Designing a hate card against Mental Misstep, Gitaxian Probe, Gush



  • @Brass-Man The phenomenon I am trying to reduce is uninteresting blue-vs-blue gameplay. I don't see why the printing of a card that is good in blue decks against blue decks axiomatically must fail to achieve this.

    The property of Gitaxian Probe that makes it bad for gameplay is that it makes the game more perfect-information. That it is better against blue than non-blue is secondary.



  • Uninteresting blue vs. blue gameplay is the appropriate punishment for everyone playing blue all the time. It's not the cards you mentioned, it's the fact that there are so many blue vs. blue matchups.

    Is it really going to be different if it becomes 4 Flusterstorm, 4 Preordain and 4 Thirst for Knowledge?

    I agree that Probe is problematic, but like you said there are more nuanced reasons--skill-reducing perfect information at a negligible cost. It also finds play in many combo decks (Pitch Dredge and DPS in particular).



  • @jhport12 I understand your frustration with blue.

    If I could redesign Magic from the start, I would put countermagic and card-drawing into separate colors. I agree, the fact that blue has both is imbalanced. If the game were better designed, a deck-builder would face (more) tension in deciding whether to include countermagic and whether to include card-drawing. As it stands, these two themes are not in conflict, and in fact are complementary (particularly because the best countermagic card, Force of Will, demands other blue cards in the deck). This limits the space of viable deck design.

    But given that the mistake was already made decades ago of putting both into the same color, I think the dominance of blue is something we just have to accept. And if we accept that, I think we can independently ask the question of what cards are currently reducing the quality of gameplay (i.e., level of skill required), and how to reduce usage of those cards. In that light, I think Mental Misstep and Gitaxian Probe are two clear targets.

    There is precedent for the publishing of blue cards improving the quality of blue-vs-blue gameplay. Dack Fayden made Tinker and Time Vault less viable, and those cards had reduced the quality of blue-vs-blue gameplay. So I think it is reasonable to try to design blue-deck cards to do to Mental Misstep and Gitaxian Probe what Dack Fayden did to Tinker and Time Vault.



  • Your obsession with blue vs. blue gameplay is bizarre. And I don't think Wizards made specific blue cards with a purpose of "improving" blue vs. blue gameplay, so I wouldn't call it a "precedent."

    To double down on color imbalances in the game would be kind of absurd. Blue vs. blue gameplay is inherently low quality because it reduces the card pool almost 80% by removing 4 other colors. Like I said earlier, you would just be replacing blue cards with other blue cards, that doesn't sound like a massive quality improvement.

    Frustration is also the wrong word. It is not frustration with a color, it is the disappointment in flawed game design. In Vintage, I play Saheeli Oath, which has plenty of blue cards in it, and I beat Gush Mentor decks all the time. As a broad principle, I don't like reduced game design space that results when one color is so much better than the others, and the remaining colors don't have answer cards.

    Printing even more cards just for blue is irrational. Printing good cards in other colors is the right thing to do from a game design standpoint. And if the metagame becomes less blue vs. blue, then such interactions will become less frequent, less predictable, and their quality will accordingly increase.



  • Should there be a Nix reprint as a cantrip?



  • @portland said in Designing a hate card against Mental Misstep, Gitaxian Probe, Gush:

    Should there be a Nix reprint as a cantrip?

    Would still benefit Blue players to play that card. Even against shops it's pretty good to counter a Mox and draw a card? I'd play at least 2 copies of that card in every Blue deck. Would probably replace Flusterstorm in many builds.



  • Incidentally, every time I've played Nix, my opponent has shat the proverbial chicken, and a couple have claimed it's a fake card. It is extremely narrow however...



  • @jhport12 I think the fact that others have suggested restricting Mental Misstep indicates I am not alone in thinking that improving blue-vs-blue gameplay is a good idea.

    Printing a card like my suggested one would cause running 4x Mental Misstep, 4x Gitaxian Probe, 4x Force of Will, 4x Gush to become too risky. So blue decks would need to replace some of those cards with other less efficient cards to compensate. This would dilute the power/consistency of blue decks, which in turn would increase the performance of non-blue decks.

    Again, to use the Dack Fayden example - it used to be that you needed to have answers to Tinker and Time Vault in your non-blue deck to compete. After Dack Fayden, this was no longer the case. The printing of that blue card diluted the power of blue decks, which in turn increased the performance of non-blue decks.

    I share your goal of wanting to diversify the metagame, which is precisely why I suggested the card I did. I think printing it will reduce the % of blue in the metagame. Printing better cards in other colors is another way of achieving this goal, but it is a dangerous way. If you print a red 3/3 first strike haste like you suggest, that messes with the Standard format. You can't print new cards that bypass Standard.



  • Discussion about restricting Mental Misstep does not mean that other people agree with your obsession with blue vs. blue gameplay, unless they explicitly stated their reason is a concern for blue vs. blue gameplay. I don't know how you make such a logical leap that any discussion of one card means that other people believe and support your core premise.

    I haven't seen anyone other than you say that. There are many other arguments for why Mental Misstep should be restricted: after all, last time I checked other colors have 1-mana spells that they can't easily play anymore because of Misstep.



  • I normally avoid topics like this as it makes little sense to me to speculate on cards WotC hasn't and likely will never print. That said, I have a question for the OP, @dshin: do you believe that printing overpowered, difficult to interact with hate cards for certain strategies leads to more interesting gameplay? Because I don't believe that. It turns MTG into the card game War with better artwork - we shuffle up our cards and hope the amount of hate we draw is greater than the number of answers that our opponent draws. There's no threat stratification, there's very little player skill outside of maximizing the probability we draw the appropriate cards using mulligans, card draw, and card manipulation, and the outcome between two competent players could be determined by a random number generator.



  • @dshin said in Designing a hate card against Mental Misstep, Gitaxian Probe, Gush:

    If you print a red 3/3 first strike haste like you suggest, that messes with the Standard format. You can't print new cards that bypass Standard.

    You just addressed a card that was printed that bypassed Standard right before you wrote this sentence...



  • The biggest problem with threads like this is 2 or 3 people go on and on and on about problems that are in fact nothing more than personal opinions about the format. They may be widely held opinions or narrowly held opinions, but they are non-the-less just opinions and nothing more. They then go on these outrageous rants establishing their grand groundwork for perceived problems as if they are dealing in facts. But the reality is - its your opinion. I have no problem with the OP and a suggestion to make an improvement, I just want to make that clear. I think its great somebody is willing to take the time to actually address the what they perceive as a problem. And hit or miss, putting effort into a solution is always worthwhile.

    But some of the other posters just end up going on hate-filled and insulting rants and really need to check their attitudes about gameplay that differs from their own. It happens quite often on these boards and is a large part of the reason I've nearly stopped posting on tmd. Because too many people post opinion as fact and get downright nasty about it.



  • @dshin said in Designing a hate card against Mental Misstep, Gitaxian Probe, Gush:

    If you print a red 3/3 first strike haste like you suggest, that messes with the Standard format. You can't print new cards that bypass Standard.

    I've discussed this in other posts, but of course this thread is completely separate so I will clarify here. I said nothing about printing Standard cards. Commander, Archenemy, Planechase and any other future variation of "special products for non-tournament players" are perfect places to put powerful Eternal cards for non-blue (and non-artifact) mages. In the past, I've advocated for printing Eternal-relevant cards that would be too strong (or too weird) for Standard in these special sets.

    As a sidenote, Reckless Waif and Monastery Swiftspear are examples of two cards that can function as highly powerful red one-drops. However, they aren't permanently switched on the way delver is once it flips. They also aren't in a color that isn't supposed to get insanely efficient threats to begin with. If they printed a green instant for one mana that countered any non-green spell, that would be the equivalent of Delver of Secrets. A black 2/2 zombie for one mana that destroys an artifact or enchantment when it comes into play might be another example.



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  • @ChubbyRain said in Designing a hate card against Mental Misstep, Gitaxian Probe, Gush:

    I normally avoid topics like this as it makes little sense to me to speculate on cards WotC hasn't and likely will never print. That said, I have a question for the OP, @dshin: do you believe that printing overpowered, difficult to interact with hate cards for certain strategies leads to more interesting gameplay? Because I don't believe that. It turns MTG into the card game War with better artwork

    I agree with you 100%, and I proposed the card I did as a reflection of that principle. I think hate cards should require skill to use, and that there should be good, interesting ways to interact against them. I honestly can't think of many hate cards that exist currently that beat my proposal when judged by these measures.

    To illustrate some of the potential decision making - do you tap out to cast your Jace the Mind Sculptor, or do you wait for another mana source to keep your Hate Island live? Do you tap it to play your opponent's Gitaxian Probe when he also has a Mental Misstep in his graveyard, or do you permanently keep it up for that Misstep? As the opponent, if you have Mental Misstep in your graveyard, every one mana spell you cast represents a potential bluff, as Hate Island can only be used once per turn. That's a ton of nontrivial decision points that get created for both players, and the more nontrivial decision points that get created, the less War-like your game becomes. With delve cards or Snapcaster Mage in hand the decisions become even more complex.

    By contrast, cards like Grafdigger's Cage, Rest in Peace, or Trinisphere offer no interaction - those are the types of cards that make Magic more like War.

    I wonder if you agree with my overriding principle - that printing a strategically-rich hate card that makes it risky to run the blue cards that people are asking to be restricted might improve the metagame and gameplay. Again, not to beat a dead horse, but I think in the past Time Vault and Tinker were real problems - it didn't make any sense for any blue deck not to run them; this had a homogenizing effect on the metagame and made for uninteresting game play. This problem got fixed because those cards ceased to be as effective. And the reason was because of new card printings.


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