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    On the Subject of Staples

    Oracle Afjak

    Chaotic Username : Afjak∞
    Chaotic Coins : 213
    Location : Dranakis Threshold

    On the Subject of Staples

    Post by Oracle Afjak on Thu May 07, 2015 8:53 pm

    First things first: I'm unsure if this section of forum is where this thread belongs, so apologies if it happens to be misplaced.
    Also apologies to anyone having trouble reading this color. I've just taken a heavy affinity to this #006699 aqua blue. I can stop if it bothers anyone.

    Now that that's done, read if you wish and be enlightened. Or bored. Or confused. I've honestly lost the ability to tell the difference anymore.


    I've been playing Chaotic for some time now--since before the first cards were printed, you could even say. It's also no secret that my time on TCO has been more spent on other games than it has Chaotic these last few months. I've been around both here and the other "there"s to increase my knowledge of the working of each of the games I play, as well as to find new ideas and inspirations. My "travels", though, have cast a lot of thought towards each game and I've found one concept I dislike: staple cards.

    For those who don't know, a card in any game being considered "staple" is another way of saying "must-have". Much like paper staples in the real world, these staples hold decks together: any deck that has even the hopes of being competitive (note the difference between that word and simply being able to win) will seemingly cram as many staples as they can get their hands on and legally fit into a deck, and these cards are popularly regarded as automatic includes. If someone who often resorts to these staples encounters your deck, there's a good chance they will question why you don't have appropriate staples in your deck. I've witnessed this happen in Chaotic, Magic: the Gathering, and Yu-Gi-Oh! alike. My problem with these so-called staples aren't that they're overpowered or unanswerable, but that their overfrequent inclusion to every single respective deck fosters a lack of creativity.

    Here are some such examples that I've found, if you will:

    Everyone and their dog has these cards in their decks: they prove to be the alleged "must-have" answers to oh-so-frequent roadblocks on your path to victory. Mystical Space Typhoon removes a vast majority of threats you face, and so on. The problem, which you might be gathering at this point, is that using too many of these staples is removing the spirit of deck construction. You "need" your trio of MSTs, your Bottomless, your Gorz and Monster Reborn and Pot of Greed and all that jazz, but at the same time your deck is now building itself, with very little room to truly make it unique.

    Moving along the exhibit train:

    Once again, we reach the same dilemma. Every single competitive deck that has green as a color uses Tarmogoyf. Some even included green for no other reason than Tarmogoyf. Now try building a deck in the modern format using this exact mentality. Your favorite color combination is red/green/white, and you want to make an aggressive deck to showcase. You want to build something new... but you're including green, so you must run a quartet of Tarmogoyfs. Maybe you can add some interesting combo... but you have white, surely you need four copies of Path to Exile. And what would any deck with red be without full sets of Goblin Guide, Lightning Bolt, and Lightning Helix since white is present? Your deck is intended to contain 60 cards, but the staple mentality now has you really building a 40 card deck just off of those five playsets. The more applicable staples there are, the decklist that you're actually building gets smaller and smaller.

    "But Afjak, those games aren't our own Chaotic. Surely this can't be happening here."
    Except it is. It's very much a problem in Chaotic, and most players don't realize it. It's one thing to use Primal Smash because it's appropriate in a dagger deck, or if your attack deck is fairly weak and needs and extra push. It's an entirely different sin to stick it into every single deck, even deck where it makes no justifiable sense to be in, just because of the "power" you're used to getting from it. How about the infamous Xerium Armor? This has been seeing play equipped to creatures who honestly have better options for Battlegear selection, but the necessity mentality clouds the ability to see that. "Oh, your deck has OverWorlders? Why don't you have Rhyme of the Reckless, it's a single card bomb." I've had these cards recommended to me just for the ability to use them, even in decks where they would be severely out of place. Xerium Armor, when told that I don't own one, has even got the "You should get one, it's super-good [or whatever dumb descriptive was used]" on more than one occasion--like I haven't seen the card at any point in my life.

    Now that's not to say anyone is guiltless of this. I myself find Mipedian Balladeer's Flutes creeping into just about every Chaotic army I build, have been using MST since before I even knew it was a commonly-regarded staple, and repeatedly consider Prophet of Kruphix in every single deck that fits her colors (ok, mostly because she's one of my favorite cards ever, but you get the picture). My point on the matter is, the overuse of staple cards kills creativity as surely as a shoe would a cockroach. This clouded judgement lends you to miss certain gems that you might have otherwise been interested in--Lobanne, for example, has become a fairly relevant player in our own metagame on TCO, but might have never gained popularity without his ability being given a spotlight. No uniqueness, no expression of ingenuity, only a continual path of following false obligation. The staple holding your deck together now becomes a crutch for desperate support. The more you bandwagon onto repeatedly using the same cards because you feel you have to, the more you'll unknowingly find yourself building the exact same deck over and over again, and also how it will nearly mirror every single deck you'll face. And really, where's the fun in that?


    If you've survived to the end of that, I hope it gave you something new to think about, or at the very least something interesting. Feel free to leave your own thoughts below.

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    Super Rare

    Chaotic Username : lazerbem
    Chaotic Coins : 564
    Location : Everywhere and Nowhere

    Re: On the Subject of Staples

    Post by lazerbem on Sat May 09, 2015 9:16 pm

    Originality isn't exactly my strong suit so common stuff doesn't bother me much. You'll notice that most of the decks I create have a very similar skeleton and that I don't have any issue with netdecking.

    That being said, there are some underappreciated cards that could be used more. A good example is Perplexing Heat vs Torrent of Flame. The latter is used more, for some reason

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    The Mad One
    Ultra Rare

    Chaotic Username : Chiodosin1
    Chaotic Coins : 878
    Location : Minnesota, US

    Re: On the Subject of Staples

    Post by Chiodosin1 on Sun May 10, 2015 8:30 pm

    Wow I was actually just thinking about this the other day,I completely agree with what you are saying and am more than guilty myself.
    I think the main problem is
    1. The lack of new cards prevents the metagame from evolving in a natural way, which leads players coming back to the same cards
    2. The fact that most players throw together decks of whatever cards they want and not simply cards they have. The main problem here is that again without easy access to cards it becomes difficult to incorporate new players plus players who choose to use only there own cards can feel disadvantaged with no real incentive other than a moral boost. If we had more players or better communication we could do a league of owned cards only but for now we'll have to make do.
    3. Some cards just work. If you need and extra mugic balladeers flute is almost always the best option, illusionary walls is too good for any marr'illian deck to pass up, and 20e from a drilldozer or a quick 20 damage from a pheonix belt is extremely versatile. Sometimes you just can't pass up what works.

    P.S.: People Don't know lobanne is OP? I mean basically like karabra but gain instead of heal as long as your opponent has at least one element. With the right combo you could gain 50-60 easy first turn
    King A-Game Darini

    Chaotic Username : agame
    Chaotic Coins : 620
    Location : Behind you

    Re: On the Subject of Staples

    Post by King A-Game Darini on Sat Aug 06, 2016 6:54 am

    Just going through pinned topics.

    These cards are here for a reason. You stated it very well and have a good argument but the reason why it's this way is well let me put it this way.

    From experience I used to have a post where I'd pump out decks almost daily and share and try them out. A lot of them were gimmicks,some were just ideas with decent stratedy's. These gimmicks mainly included the idea of making attacks do 0. All of them.. ,crazy healing,1 shoting creatures, and bassically if I saw a unique to abuse it or combo them with something else to make it amazing. The sad truth was..they were ALWAYS outclassed by the Meta staple decks. They're meta for a reason..

    Primal smash, what else does 20 damage for so low a cost. Look at rust toxic for example sure it can do 20 for 1bp but first you gotta have 15 more courage,water and earth! If your facing someone that decreases stats..thats minus 10..if you lose earth or water thats minus five..both  10. Its just a good insurace card seeing as most 1bp are in the same boat. Xerium armor. The peace of mind gear. Look when I'd make a deck in masters 40% of the time I made a meek deck. Meek was my FAVORITE strat next to warbeasts and the reason why? Well besides beating people with a 30e pixie creatures..(Lystone) it gave me something nothing else could and thats a small set rate of damage against me... it was just so good and nothing got around it really after it was played. Xerium does this on the bigger guys cause nothing else can. Having a creature with average 60 e and max 65 was the difference of living or dieing sometimes. Sure I'm telling you what you already know. But as someone whos trued Uniquenes you're right its more creative and definetly more fun but for a competition whos gonna choose to limit themselves.

    Edit: for example..
    Akkerbal/undin,Blugon WW,Na-inna/inner flood
    To much build up..not enough reward

    Sirelin,mugic theif/husk armor,meek,Mipedian dew farm and riverlands
    Wait both meek and fluidmorphs gets crushed by burn?. Okay but thats just one deck type.. is That najarin FF?..

    Olkiex PR/riverland star and unda with same deal as akkerbal giving her MC.. not enough to handle believe it or not.

    Heres something cool
    Lam'inkal/aerodronex2,na-inna x2/innerfloods and najarin and Tangath OG with fighters fanfare and melody of mirage. Not enough energy still.. ohh okay..

    This will be good and obvious! Khorror/xerium,savel with Ravita flower and ranun next to him casting gear glisado,gaffat-Ra with a leash! Slash claw for the win!. Wait SCR? Okay we'll adapt.. 2 savel for App why the heck is SCR here too

    I know a meek mix deck! Rely's around Grantake and his stance to do a bunch of damage and them not be allowed to do anything next attack. Not enough damage output,not enough energy..

    Maybe It was just me.. maybe the strats could of been good but just werent

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    ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
    "What are you gonna do? STAB ME!?" -stab Victim Mipedian

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    Re: On the Subject of Staples

    Post by Sponsored content

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