The first detention slip

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Dear Mrs. and Mr. Reveler,

You might already be aware of this, but in case Xenagos has neglected to inform you, I am assigning him detention for the rest of this game. The reason is as follows:Xenagos

Xenagos has been acting out in class consistently. It is not that he himself has done too much damage to either other students, his surroundings or myself, but he gets the other students all fired up over nothing. His ability to incite rebellions among the students, while impressive, has led to severe complaints from the other participants in our activities.

I’ve taken it upon myself to discipline Xenagos in order to make sure that he refrains from other outbursts in class and assigned him the usual detention homework. For your information, this week the class is memorizing Homer’s Odyssey, and I’m expecting him to hand in his solution to Zeno’s Dichotomy paradox on Monday at the latest.

Until Xenagos has shown he is capable of interacting with other students without getting them into an inflammatory state, I will not accept him back in my class.

 

All the best,
Dragonlord Ojutai, PhD, MD, JD, MBA, LIM, OMG

 

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The Hipster factor

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“What is that game you’re playing?”

I think a lot of us have been asked that question at some point when playing Magic at a cafeteria table in school, by the kitchen table around nosy siblings, or in a local gaming store not dedicated to cardboard slinging specifically. Ponder a proper answer to that question for just a second.

Done?

I’m going to guess that you will try and explain that the game is a sort-of mix between chess and poker, with a fantasy flavour stapled on to it. If the person you’re talking to is invested in gaming you might use terms like “trading card game”. Most of the time, I find myself explaining to people that “you take these cards, there are many thousands of them, and you build a deck for yourself and you play against other people who have built decks.”

Usually, there is no point going deeper into the topics of metagaming, archetypes, net decking etc. – to the person you’re explaining the game to, you’re a deckbuilder, and you play against other deckbuilders. Never mind the fact that most of us will never T8 a grand prix with a rogue brew of our own, or make a mark on the Standard metagame with some new tech. Innovation is most of the time for the pros, unfortunately, when it comes to most formats.

zurtheenchanterThe exception is EDH. In EDH, building something for yourself is almost the norm. You select the commander you would like to build a deck around, and even though you technically can net deck an EDH list it might be unwise. Every play group is its own metagame, and a deck that is too powerful or percieved as too powerful might construct a new downside to the player – the others around the table will bully you out. Even though your net decked Zur list is awesome, the others will catch on as soon as you reveal it, and kick you out of the game Archenemy style. This fact seems to frustrate most tournament-calibre spikes that dip their toes into the water.

Innovation, thus, is sometimes key to being able to play politically. On top of that, EDH seems to be one of those formats that people play specifically to discover new cards.


I’m relating this to one of my more recent decks. I was looking to play some more red, since I wasn’t playing red at all for a while, and I settled on re-building my Meren deck after a while and make her Jund. I’ve been wanting to rebuild her since I noticed she was the most popular Golgari general on EDHREC.com – playing her lost me a lot of Hipster points. I’m not trying to say that innovation is quantifiable, but I believe most people will agree that it’s boring to sit down at a table and see the same general in every game played against you. I wanted to build Adun Oakenshield, but he is expensive and hard to come by, so that project is slated for late 2020 instead.

prosshskyraiderofkherAfter going over the other Jund options, I found that most were either too weak, too similar to Meren (like Shattergang Brothers or Kresh the Bloodbraided for example – both being prime examples of “sac for value” type generals), I decided to just say “screw it” and go with Prossh, Skyraider of Kher.

This might make me a hypocrite, on paper, since Prossh is by far the most popular Jund commander, but I regained a few Hipster points just last weekend when I decided to cut all of the “sac for value” cards and go balls-to-the-wall aggro with Prossh. I’m not pretending to innovate on Prossh as a general, but I do play some unusual cards – like Berserk, Diligent Farmhand, or Inferno Titan. A link, to my deck: Prossh it to the limit, on TappedOut.net.

What’s imporant to me is that the deck feels like my own, even if the general is hugely popular. It boils down to some sort of Rifleman’s Creed thing – this is my deck, there are many like it but this one is mine.

That, and all the Hipster points I make from Wydwen and Ojutai must be invested somewhere. I deserve to sometimes just bust out Prossh and destroy my opponents with enough force to leave only a pair of smoking boots behind. To quote XKCD’s “What if?” blog: in a way, they don’t die, they just stop being biology and start being physics.


What do you think? How important is creativity and innovation to you when it comes to Magic or EDH? Leave a comment!

Modern Bans: My predictions

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Tonight is the big night (or big day, depending on what side of the Atlantic Ocean you are on), it’s finally time for Modern bans! Avid readers of this blog knows that I don’t really care, because Modern is shit, and I’m not alone in my opinon on this matter. Sean @copain26 Whatson of Commanderin’ fame, has been a vocal opponent to the way Modern has its way with the prices in Magic, and I couldn’t agree more.

However, I do follow the ban list, mostly because it’s funny, but also because there are deals to be made as cards are banned. So here are my uninitiated predictions:

Banned:
Eldrazi Temple / Eye of Ugin – One of these will have to go, but perhaps not both. The Eldrazi deck is way too strong in the metagame right now, and people have even been calling for emergency bans. Official sources have stated that something will be done about the deck, but they don’t want to neuter it entirely, meaning one will likely stay and the other will go. It’s awkward that both of these were included in last year’s Modern Masters edition, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Unbanned:
Stoneforge Mystic – I don’t think this will be too oppressive in Modern. The format is full of removal, and Stoneforge Mystic is slow. Granted, Batterskull on turn three might be too powerful, but generally, I think it can be kept in check by running it over with a billion eldrazis on turn two! The only prohibitive part of this card is its price, which would certainly skyrocket, but that would in turn prompt a large-scale reprint at some point, beneficial for all Magic players!


What do you think of my predictions? Am I totally wrong? Leave a comment!

 

Check out my other stuff! (shameless plug)

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I know I’ve been horrible at updating this month and I wanted to elaborate on the reason for that, since it’s at least two-fold. I want to be clear that writing is a passion to me, and I write because I want to, not really for anybody else. I feel no obligation to the readers of this blog, although I think you guys are awesome for reading, commenting and spreading my stuff.

As has been customary for me since quitting my old job with the Student Union, I have been changing work places every six months. This holds true for the third time in a row, and I’m currently at a new job, in a new position, with lots of work to do. As such, my time is fairly limited as it stands.

Secondly, I have been writing for another online outlet: X1sverige. If you happen to be a Swede like I, you can find my stuff under my tag, Robin Kaas. Currently, there are only a couple of texts up, but my aim is to write a piece a week or so.

This is not a closing post of this blog, nor do I have any plans to discontinue either playing or writing about Magic, but it is a little explanation to the lack of posts in February this year – I am working on a new piece for this blog side-by-side with this, so there you go. Usually, I hate it when I find blogs with only posts about why they don’t post more – so I guess I’m both lazy and a hypocrite.

Re: “Why Leaks Hurt”

oath bannerAs I’ve written about before, Oath of the Gatewatch was subject to perhaps the single biggest leak since the godbook of New Phyrexia was released online. For those who don’t recall, the “godbook” is a full spoiler sent out to those in need of preview info on sets, i.e. magazines etc., and the then-world champion Guillaume Matignon, who wrote for the french Magic magazine “Lotus Noir” shared his godbook with a friend, who shared it with a friend, who leaked it online. An article on this can be found here on the Mothership.

This time around, all of the Mythic Rares from Oath of the Gatewatch were leaked online, in a thread on Reddit, and it has sparked some outcry from the community – some feel robbed of their spoiler season. Others are discussing the mythics, as is.

dewdropspy.fullTrick Jarret wrote a response to the leak, commenting on why it’s bad, in an article on the Mothership entitled “Why Leaks Hurt“. He makes a few points, but overall, I’d call the article quite bad. In fact, I wanted to take a few moments and dissect some of the worst things he states in the article, for the sake of fairness. The article, overall, comes across as quite whiny in my book.

There is a natural struggle between players and Wizards when it comes to knowing the game’s future. Magic‘s entire premise is that of constant change, and this tantalizing premise creates a constant tension between our storytelling and players wanting to know what comes next.

I agree on this point almost entirely, to be honest, and this lets us define the roles for the two players in this opposition: it is the role of Wizards to keep shit under locks until spoiler season officially begins, and it is the role of the community (the parts that wants to know, that is) to find out stuff beforehand. The ball is, as I see it, entirely in Wizards’ court; in the latest leak someone has taken photographs of actual real, physical cards. This means that someone who shouldn’t have gotten their hands on the cards got their hands on the cards, it’s that simple.

Let’s face it – Wizards makes a damn good game, it’s alluring to find stuff out beforehand, and Wizards just can’t blame people for wanting to know stuff about their game. It makes absolutely no sense.

As a person who used to run a fan site that would occasionally leak something, I know the lure for content creators. Leaks draw traffic and they give you something new to talk about. But let’s get one thing straight: leaks aren’t journalism. Publishing leaks is purely self-serving, looking out for the good of yourself and your ego.

Leaks aren’t journalism because there is no cover-up. There’s no secret exposé about the working conditions of goblins on Ravnica, or the water quality on Zendikar, or the climate change on Mirrodin (though that one might have something). Leaks are all things that the public will find out eventually. There’s no conspiracy being unraveled, just something new revealed through the theft of intellectual property. That’s right, theft. If we didn’t give it to you and say “Show this,” then you are stealing something from Wizards of the Coast and the Magic community.

goblinspy.fullLet’s get another thing straight – leaks are definitely journalism. The fact that this journalism presents content in a different context than was intended by the content creator doesn’t take away the fact that this is journalism, at least as far as journalism goes when it comes to Magic. To make an analogy – if president Obama was to hold a speech in the future, about huge changes in, say, the American welfare system, and New York Times got a hold of a first draft of this jaw-dropping speech – if they report on it, is it not journalism because they didn’t wait to hear the speech from the president himself? Of course it is.

Further, the fact that Jarret is trying to call out people reporting on the leaks with a few unsubtle ad homenim-attacks does not make him right in any way. It comes off as petty, honestly.

Would you go on your friend’s Facebook page and announce a pregnancy if you found a positive pregnancy test in their bathroom? No, that would make you a terrible human being! Because it’s not your news to give, and when the world gets to know it is up to that person and their significant other.

Here, Jarret confuses private information (pregnancy) with information regarding a product from a huge company. If I got hold of a picture of an iPhone 7 and posted that on the internet, would that be as bad as revealing an acquaintance’s pregnancy? Of course not, a company is not a personal friend, and the analogy is absurd.

Our policy has and continues to be that we simply don’t discuss leaks. Go read the article from then-Magic Marketing Director Kyle Murray to learn about the problem we were facing even back then, over thirteen years ago. Confirming or disproving a leak may solve the problem in the short term, but it creates a bigger problem in that it can force us to acknowledge each and every rumor. And then when we decide not to comment, it becomes an even bigger deal.

This seems like a fair and stable policy and in my opinion. It makes sense and it’s a clear policy.

Make no mistake, we take leaks very seriously. We always investigate leaks with our internal teams as well as external partners to figure out where and how the leaks happened. We have and will continue to not just ban leakers from the DCI and cancel their Planeswalker Points accounts, but pursue whatever criminal and civil actions necessary to protect our intellectual property and the Magic community.

eyespy.fullRight, it’s one thing to be sour about a leak. I understand that, I really do. By profession, I’m a teacher, and I can get salty if a lesson I’ve been working hard on gets ruined by one or more pupils simply refusing to take part, or even disturb the class. In a worst-case scenario, I might’ve spent four or five hours planning. I can’t imagine if months of work gets ruined by leakers.

That said, outright threats of expulsion from the competitive side of the community is not the proper way to go.

Leaks create an unfair advantage as—because they do not go out over official channels—they are not as widely distributed to less-enfranchised players, thus creating an unfair advantage for some players.

I don’t see how this is relevant in this case – what was spoiled was the expeditions and the mythics, which will have some impact on limited play, but not a whole lot compared to the playable commons. The constructed players will easily have their chance to look at the official spoiler before their first constructed event, leak or no leak.

So if we can’t design a game that is leak-proof, our only other option is to work hard to prevent leaks. Which we do. We follow rigorous security protocols to ensure assets don’t sneak outside the building. So when you see a leak online, what you are seeing is theft, and we have an obligation to pursue and punish those engaged in that activity.

edric,spymasteroftrest.fullThis is a good thing, and it is part of Wizards’ job. Apparently, these security measures failed this time around – and my point is that the blame should probably be placed on Wizards’ security protocol, not on the parts of the community that leaked it, or parts of the community spreading it (like I).

Granted, I don’t know what happened in this case, but I hope we’ll find out eventually. In the case of New Phyrexia, it is a clear breach of trust between the company and a single person – until something like this is clearly proven, I have to assume the breach is internal. There’s no reason to believe outside people should have a hold of physical cards this early, and thus, the blame has to be placed on Wizards.

The community can’t be blamed for liking content from the company, and a spoiler of this magnitude creates not only traffic for a site, but also prestige and attention, two very human desires.

We’re humans, Jarret. Stop being petty about that, and work for a tighter ship instead. It usually works just fine, why didn’t it this time?

[C15] Spoiler-less

city of shakarI just spent the better part of an hour scouring the Rumour Mill on MTGsalvation, trying to find at least a single post that didn’t contain baseless speculation and/or horribly designed cards that will never get printed. I failed. For the last five pages of the thread (I won’t even link it, because MTGS is shit), here’s what’s the hot topic of the day is:

  • How there’s no spoilers.
  • How BG should be an Infect deck.
  • How Commander is not a competitive format.

All three points obviously unimportant topics of discussion. MTGS is literally the cess-pool of the MTG community online. 47 pages of discussion about two (2) spoiled cards – the rest complete garbage.

Yes, I’m bitter – but mostly at WotC not spoiling anything until next Monday.

What I like about Battle for Zendikar

nde bannerAs a follow-up on my gloomy post about Battle for Zendikar, I thought I’d go over the things I actually do like about the new set. Not everything is awful, not even when one of the most interesting worlds in Magic has been overrun by otherworldly alien creatures.

omnath,locusofrage.full#1: Landfall is interesting, and likely better.
Landfall is a baller mechanic for Magic in general, and one I think deserve to be evergreen more than for example Prowess. Magic has always had its mana system, and while I like it overall, nobody can argue that it sucks losing to mana screws or mana floods. Landfall solves the latter in a rather elegant way.

In the first Zendikar block, however, Landfall was something of a menace (pun unintended). Steppe Lynx and Plated Geopede combined their powers to create one of the fastest limited formats ever – to the point that taking a Welkin Tern or even a Cliff Threader or a Surrakar Marauder over an obvious bomb in a more orthodox format, say a Rampaging Baloths was often the correct call.

In this format, so far, we’ve seen much more reserved Landfall threats – Makindi Sliderunner, Snapping Gnarlid, and Scythe Leopard have a more reasonable growth, and the rest of the threats on common and uncommon are of higher casting costs. The only really crazy Landfall threat on the uncommon rarity is Grove Rumbler, and it’s multicolour after all.

All in all, I expect Battle for Zendikar’s limited format to contain elements from Zendikar for sure, but with a page from Rise of the Eldrazi as well, which seems positive. It should be noted that Landfall is more or less an exclusively offensive ability, which might make for a faster-than-usual limited environment after all.

clutchofcurrents.full#2. Landfall works well with Awaken.
Original Zendikar had Kicker, and Worldwake had Multikicker to function as mana sinks in the limited environment. Useful tools for when decks sometimes wants to run more than 17 lands to fuel Landfall.

Awaken could be considered a variant of kicker in some aspects, even though the kicked version of the spells all have the same bonus effects – animating a land and adding some counters to it, or sometimes just adding counters to an already awakend land.

This ought to work well with Landfall as well, in that it both serves to have some spells with two configurations (although some Awaken costs are a bit high, and other spells are virtually unplayable without Awaken) – suitable for when you have more lands in play than usual.

#3. (Some) instant speed ramp.
The ramp isn’t very rampy in Battle for Zendikar, as I’ve stated before – but the ones there are are pretty decent. Natural Connection costs three and a card, but is an Instant, which means you could activate Landfall out of nowhere in instant speed. Evolving Wilds is slow mana fixing, but does the same thing, even if the opponent can see it coming. Lastly, Blighted Woodland can create three (!) Landfall triggers on its own in a single turn! The good thing about these is that Evolving Wilds is likely the only high-ish pick for people, so if you’re deep in powerful Landfall triggers, it’s likely that some of the common fixing will come around late in a draft.

#4. The Eldrazi mechanics convey meaning well.salvagedrone.full
I’ve stated before that I don’t like the Eldrazi much before – but I will say that R&D has done a great job with the mechanics. During the spoiler weeks, I caught myself saying “Huh, that’s… weird. But maybe that’s the point” on more than one occasion. Ingest and Devoid feels like alien mechanics to me, and even though they serve a bad villain, they’re doing it well.

What do you like about Battle for Zendikar? Leave a comment!

Things that worry me in Battle for Zendikar

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Battle for Zendikar has been fully spoiled and I have to say I’m not excited wholeheartedly. I was skeptical towards Khans of Tarkir as well at first, but that turned out awesome, so I won’t judge the set before I get my hands on it. That said, there are a few things that worry me in the set.

1. (Some of) the mechanics seem to be parasitic.dominatordrone
A parasitic mechanic, as defined by Mark Rosewater in an article on the mothership, is a mechanic that doesn’t blend well with other mechanics and other cards. I find more than one examples of this in Battle for Zendikar. Ingest has synergy with cards within the set, but will probably not be relevant outside Battle for Zendikar limited, and maybe Standard. Devoid, or rather “colourless matters” is a more broad mechanic in general, since there are lots of colourless cards outside Battle for Zendikar. Rally, the keyword for the Ally enters the battlefield triggers is at least less parasitic than it was in original Zendikar block, since bonuses from allies are granted all of your creatures these days, not just your other allies. That said, in order to re-trigger these abilities you need more allies, a creature type confined to the blocks set on Zendikar, and that’s excluding Rise of the Eldrazi, in which they are inexplicalby absent.

heroofgomafada.full2. The limited format seems wide open.
This isn’t a problem intrinsicly, since open limited formats are a lot more interesting than “on-rails” drafts in closed formats, but even so – having a limited format with very little direction is daunting to me as an irregular Limited player. Aside the blatant Allies deck and maybe some Eldrazi ramp/colourless matters (though the ramp isn’t very rampy, frankly) deck, I don’t see a clear direction. Granted, I’m a really bad Limited player, but I have played Magic for more than fifteen years. I can’t imagine how confused beginners would be, sitting down at a Battle for Zendikar draft table.

3. The Eldrazi are pretty awful villains.wastelandstrangler.full
To kill, to consume, to move on. Eldrazi motivations carry about as much relatability and weight as the Tyranids from the Warhammer 40k universe – which is approaching zero. I’m quite sure that Wizards has designed the Eldrazi to feel strange and alien, and when it comes to the whole “First I put the cards from your library to exile, then I put them in your graveyard from there” does a good job at conveying that, but it turns the Eldrazi into nothing more than a force of nature. Conflict between lopsided sides when it comes to sympathy makes for dull storytelling. Nissa, Jace, Gideon et al might as well try and put out the greatest forest fire in Zendikar history – because that’s essentially what the Eldrazi are, they are a very hard to put out forest fire. Compared to conflicts between sides that have no clear “good” or “evil” alignment – say House Tyrell and House Lannister from George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, the Battle for Zendikar falls quite short. With stories with clear “evil” villains, I much prefer relatable villains with understandable motivations over Eldrazi, or Tyranids. This is Vorthos, but Wizards is banking a lot of Vorthos these days, and some players do care.

4. The low power level compared to Khans.akoumfirebird.full
Again, not an intrinsic problem, since power is relative. That said, Battle for Zendikar will spend some time in the sun together with Khans of Tarkir block, which has a generally high power level. My fear is that the cards in the new set will be overshadowed by the older cards, and I have a sense that we will se a lot more Siege Rhinos than Eldrazi on camera during the Standard portion of Pro Tour: Battle for Zendikar.

As I said, these are just my worries about the set, and I might be completely wrong. Reading the spoiler doesn’t get me excited for anything though bar a few of the EDH goodies they crammed into the set.

Zendikar, like Tarkir, seems like a world that was a lot more interesting before the big baddies took over.

GoyfWars is now officially one year old!

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Again, with the creepy banner. Since the blog is turning a year, I’ve taken the time to reflect upon this year’s experiences with Magic as a whole and this blog. Stay tuned for more content.

I didn’t imagine I would last a full year of blogging about nothing but Magic, but thanks to some encouraging words from readers and having lots of fun with this project, we’ve now officially made it a full year of GoyfWars goodness.

To be honest, I blogged a lot more in the beginning, and a lot less after New Year’s. The reason for this is that I changed work on January 1st, to something that took much more time and energy from me than I expected, and there was less of that to devote to Magic in general and this blog in particular. As of yesterday, I have started a new job again, with again a bit less time and energy expected to be devoted to Magic in the future, but the blog will still live on I’m aiming at about a post every third day or so. If the other contributors draw or record, that will obviously be posted as well.

In a perfect world, I would devote less time to my day job, and more time writing in general, not only about Magic.

In a perfect world, I would play a lot more Magic.

The world isn’t perfect yet however, though it could well be. I’m getting married in less than a month and most of my free time is spent preparing for the wedding (which will be epic, and even have a Magic nuance). My future wife doesn’t play, but has expressed an interest in the hobby and sharing it with me, and I’m looking at building a couple of Portal-esque decks with lands, creatures and sorceries to teach her. Aside that, I’ve moved back home, closer to the old stomping ground and the old gang – and as such I play less competitive Magic and more EDH – which also reflects upon the content of the blog.

I don’t think it’s any worse off though.

Finally, before I get sentimental, I’d like to humbly thank my co-contributors, Grim Lavamancer and psykopatmullvad for their contributions to the blog. I’d also like to thank all of our readers for devoting their time to reading this blog, and I’d especially like to thank the minority who takes the time to jot down a comment or two. It means a lot.

 

Here’s to another year of GoyfWars!

The problems with alternative wins

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Since about a month ago or so, I’ve been driving an hour back and forth to my job. This ends on Monday, when I switch my work place to something closer to home, but for the last month I’ve been doing a lot of driving, especially since my job involves quite a bit of it as well.

As such, I’ve been consuming podcasts at an unprecedented rate. One of the podcasts I’ve stumbled upon is a pretty new EDH podcast known as Commander’s Brew and I find it a pretty nice listen. Every episode, the two hosts agree upon a theme (a commander, a card, a strategy) and both brew budget lists around the decided theme – usually the decks weigh in at around $50 or so.

In this week’s episode, they brewed The Mimeoplasm and the hosts started discussing Infect and Mill as alternative win conditions in EDH, since one of them made his deck to be an Infect deck.

And I have to say I don’t like either, but for different reasons.

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The only way I’ve ever won with Milling.

Milling:
At first glance, milling (i.e. putting cards from the opponent’s library straight to the graveyard without passing GO! until they run out and deck out) seems to be a perfect viable strategy, since it actually doesn’t scale with the format, at least not as much as life totals does. In regular Magic, players start with 20 life and usually 60 cards. In EDH, where we have 40 life and 100 cards, the life is thus increased by a factor of 2, where the cards are only increased by a factor of 1,67. It is therefore, logically, easier to mill someone out in EDH compared to regular constructed than it is to eliminate someone by combat damage in EDH compared to constructed.

Infect:
As with milling, Infect doesn’t scale with the format, and Infect doesn’t scale at all! Whereas players double their life total, 10 poison counters is still a kill, meaning that if a creature with Infect could be regarded as dealing twice their power of combat damage to a player in regular constructed, it deal four times its power in combat damage in EDH, making them four times as effective as non-Infect creatures in the format! Pretty good, right? Wrong.

inkmothnexus.hqThe issue with both milling and Infect as paths to victory is that they are inherently alternative paths to victory, different from what the players around the table are trying to do. Most EDH games will likely end in either a huge infinite (or redundantly powerful) combo, or via a grind eliminating players in succession of aggression or perceived strength. Infect contributes to neither – and it will draw lots of hate.

When an Infect player sits down at the table, the following scenario is likely to happen. Player A (Infect) “goes off” and kills the weakest player, Player B, at around turn four or five. Player C and D realise the imminent threat, gangs up on Player A, stomps on his face and eliminates him. This leaves Player A and B to sit around and do nothing while player C and D finish the game. This is feel-bad for all players. In the following game, players B, C and D will gang up on Player A right from the get-go.

Milling doesn’t draw that amount of hate, but every time you sit down with a mill deck at a table, you will not be able to make alliances with other players and gang up on someone to face a threat or go in for the kill, since likely everyone else tries to win via a combo or combat damage. Instead of facing around 60 life points, reasonably 30 of which you can almost expect others to deal with (unless they are on the mill or the Infect plans), you sit down facing three-hundred cards, all of which have to be milled in order to eliminate the other players. Since you probably can’t help much, building alliances will be tough.

Voltron strategies suffer a bit from the same issue, but nowhere near as bad, as they tend to (aside Skittles) to deal regular combat damage as well, meaning you are moving the game forward for everyone, not just yourself, when you attack someone with your Voltron’d up Commander.

In both of these cases, I’d say the strategies can work, but probably better in a 1 vs. 1 setting, or else it takes a lot of alliance making and politricking. I guess I could give it a recommendation to experienced players looking for something different to play with newer playgroups. Not Infect, though. Never Infect.