Whither Magic?

Not Shadowmoor’s damage as -1/-1 counters ability, I’m pondering the state of Magic: the Gathering and its newest card sets.

Since my group and I have taken leave from buying the new Magic expansions, Wizards has released the first set in the Alara block – with the second following in a few days.

I can admit to missing the pre-releases, just a little.

Yet I’m not sure that I feel like I’m missing anything special by not playing the new expansions. Starting with Shadowmoor it seemed that the complexity level was already on its way down, and being a Johnny my interest level waned along with it.

Conversely, going backward in time has been great so far – playing with Lorwyn and Morningtide is enjoyable, and soon we’ll be working in Time Spiral. Beyond that I’m tempted to seek out some Odyssey, or perhaps even Mirrodin or Kamigawa. Plenty of room to explore there as long as the boxes are still available.

How Do You Feel About Magic?

So tell me, what are your thoughts on the direction of Magic’s set design? How do you like the newer cards? I’m curious to see what people think of the “latest and greatest” compared to some of the gems of Magic past. Join in the discussion!

  1.  

    I’ve been trying to avoid becoming a Magic hater for a while. I kind of liked Shards of Alara, or at least what I saw of it but honestly I have not been keeping up to date on anything. Shadowmoor felt rather poor to me and if they do keep going down that line I wonder if Magic will ever reach my play table in a meaningful way again.

  2.  
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    Mike Says:

    Let’s face it, after releasing so many sets over the years, new material has got to be hard to come by.

  3.  

    Mike-

    You might think so at first, as challenging as it seems to keep introducing new Magic cards. Yet Mark Rosewater and co. keep fresh faces rotating in to the Magic R&D teams, which helps bring new ideas, and I’m sure there are tons more top players with ideas about cards that haven’t been printed yet.

    Of course development is another matter, keeping from breaking any of the thousands of existing cards with the introduction of new abilities has got to be tough, not to mention trying to balance everything. And also leaving out the “acquisition” strategy, which is likely to be good for gaming but perhaps less good for us enjoying Magic.

  4.  

    I guess the interesting thing to note is that I still find Magic to be a fantastic game. I’m just not as thrilled with the recent cards.

    Fortunately there’s a wealth of good stuff in the “back catalog” to take advantage of, if you’re like me and just play friendly games.

  5.  

    Another little reason for me and my group not to get into the newer Magic: the Gathering sets:

    Since we’ve been playing Channeling Land (which has been great!), there is absolutely zero reason for us to buy more basic land cards. With Wizards placing fewer spells in each pack it’s a little obnoxious to buy the newer packs.

  6.  

    I only know these sets through the online CCG program lackeyCCG, though, but these are my impressions:

    Lorwyn block was so full of tribal, which I find boring. It is only useful if you have a lot of that kind of card, and it’s a linear mechanic, that cant be used for much else. It need certain cards to run well, and then, it is almost unbeatable. But maybe I would like it more in peasant or pauper format (no rares/no uncommons).

    And the -1/-1 in the shadowmoor/eventide block seemed to me to be just a mechaninic to have a new mechanic. Kind of linear, and removing interactivity, as you write in another post (oh, i wont block, then).

    And a hybrid cost spell should be more costed, as it can go into either deck. Some cards were overpowered. I can use a g/r spell in my r/b deck if i’d want to. Huge usability.

    As for the shards block, there is the phony tribe of artifact creatures; R&D: NOW lets make up a lot of artifact creatures that can be good together. Man, in 2 of five games I play against decks with master transmuter or Sphinx summmoner etc. They are building our decks for us! etc. I played such a deck once, and it wasn’t fun. So fixed strategy.