Players Without A Clue: One Article That Should Have Stayed Off Starcity
Ever since Man first crawled out of the primordial ooze he has had the urge to raise his fists to the sky and scream"I could have done that better!" With his evidently having crawled out of the primordial ooze just last week this urge was very much fresh in Tybuc's mind when he wrote his article"Cards Without A Place: Ten Reprints That Should Have Stayed Off The Presses".
Now don't get me wrong - I'm not attacking Tybuc himself here. I'm sure that he's a perfectly nice primordial ooze creature who helps elderly female primordial ooze creatures to cross the slime pit and is kind to children and whatever it is that primordial ooze creatures keep as pets. However in the article mentioned above he managed to miss more significant points than Stevie Wonder at a Klan rally and is fundamentally wrong in virtually everything he said. This admittedly rather impressive level of ineptitude not only requires but demands rebuttal of each and every point in turn.
It's difficult to provide sympathy for the devil when it comes to a card like this one. Even so I can't get no satisfaction from Tybuc's reasoning for not reprinting it. It's a fun card plain and simple. Beating down with Wall of Swords is amusing dammit. I may have left my own casual play days behind long ago but I'm still going to take issue with anyone who thinks fun has no place in the game.
As to the replacement ... Youthful Knight? While not a bad card in and of itself it is an indication of the minimal amount of thought put into this article that Tybuc suggests making it rare.
Oh one last thing - how good is Cinder Wall with Rolling Stones in play? Not a format-defining combo to be sure but it'll win the occasional Sealed Deck or draft.
Again a comparison of uncommons to commons. This simply doesn't work; as any student of set design could tell you playable uncommons are generally cards that would unbalance the play field if they were common. Phantom Monster was uncommon for a reason so was Spiketail Drake.
I also fail to see what problem anyone could have over a 3/3 with an evasion ability costing more than a vanilla 3/3 in the same set rarity and colour. Card Design 101: You get what you pay for.
I feel a need to quote here:
"Patagia Golem makes no sense as it does something no artifact should be able to do: Be lighter than air."
Indeed; it is entirely impossible for a man-made object that is heavier than air to fly. This is terrible news for pilots air traffic controllers and of course anyone reading this while actually on a plane - sorry man I'll see you in the next life! - but is definitely a boost for the people who manufacture the hallucinogenic drugs that have evidently been added to our water supply for the last 100 years. It's also a boost for Tybuc who I hear has just received an award for the Stupidest Statement Ever Uttered By A Sentient Lifeform.
Since"objects heavier than air can't fly" was the sole basis for Tybuc's belief that the reprint was stupid we can move on without further consideration.
I don't think much of this card myself but it serves to illustrate an important point: into each set a little rain must fall. Not every rare is going to be playable; some cards are rare simply because they are so narrow. So far as rain goes the Betrayal is far from the worst card ever to drip on us. (It's also a hoot with Transcendence or Convalescent Care but let's not go there.)
So Tybuc can envisage Newbie's questions regarding Living Terrain right now. Well I can envisage the answers. Here's the conversation:
NEWBIE:"Is it still a land when it's a 5/6 creature?"
PLAYER:"That's what it says right there on the card in the one sentence of text."
NEWBIE:"Can I tap it for mana?"
PLAYER:"Yes because it is still a land. Jeez read the card will you?"
NEWBIE:"Can it still die to a Stone Rain?"
PLAYER:"It's written on the friggin' card that it's still a land and you've asked me three times now if it still does land things. Are you by any chance one of those 'special' kids?"
NEWBIE:"It's still a land right?"
I've never seen anyone however new to the game confused by the workings of Living Terrain. Where do I sign up for the Primordial Ooze Regionals?
First Tybuc complains that it isn't in flavour for the game then he asks why kings employ such really good assassins. I do wish he'd make up his mind.
Now to the real point. As Tybuc says if you want to win with creatures in a format with Royal Assassin then you play removal. The last two years have seen the game dominated by - you guessed it - a creature-based deck with no real removal. While U/G Madness will soon be going to the great format in the sky (AKA Extended) it is in the best interests of the game to ensure that another similar deck doesn't arise. The best way to prevent this is to hire a man with a knife.
(It should also be noted that this reprinting makes the Assassin legal in Extended once more. This makes it an excellent counter to the new school Oath decks that have been doing well of late.)
Tybuc's suggested replacement does his argument no good either. Royal Assassin only really threatens attackers and creatures with an ability requiring a tap. Sorceress Queen affects attackers blockers and in combination with a Swat a Shock or a Vicious Hunger any creature in the game that doesn't have a relevant protection. You can even use it to save a 1/1 engaged in combat with another 1-power creature. Much though I'd have liked to see it return also the Queen is in fact far superior to the Assassin under modern rules.
Swarm of Rats
It's sometimes a 2/1 or better for 1B. Exactly how much more does Tybuc want from a common?
Well it seems he wants it to be a degenerate beatstick as his suggested replacement - Hidden Horror - is a Limited gamebreaker that would also dominate the Constructed environment if printed today. To ensure Putrid Raptor on turn 3 requires a major commitment to a tribe as well as a colour; to ensure Hidden Horror on the same turn generally only requires drawing it.
Here's some reasons why Sizzle is better than Lava Axe:
- The difference between 3cc and 5cc is far more significant than the difference between 3 life and 5 life.
- Sizzle is not targetted. It cannot be redirected (although the damage can) it cannot be fizzled and it bypasses True Believer Ivory Mask et al.
- Do you have any idea how many jokes you can crack about Sizzling?
This is the point where you have to ask yourself a simple question - how many 8th Edition boosters are you going to buy? Experienced players won't need to buy it; they either own what they need or will buy singles and drafts will more commonly be from the Expert-level sets. New players won't care what they get; they never do. Last weekend I saw a bunch of newbies gleefully raiding the folders for Desolations and coveting the mint BB Gabriel Angelfire. Mana Clash is just the sort of card they'll enjoy.
Understand that it is not the job of Wizards of the Coast to produce games for you you and only you. They have to produce games that everyone enjoys which means considering the Timmies as well as the Spikes and Johnnies. So long as they continue to do this they are doing a good job.
The Lucky Charms
I love the way Tybuc impresses his own personal thoughts - if I may misapply the word a little here - on everybody he meets."Artifacts shouldn't be able to do this and everybody says so!""Everybody" in this case does not seem to include the people responsible for designing cards - among whom Tybuc thankfully is not numbered - who shortlisted at least one life gaining mechanic for You Make The Card 2.
The chief reason for no new life gaining artifacts is that in order for life gain to be effective it has to be big and cheap. Giving such life gain to certain colours without requirement to splash for it would unbalance the game. R&D has been stung by this before (see: Orb Zuran) and does not intend to be stung again.
Ultimately the lucky charms are inoffensive cards with a minor effect on the game. Comparing their reprinting to the printing of utterly broken cards that not only defined but deformed the environments they were played in is hyperbolic idiocy of the second-worst kind. Our Tybuc is not one to be content with second place however and so he went on to compare the reprinting to the DCI's stupidly taking steps to make Extended more than Type"Stop the turn 3 kill or lose".
There is a reason why Tybuc submitted this article pseudonymously. I'm sure you can all guess what it is.