Demonic Tutor

Magic: the Gathering in the UK

Custom Set Draft, 5pm Saturday After the M13 Release Event

The set is here: http://mv.bluebones.net/

We need 8 players.

1. Tom

2. Simon

3. Kieran

4. Glenn

5. Paul

6. Nathan

7. James

8. Phil

Want to play?

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I think doing a cube would be quite fun. An idea I had was perhaps to work out what DECKS we want to promote in a cube, similar to the way cube designers decide which cards to put in their cube - i.e we could make Reanimator, UB Control, Suicide Red etc. as decks we want to be viable in the cube, then make a kind-of design skeleton where each deck gets a certain number of cards allocated to it across the colours, artifacts and multicolour.

The other thing I agree with is that it's just not as good when you know exactly what's going to be in the set. When we did the 'land-matters' cube, there were some pretty cool interactions between the on-theme cards even though we all designed everything seperately (only really the off-theme cards were totally busted). I'm sure that if we have some overall themes we could each design X cards that follow those themes seperately (possibly with rarities or 'all as rares'), then just turn up at Penderell's Oak, jam them all together and play. Though it would kind of lose the 'social designing' part. Perhaps a multiverse could still be used to make some 'community' cards - perhaps even half done that way and half in secret to give some suspense right up until the last day.

the half and half works out well, think maybe do 30 cards as a community for each player interested, then do say 15 seperately but we decide in advance thhe top say 5 architypes we want and you must have 1 card for each one in your 15

Kieran makes some good suggestions that might offer a good balance, that also makes participation easier for those that don't have a lot of time to devote. They can just follow along with the thread and then design their 15-20 cards. I still think we might need at least a one-step vetting process for the privately designed cards, maybe send them off to the next person in the list so at least one other pair of eyes can check them for brokenness.

We are probably getting a little ahead of ourselves with in depth planning for our next project!

Guess we have gone a bit away from discussion of the actual event!

On topic, then, I've been thinking about what makes Red the best color. Compare the Red discard abilities to Portent - you get the same sort of card advantage but have to pay full price and you can’t get rid of your lands or non-portent cards. Comparing the costs for some equivalent non-red cards that can be 'cast' without using up a card goes a long way to show why Red is so good. Assuming we can always loot in our turn, and comparing to the similar ability of the other cards:

3/3 Creature – Angry Giant 1R (Also has Trample)
Warden of Arges – Portent - 3G

Decent Removal – Hot Under the Collar 2R (Can also be Lava Axe)
Throw From the Tower – Portent - 3B

1-point Removal – Pageflame 0 (One copy is free)
Fanatical Mage 0
Grave Geist – Unearth - 5B

4-power Creature – Call the Titans 0 (for a 4/4)
Stalking Boar – Portent – 2GG (only a 4/3)

Draw 2 – Ransack the Shelves 0 + Discard a card (for more shenanigans!)
Ruminate – Portent – 3U

Not too bad for Red there! (Though I admit the Call the Titans one is kind of cheating since the first 4/4 costs 6 and only the second and subsequent ones are free).

That is a good analysis Kieran, and probably something we should have done before shipping the set :-)

I think our madness cards are actually fairly costed, if they existed in a more traditional set. Because we pushed enablers hard they quickly became a little too easy to trigger, and especially to trigger at no additional cost.

Perhaps a simple fix would be to add a R mana cost to Impatient Mage, as mana tended to be the main limiter for going crazy in the looting deck. Peripatetic Bibliomancer may just need to change full stop. I also think Looting Charm is probably too good, maybe should be just a single loot or cost 1R.

Other options are to swap Pageflame and Empty the Libraries rarities, as I think being blown out by a 1 mana wrath is way more obnoxious then having to fight against ten 1/1s ( which some people actually did beat, multiple times).


I found the biggest issue was killing there low powered enablers, there just wasn't the cheap removal about also no real board sweepers in the uncommon slots really hurt.

Raid the library was way to good, the x+1 thing is just crazy good, even x-1 probably would have been playable.

I think the lesson for next time (I hope there is a next time coz I think we all learned a lot from this set) is don't make the colours so insular, although I played 2 colours both times there really wasn't that much between them that helped each other, the answer loads of gold cards, mwah mwah.


Simon O'Keeffe said:

That is a good analysis Kieran, and probably something we should have done before shipping the set :-)

I think our madness cards are actually fairly costed, if they existed in a more traditional set. Because we pushed enablers hard they quickly became a little too easy to trigger, and especially to trigger at no additional cost.

Perhaps a simple fix would be to add a R mana cost to Impatient Mage, as mana tended to be the main limiter for going crazy in the looting deck. Peripatetic Bibliomancer may just need to change full stop. I also think Looting Charm is probably too good, maybe should be just a single loot or cost 1R.

Other options are to swap Pageflame and Empty the Libraries rarities, as I think being blown out by a 1 mana wrath is way more obnoxious then having to fight against ten 1/1s ( which some people actually did beat, multiple times).

Pageflame is pretty crazy. It probably should have gone a long time ago, but everyone who played the red deck thought it was awesome. In hindsight, that was a clue that it was way too good. If it was just something simple like a Shock or Incinerate (possibly with Portent - definitely not with madness) it would make things a bit fairer, leaving Mindstorm only in the higher rarities.

The colours being too insular was definitely a problem. We should probably have mixed the abilities up with the allied colours a bit more. Black is the best 'second' colour because it does a bit of everything - it has a pretty solid common Foresight enabler, some Portent, Graveyard effects and even lifegain. Other than that, only Green/Blue seems like a decent combination of colours - though really everyone wants to be mono-colour in this format!

Instead of focusing on our colours, then, we should really have focused on the abilities and applied them across all the relevant colours. If we'd had some Soulsong/lifegain in Green and blue and some Foresight/Portent in White and Red the colours would have gone together a lot better.

Or maybe we can just say that we had all those ideas for the second set of the block, showing the Towers coming together against their enemies. That would be totally believable...

I think the next set could definitely benefit from more cross colour cards, whether gold cards, off colour activations, keying off permanents/lands of an allied/enemy colour etc.

Wrt abilities I think Kieran has it dead on, we should try to spread them around a bit. Soulsong could easily fit into G & madness into B for example.

I think the best bet is to get a few more sessions out of this set, maybe when drafting and playing make some notes (as a group) about how we can avoid the same mistakes and improve upon what we did with this one.  I still think it is a hell of an achievement creating a fairly well rounded set.

I certainly have a lot more respect for Wizards and the work they do with regards to design and development.

They have years of experience, twice as many people, and it is their day job, so considering all that I think we did very well.

Glenn Goldsworthy said:

I think the best bet is to get a few more sessions out of this set, maybe when drafting and playing make some notes (as a group) about how we can avoid the same mistakes and improve upon what we did with this one.  I still think it is a hell of an achievement creating a fairly well rounded set.

With regards to the next set/cube design I certainly see us taking a more Innistrad/Ravnica approach, with lots of cross colour cards and synergy (but not necessarily loads of gold cards), rather than the kind of Shadowmoor set we ended up with.

Paul Hodgson said:

I think the next set could definitely benefit from more cross colour cards, whether gold cards, off colour activations, keying off permanents/lands of an allied/enemy colour etc.

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