9/17/2010 LD: "The Promised Land"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.
After years of amateur design, I agree with the difficultly of finding a balanced dualland make-up. This doesn't really solve the issues as much as reassign the focus of the drawback elsewhere. But that's fine; the conversation had me thinking the cycle was heading toward a new cycle for core sets, but that isn't necessarily a need.

In short, an okay cycle that brings the focus back to quickness.
More @#$#! rare dual lands.

So either I can play with the "comes into play tapped" lands or I can pay to get the good lands at $15 apiece. And if I want to play enemy colors I'm out of luck. Seriously, why make something as basic as mana fixing rare? Dual lands won't break limited, so all it does is ensure those who pay more money can get the better lands.

I am so lucky to have gotten so many of the Ravnica common lands (in enemy color pairs too). At least they provide card advantage to help make up for the fact that they come into play tapped.

Speaking of Ravnica, what about the Ravnica dual lands? They don't tick down your life piece by piece like the painlands, they just shock you once. So what was the problem with them?


 
Ugh, at least the art is nice? I can either play the zendikar "sac"land to search for my right mana, or I can play this land early and have two choices on my first play.

Honestly, this land cycle confuses me. Either I can assume this is a ploy for more Amulet of Vigor type decks, or we're on the verge of threatening the typical land to spell ratio. Wink
Well I don't think they could have pushed aggro any harder with this set. 

Unless control can pull out some ridiculous shenanigans, the speed of this set is going to be insane. So far we have Koth-mono-red, U-artifact-aggro, White Weenie artifacts, and BU-infect-aggro. 

Given that Koth seems to be a must-play for all red decks (and he loves mono-red), you can probably count two of these lands out. Control doesn't want the UW land in case they draw it late game. The only one of these lands I can see getting used consistently is the BU one, maybe the GW one as well.

Overall, I'm unimpressed. 

Oh also, dual-lands should not be rare. You already handicap your players with must-have mythics, don't screw with our mana-bases as well.



 
Oh also, dual-lands should not be rare. You already handicap your players with must-have mythics, don't screw with our mana-bases as well.

This isn't Ravnica anymore.
Inflated Mythic prices have a side-effect of deflating rare prices.

Why this article does not care about Ravnica Lands? Really, it´s big hole.
tFirst, congrats for dedicating the column to constructed again.

I feel that another cycle of duals may be overkill if the goal is to promote two colored decks. As long as three colored decks doesn't end replacing less colored ones (as it happened for a long time in Standard) it's fine. Other than that, it's a fine cycle and it breaks the usual norm by aiding fast decks rather than slow ones. This may be even playable in Extended or Legacy, so it's really interesting.

The cycle should be completed later in the block with the enemy color lands. Some combinations like GB or RW are popular but lands have been scarce lately. It is sad that some combinations are less playable than others only for flavorful reasons.

Of course, along with the duals it would fit quite well to receive quality nonbasic hate in order to keep fancy 3+ goodstuff decks if they threaten to dominate the format. The vivid lands lesson should not go unlearned.
If Limited gets in the way of printing good Constructed cards... Screw limited
I guess I'll speak up for these - they seem out-and-out fantastic for me; obviously great for aggro, but better than most of the alternatives even for control decks.  The 'worst-case scenario' is that you draw this on turn 4 when you need it to make your 4th land drop and that keeps you off of Jace/Day of Judgement (or, I suppose, turn 5 where it keeps you off of Baneslayer/miscellaneous Plainswalkers); I just don't see that specific circumstance coming up often enough for it to matter.  And once you hit your 5th land drop, more land is obviously important but the schedule for getting it online is less essential, so these should have an absolutely minimal drawback any way you slice it. I'm going to try and grab a playset as swiftly as I can.  Neatly done!
When you mentioned the M10 Duals I got all excited that there'd be enemy colored ones for some reason even though I know it's been said that Wizards feels allied colors should be easier to fix mana for.  Still, why can't there be ONE set of dual lands for enemy colors, yes the fetches are nice but they aren't actually dual lands, you have to choose a color and then you're stuck with it.  Assume you added some enemy colored duals to the next set, things would then look like this in Standard:

Enemy colors:  Fetches plus some sort of dual land
Allied colors:  M10 Duals, Man-lands, Lifegain Lands, SoM lands

Still easier to fix mana for allied colors, but not to the point that you just can't play enemy colors because of the mana requirements.  Plus I don't agree with "flavor" as a justification for preventing players from playing any combination of two to three colors they wish (I do agree that easy access to 4 or 5 shouldn't be the case).
The end is always nigh.
I'm excited about the new lands.  We all know how important 2 mana spells are, which these do not hinder.  I might have to just pre-order all 20.
Well I don't think they could have pushed aggro any harder with this set. 

Unless control can pull out some ridiculous shenanigans, the speed of this set is going to be insane. So far we have Koth-mono-red, U-artifact-aggro, White Weenie artifacts, and BU-infect-aggro.


You're joking right?

I mean...Brittle Effigy, Mystifying Maze, Day of Judgement, Consume the Meek, Pyroclasm, Chain Reaction, Elspeth 2.0, Ratchet Bomb, Steel Hellkite, Sun Titan...the list goes on.

Control always has more options than Aggro.  Only so many creatures are good enough to beat face.  Answers are always many and varied.
Is it just me, or are these new lands almost strictly worse than the M10 lands, both from a utility standpoint and from a design standpoint?

Utility: I guess these are better than the M10 duals if you have a turn 1 play and are lacking a basic land of the appropriate type to play it.  Since one-land hands are almost always unkeepable and two-land hands are not so hot, I'm guessing in a two-color deck that this occurs something like 5% of the time, maximum (and that's assuming your deck is even playing 1-drops).  The other 95%?  The M10 lands are just strictly better.

Design: "unless you control two or fewer other lands" just seems more confusing than "unless you control an Island or Plains", although to be fair it could just be that this ability's not as familiar and it will become more natural with time.  That being said, it also seems like a design failure in the sense that Mark Rosewater has often said that they want cards to be fun to play.  It seems that the few times where being able to play your 1-drop on turn 1 makes a player happy will be greatly outweighed by the many times where one of these is topdecked mid- to late-game makes a player feel miserable.

Then again, I think the M10 lands are the best dual lands they've printed since...maybe ever.  Not the best power-wise, but the best designed and balanced.  So when I say that the new lands aren't as good as the M10 ones, that's only a relative complaint.  I hope the M10 lands are part of the base set for a long, long time to come.
So, instead of affinity, we get this and Mox Opal.  It seems that one way or another, Mirrodin insists on it being ridiculously easy to play out your entire hand in the first couple of turns and end the game early.

Why this article does not care about Ravnica Lands? Really, it´s big hole.



He's only discussing sets that will be in Contracted (I refuse to call it Extended after they made it shorter by three years) along with Scars of Mirrodin.  The only thing he neglected to discuss, apart from the fetches which don't really count, are the tribal lands of Lorwyn, which are perfectly playable as dual lands that trade the 1 life from a Refuge for the possibility that one or two cards in your deck are capable of untapping them, without you having to really commit to the tribe.
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Then again, I think the M10 lands are the best dual lands they've printed since...maybe ever.  Not the best power-wise, but the best designed and balanced.  So when I say that the new lands aren't as good as the M10 ones, that's only a relative complaint.  I hope the M10 lands are part of the base set for a long, long time to come.




Could not agree more. The M10 lands are pretty perfect in my opinion and the Shadowmoor lands were a close favorite also. They at least support decks that need basic land support to really work. You can't just throw all the Shadowmoor lands in a 5 color deck because you'll never be able to use the colors you need. The M10 lands need a home in a deck that's 2 colors, maybe splashing a 3rd. The game is more fun when lands are supported by basic lands, not more expensive replacements of them. Also, as a casual player, rare duel lands are one of the most frustrating aspects of starting to play Magic. Most new players are amazed at the variety of cards and want to sample a couple of different card effects (like counterspells AND destroy target creature or wrath effects AND huge green tramplers) to make the enabler hard to find is counter productive to attracting new players. New player may buy packs or bum cards from friends, rare lands are hard to come by in that situation so they decide it's too expensive and quit. Similarly, the enemy color lands... tisk tisk, ditto as above, game devised flavor divisions make no sense to new players. White/Black and Green/Black are combinations that player want to toy with, if just for the life-death imagery; why would you not support their interest?

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Well done.  Well freaking done.  *applause*

Would have liked this cycle a lot better if it'd been enemy colors, not allies.  For ally colors, we've currently got the M10/M11 duals, the Worldwake man lands, and, I guess, the uncommon life gain ones.  Did we really need yet another set?

For enemy colors, we've got some fetches, the best ones being the pain ones.  And so far, we've seen 2 cards already that make those less effective.
The only thing he neglected to discuss, apart from the fetches which don't really count, are the tribal lands of Lorwyn, which are perfectly playable as dual lands that trade the 1 life from a Refuge for the possibility that one or two cards in your deck are capable of untapping them, without you having to really commit to the tribe.


Yes indeed. Given that the specific goal of the Lorwyn tribe-duals was to allow people to play aggressive two-colour tribal decks, I don't know why Tom didn't mention them. My only guesses are:

1) He's restricting himself to allied-colour cycles only, rather than the tribe-colour pairs that Lorwyn gave
2) He only wanted to mention lands that don't support aggro plays on the first turn, to make his argument stronger.

Personally, as a control player, I don't particularly like these duals. If I have an Arcane Sanctum, I want to play it on the first couple of turns. It's very rare for my decks to include a one-drop permanent. So these lands aren't really for me; but I hope they drive the price down on the M10/M11 ones

Favourite Mythic so far is probably Venser, because I do love my Blink ETB-effect shenanigans. I'm hoping he'll be cheaper than the other planeswalkers this set.
I do think these are more playable than the painlands. Ticking down gets annoying after a while.

Also, you know what would be nice? Put the dual lands in the land slot (and reverse the rule that says they get pulled out of the pack before drafting). Have them show up roughly one for every four basic lands - the number feels about right, /and/ it's 'easy' because there's four art options for each basic land.
Nice to have dual lands that come into play untapped on the first turn in standard.  Too bad that once you reach two lands the rest of these come into play tapped.  Of course, at that point the M10/11 dual lands probably come into play untapped. 
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Then again, I think the M10 lands are the best dual lands they've printed since...maybe ever.  Not the best power-wise, but the best designed and balanced.  So when I say that the new lands aren't as good as the M10 ones, that's only a relative complaint.  I hope the M10 lands are part of the base set for a long, long time to come.




Could not agree more. The M10 lands are pretty perfect in my opinion and the Shadowmoor lands were a close favorite also. They at least support decks that need basic land support to really work. You can't just throw all the Shadowmoor lands in a 5 color deck because you'll never be able to use the colors you need. The M10 lands need a home in a deck that's 2 colors, maybe splashing a 3rd. The game is more fun when lands are supported by basic lands, not more expensive replacements of them. Also, as a casual player, rare duel lands are one of the most frustrating aspects of starting to play Magic. Most new players are amazed at the variety of cards and want to sample a couple of different card effects (like counterspells AND destroy target creature or wrath effects AND huge green tramplers) to make the enabler hard to find is counter productive to attracting new players. New player may buy packs or bum cards from friends, rare lands are hard to come by in that situation so they decide it's too expensive and quit. Similarly, the enemy color lands... tisk tisk, ditto as above, game devised flavor divisions make no sense to new players. White/Black and Green/Black are combinations that player want to toy with, if just for the life-death imagery; why would you not support their interest?



Personally my favorite lands are the classic painlands, followed by the Shockland (although they are a little to powerful). They deliver great manafixing and teach players about ressources (lifepoints/mana) in magic, while beeing perfectly balanced. And unlike the M10 or now the Scar lands they always provide their mana when needed.

The shadowmoor lands are utterly broken from my point of view. Just remember constructed magic back then - they make it way to easy to play mono-coloured spells in a multicoloured deck. (Cryptic command in a 4 colour deck is just plain wrong.) They enable plays like first Turn R - Spell, Second Turn WW and a Boggart Ram-Gang for RRR in the third - with just ONE filterland. It gets even more abstruse in the 4 turn. - The Filterlands completely leverage any reason to not only play the most powerful spells of the different colours.

If a player wants to play the best cards it should come at a cost. A multi-coloured deck needs to be less stable than a mono-colored one, because it has much less other weaknesses.

I would like to see the land cycles shifted to uncommon, but only if that means wotc doesn´t print more of them than they would at rare.  


I would like to see the land cycles shifted to uncommon, but only if that means wotc doesn´t print more of them than they would at rare.  



That kind of defeats the purpose of having them at uncommon.  Being uncommon means that there should be more of them printed.  Changing the rarity but not the amount printed would still lead them to be the same price as if they were rare.
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I would like to see the land cycles shifted to uncommon, but only if that means wotc doesn´t print more of them than they would at rare.  



That kind of defeats the purpose of having them at uncommon.  Being uncommon means that there should be more of them printed.  Changing the rarity but not the amount printed would still lead them to be the same price as if they were rare.



I would guess he/she was talking about the number of different cards not the number of copies of each card that's being printed.


As for the lands: These are only useful in ultra-aggressive decks. This makes me wonder how many good turn 1 plays are in Scars? I would have liked to see these as artifact lands.





I would like to see the land cycles shifted to uncommon, but only if that means wotc doesn´t print more of them than they would at rare.  



That kind of defeats the purpose of having them at uncommon.  Being uncommon means that there should be more of them printed.  Changing the rarity but not the amount printed would still lead them to be the same price as if they were rare.



Seems like my choice of words was bad, I meant the number of different land cycles shouldn´t increase,  but of course the number of printed copies goes up if printed at uncommon. Which should make them cheaper to acquire.
These come so close to reprinting the original duals that once Scars of Mirrodin is released, it will now be thinkable to play Legacy without the original duals without getting slaughtered.

Yes, the Ravnica duals are fetchable, and their penalty is usually light, but if that initial life is an issue, while fetching is not, I think these lands are definitely very attractive. After all, CIPT (now EBT) is mostly a problem on the early turns, not the later ones where you're likely to have enough lands out there to play the cards you want.

So you've lost fetching and you have a drawback that only kicks in when it's irrelevant. Some people wanted a passable approximation to the original duals; I think we've got one now with these.

I hope that later sets in this block will include the enemy color lands to complete the cycle.

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These lands are really cool.  Great in decks that have turn-1 and turn-2 plays to make. 
Well I don't think they could have pushed aggro any harder with this set. 

Unless control can pull out some ridiculous shenanigans, the speed of this set is going to be insane. So far we have Koth-mono-red, U-artifact-aggro, White Weenie artifacts, and BU-infect-aggro.


You're joking right?

I mean...Brittle Effigy, Mystifying Maze, Day of Judgement, Consume the Meek, Pyroclasm, Chain Reaction, Elspeth 2.0, Ratchet Bomb, Steel Hellkite, Sun Titan...the list goes on.

Control always has more options than Aggro.  Only so many creatures are good enough to beat face.  Answers are always many and varied.



And a lot of those are 4, 5, and 6 drops. By then (unless I'm really really off about the speed of this format) it will be too late to recover. 
I hate these lands
theyre fine in a 2 color deck
but once you start playing them in multiples for access to 3
theyll be coming into play tapped with no upside again and again
those tri-lands will be sorely missed

they seem like nice land for control decks so you're guaranteed to have mana leak mana up turn 2
or condemn for that goblin guide
in aggro a tapped land on turn 4 will get your bear mana leaked, or time walk you as you wait to drop your 5-6 mana sledgehammer

I like that they're paying attention to aggro, but hasn't much of their development point over the last years been making 3-drops, 4-drops, etc actually matter?  This is great for 1-s and 2s, but it stalls on the next step of the curve.  It's like they're developing for Sligh, circa 2000, where nothing costs more than 3.  I'd rather just see the painlands back and if new players don't understand that ... well isn't learning the game supposed to be part of the appeal?


But I like the attempt and will give them a shot, certainly.  I wish they'd take a crack at common fixing for this problem.  Pauper players have a serious problem in that there are no common fixers for that t1 mana.  Terramorphic Expanse, Evolving Wilds, Borderposts, on into Panorama, Rupture Spire, Ravnica Karoos ... all are lovely and have their place, but none are really appropriate for aggro.

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"...there should be enough strong multicolor lands in a format to support multicolor decks of many different color combinations."



When I first read this I thought to myself, "Finally, they get it! We want Enemy color Duals!"

Especially when he started talking about the Enemy Pain Lands. When he skipped the Eventide Enemy Filters, I knew I was wrong.

He kept talking about how bad it was for all of these Dual Lands to come into play tapped, so I thought "Well, maybe we are getting some kind of new ETB Untapped at a cost lands.", but, once again I was wrong.

I am very grateful to Wizards for creating Dual lands when ever they do, but for the love of all that is Holy, give us some Freaking Enemy Dual lands!

I have no love at all for these lands. In order for you to have a good chance to draw them Opening Hand or in the first 2 turns, you need to carry 3-4 of them in you deck and then you still only have a minor chance to draw them in one of those situations. Someone has already pointed out (I'm too lazy to go back and find it) that if you draw these for Land 4-5 it could really hurt. Later in the game it doesn't matter as much.

All in all these lands fit a VERY narrow spot in your game, and if you don't find them during those turns, it could either hurt or just be worthless.

Final Opinion of these new Duals: FAIL!


The cycle should be completed later in the block with the enemy color lands. Some combinations like GB or RW are popular but lands have been scarce lately. It is sad that some combinations are less playable than others only for flavorful reasons.



The second and third sets are already probably locked, but I agree with the sentiment. Enemy duals need love too.

I do think these are more playable than the painlands. Ticking down gets annoying after a while.

Also, you know what would be nice? Put the dual lands in the land slot (and reverse the rule that says they get pulled out of the pack before drafting). Have them show up roughly one for every four basic lands - the number feels about right, /and/ it's 'easy' because there's four art options for each basic land.



I've been saying this for a while now. Even putting Terramorphic Expanse and Evolving Wilds on the basic land sheet would be a great first step. Maybe something like a cycle of the refuge duals to really help the pauper players. But if they could do all the lands in a set so they show up in the land slot (at the appropriate rarity, yadda yadda), that would be perfect. 
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

Also, you know what would be nice? Put the dual lands in the land slot (and reverse the rule that says they get pulled out of the pack before drafting). Have them show up roughly one for every four basic lands - the number feels about right, /and/ it's 'easy' because there's four art options for each basic land.



I would cry tears of joy if something that incredibly wonderful happened.
I wonder why the land wasn't worded, "this enters the battlefield tapped if you control two or more other lands."
The word "other" is probably unnecessary but it would remove all doubt about whether you need to count the land itself. Maybe because it would give players the impression about how the rules work, the impression that the word "other" needs to be there?
EDIT: Ugh... I misread the card. It does have the word "Other" in it!
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I wonder why the land wasn't worded, "this enters the battlefield tapped if you control two or more other lands." 



Because that is not correct and it would be a weaker card if it was.

Nice to have dual lands that come into play untapped on the first turn in standard.  Too bad that once you reach two lands the rest of these come into play tapped.  Of course, at that point the M10/11 dual lands probably come into play untapped. 



They come into play untapped up to the third turn.

Nice to have dual lands that come into play untapped on the first turn in standard.  Too bad that once you reach two lands the rest of these come into play tapped.  Of course, at that point the M10/11 dual lands probably come into play untapped. 



They come into play untapped up to the third turn.



My mistake.

IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)
Ehhh.... really should have been uncommon. I like the design, but the rarity kills it. Can't we just have some decent nonbasics? The one I've liked most thus far is Nimbus Maze. An uncommon cycle of those would be amazing.


Also, you know what would be nice? Put the dual lands in the land slot (and reverse the rule that says they get pulled out of the pack before drafting). Have them show up roughly one for every four basic lands - the number feels about right, /and/ it's 'easy' because there's four art options for each basic land.


I've been saying this for a while now. Even putting Terramorphic Expanse and Evolving Wilds on the basic land sheet would be a great first step. Maybe something like a cycle of the refuge duals to really help the pauper players. But if they could do all the lands in a set so they show up in the land slot (at the appropriate rarity, yadda yadda), that would be perfect.


I agree wholeheartedly. And it would allow for a full cycle of 10 duals to appear in a core set without using up 10 of the 53 available rare slots.

Also, you know what would be nice? Put the dual lands in the land slot (and reverse the rule that says they get pulled out of the pack before drafting). Have them show up roughly one for every four basic lands - the number feels about right, /and/ it's 'easy' because there's four art options for each basic land.



I would cry tears of joy if something that incredibly wonderful happened.

This could be the best idea for the land thing I have ever heard from anyone ever.

I mean I guess having basic lands from the set appear in the pack make sense and they do provide a scape for the rest of the cards, but really, who rabidly opens packs for basic lands from a set? You'd be better off just buying a starter-theme deck thingy.

Wait? Did I just increase the incentive for people to buy starter decks of expert level sets AND make booster packs more inviting to beginning players?! 

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Also, you know what would be nice? Put the dual lands in the land slot (and reverse the rule that says they get pulled out of the pack before drafting). Have them show up roughly one for every four basic lands - the number feels about right, /and/ it's 'easy' because there's four art options for each basic land.

Now that a large set has 101 commons in it, I'm not sure just how the basic lands are printed these days. I suspect that they're taking up 20 slots on the common sheet.

I don't think that something like this is likely to happen. Aside from potential technical challenges to Wizards in making the booster packs, while there's a benefit in having an additional valuable card in a pack some of the time, unless the rarity of the card is changed, the benefit is limited.

I'd prefer it if Wizards raised their booster pack price slightly, went back to putting eleven commons in a booster instead of twelve, and threw in three basic lands. This solves two problems: that 15 cards rather than 14 works better for drafting, and that one basic land per booster isn't really enough to get basic lands into people's hands.

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The correct number of cards for a booster would be 16, so that the pack makes two full trips around the table.  Actually, even more ideally would be if the order reversed for the second trip as in Settlers of Catan - your eighth and ninth picks from the same pack and then you pass back the way it came, so Mr. First-Picked-A-Baneslayer gets Yawning Fissure to go with it.

Enemy-color duals should always be less available than allies, because the opposite colors tend to cover each other's weak points.  Think about it, when you combine green with white, you get lifegain and weenie swarms, plus lifegain and more weenie swarms.  Play red and green, you have Lightning Bolt for 3 extra damage, and Giant Growth for 3 extra damage.  Play white and blue, and you've got limited or answerable control plus more limited or answerable control (Counterspell and Vanquish are timing-dependent, Pacifism and Boomerang are reversible).  But what happens when you play green and black?  You have the color that's best at destroying creatures and is notoriously mana-hungry when it's not reanimating fatties, plus the color whose only weakness is its inability to kill creatures, but makes mana easily and has lots of fatties that are hard to play without reanimation.  Ditto for white plus red - the best defense and the best offense play rather well together.  In general, enemy color combos are stronger, so they should have fewer options for mana stabilization.  (That doesn't necessarily mean Wizards' method of making that happen is correct.  They originally tried to implement this policy with weaker enemy-color painlands like PineBarrens, but eventually gave up and made Llanowar Wastes anyway so it was kinda pointless.)
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Enemy-color duals should always be less available than allies, because the opposite colors tend to cover each other's weak points.

That's a good point.

However, I'm all in favor of ignoring it, since my hope is to realize Hovercraft's dream of a substitute for the original duals that is passable enough that people can feel comfortable playing at Legacy events at their local gaming store using budget decks made with those cards. The original duals came in all ten flavors, so having these in all ten flavors goes further towards that goal.

It is true that green and red on the one hand, and white and blue on the other, don't complement each other much - but green and white, for example, or blue and black do to a greater extent.

And there are a few spells with allied-color effects, such as a mana cost in one color, and activated abilities in an allied color, although I agree this may not be enough to encourage allied colors.

Yes, red and blue or green and blue are very tempting combinations.

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