Are we there yet?
First off, I'd like to make a couple of comments about Mike Pratt's article posted 3/3, and the first thing I'd like to say is: Welcome Mike! Glad to have you aboard. We need more people like you, willing to contribute to our efforts here, and I, for one, appreciate it greatly.
As far as your article goes, I think you've pointed something out that a lot of us tend to forget, that just because a deck performs better than another deck doesn't mean it's any more fun to play. In fact, that's something I pointed out on a thread on the BB a while ago, that tournament Magic is something that's primarily fun only for the winner of that particular tourney, and that for the rest it's often found to be mainly an exercise in disappointment.
I'm curious though, about the title of your piece. "Why I like Magic" sounds like a very upbeat title, but it rather turned out to be another treatise on how messed up things are right now. On the plus side you did suggest a cure, but to me that's really only a temporary fix - a good one, to be sure - but temporary to me mainly because I think it strays from the grand vision of Mr. Garfield.
People, it seems to me that Magic is a social game. It's a way to meet new people in different places, and instantly have something in common with them, but to do that it needs to have common rules everyone follows, and common cards that everyone plays with. I believe that's why the DCI was formed, to make sensible, uniform rules that everyone knows and understands. House rules can be a lot of fun, granted, and, as in your example, can fix what WotC has broken, but they are only good for the purposes of playing in the "house". You can't really take 'em out on the road, and I believe that's at least half the reason we love this game: The fact that you can walk up to a complete stranger and play a game together is a really tremendous thing.
Face it. Friends drift apart. They get jobs. Girlfriends. They move away. They find other things to spend their cash on. They get bored spending weekend after weekend gaming, and re-discover things like the sun.
Without the option of being able to go out and meet new opponents on common ground, this game will die out.
And I refuse to let that happen without a fight.
On the banning of Dark Ritual, I have to admit to being completely and totally blindsided. After writing last week about how it would be wrong to ban either Donate or the Illusions I was really caught off guard by this announcement. I never thought of it, since other, non-combo, uses existed for that card, and I'm equally shocked by the banning of Mana Vault, especially considering that they didn't touch either Grim Monolith or Voltaic Key.
I REALLY never thought they'd ban Dark Rit though, mostly because of the way they've prattled on about how they're trying to return the colors to their respective "flavors". I thought they defined Black by saying it should have fast advantage with a heavy price. No one spell in Black's repetoire fits that description better than Dark Ritual, and, to me, it's banning just points up lie WotC perpetrated with regard to that whole "flavored color" thing.
Nothing represents efficient damage like Lightning Bolt for Red.
White, supposedly, shouldn't have good, cheap weenies like Savannah Lions and White Knight, but weren't these creatures a part of this game since Alpha? How could something that's been around since Alpha NOT be in flavor for a color?
Couldn't the same thing be said for Swords to Plowshares?
And what's up with the counterspells available in type 2? Did somebody down at headquarters just get tired of seeing Blue every time they looked up? Or did they just figure that Blue should be the degenerate combo color, now, and forever.
Green, at least, has been returned to it's original flavor.
Or has it?
If you look at what Green had in the beginning, I'm not so sure you can say that. Green was always the province of big, overcosted creatures, and the alternative mana sources to help get them out. Green never had efficient weenies, outside of Elvish Archers. Certainly not like it's got now.
I guess that's why it was the worst color for so long. And, to be honest, I think it was about time they made the "creature" color actually mean good creatures. To me, building Green's creature base was a good idea, and I wish a few of these quality creatures, like Albino Troll and Pouncing Jaguar, would get put into the basic set next time around, but I know WotC won't do that because echo would be considered too advanced for "Advanced" players.
So unless they keep pumping out quality creatures in the expert sets Green will revert to it's formerly lame state.
Which will make the circle complete.
No. Wait. The circle won't really be complete until they ban Giant Growth. That's the last "1 mana for 3 of something" spell out there that anybody uses in tournaments. They've already introduced it's replacement in Nemesis, Seal of Strength. Just how broken do you think 8 "giant growths" will be? How loudly do you think people will complain when every deck is a Green deck?
I give 'em six months to ban it.
Then, it will be complete.
TomB on the CPA BB
"I do not teach. I simply reveal."
-Daudi, Femeref tutor