With this being Multiplayer Week here on DailyMTG, and with multiplayer being my preferred format, I wanted to do something special. So I used the opportunity to give you the newest version of the Multiplayer Hall of Fame. I've wanted to do this since before I started writing Serious Fun, and there's no opportunity like Multiplayer Week to make it happen.
The Multiplayer Hall of Fame is the brainchild of the original Serious Fun writer, Anthony Alongi. He created categories and a rating system to rank every Magic card for multiplayer quality. Every few sets he would update the hall by adding new cards. He finally stopped in 2004, as the hall became too time consuming.
And I'm crazy enough to rate the last ten years of Magic cards.
What the Hall is About
The core of the hall is the animal rating system. Each card is rated on a 0–8 scale (we'll come to that in a minute) for each category:
Rattlesnake: The Rattlesnake rating reflects the card's ability to discourage attacks. It warns opponents away. A 2/2 creature can discourage some attacks, but a 5/5 creature discourages more. An instant discourages almost no attacks, since it is an unknown card in your hand. Cards like Pernicious Deed are even better at sending your opponents elsewhere.
Gorilla: The higher the rating, the bigger and more immediate the statement. Gorillas change how the game is played, demanding everyone's attention. Living Death is a textbook Gorilla.
Spider: These are the surprise cards. Instants tend to score best here, but creatures with dramatic enter-the-battlefield abilities can do well here too. Illusionist's Gambit is a great example of a Spider.
Pigeon: These get better the more opponents you have. Seedborn Muse and its ability to untap your creatures on opponents' untap steps is a card that earns top marks in Pigeon.
Plankton: These offer a benefit to all players. Howling Mine and other Group Hug cards tend to score well here.
Cockroach: These offer extra repeat effects or extra resources. A creature that can regenerate or a card that lets you draw many cards tend to score well. Blood Artist is a great Cockroach.
Each category is weighted for its importance, giving an edge to Rattlesnake and Gorilla. Each table in the hall lays out the percentages, so if you'd like to see the exact numbers, check them out there.
Rating for the hall isn't a touchy-feely thing either. Alongi laid it out quite nicely in his original tables:
0: Nonexistent. Antithesis of element
1: Very low. Element rarely applies
2: Low. Element may apply in special cases
3: Medium low. Element has some presence
4: Medium. Element available fairly readily
5: Medium high. Element applies easily
6: High. Element defines card
7: Exceptional. Excellent at element
8: Ultimate. Best in color for element
I knew that if I was bringing the hall back, I would need help. Ranking more than half of all the cards in Magic's history was simply too big a job for a single person to undertake. Everyone I asked agreed to jump in, grading some cards and agreeing to write an article. Every card in the hall was reviewed by two people, then the scores were averaged by me. So if you have an issue with the grading of a particular card, I was the ultimate arbiter. This updated hall does not include Magic 2015 or Khans of Tarkir, as M15 had just come out when we started. Yes, this has been months in the making!
So Who Are These People?
Abe Sargent: Abe writes for GatheringMagic.com and StarCityGames.com. He has been writing practically since the beginning of Magic and has supported multiplayer Magic the entire time. He wrote the White wing and his article is up today.
Brandon Isleib: Brandon and I started writing together on the Muse Vessel, then with GatheringMagic.com. He is now at Wizards of the Coast and was our man on the inside! He wrote the Blue wing and you can expect his article tomorrow.
Daryl Bockett: Daryl was with Brandon and me the whole time at Muse Vessel and GatheringMagic.com. Daryl still writes there, with a real talent for multiplayer theory. Daryl loves black cards, and it shows in his article for the Black wing, coming out Wednesday.
Adam Styborski: You know Adam from his Command Tower column here and as a former Serious Fun writer. Adam took up the mantle for the Red wing and that article will appear in his usual Command Tower slot on Thursday.
Bennie Smith: Bennie writes for StarCityGames.com and had multiple columns for this site as well. He's been writing so long that his stuff used to be printed on actual paper! For anyone who knows Bennie, it is no shock that he will wrap up the hall with the Green wing on Friday.
And in case you are wondering, I'll be back tomorrow in my usual Tuesday slot with the Multicolored wing of the Hall, and again on Thursday looking at the Colorless and Land wings.
We all hope you enjoy the articles and wandering through the Multiplayer Hall of Fame!