Banning Skullclamp, part 3

Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.misc (More info?)

Hello, All!

After all those debates about how Skullclamp was released and so on, I
decided to stop and think. I've been in software development for quite
a few years and one of the axioms is that developers can never reliably
test their own code. That's why all those SQA departments are needed.
Now compare that to Wizards: it seems (correct me if I'm wrong) that the
same people both develop *and* test the cards. If that is true, it's a
wonder how so few cards had to be banned during all these years...

Regards,
Arkady.
17 answers Last reply
More about banning skullclamp part
  1. Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.misc (More info?)

    "Arkady Zilberberg" <arkadyz1@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:40c7635f_3@newsfeed.slurp.net...
    > Hello, All!
    >
    > After all those debates about how Skullclamp was released and so on, I
    > decided to stop and think. I've been in software development for quite
    > a few years and one of the axioms is that developers can never reliably
    > test their own code. That's why all those SQA departments are needed.
    > Now compare that to Wizards: it seems (correct me if I'm wrong) that the
    > same people both develop *and* test the cards. If that is true, it's a
    > wonder how so few cards had to be banned during all these years...

    Hmm. I was under the impression that there might be some overlap in these
    departments, but for the most part, they were separate groups. Not the case?
    Either way, I think that it *should* be separate groups. One group
    developing, then testing. And another group totally dedicated to playtesting
    the new cards. Then, after a period of thorough testing by both groups,
    feedback between the two should occur (what worked, what didn't, what was
    over/underpowered, overall themes, etc), and the development team goes back
    and fixes what was "wrong" with the original set. Then, more playtesting.
    Rinse and repeat. It does seem that there is significant playtesting before
    each set is committed to print, and even with Skullclamp in particular. It's
    just that after the testing, the card(s) are tweaked. Even the most minor
    change (+1/+0 > +1/-1) can, and did, can rule the entire Magic world. While
    I'm not upset at Wizards for printing the card, I do disagree with their
    playtesting strategy for Darksteel. (That is, develop, play, tweak, print.
    It should be, develop, play, tweak, play, print.)

    I dunno....just my two cents.

    --

    KB
  2. Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.misc (More info?)

    Arkady Zilberberg wrote:

    > Hello, All!
    >
    > After all those debates about how Skullclamp was released and so on, I
    > decided to stop and think. I've been in software development for quite
    > a few years and one of the axioms is that developers can never reliably
    > test their own code. That's why all those SQA departments are needed.
    > Now compare that to Wizards: it seems (correct me if I'm wrong) that the
    > same people both develop *and* test the cards. If that is true, it's a
    > wonder how so few cards had to be banned during all these years...

    Again, you nailed a parallel with the RPG industry.
    Too often mistakes get through because it was obvious to the
    writers what was meant, and the only playtesters were sitting right
    there with the writers when they tested!
  3. Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.misc (More info?)

    Ken Briscoe wrote:

    >
    > While
    > I'm not upset at Wizards for printing the card, I do disagree with their
    > playtesting strategy for Darksteel. (That is, develop, play, tweak, print.
    > It should be, develop, play, tweak, play, print.)

    Yup, a case where something seems so obvious to us that it's
    baffling why it wasn't done.

    Usually, if you make a change, you should _test_ the change.
  4. Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.misc (More info?)

    Arkady Zilberberg wrote:
    > Hello, All!
    >
    > After all those debates about how Skullclamp was released and so on, I
    > decided to stop and think. I've been in software development for quite
    > a few years and one of the axioms is that developers can never reliably
    > test their own code. That's why all those SQA departments are needed.
    > Now compare that to Wizards: it seems (correct me if I'm wrong) that the
    > same people both develop *and* test the cards. If that is true, it's a
    > wonder how so few cards had to be banned during all these years...

    And the other part of the "software development" analogy ...

    If you have a system with 1,000 parts, you may need more than 1,000 test
    cases. You can make a case for having 1,000,000 test cases, but hardly
    anyone ever tries to test at that level.

    By way of illustration, this item from the June WotC rulings:

    > * Duplicant
    >
    > When you have Duplicant, Volrath's Shapeshifter, and Death-Mask Duplicant in
    > the same deck, weird things can happen. We're not going to go into details, but
    > it involved multiple imprinted cards giving Duplicant multiple values of power
    > and toughness. For this reason, the Rules Team has come up with an improved
    > wording for Duplicant. Its new wording is as follows:
    >
    > Duplicant 6 Artifact Creature -- Shapeshifter
    > 2/4 Imprint -- When ~ comes into play, you may remove target nontoken creature
    > from the game. (*) / As long as a creature card is imprinted on ~, ~ has the
    > power, toughness, and creature types of the last creature card imprinted on
    > it. It's still a Shapeshifter.


    Yeah, I'm *sure* that the Mirrodin playtesters thought about this one
    .... "Hey, what a cool card. I wonder what happens when I build a deck
    with Volrath's Shapeshifter, Duplicant, Death-Mask Duplicant, Clone, and
    Dance of Many?"

    All I can say is, I'm so *very* glad I'm not on the development team for
    MTGO.

    --
    (Posted from an account used as a SPAM dump. If you really want to get
    in touch with me, dump the 'jboes' and substitute 'mur'.)
    ________
    Jeffery Boes <>< jboes@qtm.net
  5. Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.misc (More info?)

    Jeff Boes wrote on Thu, 10 Jun 2004 13:58:36 GMT in article
    news:<b9d10a631235356755e43a8df2050359@news.teranews.com>:
    >
    > By way of illustration, this item from the June WotC rulings:
    >
    > > * Duplicant
    > >
    > > When you have Duplicant, Volrath's Shapeshifter, and Death-Mask Duplicant in
    > > the same deck, weird things can happen. We're not going to go into details, but
    > > it involved multiple imprinted cards

    > Yeah, I'm *sure* that the Mirrodin playtesters thought about this one
    > ... "Hey, what a cool card. I wonder what happens when I build a deck
    > with Volrath's Shapeshifter, Duplicant, Death-Mask Duplicant, Clone, and
    > Dance of Many?"

    Shapeshifter and Vesuvan Doppelganger aren't legal in any relevant formats,
    so no I wouldn't expect that to be playtested.

    I _would_, however, expect someone on the rules team to ask "what happens if
    the wrong amount/type of cards get imprinted on a permanent?", before the set
    goes to print. As it turns out, just about all of the imprint cards can get
    "imprinted wrong" using Shapeshifter or Doppelganger (hello Thought Prison
    with 20 cards imprinted on it -- that would be cool in multiplayer for about
    2 seconds.), and so now they will probably all get new oracle text. Or maybe
    502.34 will be changed to handle it.

    --
    "Sometimes I stand by the door and look into the darkness. Then I
    am reminded how dearly I cherish my boredom, and what a precious
    commodity is so much misery." -- Jack Vance
  6. Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.misc,rec.games.trading-cards.magic.rules (More info?)

    (Crosspost & Followup-To: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.rules)

    Rast <rast2@hotmail.com> writes:
    > Simon Nejmann wrote on Thu, 10 Jun 2004 19:54:09 +0200 in article
    > news:<727hc0h7rrf60id923nhf6jompusft3jk0@4ax.com>:
    >> I am willing to bet that you can't find another imprint card that can
    >> cause rules problems like Duplicant did.
    >
    > Spellweaver Helix with 4 sorceries on it.
    >
    > Spellweaver Helix: {3} |Artifact| Imprint -- When Spellweaver Helix
    > comes into play, you may remove two target sorcery cards in a single
    > graveyard from the game. (The removed cards are imprinted on this
    > artifact.) / Whenever a card is played, if it has the same name as
    > one of the imprinted sorcery cards, you may copy the other and play
    > the copy without paying its mana cost.
    >
    > Which is "the other"? Do you copy all the others? Do you copy just
    > one, and if so do you get to choose which one?

    You get to choose which "other" to copy.

    This rule doesn't state it directly, but it's kinda implied:

    ,----[ Comp. Rules ]
    | 502.34b The phrase "imprinted [type] card" means the card of that
    | type that's imprinted on the permanent. If a permanent has more than
    | one card of that type imprinted on it, each of those cards is an
    | "imprinted [type] card."
    `----

    --
    Peter C.
    "... Had this been an actual emergency, we would have fled in terror,
    and you would not have been informed."
  7. Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.misc (More info?)

    On Thu, 10 Jun 2004 10:30:04 -0400, Rast <rast2@hotmail.com> wrote:

    >Jeff Boes wrote on Thu, 10 Jun 2004 13:58:36 GMT in article
    >news:<b9d10a631235356755e43a8df2050359@news.teranews.com>:
    >>
    >> By way of illustration, this item from the June WotC rulings:
    >>
    >> > * Duplicant
    >> >
    >> > When you have Duplicant, Volrath's Shapeshifter, and Death-Mask Duplicant in
    >> > the same deck, weird things can happen. We're not going to go into details, but
    >> > it involved multiple imprinted cards
    >
    >> Yeah, I'm *sure* that the Mirrodin playtesters thought about this one
    >> ... "Hey, what a cool card. I wonder what happens when I build a deck
    >> with Volrath's Shapeshifter, Duplicant, Death-Mask Duplicant, Clone, and
    >> Dance of Many?"
    >
    >Shapeshifter and Vesuvan Doppelganger aren't legal in any relevant formats,
    >so no I wouldn't expect that to be playtested.
    >
    >I _would_, however, expect someone on the rules team to ask "what happens if
    >the wrong amount/type of cards get imprinted on a permanent?", before the set
    >goes to print.

    I guess that the rules team should have done that, but since Duplicant
    is the only one that has a problem you can't be sure that they
    didn't... The rules can easily handle a card imprinting multible
    cards, one card just used its imprints in a problematic way.

    >As it turns out, just about all of the imprint cards can get
    >"imprinted wrong" using Shapeshifter or Doppelganger (hello Thought Prison
    >with 20 cards imprinted on it -- that would be cool in multiplayer for about
    >2 seconds.), and so now they will probably all get new oracle text. Or maybe
    >502.34 will be changed to handle it.

    How would Thought Prison with multiple imprints ever be a rules
    problem? It would most likely make it painfull to cast any spells, but
    it wouldn't be a rules problem.

    Thought Prison
    {5}
    Artifact
    Imprint -- When ~this~ comes into play, you may have target player
    reveal his or her hand. If you do, choose a nonland card from it and
    remove that card from the game. (The removed card is imprinted on this
    artifact.)
    Whenever a player plays a spell that shares a color or converted mana
    cost with the imprinted card, ~this~ deals 2 damage to that player.


    The old wording for Duplicant (wich is still in Oracle?) was a problem
    because Duplicant could wind up being both x/y and q/z at the same
    time.

    Duplicant
    {6}
    Artifact Creature -- Shapeshifter
    2/4
    Imprint -- When ~this~ comes into play, you may remove target nontoken
    creature from the game. (The removed card is imprinted on this
    artifact.)
    As long as a creature card is imprinted on ~this~, ~this~ has that
    card's power, toughness, and creature types. It's still a
    Shapeshifter.

    I am willing to bet that you can't find another imprint card that can
    cause rules problems like Duplicant did.

    --
    Regards
    Simon Nejmann
  8. Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.misc (More info?)

    Simon Nejmann wrote on Thu, 10 Jun 2004 19:54:09 +0200 in article
    news:<727hc0h7rrf60id923nhf6jompusft3jk0@4ax.com>:
    > I am willing to bet that you can't find another imprint card that can
    > cause rules problems like Duplicant did.

    Spellweaver Helix with 4 sorceries on it.

    Spellweaver Helix: {3} |Artifact| Imprint -- When Spellweaver Helix comes
    into play, you may remove two target sorcery cards in a single graveyard from
    the game. (The removed cards are imprinted on this artifact.) / Whenever a
    card is played, if it has the same name as one of the imprinted sorcery
    cards, you may copy the other and play the copy without paying its mana cost.

    Which is "the other"? Do you copy all the others? Do you copy just one, and
    if so do you get to choose which one?


    --
    "Sometimes I stand by the door and look into the darkness. Then I
    am reminded how dearly I cherish my boredom, and what a precious
    commodity is so much misery." -- Jack Vance
  9. Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.rules (More info?)

    Peter Cooper Jr. <pete@cooper.homedns.org> wrote:
    >(Crosspost & Followup-To: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.rules)
    >Rast <rast2@hotmail.com> writes:
    >> Simon Nejmann wrote on Thu, 10 Jun 2004 19:54:09 +0200 in article
    >> news:<727hc0h7rrf60id923nhf6jompusft3jk0@4ax.com>:
    >>> I am willing to bet that you can't find another imprint card that can
    >>> cause rules problems like Duplicant did.
    >>
    >> Spellweaver Helix with 4 sorceries on it.

    Not a problem; you pick one (1) of the other three to play, when the triggered
    ability resolves. Not 'all of the others'.

    >> Spellweaver Helix: {3} |Artifact| Imprint -- When Spellweaver Helix
    >> comes into play, you may remove two target sorcery cards in a single
    >> graveyard from the game. (The removed cards are imprinted on this
    >> artifact.) / Whenever a card is played, if it has the same name as
    >> one of the imprinted sorcery cards, you may copy the other and play
    >> the copy without paying its mana cost.
    >>
    >> Which is "the other"? Do you copy all the others? Do you copy just
    >> one, and if so do you get to choose which one?
    >
    >You get to choose which "other" to copy.

    Right. Generally, if an Imprint card lets you copy "the imprinted instant /
    creature / whatever card" but there's more than one, you pick one. Similarly,
    if your Chrome Mox has multiple cards under it, you pick a color of mana of
    one of them, you don't get one point of mana for each card under it; an
    Extraplanar Lens with multiple land cards under it will trigger separately
    when any one of them gets tapped for mana; etc.

    Duplicant was special because it was actually getting info from "the" imprinted
    card and using that to base Duplicant's characteristics on. Death-Mask
    Duplicant also does this but doesn't have the same problems, because it's
    easy to see how to handle multiple creature cards imprinted on it.

    >| 502.34b The phrase "imprinted [type] card" means the card of that
    >| type that's imprinted on the permanent. If a permanent has more than
    >| one card of that type imprinted on it, each of those cards is an
    >| "imprinted [type] card."

    Right. And since the actual answer you get, for powers/toughnesses that
    come in multiples, is Very Nonintuitive to players, they decided to take
    the easier route of slightly altering the card wording. In practice it
    doesn't make any difference _unless_ there manages to be more than one
    creature card imprinted on Duplicant.

    Dave
    --
    \/David DeLaney posting from dbd@vic.com "It's not the pot that grows the flower
    It's not the clock that slows the hour The definition's plain for anyone to see
    Love is all it takes to make a family" - R&P. VISUALIZE HAPPYNET VRbeable<BLINK>
    http://www.vic.com/~dbd/ - net.legends FAQ & Magic / I WUV you in all CAPS! --K.
  10. Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.misc (More info?)

    Simon Nejmann <snejmann@worldonline.REMOVETHIS.dk> wrote:
    >The old wording for Duplicant (wich is still in Oracle?) was a problem
    >because Duplicant could wind up being both x/y and q/z at the same time.

    And the rules actually -handle- this just fine - you have to use the split-card
    rules for it, and figure out what that MEANS, but there's a consistent and
    logical set of answers for it.

    They just aren't anything like what players expect a creature's power or
    toughness to -work- like.

    (Like split cards, if something says to do an action in the amount of the
    power of a multi-power creature, you do it once for each power; if something
    _compares_ itself to power or toughness, it compares itself to each value
    separately and gives back a "yes" if any of the comparisons are "yes". This
    means that the combat damage is equal to all its powers added together...
    but it will die if it has damage equal to or greater than its SMALLEST
    toughness.)

    So they decided that, rather than educate all the players on how to handle
    this and derive it from the existing rules, they'd alter the card a bit in
    a way that ONLY matters if there's multiple creature cards imprinted on
    Duplicant, and leave it with only one power and toughness (and whatever
    creature type(s) the latest-imprinted creature card has ... but players
    generally don't have trouble with multiple creature types, because creatures
    that have them are all over the place already).

    >I am willing to bet that you can't find another imprint card that can
    >cause rules problems like Duplicant did.

    We haven't so far.

    Dave
    --
    \/David DeLaney posting from dbd@vic.com "It's not the pot that grows the flower
    It's not the clock that slows the hour The definition's plain for anyone to see
    Love is all it takes to make a family" - R&P. VISUALIZE HAPPYNET VRbeable<BLINK>
    http://www.vic.com/~dbd/ - net.legends FAQ & Magic / I WUV you in all CAPS! --K.
  11. Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.misc (More info?)

    Rast wrote:

    >
    > Spellweaver Helix with 4 sorceries on it.
    >
    > Spellweaver Helix: {3} |Artifact| Imprint -- When Spellweaver Helix comes
    > into play, you may remove two target sorcery cards in a single graveyard from
    > the game. (The removed cards are imprinted on this artifact.) / Whenever a
    > card is played, if it has the same name as one of the imprinted sorcery
    > cards, you may copy the other and play the copy without paying its mana cost.
    >
    > Which is "the other"? Do you copy all the others? Do you copy just one, and
    > if so do you get to choose which one?

    Alright, I somehow missed how you got more than two cards imprinted
    on it.
    Quick explanation?
  12. Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.misc (More info?)

    "Sorcier" <sNoErMcOier@cavtel.net> wrote in message news:Gl9yc.69$oX1.52139@news.uswest.net...
    > Rast wrote:
    >
    > >
    > > Spellweaver Helix with 4 sorceries on it.
    > >
    > > Spellweaver Helix: {3} |Artifact| Imprint -- When Spellweaver Helix comes
    > > into play, you may remove two target sorcery cards in a single graveyard from
    > > the game. (The removed cards are imprinted on this artifact.) / Whenever a
    > > card is played, if it has the same name as one of the imprinted sorcery
    > > cards, you may copy the other and play the copy without paying its mana cost.
    > >
    > > Which is "the other"? Do you copy all the others? Do you copy just one, and
    > > if so do you get to choose which one?
    >
    > Alright, I somehow missed how you got more than two cards imprinted
    > on it.
    > Quick explanation?

    The Invasion Block's split cards. One physical card that has two spells on it.
    Assault / Battery comes to mind first

    -------
    Clayton

    Random Tagline:
    Imprint ~this~ ...
  13. Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.misc (More info?)

    Sorcier <sNoErMcOier@cavtel.net> wrote:

    > Alright, I somehow missed how you got more than two cards imprinted
    > on it.
    > Quick explanation?

    Vesuvan Doppelganger, Panoptic Mirror, Spellweaver Helix, a way to
    animate both Panoptic Mirror and Spellweaver Helix (e.g., March of the
    Machines). The Vesuvan Doppelganger copies the Panoptic Mirror long
    enough to imprint a number of sorceries on it, then copies the
    Spellweaver Helix.
    --
    Daniel W. Johnson
    panoptes@iquest.net
    http://members.iquest.net/~panoptes/
    039 53 36 N / 086 11 55 W
  14. Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.rules (More info?)

    Rast sez:

    <<
    > Simon Nejmann wrote on Thu, 10 Jun 2004 19:54:09 +0200 in article
    > news:<727hc0h7rrf60id923nhf6jompusft3jk0@4ax.com>:
    >> I am willing to bet that you can't find another imprint card that can
    >> cause rules problems like Duplicant did.
    >
    > Spellweaver Helix with 4 sorceries on it.
    >>

    OK, question: How? I'm gonna guess it involves Quicksilver Elemental, March
    of the Machines, and Panoptic Mirror...


    ----
    "If President Bush is going to take credit for 'the invisble hand' [of
    economics], then he's going to take the blame when 'the hand' gives him the
    finger."
    --From Fark.com
  15. Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.rules (More info?)

    Andy Jakcsy <djaxmann@aol.computer> wrote:
    >Rast sez:
    >> Simon Nejmann wrote on Thu, 10 Jun 2004 19:54:09 +0200 in article
    >>> I am willing to bet that you can't find another imprint card that can
    >>> cause rules problems like Duplicant did.
    >>
    >> Spellweaver Helix with 4 sorceries on it.
    >
    >OK, question: How? I'm gonna guess it involves Quicksilver Elemental, March
    >of the Machines, and Panoptic Mirror...

    It could; a separate way of doing so would use either Vesuvan Doppelganger
    or Unstable Shapeshifter. (And NOT, as some people think, Volrath's
    Shapeshifter, which can only get the abilities of _creature cards_ on top of
    your graveyard...). Basically, have the permanent that currently has the Helix
    ability either have been some other permanent previously, or have it have
    had the abilities of some other permanent previously.

    Dave
    --
    \/David DeLaney posting from dbd@vic.com "It's not the pot that grows the flower
    It's not the clock that slows the hour The definition's plain for anyone to see
    Love is all it takes to make a family" - R&P. VISUALIZE HAPPYNET VRbeable<BLINK>
    http://www.vic.com/~dbd/ - net.legends FAQ & Magic / I WUV you in all CAPS! --K.
  16. Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.misc (More info?)

    Daniel W. Johnson <panoptes@iquest.net> wrote:
    >Sorcier <sNoErMcOier@cavtel.net> wrote:
    >> Alright, I somehow missed how you got more than two cards imprinted
    >> on it.
    >> Quick explanation?
    >
    >Vesuvan Doppelganger, Panoptic Mirror, Spellweaver Helix, a way to
    >animate both Panoptic Mirror and Spellweaver Helix (e.g., March of the
    >Machines). The Vesuvan Doppelganger copies the Panoptic Mirror long
    >enough to imprint a number of sorceries on it, then copies the
    >Spellweaver Helix.

    Also works with Unstable Shapeshifter and the right sequence of moves. (But
    _NOT_ with Volrath's Shapeshifter.)

    There's a separate solution using a Doppelgangered Quicksilver Elemental to
    -steal- the ability of the Mirror, and then changing it once the cards are
    imprinted to copy an animated (via March of the Machines or Animate Artifact
    or some such) Helix.

    Dave
    --
    \/David DeLaney posting from dbd@vic.com "It's not the pot that grows the flower
    It's not the clock that slows the hour The definition's plain for anyone to see
    Love is all it takes to make a family" - R&P. VISUALIZE HAPPYNET VRbeable<BLINK>
    http://www.vic.com/~dbd/ - net.legends FAQ & Magic / I WUV you in all CAPS! --K.
  17. Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.misc (More info?)

    David DeLaney <dbd@gatekeeper.vic.com> wrote:

    > There's a separate solution using a Doppelgangered Quicksilver Elemental to
    > -steal- the ability of the Mirror, and then changing it once the cards are
    > imprinted to copy an animated (via March of the Machines or Animate Artifact
    > or some such) Helix.

    Since it needs the Vesuvan Doppelganger (or Unstable Shapeshifter)
    ability to eventually make a complete copy of the Spellweaver Helix (and
    the activated ability of the Panoptic Mirror doesn't require colored
    mana), the Quicksilver Elemental looks like unneeded complexity.
    --
    Daniel W. Johnson
    panoptes@iquest.net
    http://members.iquest.net/~panoptes/
    039 53 36 N / 086 11 55 W
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