC which also has five abilites... perhaps two on one side, and three on the other... or perhaps two normal abilities on each side, and a commmon transform ability...

I agree about standard by LostAlone at Wed, 08/31/2011 - 11:07
LostAlone's picture

I agree about standard becoming a slower format, but to be honest I'm looking forward to that. With modern (and vintage/classic come to that) being so combolicsious with so little interaction between players that another reasonably slow standard sounds very good to me.

I'll say one thing for the pre-ban caw-blade metagame: at least you actually sat down and played the game. Lots of caw blade was pretty dull I'll grant you, but assuming you were both playing good decks at least you could play spells.

The only modern games I've seen worth watching were 12post mirror matches that had a lot being played and were a real test of skill. Everything else was comboing so fast that it was more a test of who drew the most optimal opening hand for the match up. Same for splinter twin and similar stuff in standard. If the other guy had a good draw then there isn't much you could do.

In my opinion the longer games go, the better the game is going to be, and the more it will reward player-skill over deck list. Of course deck building is an important skill but aside from the handful of people who create the five or so tier 1 decks most people are just tweaking and then there isn't much left to do except play the combo pieces. Yes, the game always rewards good players but just not enough IMHO.

There's just too many people in my local MtG group who have bombed out of every non-constructed game they ever played but who consistently come top or second in constructed play because they are one of few people who are willing to spend out on a turn 3 killer combo.

So yeah, creature-based and slow paced games are fine by me, because it will definitely give higher rewards to people who think on their feet and know how to best use the mechanics. Those guys should be winning at every level, and hopefully thats what INN will give us.

But different strokes for different folks.

GFYS by Scartore at Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:38
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"But did you see that party they had for Innistrad? I wouldn't be caught dead at something like that. It was like a Star Trek convention with even less women."

Well to be fair... a little douchebag goes a long way, I'm sure you weren't missed...

I had to scroll up to see why by Paul Leicht at Wed, 08/31/2011 - 18:24
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I had to scroll up to see why you were reacting so vehemently. Then when I reread the post I realized I just wrote the guy off as a troll and ignore it. I advise the same for you my friend.

I disagree... we give sexism by Scartore at Fri, 09/02/2011 - 10:01
Scartore's picture

I disagree... we give sexism too much of a pass in our hobbies as it is.

If there was something by Paul Leicht at Fri, 09/02/2011 - 13:45
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If there was something constructive or positive to be done here I'd be doing it. Arguing with a troll on the internet is neither. I don't know if you read my old neutralground.net article about 'isms' and not just tolerating bad behavior in mtg ("Controversy & Language", circa 11/30 2001: http://outofthebrokensky.com/newart/newarts.asp?ID=29 ) but I do not take a neutral stance to this stuff. The problem is knowing when and how to pick your battles. If what this guy said really riled you, I recommend doing something more constructive. Perhaps write an article, talking about how we can address this more productively without being trolls/fascists ourselves.

Well Lilliana isn't broken by Alternate at Wed, 08/31/2011 - 13:39
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So far, from what I have seen, there are some really poor cards in this set, but a few new ones were released today, and they look nasty.

Ghost Quarter: A reprint to make up for non-basic land destruction cycling out.

Now look at this one:
Boneyard Wurm: */* Power and toughness are equal to the number of creatures in your graveyard, and it's (1)G. It's uncommon and a little Tamogryph (Spelled wrong) like for me.

Lilliana (1)BB
+1 each player discards a card
-2 Target player sacrifices a creature
-6 (This is a nasty bizarro world fact or fiction) Separate target players permanents into 2 piles, they choose one, and they all die.

Ok, that is one hell of a planeswalker. I know what I will do. Hey bud, want to keep your lands or creatures?

Invisible Stalker: (1)U Hexproof, Unblockable. So which sword will you put on it? F&F? Body and Mind? Or anything. Which one?

That's an uncommon. I'm sorry, but that may be the best uncommon of all time. Hexproof so only mass kill spells can kill it, unblockable, and you are getting this all for just 2 mana, and 1 is colorless. It may just be the broken card of the set.

**Everyone, get your Geth's verdicts in foil and non-foil now.

Best uncommon of all time? by Cownose at Wed, 08/31/2011 - 14:56
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Best uncommon of all time? Thats just asnine. Mana Drain, Force of Will, Fact or Fiction, etc. would like a word with you.

Also, that 1U 1/1 is very similar to a certain other 1G creature that did bascially the same thing not too long ago. and that card sa no real play outside of bad stompy decks.

Best Common of all time... by oraymw at Wed, 08/31/2011 - 15:24
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You know, besides: http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=40

umm... by apaulogy at Wed, 08/31/2011 - 16:17
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I guess it is a matter of taste/preference, huh?

I think in this standard, you by Alternate at Thu, 09/01/2011 - 11:57
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I think in this standard, you put it in a mono blue deck with counters and swords, it will rake.

Not to mention the only things that kill it are Black Sun Zenith, and that card from NPH that deals 2 damage to all non-artifact creatures which I think nobody knows about.

I like it, and that's coming from someone who played when Force of Will, Pyromancy, Wasteland, and Fact or Fiction were new. I don't know, maybe I'm the kind of guy who just likes getting the most for your mana, and getting 2 abilities for 2 mana? That sounds pretty good to me. Especially with Sword of Feast and Famine, or go the mill route with Spa of Body and Mind.

Illusions by apaulogy at Thu, 09/01/2011 - 17:32
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But the Illusion deck has already proven this...and it didn't need swords

Card that deals 2 damage to non artifact creatures from NPH = Whipflare aka "I Whip my Flare back and forth".

I'm looking forward to it by Phroggie at Thu, 09/01/2011 - 22:55
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I'm really liking the DFC's ... although I do see the other posters point about it warping IRL draft. I like this idea of slower tempo cards that just make the game generally more interesting, a deck that is fast and wins the game in 6 turns or less is boring to me.

I can see how this mechanic is going to give me many hours of enjoyment just playing it. Then again I play to enjoy myself, not to win!

And the theme for Innistrad is super cool :)