A Magical Huffalump Resides Here: My Thoughts On The Latest Block Structure Changes

A Magical Huffalump Resides Here

My name is Ed, I am a programmer. Just another dude with another blog. I like MTG, Open Source (more towards FREE software). I like sports, and eventually I hope to do business and do good for the world in general. This blog is gonna be about Magic The Gathering. Decklists and snippets will be posted here. It may lead somewhere or nowhere, as with all things arcane, that was bloody obvious =)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Thoughts On The Latest Block Structure Changes

My Thoughts on the Block Structure Changes

I have always wanted to talk about peak decks.

Now i will likely not have the chance :p

Peak decks (to me) are when you have a maximum number of blocks. To a brewer, this is the full toolset open to you

Now why do I like "peak decks"?

I sometimes ask myself why do I like Magic, or what do I like about Magic?

One of the answers to that is I like decks!

Which is why I like all of magic, pokemonesque, combo, prison, permission, control, aggro etc etc

There used to be a time when I collected deck lists that were published. The Dojo! The Sideboard!

Anything on the mothership! Global Tournaments!!

Then it got too much. Too many decklist too little time.

One thing that constraints or invalidates a decklist is time.

Or rather time frame.

When was this deck made? What were the legal blocks? What format was this?

All those factors determine the success and define the legality and validity of the deck.

I remembered Owling Mine. It was an interesting Mill deck in that standard.

Where is it now?

But that was the problem, standard's legality and composition are as the shifting sands, literally with time.

it was hard to pin down actual eternal decks.

This actually ties in with my previous ramble on why I feel standard is not Magic! A deck that exists in Standard exist only in the "now", shift a few blocks and decks get invalidated or new decks are born.

A deck today, may not be a deck tomorrow.

Go play Ice Age block decks. I dare ya. Response is likely to be cold. sry just had to say that lol

Hence Standard's decks are hard to pin down.

However given my preponderance (some call it an addiction) with Magic, I will normally still engage with whatever rubbish Standard dishes out.

But there are just too many substandard temporal deck flying around.

I do not want a deck that is meaningless five year or actually two years from now. What to me would be more meaningful, would be a deck built from the full range of cards in existance for a particular period.

This would be what i term, "peak decks". I am pretty sure this is a known concept, i just like to keyword it hoho.

Anyways its basically what decks are left standing when all cards available are released. This occurs every Fall (October) when the big new set is about to rotate in.

The period is very short, in recent times it is when the new MXX core set (this year is M15 for example) is released.

it is about a month or two, so there is'nt much time for brewers to work. But it is the full range.

Now WOTC saying that meta changes happen the most when sets leave as opposed to when sets enter.

Well duh.

I blame that on them actually, since for new decks to emerge, there must be sufficient time for the ideas to coalesce. However with the current structure, Standard is already rotating pretty quick! So obviously the meta does not change much when new sets come in, because of deck stickiness.

Whereas when sets rotate out, the meta is forced to change.

I am not sure that using that as the reason for spicing up the meta (by speeding up rotation) is good or not, as deck are not given time to find themselves, but to be premade and pushed to the masses.

What does this all mean?

No more peak decks... at least not those of 8 set montrosities... tho this likely does not matter... since peak decks are hardly found in the first place =D

The new "peak decks" will only have a maximum of 6 sets if I understand it correctly. So the pool is smaller.

Decks will likely have to be pushed smartly. Hey hey Ensoul! Meet Darksteel citadel!!!

+ Chief Engineer
+ Generator Savant

Izzet a party? I don't know about you but that seems pretty pushed.

Oh and there was Shrapnel Blast and Ornithopters....

If they make quality cards, i can live with that....

But yeah it is likely goodbye to subtle ideas that take time to develope. The risk is people not finding the deck in time, or making it so subtle... that it falls flat on its face, not being discovered till it is too late and rotation is on. I believe some pro did a study on group think in magic, where players simply follow the current deck and assume it is the best.

Given the lack of time for discovery, pushed deck or heavy hints are probably the way to go.

If you are like me and you are stupidly opening sealed product to get all cards in the set? Move along, there is no change financially for us. We are screwed. We are still screwed! But no increase in the screwyness index, so thats cool no? *the image of deadpool is so in my mind now!*

If you are the sort that looks for deals to make only the decks you want to play.... well how does the changes affect you financially?

It depends. If you are looking to play in standard, then you are kinda more screwed now, since standard rotates faster and your cards now have a shorter lifespan (for standard). If you are the sort that waits for rotatation to pick up the cheapies that people are dropping like hot potatoes (I picked up JTMS at 40 USD, that was the low point i think, it was almost rotation and JTMS got the banhammerz), then these changes actually benefit you since it happens faster now!

There is an off chance that WOTC will take more risks, since cards don't "stain" Standard for as long. On the other hand stinkers that they print also rotate quicker so its all cool ;)

What do you do if you refuse to print buttloads of modern playable cards in standard (so that you can manipulate balance by printing sucky low powered cards with a sprinkling of decent cards). But you seriously need to pump cards into players' collective greedy grubby hands so that they can actually play modern, instead of whining about how expensive it is to play modern? I mean you can't have your cake and eat it too right? Well apparently you can now! By increasing rotation, there are more sprinklings of decent cards, so cards from standard flow faster into Modern. So Standard can continue to languish in its low power pit, and Modern actually gets an increase in card input! Brilliant!  ... From a "lets maintain Standard status quo" and yet "get Modern going" point of view. I know I sound negative, but I am actually quite happy since it does mean that Modern actually gets something. Standard was screwed. Is still screwed. No change there.

All in all I am ambivalent to the block changes. If they can still print competitive good cards this change is all cool to me ;) In fact its all "LG". You know. "Changes for the better!"

have fun ppl!

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