6/14/2010 MM: "From the Heart"

24 posts / 0 new
Last post
This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
It's Planechase, Mark.
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
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
Heard tell, although I have yet to try it, that this game strongly resembles World of Warcraft the TCG. Can anyone else confirm this for me? Call me a conspiracy theorist, but McDonalds sells coffee drinks because Starbucks is making bank. Could this be a similar market share situation? Does the timeline of the other product's release make this possible given the time to construct AE? *rousing the rabble*
You are Red/Blue!
You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
You are both rational and emotional. You value creation and discovery, and feel strongly about what I create. At best, you're innovative and intuitive. At worst, you're scattered and unpredictable.
Heard tell, although I have yet to try it, that this game strongly resembles World of Warcraft the TCG. Can anyone else confirm this for me? Call me a conspiracy theorist, but McDonalds sells coffee drinks because Starbucks is making bank. Could this be a similar market share situation? Does the timeline of the other product's release make this possible given the time to construct AE? *rousing the rabble*

Well, the idea of boosting one player so that they can take on several at once is not that original.  Still, Wizards might have been copying WoW to some extent.  It's fine with me if so, it gives me more uses for my Magic cards.
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...
Mark Rosewater said,
I often get requests from people outside of Wizards to do lunch. People write me very nice letters explaining they are going to be in town and they would love to buy me lunch. While I'm very touched by all the requests, I decided long ago that I needed to draw a line and that I didn't want to arbitrarily have lunch with some and not others.


I am on vacation in the suburbs of Seattle visiting my daughter who moved here last year. When I drive onto Interstate 405 and see the "Renton" sign, I daydream about continuing south and making a pilgrimage to the Wizards of the Coast offices. But I see nothing on the Wizards web site about them supporting a visitors' center for casual visitors, so I will refrain.

I talk about a spectrum that I dubbed the Vorthos/Melvin spectrum as the two personality types represent the extremes.


Don't forget the Vorthos/Melvin intersection that you labeled Melthos. I fit in that intersection.

One of Tom LaPille's pet peeves is when we make a card that is cool mechanically but makes no sense creatively. He'll ask "What is it?" and the response is "We'll let Creative figure it out." The idea behind Tom's dislike is that there is a big cost if the game has too many cards that can't make sense conceptually.


And sometimes we Vorthos types have to figure it out ourselves. For example, consider the flavor of landfall ability in Zendikar. How does playing a land temporarily give a creature or spell an advantage? I view it as a home ground advantage. The Zendikar setting has planeswalkers physically journeying across Zendikar rather than conveniently planeswalking directly to their destination. They encounter creatures in their native habitat rather than transported across planes to some other world. That gives the creatures an advantage. Landfall represents how the traveling planeswalker encounters new habitats in Zendikar unexpectedly. And a turn later, the planewalker has escaped that habitat, so the home ground advantage disappears until the next land.
Heard tell, although I have yet to try it, that this game strongly resembles World of Warcraft the TCG. Can anyone else confirm this for me?





The only similarity is the fact that it's one vs many, and the one has more hit points. WoW TCG Raid decks don't play anything like normal decks, or even normal games (the things you have to do to summon the Final Boss are rather complicated in some of them). Archenemy decks are a deck that get to play a free bonus Scheme every turn.

Also, the WoW TCG has a strong help-your-allies theme you can build around, at least in priest and paladin decks. Priests get to heal multiple allies at once, and Paladins get to block for their teammates (ie Redirect damage to themselves). This is sort of thing far more lacking in Magic, apart from a few things like Imperial Mask. I enjoy playing priest in WoW, but I'm struggling to build a priest-like magic deck. Apart from Imperial Mask, I have Congregate, Rest for the Weary and Shieldmate's Blessing. Healing Salve and Soothing Balm would probably be good too, but I don't have any.
Evil doesn't always triumph. - Ajani Goldmane
"2009 was the best year Magic has ever had in its seventeen year history and 2010 looks to be blowing away 2009."

I'm really curious what you mean by best here. Do you mean record sales numbers, or something else?
So... What's the gameplan with Archenemy? Is it going to be the same as Vanguard (and apparently Planechase), where the format shows up for six months and then disappears? Or is there some plan to continue support for it?
So... What's the gameplan with Archenemy? Is it going to be the same as Vanguard (and apparently Planechase), where the format shows up for six months and then disappears? Or is there some plan to continue support for it?



I hope there's going to be continued support, but in my opinion, all the schemes available seem like they mix and match well.  I don't feel like Planechase did very well in that regard.  In my opinion, Planechase seemed to focus on certain deck archetypes and forced you to build certain decks to get the most from the Planes you chose.
Fear Of The Dark, Fear Of The Dark, I Have A Constant Fear That Something's Always Near; Fear Of The Dark, Fear Of The Dark, I Have A Phobia That Someone's Always There- Iron Maiden Fear of the Dark shall be feared no longer! Let him be praised instead! (Many, many thanks for all your hard work!) - darkwarlock I am Red/Green
I am Red/Green
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
I'm both instinctive and emotional. I value my own instincts and desires, and either ignore or crush anything that stands in my way; planning and foresight are unnecessary. At best, I'm determined and fierce; at worst, I'm headstrong and infantile.
Check out my DnD blog! www.artificersintuition.blogspot.com
I hope there's going to be continued support, but in my opinion, all the schemes available seem like they mix and match well.



Continued support doesn't just mean printing new cards. It also means keeping the product in print and available to new players, as well as making occasional reference to it on the web site. There needs to be an avenue for new players to have an interest in the product, or it will eventually die off.

As an example, I have a full set of Vanguard. I rarely use them, because in order to use them I have to do the following:

1) Query for interest
2) Explain what the heck I'm talking about, in a way that "sells" the game to new players.
3) Teach interested players the specific rules of the game/format, and try to impart strategy.
4) Play the game, going easy on my opponents because I'm the only one who's even heard of this wacky format.

A bit of support from Wizards would go a long way towards cutting down on that effort. If there was a constant trickle of new people buying Vanguard (or Planechase, or Archenemy) over the next couple of years, it'd go a long ways towards making the format stick.

"Magic 2010 and Zendikar block are both R&D trying to put more heart design into the mix."



This is strange to me because we just read an article about cards like leaden fists, and spellweaver vollute and how they're bad for Magic which is why we aren't seeing any similar cards currently. These seem to me like "heart" cards or am I just interpreting them incorrectly.

Also I wonder how much a product like Archenemy actually affects the design of MAGIC CARDS since they are merely creating schemes. So I don't think Archenemy will have any pull in the design of magic. They're designing a new game and since they aren't designing new cards there is no change in heart v. head based on the production of this product.

"Archenemy (and Planechase, and a cool thing next year I can't talk about yet) are part of R&D's attempt to pull the game back towards a better balance between Vorthos and Melvin or heart design and head design or whatever you'd like to call the terms."



While I personally love products like Archenemy and I play them quite often at home you can't say that they are balancing anything to do with Magic since they are not part of the game that we all play. Archenemy is a new game with new rules and is played as such. It is a supplement to Magic and not a replacement for Magic so in reality it has very little to do with blancing anything in terms of Magic being more heart, head, vorthos, melvin, or whatever.

"What that means is that trying to create a creative endeavor that everyone will like means you make something that no one will love."



It seems like magic is moving more towards the "everyone will like but no one will love" with each passing year. I currently love the game however decisions like mythic rarity, and removing interesting cards like spellweaver vollute or flavorful cards like leaden fists are moving me more to the "liking the game" area.

In summary I want to say that I really enjoyed the article. I found everything to be interesting. I will buy and play archenemy and have fun with it.
Don't be too smart to have fun
Another cool new thing next year?  Why not add more support some of the products you've already put out there?  There's still a ton of design space for Planechase...
Sounds great.

Some word on Planechase? The slightest hint that you'll be continuing it?

Heres a great idea -- make a Planechase card as a promo for every prerelease. A Mirrodin card for the Mirrodin set, etc.. For the base set releases, throw us a retro Dominaria or Phyrexia plane card. I can give you my personal guarantee that I would attend every prerelease if you did so. It would also be a good way of keeping interest in Planechase fresh until you come out with the sequel.

"Make people wait for what they want, and you have power over them. This is as true for merchants and militia as it is for cooks and couples." —Gwendlyn Di Corci
Hmm.  This actually explains a lot.  I'm a Spike primarily, but I judge larger events, and I enjoy rules interactions, so I guess that puts a secondary on "Melvin."  The last year or so, I've seen fewer and fewer cards I consider "interesting".  That, to me, has been a pretty enormous negative.  Coupled with the glaringly obvious problems with the Mythic rarity, this has caused me to play (and enjoy) the game much less.

I guess that was intentional.  Awkard.
Great article! I've always interpreted it as such, but now it's on black&white that the game is returning to Vorthosian roots (which itself I find far from great, as I'm way more a Melvin), it's good to have a reference now.

This is strange to me because we just read an article about cards like leaden fists, and spellweaver vollute and how they're bad for Magic which is why we aren't seeing any similar cards currently. These seem to me like "heart" cards or am I just interpreting them incorrectly.

Spellweaver vollute is more like the Homarids, a mechanically interesting concept =)
As for Leaden Fists, it was it's actual gameplay they sadly perceived as negative, not the concept of the card itself (which is very much heart indeed)

Also I wonder how much a product like Archenemy actually affects the design of MAGIC CARDS since they are merely creating schemes. So I don't think Archenemy will have any pull in the design of magic. They're designing a new game and since they aren't designing new cards there is no change in heart v. head based on the production of this product.

Nope, but this change can be seen in the regular products as well, just look at M10


Hmm.  This actually explains a  lot.  I'm a Spike primarily, but I judge larger events, and I enjoy  rules interactions, so I guess that puts a secondary on "Melvin."  The  last year or so, I've seen fewer and fewer cards I consider  "interesting".  That, to me, has been a pretty enormous negative.   Coupled with the glaringly obvious problems with the Mythic rarity, this  has caused me to play (and enjoy) the game much less.

I guess  that was intentional.  Awkard.

Yup, too bad for us =(

And sometimes we Vorthos types have to figure it out ourselves.

Thing is, some games lend themselves more to that than other. Of course I could go in-depth about the flavor of chess and imagine it as an epic battle, but I could also just play warhammer.
"2009 was the best year Magic has ever had in its seventeen year history and 2010 looks to be blowing away 2009."

I'm really curious what you mean by best here. Do you mean record sales numbers, or something else?



The phrasing "best year ever" is your tipoff. That's corporate phrasing meaning their sales numbers for that fiscal year were their best ever, and that means more of whatever was on sale in 2009 (and 2010 apparently) will be released in the future.


I have to reiterate, even as a Vorthos, I am just not excited by this format, and in fact I'm a little peeved that such interesting card designs (mechanic and name/flavor) are basically being "wasted" on a subset of the game, rather than being folded into the game proper. That would really put the "heart" back into the game, not tons of extra stuff that has its own rules.  
Proud member of C.A.R.D. - Campaign Against Rare Duals "...but the time has come when lands just need to be better. Creatures have gotten stronger, spells have always been insane, and lands just sat in this awkward place of necessity." Jacob Van Lunen on the refuge duals, 16 Sep 2009. "While it made thematic sense to separate enemy and allied color fixing in the past, we have come around to the definite conclusion that it is just plain incorrect from a game-play perspective. This is one of these situations where game play should just trump flavor." - Sam Stoddard on ending the separation of allied/enemy dual lands. 05 July 2013
I can't wait to play Archenemy.  If this is anything like Planechase it will be awesome.  Nagle seems like a rising star and has done good work so far so I have nothing to fear there.

I wish Wizards promoted the heck out of Planechase though.  It really was a blast to play Planechase.  I agree with a previous commenter that the packs tend to force you into certain archetypes.  If you look all the cards available to use though there's something for everyone.

This is more my problem than the typical player but I only get to play in person once or twice a month.  I think it would be cool to have special Planechase or Archenemy events at FNM or during the week at the LGSs.  I don't want to draft or play constructed so this would be a great way to get someone like me into the store.

I guess the big problem there is that it wouldn't bring in any additional revenue to the store or Wizards once I've bought a pack.  Ultimately WotC is a business and they have to answer to shareholders so I perhaps introducing something once with a bit of flash and selling packs will maximize profits vs. getting me in the store and playing the game without getting much else out of me.
@ Ace Calhoon:  If you're on MODO, look me up (Pellucidar).  I'm a huge fan of Vanguard, and there are precious few who play it.  I know you were probably talking about the physical Vanguard cards, but I can't help you with that issue unless you happen to be in Minneapolis.  If you are, I know a guy who has some and would love to bust them out.

And sometimes we Vorthos types have to figure it out ourselves.



And doing so is immensely fun, but sometimes more difficult than it needs to be.  The process is alternately rewarding and frustrating, but would be more of both, and would better prosper from the first while ignoring the last, if doing this more often produced tangible results.  I know the company can't spare much energy on anything not directly profitable, but if I were in a position of authority, I'd try to arrange a major sort of community outreach - a semi official "flavorbase" wiki or the like where people could contribute toward a "unified theory" of Magic flavor, which the creative team would read and occasionally swipe ideas from to incorporate into the real name.  Would be awesome, non?
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
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
I can't wait to play Archenemy.  If this is anything like Planechase it will be awesome.  Nagle seems like a rising star and has done good work so far so I have nothing to fear there.

I wish Wizards promoted the heck out of Planechase though.  It really was a blast to play Planechase.  I agree with a previous commenter that the packs tend to force you into certain archetypes.  If you look all the cards available to use though there's something for everyone.

This is more my problem than the typical player but I only get to play in person once or twice a month.  I think it would be cool to have special Planechase or Archenemy events at FNM or during the week at the LGSs.  I don't want to draft or play constructed so this would be a great way to get someone like me into the store.

I guess the big problem there is that it wouldn't bring in any additional revenue to the store or Wizards once I've bought a pack.  Ultimately WotC is a business and they have to answer to shareholders so I perhaps introducing something once with a bit of flash and selling packs will maximize profits vs. getting me in the store and playing the game without getting much else out of me.



Archenemy is just a different way of playing constructed magic so it isn't unreasonable for venues to offer Archenemy or Planechase tournaments if that is in demand. It's the same as holding constructed tournaments or giving people a place to play D n D. They might not sell anything when you come to the store this time but if you go there often enough you're going to need dice, books, cards or the newest product.

What I'm saying is ask the store if they're going to have planechase events anytime soon. If there are enough people asking about it then maybe they'll have one.
Don't be too smart to have fun
Actually, it is a little unreasonable to have a Planechase tournament.

Like all free-for-all multiplayer formats, politics can play a huge role, and most tournament attendees would cringe at the thought of suddenly finding themselves in a one-vs-many game because they have the reputation of winning a lot. 
"We will all be purified in Wurm. What is good will be used to heal Wurm, or grow Wurm, or to fuel Wurm's path. What is vile will be extruded, and we will be free of it forever." --Prophet of the Cult of Wurm
Actually, it is a little unreasonable to have a Planechase tournament.

Like all free-for-all multiplayer formats, politics can play a huge role, and most tournament attendees would cringe at the thought of suddenly finding themselves in a one-vs-many game because they have the reputation of winning a lot.




A rule such as Attack Left neatly solves that problem. Although I for one have no problem with "kill whoever's winning" as a game plan, as it makes the game go on longer and gives a better chance of a really epic out-of-nowhere victory, rather than just someone dominating through superior firepower. But then, I'm not a spike and I don't spend $500 on lands for every deck I build, so I suppose I shouldn't blame those who do if they don't even get what they want out of it. I think they're being foolish, but they're fools that make Wotco rich and thus indirectly responsible for the fact that the game I love continues to do things I enjoy, so I shouldn't be too hard on them.
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
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
Actually, it is a little unreasonable to have a Planechase tournament.

Like all free-for-all multiplayer formats, politics can play a huge role, and most tournament attendees would cringe at the thought of suddenly finding themselves in a one-vs-many game because they have the reputation of winning a lot. 



Only 2hg can be a rated event so any kind of planechase or archenemy type of event would be a casual non-rated tournament. Here is what I said,
"it isn't unreasonable for venues to offer Archenemy or Planechase tournaments if that is in demand"

. I'm not saying that there is a demand for this type of tournament but I don't see how you can say that there isn't a demand for this type of event.
Don't be too smart to have fun
The problem comes when you try to distribute prizes to people in a way that feels fair to everyone involved.  Two-headed giant works because it won't turn into a one-versus-many situation. Without adding rules like "attack left" and "effect range of 1" there isn't any reason to assume that the amount of time spent preparing for an event will translate into better outcomes.  The introduction of plane cards only exacerbates this.  These type of circumstances are highly unsatisfying to the type of person who regularly attends store-sanctioned events.

I suppose you could have it be a non-rated, non-prize-paying event, but then why would you need the store to run it?
"We will all be purified in Wurm. What is good will be used to heal Wurm, or grow Wurm, or to fuel Wurm's path. What is vile will be extruded, and we will be free of it forever." --Prophet of the Cult of Wurm
The problem comes when you try to distribute prizes to people in a way that feels fair to everyone involved.  Two-headed giant works because it won't turn into a one-versus-many situation. Without adding rules like "attack left" and "effect range of 1" there isn't any reason to assume that the amount of time spent preparing for an event will translate into better outcomes.  The introduction of plane cards only exacerbates this.  These type of circumstances are highly unsatisfying to the type of person who regularly attends store-sanctioned events.

I suppose you could have it be a non-rated, non-prize-paying event, but then why would you need the store to run it?



With each set Wizards provides tournament organizers with prizes. Usually the cards sent out by WPN are foils of uncommons in the set but recently they've also sent out planechase cards.

Also there are ways you can help satisfy players. Maybe have a voting system like some of the multiplayer articles talk about. I can't remember the article but they were saying that when they play multiplayer they have a points system. Like you get 1 point for a kill, 3 points if you win the match, and players vote at the end for their favorite deck (not their own) and each vote counts as one point. You are right that there are many players who would not be interested in a multiplayer event but it all depends on the store and the customers in the area. For instance some stores don't run constructed because the players in their area don't want to play constructed.
Don't be too smart to have fun