Mind-Boggling Technology – Change the Game

Since we all play this crazy game, why not find ways to make it better? I posted a Facebook status that asked what players would change about the game and got an unexpected amount of responses. This made me realize that I wasn’t the only one who thought Magic isn’t perfect.

3 things to know about this article (in the style of 3thingstoknow.com)

1. I am very critical of MTG
2. areas of critique include tournament structure as well as the rules
3. I love the game so I want to make it better

Kyle Boggemes

If you could change one thing about MTG for the better…

I narrowed the question down to just one change so I can gauge what’s the most important issue to players.

Ben Rasmussen: Kill mythics

Did you really think I could write an article about making changes and leave out the mythic debate? I was very radical in my stance regarding the price of Jace, the Mind Sculptor and I still stand by it. However, it would be more useful if I proposed a healthier approach to mythic rares instead. We can actually use the mythic rarity for good, but it’s not being done right now. Why is Hoard-Smelter Dragon not a mythic rare? It has the qualities that mythics are said to posess: a large casting cost that appeals to a wide audience and has the capability to ruin Limited games.

There were other players that voiced their concern over the amount of game ending cards in Limited. The integrity of the format is compromised when a small child opens a bunch of good cards and smashes everyone. We can use the mythic rarity to limit the amount of bombs seen in games of Limited. If you like playing against stupid bombs and want them to be more common, let me know in the forums.

Many players are also concerned over the price of planeswalkers due to their mythic rarity. If we reduce them to rare status they will be played more in games of Limited and will have less value. I know it’s tempting to complain about the price of something since before it was the cycles of land. If we only use the mythic rarity to protect Limited, then the prices of tournament staples will increase across the board. I personally like that Jace makes up for half of the cost of my decks because it’s easier to build a wider variety of decks. There was a time where no card in standard was more than 20$, but many were in the 10$ range. The cards that were played less frequently were more expensive and it was more difficult to build new decks as a result.

Luis Scott-Vargas bring back team events

This has been a debate ever since team events were replaced for Two-Headed Giant in 2007. We all love that format, right? Team events should have been revitalized as soon as 2HG was removed from the PTQ circuit. The grizzled veterans of the game know what I’m talking about, but my younger audience has never experienced team formats in all of their glory.

When I ask people about their favorite format, it’s usually team Limited or team unified Constructed. Who doesn’t love to play Magic with their best buddies? I just wish I was more experienced when it was around to take full advantage of it.

Paulo Vitor: I think I’d have to go with team events too – it seems very easy to implement, every single person on earth wants it to happen, and I have no clue why they haven’t come back yet, at least as an experiment. Even if it fails, you have one tournament that didn’t go as well as planned and that’s it. If it works, though, you have something sweet in your hands, seems worth a try.

I like the idea of WOTC giving the team format one try before it’s brought back in full force. The problem that is rarely addressed for teams is that it can be difficult for everyone to acquire two teammates. The players I associate with are a tight-knit group so it’s rarely an actual problem for them. Take for example someone who just got back into the game or lives far away from Magic hubs; can he find a team? I’m sure it’s possible, but not worth his time and effort. A sealed PTQ just requires you to arrive on time (not even essential) and have 30 bucks. There were always players who waited in the corner like they were being picked last for kickball that waited to see if they could find team mates.

Many players will drive to a PTQ or GP in a car with 3-4 other players. How many teams can you form with 4-5 players? The number 3 and 6 is quite awkward for the average PTQ player because they want to maximize value on gas prices. The two additional players must find another player that needs to transport himself to the event.

My first Pro Tour qualification came from an LCQ for Charleston back in 2006. It was difficult for me to find a team because I was new to big tournaments so I ended up with my brother and a guy I knew from back in the day. Neither of them played much Magic recently for various reasons, but they were all I could find. You may be asking yourself how a young upstart like myself and my rag-tag crew could possibly qualify for the Pro Tour. There were only 25 teams in the tournament and the top 4 teams received an invite. Twenty-five teams for an LCQ where 12 players qualify? The LCQs of today have about 300 players because they are more accessible and award less invitations.

WOTC is a business, as much as we all hate to admit it, and they need money to operate. Hasbro doesn’t exist to cater to the wishes of Magic players; they want to maximize their profit. We are living in an age where the kitchen table players are being catered to because they spend the money to keep the game alive and profitable.

I’m not asking for an entire Grand Prix or PTQ season, but lets just have team event once a year like legacy.

Stephen Boggemes (No relation) Synchronize online and real life releases

This is actually my cousin and is responsible for getting me interested in Magic as a lad.

Synchronizing the release date seems like an easy fix because all that can be compromised is the secrecy of the set. I don’t really understand why it’s necessary to keep the cards in a set a secret for a few extra weeks when it means that there are several lame-duck sessions on Magic Online.

This idea was implemented when Judgment was released back in the stone age. WOTC was shocked and outraged that a beta tester would spoil the contents of the set. As far as I know the set sold well even with this “slip.”

Remove foil cards from new sets

I saw a picture of Jace, the Mind Sculptor that had a beta card frame and it looked awesome. The new card frame makes me yearn for the old days, and we can still use the original for promotional purposes. WOTC could replace foil cards in new sets and instead have premium Beta card boarders.

It was annoying when you played against a small child with mono red burn during Shadowmoor standard. I could always tell what they were playing before we began because there were eight cards that were curved. The promotional Demigod of Revenge and Figure of Destiny were responsible for many game losses and marked decks in tournaments. That’s pretty ironic considering they were awarded for tournament participation (who doesn’t love irony? WOTC has a sense of humor, that’s all).

Foil cards are also removed from high level drafts because they will be drawn more frequently due to their curvature. The fact that foils are manually removed from packs at the professional level means that high level judges know they compromise the integrity of the game.

I understand that there are many players who enjoy collecting foils and they should still be allowed in tournaments. As they are gradually removed from new sets, there will be less formats where this is an issue.

Sheldon Menery, Ben Stark, Tatyana Dobreva -Change mulligan rules

There were various ideas thrown around such as getting a free mulligan for hands that contain 0,1,6, and 7 lands for Limited. I like that Ben took this idea for only Limited because it’s difficult to abuse. Constructed decks have been known to contain as many as 43 lands or just two so I would advise against using it. The issue is that the rules on mulligans no longer become universal, which could be confusing to many players.

When I test for tournaments, players are allowed to mulligan to six an additional time. After the player mulligans to six two times, they are allowed to mulligan to five cards an additional time. My biggest concern for any new rule on mulligans is the increased power of combo decks. If you’re allowed to exchange life for a mulligan, decks that replace consistency for power are rewarded. The additional mulligan to six allows players to find reasonable hands without aggressively taking mulligans.

Tom Ross – Remove the “discard down to 7” rule. The possibility of abusing large hand sizes is slim.

Discarding from 8 allows plays that lack flavor like turn 2 Reanimate. It also unnecessarily punishes players that are manascrewed. Decks that draw a lot of cards will have a slight edge but if you have to discard from drawing too many cards the game result isn’t likely gonna change. Deciding which card(s) to discard takes up extra gametime that could be spent on gameplay.

I like this because there is no need to punish players who are already in bad positions. I would argue that there should be more rules implemented to help players when they are land light or flooded to make Magic more balanced. The only players who like the current rule are those that play degenerate combo decks like dredge or reanimator.

Grand Prix attendance structure

It doesn’t seem fair to me that an Australian Grand Prix with 400 competitors can give out the same prizes as a Euro or U.S. GP with 1,800 players. I don’t have an actual answer as to how it should be corrected due to various gambling laws it may violate, but there is a solution that involves adjusting prize money and pro points based on attendance.

There usually isn’t enough rounds for the large Grands Prix because I have gotten ninth place twice with an x-2-1 record (sick brag I know). That record was a lock just a few years ago and now there are a only couple that can make it.

A travesty regarding the Pro Tour qualification system is that the top 16 players in a Grand Prix lose the ability to compete in a PTQ for that season. It’s a joke to think that getting 16th in a 2,000 person event can actually be a hindrance. 500$ is nice and all, but that means you have to pay for a flight to Japan as well as the hotel and food. WOTC doesn’t give you the right to try to win your plane ticket that’s responsible for a majority of the cost.

The PTQ System

How can getting second place in a 200-person PTQ feel like your dog just died? Now I know I probably live a sheltered life, but there aren’t many things I have experienced that make me feel worse. This seems like a glaring hole in the system and we can do something to fix it.

I propose something similar to the VS. System Pro Circuit Qualifiers. A PCQ top 8 would result in a number of points and the farther along top 8 you go, the more points are earned. If you win the finals, all of the necessary points are earned. This helps players that consistently top 8 PTQs like Calosso to get more chances on the Pro Tour. Why is the random guy that played the right deck one week be more deserving to play on the Pro Tour than a ringer who Top 8ed 5 PTQs in a row?

I know many players that decided to stop playing PTQs because it feels futile. There is a room full of decent players and only one of them will go home happy. I have never seen a more depressing structure for a tournament. It makes me wonder about the typical attendance for an adjusted PTQ.

Discretion regarding banning cards

Why would WOTC pigeonhole themselves into only being allowed to ban a card during each season? I was happy that there were only four Caw-Go decks in the top 8 of the last SCG Open. Does this sound like a healthy format? The format would be much better if WOTC banned Sword of Feast and Famine.

I like the idea of banning cards that only affect one archetype. It may seem easy to blame the state of Standard on Stoneforge Mystic, but it’s the wrongdoing of the sword. When Valakut started to hinder the creativity of the format, the land itself was to blame rather than Primeval Titan.

My solution for these stale formats is to ban cards far more frequently. It takes about a month for people to solve the formats and have the popular decks narrowed down to just a few. I think the State Championships are so popular because the fresh format allows for many archetypes to exist. As soon as formats become solved, players typically complain that it’s boring. There aren’t many players that complain about the vast possibilities in a format because that’s why we play the game.

Yu-Gi-Oh! used this method for a while to keep formats fresh by banning and unbanning cards when necessary. As soon as the format became stale, it was immediately shaken up again by changing the Banned and Restricted list. We can have fun playing Standard even if a new set is not released to change the format.

Dress Code for tournaments

I’m glad this doesn’t apply to everyone, but you should get clean every day. This has been discussed by so many players as a joke, but it’s serious. We are representatives of the game and we should at least be clean and friendly. Tournaments are held in large convention centers where many people gather and we are often the distinct group with poor hygiene. Who would want to become interested in a game where the tournament is held in the room with the large gathering of smelly guys wearing those ironic T-shirts?

Let your creatures do the infecting… take a shower!

If you want to see the game continue to grow, we must break through the barrier of filth. There is a negative connotation associated with Magic players and it’s up to each and every one of us to change that.


There are many problems we can fix that will allow Magic to be an even better game. The only way to bring about these changes is to make the problems known to the community as well as Wizards of the Coast. There are so many possibilities out there that we should never be satisfied with what we have.

Be thankful I didn’t use any Gruesome Encore jokes this week!

Stay critical.

Thanks for reading



79 thoughts on “Mind-Boggling Technology – Change the Game”

  1. YES! Finally someone dares to suggest bannings in a more frequent basis. I agree that, given the continued existence of mythics and the less than stellar capability of Wizards to develop Standard formats, bannings are the only real solution to keep the game interesting to the people that actually know to play the game. The only thing missing is to neuter the common myth about people leaving the game in masse if their beloved $30 rare suddenly got banned. Thanks for make an actually critical article about the game rather than the usual “OMG if I dare to criticize Magic people will listen to me and I will lose my job, so I better say Wizards is always right” column. Keep doing and suggesting the rest of the crew to write more articles like this, and then we can get Wizards to actually respond rather than hide behind their typical wall of denial.

  2. A huge yes for the idea of bringing back team formats, mainly because I’d like to just see a wider variety of tournament formats in general. Environments will feel much less stale if you constantly need to be brewing up decks for alternate formats like 2HG or team constructed (the kind with shared card pools).

    As for mythics, I originally thought they were a bad decision, but now I’m beginning to see their benefits. I’d much rather have one card that I’m never, ever going to be able to own (JTMS) if the upside is that the decks that I can put together are substantially cheaper. I started playing in the age of 300+ dollar Ravnica manabases, and I’m willing to put up with an an unobtainable card so long as it doesn’t cast hundreds of dollars to build any competitive multicolored manabase. Now, if they ever start making the good multi-lands mythic, you’ll hear me howling at the top of my voice. Plus, there is this visceral good feeling that comes from opening a mythic rare which I’ve grown to enjoy.

    Which leads me to the foil debate. here’s the problem with yanking foils: just like with mythic rares, foils feel good to open (especially if it’s a foil rare- I still remember the time I opened a Time Spiral pack that had a foil rare and an Akroma as the Time-shifted card. It felt like winning the lottery.). Most of the Magic-playing public will either not play regularly in tournaments or only participate in local FNM-style events with lax regulations regarding foils. Therefor, most Magic players will experience a significant upside from foils with very little downside.

    As for my own personal change for MtG, it’s rather small. I’d like them to start making individual inserts for the Intro packs like they did with the Ravnica-era theme decks. They made each deck feel a little more unique and added more value to purchasing the product by adding another level of collectibility. Yes, the effect may be negligible, don’t I don’t imagine they’re saving a ton of money by combining all of them- after all, the same number of total inserts still have to be printed.

  3. ok, mythics can be a little bit abused yes, but you can not ban cards in a format that isnt complete yet! thats retarded because you dont know what the next and FINAL set in the block will bring. WOTC is well aware of the situation and is watching the format closely.

    as far as foils yeah maybe for a large tourny it should be all or none cuz that can have some large impact in the game. but remember, you have the capability to shuffle the library after any search and shuffle they did. at FNM its fine cuz its a little more lose, and it sounds like you were too for taking a young kid for granted and letting him beat you. the way MTG is right now is fine with the exception of pricing, but even then…it keeps the players tamed with everyone not being able to afford some cards. that creates a healthy format with different decks being played

  4. The more common times for bannings are something that i would absolutely hate in Magic. That is why I quit Yu-Gi-Oh, it was not sensible to spend the money to compete the way that would be essential, and 3 weeks after you spend the money your cards have no value anymore, thats lovely. I would much rather spend the 200 dollars on a playset of something essential once and then have that for 1.5-2 years of a format that is well attended regardless as play skill with the “staleness” comes into effect. I prefer innovation over prohibition.

  5. RE: Bannings

    People seem to forget how bad it would feel to have a deck you like to play suddenly be banned, just because some whiners think the format is stale. The format is still underexplored and things can change in a weekend.

  6. the maximum hand size rule is basically useless and outdated, so i see no reason why it shouldn’t be eliminated. if someone draws a thousand cards per turn, then kudos to them, they’re playing cards that draw more cards and they deserve to have them. i also agree that the mulligan rules for limited could use a change.

  7. @anonymous : the reprint policy is pretty much a must, without it the integrity of the card value system for eternal formats is completely compromised.

    I really agree with the dress code idea, I have no problem with ironic Tshirts and jeans, but I think it would be earn the game a lot more respect if all of our tournaments consisted of a bunch of guys in dress clothes thinking very hard. you dont see anyone going to chess tournaments in ironic T-shirts do you?

  8. Frequent bannings would be pretty terrible. The cost of standard is pretty high for the average person and would suck for people who build a deck only to have it banned after dumping 500 or so into the cards.

    I would rather have them push for things like block and extended to be played more at FNM or other places where everyone can play them (especially block.. which is one PT a year) and outside of seasons. The extended season is still going and very few people care because it isn’t being pushed at all outside of the PTQs. Block constructed won’t be played by 99% of the players while a “stale” standard format will be played every weekend.

  9. ive really made an effort when answering your fb status to describe and argument for a problem that affects 90% of the magic players that i know when spring comes (it already started for them), so im kind of disapointed that you didnt tought it was relevant enough to be mentioned in your article, i guess you never been through that situation to know it. well, actually it also doesnt affect me since im not active anymore, and when i was it also didnt affect me and thats why i havent wrote about it before too, but i was hoping you could find some lines on your article for it.

  10. My thoughts on what was mentioned:

    Use mythics to regulate Limited — I can totally get behind this. Limited would be more fun if broken cards like Drana and Hoardsmelter were mythic, and Constructed would be more fun if broken cards like Vengevine were rare. I still kind of like Planeswalkers at mythic for flavor reasons, but it’s a great idea otherwise.

    “If we only use the mythic rarity to protect Limited, then the prices of tournament staples will increase across the board” — Not entirely true. It’s reasonable to suppose that the price of commons and uncommons won’t change, staple or no. The price of the (several) rare staples will increase slightly, and the cost of the (few) mythic staples will decrease significantly. All in all, I suspect the cost of a competitive deck will be largely unchanged.

    Change mulligan rules — Not sure I like it, even for Limited. The thing is, if they make it so you can mull a 0- or 1-lander for free, for instance, then the proper thing to do would be to build your deck land-light, i.e., only running 16 (or fewer!) lands, then just mulligan aggressively. Mana screw when it happens would be just as devastating, and it wouldn’t happen significantly less frequently, either, assuming people were building their decks properly.

    Remove the “Discard down to seven” rule — I can get behind this. It might open up some small loophole for abuse, but the advantages seem worth it.

    PTQs and invitations — Yes, yes, and yes. It’s stupid to have just one person get an invite to the Pro Tour. I’m sure there are plenty of pro-level players out there who have given up trying to qualify, because the lucky breaks just didn’t go their way. Cull more aggressively from the Tour itself if you must, but give more people the chance to get there and prove their mettle.

    Ban cards aggressively — No, bad idea. The format gets shaken up every three months or so, anyway, and I don’t even think that it’s accurate to say that the format is “solved” after a month. Don’t underestimate the power of metagaming. That being said, I think they should have banned Big Jace a while ago now. When every single viable blue deck for the past year plays the card, and when said blue decks are consistently over-represented in the top 8, it can pretty fairly be considered format-warping.

  11. One thing I read in the great designer search that sparked some thinking was the guy who suggested the removal of the rule that allows instants to be played during the end of turn step. This would take away a lot of the power of instants, and would make sorcery-speed removal and card draw a bit easier to value, since instant speed is always better, even if it’s half as efficient, just *because* it’s instant.

  12. SO glad you touched on hygiene. I am so embarassed when I tell someone I play magic and the only thing they know about it is that everybody else that told them they played magic smelled. Even though YOU may not smell it, I can assure you that iif you haven’t bathed in the past day that you STANK.

  13. All for team events returning, dress code enforcement, and improvements to the PTQ invitation system. The new mulligan rules seemsto reward poor deckbuilding more than cushion terrible luck. Yes, I’ve played a fair bit of competitive Magic, and although I am not on the level you are, I still have to say that it absolutely SUCKS to lose a back-breaking round all because of bad starting hands. However, that’s the nature of competition and to rewrite the rules such that careful deck building becomes less relevant seems irresponsible. Also, the maximum hand size rule seems to exist solely to simplify the game at the expense of strategy. Luckily (I suppose), that’s just the sort of thing Wizards is into and we’ll probably see that rules change within a few years. However, two important points I must make:

    First – frequent banning list revision is seriously one of the worst ideas imaginable for this game and only exists as a reminder for how Upper Deck completely dropped the ball at every opportunity for YuGiOh. It merely proved that they had no idea how to plan ahead for a game year after year. In reality, having banned/reserveds switch all the time was frustrating and made buying cards a risky proposition. De/re stabilizing a format just for the hell of it a good game does not make. It doesn’t create excitement; it creates outrage.

    Second – the argument against mythics was… I’m not sure where you were going with it. You complained about cards like Hoard-Smelter Dragon being absolute bombs in limited and stated that they showed up too much, which they might, but then went on to say that planeswalkers are not bombs in limited and should be demoted to Rare as such. What? Even Sarkhan Vol was a limited bomb in an already decent deck. I know that as a bullet point it wasn’t going to get all that much elaboration, but still, it was not nearly convincing enough in the face the pro-mythic argument.

  14. Ya, it has been said already, but I thought I would throw my two cents in anyway. Imagine being a 16 or so year old kid, you just finally saved up enough money from whatever crap minimum wage paying job you have to by your first tier one deck so you can really start dominating FNM (or even go to that PTQ the next town over). You get to the store and buy everything you need for your deck, an expensive endeavor and at first you think you might regret it but, after playing a few games, you realize how awesome the deck is and you are happy with your purchase. Then, you go home and head over to the mothership to see what crazy things Mark Rosewater has to say about design this week and, lo and behold, you see a banned/restricted announcement has been posted. Curious, you click on the banner, only to discover that the deck you just built, which basically represents the culmination of all of your hours put into working at your job and your first shot at maybe making the “big time,” is now banned from standard. Would it really be that unreasonable for you to just leave the game at that point?

  15. No more mythics!!! At the very least, mythic rarity should not have a different power level from regular rares.

  16. Agree with most of your points. As has been said repeatedly, “frequent” bannings would be a stupid idea. However, when the same deck takes 6 of the top 8 slots at every tournament for a month, something should be done (see Fae, Jund, Caw-Blade).

    DEFINITELY agree with the Mythics comment. I was actually just saying exactly the same thing to some buddies after our Tuesday night draft tonight. Thanks for putting it out there!

  17. @YGK – The idea that reprint policy is the only thing that protects card value in eternal formats is a fallacy. Wizards has been able to reprint mana drain forever. Its still $40+. Likewise with many many many other money cards… who’s to say a Jace reprint isnt around the corner? Its still $100+

  18. Yes yes yes the ptq circuit needs to be changed to grow the game its suchhhhhhhh a huge grind to drive to ptqs that are 6 + hours each way. Most of non mid western ptq’ers don’t have the luxury of 1-2 hour ptqs each season on every weekend. I’ve screaming to the top of my head to change it to the way VS structured their ptq system. And the rest of the article was fantastic i give you many props and agree with everything. Bring back the team formats for god sakes!


  19. Banning cards for the sake of keeping the format fresh isn’t terribly, but as we get new sets every 4 months I don’t really experience the trouble of a format going “stale”. Then I think it’s fairly naive to think that banning a card like Sword of Feast and Famine would actually make the format more open. There is always something that is going to be the best. Always. Period. As long something doesn’t completely invalidate the opportunity for people to play other decks (like Affinity did back in the day), I don’t think you will gain much for banning cards. Yes, you will make the format “fresh” for two-three weeks but then the format is back into a new mold and you have to start over again.

    About changes in game, like the “discard-down-to-7”-rule and adding complexity to the limited mulligan rules…feels like a toss up for me. I don’t think it would be necessary bad changes but I don’t really see the value in them either. Particularly the discard rule is fairly impacting games. Card like Vengevine and reanimation strategies gets more interesting and when your about to discard is usually the sign of commence doing stuff in true control mirrors. Would do-nothing-control mirrors ever end if the discard rule wasn’t there? 😛

    And yes, I can definitely get behind team events. Unified Constructed and Team Rochester Draft are really great formats.

  20. Has it gotten that bad since I stopped playing paper Magic and went solely online? Do no Magic players shower anymore? Jeez, it’s like we’re the hippies of the 21st century. Although, I can DEFINITELY visualize the following scenario:

    Smelly, hairy, unshaved kid in the corner with a backpack: “Do you wanna buy my Stoneforge Mystic, man? I’ll trade you my Mystic for a grilled cheese.”

  21. I am glad you did not bring up something like “eliminate mana screw”.

    But regarding mulligans: I am always thinking about making play/draw more fair. Maybe something like a free mulligan on the draw in Constructed would be worth thinking about. Honestly, did you ever opt to draw first in the first game of a match? Even in the toughest control mirror it’s unusual. Give that guy on the draw some chance 😉

  22. Re: stinky players

    In 2006 new Zealand nationals, the tournament was being held at a nice, downtown hotel. The venue for a tournament was a conference sized room which was fine, but the room they used for grinders the day before was ABYSMAL. Imagine this: a small room packed full of poorly dressed/washed nerds from 9am til at least 6pm, the room has no windows or ventilation. By mid afternoon the room stank, and I mean stank to high heaven with a penetrating sour sweaty smell. The grinder room was on the second floor of the hotel and the smell could be smelt from the ground floor.

    I wouldn’t mind some kind of super basic dress code for PTQ size tournaments or larger. I heard rumors that there was a de facto dress code for PTs and the like introduced in the early 2000s because pro players looked far too much like slobs/stoners/sex offenders and it was making the game look bad, but I don’t really know how true this is. If you look back at event coverage from 2002 and earlier, everyone looks way grosser.

  23. I have been reading articles on this website for awhile now and although I agree with the bathing part (you would think people just would, but, some people are just filthy). The dress code though? What are we… golfers? This is the first time I’ve ever commented just because I’m sooo against a dress code for anything. I have tattoos, I wear band shirts, wear a chain, etc. Quite possibly the lamest thing I’ve ever heard on this site. We are what we are and other people should just accept that. We’re a community and I really don’t think we need to blend to fit the “NORM”.

  24. “Foil cards are also removed from high level drafts because they will be drawn more frequently due to their curvature. The fact that foils are manually removed from packs at the professional level means that high level judges know they compromise the integrity of the game.”

    Pretty sure this isn’t the reason they remove foils from high level drafts. I thought it was to keep the common/uncommon/rare ratio the same to allow skilled players to work out what’s been taken at which point. If your claim is true I’d love to see some evidence.

  25. I thought they removed them because the judges needed the foils for their EDH decks :O

    I think the discard rule exists to make the games less complicated. Imagine a control mirror in which both players have 12 cards in hand, or a control versus combo in which players are trying to sculpt the perfect hand – every turn is going to take an eternity because there will be so many options. Discarding takes a little bit of time every turn, but it forces players to act

  26. Solving perceived format staleness through frequent banning is a terrible idea.

    Print better cards instead of frequently banning cards.

  27. I must voice my opinion as the minority, I absolutely hated team events – both 2HG and trios. I imagine TOs hated them, too: attendance at those events was way down. I believe the move to 2HG Prerelease Sundays was a major factor in what killed “big” prereleases (though $4/gallon gasoline also contributed).

    If you wanted to give 2HG another shot, I’d have no problem with them making a brand new 2HG states event. Just don’t take away a GP, please.

  28. @Owen: The reason they remove foils is that they are basically marked cards that shouldn’t be used in tournament play.

    Regarding PTQs and PT invitations: The basic problem is that there are so many more players that want to play PTa than there are spots for. If the solution to 200 person 1 slot PTQs is to invite the entire top8, we would soon be at 1500 player PTs which is a bad idea. I agree that the current situation isn’t perfect but keep in mind that any proposal must avoid increasing PT sizes too much.

  29. I am all for team events, but I am sure Wizards saw a decline in attendance for these events. It makes it much harder obviously for someone to attend a PTQ that doesnt have two friends. Forever alone…..

  30. I promise… PROMISE that you don’t want to do bannings unless they are absolutely necessary. What you are proposing is we ban cards that are just “good” and by that logic we will be banning everything. You ban Sword, then Valakut becomes too good, so it gets banned, then Jace is ruling the format so it gets banned.

    If Standard is too stale it is because of the lack of sets. Standard at maximum has 8 sets in it, and at minimum it has 6. If Alara was still in the format, how many decks would still be competitive? I imagine it would be around 8.

    Wizards does a fine job with bannings IMO, and perhaps have still banned too much in the case of Legacy.

  31. A few years ago I remember multiple writers, including GerryT, mocking Calosso Fuentes, for being a huge barn.

    Nowadays, I’ve seen multiple pro talking about Calosso in positive ways. Calosso is now officially the most successful barn in all of Magic. Not at playing Magic mind you, but at barning.

  32. At least in West Australia we used to hold PTQS in pubs which had a dress code and security

  33. Article stated: ” The integrity of the format is compromised when a small child opens a bunch of good cards and smashes everyone.”

    Obv applies only to limited. Overall though I wish you would have expressed some perspective about this aside from what seems like the self-absorbed “Pro” viewpoint that We ought to never lose to variance (usually because of perceived “time and money investment” etc etc.) I think it is fundamentally important and good that on occasion a small child DOES open a bunch of good cards and smash everyone. The question is more how often that should happen in order to balance needs of the many. I think in the current design it happens a reasonable amount of the time and I note that it is perfectly viable and in fact gamesmanlike to ask a smart player to value cards in their draft with the goal of avoiding death by bombs somewhere in mind. They’ll have to do so to avoid dying to bomby “Pros” just as much as anything else! But in the interim, I say YES- sometimes we ALL should “have to” lose for the good of the game as a social enterprise. I do believe that for the moral majority, that’s what Magic is or is firstly, before being a value-chasing money-making business cycle. I would agree that this concept is a bit at odds with competition; however competition is not the be all end all of Magic and since it shares the pie of WotC’s attentions here it should at least try to respect that when publishing articles.

    As I wrote I realized more clearly that my complaint has nothing to do with bombs-versus-notbombs and only to do with why on earth you have decided to hate on “small children” in that context instead of other Pros — those who when armed with bombs are obviously far more relevantly dangerous to your individual success at a tournament. It seems like an ugly elitism here that shouldn’t have entered into things.

  34. Sorry all. As many have stated, this is a business. Mythics and Foils drive sales. Even if this doesn’t apply to you, I cannot tell you how many players I’ve met that will crack packs just looking for that mythic / foil.

  35. The most important thing at the moment is to fix the tournaments structures.

    I mean loosing a final in a 300 man ptq online gives you 36 boosters, what a joke.

    Going day 2 at a grand prix is really nothing. Everyone should get at least some nice foils for showing up for day2.

    Another thing that would be nice is a propointsystem, but for ptqplayers. I guess that is to complicated to implement.

    The last thing would be to create a new tournament. The big tournaments we have nowadays are Protours, Grand Prixs and ptqs. The pro tours are hard to qualify to, the grand prixs have an absurd number of players and I despite 15< ptq top8s I never win.

  36. Reliquary tower is $1.50 on SCG. Max handsize matters to multiplayer so it should be left alone. It is also useful in getting newer players to do stomething. It doesn’t matter at higher levels, but affects other aspects of the game.

  37. Except it often does matter. Ever discard a Vengevine or a Dredger to the hand size rule? It feels like cheating. Its a pretty silly rule that either kicks you in the teeth (when manascrewed) or feels degenerate whenever it comes up.

  38. The ideas about mulligans and max hand size are actually quite fair, I think they would take a lot of frustration out of playing. But don’t take my shiny, shiny foils! Bad Kyle!

  39. *samhain really?!?!?!? the “norm”?!?!?!? if you have a room of 200 people and over half wear chains, huge baggy pants, band shirts, or funny screen print shirts what really is “the norm” out of 200 people how many people in the room try to dress like adults.. clean normal shirt.. pants that fit.. HAIR COMBED.. what like 50? sorry to say but the current “norm” is dress like a scrub..

    mabey put dogs at the doors if ya stink ya cant get in.. not that hard to take a shower once and awhile..

    i like the idea of team events but i am on the fence about banning cards… if too many people in your area are playing sword guess what you can always destroy the sword.. hard time with jace? build a better deck that can beat jace..

  40. thank you phil. my play group usually dress pretty well except for one and it drives me nuts when we go to a grand prix or something together and he’s looking like a complete scrub. people dont want to be around scrubs, its human nature to care more about people that look better than ones that look like scrubs.

    i think that wotc is banning cards at the right times and it doesnt need to get more frequent. nothing in standard needs banning right now, maybe last year it would have been better if bloodbraid elf was banned and maybe spellstutter the year before, but i’m fine with how it was. if sword is giving you a lot of trouble play something to destroy it or something with like 4 vengevines so that the sword doesnt hurt as much. and jace isnt too terribly hard to get rid of either, the majority of the time it just dies to bolt and they spent 2UU to draw a card.

  41. Zvi’s suggestion of letting the drawing player peak at the top card of his/her library before mulligan decision is great–allows draw to be a real option.

    Way to minimize mana screw without taking more time for mulligans: Players may choose to have their opening hands begin with any number (0-7) of basic land cards from their deck. You choose how many basic lands go into your opening hand before drawing the remaining cards.

  42. I think before you mulligan you should have the option of exposing ther top card of your library. (So opponent gets to see it too).

    I haven’t play tested it, but I beleive that this would be a way to “soften” the mulliganing a little bit, but not so much that combo decks go crazy all of the sudden. So this would probably make WW quest a little better, but not too much better, and it would still eliminate some of the pure draw-based variance for all the other decks too.

  43. @ Laughriot – In short, he grew up. Some people take longer to do it than others, it happens.

    @ David – Nothing makes me happier than a Dredge player going “Draw, Discard, go.” It means my whole deck just got better, because theirs sucks. I don’t know why this became a thing, but it’s almost always better to mulligan the hand that’s on that play for something with actual action.

    @ hygene – I’m torn on this. Personally, I think it’s important to feel good about yourself (which is different than being egotistical), and being clean/healthy/dressing well is part of that. On the other hand, a lot of our compatriots don’t have the capacity to recognize that correlation. They have low self-esteem to begin with (many of us can relate – we aren’t playing Magic because we were popular in high school) and telling them they aren’t welcome because they smell is pretty damaging to their already fragile self-image. Not only that, but many of our players are obese (again, with all the esteem issues that go along with it), and by the end of a long day of strenuous thought can work up a bit of a fragrance. Should they be required to bring a change of clothes with them? That seems ridiculous.

  44. @Phil- I totally agree with bathing… as I stated. I do not wear baggy pants by the way. And wow! Scub? What are we, in high school again? I have no problem with people dressing up for a tourney but it shouldn’t be forced. That’s pretty much all I meant. Anyways… enough about that. I had a problem with the whole mythic thing at first but I prefer the way it is now. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to make a competitive deck. It’s always a choice. I have some decks that cost a bit and some that don’t. High value and Mythics have made trading better imo.

  45. Whenever we mention teams, please let it be clear that we do NOT mean 2hg. Every 2HG event I’ve ever played in was the most miserable tournament I’ve ever played not counting other 2hg events, and I really despise it – magic is supposed to be played by two people. Trios, on the other hand, is awesome 🙂

  46. Yes on the return of team events, and super yes on the enforcement of hygiene! It makes me wonder if anyone who can do anything about stuff like that is reading…

  47. They should remove Planeswalkers from the game. Leave Mythic, but please kill the ‘Walkers.

  48. Your articles are so vastly inferior to the rest of the content on CFB that it makes me wonder why they would bother paying you. Your writing style is offensive and ill-researched and you clearly have a problem with children.
    Hord-Smelter, while a bomb, is still a creature. It dies to everything from Go for the Throat to Arrest. It doesn’t ruin games at all. Furthermore, magic is a game where luck is a critical aspect. This game would not be as fun without it. That ‘kid that opened all the bomb rares’ will never forget the tournament he smashed everyone and will show up next week to try and do it again. Luck is what separates this game from something like chess and is a big reason for its successes.
    The worst part about Mythics right now is when a set has one or two good ones and the rest are unplayable. There is nothing worse than cracking a box or two of Scars and getting nothing but Indomitable Archangels.
    Team formats are fun but they are not practical for a number of reasons. Not everyone has friends that are of the same skill level as they are; they might not even have enough friends to play. Imagine you and your play group of 5 people who normally go to every tournament, well there is a 3 man team tournament, ggs for two of those people. Sure beats a single event where all of you can play and have fun.
    Better yet, imagine if you are going to play in a 3 man team event and the day before your friend got sick and can’t come. Now you took off work, built your deck, etc and you can’t play because of someone else. Good times. Team events went away because their attendance was lacking for these and other reasons.
    Muligans are fine the way they are, luck is an important part of magic, as we discussed. So is building your deck correctly, as someone posted earlier, if you make muligans easier, people will jam more cards and less lands into their decks. You will still have people get mana screwed, because people will change how they play in relation to the new muligans.
    If someone consistently top 8s PTQs they should be able to eventually qualify on rating alone. The random guy is more deserving because he won a tournament. The ringer should be able to qualify in another way if he can, for some odd reason, never win a PTQ.
    Banning cards for, what you consider, a stale format is the worst idea ever. Bannings are for when a format is unhealthy or no longer fun, such as having to build a deck simply to stop the most popular deck. The format has not changed much, you have a UW control build, Valakut, Boros, Vampires, etc. People are adapting their sideboard to improve their CawBlade match ups, like putting Manic Vandal in their board. What they are not doing is making decks specifically to beat it. When a format becomes deck X and decks designed to beat X, then bannings need to happen.
    People want to play with their cards, they don’t want have to build new decks all the time because you get bored with the format.
    While I do agree that people should have good hygiene that is not the reason more people don’t play it. My LGS is filled with college kids who all shower and are relatively well dressed. Yet, it attracts the same type of people as the smell game store I use to play in. Either Magic appeals to you or it doesn’t, it is a complex game that isn’t for everyone. I do find it funny that many of your other suggestions would hurt the game, yet you think a few showers are what are holding it back from the masses.

  49. I think frequent bannings would destroy the economy of the game, cards like Jace would never climb to sky-high price levels because once they would start going up, people would see the likelihood of it’s banning increase, and thus sell off the ones they had, which would be like turning the cards into stocks and never knowing when the government was going to say, this business isn’t as fun as the rest it’s closed. This would result in the value of all cards going down, which would actually commit to the stagnation that occurs, think one week they ban the best deck, and due to the nature that everyone now wants the second best deck, but sees it getting banned next week, the value of those cards stays down but now the entire top 8 is comprised of one deck, making the problem that you are trying to fix worse, while at the same time making it hard for players to collect trade stock because there would be no telling what is and is not going to be worth money the next week.
    The PTQ point system though doesn’t sound that hard to implement, the DCI reporting software could use a minor update and it would be able to track all of it.
    As much as I wish the dress code could be enforced so that people didn’t make the general public think we are all a bunch of weirdos, I believe Magic is played mostly in free countries and if a paying patron who loves the game just as much as we do doesn’t want to shower before the PTQ, that’s his or her own personal business and it takes away from the fun of the game altogether once you start implementing appearance standards.

  50. Fadingthought, did you just post to argue all of his points? You’re completely wrong about the PTQ system, don’t try to tell me that Michael Hetrick is undeserving of Nagoya, he’s top 4ed like 4 or 5 events this season, before and after having the format change, and he designed the extended Stoneforge deck that is a huge player in the format right now. Online rating doesn’t mean anything, and top 8ing a bunch of PTQs in real-life does not put you into the top 100 people worldwide.

  51. The single biggest change that would make MtG about 50% better as a game is if combat damage stacked again.

  52. current ptq system is dreadful especially now that attendance is going up and people who play in hugely populated areas are on a giant gamble to get the slot. Its time for a change the old system is just the nut low.

  53. I haven’t played standard since Mythic existed. It’s too prohibitive cost-wise to play and I don’t think its good for magic. There’s something to be said for limiting the frequency of uber-bombs in limited but I don’t think $90 Jace is healthy for magic.

  54. In my experience from the few local magic events I attended, the average magic player is a smelly, poorly dressed, and socially awkward teenager. This is easily the single biggest reason why I do not actively participate in magic outside my home and my own group of friends. As long as the scene doesnt change, it will only keep attracting more of those same awkward geeks, while im sure the game itself attacts a far wider audience. The magic player has a stigma, and it’s unfortunately well earned.

  55. @LaMbal I just wanna say I love the game and I dress well (not like in a suit and stuff), but I look up to Brian kibler about how he is dressed and stuff. Anyways what I was gunna say is Magic is a wonderful but truly nerdy game soooo you’re just as nerdy as them (maybe more) cuz if you only play at home or something you’re hiding it!!!! I’m nerdy as hell and love it!!!! Metalcore, magic, ladies = the best things in the world. I’m popular as shot and I’m open about magic and people give me a hard time but I don’t care. Why? Cuz when I go to a ptq or somethin they honestly ask me if I enjoyed myself and how I did. I agree with needing to shower and stuff, but all guys learn that (some only when they finally find a girl they like enough worth being rejected by). I just think it terrible you’re acting like you’re better than them cuz they don’t know about hygean.

    On a separate note I swear to go if you take my jace’s and swords away I’ll kill ya!!!!

  56. Too much hate on young children. That will (hopefully) change once you get Tatyana pregnant 🙂

  57. There ARE, in fact, players that complain about the vast possibilities in a format. I remember several Standard environments where there were a large number of viable decks, and tons of pros could not ever shut up about how they couldn’t test properly for tournaments with this many viable decks, woe is them.

  58. I actually think instead of frequent bannings, the lads at Wizards should keep about 5 slots ‘open’ in each set they print. They fill these slots at the last minute with ‘hosers’ (like volcanic fallout, or Great Sable stag) at the absolute last minute before print runs. THe cards could be in a different frame or something like ‘time spiral’, or they could be planeswalker-signature cards (so that they don’t have to be related to the plane in question and their incongruity isn’t obvious).
    I don’t know how practical this would be, but it might help a bit.
    In any case, they should start by reprinting O-ring and other common anti-planeswalker / sword stuff, because at the minute it is a bit ridiculous.
    PS any speculation on White/red sword? Would they actually print that??

  59. While I may agree with some of the changes you propose, I WILL NEVER change the discard to 7 rule. Maybe in Standard it’s very difficult to have more than 7 cards in hand, but in vintage, hands like Swamp, Ritual, Necro…. draw 15 are very possible, and I wouldn’t want to be in the other side of the table…

  60. Having had to play in a tournament against an individual who smelled like a walking bag of festering hamburger rot, to the point people 3 tables away were affected by this guys smell.
    I can honestly say it would be great if there were some sort of hygiene standard set. How to implement this though? It would be rather difficult to mitigate. Would judges be required to disqualify people for affecting other peoples play experience via smell? This would be a very hard enforcement call. To me its no mater how your dressed, heck wear a tutu if that’s your thing, but really, when someone smells so bad that it affects the way people around them think (due to having to take continual shallow breaths so not to choke on the nastiness) this is the real problem.

    Hand size limitations seem pretty outdated, but changing this would adversely effect the value of my spellbook’s and library of lengs! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! 😛

  61. 100% agree about the PTQ System. It’s stupid that the guy who draws well in the Top 8 gets everything and the remaining 7 go home and cry.

  62. Boggemes, dude, you must have some serious cash. Yeah, okay that $100 you spent on a Jace is going to “go a long way” as far as decks go,

    but by having Jace at that price, you’ve basically stratified the Magic community–that is, those that can afford Jaces and those that can’t. Granted, Jace would still be expensive at (regular) rare, but students would have a decent show at making a deck if they were really committed.

    $80-90 for a card (with essentially expires in two years) is insane, and all of us know it. Just ask Richard Garfield.

  63. The greed of Wizards of the Coast is getting more and more disgusting.

    Manipulating players with ‘High-value’ (but actually just 10-cent cardboard) FOIL and artificial RARE cards (THAT ARENT MOISTURE RESISTANT) with VAPOR-VALUE web-hype is despicable. Artificial shortages are so easily created. The only ones who really lose are the players.

    Add this to a set becoming obsolete (virtual trash) in one year, which could be offset if many of the cards from old sets are brought back – instead of GIVEN STUPID NEW NAMES.

    Ive been waiting for this to blow up in those Wizards faces.

  64. Restricting mythics in standard, or even a new restriction of max 2. Keeps limited healthier while lowering price and amount needed of most expensive cards. Still can be a fair bit pricier so other rares won’t be so expensive.

    While it is nice that other rares are more affordable its also easier to trade into new decks with 10 dollar even trades than needing to find jace, usually requiring buyimg or getting bad value in trade. Small trade circles simply won’t trade the have which anyone owning paid full price for.

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  66. Something no one seems to mention, is that Mythic rarity didn’t really change anything other than the color of the expansion symbol, as far as print runs are concerned. There have always been splashier rares, and they were rarer than other rares. I miss the days of Scrye and InQuest when price guides listed “# per sheet” next to the rarity (R1, R2, U1, U2, etc.).

  67. In regards to the sinky unkept Magic players…it’s true. I for one always play FNM in a nice shirt and tie. That’s mostly due to the fact I have to run there right after work. 😛

    It would be pretty weird and somewhat awesome to see a GP where everyone is dressed like they’re going out to a five star restaurant.

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