I've been playing for a few months now, and i'm feeling quite overwhelmed with certain decks, such as fire prism and blood orb centric ones.
Coming from a yugioh background, the way to beat certain decks was to use side deck cards after the first game out of 3. Both players had access to a side deck, and it played a role in ensuring luck and circumstance didn't decide games.
So in short, would a best of 3 with a small side deck add to the strategy aspect of spellcraft, or would it be too much?
Regarding your "side-deck" idea:
I would oppose any measure that significantly lengthened matches (such as a two out of three rule). My life is such that I get enough interruptions that I often struggle to use PVP at all. There are many sort of interruptions I can put off 5 minutes to finish a game that I could not put off 15 minutes to finish a match. I will not begin a game unless I believe I have a reasonable chance of finishing it without major inconvenience to my opponent.
The idea of a "side-deck" itself is not bad if it could be incorporated into a single game without too much disruption. There are certainly cards I will never choose because they are too specialized. (For instance, many anti-aura cards like natural order are important balancers for certain auras such as stranglevines. But because natural order is totally unusable if the opponent has no auras -- a frequent occurance, a good deck has no space for it.) I do believe the mechanics of incorporating a side deck into a single game could be problematic, but it is an idea worth consideration.
Regarding prism an orb decks. Some of theses decks are very hard to beat unless you either load a deck with cards like melt that cause it to loose other matches, or you have enough cards and experience to have your own "almost unbeatable" deck. But I find most that I encounter are very manageable. For example, many fire prism decks focus so much on cards to draw and then trigger fire prism that they are deficient in other ways. And prism decks that do not place enough effort on drawing and triggering the prism are very slow. I find decks that are good at targeting enemy minions -- especially if they can liquefy or immediately destroy pyromancers and dancing druids -- will manage many fire prism decks as my opponent cannot secure enough minions to do substantial damage. Decks loaded with high health units also help -- before a prism is drawn, 3/4 and even 2/3 creatures tend to overpower my opponent's limited minions, and it often takes several rounds for a prism to clear three or four such units. Its not foolproof, even a bad prism deck will be almost unbeatable if it draws right, but I have decks I do not consider spectacular that win 60% + of matches against prisms.
Yeah, I certainly see your point about the length of games in a best of 3 being a bit much. I also see a lot of the specialized cards (especially in forest.)
Maybe just an option to make small tweaks to a deck before playing someone you've played before. Say, if you think they'll play a deck that your decks can't combat, you could swap a limited amount of cards before the game (this would have to be timed, so people couldn't just sit there on you.)
Of course, just bouncing ideas around, but i do think side decks could benefit everyone pretty equally if implemented properly, without signifigantly lengthening playing time per game.
i like the idea of best of three with side decks, or the chance to ask for a re-Match at the end of a game to try and counter a deck that has just better yours. I love the game but there are times when within a fee card plays you know your deck will not work against the deck your playing.