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 Post subject: Concept Tournament Advise
AgePosted: 2013-Jan-02 3:36 am 
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Initial Concept: players design their own commanders, build decks around them, and compete for some prize (or maybe not, who knows?). Please bear with me and continue reading, because I don't believe this statement by itself will produce any kind of reasonable tournament.

The idea for this came suddenly, and I've been recently working out bugs to see if this is even possible. It started as a brain child of a store owner and myself, and he left it to me to figure out more details. He has been having trouble getting people interested in my area for formats outside of Standard and Limited, and recently successfully held a Duel Commander tournament with a first place prize of a Commander's Arsenal (I didn't approve of the tournament at all: used an obsolete version of the "French" banlist which allowed some players to take advantage of new players to EDH who didn't know any better, particularly a judge who supported those rules in an effort to take advantage of people; the store owner didn't really know any better, and by the time I figured out what was going on it was the day before the tournament and he couldn't change anything). He was looking for other possibilities for tournaments when I happened to talk to him at the right time.

"Hey, would you mind talking to me again later about your spider dude?"

He caught me just as I was leaving one night, and while I had my car window rolled down we talked and came up with an the idea of holding a tournament based around players designing their own generals.

See, this spider dude is Ulanok, Center of the Web. With the help of some other players (old and new), I designed and created the art for the card. My wife only plays EDH, and threw the idea at me to build a spider tribal EDH deck--not as easy as you think. There are no legendary spiders in Magic. Well, I decided to make one.
__________________________
Ulanok, Center of the Web--1RGW
Legendary Creature--Spider

Reach
Spider creatures you control have Colony (this creature has toughness equal to the total text toughness of Spider creatures you control).
Kinship--at the beginning of your upkeep, you may look at the top card of your library. If it shares a creature type with Ulanok, you may reveal it. If you do, put two 1/2 green Spider creatures tokens with Reach onto the battlefield under your control.

4/8
__________________________

Definitely strong, but due to color restrictions it can't be ridiculously taken advantage of (for instance, Doran, the Siege Tower).

Unfortunately, this initial concept is very unstable. What is players create generals which basically win the game when they come out for a very low price? Well...that's a big issue. My first thought was to form a committee who oversees each design to determine the power level and become a staunch defense against over-powered cards. The committee would be able to reject any design through probably a simple majority, and then suggest changes to create a more balanced card.

However, I still don't think this is enough. The problem is, by the time players finally figure out how to make their general and go through the committee process of approval, we'll have blown through three to six months of time depending on the number of people interested. This is way too long for the store to wait around for a tournament. In order to cut down time, this is what I think needs to be done:

Conclusion Concept: a committee will design and agree upon a set number of cards specifically to be used as generals, and each player who participates in the tournament will either be given the chance to choose one according to their own play style, or given one randomly to compete with.

This will save on time for the design process and also educate the players in the area on what is a "good" card design and what is not. If it works out, then maybe another tournament allowing the same players to design their own can be explored. Again, this is only a concept. I'm trying to cover all of my bases. If there's sufficient logical argument against something like this working, it probably won't happen (it might not happen anyway). In the end, at least I have one general designed to play very casually with.

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 Post subject: Re: Concept Tournament Advise
AgePosted: 2013-Jan-10 2:51 am 
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Age: Elder Dragon
An easy way to solve the issue is with the cake cutting lesson we give to children. One child cuts the cake, one child gets to select the pieces.

Simply put the tournament as a design contest for designing legendary creature, then basically do a players auction on who gets to play with which commander. Each commander will be balanced, but fair as most players will do the "what if I play against that commander?" check.

Prize support should be probably split as 50% to winning record, and 15% to winning creator and 35% to voted best creation. Probably paying out rank 1-4 per each area.

I think that would probably work.

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 Post subject: Re: Concept Tournament Advise
AgePosted: 2013-Jan-10 5:16 am 

Joined: 2008-Aug-08 6:34 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Rouen, France
moraff wrote:
An easy way to solve the issue is with the cake cutting lesson we give to children. One child cuts the cake, one child gets to select the pieces.


We always did: 1 person cuts then slices are chosen in seating order clockwise around the table with the cutter choosing last.

You learn to eyeball exact 72° cuts very quickly when you're cutting in those conditions.

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Scarab God Zombie Horde
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 Post subject: Re: Concept Tournament Advise
AgePosted: 2013-Jan-11 3:21 am 
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Joined: 2012-Nov-27 4:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
moraff wrote:
An easy way to solve the issue is with the cake cutting lesson we give to children. One child cuts the cake, one child gets to select the pieces.

Simply put the tournament as a design contest for designing legendary creature, then basically do a players auction on who gets to play with which commander. Each commander will be balanced, but fair as most players will do the "what if I play against that commander?" check.

Prize support should be probably split as 50% to winning record, and 15% to winning creator and 35% to voted best creation. Probably paying out rank 1-4 per each area.

I think that would probably work.


An interesting work-around I hadn't thought of yet. I think I'll need to see a smaller version of the tournament to be certain it'll work and that enough people will be interested.

There is the problem of assuming everyone is a good 'cutter,' from your analogy. While they all might be good players, this doesn't necessarily make them all good designers. There would still have to be a close watch on the card designs to prevent any unintentionally powerful cards (I mean, we look back now and can't help but think "How in the world did they think Black Lotus would be an okay card?" or "Did they even read what Skullclamp does?").

I'll have to think of a clever way to present the auction. At first blush, I'm tempted to say a regular kind of auction with the money being the entry fee/prize support. Although it might be better to have it silent auction so people don't feel like their design isn't worth anything.

Meh...hmm...I'll have to think about that more.

Thanks for the ideas.

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 Post subject: Re: Concept Tournament Advise
AgePosted: 2013-Jan-11 3:22 am 
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Location: Midgard
zimagic wrote:
moraff wrote:
An easy way to solve the issue is with the cake cutting lesson we give to children. One child cuts the cake, one child gets to select the pieces.


We always did: 1 person cuts then slices are chosen in seating order clockwise around the table with the cutter choosing last.

You learn to eyeball exact 72° cuts very quickly when you're cutting in those conditions.


How would you make the 72 degree cut in this situation?

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 Post subject: Re: Concept Tournament Advise
AgePosted: 2013-Jan-11 3:39 am 

Joined: 2008-Aug-08 6:34 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Rouen, France
Segrus wrote:
zimagic wrote:
moraff wrote:
An easy way to solve the issue is with the cake cutting lesson we give to children. One child cuts the cake, one child gets to select the pieces.


We always did: 1 person cuts then slices are chosen in seating order clockwise around the table with the cutter choosing last.

You learn to eyeball exact 72° cuts very quickly when you're cutting in those conditions.


How would you make the 72 degree cut in this situation?


You'd really have to submit each general for review by either the group as a whole or by a select and hopefully objective crew.

Take your spider as an example. Right away I'm adding at least a mana (if not 2) or cutting something serious off the back end due to Colony. You're going to me dropping 1/12 Spiders on a single Kinship hit if you have only your legend in play on how he's currently worded. He could be a 2/2 and still be excellent with this ability.

On the tournament itself:
Have an auction of the people.
Randomly choose a pick order and players get to choose from all the decks created for the event.

It's going to be very difficult to stop broken things unless you can screen the generals, that's your biggest barrier.

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 Post subject: Re: Concept Tournament Advise
AgePosted: 2013-Jan-11 5:42 am 
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zimagic wrote:
You'd really have to submit each general for review by either the group as a whole or by a select and hopefully objective crew.

Take your spider as an example. Right away I'm adding at least a mana (if not 2) or cutting something serious off the back end due to Colony. You're going to me dropping 1/12 Spiders on a single Kinship hit if you have only your legend in play on how he's currently worded. He could be a 2/2 and still be excellent with this ability.


You're probably right, the power of this spider could be tuned down some. I haven't actually tested him out yet to see how powerful the ability actually is.

zimagic wrote:
On the tournament itself:
Have an auction of the people.
Randomly choose a pick order and players get to choose from all the decks created for the event.

It's going to be very difficult to stop broken things unless you can screen the generals, that's your biggest barrier.


I think you might be suggesting something much more than what I initially have, so don't let this next part bother you--I'm just trying to be clear. Each player not only designs a general, but also builds the deck they think is best tuned to that general? Then people (stripping the term of auction for the moment), basically get randomly assigned a designed general and the associated deck?

Potentially problematic in a couple different ways. One: you could just build a piece of crap deck (or also general) you know you can beat with anything given to you--especially since you're already guaranteed not to get him. Two: if you were honest and built a good deck with good cards, someone could potentially steal your cards from you. Might be harder since I'm sure we'll write down names and everything, but there's always ways to cast doubt on the situation ("Oh, wow! Some of your cards are gone? Well...I mean, I did get up and use the bathroom for a little while between a couple matches..."). I suppose I'm trying to think of anything that could go wrong, and what to put in place to prevent it.

Establishing an honor code for not making crap decks might be possible. I guess I just think this route might add more problems than it solves.

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 Post subject: Re: Concept Tournament Advise
AgePosted: 2013-Jan-11 6:17 am 

Joined: 2008-Aug-08 6:34 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Rouen, France
Segrus wrote:
zimagic wrote:
You'd really have to submit each general for review by either the group as a whole or by a select and hopefully objective crew.

Take your spider as an example. Right away I'm adding at least a mana (if not 2) or cutting something serious off the back end due to Colony. You're going to me dropping 1/12 Spiders on a single Kinship hit if you have only your legend in play on how he's currently worded. He could be a 2/2 and still be excellent with this ability.


You're probably right, the power of this spider could be tuned down some. I haven't actually tested him out yet to see how powerful the ability actually is.


Don't get me wrong, I love the ability, it feels very good as long as you're not including black. It laughs at damage based removal and forces people to be very creative (or wrath heavy) to deal with your huge reach spiders. Very Shelob. I'm not sure it would work for pretty much any other aspect of a magic card so it just fits spiders very well. I'd allow it any day as long as the enabler is slightly more removable when he's on his own on the table.

Segrus wrote:
zimagic wrote:
On the tournament itself:
Have an auction of the people.
Randomly choose a pick order and players get to choose from all the decks created for the event.

It's going to be very difficult to stop broken things unless you can screen the generals, that's your biggest barrier.


I think you might be suggesting something much more than what I initially have, so don't let this next part bother you--I'm just trying to be clear. Each player not only designs a general, but also builds the deck they think is best tuned to that general? Then people (stripping the term of auction for the moment), basically get randomly assigned a designed general and the associated deck?

Potentially problematic in a couple different ways. One: you could just build a piece of crap deck (or also general) you know you can beat with anything given to you--especially since you're already guaranteed not to get him. Two: if you were honest and built a good deck with good cards, someone could potentially steal your cards from you. Might be harder since I'm sure we'll write down names and everything, but there's always ways to cast doubt on the situation ("Oh, wow! Some of your cards are gone? Well...I mean, I did get up and use the bathroom for a little while between a couple matches..."). I suppose I'm trying to think of anything that could go wrong, and what to put in place to prevent it.

Establishing an honor code for not making crap decks might be possible. I guess I just think this route might add more problems than it solves.


Yeah that's a problem but your group is pretty tight knit, right? How hard would it be? I'm not sure if this is the solution for everyone but we often share out our decks in our group just to keep things fresh.

In any case, sitting everyone down to vet everyone's new generals before deck building even begins is probably essential. I'm really interested in how you solve this, who makes what and how the event goes. Make sure you post on here when it's done.

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Scarab God Zombie Horde
Atraxa Superfriends
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 Post subject: Re: Concept Tournament Advise
AgePosted: 2013-Jan-11 6:28 am 
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zimagic wrote:
Yeah that's a problem but your group is pretty tight knit, right? How hard would it be? I'm not sure if this is the solution for everyone but we often share out our decks in our group just to keep things fresh.

In any case, sitting everyone down to vet everyone's new generals before deck building even begins is probably essential. I'm really interested in how you solve this, who makes what and how the event goes. Make sure you post on here when it's done.


Haha, I wish. That's why I'm having to think about this so hard, because I'm going to probably be dealing with people who I don't know personally. Even further, some of these people are easily tempted into taking advantage of other people if it means quick profit.

I luckily have two card shop option, one of them being much smaller than the other. I'm going to present the idea to the smaller one and hopefully get a feel for how it might turn out. I'll post those results here once I get them.

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 Post subject: Re: Concept Tournament Advise
AgePosted: 2013-Jan-11 7:15 am 

Joined: 2010-Sep-11 12:19 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
A lesson to remember for "custom cards"

Some where, someone, will find a way to break even the most benign looking of things.


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 Post subject: Re: Concept Tournament Advise
AgePosted: 2013-Jan-12 4:10 am 
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Agreed.

I would recommend doing the auction a week prior to the tournament?
Then players can have a full week to put their own personal touch on their "won" commander, they can bring their own cards (save the custom card) and then bash it around.

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 Post subject: Re: Concept Tournament Advise
AgePosted: 2013-Feb-12 3:32 am 
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It looks like in a couple weeks (maybe three) the tournament will happen. Mostly, this is just an initial phase to creating a larger tournament sometime in the future. Currently, there are six combatants including me. This first week (or two) will be used for designing the cards. The last week before the tournament will be used for double-checking for possible blowouts from a single deck.

Basically, everyone designs their own general and deck (using their own cards), and names will be drawn from a hat for picking order. Each player will be able to pick any deck other than the one they designed. Players won't get to see the other decklists until they pick the deck; they will have to decide based on the general's features.

Currently, this is the first iteration of a general I've cooked up for the tournament:

Dahlren, Thrull Paragon--1UBR
Legendary Creature--Thrull

Undying
Whenever a source deals damage to Dahlren, Thrull Paragon, return target non-land permanent with converted mana cost X or less from your graveyard to the battlefield, where X is the amount of damage dealt.

"Redeeming perfection." --Endrek Sahr

5/5


The design is supposed to directly mirror that of Phyrexian Obliterator, since we don't know what happened to the time-shifted Endrek and the Sarpadian Thrulls are the only species the Phyrexians were actually afraid of. The return ability will allow the player to counter the inherent problem with the Sarpadian Thrull species--sacrificing themselves for mana, power, and rituals. While the ability can probably be used to generate infinite combos (I say probably, but Pandemonium, Phyrexian Altar, and a couple of creatures with power equal to their mana cost, and you have infinite mana), I can more or less avoid this by crafting the deck to prevent this from being taken advantage of.

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 Post subject: Re: Concept Tournament Advise
AgePosted: 2013-Feb-12 4:26 am 

Joined: 2012-Apr-19 8:38 am
Age: Wyvern
We did something like this at my LGS.

I was tired of people using proxies so i told one kid that if wanted to use proxies, he had to proxy his entire deck and as an added bonus he wasn't allowed to proxy magic cards. When he asked what i meant i told him that he could make up his entire deck using non-magic related keywords, mechanics and colors. So he made a Brown, yellow and Purple deck. He made up all his own mechanics, which for the most part were pretty balanced, and he used Magic set editor to make all the cards.

After we played against him, a couple more of us did the same thing.

The results were hilarious.

I highly suggest letting people make their own cards. They just have to use common sense though.

As a side note, my favorite card that I made up for this was called:

Burial Mound
Land
Tap: add 1 to your mana pool.
When ever a creature goes to the graveyard from play, put a counter on burial mound.
Your hand size is increased by 1 for each counter on burial mound.


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 Post subject: Re: Concept Tournament Advise
AgePosted: 2013-Feb-14 7:53 am 
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Laburnum wrote:
We did something like this at my LGS.

I was tired of people using proxies so i told one kid that if wanted to use proxies, he had to proxy his entire deck and as an added bonus he wasn't allowed to proxy magic cards. When he asked what i meant i told him that he could make up his entire deck using non-magic related keywords, mechanics and colors. So he made a Brown, yellow and Purple deck. He made up all his own mechanics, which for the most part were pretty balanced, and he used Magic set editor to make all the cards.

After we played against him, a couple more of us did the same thing.

The results were hilarious.

I highly suggest letting people make their own cards. They just have to use common sense though.

As a side note, my favorite card that I made up for this was called:

Burial Mound
Land
Tap: add 1 to your mana pool.
When ever a creature goes to the graveyard from play, put a counter on burial mound.
Your hand size is increased by 1 for each counter on burial mound.


This seems like the logical progression from the ideas for a tournament above, and is all-around an interesting fix for players using too many proxies. Although I don't know if generating every card in the deck would follow on the current attention-span timeline of players in my area, creating more than just the general would be an interesting addition to a follow-up tournament to this one. I'm glad the design process turned out so well for you. I'm really hoping to achieve a much more casual environment in my area where basically none currently exists.

I've actually made several of my own cards for a new format which you can see here:
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=12849

An example being below:
__________________________
Artificer's Anchor
Legendary Artifact

The first spell you cast each turn has Hinge (the next spell you cast costs {1} less for colored mana symbol in the converted mana cost of this spell).

First through the door, then into the world.
__________________________


The format, apparently, has generated very little genuine interest, but I've retained some of my desire to continue designing cards. A sort of hobby of mine, I suppose.

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 Post subject: Re: Concept Tournament Advise
AgePosted: 2013-Feb-20 12:08 am 
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Segrus wrote:
Currently, this is the first iteration of a general I've cooked up for the tournament:

Dahlren, Thrull Paragon--1UBR
Legendary Creature--Thrull

Undying
Whenever a source deals damage to Dahlren, Thrull Paragon, return target non-land permanent with converted mana cost X or less from your graveyard to the battlefield, where X is the amount of damage dealt.

"Redeeming perfection." --Endrek Sahr

5/5


The design is supposed to directly mirror that of Phyrexian Obliterator, since we don't know what happened to the time-shifted Endrek and the Sarpadian Thrulls are the only species the Phyrexians were actually afraid of. The return ability will allow the player to counter the inherent problem with the Sarpadian Thrull species--sacrificing themselves for mana, power, and rituals. While the ability can probably be used to generate infinite combos (I say probably, but Pandemonium, Phyrexian Altar, and a couple of creatures with power equal to their mana cost, and you have infinite mana), I can more or less avoid this by crafting the deck to prevent this from being taken advantage of.


I didn't like this first design, and after some deliberation on my part, this is what I've come up with:
__________________________
Dalhren, Thrull Paragon--WWBB
Legendary Creature--Thrull

Lifelink, Undying, Vigilance

Whenever damage is dealt to Dalhren, Thrull Paragon, creatures you control gain Lifelink, Undying, or Vigilance. Then, Dalhren, Thrull Paragon loses the chosen ability. (These effects last indefinitely.)

"Redeeming perfection."--Endrek Sahr

5/5
__________________________

This version retains the flavor of being 'at odds' with Phyrexian Obliterator, has a unique effect which is very Thrull (that is, giving away a part of itself for use by other creatures and such), and feels more in the correct colors for a creature like this. Blue and Red just didn't seem to fit it.

While the Lifelink and Vigilance aren't much of an issue in terms of power level (although they can be, admittedly, powerful in the correct combinations), Undying is really the concern. There are just so many tricks to be had with Undying; however, the most common infinite combo lies with Mike and Trike. As you can see here, this Thrull doesn't actually enable Trike to go infinite (Dahlren loses his own Undying ability, and then has to be recurred at some essentially 'free' cost)--at least not initially.

I believe this creature to be fair enough for the tournament, but would like some outside opinions to be certain.

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