What We Learned—You Make the Card (March 18)

Hello reader! What We Learned is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. The goal is to take some of the events and articles polluting the Magic world, strip out the chaff (tournament reports, game theory, economics) and give you our superior opinion. Complaints are encouraged.

For the fourth time in the game’s history, a Magic the Gathering card will be designed by crowd-sourcing as Wizards presents You Make the Card 4. If there was ever a successful marketing campaign for a new expansion set it was YMTC. Nothing gets people more invested in a product than actually investing their time into a product. That’s just simple marketing science right there. The fact that we haven’t had a YMTC since Coldsnap is actually a huge surprise to me, but I’m glad it’s returned.

The previous three entries have fallen into three distinct categories. First we got a fun card for Timmy and multi-player formats in the creation of Forgotten Ancient. Next, the world put together one of the most powerful artifacts printed since the modern border when Crucible of Worlds was added to Fifth Dawn. Finally, we were pretty let down when Vanish into Memory didn’t become a competitive staple, but the event was still highly engaging.

The first vote of this year’s YMTC was for the card’s type. The public had five options to choose from, taken directly from the original page:

  • Artifact: These colorless permanents represent powerful magic items.
  • Creature: These spells summon magical monsters or people who battle on your behalf.
  • Enchantment: These spells remain on the battlefield, warping the nature of the conflict.
  • Instant/Sorcery: These are spells that have single effects and then go to the graveyard.
  • Land: These cards lay the foundation of a deck’s mana base. Lands can have special abilities that are deceptively powerful because they don’t take up a “spell slot” in a deck.

Voting took place at both DailyMtg.com and over on Twitter using the hashtag #ymtc1. Here are some choice tweets from the week:

Most of the early support was for a new land, and I can’t say that surprised me. Plenty of powerful effects have been seen on lands and they tend to be a fan favorite. But, another surprising card type made a late push and forced a run-off in week two:

You Make The Card 4 – Card Type
Land 23564 26.56%
Enchantment 23538 26.53%
Creature 20744 23.38%
Artifact 10511 11.85%
Instant/Sorcery 10356 11.68%
Total 88713 100.0%

I for one was definitely not expecting Enchantment to make it into double-digit voting, but it did, and very nearly won it all. With only 26 votes separating the top two finishers a run-off is certainly in order. So which type should you vote for?

Land is enticing for obvious reasons. Lands are free to play and can have incredibly powerful effects across a variety of formats, such as Maze of Ith, Inkmoth Nexus and Academy Ruins. However, Lands also take up valuable resource space in your deck if they don’t produce the colors of mana you need, or if there are restrictions on that mana. For example, Bazaar of Baghdad was original thought to be too weak because it didn’t tap for mana, effectively resulting in you losing a turn for playing it. Meanwhile, rainbow lands like Reflecting Pool and Gemstone Mine have seen a lot of high-level play.

In the other corner, not to be discounted, is the Enchantment type. There was a time in Magic’s history when enchantments were the most feared of all types of cards. Necropotence, Yawgmoth’s Bargain, Land Tax, Survival of the Fittest, Moat and Hive Mind are some examples of powerful enchantments from throughout the history of the game. Recently though, Enchantments have mostly been relegated to the realm of sideboard material such as Rest in Peace or Leyline of the Void. Could it be time for enchantments to make a triumphant resurgence?

I guess we’ll find out in a week.

The Quick Hits

  • Jules Robins opens this week by blowing my mind with a Mishra, Artificer Prodigy deck… for the Commander format. [Gathering Magic]
  • Heather Meek discovered Vintage this week. Another victory for the best constructed format. [LegitMTG]
  • The Rosewater Rumble came to a close last week and MaRo reflected on the results. [Making Magic]
  • Want to get into cubing but don’t have a lot of disposable income? Nassim Ketita has a guide for you! [Gathering Magic]
  • I spent last week talking about Magic’s digital past and this week Travis Woo looks to its future. [Woo Brews]
  • In honor of Magic’s 20th Anniversary, its creator had a few words to say on its origins. [Richard Garfield]
  • Jim Davis came up with one word to make you a better Magic player and no, the answer isn’t “cheating.” [StarCityGames]
  • Following up on talks from a few weeks ago, John Beety has an interview with Helene Bergerot on Organized Play [StarCityGames]
  • The new MTGO Beta client is live. Even I downloaded it. Sweet Avacyn’s Pilgrim promo guys. [DailyMTG]
  • Lowry has some thoughts on awareness and playing Magic. It’s almost zen-like. [TCGPlayer]
  • Nick Vigabool looks at the words behind the names of Magic cards. [Gathering Magic]
  • Sick of It returned this week and Sperling hasn’t missed a step. [Channel Fireball]

Wallpaper of the Week

If you dig angels then this week’s desktop-sized offerings of Angelic Skirmisher are for you! The depiction of an angel is very nicely done here, from the wings to the ornate armaments it feels very divine. It’s also refreshing to have some quality fantasy genre artwork of a female subject that isn’t incredibly slanted on the objectifying end of the scale. That said, I feel more confused about the action in the scene than I am inspired by the charging angel.

Grade: B+

The Week Ahead

We’re heading up to Boston for PAX East this weekend where I plan to be live-tweeting the Magic the Gathering Panel discussion. Last year they announced Return to Ravnica to great applause at PAX East so this year I expect them to top that by announcing the highly anticipated Return to the Return to Ravnica. Also, I will be trading cards for Chandra pins. Hit me up.

10 Responses to “What We Learned—You Make the Card (March 18)”
  1. Jon Algeo says:

    Only been around since Scars of Mirrodin, so this is my first time seeing this competition. Thanks for reporting on it. And go enchantment!

    • Rich Stein says:

      I’m leaning towards enchantment myself. Hopefully we end up with something useful though, and not another unplayable bulk rare enchantment like so many of them these days.

      Then again, if it turns out awful we only have ourselves to blame.

  2. Li Xu says:

    I voted for Creature to appease my inner Timmy, though I love the prospect of a competitive, non-aura enchantment. When’s the last time we had one of those? Pyromancer’s Ascension?

    • Rich Stein says:

      I like to think Wild Defiance was “competitive” but I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who ever really had competitve success with it. I could be exaggerating but I’m not. Intangible Virtue was obliterating block constructed on MTGO and was banned ahead of GP Anaheim, but it never translated into Standard success.

      So the answer to your question is Tempered Steel. Hoo boy.

      • Steven Stadnicki says:

        Depending on what you mean by ‘competitive’, Triumph of Ferocity saw a fair amount of SB play as an efficient card-drawing engine against Esper Control when that deck was on top of the heap for a while. It’s not a main-deck card because there are just too many midrange Thragtusk-y decks running around out there, but it’s still decidedly competitive.

      • Rich Stein says:

        I hadn’t thought about SB cards. In addition to Triumph of Ferocity we could also consider Rest in Peace and Stony Silence. Also, I don’t think we even thought about a card like Oblivion Ring which is a non-aura enchantment that saw a significant amount of competitive play.

  3. Justin says:

    There’s also Blind Obedience and Detention Sphere

  4. danaflops says:

    I am on team enchantment, myself. I love the type and I am really happy with the way wizards has been pushing them for the last year or so. I’m hopeful we end up with something really cool(like, crucible cool) this time.

    • Rich Stein says:

      I feel like Enchantment has always been a pretty powerful card type. Black and Red have no way to handle Enchantments and Blue can only remove them temporarily or counter them. Their heyday was certainly back in the time of Necropotence and Yawgmoth’s Bargain but there have always been tournament decks that hinge on key enchantments such as Astral Slide, Hive Mind, and Tempered Steel.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] to crowdsource the redesign of the HotC site/logo—any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Rich Stein covered the new “You Make the Card” promotion and Jess Stirba posted part two of her […]

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