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By: Clan Magic Eternal, Magic Eternal
Nov 03 2011 9:42am
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Welcome to another edition of Yawgmoth's Soap Opera (YSO) the Classic Related Podcast bought to you the community. You can find us each week on with updates on Thursday. In addition to the podcast we produce brief show notes to accompany the cast (see below) and welcome listener feedback and views via the comments, email, twitter or in-client PM's.

The Regular Co-Hosts are all members of Magic Online Clan "Magic Eternal"
George Efelis  (whiffy penguin) 
Andy Phillips - (Hammer_Eternal) or (Eternal_Hammer)
Zach Whitten - (The_Hoff) or (abstrakt66) 

Time Stamp for this week


1) When looking to release the block at once why mixed booster packs rather than maintaining draft integrity with make all three packs available at once so we can still draft MNP as originally intended.
There just aren't a lot of players who are super excited about reliving the Masques Block draft experience as it was originally intended. Urzas Block has a lot of nostalgic resonance with players who played during its original release (a group of which I am a part of) and enough powerful cards and historical Magic cache to appeal to those who weren't around at that time. 
Masques Block doesn't have that same level of adoration (though I think that whole block gets a bad rap simply because it is sandwiched between some very good sets). We received a lot of feedback, both internally and externally, about Masques Block and we felt there was little risk to trying something a bit more out of the box. 
We also knew very early on that we didn't want to release this set over the course of 12-18 months like the three previous classic-based blocks. In addition, we wanted to finish releasing the final classic sets as soon as possible. For Masques Block, we were able to build enough lead time into the schedule to build it all at once, whereas that wasn’t the case for the other classic sets. 
Looking back, we were pleased with the success of Shards of Alara Block booster packs in Magic Online and felt this was an excellent opportunity to try something like that again. We think that this is a clear case of the experience being exciting enough to outweigh any negatives of releasing Masques Block in its pure form. 

2) This release means we get both Tangle Wire and Port coming into the system. Is there concern that this will push Workshop based decks over the top? Have you had discussions internally (leaving the meta to readjust to Dredge v 'Shop; restricting Spheres (making this the first card to be restricted in classic and not in vintage; bring Power 9 to address the balance).
We have never been afraid to let Classic have powerful cards and see how things shake out. Necropotence is a good example, where we left it unrestricted until it was clear that something had to change. With that said, we are also aware of cards that need to be restricted out of the gate (like Tolarian Academy).   With the release nearly two months away we have time before we would need to make a definitive call on this. If we decide to adjust the restricted list, I would look for a Banned & Restricted announcement on the Magic Online Group blog sometime around November 18.
3) Will all 12 pre-constructed theme decks be available in store will there be any community based engagement to develop an additional deck such has been done with other releases.
We will not be releasing the theme decks for any of the Masques Block sets. With only a two-week release period for our classic blocks, releasing twelve decks at once just isn't practical.   In addition, the audience for that kind of pre-constructed product isn't very large.
We stopped doing the community theme decks after the release of Exodus for a similar reasonWhile we really liked the opportunity to engage the community in an interesting way, there were not enough players who wanted the product to continue making those decks. 

4) Avatars - Will we receive only 2 for the entire block - Can I make a special request for Hammer Mage.
Yes… there will be only two avatars for the Masques Block release and have already been chosen.  Sorry.   The avatars are two iconic cards from the block and look very cool so I think players will be pleased.   
5) We are happy to see the continued support for product release to the Eternal formats - where do you see Classic fitting into magic with the arrival of Modern. 
The formats all fill various player needs and I think there is certainly room for all of them. From a purely theoretical perspective, I think the basic format structure is really solid and like the logic in the progression of Block, Standard, Extended, Modern, Legacy, and Classic (or Vintage).  
The biggest hurdle is trying to ensure that there are enough players at any given time for each format. I would like to believe that we can build those communities online because our pool of players is larger than anywhere else you can play Magic. Formats like Extended, however, are more cyclic in nature based on what is going on in the paper world and it has been harder to build evergreen communities for them. 
A format like Classic has a more stable, albeit smaller, user base which is certainly something we have been trying to leverage. Creating set start times for the Daily Events was designed to try and appeal to that core group by giving you all a handful of set times you can rally around. It's been good to see Classic hit a little groove and successfully some Daily Events the last few weeks. 

6) We love some of the recent new cards which will have or continue to have an impact on our format such as Jace TMS, and more recently Snapcaster Mage and Laboratory Maniac - Are you ever concerned of breaking the eternal formats by releasing new product. For example Lodestone Golem has really helped to cement workshop based strategies and might be enough to push the deck over the top post Tangle Wire and Port.
I know that a ton of work goes into the design and development of each product to ensure that they appeal to as many players as possible. In order to impact the eternal formats, especially one like Classic, the cards need to be pretty powerful or do something very interesting which will always run the risk of having unintended consequences. 
The nice thing about formats where powerful cards exist, however, is that there tend to be answers for cards than can cause issues in formats with smaller card pools. If a card becomes problematic, we can use the banned and restricted lists to help restore some balance. 
While we don't relish banning or restricting cards, there is some solace in the fact than most eternal format players are familiar with the idea of B&R lists and that their formats rely on them. This makes messaging any B&R changes easier than it would be in formats where there are a higher proportion of newer players, like Standard or Block. 

7) Masques almost completely syncs up Legacy Online with Legacy paper and fills in some niche cards like Land Grant and Submerge etc. The out of sync banning of Mental Misstep has been catastrophic in terms of events firing online for the legacy format - Have you considered better syncing implementation of changes to banned and restricted lists. 
The Innistrad release was a perfect storm of sorts. I don't think we have ever seen a time in Magic Online when so many formats were so drastically different than their paper counterparts and we are certainly aware of it. Unfortunately, our development cycles have fairly rigid timelines and it is difficult to make significant adjustments on short notice. 
Because of how we currently do beta testing for Magic Online, we need to maintain a buffer between the paper releases and digital releases. Add the fact that format changes are typically tied to card set deployments and you can end up with the lag we saw this time around.  
We have already had several conversations about how we can address this problem in the future, but there are factors outside of Magic Online that need to be considered. I am confident that we can find some solutions that will let us reduce that lag and keep the discrepancies to a minimum, though it may take some time to fully implement them. 
As for Legacy, I am very happy that after Masques Block releases on December 5 the paper and the digital formats will be effectively the same. Even though the card pools are not 100% in line, the vast majority of tournament relevant cards will be available which means Legacy players can just talk about Legacy without qualifiers. 

Classic DE of  10/23/11


Whiffy's Season 3 deck of choice.


Zach's S3 Experiment thus Far:


Feedback - What do you like about YSO, what would you like added or changed? Please give us any suggestions for classic relevant topics to cover. Any special guests you would like to see - Let us know! You can contact us in the comments below or via Twitter @Magic_Eternal or @WhiffyPenguin or email us as "YSOPODCAST at Gmail dot com"

 Clan Magic Eternal has opened public forums! !!!! Wiki as well at! Come on over check us out and create an account.

 Just as a reminder, there are Classic Daily Event's every Saturday at 12:30 pm est time and Sunday at 6:30 pm est time. Zach, George and Andy - Proud Members of Clan Magic Eternal See you in 7. YSO is sponsored by and hosted by


I can't listen at work.... by Calavera at Thu, 11/03/2011 - 10:43
Calavera's picture

I can't listen at work.... But did you ask the 20 million dollar question?


" In addition, we wanted to by enderfall at Thu, 11/03/2011 - 10:51
enderfall's picture

" In addition, we wanted to finish releasing the final classic sets as soon as possible. "

Hmm, makes you wonder why they would say something like that. What advantage do they get from releasing the final Classic sets ASAP? Maybe I'm just feeding the trolls, or trolling myself, but I found that an interesting comment to make.

Finish ASAP by Clan Magic Eternal at Thu, 11/03/2011 - 11:03
Clan Magic Eternal's picture

@Enderfall: It really is frightening how easy it is to try and over analyse and read into something that isnt there especially when you desire something so strongly and you go out of your way to look for things. Subjectively I feel most of these comments are not leading in anyway and they just form part of a fully comprehensive answer. In this case the driver to complete the classic sets is likely linked to syncing up legacy than anything else. Oh and whats so important about the upcoming restricted list announcement on the 18th that we are kindly point too :-)

- Hammer

Text Transcript by Clan Magic Eternal at Thu, 11/03/2011 - 10:56
Clan Magic Eternal's picture

@ Calavera: We included the text transcript in the article too.

@ Power 9: We all know that when and If WoTC are prepared to make any kind of statement on the Power 9's existence on MTGO that this will be via a fully considered announcement on the mothership and we were under no illusions that this interview would Shed any insight into the possibility of vintage online. Of course we asked questions and of course Wizards are fully aware of the communities appetite for any hint / speculation / fact on the remaining 9 cards.

- Hammer