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Author Topic: Magic the Gathering: Does this ruin the game?  (Read 11493 times)
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BobismyRhino
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« on: June 26, 2008, 04:07:35 AM »

Today, while I was visiting my *favorite* gaming store, I somehow managed to get into a conversation with another gamer about Magic. He was going on and on about how the game was pretty pointless since you could spend a zillion dollars on the "best" cards to create an undefeatable, dirty deck. He also went on to tell me that I should just go online and find "premade" decks to beat other people with.

I tried to argue with him and tell him that doing those things somewhat ruined the game. I, personally, find it more fun to make up my own tactics and figure out how things work together.  I would get more satisfaction beating someone with a deck made of "mediocre" cards that I threw together than a premade, expensive, undefeatable deck.

I mean, half of the fun of Magic is trying to figure out how you're going to cover your ass. Your initial plan doesn't usually work (well, mine don't anyways), but it's those split second decisions and strategies you employ while playing that give the game excitement.

Playing an undefeatable deck is not only predictable, but it's boring. You KNOW what's going to happen in the end: you're going to win! I like winning as much as the next guy (well, probably a little bit more), but still, I don't think I'd feel quite as satisfied with a premade undefeatable deck.

Well, what do you all think? I'm still new into the whole Magic scene, so perhaps I'm missing something...
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Elephant Jack
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« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2008, 05:00:17 AM »

Pfrt, this is indeed an old hat.

I disagree in some points though: Even the best decks played by the best players don't win 100% of the time. Say 60-65% is realistic.

And: If it's fun for you to play with mediocre cards, that's cool! I prefer pauper (commons only) decks, usually with some more restrictions (pauper tribal, pauper block, whatever). Some player enjoy playing fat, ugly decks and are able and ready to pay for them (usually about 150+$ for a tier 1 standard deck). That's not the way I like playing magic, but hey! Who am I to dictate the way to play this game.

The problem usually begins if your local gaming group and you follow differing philosophies of gaming (similar to the "role-" vs. "roll"playing debate). We managed this problem by playing the occasional draft or sealed tournament; usually with new sets nobody knows that well so that chances of winning are equal.

And, you should'nt forget one thing: Netdecking (playing a premade, probably expensive deck, designed by a pro) doesn't require much time. Many people I know love the game but don't have the time to invent combos or strategies by themselves - me included! The times that I crawl through spoilers for hours is definitively over - there are more interesting and important things for me now. I always look for inspiration on deck databases when building new decks (can only recommend www.deckcheck.net, by the way).

So long,
EJ
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Callix
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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2008, 05:43:16 AM »

I, for one, love making budget decks. I can't afford the $150+ price tags of the top tier decks, but by making a few simple replacements, you can produce a fun, clean deck that can handle a lot of play. Also, the nonstandard formats (Highlander, EDH, Chaos Multiplayer) and the Limited formats (draft, sealed deck) are much less "solvable" than the tournament constructed formats. They're a lot more random, and a lot more about making the best of what you have, as opposed to having the best to begin with.
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2008, 06:49:06 AM »


No, you hit the nail on the head. It's strategy to build a deck, tactics to play it. And what a rush it is to win with intelligence instead of a bazillion dollars worth of cards.
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« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2008, 07:03:10 AM »

I have decks from waaaaay back when people used to play with Ante, that were built around being common with a few uncommon cards, yet were still powerful enough that you could flatten most of the more expensive decks. Just because the cards are cheap doesn't mean they aren't useful.

However, these days what often happens is I'll pick up the premades. It's easier than thinking up new decks and going out and getting all the cards, or hunting through my old stacks to find card X, and the decks aren't all that bad, although the power level can fluctuate. I only play within my family, and we're all fairly relaxed about the game, and will sometimes just had each other decks for a match. 
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Nachofan99
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« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2008, 04:56:58 PM »

The real problem is that they are on what, 11th edition?  Add in all the other sets and that's thousands upon thousands of cards.

No one has enough time to sit down and compose a deck with all the possible cards they could make, and those that try such things will try to make the best deck, not a decent one.

Why spend a ton of time trying to make a mediocre deck?  If you just want to throw something together we have a word for that, it's called building a bad deck.  If you spend some time and are a little choosier you're making a good deck, it doesn't have to be perfect.

To Bobismyrhino specifically: if you had an UBER pre-made deck with all the big 9 and all the other cool cards, trust me, you would have a blast.  The high-powered cards force you to make a lot of really strategic decisions to beat your opponent who we can only assume is using the same high powered cards.  Then there are the counter composition decks. The whole metagame at the top is incredible, you probably have not played long enough or versus enough people to appreciate it?
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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2008, 05:11:40 PM »


Because in building a 'mediocre deck' you learn the art and the mechanics of building a deck. Premade decks are fun till you learn how to use them, then I have to customise them.

Even if it's better for me to use a clone of the last tournament winnig deck, I want to play my deck, as flawed as it might be. Though their rarely that flawed though  Smile
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TheChrisWaits
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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2008, 05:17:29 PM »

It's all a matter of relative power. If you and your friends want to play cheap decks with fun cards, you'll have fun. If you want to spend the money on a good deck, you'll enjoy playing against other good decks. If you really want to be competitive, it's almost required to play what the pros are playing. They put hours and hours into coming up with ideas and trying them out so they don't suck. I could never work on a deck that much on my own.
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Prime32
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« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2008, 05:18:51 PM »

While I don't play Magic, I have plenty of experience in this from my Yu-Gi-Oh days. :rolleyes

Everyone uses the "cookie-cutter" deck in tournaments, this being the deck to beat the last "cookie-cutter". I never went to a tournament expecting to win (and I never did), but I would not find it fun to use someone else's deck. They actually emphasise this over and over in the show Smirk


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« Last Edit: June 26, 2008, 05:31:50 PM by Prime32 » Logged

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Nachofan99
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« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2008, 05:24:24 PM »

Well a lot of the power in and behind specific cards only comes from using them against either specific decks or levels of play.

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Talen Lee
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« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2008, 10:57:34 PM »

What you heard was a butthurt twit who had no idea how the game works, but was instead insistant on the impossibility of the game. Easier to curse the darkness than light a candle, you know?
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Runestar
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« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2008, 12:33:21 AM »

I don't think winning is as simply as simply downloading a champion decklist and copying it to the letter. You still need to learn how to play it properly, and I found that some decks are so challenging to play properly and so unforgiving of play mistakes that it is virtually impossible to master unless you have the original designer teach you. And tournament reports only hint at what the decks are capable of, but not how it should be played.

For example, Necropotence decks were the most dominant concept at one time, but I never did manage to learn how to play it properly. There are apparently tricks as to when you should play necropotence, how much you should necro for at any 1 time, when to disk etc. In the end, I gave up and went back to the weenie and control decks I was more comfortable with.

However, I do think it is worth searching for new deck archetypes, which you can then modify to your own preference. The exact deck makeup does not have to be copied card for card, so long as the underlying fundamentals remain sound. I never had the money to afford ball lightnings, cursed scrolls or hammers of bogarden for my sligh deck (red weenie+burn), so I subbed them out for commons like suq-ata lancers and cheaper direct damage spells like kindle and fireball.

It is ironic though, that my 2 favourite and most effective decks (the aforementioned red weenie and a blue forbidian deck) were also my cheapest, each costing under $10 to assemble.
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« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2008, 02:25:34 AM »

It is ironic though, that my 2 favourite and most effective decks (the aforementioned red weenie and a blue forbidian deck) were also my cheapest, each costing under $10 to assemble.
While we're at this topic: Care to share your forbidian decklist Wink? Even if 10$ translates in 20-30€ (:sad) it's indeed quite cheap.

I made a big pause playing magic (from 1998-2004 or such); thereafter, this (http://wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/daily/nh23) is where I started from again. I invested ~5€ in cards and scrounged the missing cards from my friends - hell this deck made 10-15 evolutionary steps, but it was always a blast to play, even against "cookie-cutter"-decks.

That said: Netdecking is a good way to get into magic; in fact it makes no big difference if you buy a precon or netdeck (ok, perhaps you'll invest more with netdecking Big Grin). If you take a look at the current tournament environment, you'll see the evil-side of "not-lighting-the-candle" (quote: Talen Lee): Bitterblossoms and Tarmogoyfs everywhere :-/

EJ
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Runestar
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« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2008, 05:33:39 AM »

Quote
While we're at this topic: Care to share your forbidian decklist ? Even if 10$ translates in 20-30€ (:sad) it's indeed quite cheap.

I stopped collecting shortly after exodus, so it may seem primitive by today's standards. Big Grin

4 counterspell
4 mana leak
2 dissipate
2 forbid

4 man-o-war
4 ophidian
1 air elemental
3 watersprout djinn
2 prodigal sorcerer (too cheapskate to spring for suq-ata firewalkers)  Blush

4 impulse
4 legacy's allure
2 capsize

4 Confused diamond <--- that mirage artifact which taps to give you 1 blue mana

16 island
4 quicksand

Diamonds, quicksand, allure and dissipate are all fairly inexpensive uncommons which can probably be had for 50 cents to 1 dollar each. The weird air elemental/watersprout djinn makeup is because that was what I had from the few boosters I bought (so they are interchangeable, for most part). The rest are commons you should have no problems finding in the discount bin for 10 cents each or getting your friends to give them to you for free.
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BobismyRhino
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« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2008, 10:54:19 PM »

To Bobismyrhino specifically: if you had an UBER pre-made deck with all the big 9 and all the other cool cards, trust me, you would have a blast.  The high-powered cards force you to make a lot of really strategic decisions to beat your opponent who we can only assume is using the same high powered cards.  Then there are the counter composition decks. The whole metagame at the top is incredible, you probably have not played long enough or versus enough people to appreciate it?

Like you and a few other people have mentioned, even with a premade deck of win, you still need to know how to use it and know how things can work off of each other.
I suppose I've experienced this firsthand: my friend let me play his elf deck, and until he showed me how to use the deck(by kicking my ass with it), I had no idea how to use his cards (and subsequently lost many games with them).
His elf deck is dirty

I'm trying to build an elf deck too, but it's NO WHERE near as fast as his...

Anyways, I guess premade decks aren't all that bad since you still have to know how to use them. However, I still think it's taking the easy way out (you're skipping all the hard work and just cutting to the fun!).
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My body is a temple. That is why I make chocolate sacrifices in it every day.
PhoenixInferno
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« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2008, 01:58:35 AM »

Quote
While we're at this topic: Care to share your forbidian decklist ? Even if 10$ translates in 20-30€ (:sad) it's indeed quite cheap.

I stopped collecting shortly after exodus, so it may seem primitive by today's standards. Big Grin

4 counterspell
4 mana leak
2 dissipate
2 forbid

4 man-o-war
4 ophidian
1 air elemental
3 watersprout djinn
2 prodigal sorcerer (too cheapskate to spring for suq-ata firewalkers)  Blush

4 impulse
4 legacy's allure
2 capsize

4 Confused diamond <--- that mirage artifact which taps to give you 1 blue mana

16 island
4 quicksand

Diamonds, quicksand, allure and dissipate are all fairly inexpensive uncommons which can probably be had for 50 cents to 1 dollar each. The weird air elemental/watersprout djinn makeup is because that was what I had from the few boosters I bought (so they are interchangeable, for most part). The rest are commons you should have no problems finding in the discount bin for 10 cents each or getting your friends to give them to you for free.
I'm pretty sure you mean Sapphire Diamond which reduces the colorless cost of your Blue spells by 1.  You're only allowed 1 Mox Sapphire (which does what you describe).

By the way, decks like those were one of the reasons why I quit M:tG.
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Elephant Jack
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« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2008, 03:03:25 AM »

...or it could be http://magiccards.info/6e/en/310.htmlSky Diamond

Quote from: PhoenixInferno
By the way, decks like those were one of the reasons why I quit M:tG.
Mh... you quit M:tG because of control decks? Did you ever play against fast combo like "Gorger Dragon" or against lame "I-use-the-most-expensive-cards-in-a-deck-some-japanese-pro-designed"-Decks like "Solar Pox" or "Next level Blue"... those are really good reasons I could quit M:tG (and are indeed good reasons I don't play at big tournaments anymore).

EJ
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« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2008, 03:34:15 AM »

Quote from: PhoenixInferno
By the way, decks like those were one of the reasons why I quit M:tG.
Mh... you quit M:tG because of control decks? Did you ever play against fast combo like "Gorger Dragon" or against lame "I-use-the-most-expensive-cards-in-a-deck-some-japanese-pro-designed"-Decks like "Solar Pox" or "Next level Blue"... those are really good reasons I could quit M:tG (and are indeed good reasons I don't play at big tournaments anymore).
1) Yeah.  So what? No need to insult my reasons for quitting M:tG.
2) I wouldn't know what those decks are - I think they use post-Tempest stuff, which I know next-to-nothing about.
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« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2008, 04:16:16 AM »

I played against my brother a few times and never won. Then I bought a randomized starter deck, and finally beat him.

Only part of the winning aspect is owning the card. The other part, (the one that really counts, IMO) is actually drawing the cards you need and knowing the right time to play them.
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Runestar
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« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2008, 06:30:26 AM »

Quote
I'm pretty sure you mean Sapphire Diamond which reduces the colorless cost of your Blue spells by 1.  You're only allowed 1 Mox Sapphire (which does what you describe).

By the way, decks like those were one of the reasons why I quit M:tG.

No, definitely not the medallions from tempest (which were too ex for me) nor the mox (come on, in a $10 deck?). Mirage had these artifacts which cost 2 colourless mana each, and came into play tapped. You could tap it to add one mana of the appropriate colour to your mana pool. I only recall the white version being called marble diamond.

I wouldn't rate my deck as being particularly strong (though it is fairly effective for the amount of money I spent on it). I found that it had problems with lightning fast decks like sligh and suicide black, since I can't do anything on the 1st round and tend to be defenseless on my 3rd round (when the temptation to tap out for an ophidian is very strong). Quicksand screws with you mana-wise, while allure is too slow vs weenies.

But if you could survive until the 5th or 6th round, things will generally get easier. And victory is more or less assured if you can get up to 12 mana (unless you are facing another counter heavy deck). Later on, you win by spamming capsize (lockdown is inevitable when you can capsize 2 land/round), while holding a fistful of counterspells (remember that forbid is a reusable counterspell) and beating down with a blue flier.

I have tried other playing styles, but finally decided that permission decks were the most enjoyable and fulfilling to play for me. Weenie/burn decks got boring quickly while combo/gimmick decks were too unpredictable (not that they were weak though). 

Other control decks I have tinkered with included propaganda-winter orb (but felt a little too metagamish, considering that a fair number of my friends liked to play with creature decks, and this deck made me feel like I was specifically exploiting their weakness, making victory feel less satisfying), 5-colour blue (too expensive overall, I had to proxy heavily, and a little overrated in my experience for all the hype surrounding it), marrogeddon, turbo-xerox (cycling through your library with 17 cantrips was fun, but overall not all that strong) and counter-burn (very slow, even moreso than a conventional blue deck).

What are all your favourite deck archetypes? Smile
« Last Edit: July 01, 2008, 06:50:57 AM by Runestar » Logged

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