This week is rant week.
As you may have guessed, I am a passionate man. Usually, I try to be passionate in a good way, but some days, I have to stop being optimistic and just rant. Honestly, I'm warning you now, if you don't like to see me rant about what I think is bad about Magic right now, just click the back button and go read something else. If you like rants, this is the article for you.
I'd like to think that last week's article was pretty coherent and funny, so this weeks article is just going to be rants and then wind down with things that I think might be interesting to those of us into popular culture.
This week I got my hands on some important cards. The first things I acquired were 4 Umezawa's Jittes.
My loathing for this card knows no bounds.
In a moment of weakness, my brain eventually decided that if you can't beat them, join them. I should take advantage of the Jitte and just quit bitching about it. Get my hands on four of them, design a deck to take advantage of it, and start learning how to best abuse it. I'm going to be focusing on Kamigawa Block the split second Regionals is done, and I'll need them anyway. Right?
As usual, this thought lasted two sets of games, and I immediately tore the deck apart, removed Jittes from all my decks, and debated on if I should sell them off, or just let them collect digital dust in my collection.
The first set of games was against a Red/Green deck that also had Jittes. I kept some logs, but they're too long and boring. The important parts went something like this.
Honestly, I'd rather fall face first into a big pile of shattered glass.
My second set of games was against a White Weenie Deck. He was using Welding Jars to save his Jittes from Artifact destruction, and even search spells for artifacts so he could find Jitte's faster.
In game two I destroyed three Jittes and he played a fourth, and the 4th was the deciding factor for the entire game. It... went... all... the... way...
Personally, I find this asinine.
Not that people are playing with Jitte. But that the card passed R&D at all. That's the part that annoys me.
I don't like playing with over-powered flavor of the month cards and never have. It makes me feel dirty every time I click on the Jitte and its presents me with its little overpowered menu of "Would you like to A) Put a -1-1 counter on a target creature OR B) give equipped creature +2+2 OR C) gain 2 life OR D) Get a massage with a happy ending?
Dirty dirty dirty.
And when the game devolves into "Who can keep their Jitte in play?" or "Who has the most ways to get it, keep it, and recurse it?" I find that tremendously stupid and insulting.
Sure, as a Green mage I could play with more artifact destruction. But there are two caveats to that. 1) The deck has to work even if my opponent doesn't have Jitte, and 2) I have to be holding or draw very soon, the artifact hate when the Jitte hits the board.
Jitte reminds me of Hatred. I was never a big fan of Hatred. It was one of the many reasons I quit Magic in the first place. Because I like the luck aspect of Magic minimized as much as possible. I always have, and I always will.
Hatred was a win big lose big card. A huge luck card. You ran Hatred and sometimes you won on the second turn. Some skill there boooooiey! Booyah! Killed you on the second turn. Happy dance for me!
While Jitte doesn't allow you to win on the second turn, it is still the same type of card. If you are not holding a Jitte or Jitte destruction in your hand, the advantage that single card gives your opponent will be too much for you to overcome by the time you do get rid of it.
Against a White deck, it can destroy all their creatures. Against a Blue deck it can make a Troll into a 7/6 monstrosity every turn. Against a Burn deck, every turn they can gain 4 life. Against a Black weenie deck, you're done. Pack up your stuff, you're going home.
And that is just... stupid.
In our team room on MODO comments about the Jitte range from "I was blowing this guy away in League, and then he played a Jitte and won."
"Guy played a fourth turn Jitte against me and I just conceded."
"If you have a Jitte in sealed and you don't win eight of ten matches, you should consider if you should bother to keep playing this game."
"Jitte is just retarded."
One of my friends is playing Flores Big Red deck and says if someone gets an early Jitte, he auto loses. There's no artifact destruction in the deck.
After my two series of games, I was just furious that my first two opponents and I just spent the entire game trying to keep our Jitte in play and our opponent's Jitte off the board.
I immediately made up a new Green deck that had nothing but hatred for artifacts, determined to never lose to Jitte again. And I haven't. Wow is Zealot + Shaman + Molder Slug good in today's environment.
You know what else is a retarded card?
Any time you design a card that is infinitely better than what has already been shown to be a powerful card; you are neglecting your job as a card designer. It is you and yours that are ruining Magic.
I hear Sylvan Library was a good card. Top duplicates the effect. Doesn't need Green to play. Is as close to indestructible as you can get. And can be used at every phase of the game, not just one like the Sylvan. To top it all off, makes you sit there while your opponent spends dozens of minutes fondling cards and you wait. And wait. And wait.
Its one thing for you to cast a spell, and wait to see if your opponent has a response. That's a legitimate wait. That's a skill wait. That's a part of the game wait. That's an acceptable wait. I have yet to see someone play a Top and not use it three times a turn to make me sit there while they refresh their memory over and over because they fail to remember what three cards are on top of their library. It's just a rude, annoying, skill-less, piece of crap, over-powered card that never should have been released.
Lastly, Magic is still too fast. A majority of my games still end before turn 8, and that is just not acceptable. I challenge Wizards to do a poll that asks people "How many turns do you think a fun game of Magic should last?"
They won't, because they know the answer won't be "2" or "4" or even "8" and ever since Urza's Block, with very minor breaks in between, That's How Long Magic Games Last!
Sure there are exceptions. Five Color Gifts takes longer than eight turns. Black/Green Death Cloud takes longer than eight turns. MUC takes longer than eight turns. Too bad most other decks don't and too bad those are tier two decks.
My opponent played an Urza's Mine and a Top and you know as well as I do, that game was over on turn 1.
That's not a game of skill, Wizards.
I'm begging you, once again, to make this game about skill. To make the games last 20 or more turns, and have them be skill games, not infinite lock or win one big turn games. I'm begging you to try and recapture the glory days of old. The first two years of the Pro Tour, and the reports that came out of that were about skill. They were about good play. Good deck design. Playing smart.
Your goal should be to make this game as much about skill and as little about luck as possible. Your goal should be, the best players in the game are always in the top 8 at a Pro Tour. It's astonishing when you see someone make three Top 8s in a row. That shouldn't be astonishing, that should be common place! If this game was more about skill and less about luck, then you would see multiple people making consistent top 8s at Pro Tours. Because they were the best players in the world, not because they were good and lucky that day.
You shouldn't see someone who made Top 8 at the last Constructed Pro Tour at the bottom eight tables in the next Constructed Pro Tour. You shouldn't have a field of 100 possible people that you can guess might make it to the Top 8 on Day One - it should be more consistent. You should be able to point to the top ten best players in the world, and see at least six of them in the Top 8, and the other four in the top twenty.
As it is now, you can point to the top ten best players in the world on Day One of a Pro Tour and they'll be scattered from first to last place by day three.
I challenge you Wizards R&D to spend your next couple of years working on making cards that reward skill, not opening draw. Cards that use the battlefield, not some infinite fog loop or soft lock that just frustrates your opponent into quitting.
One thing you need to design is a card like this.
Anti Land Screw - 1
If Anti Land Screw is in your hand and you have no land in your hand, you may mulligan for free.
1+ tap: You may search your deck for 5 basic land of the same type. You may then choose to remove those lands from the game, or put them into your hand.
I have no doubt that 509 people will immediately tell me how this could be abused. But I'm sure with a little testing; someone could make a variant of this card that does a good job of removing land screw from the game.
I'm tired of playing 24 lands and still either drawing two of it in 10 turns or 10 of it in 10 turns. I don't care if they change the rules of Magic or make a bunch of cards that deal with the problem, but losing because you drew eight lands in a row is something that needs to be dealt with.
Right now, thanks to cards like Jitte, Swords, Tooth and Nail, and Shackles, I feel there's more skill in Craps than there is in Magic, and I feel that's wrong. I don't think that's the direction Magic should be heading. Again.
For now, I think that's the end of my ranting and pleading.
Konda's Banner and Humans
I have already started exploring Kamigawa block. And, I mistakenly thought that Sword was from Champions, but it's from Darksteel. So, I started to look at what cards are going to be in the Kamigawa block, and couldn't stop reading Konda's Banner. If only there was some way to integrate that with Champion. If only Elvish Champions were legendary, then Elves would all get +3 +3 when a Champion came into play, and that's pretty damn good.
Well let's look at what Legendary Elves there are in Type Two right now. Sweet! Glissa Sunseeker, and... huh. Glissa Sunseeker. That's not many.
Well, what cards do I have in the deck already that are not elves that are pretty good? Trolls? No. Hmm. Humans. Those guys don't get much attention. In fact, it bugs me that Eternal Witness isn't an Elf. What's up with that?
Oops, got a last rant coming on.
How come we get Snakes as our theme creature in Kamigawa Block? Now, in real life, I like snakes. Used to look for them when I was a kid in the Vermont woods. Had one as a pet. Have always loved them. But man are the snakes dopey in Kamigawa block. As much as I love the ability of Matsu-Tribe Sniper, holy cow is a snake with a bow dumb looking. And how come we get stuck with dopey snakes, but all the Akki's are Goblins?
So, I'm looking for something good to pump with Konda's Banner. Eternal Witness. Huh. Let's see, what other Human's we have. Iwamori of the Open Fist. This is looking better... Dosan of the Falling Leaf. Nice. Humble Budoka. Isao, Enlightened Bushi. JUKAI MESSENGER. And lastly, Reki, The History of Kamigawa. Turning all your legends into Cantrips.
So, if things go well, and you attach Konda's Banner to Dosan, then your Jukai Messenger is a 3/3. Eternal Witnesses are 4/3. Humble Budoka is a 4/4 untouchable. Iwamori of the Open fist is a 7/7 trampler for four and you draw a card for casting him! Wow!
Gotta be a way to make that work...
Raise the Banner version .1
4 Jukai Messenger
3 Isao Enlightened Bushi
3 Dosan the Falling Leaf
4 Eternal Witness
3 Iwamori of the Open Fist
3 Reki, the History of Kamiga
4 Konda's Banner
4 Umezawa's Jitte
4 Plow Under
The cards really don't need much of an explanation. Every single one of them is a good solid card. Only a few four- and five-drops. What I find really powerful in this deck is Reki. Not only do all your legendary creatures become Cantrips, but now Jitte and Konda's Banner are Cantrips as well! With Eternal Witness and Reki, your hand should be chock full of options at any stage in the game.
And, in Kamigawa Block, it loses Plow Under and Eternal Witness. Gotta be a way to fill those spots and still have a strong deck.
And lastly, a plea to DC Comics.
They need to put Hal Jordan down.
How many deaths can this guy be responsible for before Superman has to roast him to ash? About ten years ago he went insane and became one of the greatest mass murderers in DC history. And now, he's abandoned his role as the Spectre's host spirit, and the Spirit has gone insane because of it. The Spectre has now killed hundreds of mystics in a mad bid to eliminate Magic. Sure he's being manipulated by Eclipso, but the manipulation is only possible because Hal Jordan ditched his responsibility as the Angel of Vengeance.
That guy's almost as dangerous as Data.