CPA is famous

Discussion in 'General CPA Stuff' started by Shabbaman, May 23, 2017.

  1. Shabbaman insert avatar here

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  2. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Great article. Well, it identifies the problem anyway. I don't know if it could be solved at this point. It would be nice if the mothership brought back the Arena League system, although that's probably too far-fetched. I used to think that what we needed was a more community-driven approach, similar to what happened with the success of EDH. But then I saw what happened in Hearthstone...

    Because Hearthstone is all online, they have the capability to functionally edit broken cards in a much cleaner way than what was attempted with power-level errata in Magic. So while there are some cards that are extremely strong, they never have anything along the lines of Power 9 shenanigans, and they never will. From the beginning, they only had one constructed format. But as they began to publish new sets, they saw the same problem that Magic had in its early years. With only one format that consists of every possible card, either new sets are weaker than the old ones, in which case the established players will just keep using the same cards they already own and not have any reason to buy new sets, or new sets are stronger than the old ones, in which case the power level of the game spirals out of control. So last year they introduced their own version of the Type 1/Type 2 split that Magic underwent back in 1995. They had two different sets that made up their core set: "basic" (a set that doesn't come in packs, but which new players automatically acquire as they play the game, providing them with a small baseline collection) and "classic" (a set that does come in packs, which can be purchased with in-game currency earned gradually through gameplay, bought with real money, or earned one at time in weekly special events). Those stay Standard permanently (but a few powerful cards did eventually get retired from Standard). The expansion sets go through an annual rotation, so Standard never gets too big, while Wild allows all of the cards in the game.

    Of course, for tournaments, the idea was to stick with Standard. And what immediately happened was that all of the pro players abandoned Wild, because Standard would be the format they'd play in tournaments. And the rest of the players, even though they aren't pros and don't play in tournaments, followed suit. Wild became the lame, dumb format that was totally overpowered and that no one cared about. Wild was a waste of time. Standard was all that mattered. This happened instantly. Virtually the entire playerbase jumped from playing the format that they'd been playing the entire time to playing the new format and eschewing the existing one. It's the standard for the game, after all. It's even in the name. "Standard." It's the good format, and that other format (the one that everyone had been playing prior to that point) was the bad format. Now, this attitude wasn't universal. People could and did still play Wild. I did, and I had no problems getting paired up against opponents. But the game is one of the most popular ones out there. It's gotten to be way bigger than Magic. I'm pretty sure that millions of people are on simultaneously. So yeah, it was possible to play Wild. But all of the discussion was of Standard. Sure, novelty must have played a role, and some percentage of the players may have been genuinely motivated to escape from some particular cards that they didn't like to play against. But mostly people seemed to be playing Standard because it was the format that the pros were playing, and they were generally netdecking the same lists that the pros were using. Not only that, but as soon as it was announced that there'd be some Wild tournaments, pros immediately began testing for Wild and a huge level of renewed interest followed.

    I think it's intrinsic in the general attitude of players. Obviously this doesn't apply to everyone.
  3. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I didn't realize that Abe Sargent was aware of our existence! Kind of makes me appreciate him more. I wonder if he was ever a member here, and who out there making a much bigger splash in Magic than we do here has posted at the CPA. Most prominent case is probably NorrYtt?
  4. turgy22 Nothing Special

    Yay! A guy who is best known for writing about Magic on the internet used our site as an example of how no one really cares about casual formats! We're famous! Yay!

    Regarding the article, I've always been bothered by this idea of "casual" being linked to formats. I've probably mentioned this many times before, but I think casual is more of a mindset, which can be applied to any format, just as I believe that any format can become overly competitive. I also think people can have fun playing casually or playing competitively, regardless of how homogeneous the decks may be. That's more of a product of the internet, where any significant breakthrough in a format is instantly shared around the world. People have a natural tendency to imitate success. Being personally averse to the homogeneity he references, though, is a big reason I only play limited formats any more. Also, I have no friends.

    I think there's a fair number of "famous" MTG people that are aware of this site (though I suspect most think it's completely defunct.) When I was writing regularly back in 2005 - 2006, I had some correspondence with a number of writers at the more prominent sites, usually initiated by me complaining about them stealing my ideas. I specifically remember Chris Romeo (who write for SCG) and Kelley Digges, but there may have been others.
  5. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I think the better example of that specific point would be (the actually defunct) Magic Deck Vortex. Ten years ago if I'd been seeking out wacky casual decklists and off-the-wall formats, I'd have gone there. But they were probably already waning in relevance even then.

    While I obviously can't speak for Abe Sargent, my interpretation was that the problem isn't that some format isn't casual enough or that there aren't enough casual formats, but rather that there are now fewer formats (fewer options) and that those formats are not really fostering casual play. I think the homogenization is caused by a confluence of factors, and the internet definitely plays into it, but it's complicated. I mean, the world wide web is older than Magic: the Gathering. It's not as though there was this game that was wholly untainted by the influence of the internet, and then the internet came showed up and wrecked everything.

    I think the important bit about breaking it up by format is that it can shed light on how options for gameplay have changed, and on the prospects of casual Magic within the different categories. I'd wanted to write articles on this stuff myself, but I find it to be a rather tangled mess. I think there are definitely factors that don't directly deal with casual gameplay, but which do affect the game as a whole. As just one example, the Extended format had its rotation system change, then change again, then it was supplanted by Modern, then it was fully retired as an official format. Now, as far as I'm aware, Extended was always strictly a hypercompetitive tournament format. I don't know of anyone who ever uttered the words, "I'm going to build some casual Extended decks." But the death of Extended did have effects on the game as a whole, and it's possible for those effects to have been either good or bad for casual Magic.

    That principle goes beyond just official formats. The extinction of white-bordered cards: good or bad for casual Magic? The changes to core sets: good or bad for casual Magic? Or what about the production of Commander preconstructed decks? The revision to the official reprint policy? Planeswalker cards? Creature power creep? Everything that's happened with core sets? Tournament data aggregation sites? MTGO stuff? Planechase? FNM? I could ask a lot of questions, but I'm not sure if I have meaningful answers.

    I just can't get used to 40-card decks. And a big part of the appeal of the game for me is to play a deck that does something more exotic and extreme, operating on a different axis to work its way to victory. It could be something competitive, like Vintage Dredge, or it could be something completely silly, like a coin flip deck. And Limited decks are almost always more straightforward. It's too bad, because otherwise, Limited would be more convenient for me. I do still have a few friends for some reason, but none that are still actively playing Magic.

    Off the top of my head...

    Rakso (Oscar Tan) used to be well-known in Vintage, back when Vintage was more prominent than it is these days. 13NoVa (Mike Solymossy) is active in Vintage. And NorrYtt (Ken Nagle) is a designer at WotC. But I'm sure there are several others I can't think of right now.
  6. turgy22 Nothing Special

    Maybe I misinterpreted the point of the article. My impression was not that there were fewer formats*, but that the existing formats were all stale (not sure if this is the right word) in such a way that no one could be bothered to play anything outside of a handful of proven decks.

    I didn't mean to imply that the internet ruined everything, but the ubiquity of it has certainly ramped up significantly in the past 20 years. In the mid 90's, you could surf the web and find other people with similar interests, but the amount of content and participants was infinitesimal compared to what's around today. I think the speed at which decisions on what the best deck choices are made nowadays leads to the homogenization that Mr. Sargent is complaining about. He mentions traveling to six different regions in the country and finding that everyone is basically playing the exact same decks. I just don't think that happens 20 years ago.

    *I believe the exact opposite is true, as the vast majority of formats, especially casual formats, never really go away.
  7. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    To be clear, I wasn't so much trying to rebut what you said, but more pointing out that this whole thing is a mess and that there are a lot of ways to look at it. I do think that there is a sentiment I've seen elsewhere, which I don't really think you espoused even if you did remind me of it, a sort of version of history in which Magic was in a certain place, and then the internet happened to it. Not so much that it ruined it, but that it took something that existed and changed it in a big way, not necessarily a ruinous one. But the reality is that the internet was already there. Like you point out, it was smaller back then, but perhaps more importantly than just growing, the nature of the internet and how it was used changed. And the game grew and changed alongside it. For some aspects of the game, I'd hesitate to say that they happened because of the internet or in spite of it. I mean, there was no pre-internet Magic, so it's a blurry distinction. But I do agree that a lot of the homogenization could fairly be attributed to the internet. It seems logical enough and I think there's precedent for it.

    That's a good point about the total number of possible formats growing. It's not strictly at odds with the narrative in the article, but it does sort of bring up the other side of the inevitable march of time: there are new things that didn't exist in the past, and the old things are still here. Conspiracy, for instance, is relatively new. And it's not as though it replaced some other thing. The old things are still there.
  8. Terentius The Instigator

    Widespread information dissemination, through the internet or otherwise, will definitely steer something toward homogenization. Same happened to the sport of mixed martial arts, and martial arts in general.

    I prefer to be a filthy casual. I have over 20 decks of Commander, block/standard, modern, legacy, and pauper formats (meaning they fit in the format, not that they are a recognized decklist of that format). I've played regular constructed, Commander, Archenemy, Politics, Two-headed Giant, the one with the Planes cards, Star, and what we called Hat games back in the day (free for all, but draw a name from a hat and you can only attack that person until he's defeated, then you can attack anyone). Having to adhere to predetermined lists and staples would definitely dull things for me.
  9. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Interesting example. I do think there are some strong parallels. Although I will point out that while both MMA and M:tG did homogenize and that some of the homogenization was probably for the same reasons, there are important distinctions. I think that a lot of the evolution of MMA was less about homogenization and more about a kind of arms race. There was a time period when wrestlers started getting good enough defense against submissions to win against one-dimensional BJJ submission experts and were able to sort of take over MMA by virtue of being able to take down and dominate their opponents. There was a time period when BJJ guys developed their kickboxing skills enough that they could pressure wrestlers with strikes and then capitalize with their submissions if the wrestlers became too hasty in going for takedowns. There was a time period when more judo/Greco-Roman specialized fighters started winning against hybrid kickboxing/BJJ fighters by closing the distance on the feet and controlling the fight from clinches and dominant ground positions. There was a time period when highly proficient striking specialists developed their grappling game to a point where they could escape and avoid attempts to take them down to keep them held in a clinch, keeping fights in striking range where they could dominate. There was the rise of younger, more generalist fighters who grew up with MMA and attempted to seamlessly blend fighting styles. Sure, there was overlap between these, and the system as a whole was more complicated, with highly skilled individual fighters showcasing styles that held a lot of attention but weren't necessarily as successful in the broader pool of athletes. And especially going back to the earlier days, there were different organizations with different demographics, different time lengths for rounds, different rules for ground and pound, different rules for gloves, different types and sizes of arenas, different refereeing patterns (which become especially important when it comes to how often fights on the ground are forcibly stood back up, and under what circumstances), different rules for weight classes, etc. Homogenization was definitely a thing that was happening in the history of MMA, but it was hugely complicated by other factors. I think the biggest trend was probably that once certain mixtures of styles, certain schools, or certain emphases started to become successful enough, other fighters would begin adapting to counter them.

    I guess when I think homogenization, I think of a whole bunch of different elements blending together until everything becomes increasingly similar. If I had no prior knowledge of MMA and I heard that it became homogenized, I would imagine that it was like there were, say, 20 different fighting styles and that over time as some of them proved less effective and others blended together, it got to be where there were fewer fighting styles until everyone was a generalist, fighting with the same style. And really, it seems more like if there were 20 different fighting styles (a number I made up just now and definitely not the real number), a few of them may have been discarded as impractical, but even more new ones were spawned as hybrid styles, and then some of the hybrids merged together, but many of the original non-hybrid styles stuck around and influenced things, and there was an ebb and flow of prevalence between styles. There definitely is homogenization, but it's a very different kind of homogenization from what I'd think of if all I heard was that there was homogenization. Ah, the limits of the English language.

    Hm, the pool of relevant MMA environments probably did undergo more homogenization. Nothing really like Pancrase or Vale Tudo anymore. Things like five-minute rounds, 4-oz. gloves, the dominant weight class system, a lot of the rules implemented in large organizations meant to appease specific state athletic commissions, etc. have become pretty standardized. But I suppose I was thinking more about different schools of martial arts and fighting styles than about the operations of the organizations themselves.

    Mostly, I just want to play Magic! But I do like variety. A sticking point for me is that I would prefer to play Magic, not Summoner Wars. I don't mean I don't like creatures or want them to be good. Not at all. But I like it if the environment allows for creatures to be used in different ways. Like you might have a deck that generates a huge board of over 200 creatures, or one that uses creatures to gain a bunch of life, or one that uses a bunch of activated abilities, or one that only uses creatures defensively, or one that tries to cheat big creatures out very quickly. If it's just a bunch of ordinary, unassuming creatures on both sides, wrestling over damage with evasion, tempo, and forcing trades in combat, I don't find it compelling. The game is called Magic and I want magical things to happen. I don't want to play Combat Math: the Gathering.
  10. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Nice that we were mentioned! And very unfortunate that we don't attract new members, not even initial applications to see what's here and then leaving - we've probably had one new member join in the past 5 years or so.

    I agree with turgy22 that casual is more a mindset than format (witness Oversoul's recent reminiscings of his Tribal decks) but since I don't really play anymore outside of here, I can't speak with any authority, informed or otherwise, to what's going on "out there". But more formats do bring in more types of play so if that's dwindling, that's a shame.

    On other point I wanted to touch on was Oversoul's comments on the Internet and MTG.

    My rememberances are probably sentimental as well, but yes, since I *was* around when MTG began, I can say the Internet had almost zero impact on it in the beginning. This was my senior year in college and while I'm not sure when the first browsers came along (and not going to look it up now), we certainly didn't have any Internet access as what was popularized by browsers and AOL back then. Maybe usenet and text bulletin boards. Heck, we just got email that year also. For those first couple of years, the only source of MTG was The Duelist and maybe those card pricing catalogs.

    I think that Dojo history article a few months back explained the growth of MTG and the role of the Internet pretty well, actually. While I'm pretty sure Magic might have been discussed on said usenet/bulletin boards/local groups, it didn't "explode" in knowledge globally until later. You certainly don't read those early Duelist interviews with Zak Dolan and other tournament winners that they scoured the Internet to get an idea of the meta so they could practice against it. :)

    So I would say the role of the Internet came about 4-ish years later, whenever the Dojo came about, around 97-98.
  11. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I was pretty young at the time and living in an area that was more tech-focused than most of the rest of the U.S. at the time (although, to be fair, also the same area where Magic started too). I didn't actually come to the game until a few years later, but based on what I've heard from people who did, I think your experience seems to be pretty normal. The internet wasn't a major factor in the game at first. That being said...
    • The game was produced by people who had often been working in their careers since before the web existed. Not saying they were old, stodgy, set in their ways, and such. Actually, with many of them coming from academic backgrounds, they may have been more immersed in the internet than most people were back then. But this was also a company that didn't have a website (small companies in the early 1990's that weren't specifically focused on web-based business usually didn't). To some extent, it wasn't on their radar. While the role of the web wasn't pervasive, it also took a different form. There was no homepage for the game, no websites for large merchants acting as virtual storefronts for Magic products, no sites encyclopedic presentation of information the game, etc. But I don't know how much that even matters, because the game itself was also quite small back then, and the sophisticated, regulated tournament structure wasn't in place. So on the one hand, there wasn't the vast wealth of information on every aspect of the game, like there is now. On the other hand, back then the game was pretty much strictly casual and, well, more like this site. So at that point, who cares? If the presence of the game online was small, well, so was its presence offline.*
    • The way the web was used back then was different. I guess I already vaguely mentioned this with the whole Web 2.0 vs. Web 1.0 thing. Back then, people didn't use the web as a resource so much as they used it to communicate. Just because of the digital architecture of whatever, the emphasis and options weren't the same. But there was some content. I think I mentioned it before in another discussion, but I really wish I'd saved the fascinating record, I think from 1993, of a theoretical breakdown attempting to analyze the optimal ratios of cards (mostly Black Lotus and Ancestral Recall) to get the most consistent first-turn kills. Mostly though, I think it was Usenet discussions. Small potatoes compared to what we have now, but it's not nothing.
    *You might contend that even though both the game as a whole and the web were both much smaller back then, that the game's relative presence on the web was disproportionately small for several years, that the game grew rapidly while its online footprint lagged behind. I don't know to what degree that was the case, but I suspect it was probably true, and may be at the root of your "almost zero" assessment. Intuitively, I don't see why the game's presence online shouldn't have skyrocketed along with the success of the game as a whole, but everything I've seen does point to a severe lag in that respect, with the "explosion" of a web presence not really starting until around 1998.

    To be fair, WotC deliberately obfuscated such information at the time, in what would certainly have been called anti-netdecking measures if anyone had thought to coin "netdecking" as a term back then. Mark Rosewater later wrote about this, as he was covering the finals. He had Zak Dolan and Bertrand Lestrée's decklists for his own use, but was forbidden from publishing them. In internet discussions, people pieced together decklists (either complete or very, very close to it) by collating and puzzling through all of the information that had been released.

    Yeah, The Dojo was a gamechanger with this stuff, although I contend that the stage was, in some sense, set for it. What I find odd about the history of this stuff isn't that it took a few years for Magic players to begin organizing and developing systems that gave the game a real presence online, but that it took Psylum to lead the way in the first place, rather than WotC doing so themselves. In the early 1990's, other companies were asking, "How can we use the web to enhance our business?" Even companies that were kind of old-fashioned were at least trying to innovate and not fall behind the curve. Meanwhile, with Magic, a game made by a company filled with nerds, they were apparently asking, "What techniques can we use to obfuscate our game and make it as mysterious as possible?"

    Really, while I don't know what's going on, I think this odd lagging behind on technology by WotC has been there the whole time. They didn't create Gatherer until 2004! And the archaic nature of the MTGO client is a common theme of jokes at the company's expense. Well, I suppose that's why Chris Cox was brought on board...
  12. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    I'm not disagreeing with any of that; I mentioned usenet myself.

    I certainly tried on my own :)

    I agree that it was odd for WOTC not to take the lead. Maybe Mark Rosewater or someone from back then will do an article and give insight on the thinking back then. Although maybe it was simply that they were figuring it all out as everyone else; the Dojo article noted that they were some tech-savvy people to begin with but they also learned, just that they put it all together at a faster rate. But once the Dojo folded, the WOTC forums were up and a lot of people migrated there (at least initially).
  13. Melkor Active Member

    I think an underrated part of this conversation about what defines casual Magic is that WotC has really driven the game in a direction so that casual and competitive Magic are more similar. There was a definite progression where you started out with big creatures, and then realized that control was just so much better, then you kind of had to make a choice about what kind of game you wanted to play. Now, you start out with creatures and you just work your way towards more efficient creatures and synergy. There isn't as much of a gap between casual and competitive now.

    And that is helped by the dissemination of information on the internet, but also I think the dissemination of cards. In the 90s, online marketplaces like eBay were just getting started, you were much more limited in what cards you could obtain, which encouraged casual groups to stay casual and use second best options or make janky combos.

    Back in the day, casual was more of a mindset, a desire to play the game a certain way, but as the game evolved, the casual and competitive moved towards each other, and the growth of internet information and purchasing enabled the spreading of decks and cards to enable it as well. With this change, people who still wanted to be "casual" created formats to kind of recreate the divide, but formats can only maintain themselves for so long before they become assimilated by the larger Magic culture and the direction of the game.
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  14. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I generally agree with the things that others have been saying in this thread, so I'm not really saying that anyone is wrong. But one thing that we haven't really emphasized, which Abe Sargent touched on and I think is key, is that some portion or aspect of the change he's concerned about is, in the scheme of things, kind of a recent development. Not that everything changed overnight, but this is decidedly different from "Things in 2017 are so different from the good old days of the mid-90's." In particular I'm thinking of this part...

    Obviously homogenization implies a progression, so we couldn't pinpoint an exact moment when we jump to this being a problem. I think it's multifaceted and some of the trends going on really were set in motion back in the 90's. But the stuff that he describes as causing the game to drift into a vague, poorly defined sense of malaise? I don't think it's that old. I think it's a confluence of factors and maybe it got started earlier, but it wasn't pervasive a decade ago, which is what he's trying to get at with the comparison of website content.
  15. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I've been wanting to present more of my own take on this, but I hesitate because there are so many possible factors in this discussion, with nothing so concrete that it can really be pinned down. I want to avoid interpreting these changes in a "back in the day" sort of way, or to place too much importance on changes from my own perspective as someone who sort of grew up with the game. There are a lot of things that I think aren't really the problem, but which might not help...
    • The power creep of midrange creature-based strategies. It wasn't just that creatures became stronger, but that midrange combat capabilities have been pushed while linear aggro and control utility are both de-emphasized (so that now Llanowar Elves is too good, but Channeler Initiate is apparently fine).
    • The relegation of some powerful deck policing tools to ancient history (Stone Rain, Counterspell, The Abyss, and tons of others).
    • The dismantling of a robust, built-in system for progression of new players to more advanced levels of play (they had a well-established, sensible three-tier complexity system for their products, and somehow managed to badly screw up every single release in the lowest tier, without exception, so they scrapped the entire system).
    • The weird circumstantial overreactions by WotC in their attempts to adjust the game, seemingly to improve sales. Most striking example to me is that after Mirrodin Block broke records and they had a slump in sales following it, they reasoned that Mirrodin Block had been too broken and had driven all the players away (which was apparently why they bought so much of it :confused:) ; this was at a time when tons of the players who had gotten into the game as teens years before had now graduated from college, and another wave of players who'd joined up a little later were entering college, and the current block, the one people weren't buying, had some of the crappiest crapfest turds of sets the company ever put out (Kamigawa Block). Not citing that particular example as a huge factor in what has happened since, but rather as an indication that WotC has historically used some extremely dubious guidelines that have affected their decisions when it comes to shaping the game.
    • The increased pushing of Standard at the expense of other constructed formats.
    • The increased focus on Booster draft at the expense both of other limited formats and of constructed play too. WotC R&D have made it clear that they do not merely make minor concessions toward enhancing the booster draft experience, but that it is the primary focus of their work, and that constructed gameplay, formerly known as Magic, takes a back seat.
    • Doubling down on the Reserved List.
    • Pushing Commander as a ubiquitous "casual" format at the expense of other options (it's not that a format can't become popular without hurting other formats, but when you feed a particular "casual" format with a formalized rule structure, preconstructed decks, a tailored ban list, official cards and products specifically designed for it, and general support, it shouldn't be surprising that everyone has a Commander deck and no one is building decks for casual Emperor games or whatever).
    But really, I think one of the most important factors in all this is that there's been a huge influx of new players over the past five or so years. And that's good! I wouldn't ever want to call that a problem. I've seen some curmudgeons who don't want to have to deal with new players, but I don't care for that attitude. However, these new players lack a lot of the context that people who have been around forever have. They've come to the game in a world where there aren't fun, off-the-wall variants for them to explore as they get a feel for the game, but where the main way to play is to go to FNM and grind Standard. They've come to the game in a world where old cards, which we once thought of as staples anyone would use, command price tags of $20, $30, $50, or even more, and on top of that the company has "promised" never to reprint some of them, so those cards and the environments they foster might as well not exist. They've come to the game in a world where Legacy might as well be Art League for how likely they are to buy into it, but where Standard gets extensive support and emphasis. And there are a lot of these people. Hence the calls for things like "Frontier." They want to keep using their cards outside of Standard, but they came into the game and were thrown into the tournament-focused world of Standard, so they're primed to build tournament decks, and a thousand dollars for a Modern deck seems crazy to a new player (also to me, for that matter).

    Probably everyone here experienced a time when we were learning the game and building decks with whatever cards we happened to own as new players. Some of us might even still own 60-card casual decks that we first put together in the 1990's, or at the very least we have fond memories of such decks. But when such a huge portion of the playerbase got their start being thrown into a gauntlet of Standard tournament play and booster drafts, being introduced to "casual" Magic via officially produced preconstructed Commander decks, their context for different options in gameplay is very different. While Abe Sargent's contention that it's a "satisficing" mindset causing homogenization, I'd specify that a lot of the mentality, probably most of it, is fostered by the environment under which most Magic players have spent pretty much the entirety of their Magic-playing time.
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  16. Shabbaman insert avatar here

    I'm fairly sure Rakso is how I got to this site. About the whole casual discussion, Wizards is actively pushing some more casual formats in the form of Archenemy, Planechase and Conspiracy. I can't say I've any experience with it, but it looks like fun. I'm considering the Planechase anthology, although it seems a lot of money.
  17. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    The only reason I didn't buy the Planechase Anthology was that I already owned everything in it from having purchased the old Planechase products. I think for anyone who likes casual Magic and didn't do that, Planechase Anthology is a very nice item to splurge on. You don't get the original 2009 decks, but it's still pretty good. Planechase is definitely one of the formats I'd like to get going for forum games here. And I'm a huge fan of Archenemy. I love how delightfully bombastic the scheme cards are.

    I liked the Conspiracy sets for their excellent reprints (especially the second one) and for their potential in cube drafts. Not that playing them as originally intended is bad, but it's not one of my favorites.

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