How necessary is the rare card?

Discussion in 'CPA/WOTC Magic Issues' started by Purple_jester, Aug 22, 2000.

  1. Purple_jester New Member

    I am not referring to specific rare cards in decks, per se. I am talking about the necessity of the rarity concept.

    Does the game of Magic require there to be rare, uncommon and common cards? Does it need rarity at all? Will players suffer if all cards had the same rarity (common)? Let's first ignore the fact that this is a money-making scheme. We all know that the Magic-playing population needs to buy more packs to get 4 of a rare card. What I am asking is whether or not the game would suffer if there were no rare cards.

    Think about it. All cards are restricted to 4 per deck, unless banned or restricted. Rarity does not apply there, so why should it logically apply to packs. We all wish we had 4 Ports or Masticores or Morphlings. Wouldn't we players all be happier if we could play with the cards we want without having to spend so much?

    Heck, this is why computerized versions like Apprentice are so popular. They allow us to play with the decks we want, no compromises, no extreme cash expenditure. I myself would love to try playing a Tinker deck someday, just to see how much fun it actually is. I can't do that for real because over 1/3 of the cards are rares.

    Rares wouldn't be so bad if they were all useful, but they're not. R&D follows the same rules for rares as they do for commons and uncommons: 10% very useful, 15% moderately useful, 25% somewhat useful, and 50% crap. I am not the only Magic player who has said, "This card never deserved to be rare." "WOTC makes it a habit to print crappy rares." "Good god, not another Wintermoon Mesa!"

    Would you mind so much if someone had 4 Ports, when it was relatively simple to get 4 Ports of your own? Wouldn't it be nice if a Port could be had for only a dollar or so? And wouldn't it be nice if players could sort out pricing not by rarity, but entirely by demand? Regular trading cards do that. Why not CCG's?

    Of course, upon reflection, it can be argued that rares are indeed necessary. The pursuit of the unattainable is what drives man (and woman :)). The pursuit of the ideal deck and the rares it needs may be what's keeping the majority of non-wealthy Magic players interested in the game. Would this be true in your case? There are some who believe that Magic would quickly become a dull game if you could have any card you wanted.

    These are just some of my thoughts. Any opinions? ;)
  2. rkoelsch Angel Boy

    When Magic first started there was no 4 per deck. One of the things rarity was supposed to control was underpowered cards. When Magic started they did not envision people buying boxes of booster packs. You would buy a starter and a couple of boosters and play with those. The game suffered from its own popularity.
    The other thing to consider is it is a Collectible Card Game. The rare slots are set up to make owning a full set more difficult.
    I think what Wizards need to do is stop making cards like Rishadan Port, Masticore and others that every deck needs 4 of to be competetive. Or make them common like blastoderm even though they are hard to come by you can get them with a little effort and not to much money. Just some thoughts
  3. Mr_Pestilence Wumpus

    "Rarity" is what makes the game "collectible". I personally would prefer to buy complete sets of cards, rather than chasing rares by buying packs.

    This way, collectors could buy the set (at say, $79.99), and those who want 4 of everything could buy 4 sets, or trade for the cards that other people don't want.

    WotC could still sell boosters of randomly assorted cards, but each card would exist in the same quantity, and therefore rarity would determined randomness rather than design.

    This would also let market economics determine what is valuable - what would you rather have - 4 Blastoderms or 4 Search for Survivors or other worthless rares? I know what I want! Even so, collectors such as myself have to hold our nose and try to get every card, good and bad.

    Oh well, everybody needs at least one bad habit.
  4. DÛke Memento Mori

    I find myself disagreeing with Purple Girl! That's "rare":).

    Back to the topic.
    Personally, I would like to have the cards rated as they are now. Rares, Uncommons, and Commons. Like MrP said, Magic, and infact, all CCG's are "collectible" because of the fact of the rarity.

    Sure, it's nice to have your own 4 Masticore, but, would Masticore really fit a common's spot? Here: if all cards were equal in rarity, what would they put in booster packs? Sure, the players would be happy for having "easily collected cards", but what about the collectors? Would realy be a hoby collecting all common cards?
    I don't collect Magic cards, but I do collect X-Men cards, and just as Magic, they have rarity. I would be more than disappointed to see that someone easily collects the whole X-Men set! If you like the hobby that persue it. Making all cards easy to find makes the hobby, in this case, cards, so easiy to find, that it's not even a hobby anymore.

    Without rarity, players would be happy, but collectors would be pissed off (I would).
    With rarity, players (like you Purple Girl:)) would be unhappy, but collectors would find it more challenging and fun to find the cards.

    It's all about different view points.
    I guess you don't collect cards Purple Girl, do you? You just play the game:).

    That was my 23.5 cents.
  5. Erbrich New Member

    Here is my view.

    The rarity does help make the cards more collectible and worth more from a collectors stand point.

    The rarity also affects game play. The more powerful cards are harder to come by ensuring that not everyone will have 4 of the ALL-POWERFUL cards from the set. If they handed out the most powerful cards as easily as commons like Pacifism and Dark Ritual, there wouldn't be the fun of trading and there would be many copies of the same deck being played because everyone can get their hands on the needed cards instead of having to make due with two or three, thus having to change the format of the deck.

    It also helps for draft play to ensure that everyone has an equal chance at powerful and less powerful cards.

    Erb
  6. FoundationOfRancor The Gunslinger

    Wizards would say the rarity is for drafting and sealed.
  7. Apollo Bird Boy

    Well, I don't know anyone that collects Magic. I have never met a single person that does. I would love for there to be equal rarity. The current rule does ensure that the same deck isn't played by everyone; by the same token, it ensures that there are always players who don't stand a chance. If they would create an environment without all-powerful decks, it wouldn't be an issue. And as for sealed deck and draft, all it does is ensure that the person that happens to crack open the Morphling will automatically win 2/3 of there games.

    But if you think Magic rarity is bad, you haven't played MLB Showdown. You get 9 cards instead of 15 for the same price as a Magic booster, and you only have a 1/3 chance of pulling a rare! And the rare cards are all more powerful than the commons, so you need them to win. If that isn't terrible, I don't know what is.

    Apollo
  8. galtwish Loudmouth

    Wizards is in the business of making money. Therefore a rarity structure exists. For every small expansion, there is roughly a 70% chance of getting a certain rare in a booster box. Urza's Destiny is a good example of how Wizards makes its money. For every tournament level deck you faced in the past nine months, there were approximately five boxes of Destiny sold to yeild the 4 Masticores, Rectors, Treacheries, Negators. etc you find in a deck. Therefore Port and Morphling are actually a little bit pricier, due to being from a large expansion, therefore even more boxes had to be cracked to get those premium cards.
    Wizards also needs to maintain limited playability, as a lot of tournaments are run in this format. If Masticore was common, you'd never play with Simian Grunts or Thornwind Faeries, two excellent cards from that block. If Treachery was common, everyone would Draft Voice of reason and Flicker like they were gold. Commonality introduces an element of controlled randomness to limited, where a flat commonality scheme would destroy limited as a format. It wouldn't be any fun to play Sealed deck where your opponent could have 2-3 Cursed Scrolls (I actually played in a sealed deck tournament against someone with two Scrolls. The were defeated in the Finals because the opponent had two Shatters and an Aftershock in the SB. No fun.)

    Erik
  9. Sleepy Narcoleptic CPA Member

    i wish all the cards had the same rarity. i don't consider myself a collecter. i'm a player.
  10. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Okay, what I see here are two views coming at the issue from different fundamental understandings.

    The first is that rarity needs to exists because that's how Wizards set it up in the beginning and they didn't see that people would be buying boxes of Magic cards.

    That's fine, but what I was getting from Purple Jester's question was that theoretically, now that Magic is established, could rarity be abolished, previous cards notwithstanding?

    In other words, "start" a new set with ALL commons, with only commons from previous sets being reprinted?

    Obviously, tourney play would have to be tweaked (do we allow this set in the older Type where rarity still exists, or create a new Type 3 where only this new set and on are allowed? Type 4 to combine them? Whatever...)

    I guess it's how you want the cards to interact. Probably if you want to use an all common set with older cards, it wouldn't be feasible (or will it?) If it's truly stand-alone, it might work.

    The arguments that rarity needs to exist for Limited and Sealed make more sense. Those formats are getting back to the original idea of Magic.

    But I guess you'd have to try an all common format of Sealed or Limited to see if the concept would work.

    My opinion? I like the rarity in concept because it theoretically DOES encourage more interaction between players by trading (no one says you have to buy oodles of boxes to get the cards), despite the price increase of popular cards.
  11. Dune Echo CPA Founder, Idea Man

    Okay, I AM a collector and a player and here's my take: I think that it sucks that I had to buy all the Masticores I own, I hate it when I get smacked by a Bargain deck because I can't afford the more pricey cards for my Stompy deck, and it's horrible that I feel damned lucky to pull my only Rishadan Port from the one box of MM I ever got and still can't afford to go buy a Squee, Goblin Nabob.

    But on the whole flip side of this whole enchilada, Magic wouldn't be Magic without the rare card. Think just how much more awe-inspiring it is to hear about the "legendary" cards: the Power Nine. Without the rare, what would Magic be? Where would all the formats have gone?

    Basically, I believe that the rare is what drives Magic more than anything else. How many people have tried to break Flicker, Carnival of Souls, Complex Automaton simply because they're rares? How many decks go about trying to break commons as often as the above? Not very. Basically the rare is what makes the game because you want them. You want a "rare" card because it's rare, hard to get, and it has a certain prestige along with having it. Think about it.

    Regardless of how much you spend, how much you play, how much you want a card, the rare will always be at the top right? You rip open a pack and you want to know right away, is it a crap rare or one of those truly good cards? How many people here have a favorite card that is rare. A good example of this is Zadok with Greater Good. He has made so many decks because the card was maligned and he enjoyed playing with it. And yet it was rare and hard for anyone else to copy his decks, but because it was a rare card, some of us may have wanted to try to see what fun we could have, BECAUSE it was rare.

    (As a sidenote to Zadok: Talked with a guy on Wednesday and he played Secret Force with Thorn Elementals and Greater Good for card drawing. Said it was one of the most fun decks he's ever played. Also played Lumbering Satyr in the sideboard for mirror matchups, interesting idea, eh?)

    Basically, I think the rare is necessary to capture our desire to invest and thus to fund WotC to make more cards, which in a sense is a vicious cycle. Just remember, it is very hard to collect Magic on a limited budget, but the challenge is also a part of it. But the desire to see those cards in action is what the player is all about.
  12. Gizmo Composite: 1860

    I think it is a little cynical to see rares as a money-making scheme. You have to remember what the roots of Magic were, back in 1993, when NOBODY expected the game to take off in the way it did. Rares existed simply so that the more powerful cards WOULDN`T dominate the environment. It would be boring if everybody had 4 Shivan Dragons, and 4 Time Walks, so you make those rare and the games between people are more interesting because one player has a single Shivan, another player a single Time Walk, another player a single Wrath OF God, and so on.

    The original concept for Magic is much closer to what we know of as Limited play today, people would have their decks restricted by the small number of cards that they owned.

    You are right to say that in many cases the existance of powerful rares IS a problem as it creates an elitist format where the guy with $100 to spare gets four Ports, and the other guy gets none. But the popularity of limited Magic is such that the system won`t change until about 2005, when Magic will go entirely electronic and the actual use of cards will die out.
    The future of Magic IS electronic, WotC don`t like it, Carta Mundi like it even less, but it IS the future.

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