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    On the Subject of Staples

    Oracle Afjak

    Chaotic Username : Afjak∞
    Chaotic Coins : 209
    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 : 594
    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 : 994
    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 : 637
    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 pins. Janks always fun to mess around with but card games are always gonna have this "issue". Some cards are just gonna be better than the rest. The uniqueness will lay in your decistion to use these staples or not. I personally don't even find Tarm that strong so I like never use him.

    If the staples are to good they're banned, they'll change when something better comes along thus adding variety. (Even if that doesnt freqyently happen, and if it did we'd be complaining about power creep)

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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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