Magic: The Gathering Creator Richard Garfield Reveals Favorite Card

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Magic: The Gathering Creator Richard Garfield Reveals Favorite Card

shahrazad magic the gathering card

Garfield also spoke about how tournament play influences which new rules are added to Magic.

Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield says that one of his favorite cards is Shahrazad, from the early expansion set Arabian Nights. For Garfield, apparently and unsurprisingly, his favorite cards are the ones that most fully manipulate the basic structure of the game. "I like cards like that," Garfield said in a VICE interview, ""that mesh well with the flavor they are trying to convey, and also take you out of the game into a new space."

Garfield also offers up opinions on how the runaway success of Magic's tournament play: "There were a lot of rules we had to formalize and take control of. A lot of the things I would have published in '93 can't be published now because they would do something that wouldn't be good for the tournaments." While Garfield doesn't say that limitation is an explicitly bad thing, his comments certainly chart Magic's evolution from scrappy indie gambling CCG in the early 90s to the circuit-dominating monster that it is today.

The full interview includes thoughts on topics as diverse as Poker, which Garfield calls his perfect game, and the vast range of house rules with which people play Monopoly.

Source: VICE

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Shahrazad + Karn Liberated.dec force your opponent consider from shenanigans.

Used to love MtG, played on tournaments and all. But with the inflationary release of expensive, pre-selected and completely overpowered theme decks and "special boosters", it kinda lost its appeal.

Ring of Ma'ruf and Eureka was always my favorite combo for sheer pointlessness. It was just occasionally fun to play an Ace of Spades or a Darth Vader....

What I don't like about magic in it's current form is that they have divided necessary cards for play strategy into mythic and rare tiers, with the filler cards all taking up the uncommon and common tiers. This was never the case back when the game was younger and it's lead to a pay-wall kind of feeling given the situation.

Colt47:
What I don't like about magic in it's current form is that they have divided necessary cards for play strategy into mythic and rare tiers, with the filler cards all taking up the uncommon and common tiers. This was never the case back when the game was younger and it's lead to a pay-wall kind of feeling given the situation.

I agree with this mostly.

I find it's not prohibitively expensive if you're interested in "kitchen table" play where you mostly just build what you like or from what you have, but once you get into the competitive scene it gets out of hand fast. FNM's can vary, but most of the ones around me have half the people running decks in the $200 to $300 range. If you're not willing (or able) to match then you basically just fold. Haven't been to one in over a year. Can't afford to buy a full play set of Sphinx's Revelation or Boros Reckoner.

Incidentally, EDH/Commander has been an excellent outlet for me. Only needing singles, the generally slower games, and ability to make otherwise janky commons and uncommons work is awesome. EDH and Sealed are the only formats I play anymore.

Yuck no thank you. That looks incredibly irritating. It's mana is way too cheap for the large effect it has, it makes the game really awkward to play (if you were playing on a small table, where do you play your subgame?). It completely disrupts the flow. It might take forever and at the end of that forever, one person loses 10 life maximum. It's the least efficient burn ever (I guess it lets you see your opponents deck? But they get to see yours too). And it's really wordy and complicated. Also it's name now sounds like a Pokemon pun

I've never played with it, so I guess it might turn out to be fantastic.

My favourite cards is
image
It's just unbelievably sexy, card draw every time I play an aura? Yes please. The ability to make her an absolute tank if they don't have decent removal or to keep her as a non-threat that they have to waste removal on to stop the card draw... and all for two mana. It's so much fun to play with, I wish building things up was a more viable strategy in most of Magic because it's just a joy to do

Colt47:
What I don't like about magic in it's current form is that they have divided necessary cards for play strategy into mythic and rare tiers, with the filler cards all taking up the uncommon and common tiers. This was never the case back when the game was younger and it's lead to a pay-wall kind of feeling given the situation.

I think it's unfair to say that the necessary cards are in the mythic and rares and the fillers take up commons and uncommons. It's pretty normal for the rare's to be incredibly situational or over-priced, because they have to have large effects to feel 'rare', when the most powerful and useful cards have much more of a simplicity to them. The Word of God is that they try to keep the power level pretty even across all the cards.

This is one of the most powerful cards in Theros right now and it's a common.

Or Doom Blade was listed as one of the 5th most important cards in the current pro-scene and it's only uncommon.

It's not even really the case that the cards necessary for a particular strategy are rare and mythic. Two of the most crucial cards to a decent blueheroic deck are Wavecrash Triton and Triton Fortune Hunter which are common and uncommon.

I really like how they deal with their rares/uncommons/commons. It's less about power and more about how complicated a card is, the most weird and mindbending cards (like the one RG chose) are kept at mythic and rare, so that they feel special and the complication doesn't overwhelm a game and hide the strategy from most players. Or it's a card that feels important and powerful storywise. It'd be weird to have Planeswalkers show up in every single game and it'd completely dilute the awesomeness of playing one.

I always figured it was a really interesting way of using probability to make the game feel smoother.

I can understand where you're coming from though, but I don't think it's a deliberate design decision, or it's even that rare and mythics and better than commons and uncommons. But if you have a rarity system then the player who gets the most rares is always going to be better off unless every single rare is completely worthless.

Look at it this way. If there are 10 'necessary' cards for a strategy and 2 of those 'necessary' cards are rare, then the person with all 10 cards is still going to be in a better position than the guy who just has 8 commons. The nature of the game is always going to be a bit pay-to-win because it's a collectable card game.

Colt47:
What I don't like about magic in it's current form is that they have divided necessary cards for play strategy into mythic and rare tiers, with the filler cards all taking up the uncommon and common tiers. This was never the case back when the game was younger and it's lead to a pay-wall kind of feeling given the situation.

When I played Magic (started with the Revised Edition) the Rare cards were there and they were highly priced as well, they just weren't labeled with their rarity. To me that is a good thing, for it protects the customers who don't know the true value of the card from an underhanded merchant.

My caveat with MTG is with the block cycling used in Standard. While it does wonders for changing the metagame constantly, it's frustrating to have so many cards become unusable every year or so. I know it's a bad analogy, but it's essentially a subscription fee. My local comic shop doesn't do Modern, so it was especially problematic for me - I had to quit after the Innistrad block.

Speaking of that block, my favorite card is probably Kessig Cagebreakers. It wasn't a terribly good card, but it was hilarious in Splinterfright.dek.

My favourite card is Pacifism, it's super useful!
image

Imagine, your opponent has a couple of 11/9s and is ready to rail you; NOPE not anymore!

Colt47:
What I don't like about magic in it's current form is that they have divided necessary cards for play strategy into mythic and rare tiers, with the filler cards all taking up the uncommon and common tiers.

It can certainly seem that way and in a lot of metagames it does work out that way. It's not because of set design exactly, it's more the nature of the competition that surrounds it. For example; I'm running a janky Standard deck that contains 14 rares and mythics but the bulk of what wins me games is actually a four turn blitz of commons. Those rares and mythics are dual colour lands and a few big things to close out games if they go on too long.

The problem is that whilst I call this a 'janky' deck what I really mean is that it's not a tournament level deck, it'll do pretty well at an averagely levelled FNM.

OT: My favourite cards are the ones with gorgeous art or haunting flavour text, I particularly like themes of madness and cosmic horror.

My favorite card is Doomsday, because it's fun to think about ultimate strategies of how to make a perfect winning game with just the right cards.

Of course, in practice it will almost never work, because the possible strategies are usually too fragile and easily thwarted by the opponent. However it also makes for a useful mid to late game card, or as a joker. But it always remains risky.

Also, I really like the picture. And black cards. I have a whole collection of black rares.
Despite my "White Magic" badge.

Richard Garfield's always been a hero of mine given how he likes to tinker with games, and a good part of how I look at games today, video and otherwise. Kind of surprised the card he used to proposed to his wife wasn't his fave, though - hope that didn't get him in trouble with the missus. :D

I remember back in the day when I played a mostly White deck with a little of red thrown in. An Enduring renewal deck. That card, plus Ashnod's Altar and Ornithopter (that 0/2 0 cost artifact creature with flying) really got me into M:tG. Combine that combo with Alabaster Potion and an X cost red direct damage spell, and I was pulling a Kid Buu on everything on the board. That was immensely fun!

I wish they remade Enduring Renewal for the current roster of Magic...

Ah, Magic. Haven't played it in some time (due to both a combination of just getting too expensive, as well as all the friends I used to play it with turning on me), but I have some good memories with it.

Since we're talking about favorite cards, my favorite is, well, three cards:

image

I actually have a story involving these cards where I pulled a Yugi Moto-level play that won me a game. It took place right after Kamigawa was released, when they revised the Legend rule.

Basically, it was my turn, and I had just summoned Kaldra to the field using the above cards. My opponent, however, had two really powerful creatures on the field. If I attacked, I'd be left defenseless next turn, and I'd lose. I had enough life points to take an attack from one of them, but not both. But then, I took a close look at exactly how Helm of Kaldra was worded, and I got an idea.

So, I attacked with Kaldra, and left him with less than 9 life left. Kaldra was tapped, and on his turn, my opponent attacked with both his creatures for the win... or so he thought. Thanks to the way the legend rule worked, if I had two of the same legend out, they'd both be destroyed. So, I used the Helm of Kaldra to create another legendary Kaldra token. This destroyed both the new one, and the tapped token. So I then simply used the Helm's ability AGAIN, giving me a fresh, untapped Kaldra to block with. Cue laughter from anyone watching the game, and a few pats on the back for a move well made.

Leemaster777:
Ah, Magic. Haven't played it in some time (due to both a combination of just getting too expensive, as well as all the friends I used to play it with turning on me), but I have some good memories with it.

Since we're talking about favorite cards, my favorite is, well, three cards:

image

I actually have a story involving these cards where I pulled a Yugi Moto-level play that won me a game. It took place right after Kamigawa was released, when they revised the Legend rule.

Basically, it was my turn, and I had just summoned Kaldra to the field using the above cards. My opponent, however, had two really powerful creatures on the field. If I attacked, I'd be left defenseless next turn, and I'd lose. I had enough life points to take an attack from one of them, but not both. But then, I took a close look at exactly how Helm of Kaldra was worded, and I got an idea.

So, I attacked with Kaldra, and left him with less than 9 life left. Kaldra was tapped, and on his turn, my opponent attacked with both his creatures for the win... or so he thought. Thanks to the way the legend rule worked, if I had two of the same legend out, they'd both be destroyed. So, I used the Helm of Kaldra to create another legendary Kaldra token. This destroyed both the new one, and the tapped token. So I then simply used the Helm's ability AGAIN, giving me a fresh, untapped Kaldra to block with. Cue laughter from anyone watching the game, and a few pats on the back for a move well made.

Bravo, good sir. Those are ALWAYS the best wins. I remember playing with an Elf deck and had Jagged-Scar Archers out which gains +1/+1 for every elf on the field. Well, after creating dozens of elf tokens using Elvish Promenade, I used Immaculate Magistrate to further buff my archers by +1/+1 for each elf. Then, I attacked with it and just it. My opponent gave me a look of "Are you stupid?" and blocked it with a single 1/1 creature. Then, I used Epic Proportions on my Jagged-Scar Archers.

image

I think that may have just been my favorite card. It never got old beating an opponent in a single turn with it.

That card is genius! What a fantastic way to shake up your game. :D

OT: There have been a lot of great MTG cards, many of which I remember fondly. But in the end, there can only ever be the one. The ultimate combination of usefulness, great art and a legendary flavour text.

BrotherRool:

This is one of the most powerful cards in Theros right now and it's a common.

Or Doom Blade was listed as one of the 5th most important cards in the current pro-scene and it's only uncommon.

I consider Whispersilk Cloak one of the most useful equipments ever, and it's just a common as well:

image

Put this baby on a creature like Phage the Untouchable and the game is pretty much over.

Colt47:
What I don't like about magic in it's current form is that they have divided necessary cards for play strategy into mythic and rare tiers, with the filler cards all taking up the uncommon and common tiers.

It has been said before, but no, not entirely. Rares and Mythics are the shinier cards, but they don't win games. It's just that the rares that do win games are ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL (Boros Reckoner, anyone?) in tournament-level decks that run them, that they are insanely expensive and that's a turnoff.

In fact, not only is this not true, take a look at the current standard. If you open a Gatecrash pack, and pull a Burning-Tree Emissary, or in the newest expansion Born of the Gods, if you pull a Searing Blood, then with near certainty, those are the most valuable cards in that booster pack, and they're uncommon (those cards waver between 2 and 5 dollars, average price for a decently-played rare).

Only about 10% of the rares I ever pull go into decks, and roughly 70-80% of commons/uncommons I pull go into decks at some point or another. Except for the duplicates (more than 4) of any given common, if you want to be pedantic. =P

OT:

In legacy, I would agree. Shahrazad is an amazing card, just for hilarity. However, in Modern, my favorite card, with an amazing balance between beautiful art and raw power has to go to Progenitus. Just look at that thing. Oh God it's amazing.

EDIT: Just want to thank whoever codes the Gatherer script for pulling up the original Conflux version of Progenitus, not the terrible From the Vault version that most places will pull up (because it's the newer one). So if that's thanks to Escapist coders or to MTG Gatherer coders, I want to thank you profusely.

MrPhyntch:
In legacy, I would agree. Shahrazad is an amazing card, just for hilarity. However, in Modern, my favorite card, with an amazing balance between beautiful art and raw power has to go to Progenitus. Just look at that thing. Oh God it's amazing.

Not like it's game breaking or anything...

Chaosritter:
Not like it's game breaking or anything...

Ah, but Game Breaking is the best! I almost put my favorite card down as R&D's Secret Lair. It's also in my top 5 cards of all time.

Like the developer in the OP, I love messing with things that literally break the game. Makes things so much more fun and interesting.

EDIT: Gatherer Link for R&D's Secret Lair was broken, so I made it a hard link instead.

Chaosritter:

MrPhyntch:
In legacy, I would agree. Shahrazad is an amazing card, just for hilarity. However, in Modern, my favorite card, with an amazing balance between beautiful art and raw power has to go to Progenitus. Just look at that thing. Oh God it's amazing.

Not like it's game breaking or anything...

Progenitus? Not really. Handled by every Warth-effect in the game, which there are 4-6 playables and probably 10 not-so-great ones on top of it.

Also the "over the top theme decks" you mentioned are utter garbage :) They're usually beginners packs with 1 or 2 good cards and alot of fillers and easy to understand mechanics to teach the game.
Next to those packs are either Commander packs which are a multiplayer package or special "From the Vault" packages which are usually expensive collector packs.
And i'd really like to know what you mean with "special boosters" since that concept would be totaly new to me after 10 years of MTG.

OT: That Garfield chooses Sheherazad isn't such a big suprise. He's a game designer so he favors a card that goes ape-shit mechanical-wise of course :)

Chaosritter:

MrPhyntch:
In legacy, I would agree. Shahrazad is an amazing card, just for hilarity. However, in Modern, my favorite card, with an amazing balance between beautiful art and raw power has to go to Progenitus. Just look at that thing. Oh God it's amazing.

Not like it's game breaking or anything...

It's by no means the most threatening creature in a game where Emrakul, the Aeons Torn Exists. Hell, Door to Nothingness costs the same to play and shit like Blightsteel Colossus can end games in a single attack.

I struggle to pick an all out favourite card, but if there is one it might be Serra Angel. Reliable, balanced, great art, great flavour. All round good example of the game.

---
EDIT: I just remembered that Blazing Archon exists. Played my graveborn against a friend's FNM deck. Was the silliest shit. Graveborn is just the best.

That's a good pick. Shahrazad is a fantastic multiplayer, two-headed giant, or Planescape card. So much fun. So much casual shenanigans. Especially in Door to Nothingness decks.

I'm not sure I could pick a favorite card, really. I'd be torn between too many.

I mean, I could pick Sylvan Library. I could pick Thopter Foundry. I could pick Tarmogoyf. I could pick The Rack. I could even pick Skullclamp.

But you know what? I know exactly what I'd pick. Something that fits into just about any deck and any strategy. I'm talking one of the greatest critters ever printed. I'm talking about the legend. The Masterpiece.

The one...
The only...

Brass Man

Chaosritter:

BrotherRool:

This is one of the most powerful cards in Theros right now and it's a common.

Or Doom Blade was listed as one of the 5th most important cards in the current pro-scene and it's only uncommon.

I consider Whispersilk Cloak one of the most useful equipments ever, and it's just a common as well:

image

Put this baby on a creature like Phage the Untouchable and the game is pretty much over.

That's pretty much my go-to move when I get tired of losing to my friends, except I just use Fear one turn after Phage the Untouchable since I don't have a Whispersilk Cloak. My friends rarely ever use black or artifact creatures, so I've mostly been in the clear.

Also, I LOVE that effect. Really, I'd love to get a full Unhinged set, with all the Ass cards and everything.

This is my favorite card:

image
The look of horror on my opponents face when I use it.
It's the best I tell you.

Also, this combo never fails to be useful:
imageimage

I really do love green speed decks!

Always my favourite when I used a zombie deck against my sister:

image

But in general, loved the unhinged cards

image

Chaosritter:
Used to love MtG, played on tournaments and all. But with the inflationary release of expensive, pre-selected and completely overpowered theme decks and "special boosters", it kinda lost its appeal.

Those aren't really a thing anymore, I'm not even sure when they were a thing :s

Colt47:
What I don't like about magic in it's current form is that they have divided necessary cards for play strategy into mythic and rare tiers, with the filler cards all taking up the uncommon and common tiers. This was never the case back when the game was younger and it's lead to a pay-wall kind of feeling given the situation.

The only thing i have a problem with at the moment is that almost all of the best removal has been jumped up to rare, making certain necessary utility cards WAY more expensive than they were in the past.(Why are terminate and murder rares now?) but that's a minor gripe.

"Rares are always better" is one of the biggest fallacies of magic. I agree that in some recent sets there has been a push towards meta-game warping mythic or rare cards but that has always been the case in any set, especially the older sets. Most standard decks still incorporate mostly commons and uncommons.

I would argue that many rares in a set and even some mythics are pretty much unplayable. I would rather have a 2/2 for two mana than a janky 7 drop effect that probably won't ever be played. Apart from a few 'chase rares' you can pick up almost any rare and even some mythics for 1-3. If you needed me to i could probably name at least 10 bulk mythics in standard right now that are borderline worthless.

Even some of the more useful cards weren't always useful or expensive. Take Pack Rat for example; not to long ago it was a bulk rare and my foil version was worth about 2. Now it's worth about 10 because the card sees standard play.

Colt47:
What I don't like about magic in it's current form is that they have divided necessary cards for play strategy into mythic and rare tiers, with the filler cards all taking up the uncommon and common tiers. This was never the case back when the game was younger and it's lead to a pay-wall kind of feeling given the situation.

There's a new CCG with a bit of a gimmick (that's not as bad as they let on) that has a way around this (as soon as they sort out some technical issues on the back end).

Every booster pack comes with a code card (ala WoW TCG). The code card is redeemable for points, and the points are redeemable for cards. Every card in print will be available via the points, regardless of rarity. There are also a few points-only cards, and allegedly promo cards will also be available in this fashion. The idea being that no matter how bad your luck is, you will be able to get that one rare you need for your codex in just a few packs.

www.becomemagi.com is the site for it.

At this point I could try to do a reply to every single posted response to my statement, but it seems people are misunderstanding what is meant by it. We all know there is no single win card in MTG even in the mythics and the rares. The point is that 90% of competitive strategies require mythic or rare cards compared to before the mythic rarity was introduced. Cards like dark ritual were common back in the old days, but under the new scheme they'd likely be rare or mythic rare and cost an arm and a leg to acquire, for example. It's great that o-ring and other common cards are "necessary" for deck play, but they generally aren't a key component in a major competitive strategy.

Adeptus Aspartem:
And i'd really like to know what you mean with "special boosters" since that concept would be totaly new to me after 10 years of MTG.

Actually meant From the Vault, my bad. But seriously, just look at the cards included:

http://wiki.mtgsalvation.com/article/From_the_Vault

rdaleric:
Always my favourite when I used a zombie deck against my sister:

image

I prefer the Reckless One:

image

It's just too easy to pump him up with goblin tokens...

Talk about zombies, this little bastard drove my opponents insane:

image

Two great tastes that taste great together:

imageimage

Friends stopped playing with me after I built a deck around these two cards. Could cast everything in the deck with just three lands and a Sol Ring.

Mmm... delicious!

Actually, considering the context of the article, I'm kind of surprised that Enter the Dungeon hasn't been mentioned yet...

image

Ready to see a combo that will make people never want to play with you again (so long as you are going to use it)?
Spirit Mirror + Unnatural selection.
image
Spend 1 mana to turn their creature type to Reflection.
image
Then destroy it for 0. It's like having an unlimited arsenal of doom blades. Originally built this deck, with slivers as my damage dealers, to deal with my fiance's crazy beatdown green deck. She's since said that if I ever use it again she'll never play with me and may or may not kill me in my sleep. I get that reaction from most people I play with this one.

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