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Old 07-24-2014, 08:15 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Tucson, AZ
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I want to talk about the mana system again. We've gone over this before, but having played a lot of hearthstone recently, then deciding I don't really like hearthstone mechanically very much has given me some more thoughts on why lands + spells is good.

It's good because lands give your opponent information. This pushes interaction and skillful reading of the game state. Do I swing my bear board when they've got an untapped lanowar elf ready? Is getting in for two worth risking the giant growth? Since most formats are fairly small (even in eternal formats only a very small number of cards see active play) you get a lot of information from your opponents lands. As a limited guy the most important thing to keep in my head during combat the costs of all the best common and uncommon tricks. It's also not just what they can do at instant, but what they can play on their next main, when I see a five lands but only one island I don't need to worry about a prescient chimera, I can run out the vaporkin I just topdecked instead of putting something down on the ground. It really helps push interacting and reading of the opponent.

It's not perfect by any means, there are plenty of times when things go pretty automatically (mountain go, forest bird, lightning bolt bird). I'm pretty sure Garfield created netrunner specially because he wanted a game with more actual bluffing in Magic. But it's something I appreciate a lot more right now.
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