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Started by Tokimo, November 12, 2009, 08:34:34 AM

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I personally love counter-type cards. They add excitement, and few things are funner than to carry out a massive chain combination, blocking each other's cards in crazy and creative ways. I actually tried a while ago to make a game made entirely to expand on the concept, but it failed for other reasons...


Counterspells can make a game fun, but it can also make a game really tedious. THere's been many a time where i've scooped because the other player was countering every last one of my cards.

There've also been games (primarily multiplayer) where there's been so many counters going off on all sides that we all laughed our asses off.


I think this discussion has really helped me understand counter spells a lot better. ^_^

Here's to hoping counter spells are AWESOME in Mahoujo.


Quote from: Tokimo on November 18, 2009, 10:26:22 PM
I think this discussion has really helped me understand counter spells a lot better. ^_^

Here's to hoping counter spells are AWESOME in Mahoujo.

If you think this over a bit, you?ll see why counterspells in YOUR game will be the reason why it will crash down like a rock.

Younger players tend to get VERY upset when you mess with their possibilities of playing a card. If they want to play a card, let them.

Counterspells are not the kind of card you would want in the game you are making....


Good point. I guess I'm really going to need to pilot this with some kids.


Quote from: Souji Tendou on November 18, 2009, 10:11:27 PM
Counterspells can make a game fun, but it can also make a game really tedious. THere's been many a time where i've scooped because the other player was countering every last one of my cards.

There've also been games (primarily multiplayer) where there's been so many counters going off on all sides that we all laughed our asses off.
The same can be said of any negation card. I think Land Destruction decks are far more annoying to play against than counterspell decks. Counterspells are fine if they are properly designed. Try to not have them be easily repeatable, and if a deck can use counterspells, make sure it has weaknesses and have counterspells be one of its strengths.  This is similar in magic to having green get cheap big creatures and no counterspells, but blue has weak big creatures and counterspells. Blue has counterspells, but it doesn't have creature destruction.

No one likes playing a game where they are completely locked out, so you should design a counterspell that doesn't do that. 

Here's an example counterspell that could never completely lock a player out:

QuoteCounter target spell that costs 3 or less.

The existence of counterspells makes games a lot more combative. When your opponent might have one, every spell you play is unsure. This not knowing can be very exciting.


Interestingly, today I played against a red white control deck. That was really not very fun. I mean, I lost sure, but the thing is how I lost. All my creatures got singed and I just sat there turn after turn hoping to draw creatures faster than he drew bolts and wraths.

Meanwhile, getting overwhelmed by combo and aggro decks I always find amusing (played against a player with a vampire deck where we played 3 close games, win-loss-win and all three of those were really fun, even the loss). Aggro decks are the most fun to play against because you interact a lot. Combo decks you interact very little, but you at least get to do 'stuff' until they hit their win scenario.


Most of the people i play against nowadays tend to use late-bloomer decks, with at least a window of 7 turns (on average) before the deck starts pumping out the good stuff. Now, remember, i'm a Multiplayer soul, so these decks normally don't run many Counters, and what counters do get used are usually whatever is good in Standard Constructed.

Counters in moderation can be fun, but that control situation Tokimo was talking about is most definitely the pits.


Again though (for me at least) it would depend if I was playing casual or tournement. If I'am in a tournement and loading down my deck with counters will help me win, I'll do it in a heartbeat. For casual games however I tend to stick to the moderation guideline.


I'm kinda pondering how to help avoid excessive control. One idea that springs to mind is simply making a small selection of control cards in the core set and then not allowing too many to overlap.

As it stands for example there are ... 195 blue instant spells with the text "Counter" "target" and "spell" in them. This means it's possible (although silly) to build a deck with 20 islands and 40 counterspells in it. If instead Counterspell were the ONLY one, they'd end up as tactical surprises instead of chained aggravation. Similair effects with Naturalize and Doomblade (78 cards that have 'destroy' 'target' and 'creature' and are black instants).


Except you'd eliminate the primary purpose of blue, and that is to counter. I think you'd be better off offering a wider choice of control/counter and then letting the players decide what is "casual" to them. Some wont like it, of is obvious by this thread :) But restricted a way of play simply because you dont like it isnt a good way to go about designing a game.


hi. im not very experienced here but i hope i can add something to this thread.

counterspells are off-putting to some casual players and hard to counter because counterspells basically require a higher level of play and understanding of the game. this isnt to say your a bad player but beating counterspells usually require a 'level up' in terms of gameplay that some casual players dont take.

for example, here are some wellknown methods of beating a deck you know will negate your cards -

1) turn 1 or two is one of the first few turns where your opponent doesnt have enough mana to cast some of the strong counterspells. when counterspell was/is legal (i dont keep track anymore), you, 2 lands on the blue mages turn was enough to keep you off track. blue mages also had the counter bird (whose name i cant recall right now) but this meant that on the first turn, you could develop something if your deck was fast enough

2) play around the counterspell. this is a very hard concept but its rooted in the fact tat your opponent, if hes any good, will save his counters for cards that actually deserve it and will usually NOT counter every single thing you do but wait for your strong cards. by playing other side cards, your opponent has to guess whether or not they counter the card you just played or the card that you might play in the future. playing around these situations where you both know the threats available on both sides is a strategy that can help dampen the disadvantage

3) make the counterspell a bad option to play. if your opponent wishes to counter your spell on your turn, he needs mana available for it (which is why... force of will was it?... was so good. you could play it manaless). which means if you play a strong card on HIS turn, he will have to make a choice, counter it on his turn, using up his mana and leaving himself unable/disadvantaged to counter your spells on your next tap-free turn. meaning it becomes a bad situation for him : counter now or counter later, something is coming through

4) if your opponent has nothing but counterspells and none of these things work, especialy option 3, then your opponent will usualy not have alot of development. alot of the trickery here for a blue mage is to keep a presence that means something while actualy having enough mana to control your actions. if you just play as much as you can and if you get a lead, you might be able to keep it, blue mages do not have much in the way of stopping threats that ALREADY exist (an aspect of balancing that colour that is important)

counterspells ARE difficult and they can be extremely taxing. but there are some actions you can take here, they happen to not be contained in the cards but in your choices as a player. when you try and balance the stuff, try and remember that your players arent simply bots, theyr might not just go : pick best card here. pick best card here. pick best card here. they might have a gameplan that goes into their opponents heads or that revolves around an understanding of the game, advantage and choice. this is why new casual players usually dont understand that this isnt an end-all strategy, it requires a mental shift

keep in mind the target audience. some ppl (like me) will invariably play any tcg they come across so i might try and break your game :O but for the most part, try and understand how deep you want your game to go, playerwise as well as card- and fun-wise.

gl with your game :) sorry if i rambled without helping any


I'm not going to quote all of that because its pretty large, but I'd like my post to just encourage players to read it again with a simple:


You sound a lot like me, haha. Good run down on the early stages of playing magic and the bane that is counterspells at that time.


I my experience so far, it seems that getting around counter spells actually take two things: Playing around them, and building a deck that can play around them. I feel I've been getting better with all the Magic I've been getting to play with Lackey, and I definitely am getting a sense of what decks tend to overpower control and what decks tend to flail around. Certainly audience is a big factor here, I want to design something that is a bit more 'casual friendly' than magic, but I'd prefer not to sacrifice the upper play levels (that might be hard to do  :-[)


I kinad like being countered actually  :D. It forces me to change my plans and come up with new tactis to try and win.
Happend with my Stuffydoll/Pacisfism deck (a rather imba combo in my opinion expecially when combined with Greater Auramancy, works great in FFA's ;D) they countered the dolls and then i nearly lost for lack of any other real way to kill in it(the deck that is). Without counter cards magic would probably end up just races to get your game winning combo out.