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Went to the prerelease for the new MtG set on Sunday (format was six-booster sealed). Once again I proved my ability to pilot a reasonably excellent pile of cards into a fairly awful 2-2 result. 2-2 looks kinda okay until you realize that my victories were over (a) someone who opened the worst pool of sealed cards I've seen in many a year, and (b) an eight-year-old.

I can't complain too much, though, since my card pool value came out to about three times my entrance fee.

And... that's about it, really. I should probably buy that television. Any day now.

Date: 2010-07-12 08:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] montoya.livejournal.com
M11?

I hope you totally got up in the 8-year-old's face. "SUCK ON IT, KID! GRAMPA'S SHOWING YOU HOW YOU GET IT DONE!"

Date: 2010-07-12 08:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lowbeyonder.livejournal.com
Yes, M11. I'm very impressed with the set so far.

No, I did not yell at the 8-year-old.

Date: 2010-07-12 08:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] montoya.livejournal.com
Is it much different from M10? I've been assuming they'd just mildly tweak it up every year, but maybe they are making a full release out of it?

(Not that I should CARE. I still have an entire box of unopened M10 boosters in my closet...)

Date: 2010-07-12 08:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lowbeyonder.livejournal.com
It's the same size, and much like M10, about half and half new and old stuff.

The Lorwyn planeswalkers are back, which is boring. Time Warp is out, but Time Reversal is a five-cost version of Timetwister (all players shuffle their hands and graveyards into their decks, then draw seven cards) that has some potential in combo decks. Baneslayer Angel and Lightning Bolt are still in. Mana Leak is back, giving core sets a decent 2-cost universal counterspell again. There's a cycle of Titans, all 6-cost 6/6 guys with abilities that range from okay to completely nuts. They're pretty neat.

They brought the scry keyword into a core set (scry N: look at the top N cards of your deck, put any number of them on the bottom in any order, and the rest on top in any order), which is definitely cool. They also printed a cycle of Leylines (4-cost enchantments that start the game in play if you get them in your opening hand). The black one's a reprint from, uh... Kamigawa block, I think? Ravnica? One of those blocks I wasn't paying attention to. The rest are new.

The M10 dual-lands are still in. They reprinted Triskelion and Voltaic Key, which are both awesome.

It's a core set, so it's not very tightly themed, but it has its moments.

Date: 2010-07-12 08:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] montoya.livejournal.com
I suspect the planeswalkers are "permanent" in that they're basically the icons of the brand now. Which is too bad in a way, because they're also insanely mechanically complex.

Date: 2010-07-12 08:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lowbeyonder.livejournal.com
Well, they're definitely going to keep printing planeswalker cards. I was just hoping they'd print a different cycle in M11, since these ones have been printed twice already. And some of them are, frankly, bad. Or at least excessively narrow (Liliana), overcosted (Chandra), or grossly outclassed by non-core walkers (Little Jace).

I don't think they're insanely complex, though there are some non-obvious interactions involved with dealing direct damage to them; I'd be annoyed that they increase the number of counters you need to keep track of, except I started bringing about forty very small d10s to CCG games when I started playing WOW.

Date: 2010-07-12 08:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] montoya.livejournal.com
Well, if you know a few basic rules, mostly about timing and costs, you can understand most cards -- but Planeswalkers have these arrows on them and text about "loyalty" and it is not at all clear how they work without reading about a separate subsystem, basically.

Date: 2010-07-12 08:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lowbeyonder.livejournal.com
Fair enough. It's not obvious from their frame how they work.

Still, I think there's some cool design space to work with there, once the type gets through the early stages and they find a decent balance point between "Why would you ever put this in a deck?" (Chandra Ablaze (http://magiccards.info/zen/en/120.html)) and "Why would you ever build a deck without this?" (Jace the Mind Sculptor (http://magiccards.info/wwk/en/31.html)).

Date: 2010-07-12 11:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] montoya.livejournal.com
My guess on the "why" is the part where it's SEVENTY DOLLARS.

Date: 2010-07-12 11:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lowbeyonder.livejournal.com
Well, yes. I'm certainly not going to defend that; it's completely ridiculous.

But the point is that the power level of Big Jace is definitely higher than it should be. They should reprint him once in a large, heavily-drafted set just to get his price down, then the moment he rotates out of Extended, put him in a drawer and forget about him forever, the same way they ignore other terrible mistakes like, oh, everything in Urza block.

Meanwhile, I'm annoyed they wasted some really cool art and design elements on poor Chandra Ablaze, who wants to be played in fast red burn decks that should really have won the game long before they can take advantage of a six-drop planeswalker.

Date: 2010-07-20 10:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lowbeyonder.livejournal.com
Object lessons in card prices, by the way:

Primeval Titan when I pre-ordered four: $20.

Primeval Titan when M11 actually released: $30.

Primeval Titan after he was a 4-of in six of the top 8 decks at a Japanese PTQ: $50.

So far, I'm feeling pretty good about the way this is going.

Date: 2010-07-20 10:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] montoya.livejournal.com
It is an investment for the future! Sink hundreds of thousands of dollars into the cards! You can't lose!

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