5/10/2010 MM: "Level Headed"

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From the article:

The easiest way was to use level counters to represent the level, but if we started at level 1 then the counter number would not match the level number (two counters would mean level 3 not level 2).



Why not make "This creature comes into play with one level counter on it" a part of the level up ability? Wouldn't that solve both problems (start at level 1, number of counters=number of levels)?





Wow, really? I had no idea....

That gag aside, I'm writing to say that I hate the way the level-up cards look. The three-text-boxes thing is just really wrong to me; it seems Pokemon-ish and makes it not look like a Magic card anymore. The cards play interestingly, but I hate looking at them, and would actively prefer not to own very many of them.

Here's how I would have liked them to look:

Knight of Cliffhaven
Creature - Kor Knight, 1W, 2/2
Level Up 3 (3: Put a level counter on this creature. This creature's level is equal to the number of level counters on it. Activate this ability only when you could cast a sorcery.)
As long as Knight of Cliffhaven is level 1 or higher, it gets +0/+1 and has flying.
As long as Knight of Cliffhaven is level 4 or higher, it gets +2/+1 and has vigilance.

Brimstone Mage
Creature - Human Wizard, 2R, 2/2
Level Up 2R (2R: Put a level counter on this creature. This creature's level is equal to the number of level counters on it. Activate this ability only when you could cast a sorcery.)
As long as Brimstone Mage is level 1 or higher, it gets +0/+1 and has "TAP: Brimstone Mage deals 1 damage to target creature or player."
As long as Brimstone Mage is level 3 or higher, it gets +0/+1 and has "TAP: Brimstone Mage deals 3 damage to target creature or player."

This is a functional change since it means your fully-leveled Mage retains the ability to tap for 1 damage (occasionally important, say if you want to poke your just-played Fungusaur). But I'm fine with functionally changing cards in a way that's for the best, both in terms of the card itself and of the environment around it. Having Enclave Cryptologist forget how to discard cards is a fail; nobody loses abilities when they level up in D&D (well almost nobody).

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As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
From the article:

The easiest way was to use level counters to represent the level, but if we started at level 1 then the counter number would not match the level number (two counters would mean level 3 not level 2).



Why not make "This creature comes into play with one level counter on it" a part of the level up ability? Wouldn't that solve both problems (start at level 1, number of counters=number of levels)?



They learned their lesson about packing too much stuff into a keyword with Suspend.  Plus, they'd still need to use reminder text for most of the cards and they were already having space issues.

I love the level-up mechanic, and I am impressed by how self-explanatory and simple the cards look.
Innovations like these (and others such as Split Cards, Morph, Wishes, Equipment, Flip Cards, and Planeswalkers) make Magic continually exciting. They don't have to come with every set, that would be overload, but they sure are nice to have. And they are not just fun for the novelty factor, these cards tend to give me more things to do over the game and more depth in choice-making.

I'm sad that the first level of these cards have no abilities other than level up. It feels like most level up cards have only 2 different states rather than 3. The first state on most cards is just a down payment, like a reverse echo, that doesn't do much on its own. I think having 3 functional states is really important. Then the card can be used on its own, then level up to a strong mid-range creature, and could have a really powerful mode that you only get to see in a few games, a kind of tantalizing goal you can get excited about when you achieve it. I wouldn't have minded if the text box was made bigger, like in the Planeswalker cards, or the print made smaller. Maybe there could have been 1 more partition above the level 0 text box, just 1 line for displaying only the level up cost that is common to all levels.

One thing I'd like to know in future articles is what other conditions for level up have been considered. Magic has had many abilities that emulate level-up, such as Whirling Dervish, Sengir Vampire, and the flip cards in Kamigawa. Have they been candidates for the level-up mechanic?
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I'm with Bringbackbanding, I still feel that they could just have added that line about coming into play with a level counter - I know it takes up space, but look at Jace, the Mind Sculptor- it's hard to argue that current R&D are wary of too much text on a card... (although I take Blarghy's point that it's about the wordiness of a keyword, not cards in general)

Even without that line, it's worth remembering that any creature that isn't 0/0 and comes into play with a +1/+1 counter, or gains them later, also has a sort of "mismatch" between the number of counters on it and it's p/t. Players are smart enough to cope with that, it's not exactly rocket science to take a card's base information, add the effect of the counters and come up with its properties. When you throw in Glorious Anthem-type effects, or spells like Overrun, or auras, and everything else, cards are actually very very often not what they appear to be! It's all part of the skill of Magic, working out what something really is.

Furthermore, speaking of +1/+1 counters, I'm surprised that there was apparently no concern in R&D about the potential headaches (primarily in casual games) about too many counters flying around - even just from Lorwyn block up to the present day there have been strong themes of +1/+1 counters, -1/-1 counters, level counters and even quest counters (admittedly not on creatures though) - I wonder if R&D have shares in dice and/or bead manufacturers??
"Personally, I believe $50 is the roof that someone will pay for a Standard card, Mythic or otherwise." - Ben Bleiweiss, StarCity Games ----------------------------------------------------------
I'm with Bringbackbanding, I still feel that they could just have added that line about coming into play with a level counter - I know it takes up space, but look at Jace, the Mind Sculptor- it's hard to argue that current R&D are wary of too much text on a card... (although I take Blarghy's point that it's about the wordiness of a keyword, not cards in general)



Jace is MR though. I think wordiness and complication (along with narrowness) are the few legitimate excuses for varying rarity.
I'm with Bringbackbanding, I still feel that they could just have added that line about coming into play with a level counter - I know it takes up space, but look at Jace, the Mind Sculptor- it's hard to argue that current R&D are wary of too much text on a card... (although I take Blarghy's point that it's about the wordiness of a keyword, not cards in general)

Even without that line, it's worth remembering that any creature that isn't 0/0 and comes into play with a +1/+1 counter, or gains them later, also has a sort of "mismatch" between the number of counters on it and it's p/t. Players are smart enough to cope with that, it's not exactly rocket science to take a card's base information, add the effect of the counters and come up with its properties. When you throw in Glorious Anthem-type effects, or spells like Overrun, or auras, and everything else, cards are actually very very often not what they appear to be! It's all part of the skill of Magic, working out what something really is.

Furthermore, speaking of +1/+1 counters, I'm surprised that there was apparently no concern in R&D about the potential headaches (primarily in casual games) about too many counters flying around - even just from Lorwyn block up to the present day there have been strong themes of +1/+1 counters, -1/-1 counters, level counters and even quest counters (admittedly not on creatures though) - I wonder if R&D have shares in dice and/or bead manufacturers??



You have to consider what's at stake versus what.

In the case of leveling, that would be something like "simplicity versus flavor", "nr of counters is level versus in fantasy games you're supposed to start at one".

In the case of counters, that be something like "simplicity versus function", "figuring out the combined stats versus not be able to have +1/+1 counters on non-0/0 creatures".

Magic is more on the function side than on the flavor side, when both would be fighting simplicity, as in this case, function wins but flavor doesn't. (Compare this to games like D&D and Warhammer which are waaaaay more flavorful but also waaaaay more complicated)


On the article: how lame, nothing about instant versus sorcery speed??? I fully expected some more in-depth discussion about that, hoping MaRo would come with playtest examples and the like. It fits the structure perfectly!
I'm with Bringbackbanding, I still feel that they could just have added that line about coming into play with a level counter - I know it takes up space, but look at Jace, the Mind Sculptor- it's hard to argue that current R&D are wary of too much text on a card... (although I take Blarghy's point that it's about the wordiness of a keyword, not cards in general)



Jace is MR though. I think wordiness and complication (along with narrowness) are the few legitimate excuses for varying rarity.



That is a very fair point.
"Personally, I believe $50 is the roof that someone will pay for a Standard card, Mythic or otherwise." - Ben Bleiweiss, StarCity Games ----------------------------------------------------------
On the article: how lame, nothing about instant versus sorcery speed??? I fully expected some more in-depth discussion about that, hoping MaRo would come with playtest examples and the like. It fits the structure perfectly!



I suspect that if you wait for the "Latest Developments" column later on in the week, Tom LaPille will address this for you. Could be wrong though.
"Personally, I believe $50 is the roof that someone will pay for a Standard card, Mythic or otherwise." - Ben Bleiweiss, StarCity Games ----------------------------------------------------------
Wow, the forums are letting people post from Chrome now? Astonishing.

What disappointed me about this article was that it jumped it at the end. The nitty-gritty details are interesting, to be sure, but I'd have been rather more interested in the discussions leading to Mark's starting point:
"...let's start by talking about what we all agreed on. What was the core of the level up mechanic? The design team wanted the following:
Each card would be a creature with three different states. Most states would change power and/or toughness although not all. Some stages would add abilities. A few would remove some.

The way each creature would advance stages would be through the paying of mana. This payment could change from creature to creature but would be the same for each payment made by a particular creature. If it costs  to go from level 1 to level 2, then it would also cost  to go from level 2 to level 3.
The different stages would be concurrent with different groupings of levels. The first stage would also be the level the creature starts at. The second stage would require at least one level up but possibly many more than one. The third stage always required leveling up higher than the second stage."


Seems like there's lots of design gone on to get to this point. Why three states? Why vary payments between creatures, but on any given creature, keep payments the same but vary the number required? These all seem like reasonable decisions, but ones I'd be interested to hear the run-up to.

I agree that innovations like Level Up are the lifeblood of Magic. I think it's probably wise to use Level Up only sparingly - one set every few years - whereas things like split cards and planeswalkers I think the game can handle happening more frequently. But those kind of "rock the boat" innovations are necessary from time to time, and they can be utterly awesome.
What suitably astonishes me is that the word "LEVEL" inside the arrows wouldn't be replaced by the corresponding word in whatever other language the name of the card and the rules text are translated into - but instead had to be left in English on foreign-language cards.

Is typesetting getting really expensive, is there something badly wrong with the process flow of combining the elements that make up a card, or did somebody just take leave of his senses?

EDIT: Apparently, the article was just wrong. They did manage to put "NIVEAU" instead of "LEVEL" on the French version of a leveler card - and Russian, Chinese, and Japanese also got the word in their own languages.

EDIT: Ah, all he said was that either the English word would have to appear on the foreign cards, or it would have to be translated - and the latter happened to have been the case. I just read too quickly.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

If they started at level one and came into play with a counter you'd need rules about level 0 and at that point it just seems simpler to decrease all the levels by 1. It decreases the amount of text, and the number of "what happens at level 0"  judge calls.
I found the levelers pretty easy to understand on first viewing, so to me it looks like R&D got it right.

Many of the other options that people have brought up here would've increased the amount of text on the card significantly.  The strategy R&D went with helps avoid too much text on commons, which is a plus.
I'm writing to say that I hate the way the level-up cards look. The three-text-boxes thing is just really wrong to me; it seems Pokemon-ish and makes it not look like a Magic card anymore. The cards play interestingly, but I hate looking at them, and would actively prefer not to own very many of them.

Here's how I would have liked them to look:

Knight of Cliffhaven
Creature - Kor Knight, 1W, 2/2
Level Up 3 (3: Put a level counter on this creature. This creature's level is equal to the number of level counters on it. Activate this ability only when you could cast a sorcery.)
As long as Knight of Cliffhaven is level 1 or higher, it gets +0/+1 and has flying.
As long as Knight of Cliffhaven is level 4 or higher, it gets +2/+1 and has vigilance.


willpell demonstrates that leveling could work as a pure text ability without a special template, but I would argue that that would be a poor choice for mechanical reasons.

Many Rise of the Eldrazi cards are still new to me, and my eyes cannot read small text across the table, so when my opponent plays a card I have not seen before, I ask him or her to hand it to me so that I can read it. For a permanent card I need to remember its abilities for as long as it will remain on the battlefield. For most creatures, that means I memorize its size and one or two abilities with their associated activation costs or trigger conditions.

For a leveling creature, I need to remember:
- three different power/toughness sizes;
- the abilities at mid level and high level;
- the mana cost to level up;
- the number of level counters to reach mid level and high level.

If leveling creatures were as willpell wants, I would also have to perform mental arithmetic to figure out the new sizes and check that the text does not have any differences from the standard text template for leveling creatures. I would require one more minute to accomplish this, a minute during which the game would be completely stopped.

Mark Rosewater said about whether level zero should have an arrow:
To keep from having to repeat the words "level up" on all the stages, the layout had to communicate that the first stage had a different property than the later stages. To do this, it had to lose the arrow.


It would have been even better if mid level and high level had a line border around their sections, too. Right now, the three shadings make zero level, mid level, and high level look equivalent. The zero-level ability looks like it would be overwritten at mid level like the mid-level ability is overwritten at high level. The lack of the arrow at zero level is a hint, but it is a small hint. The primary reason I could deduce that the level-zero ability is not lost was that the creature needed a level-up ability at mid level.

I'm sad that the first level of these cards have no abilities other than level up. It feels like most level up cards have only 2 different states rather than 3. The first state on most cards is just a down payment, like a reverse echo, that doesn't do much on its own.


Back during the days of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons my fellow D&D players referred to peasants as zero-level characters. A vanilla zero-level creature (except for level-up ability) fits the D&D image.

One thing I'd like to know in future articles is what other conditions for level up have been considered. Magic has had many abilities that emulate level-up, such as Whirling Dervish, Sengir Vampire, and the flip cards in Kamigawa. Have they been candidates for the level-up mechanic?


One  thing I'd like to see in future sets is leveling creatures with a different level-up condition.

On the article: how lame, nothing about instant versus sorcery speed??? I fully expected some more in-depth discussion about that, hoping MaRo would come with playtest examples and the like. It fits the structure perfectly!

This was covered well over a month ago: www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.a...
So what about the time restriction on when you can play a level up counter?

My snap judgment is that there is a reason for so stark a templating decision. The best of the levelers (and I would guess that Kargan Dragonlord would fit into that division) were just too good with instant speed level up capabilities, essentially making every deck a curve-perfect Sligh strategy.

By forcing players to level up only on their own turns, we demand greater skill from all involved.
The level up player has to do math ahead of time. Add one more counter, or leave mana open for removal or permission (or just plain bluffing)?

How about from the other side of the table? What can the opponent infer from the amount of mana that the level up player is willing to invest each turn? What kind of clock can he or she expect to be on over the next couple of turns?

I would guess that "slow" leveling is a good design / development decision, and that, like threshold or morph in faraway days, the best players (or at least the players who invest the most time and effort into the format) will be able to use mathematics and information to make better decisions past the basic economics of card advantage.

Complex math in combat = bad. 
Complex math with levelup guys = good?

As an opponent I actually find it easier to face off against levellers than if the ability were instant speed. As the player, the choice is generally a lot more obvious than Flores makes it out to be. Of course he is only interested in three cards which level up for 1 mana, whereas we tend to discuss the mechanic as it pertains to all of them. So in his world the choices are a little harder - although not for the opponent.


This was covered well over a month ago: www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.a...



Except that the article you are linking to is by Mike Flores, who is not part of Wizards R&D , had nothing to do with the design or development of levelling, nor was involved in the playtesting. TobyornotToby was hoping (reasonably enough) for some insight from someone who was involved in the design.

I'm sure Mike's points are all quite valid, but the whole point of Making Magic and Latest Developments is to get the stories from the horse's mouths (no offence to MaRo intended. Or indeed to any horses).
"Personally, I believe $50 is the roof that someone will pay for a Standard card, Mythic or otherwise." - Ben Bleiweiss, StarCity Games ----------------------------------------------------------

This was covered well over a month ago: www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.a...



Except that the article you are linking to is by Mike Flores, who is not part of Wizards R&D , had nothing to do with the design or development of levelling, nor was involved in the playtesting. TobyornotToby was hoping (reasonably enough) for some insight from someone who was involved in the design.

I'm sure Mike's points are all quite valid, but the whole point of Making Magic and Latest Developments is to get the stories from the horse's mouths (no offence to MaRo intended. Or indeed to any horses).



Yeah kinda this =)
As MaRo said this week:

I bring this up because it has a huge impact in how R&D sees the game. When players play, they are not thinking about how they can change the game; they are thinking about how to use what exists. The cards are a constant. No so to R&D. I bring this up today because it's important to understand this vantage point as we talk about how level up was created. You all look at a level up card and say, "Well, that's how Wizards did it." We had to look at the card and say, "How should we do it?" To us, every option was on the table.



I'm sure they've extensively tested Level Up at instant-speed. So instead of someone telling us why instant-speed leveling would be bad, he could've told us why exactly it was bad with examples etc.

But yeah maybe that's something for friday =)
Great article! It was nice to see the nitty-gritty in the leveler design decisions, and I think R&D ended up making the right choices at all decision points. The leveler cards as they turned out are minimally wordy and quite intuitive. Good job to R&D!


On the article: how lame, nothing about instant versus sorcery speed??? I fully expected some more in-depth discussion about that, hoping MaRo would come with playtest examples and the like. It fits the structure perfectly!




This was covered well over a month ago: www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.a...



Except that the article you are linking to is by Mike Flores, who is not part of Wizards R&D , had nothing to do with the design or development of levelling, nor was involved in the playtesting. TobyornotToby was hoping (reasonably enough) for some insight from someone who was involved in the design.

I'm sure Mike's points are all quite valid, but the whole point of Making Magic and Latest Developments is to get the stories from the horse's mouths (no offence to MaRo intended. Or indeed to any horses).




Except that Rosewater ALREADY DID cover this, back in

www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.a...

A whole section of the article was spent on this, but in a nutshell, the key paragraph is:

Let's assume that all level up was done at instant speed. What would happen? With rare exceptions, you would only use it in one of two cases: 1) at the end of your opponent's turn when you have untapped mana that would go to waste, or 2) when responding to a spell or effect that would destroy your creature if the new level would save the creature. The problem with these two uses is that they don't create any choices. The player isn't ever forced to evaluate and make decisions based on incomplete information.



Sorcery-speed leveling up was the correct choice, both for better gameplay (because it makes players have to make more skill-testing choices) and for better flavor (people don't suddenly become more badass mid-combat; it's like the D&D rule about how you gain levels during a rest period, not in the middle of combat even if you kill a monster mid-combat that give you enough XP to level up).

Except that Rosewater ALREADY DID cover this, back in

www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.a...




I happen to agree that the correct decision was made, but given that this article was about all of the decisions that had to be made regarding the levelers, and what the argument was for each side, I think it's fair to expect that instant vs. sorcery timing would get a mention.
 
Zero level is a D&D term that went away when 3rd edition came about.  In 3rd edition, the common folk had NPC classes that were generally inferior, particularly the Commoner class.  (And yes, you could be a 20th level commoner.)

Had levelers entered the battlefield with a level counter, that would have meant EVEN MORE Doubling Season shenannigans!

I think the right decisions were made with levelers.  The level up creature format is very intuitive.
I think the levelers are pretty well designed, although I don't use them very often. I really hate the "level up" part though... makes it feel like pokemon or something. "Rank up" would have fit a lot better in my opinion... but it's not a big deal. The cards on the whole were very well executed. Now bring back counterspell.
The details covered in the article were pretty cool. The sorcery nerfing still sucks, however.


Sorcery-speed leveling up was the correct choice, both for better gameplay (because it makes players have to make more skill-testing choices) and for better flavor (people don't suddenly become more badass mid-combat; it's like the D&D rule about how you gain levels during a rest period, not in the middle of combat even if you kill a monster mid-combat that give you enough XP to level up).



To start, the comparison is poor, because saying that sorcery leveling is more skill intensive than instant leveling is like saying that Shock is more skill intensive than Lightning bolt: true, is going to be hell harder to win with Shock but the real issue is that their power level is different. Even if Shock is played with complete perfection, it isn't possible to achieve the same results gotten with Lightning bolt. That's the problem with levelling: no matter how good they are played, results won't be as good as if they could be used at instant speed and, for most of them, it means that they are doomed to be unplayable at competitive play.

And it's not more skill intensive. The opponent that is playing againt levellers will be able to read their moves easily: Did the player leleved his creature up? Well, he's tapped out and won't do any tricks; didn't he put level counters? He's holding something then; didn't he leveled up even when he had no tricks in hand? It's okay if he thought it was a bluff, but he probably wasted a turn. It's false that people would have always leveled up reactively had it been at instant: just like Figure of Destiny, there was moments when getting the upgrade now and swing immediately was the correct choice.

So basically, the only question left is why (the REAL reason) they were nerfed. These are some possibilities ordered from the least bad to the worst one:

1) Having blue creatures leveling at instant wouldn't be too different from making blue creatures with flash, and both flirt with brokeness paired with permission. Therefore, the creatures were nerfed equally for all colors to prevent Goyf - like splashes.
2) Levellers at instant speed would have been too swingy for limited considering they were featuring at all rarities. Between Limited and Constructed, the latter got the shaft (again).
3) Kids and people that started playing Magic a day ago wouldn't have an idea of what to do both with and against instant levelers, so keeping them safe from the torture of having to think during a card game when they were just seeking for fun was imperative.
If Limited gets in the way of printing good Constructed cards... Screw limited
I go for 3). It is a lot easier for both sides to keep track of the game state this way.

Mark's copy/paste of "choices versus options" is not universally applicable and it certainly doesn't apply here. There is more to it than that but we may never get any further reasoning from the official source.

I only wish they made more ways to level up besides simply mana cost.


For instance, Paying life, Sacraficing creatures, discarding cards.  All seem pretty black, but I'm sure there are ways to get the other colours included.

It would have been sweet to see a Vampire that's level increases as the life total of the opponent decreases, kinda fitting it into the theme of all the Vampires from Zedikar.


 

I only wish they made more ways to level up besides simply mana cost.[...]

Unless there's been a major policy change in reusing mechanics that aren't Cycling or Doublestrike, it's not bloody likely.

After playing with the Level Up mechanic now I find it light-years better than Multikicker.  I feel bad when I don't get to use Multikicker multiple times or even at all.  At least Level Up allows me to offset the cost for a better card as soon as the next turn in the worst-case scenario.  It's almost like you're mortgaging the price of the card.  Pretty cool concept.

I really like how they implemented this mechanic in general.  I'm ok with the sorcery-speed leveling.  It is much more intuitive than Planeswalkers were for me.  The best thing is that I think it creates a nice layer of interaction between players in the game.  It forces you to make decisions.  Do I level up knowing that it could get Doom Bladed?  Do I want to Blade it now or wait until my opponent has fully invested?  Do I want to keep leveling up thus forcing my opponent to use his or her removal?

Well done R&D, well done.
Ugh, Levellers...

Personally I hope we never see them again.
I only wish they made more ways to level up besides simply mana cost.[...]

Unless there's been a major policy change in reusing mechanics that aren't Cycling or Doublestrike, it's not bloody likely.




Why do you say that?

It seems fairly typical of them to do the 'simplest' execution the first time around then introduce a twist or two 2-4 years later when the mechanic is reintroduced.
Except that Rosewater ALREADY DID cover this, back in

www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.a...

A whole section of the article was spent on this, but in a nutshell, the key paragraph is:

Let's assume that all level up was done at instant speed. What would happen? With rare exceptions, you would only use it in one of two cases: 1) at the end of your opponent's turn when you have untapped mana that would go to waste, or 2) when responding to a spell or effect that would destroy your creature if the new level would save the creature. The problem with these two uses is that they don't create any choices. The player isn't ever forced to evaluate and make decisions based on incomplete information.




Except that my key paragraph from that article is ;)

I've gotten plenty of mail and tweets from players that are quite upset about the sorcery restriction for the upgrades. Why did we do it? There are a number of reasons, but here is the main design one.



What better way to show that number of reasons than a whole article  that shows pros and cons about different aspects of leveling anyway?

Thing is, the options versus choices question isn't black/white. There are enough cards in the same set that are still purely options. Other mechanics have been purely options. Those other reasons were a substantial part in the descision.
I only wish they made more ways to level up besides simply mana cost.[...]

Unless there's been a major policy change in reusing mechanics that aren't Cycling or Doublestrike, it's not bloody likely.




Why do you say that?

It seems fairly typical of them to do the 'simplest' execution the first time around then introduce a twist or two 2-4 years later when the mechanic is reintroduced.



Yeah.
Didn't they just redo Kicker, and then put a twist on Replicate with Multi-Kicker?

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How;s a 2 drop 1/2, Flying broken? What am I missing?
You're missing it because *turns Storm Crows sideways* all your base are belong to Chuck Norris and every other overused meme ever.

Except that Rosewater ALREADY DID cover this, back in

www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.a...

A whole section of the article was spent on this, but in a nutshell, the key paragraph is:

Let's assume that all level up was done at instant speed. What would happen? With rare exceptions, you would only use it in one of two cases: 1) at the end of your opponent's turn when you have untapped mana that would go to waste, or 2) when responding to a spell or effect that would destroy your creature if the new level would save the creature. The problem with these two uses is that they don't create any choices. The player isn't ever forced to evaluate and make decisions based on incomplete information.



Sorcery-speed leveling up was the correct choice, both for better gameplay (because it makes players have to make more skill-testing choices) and for better flavor (people don't suddenly become more badass mid-combat; it's like the D&D rule about how you gain levels during a rest period, not in the middle of combat even if you kill a monster mid-combat that give you enough XP to level up).



Actually you can level up mid combat in D&D. The reason that most DM's do it during rest periods is 1st they generally award XP after all of the enemies are eliminated or sometimes at the end of the session they tally everything. 2nd players like to think about their decisions and it can take 20+ minutes per player if they don't know what options are availible to them at the new level. Plus you see it frequently in fantasy settings where a character doesn't get more powerful until he faces his toughest challenge. Like DBZ for instance how Goku only got slightly more powerful between enemies however, during the fight he was gaining levels like a mad man growing more powerful.

Also as others have mentioned his explaination is pretty poor. Neither sorcery speed nor instant speed leveling is more skill intensive than the other. Neither one has more "choices or options" than the other had. Plus what we're looking for when they say they nixed instant speed leveling is playtest reasons. What cards were playing poorly and why? So many people just assume that R & D came to the correct conclusion on this (I am one of them) however, I would like to see some of the thought process that went into it. Choices vs Options to me doesn't make much sense 1st the words are interchangeable and there isn't a significant enough difference to make them into 2 separate entities. 2nd even if Mark is applying his own definitions to the words and giving them new meaning as we do with so many things in Magic the way instant vs sorcery plays out isn't a significant enough difference to define them this way. The two most comparable cards are figure of destiny and student of warfare. Lets consider how many choices or options each of them have.

Figure
1: level up at EoT (most common choice)
2: level up before attack (pretty common)
3: level up in response to sorcery speed removal like rift bolt (pretty common)

Student
1: level up on your turn before attacking (most common)
2: don't level up on your turn (you're almost never going to bluff with this thing let's face it)
3: level up after attacking (not very common)

Of course there are other scenerios where you may or may not choose to level up a creature but for every corner case scenerio with Student there is another corner case scenerio with Figure. All told they are pretty close to having the same numbers and kinds of options or choices or whatever word you want to pull out of the thesaurus.
Don't be too smart to have fun

I only wish they made more ways to level up besides simply mana cost.




There are plenty of ways, if you look outside of Standard..
 

I only wish they made more ways to level up besides simply mana cost.




There are plenty of ways, if you look outside of Standard..
 



Just say it, dammit.

DOUBLING SEASON.

There. Much as I hated to, I did it. Now I'm going to go cry.

Orzhova Witness

Restarting Quotes Block
58086748 wrote:
58335208 wrote:
Disregard women acquire chase rares.
There are a lot of dudes for whom this is not optional.
97820278 wrote:
144532521 wrote:
How;s a 2 drop 1/2, Flying broken? What am I missing?
You're missing it because *turns Storm Crows sideways* all your base are belong to Chuck Norris and every other overused meme ever.
Of course there are other scenerios where you may or may not choose to level up a creature but for every corner case scenerio with Student there is another corner case scenerio with Figure. All told they are pretty close to having the same numbers and kinds of options or choices or whatever word you want to pull out of the thesaurus.



You're looking at it the wrong way. It's not about the options & choices of the card themselves, it's about the options & choices when playing them in a game.

Say you have a counterspell in hand or a Vent Sentinel on the table. With the levelers, you have to make the choice what to do with your mana on your turn. With insta-leveling, you would have the option to just wait until your opponent's EoT to see where to spend it on.

I can see where MaRo's coming from. I'm just not sure if the issue is big enough to de-sexy an important new mechanic. That's why I was hoping for some more in-depth info about the process.


Just say it, dammit.

DOUBLING SEASON.

There. Much as I hated to, I did it. Now I'm going to go cry.



I was actually thinking something like Gilder Bairn, but that works too...
Dont forget Eldrazi Spawn. to level up can basically be read as "sac 2 spawn: level up".

~ Tim
p.s. I liked the article, and I like Levellers in general.
I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)


I can see where MaRo's coming from. I'm just not sure if the issue is big enough to de-sexy an important new mechanic. That's why I was hoping for some more in-depth info about the process.



That's a nice succinct way to say how I feel about it as well. I don't think this mechanic was worth nerfing for the sake of having to make "choices," and quite frankly, I don't believe that it was that important a factor in their decision.
I for one am glad not to have to see decks with Lighthouse Chronologist and countermagic together, leveling up to take all of the turns without any fear of me actually casting a dangerous spell while countermagic is offline.
Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
My Decks
These are the decks I have assembled at the moment:
Tournament Decks (4)
Kicker Aggro (Invasion Block) Sunforger/Izzet Guildmage Midrange (Ravnica/Time Spiral/Xth Standard) Dragonstorm Combo (Time Spiral/Lorwyn/Xth Standard) Bant Midrange (Lorwyn/Shards/M10 Standard)
Casual Multiplayer Decks (50)
Angel Resurrection Casual Soul Sisters Sindbad's Adventures with Djinn of Wishes Sphinx-Bone Wand Buyback Morph (No Instants or Sorceries) Cabal Coffers Control Zombie Aggro Hungry, Hungry Greater Gargadon/War Elemental Flashfires/Boil/Ruination - Boom! Call of the Wild Teysa, Orzhov Scion with Twilight Drover, Sun Titan, and Hivestone Slivers Rebels Cairn Wanderer Knights Only Gold and () Spells Captain Sisay Toolbox Spellweaver Helix Combo Merfolk Wizards Izzet Guildmage/The Unspeakable Arcane Combo Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and his Wizards Creatureless Wild Research/Reins of Power Madness Creatureless Pyromancer Ascension Anarchist Living Death Anvil of Bogardan Madness Shamen with Goblin Game/Wound Reflection Combo Mass damage Quest for Pure Flame Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle/Clear the Land with 40+ Lands Doubling Season Thallids Juniper Order Ranger Graft/Tokens Elf Archer Druids Equilibrium/Aluren Combo Experiment Kraj Combo Reap Combo False Cure/Kavu Predator Combo Savra, Queen of the Golgari Sacrifice/Dredge Elf Warriors Eight-Post Sneak Attack Where Ancients Tread Zur the Enchanter with Opal creatures Tamanoa/Kavu Predator/Collapsing Borders Esper Aggro Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and his Darksteel Reactor Theft and Control Unearth Aggro Soul's Fire Vampires Devour Tokens Phytohydra with Powerstone Minefield Treefolk Friendly? Questing Phelddagrif Slivers Dragon Arch Fun I'm probably forgetting a few...
Obviously cards would have to be balanced differently with the mechanic at instant speed.