The rhinoceri and the spiders

by wickeddarkman on 16 March 2023

Main Deck (60 cards)

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Deck Description

Most of the meta in any magic format used to the battlefront of two player styles.

The rhinoceri are usually the younger players of the format, and they want to make an impression. They want to crash through the meta towards the top, and once there, they take great pleasure in surveying the smoldering crater they left behind.

The spiders want to shape the meta around them, spinning a wast web of manipulation that allows them to read new movements in the meta so that they can respond to it. The spider is more into the money of it rather than victorious glory. They are less impulsive which means that they are usually adults.

Both player types can be innovative, but most of the rhinoceri tend to be copycats.

The power balance between these two types of players used to be balanced, as new set releases were the time where all rhinoceri would go on a stampede and smash all the carefully woven webs creating a fresh new meta. The spiders would then repair whatever strands were left of the old meta and start controlling the meta again, strangling any rhinoceri trying to gain traction.

This pattern was how things happened for a long time, but over the years the spiders have managed to weave a web that transcends the old ways.

Around 2006 the spiders started to weave their web on the internet rather than at the tournaments. By controlling the information highways and spreading misinformation about how to play the game, they could slow down the impact made by the seasonal rhinoceri stampedes.

As a consequence magic theory basically died out. Every time someone brought forth a new discovery, the spiders would sabotage it with more fancy theories (but useless) or by just taunting the concept away.

Spiders all over the world settled in at the existing forums and slowly spun a web of manipulation that allowed them to gain longterm control.

During 2017 this web of deception was big enough that the spiders were able to influence the information flow surrounding new sets.

Since the corona lockdown and the loss of pro coverage, all magic metagames have been subject to extreme stagnation. New sets basically have no impact as the spiders spread enough misinformation that any rhinoceri are deterred from trying out the new successful cards.

This web of lies have grown so wast that not even the return of pro tours have managed to break its hold, and this has sent several meta game analysers wondering as to why pro coverage is no longer influencing the average copycat.

The answer to that is simple. Pro coverage is being woven away. The web spun by spiders have become large enough to supplant the pro tour news coverage. It is becoming a lot more difficult to view the pro coverage, and some players probably don't even know of it's existence. The spiders are sending every rhinoceri they encounter into a web to big to trample, and there they end up being consumed.

Deck Tags

  • article
  • Fake news

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Mana Curve

Mana Symbol Occurrence


Card Legality

  • Not Legal in Standard
  • Not Legal in Modern
  • Legal in Vintage
  • Legal in Legacy

Deck discussion for The rhinoceri and the spiders

Very well spoken. A beautiful commentary and an enlightening read for new players too.

Posted 17 March 2023 at 15:13


Why thank you.
This article was more or less a warm up/first edition.
It currently lacks the links that tie in all of the evidence.
During the 2006 the early manipulation of decklists began with the goal of manipulating cardprices, but it opened up for the manipulation of the meta too. I usually link to an old article by saffron olive that covers how wizards of the coast have only worsened the situation by only releasing a small section of their own data.

There are other details that need to be covered as well.

One aspect is that the entire cycle of rebels versus oppressive manipulators is more or less the marketing strategy of the game. In basically all of the storylines covered stretching back to the weatherlight saga, this war between players is the driving force. But with one fraction out of the picture the concept is threatened, so it's a puzzle to me why wizards are allowing it.
Rebels vs oppressive regime is a timeless classic, but by not fixing this they mark themselves as oppressive. A target for rebellion.

Posted 17 March 2023 at 15:39