A Dubious Challenge

A lot of people have asked me about Dubious Challange and I’ve always had the same answer to them:

If you don’t get it, its not for you.

Okay, there’s over 20 million people playing Magic around the world. You probably meet people who play all the time, but it just never comes up and you don’t know. For some of these people, its a complete lifestyle, for others not so much. Maybe they buy duel decks with interesting themes every once in a while to play with their significant others, or go and play in prereleases if they happen to have the time.

Its part of the beauty of Magic. It can be a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Magic isn’t even a game. Its a framework of rules and cards you can use to find a game you enjoy. Legacy, Booster Drafting, Standard, Wizard’s Tower, EDH and Cube are all very different games. Well, each Cube is basically a game onto itself, as is each Draft format and so on.

Of course, there are cards that are bad and cards that are completely unusable, but you know what? According to MTGO data, each card gets played. Yes. Every card they have added to Magic Online gets played there. It doesn’t mean every card gets played in tournaments or that every card is tested by the pros. What it means is that each card has something that appeals to someone.

That something doesn’t need to be powerlevel. It can be flavor, art, some tribal thing, a weird non-competitive combo, or whatever. The weird thing is, the card doesn’t actually even have to see any play to be very important card to someone.

For example, we have a topic called Combo Corner on our forums. Its just weird, often very inefficient combos, usually for the win with way too many components that aren’t good on their own. Sometimes they aren’t even for the win, but rather for some small incremental value.

A couple of examples:

Angel of InventionEldrazi DisplacerAshnod’s AltarAetherworks Marvel

Rattleclaw MysticRattleclaw MysticRattleclaw MysticRattleclaw MysticWeaver of Lies
Vesuvan ShapeshifterBonethorn Valesk

… and my personal favorite thusfar:

Mirrorwing DragonLife and LimbConspiracyPart the Waterveil

Why? Because its fun.

I’ve been thinking a lot about combos with Dubious Challenge. I haven’t come up with any really good ones (except with Brooding Saurian, but that’s kind of obvous), but its fun to think about these. So, okay, it has the drawback of some people actually having to open it in booster packs, but the game actually needs these cards. They bring a lot of players to the table, who like to use these things.

You don’t necessarily even need a good combo with it. In multiplayer games you can just get yourself a ally by giving them a very good creature while getting a (somewhat) lesser one for yourself. It doesn’t even have to be a lesser one for you, since you might have something with synergies with that creature.

Anyhow, you should always remember that you are not the only one playing the game and they have a huge audience to serve. They do different things for different players and you should appreciate that. Besides, you never know when someone breaks some stupid little card you hated when you opened it in your draft.

Just look at Modern Banned list:

Second SunriseSeething SongBlazing Shoal

None of these were on the original Modern Banned list, but someone broke them and that’s what’s going to happen to a lot of these weird cards. I don’t know if Dubious Challenge is such a card. I doubt it, because you would have to have quite a few combos in your deck to make it work. Still, its not as if someone isn’t going to try and that has value in itself as well.

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