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Limited format with dynamic cardpool?

So I have only played a little, but I have noticed that there seem to be two main criticisms of it. First, that although it lowers the financial barrier to entry for new players, it’s not super effective at lowering the card pool knowledge barrier, since your opponent could be using any card in the game. Second, that although it does provide a new deckbuilding challenge for existing players, the challenge doesn’t stay especially interesting over the long term.

It seems to me like avoiding those problems while pursuing the same goals as would require a format with a specific limited card pool that changes fairly frequently. Ideally the card pool would be small and static enough that new-ish players could learn most of the playable cards in it and keep up with buying cards that are added to it, but also large and dynamic enough to stay interesting for experienced players. Hopefully there’s some overlap between those two goals.

It would be nice if it also largely used “good” packs, such that buying cards as they rotate in wouldn’t be an unreasonable way for a new player to build a collection.

The rest of this post is my current thoughts on what the card pool for such a format might look. I am not really attached to any of the details below. Mostly I am looking for feedback on the general idea.

Hypothetical card pool:

  • One core set
  • One specific deluxe, selected as described below
  • The three most recent data packs
  • Three older data packs, selected as described below

Hypothetical card pool selection:

  • An online tool would exist that would randomly select the deluxe and the older data packs and publish the selections. Let’s call it the card picker.

  • At regular intervals, such as every month or every time a pack is released, the card picker would make changes to the card pool.

  • For the deluxe, the card picker would randomly decide whether to change it or keep it for longer.

    • The decision would be weighted so that, for instance, it might always decide to change it if it had been the same for three months, but only have 25% odds of swapping it after one month.

    • If it decided to change it, it would randomly select one of the other deluxes to take its place. This would be weighted so that deluxes that had been out of the cardpool for longer would be more likely to be chosen.

  • For the older data packs, the card picker would always randomly select one to be rotated out and a different older data pack to be rotated in.

    • This would be weighted so that the data pack that had been in the longest would be the most likely to go out.

    • The card picker would use data from Know the Meta to weight the selection of a pack to rotate in, so that it would be more likely to choose a “good” data pack, for values of good involving stats with limited context.

    • Other restrictions might include: Always rotating out a pack that has been in the card pool for six months, if there is one; never selecting a pack that will rotate out in less than one full cycle; never having more than one pack in the card pool that will rotate out in less than two full cycles; never having more than two packs from the same cycle in the card pool; never selecting a pack that was in the selected card pool less than three months ago.


I like this idea a lot.

I see your problem, the format is not designed for balance first and foremost. Very broadly i think you need to either include balancing changes like the official MWL, or do what you try to do here, obfuscate the ‘competitive’ meta to make all the easy solutions unavailable to people.

I’m guessing the official MWL and even unofficial bans/MWL will add a layer of complexity that is not helpful to new players, so i guess the question becomes: what is the best way of creating an obfuscated meta?

I’'m guessing you’d like to keep it simple and easy to remember? It would be difficult if people ahd to reference an online site for changes very often. When designing for new players i think many would want to be able to play the deck they build for a while as well, and not being forced to change it often.

Have you thought about somethink akin to ‘commander’ in magic? It is a format allowing only singles of specific cards? This helps break up combos and consistency, and many think that format is great fun.

Well I just started playing and created a play group.
We use the core set with genesis and thinking about introducing the first deluxe.
We are quite happy with this setup :slight_smile: , I guess this would be boring for you veterans?

I also think that after the first four deluxe boxes the game is pretty much “finished” or complete. It will take several years for us to play through all of the deck variations that card pool provides.

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Regardless of how well balanced a format is, I think it will get “solved,” or at least to a point where the hivemind thinks it’s solved, fairly quickly. So for long-term “balance,” I think reasonably frequent disruptions to the meta are necessary. This could maybe be accomplished in standard by FFG by speeding up rotation, so that each data pack release was a proportionally larger change to the cardpool, but they don’t seem inclined to do that.

This format would definitely need the MWL or something like it. I don’t think the MWL is that big a barrier to new players. I think the too-large card pool is a much bigger problem.

You’re right that it would be nice to have something simpler to remember. I’ve actually just thought of a simpler format that might work to limit the size of the card pool more organically, but it’s sufficiently different than this one that I’ll likely make a separate thread for it after I experiment with the idea a little more.

Singleton is kind of fun, but it definitely does not reduce the number of new-to-them cards a new player might encounter. And it’s significantly more challenging for players with small collections than for players with all the cards.

I’m glad that you’ve found a card pool that works for you!

I think if everyone were approaching the card pool with the goal of playing many of the available variations, as you seem to be, then the card pool you propose wouldn’t be boring, even for long-time players. But many players prefer to take a different approach, of looking for strong decks and refining them. A limited card pool like you’re working with doesn’t support that approach for all that long, because it usually turns out that there’s a limited number of really strong decks. And even for players who don’t take that approach, once other players find and start playing the strong decks, it can become rather disheartening to repeatedly face very strong decks with decks you picked because they were interesting variations.

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