Pointing Judgment White Commons

Posted in Latest Developments on June 14, 2002

By Randy Buehler

I’ve gotten several requests from regular readers of this column to let you guys try your hand at “pointing” again. Basically, this is your chance to pretend you’re a member of Wizards R&D. Several times during the development of a set, everyone on the team gives each card in the set a rating for how good they think the card is in Limited. (Think of “Limited” as 50% sealed deck and 50% draft.) This gives us a read on how balanced the colors are and once we’re done developing the set we use the pointing values as a guide to where to put the cards on the sheet so that each booster pack will turn out to have approximately the same power level.

In honor of Commons Week, try your hand at pointing the white commons from Judgment. Next week I’ll go over the results and you can see where you agreed with the team and where we disagreed.

For more explanation and instructions, here’s a direct cut and paste from the official "Developer’s Handbook" that I maintain. (This text hasn’t changed since I wrote a similar article where you guys pointed Torment’s black commons, so feel free to skip ahead if you remember all this stuff.):

…[H]ere is the fundamental definition of our rating: Given that this is the first card you see (of your 75-card sealed deck or first pack, first pick in draft), how happy are you -- on a scale of 0.0 - 5.0 -- to see it? Furthermore, your ratings should be linear (that is, you’d be just as happy with a 3.5 and a 2.5 or with two 3.0’s). Also, to be technically correct, this all assumes that your goal is to win – winning makes you “happy.”

The following elaborations of this scale are merely guidelines, designed to clarify the scale defined above:

5.0: I will always play this card. Period.

4.5: I will almost always play this card, regardless of what else I get.

4.0: I will strongly consider playing this as the only card of its color.

3.5: I feel a strong pull into this card’s color.

3.0: This card makes me want to play this color. (Given that I’m playing that color, I will play this card 100% of the time.)

2.5: Several cards of this power level start to pull me into this color. If playing that color, I essentially always play these. (Given that I’m playing that color, I will play this card 90% of the time.)

2.0: If I’m playing this color, I usually play these. (70%)

1.5: This card will make the cut into the main deck about half the times I play this color. (50%)

1.0: I feel bad when this card is in my main deck. (30%)

0.5: There are situations where I might sideboard this into my deck, but I’ll never start it. (10%)

0.0: I will never put this card into my deck (main deck or after sideboarding). (0%)

Those guidelines break down for artifacts and gold cards – fall back onto the fundamental definition when rating these categories of cards: the happiness scale.

So Masticore is a 5.0, I think Cabal Ritual is a 0.0 (though some of you disagreed with me when we did Torment pointing), Ghitu Fire is probably in the low 4’s, Overrun is about a 3.5 (but would be a lot higher if it wasn’t triple green), Waste Away is in the mid-2’s, etc.

A couple of other things to keep in mind while pointing -- many people who point a set for the first time tend to give away high marks too easily. Your average rating should be about 1.6 or so (since you usually wind up playing about half the cards you get in a draft ... less in sealed deck) and scores over 4 are usually reserved for “broken rares.”

Fair enough? Cool... have at it, and tune in next week to see how this experiment turns out.

Lead Astray

(Note: Here are the cards you will be asked to "point". You may find it helpful to click on the cardnames and review what they all do before you begin.)

Click here to take the Limited Pointing Survey!

Randy may be reached at latestdevelopments@wizards.com.

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