Monday, April 7, 2014

New Player Perspectives: Interlude

[New Player Perspectives is the ongoing story of my non-gamer girlfriend's introduction to Magic.]

One of Freyja's piano students, upon discovering that his teacher was learning to play Magic, excitedly volunteered to build her a deck. She brought in the box of several hundred miscellaneous commons and uncommons that I've been using as raw materials. During his sibling's half-hour lesson, the happy student came up with this concoction. I post the following decklist as a testament to our woefully inadequate understanding of what Magic players like.

Bant Aggro
3 Forest
2 Golgari Guildgate
1 Haunted Fengraf
1 Unknown Shores

1 Agent of Horizons
2 Lagonna-Band Elder
1 Leafcrown Dryad
3 Scorned Villager
1 Seacoast Drake
1 Setessan Griffin
1 Staunch-Hearted Warrior
1 Triton Shorethief
1 Yoked Ox

2 Aqueous Form
1 Battlewise Valor
1 Commune with the Gods
1 Glimpse the Future
1 Ordeal of Nylea
1 Feudkiller's Verdict


  1. I love the addition of Golgari Guildgate. I really want to ask why. Is it just cool looking? Is it because it does what both a Swamp *and* a Forest does, so of course it's better? Did he think he might want to add black spells and ended up not bothering to revisit the lands?

    1. I think the mana system is something that is pretty hard for new players to really understand, which is a huge reason why we don't see multicolor in core sets.

    2. Yeah, I agree. Not because gold cards are hard to grasp conceptually, but because evaluating their strength is nontrivial. For example, a beginner won't immediately intuit that RG is harder to cast than 1R or 1G, but usually easier than RR or GG. Also, the different burden that different casting costs place on the mana base is hard to evaluate.

  2. What was Freyja's take of the deck?

    1. She hasn't had a chance to look through it. Foolishly, I already told her my opinions instead of keeping my big mouth shut and offering to play with or against it.

    2. It's like you have no commitment to The Prime Directive.
      Or, like you are a Magic player.

  3. Glimpse the Future finally finds a home. (:

    1. I know, right? Such great art and flavor text...

  4. I'm pretty interested in the size of the deck: 32 cards. The ratio of lands to spells is actually pretty close to "correct", so I'm led to assume the deckbuilder picked ALL of the spells they wanted and then added lands.

    1. UPDATE: I have been informed that the box of cards Freyja took with her only had a few lands in it. So, the constraint may have gone the other way around! That may explain the tiny deck size, three colors, and inexplicable guildgates. But it certainly doesn't explain all the card choices...

    2. She told him that she had more lands at home, but I guess he just really wanted to build a complete deck?

    3. Hmm, well that does make a bit more sense now and might even explain the Scorned Villagers in a three-color deck with a low curve. The rest of the card choices seem plausible given less practiced card evaluation skills and trying to pick individual cards rather than a game plan.