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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:52 pm 
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Hello. I have noticed over my years in NGA (in the YmtC section) that I have very little understanding of how to balance cards for limited formats. Many of my ideas are extremely challenging to pull off without doing something degenerate there. So I would like to try and learn what sealed environments need in order to be fun for everyone playing.

for reference

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:08 pm 
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I really want to see the community put up some sort of design guides for things like this.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:32 pm 
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this article is a whole is nice, but this section specifically is a checklist style guide for designing commons to be in line with NWO standards http://www.custommagic.space/#nwo

NWO is relevant primarily or exclusively in limited, and helps combat complexity creep I guess, and keeps the game feeling smooth and understandable.

One of the most important aspects for making a limited environment feel good i think is making sure you have defined archetypes with the right amount of synergies. When players are building a deck from a sealed pool, they're going to look for key cards to start with. These cards will usually be archetype-defining uncommons or rares. As an example, if you open up a regisaur alpha, then you're going to immediately start scanning for other dinosaurs, other white cards, and other green cards, and also other cards that synergize with dinosaurs, and then cards that synergize with any of the other cards that are strong picks alongside the regisaur. I would guess that for a good limited environment, you want an average player to be able to build 60-80% of their deck through this process (not including basic lands), and then decide on the rest from the remaining filler cards that don't have as strong synergies with any of their other picked cards. Note that this doesn't mean 60-80% of their cards need to be dinosaur tribal. In-colour bombs and removal are often also often auto-includes at the point that you're comitted to that colour, and then any card that synergizes with specific cards in your deck without necessarily contributing to the big theme of "dinosaur" is potentially an easy pick as well.

Too many synergies runs the risk of players feeling like they don't have any creative space to build their own deck, or could pull them between too many directions at once. Too few and they get lost.

As for actual balance, since the total pool of playable cards is much smaller than in constructed, I think you have a lot more room to decide the balance on a set-by-set basis. Its fine to have one set where pikers are really good and another where they're useless. Playing with the P/T available on uncommons versus commons is then extremely important. If your set has a lot of 2/1s in it, then a 1/3 is going to be a lot stronger than it would be in a different context. Limited is necessarily going to be slower and lower-octane than constructed because players aren't playing the best cards, and are going to include a lot of mediocre cards and cards that don't synergize with their deck. Cards, with the possible exception of commons, are also going to be less consistent, because although the decks themselves are smaller, you're going to be running less of each card, probably even mostly singletons. These things change the balance in a lot of ways that I don't really understand. Removal is stronger, bombs are stronger, games tend to be longer on average, etc. There's a lot of common wisdom when it comes to balancing for limited, but it ultimately only goes so far and the only effective way to fine-tune an environment is to playtest it.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:17 pm 
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Oh dang, that's a handy link you posted.

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