Most Interesting Mana Base

I must apologize to my non MtG(Magic: The Gathering) fans out there, I am posting about MtG once again.  But I am occasionally stricken by the brilliance of WotC, and I would do a disservice to the universe if I didn’t share it.  Basically, I think WotC has developed a new plan to make mana bases extremely interesting.

A while ago I noticed the uptick in lands which feature the land type’s(plains, island, swamp, mountain, forest) or cared about the land types.  I thought it was cool, but didn’t understand why.  Recently, I have noticed the increased power of non basic lands.  I also thought this was cool, but I never figured the two concepts collided.

  • Two Color Lands –
    • Battle For Zendikar & Amonkhet Lands
      • Have a land type
    • Shadows over Innistrad & Ixalan Lands (Sunpetal Grove)
      • Care about land’s with land type
    • Oath of the Gatewatch & Kaladesh Lands
      • Don’t care about land type
  • Mana Fixing Lands-
    • Aether Hub
      • Makes you play energy cards
    • Spire of Industry
      • Makes you play artifacts
    • Cascading Cataracts
      • Makes you play big mana splashes
  • Powerful Lands
    • Deserts
      • Makes you play more deserts
    • Shrine of Forsaken Gods & Sanctum of Ugin
      • Makes you play big colorless cards
    • Drownyard temple, Wastes, Westvale Abbey etc…

Okay, so if you look at each group (ex: Battle For Zendikar & Amonkhet), each have a unique requirement that push your deck in a different direction.  Now why did I make a big deal out of caring about land types?  Because it makes the choice between plains and shefet dunes (the white mono colored desert) interesting.  Usually decks always want to play basic lands because they are always untapped, but now even basic lands come at a cost of not playing the more powerful mono colored desert.  Without the mono color deserts, 2 color ally (where you can’t use Oath of the gatewatch or Kaladash lands) mana bases would be formulaic:

  • 4 Shadow over Innistrad 2 Color Lands
  • 4 Amonkhet 2 Color Lands
  • 4 Battle for Zendikar 2 Color Lands
  • 10 Basic Lands
  • X utility lands

Trust me that was the plan, and this plan still works, but you have to decide to not play potentially powerful mono color deserts.  Whew!  Ok, I needed to express that.  Now they just need to make sure to keep 2 color enemy mana bases just as interesting.

The Circle of Removal(MtG!)

Hour of Devastation has brought some new marquee answers to the format that add more depth than what’s on the surface.  Hour of Devastation can kill indestructible creatures and planeswalkers while Hour of Revelation destroys all not indestructible permanents.   With the addition of the new gods, the current format welcomes “When this creature dies, return it to it’s owners hand at the beginning of the next end step” to it’s stable of difficult to remove threats.

Indestructible Creatures Planeswalkers Vehicles New Gods
Hour of Devastation HIT HIT miss miss
Hour of Revelation miss HIT HIT miss
Abrade miss miss HIT miss

I mention abrade as well because one might notice that both new sweepers don’t deal with both vehicles and indestructible creatures, and abrade does a nice job of fixing this potential hole.  This is adds an interesting sub game to removal.  It also makes this sub game without implementing exile removing.  Exile removal’s absoluteness has always been a design goals of WotC’s and they respect that here.  Currently there are not many efficient exile removal spells, thus making those less efficient cards more interesting and not more obviously playable.  Also this highlights the value of the New Gods, who clearly were created with the intention of inevitability.



What I learned playing magic

Magic: The Gathering is a collectible card game.  I think it will be benefit all of my readers to be aware of this game.  This is a big reason why I am writing about it.  But instead of telling you what it is, I would like to describe to you what I have learned from it.

Recently, I have been listening to a podcast called “The Voice of Job Seekers”.  On this podcast I once heard one of the featured guests describe their companies interview method.  The guest explained how they valued people who could explain the logic of their decisions, and could think logically and ignore their emotional demands when making decisions.  This also describes the greatest lesson of magic.  Magic is a game that allows you to choose any card to put in your deck and use whenever you draw it in a game.  The art, the flavor, your experience with the card, your mental projections of what type of players uses that card, and how you got that card will sway your emotional, instinctive opinion of the card.  But  Magic is also a very competitive game, where players accept the random nature of the game and fight it by taking any advantage they can find.  The moment you let your emotion mislead your opinion of a card, is the moment you lose a game somewhere down the road.  The only way to even identify your biases is to describe what it is that is good about a card, and if you can’t describe it without telling a long subjective story, then you know your lying to yourself.  Sure this is longwinded, and might apply to plenty of games, but I learned from this game, and I know anyone who succeeds at the game must have also learned this lesson.  And I think that is impressive.

Above I mentioned the random nature of the game.  You shuffle up your cards and draw them in random order.  Countless times I have known I had a 33% chance of winning, and that’s the best I can do.  At that point, the result doesn’t matter.  All the matters is how I got to that point, and how I can avoid that in the future.  Randomness is extremely brutal, and even “average” luck is rare (Really!).  This teaches you to be process oriented, because it is the only thing you can control.

Lastly I want to mention how the game demands social interaction, this above all else is why I chose to play Magic.  I could play a lot of other games, but I couldn’t get over not being with my friends and making new ones.  This is just a perk, the lesson here is that it teaches you to cooperate with others.  This means you can’t push others in ways they don’t want to be pushed, improving people around you will always help you improve, and that you cannot take others for granted.

Unfortunately, this won’t work in a job interview…

The second post struggle

OMG What should I write about!?  I want to post, but I can’t even start because I hate every topic I start to write about.  This is my second post.  It takes two things to start a trend, and three things to start a pattern (To non-mathematicians).  Each topic alienates an audience that I value.

Ideally, one could just begin typing and paint with all the colors of their life and make their second post.  It seems impossible to write this way, but if you think about it, how can ‘who I am’ not shine through your writing?  Fear.  The same reason this is my 2nd post and not my 22nd post. Fear.

Personally, I have overcome fear by admitting it out loud, and allowing my cynicism to rip it’s logic to shreds.  Admitting it, has always been the hard part for me.  And so here it is, I’m worried that people will judge me by the first actual (since the first post doesn’t count, obvi) topic of this blog.  Immediately, I realize that this only implies to readers who are reading before I write my 3rd/4th post.  And I’m under the impression that I (and my gf who I make read) am the only one reading.  So I have nothing to fear.

And there it is.  I’m already thinking about my next post.  Which will probably be about how MtG has changed my life in very unexpected ways.

First blog post

First blog post

This is my very first blog post! I have written many blogs in the past.  I’ve edited countless drafts, scrapped them, started from scratch, I’ve sent them to my family to edit, and they never left my hard drive.  So I am trying something different.   I am posting my raw, (mostly) unedited, incorrect, biased, and embarrassing thoughts online.  My hope is that I will improve quickly, and eventually have something more insightful to show for myself.

I am beginning with a 300 or 400 word cap limit.  I am currently at 88 words, and don’t know what the rest of this blog will be about.  I do have some notes about my plans.  I intend to blog  about programming, game design, magic cards, math, self improvement/discovery,  put up a portfolio, and figure out how to start sentences without I.  There are about 4 articles on my hard drive that I spent some time on, that will easily make a post or two.  I won’t make any promises, but I hope to have weekly posts throughout the summer.

Ok! Thanks for reading!  I am at 179 words and I think this updated word counter should be optional.  I actually do have some actual blog content for the reader though.  A lesson that I continually have learned, over and over again, is that proving I am good at something is impossible.  I love to learn new things, and try and improve at them, but I always get to a point where I start trying to prove my skill.  I first begin believing I am good, then I assume I am good, and then this skill is so tied up in my self worth, that I need to be good.  So when met with failure, I can’t blame my skill and hurt my confidence, so I blame anything else, hence I stop learning, and stop improving.  This blog is an attempt to put myself out there, where I must own them when it is either convenient or inconvenient.  I would love to end this paragraph with proof that I won’t make the same mistakes again, but the truth is I might fall in this cycle again, and I can only try and improve at not falling in it.

Welp, I hope that wasn’t too deep for the intro.  Funny how the reader will only read this last sentence once, while I have tried umpteen times to write it.