Jester’s ReCap 22: Buy-A-Box Promos, The Twins, GDS 3 Finale, and M19 Spoilers Blake Treleaven June 19, 2018 Jester's reCap Hello Again Magic Community, Welcome back to the Jester’s ReCap, a source of Magic news that does no research, rarely corrects itself and mostly decides what to discuss based on the writer’s personal preference. So…the Fox News of Magic, then. Ugh. I’ve never looked at it that way before. I need a shower. But before I clean up, let’s wade into some internet sewage shall we? MTGO SUCKS Magic Online sucking is not new, of course. It sucks as much today as it did yesterday, or a year ago, or a decade ago. It’s actually fairly impressive. Magic could be described as a math formula it is so consistent. If you look at it as such, Total Suckage remains constant. If the network gets more stable, the system has to hog more resources. If you fix one mechanic or specifically bugged card, another has to be a steaming shit-pile at launch. It’s like the beautiful balance of an Algebra equation. And this isn’t some bizarre coincidence. This appears to be a universal fact. Computers, our community, and of courem the game of Magic itself has seen incredible evolution over the past 15 years. But MTGO has always remained on the razor’s edge. Just good enough that people continue to play, just broken, expensive and ugly enough that we always feel ashamed of it. That can’t be chance. That can’t even be a concentrated effort on the part of some developer. I think we might have stumbled on a fundamental force here, like Electromagnetism. We could use this. First, install MTGO on a NASA flight computer. Then purposefully bug every card, replace every sound effect with an air horn, screw up all the image resolutions, make it so no card art actually loads and make it cost $1000.00 to download updates. If my hypothesis holds true, MTGO’s Total Suckage will balance that by hyper-optimizing the computer’s resource management. We’ll be on Mars by Christmas. Buy-A-Box Promos Crash and Burn in Completely Predictable Manner So…that didn’t take long, eh? When Firesong and whatever was announced as a Buy-A-Box Promo, I was about the last person on Earth to correctly point out what a god awful idea it was. It was a long line to do so, and I only produce these articles every two weeks. Still, even I thought WOTC might be able to string together two of the damn things together before the community got sick of their shit. Instead, they printed a 7-mana instant-speed Time Walk with upside and made folks buy an entire booster box to get a hold of one. It’s not that this card is destined to be a Standard staple, but the fact is that it was more than exciting enough to get players bristling at the idea of having to purchase an entire box to get one. It sucks being right about bad news, but it sucks even worse when I was only one of about a million people to totally call it. It’s not like I’m especially clever WOTC, when I notice something is screwed up most of the Magic Community is already pretty much bitched-out. Did you not ask even one player what they thought? Who was the focus test on this? What does that person look like? WOTC Marketing: Thanks for coming in today, Horrible Person. So, first question, how would you feel about special promo cards available only to those who pre-order an entire booster box. Horrible Person: I heartily endorse that idea, and see no way in which is could backfire. WOTC Marketing: Even though we’ve said in the past that we wouldn’t do that? Horrible Person: You’re a toy company, no one has any expectations of integrity from you. This is the same industry that told people Furbies would learn stuff. WOTC Marketing: Really?! Great! And what if we made the cards genuinely desirable? Horrible Person: Well, it would hardly sell more boxes otherwise. WOTC Marketing: Exactly! Wow, you really get us, Mr. Horrible Person. Have you done any marketing before? Horrible Person: Absolutely, I used to work in game marketing. I’m the reason Akklaim once offered to buy advertising space on real people’s gravestones? I also did the “simulated terror attack” for that Call of Duty launch. Then, I moved on to beer commercials. I worked for Bud Light! WOTC Marketing: Really? Which Campaign? Horrible Person: The impossibly rape-y one. Get it together WOTC, pull your buy-a-box promos ASAP. “The Twins” Was Not Very Good So there was a very interesting, very ambitious story up recently that showed that Ugin and Nicol Bolas are twin hatchlings. It also showed us something about the birth of Elder Dragons. It also showed us a quick look in on Tarkir and some insight into what made Bolas in to the scourge of the Multiverse he is today. If only all smug assholes had that, “I watched my infant sister be brutally hunted and murdered moments after achieving sentience” excuse. There’s just a couple of problems with this story. First, nothing much really happened in it. The arc of the story is, some dragons wake up, one is killed, the others learn from it. There’s a lot of character and world-building going on, but as a stand-alone story or chapter it was pretty weak. Second, Ugin and Bolas are so old and so powerful that this moment doesn’t feel as formative as it might have been for, y’know, mortal things. So despite a significant amount of effort being put into defining a relationship, it’s not really a great character piece. When we look at the great monsters or heroes of history, most academics frown upon the “Let’s really dive in on the first 30 seconds they were alive” aspect. See how Attila the Hun really wanted that rattle, but then his Mom took it away from him? Boom — half the world conquered. Way to go, Mrs. The Hun. Finally — and I fully admit this is a personal gripe — this is a divinely-gifted dreamvision, of a flashback, told as an aside. That is a bullshit way to frame a story. You introduced two new characters (who are twins as some kind of parallel, or maybe just a fake-out?) just so one of them could see stuff happening way in the past to two characters we do know, but would never recognize in the vision if they didn’t tell us their names. That is wasteful and messy construction. That might be an unpopular opinion, I’m sure there are people who loved that story. That’s what makes this world great. People have the unshakeable right to be obviously wrong. Then they also have the right to yell at me in the comments. Freedom is grand. Great Designer Search 3 Ends is a Completely Predictable Manner Ari won. You might remember Ari as the guy who was comfortably ahead the entire time, whom all the judges seem to really like and who was genuinely qualified for the position. Turns out game shows and reality TV tend to be stupid on purpose. When your little spectacle is an actual job interview, it tends be less about drama and more about making logical and sound decisions. Stupid real life and its boring pragmatism. Still, the event was fun and new blood in the card creation pool is always a good idea. Ari, if you’re reading this (and statistically, you aren’t) maybe bring up the whole “Buy-A-Box Promo” thing with Marketing on your second day, you know, just to get off on the right foot. M19 Spoilers Again Skeletons definitely need some love as a tribal theme, but with Regeneration quickly heading to the scrap heap of history, I have no idea what actually ties them together. I guess they do the weird “indestructible and becomes tapped” wording from Drudge Sentinel? Seems wordy, but maybe we’ll all adapt? Alternatively, they could gain indestructible whenever their controller makes a terrible “bone” pun? Thought you could attack my Manor Skeleton, did you? I’m sure this will be a learning experience. Let’s see what the outcome of this combat can Talus. Tons to unpack here. First, despite sounding like it was named by a third grader on a sugar-rush, there actually IS a dinosaur called the Gigantosaurus, and it’s primarily from what is now England and the North Sea. So, not only is this a dinosaur, it’s a British dinosaur. Heck yes. Cheerio, old man. Would you mind terribly if I indulged in a spot of tea, a nibble of a crumpet and just a few more lazy comedic stereotypes before I crush you and eat you? Excellent, old bean. Also, it grows all new teeth every sixteen days? Holy shit. Forget lumber or bricks, every home on this plane needs to be built out of dinosaur teeth. I realize this is a world of Magic and Wonder, WOTC, but when you throw me a little factoid like that, all I can think is how energy efficient this thing’s digestion must be. My brain is tangled into knots trying to figure out an ecosystem that could produce enough meat for this thing. And before any smart guys remind me that sharks in our world can grow teeth even faster, those are mostly tiny filter-feed teeth. This thing has horse-teeth! I mean, teeth the the size of a horse, not that it’s a Julia Roberts lookalike. Finally, Force of Nature is sad. Again. You know, unlike all those timid and shy Minotaurs. And that’s it for me this week. I am super sleep-deprived so hopefully the madness didn’t overwhelm the method this time around. Let me know what you thought in the comments and whatever you do, don’t call me the Fox News of Magic. I enjoy negative comments almost as much as the positive ones, but some lines cut too deep. Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName Email Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.