June 2, 2004
Thank Goodness. I don’t know if it was a collective whoop or sigh that passed through the competitive Magic community yesterday with the DCI Banned and Restricted Announcement. For me, the announcement signaled that it may be safe to start creative deckbuilding again in the Casual Constructed room of Magic Online.
The idea behind Skullclamp was to keep Wrath of God effects in check and allow creature decks a chance in a control environment. It was also probably an attempt to push the limits of Equipment with regards to power level in the same way Rancor pushed the limits of creature enchantments.
What is so disappointing to me about Skullclamp is its untapped potential. I have heard more ways to "balance" Skullclamp than any other card. Make it cost more. Make the equip cost two or three. Make the bonus +1/+0. Make it draw one card instead of two. All of the above. Everyone seemed to see the intent of the card and want to transform it into a very good card instead of a ridiculously good one.
There are a lot of bummer side effects of Skullclamp getting banned. The worst, in my opinion, is that Skullclamp has shaken some people’s faith in the Development process. After all, how could such a thing possibly slip through the cracks?
Having been an "insider" of Magic for over two years, I can tell you that my faith in Magic R&D isn’t all that shaken. You can’t expect Wizards to innovate if it doesn’t push the limits of its cards now and again. Every R&D lab in every industry knows it will allow a certain amount of failure in order to truly be creative. Usually the Magic failures are caught before a card sees print, but I’m personally fine with a big "oops!" every few years if it’s corrected quickly.
Skullclamp was a big "oops!" and it was corrected quickly. I lost three or four months worth of fun deckbuilding, but the good news is that I have also barely scratched the surface of the entire Mirrodin block.
I’m an easy guy to please, apparently.
Now let’s all hope Krark-Clan Ironworks isn’t as scary as everyone keeps saying it is so that I can actually spend some blog-time making decks…