Amonkhet Preview

Discussion in 'General CPA Stuff' started by Spiderman, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

  2. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I've been a bit torn over this one. But it's still very early and I should probably just hold on and see how it goes. For me, with the whole spoiler process they do, very few sets (if any) look amazing right out of the gate, but as more information comes in, stuff that looked underwhelming at first starts to make sense. That being said, I'm pretty hesitant on this one. Moreso than normal. They haven't been doing this new set schedule for very long and this set itself is only just starting to be spoiled, but already I think that I'm seeing a pattern. Pull out the stops for the Fall large set and give people what they want, use the Winter small set to complement that, then in the Spring come out with a more experimental and less refined block. While this would allow for variety, it would eventually cause problems. Hopefully I'm wrong and extrapolating way too much based on SoI Block. Time will tell.

    That "punch card" looks atrocious (and isn't a punch card, so them calling it one is kinda embarrassing).

    Not seeing any appeal to brick counters, Embalm, or Exert so far. Brick counters just look like a flavor-driven repainting of ground they've already covered, and seems like the exact wrong approach to flavor, but I'll wait to rant about until after making sure there isn't some really cool bottom-up thing going on that I'm somehow missing. Embalm looks like a hackneyed attempt to recreate the success of some of their more outlandish design successes. Exert could turn out to be cool, but I'm suspecting they'll try it out for this one set, decide they've explored the design space on it and that they'll maybe bring it back some day but probably not, and then it will become part of the pile of complexity creep in the general gameplay of Magic. Another one I could rant about later. No, actually, let's do it now...

    So WotC have been clear that one of the problems they recognize in the game is complexity creep, that as more and more concepts are introduced in the game, the more overwhelming it is for newer players who aren't used to all of the details. In particular, they got worried about this with Time Spiral Block (the best block), as it had lot of mechanics. But since then, they've gone on to make lots of keywords, and they've gotten into a model where they need to meet a quota of new keywords for new sets. When sets are new, they release materials explaining the new mechanics, they include little reminders in things like booster pack inserts and those books that come in fat packs bundles. Players get familiar with the keywords through their thematic use in preconstructed decks, through Limited format gameplay that necessarily highlights the mechanics, and through playing with others who are using the new mechanics a lot because of novelty. So the keywords are common parlance, but only temporarily. The sets rotate out of Standard and the old mechanics get replaced with new ones. Because the keywords aren't obvious and players have to memorize their meanings in order to use the cards, this introduces huge complexity creep. The sets maligned for their complexity, such as the ones in Time Spiral Block, had adequate reminder text pretty much everywhere you'd expect it. But the new solution seems to be more along the lines of not giving any reminders, but making players learn a small number of new mechanics for each set, and then they can forget them once the sets are out of Standard, because only Standard matters. Instead of the game getting more complex, everything just resets. It's a brand new game. But some day, probably not soon, but eventually, they're going to make a total flop. They did it before with Kamigawa Block (or with Homelands, for that matter). They've learned for their mistakes, but even being diligent, they're going to mess up again at some point. And if they've pushed so hard to focus on rotating formats and driven all of their past successes to the fringe, that one failure is going to hurt badly.

    Anyway, Archfiend of Ifnir looks pretty cool. If that "whenever you cycle or discard another card" mechanic, which is very cool and doesn't need a keyword, shows up more, I'll be sorely tempted to break out the old Fluctuators...
  3. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    The punch card reminds me of the counter/token creature card sheet we got with Fallen Empires :)
  4. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Yeah, you're right. I think Fallen Empires was the first set to do that. I mean, they've been doing other stuff along those lines more recently too: the checklist cards for double-faced cards, the Energy counter cards in Aether Revolt, the Monarch cards in Conspiracy: Take the Crown...

    But that thing sure is ugly. Doesn't look all that practical at first glance, but it's way too early to tell. I guess we'll see.
  5. Oversoul The Tentacled One

  6. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Oh wow. If this isn't an elaborate and premature April Fools joke, the new masterpieces, the Amonkhet "Invocations" are easily the ugliest Magic cards ever. Lot of good jokes going on about them, at least. But yikes, they sure are hideous.
  7. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Cycling dual lands are coming in this set. RIP Drifting Meadow, Remote Isle, Polluted Mire, Smoldering Crater, and Slippery Karst.

    But I like this, and cycling is looking promising, which is cool because stuff like Astral Slide has a lot of potential. Nothing that will create a big, interesting change so far, but we'll see...
  8. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I'm surprised at how little hype there is for the new Nissa. Looks like one of the strongest planeswalker cards ever. I think people are underestimating the extent to which the flexibility is built into her mana cost, in contrast to other planeswalkers where the flexibility is contained pretty much entirely in the first two activated abilities.
  9. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Seriously, on other sites I'm mostly seeing the potential of this Nissa being dismissed. I don't want to overhype the card, but my impression was that she could make a big splash. Those tournament players probably know better than I do, so I guess I'm underestimating the conditional nature of her power. But just in case, I want to point out that I called it as soon as I saw it. The card looks really powerful.
  10. Terentius The Instigator

    I agree; I did a double take on this card. I'm not up on the competitive scene either, but I was like "oh snap, X can be zero??" I would say that her first two abilities would be doing most of the work, but her second ability is like a mini-ultimate that costs zero.
  11. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    There would almost never be a point in casting Nissa, Steward of the Elements with X at 0, because she'd have 0 loyalty and die as a state-based effect before you could activate her +2.

    But it's worth noting that a planeswalker that costs 3 mana often sees tournament play and is reasonably successful even if its abilities aren't awe-inspiring, whereas planeswalkers that cost 5 mana or more see far less use, even when their abilities are very powerful. Across multiple competitive formats, there's this crucial point around turns 3 and 4 where an unanswered planeswalker is a bomb and can get enough mileage out of activating abilities over multiple turns that it creates significant pressure. But more expensive planeswalkers, especially the ones that cost 6 or more, because they can't hit the board so early and get multiple activations in while the board is still developing, have to be extremely powerful to wind up in decks. For instance, Liliana of the Veil is widely regarded as one of the most potent planeswalker cards out there. Her abilities are useful, especially her -2, but black has other planeswalkers that arguably have stronger abilities at every turn. It's the low mana cost that makes her so good. I think that this Nissa could be similar in that regard. Most competitive decks have a lot of cards that range between 0 and 3 mana. After casting her for 1UG and activating her +2 just once, she can cheat any of those card that's a land or creature directly onto the battlefield from the top of the library. In any deck that already has some cards manipulating the top of its library, it wouldn't be difficult to get an extra land or small creature on to the battlefield for no mana whatsoever and without needing to draw it, every single turn. Using her +2 just a couple of times at any point broadens that to include almost any creature you'd normally be running. Still, while it's easy to imagine getting a lot of value out of her, if her 0 isn't used in conjunction with something that lets you see the top of your library, it could be hitting non-creature, nonland cards, which would make it quite weak.

    As planeswalkers go, I think it's pretty cool. Guess we'll see if this one catches on.
  12. Terentius The Instigator

    Oh yeah, not 0. I guess I meant 1 for X.

Share This Page