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Zygon
09-12-2013, 11:05 AM
It's very important for a TCG to have bad cards, usually commons and rares.

We've already seen quite a few bad rares, in fact it's decently likely we've seen 80-90% of the rares of the set. But we only have about half of the commons right now.

I've been playing with the draft sim a lot in the last week, and I notice that while there are quite a few bad commons, most of them aren't entirely horrible. For example Mangled Zombie is a vanilla 2-1 for 2. For Blood, that's not really that bad. But because about 80% of the commons we have will probably be considered the 'good' commons, it's bad in comparison. (Because strength of a card is always about what else is in the block/set)


So the question is. How do you feel about the high possibility that a lot of the upcoming cards are probably going to be pretty bad, to keep the power of the set/block in check?

MoikPEI
09-12-2013, 11:07 AM
I feel it's a low possibility.
Wouldn't want your first impression to be bland and boring then have the mass market write you off before you start.

Zygon
09-12-2013, 11:14 AM
I feel it's a low possibility.
Wouldn't want your first impression to be bland and boring then have the mass market write you off before you start.

Well that's the thing. There HAS to be bad cards, it's all very important when designing blocks/sets.

And just because a set has 50 bad commons, 100 mediocre commons and 50-75 good commons doesn't make Hex bland.

If you have all your best ideas in your first set, and try to make the entire set all the same power level, then there's no reason to get more sets for the block. Also then drafting balance becomes pretty weird, and it messes up a lot of things. It's really important to have bad cards in a set, otherwise you'll run into problems. If you want to read more about the reasonings about it, google search "When good cards go bad. MtG" and there's a few articles that go into detail about this.

MoikPEI
09-12-2013, 11:34 AM
Hex has a lot of synergistic cards.
A Mangled Zombie can be "good" but will be a weak pick for anyone going Orc or Shin'hare.
I think it's going to play out with two archetypes;
- Card is good on its own but does not belong to a synergy.
- Card is bad on its own but is eligible for powerful synergies.

I think it's also possible that a lot of the cards we have yet to see are bad-but-have-a-socket.

Zygon
09-12-2013, 11:38 AM
Hex has a lot of synergistic cards.
A Mangled Zombie can be "good" but will be a weak pick for anyone going Orc or Shin'hare.
I think it's going to play out with two archetypes;
- Card is good on its own but does not belong to a synergy.
- Card is bad on its own but is eligible for powerful synergies.

I think it's also possible that a lot of the cards we have yet to see are bad-but-have-a-socket.

Everything we've seen so far, at least. Of course they're going to show the good cards of the set, to keep us interested. But you're right. There will be some bad cards that won't be good till set 2 or 3, most likely because there will be more possible synergies. It's hard to know HOW MANY purposely bad cards there are going to be, but they are definitely going to be there. Expect a playset of "Staff of the *insert a shard*" that give 1 life whenever a card of that shard comes into play.

Zomnivore
09-12-2013, 11:46 AM
I think synergies is where its at.

If you can create unique paths to interesting mechanics. If you add value to crap cards by putting a synergy into them by way of a wonky rare or something, that's very thematic. You have a route to make those meh cards decent and some what desirable, and that "wonky rare" build around card desirable for anyone who got stuck with those cards.

It takes two meh things and adds an attribute to them, an out where you can find value and fun. So even if you have meh cards, you can add that one thing to make some interesting play happen.

Its one of those things that might not be important for the fresher sets, but if you got some nasty commons, you might want to salvage them and give them some value by playing that theme set that uses wonky combos....and who knows maybe you get some sort of value by playing those 'bad' cards and unlocking their art.

Hibbert
09-12-2013, 11:52 AM
Reading Rosewater's article about "bad" MTG cards doesn't give me the impression that a set needs categorically bad cards to preserve relative power among cards. I'd much rather see the cards that fill the lower end of the power curve be interesting and potentially useful in some other way, even if they lack the immediate usefulness and power of draft bombs or constructed chase rares.

Another thing that might help keep "bad" cards at a minimum in Hex is the existence of a few more play environments than Magic has. Both Hex and Magic have constructed, draft, and casual play. Hex will also have PvE(which will have plenty of different rulesets that vary by dungeon/raid) and keep defense. A PvP card that is useless for draft, and has only very limited constructed potential might end up being a clutch card in one of other formats.

Zygon
09-12-2013, 12:21 PM
Reading Rosewater's article about "bad" MTG cards doesn't give me the impression that a set needs categorically bad cards to preserve relative power among cards. I'd much rather see the cards that fill the lower end of the power curve be interesting and potentially useful in some other way, even if they lack the immediate usefulness and power of draft bombs or constructed chase rares.

Another thing that might help keep "bad" cards at a minimum in Hex is the existence of a few more play environments than Magic has. Both Hex and Magic have constructed, draft, and casual play. Hex will also have PvE(which will have plenty of different rulesets that vary by dungeon/raid) and keep defense. A PvP card that is useless for draft, and has only very limited constructed potential might end up being a clutch card in one of other formats.

This is wishful thinking for sure, but you're forgetting about the comparable aspect of it. A card is 'bad' when compared to a card that does the same job better. Not necessarily 'horrible' cards, but other cards simply existing make other cards not as good.

It's impossible to work around unless you have a whole set of cards that don't overlap roles, which is impractical, and even if that is done, it still doesn't mean that all cards are going to be played equally. Because not all roles are equal.

So it's easier to make purposely lower powered cards, to help even that out instead of having to resort to power creep sooner.

Make sense?

Aradon
09-12-2013, 12:41 PM
I never bought into the 'needs bad cards' concept. It's one area where I think MtG could improve. The only case I see where shock and lightning bolt examples of strictly better are acceptable is for variation in a given format. I'm fine with creatures being weaker for a while in a format, or with burn spells being awesome for a while. That sort of flux is just fine. What I don't agree with is blatant discrepancy in power levels along the rarity strata. There are far too many examples in MtG these days where mythics and rares are set apart from commons and uncommons by power level rather than complexity or niche-ness. The designers say, "Oh, it must be rare because it is so powerful that, at a lower rarity, it would disturb limited formats!" Instead of considering that maybe they should tweak the power level.

And I don't think that weaker/stronger cards is necessary for designing for the future, either. If you're looking to fill an exact same role (one-mana burn spell at instant speed, for example), use a reprint. If you're exploring new design space (one mana burn spell at instant speed with the new Escalation mechanic, for example), adjust the power level to be as comparable to the previous iteration as possible. If, due to granularity, you get something that's slightly weaker or slightly stronger, fine. That's just how it goes. (For example, Lightning Bolt does 3 damage at instant speed, but a similar spell at sorcery speed probably would only be fair to do about 3.3 damage; the granularity is not fine enough to make this variation.) But don't make a weaker spell just so that you avoid power creep. Make interesting variations where you can, and settle for reprints where appropriate.

Turtlewing
09-12-2013, 12:43 PM
So the question is. How do you feel about the high possibility that a lot of the upcoming cards are probably going to be pretty bad, to keep the power of the set/block in check?

Why would you assume that the unrevealed cards are on average worse than the ones they've revealed?

For all we know they've been showing us the "bad" cards and saving the good ones for release.

Zygon
09-12-2013, 12:49 PM
Why would you assume that the unrevealed cards are on average worse than the ones they've revealed?

For all we know they've been showing us the "bad" cards and saving the good ones for release.

Because you want to start low, and work your way high, where a lot of these current cards are really really good. Also why would they show their 'bad' cards first?

I assume because it's a lot more logical to keep the interest up by showing the better cards first. For example there's still tons of vanilla potential that's not out yet, because it's uninteresting. If this is the 'low' point then they're resulting in huge power creep within their own first set? Just doesn't make any sense.

Why do you assume that these cards are 'bad' when they're definitely not bad for the most part? Just to try to call me out?

arastor
09-12-2013, 12:55 PM
Why would you assume that the unrevealed cards are on average worse than the ones they've revealed?

For all we know they've been showing us the "bad" cards and saving the good ones for release.

That seems a little unlikely given that good marketing would have been to show off the "cool" (typically good) cards during the Kickstarter and Slacker Backer stages.

Showsni
09-12-2013, 06:56 PM
With the addition of Equipment Hex can mitigate a lot of these problems. Say they have a mediocre common, but give it some really awesome equipment - then, even though the card is fulfilling the less good in Limited slot, it's still got the potential to be a sought after card. There's no point making plain bad all round cards - all I hope to see is that each card has a situation where it's playable. Whether as part of a silly combo deck, or with the equipment in a PvE deck - I just hope there aren't any cards that literally have no use anywhere.

jetah
09-12-2013, 07:08 PM
*waits for the 5/0/1 Butt Stallion. only description is "it's pure diamonds"*


**would love to see butt stallion make an appearance.. but I'm not holding my breath! Crypto call gearbox, stat!

HyenaNipples
09-12-2013, 09:32 PM
I think it would be more accurate to say that weak cards are inevitable in a TCG.

Unhurtable
09-13-2013, 12:18 AM
I think it would be more accurate to say that weak cards are inevitable in a TCG.

Essentially this.

I don't agree that they are important, but I would agree that they are essentially inevitable.

Deathfog
09-13-2013, 12:25 AM
No value in creating throw away cards. Easier to just save the money on artwork and just make the packs smaller and/or sets smaller. Making bad cards to give people more picks they won't use in draft isn't much of a reason either.

HyenaNipples
09-13-2013, 12:41 AM
While most Magic: The Gathering players will likely prefer Rosewater's original...

This article, "When Hex TCG Cards Go Bad," (http://www.utopianchaos.com/when-hex-tcg-cards-go-bad/) is quite pertinent to this discussion. Pretty much ended my career of criticizing the design of cards.

jetah
09-13-2013, 08:01 AM
I can understand making 'bad cards' for print. you want filler and you want people to buy more cards. but I don't see the point in a digital deck. At least with the crafting system even bad cards still have a use.


and by 'you' i mean the developers.

[edit]
Ok after reading the article, I can understand that card power is relative to its' peers.