last edited by vaughnbros
I don't think its comparable to the Dredge, or Storm mechanic simply because you have to design a deck specifically to play with those specific mechanics. You can't simply put a Dredge card, or a Storm card in any random deck and expect it to perform.
It is comparable to the Delve mechanic. You are limited 1 companion. In a similar fashion, there is a limit to the number of Delve cards you can play (I forget exactly how many there were in the TC days, but I recall that it was rare for someone to play more than 4 or so).
If we expand on the example of Delve, if you only have 1 or 2 good options in the deck building process then you are basically forced to play those 1 or 2 good options. Look back at the TC and DTT days when basically a deck had to chose 1 or the other (usually TC). Companions are in a similar state right now. You have 1 or 2 good options (most people are choosing Lurrus). Printing more good Delve cards could have been a solution to "fix" TC and DTT that is assuming that Wizards wanted everyone to play a delve card. Similarly, printing more companions could be a "fix" for Lurrus assuming that Wizards wants everyone to play a companion card.
You have to evaluate the mechanic and card holistically. This is something that @chubbyrain1 has brought up numerous times in discussions surrounding the "playability" of various planeswalkers (among other cards), and he is right on that. Simply saying that all companions are +1 card misses the drawbacks of playing them, of which include:
- You lose your 15th sideboard card.
- You telegraph your deck choice to a degree.
- The 8th card is a specific card.
- You limit yourself to whatever deck building constraints that the companion requires. In the case of Lurrus, people are giving up on playing powerful restricted list cards, like Narset, Lodestone, among other powerful non-restricted list cards.
This is all to say that the mechanic is fine if Wizards wants everyone (or at least most everyone) to play companions. I'm not sure if that was their intent on the printings, but it seems to be the consequence. A "pushed" mechanic is not always bad, I think we had lots of great game play come from the last "pushed" mechanic in Planeswalkers.
In the long run, the game will benefit if they stay the course with companions. Adding an 8th guaranteed specific card to your hand is good. It emulates concepts that work very well in Hearthstone, Magic's biggest competitor. "Quest" cards and "Hero Powers" in that game are guarantees to your opening, which provide game play with a much needed variance reduction. The difference being that "Hero Powers" are fairly weak, and the deck building constraints on "Quest" cards can be very extreme. Too much variance is bad for gameplay as the game becomes more like Poker than Chess, although some variance is good as it forces players to have to make probabilistic decisions instead of deterministic ones.