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CardName: Block Idea: Archetypes Cost: Type: Pow/Tgh: / Rules Text: A block constructed where various archetypes are represented and balanced: aggro, control, midrange, combo, tempo (and possibly prison and land destruction). Flavour Text: Set/Rarity: Conversation None

Block Idea: Archetypes
A block constructed where various archetypes are represented and balanced: aggro, control, midrange, combo, tempo (and possibly prison and land destruction).
Updated on 25 Apr 2014 by amuseum

History: [-]

2014-04-25 01:06:31: amuseum created and commented on the card Block Idea: Archetypes

Focus on constructed format, limited be damned. Could be a larger-than-normal set to accommodate sideboard options.

2014-04-25 01:38:30: amuseum edited Block Idea: Archetypes

So we are talked a block constructed format? FWIW, I'm not clear what you imply by "balanced" either, since certain deck types are naturally better at dealing with certain other types, and "imbalance" usually happens when this natural balance is upset (e.g. {w/u}- and {b}-based control is currently very good vs. aggro).

It's a difficult task to be sure.

What made me think this is possible is look at Modern right now. Overall all archetypes are seemingly balanced. And then think about the cardpool that is actually used. We all know 90% of new cards are limited fodder only, and 10%, maybe, are playable in constructed. Well, that 10% of all Modern cardpool is quite diverse at this point, which allows various archetypes to flourish. So we only focus on creating cards like the 10%.

Sure very few standards in history are more than aggro vs control/midrange. But there was such a point in time, namely Ravnica + Time Spiral when aggro, control, and combo were all viable and not discriminated. This makes me hopeful that a similar format may be designed even with such a small cardpool.

Even assuming such a task is feasible, we still have to decide the direction of each archetype. Combo is the main wildcard, since it could mean anything from storm to dredge to trix even. Aggro could be Zoo, RDW, WW, or more resilient like GB aggro during Innistrad era. Then how much control do we give control. Too much good stuff can yield to the RTR/Theros, but that also could be due to a weak cardpool overall and lack of diverse strategies provided by that cardpool. (Remember 90% of new cards are not meant for constructed.) Since generally tempo and combo threaten control and midrange, but those strategies are not present to balance the metagame.

With a 5-way matchup, it should be hard for any deck to dominate. Also since these are cards in the same block and tested as such, any broken and unwanted interactions can be fixed.

You want to try to make a set where every card is viable in Standard Constructed? Am I understanding you correctly?

Hmm. There are a few big challenges that occur. One is that Wizards are always telling us that their development team can't fully predict the metagame in Standard - and that's with 90% of the set being designed for Limited. I think it'll be impossible to have every card viable in constructed at the same time. But it might be just about possible to design a set of cards all of which have the potential to be seen in constructed.

I also think it'd be preferable if every colour was able to participate in multiple archetypes; all of them might be asking too much.

I'd also hazard a guess that one of the key things to manage will be the quality of the dual lands. Some of the most control-dominated metagames I recall were powered by shocklands, or Reflecting Pool plus Vivid lands. I think if the manafixing is too good, that usually enables control more than other archetypes.

I don't think the prison and land destruction are really archetypes you should aim to include.

well they are unique playstyles. something like Wildfire would be interesting.

standard's continually unbalanced metagame can be attributed to a myriad issues:

  • not enough playtesting (they still have to go through 5-7 sets worth of cards even if 90% are junk)
  • insufficient answers and safety valves (e.g. Legacy has Force of Will)
  • not enough archetypes (i.e. control can just focus on anti-creature and anti-control decks, no need to sideboard for combo or graveyard hate)
  • unbalanced mechanics and abilities
  • etc.

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