10/11/2010 Feature: "Running In Circles"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Feature Article, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Two thumbs up for the dancing Mark at the end.
Two pectoral fins up for "Belugatron". That was even more awesome than what got printed.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
Hearing from Alexis Janson the same day as enrollment in GDS2 closes, but not having the article be about GDS1, is odd.  Sure MaRo is covering the GDS topic, but I still would have expected either AJ or Ken Nagle (the two who could most be regarded as the GDS's winner, AJ for officially winning the contest itself and KN for being the one who actually ended up working as a full-time designer rather than getting some other Wizards job after the design internship) to have said some things about their experiences before-during-and-after they discovered they'd won, as a heads up to those about to participate in something similar.

Also, if anyone involved in wallpapers should poke their head in here - GLIMMERVOID WOTW PLZ KTHBAI.

Sigh, Alexis, you were the one who first came up with "make artifacts colored cards" during GDS (that blue crown thingy), and I will say again now what I first said then, before Alara or even Future Sight made it real:  IT WAS A BAD IDEA.  I am SO glad it was done what they did here in Mirrodin.  The whole POINT of artifacts is their colorlessness, the fact that since they're physical objects rather than static spells, you just have to cast a colorless "my blade, to me!" spell and your sword is right there ready for you to hack something in half with it.  They had no reason to ever be colored; Esper was a fairly decent design but it totally could have functioned without the "everybody's a robot" design, and might well have been more interesting without that rather lazy mechanical basis.  (Laziness being forgivable in a set that required five times the usual amount of design, but still, slapping one extra word on the typeline of every creature and playtesting for borkenness is hardly the most impressive of accomplishments.)

Seeing the art full-sized, I suddenly wish Saberclaw Golem had been named "Goblin-Face Golem".  Sadly Alexis says nothing about why they printed this overwhelmingly dull card (in my color, sob), when every other member of the "artifacts with color mana activations that aren't named Something Replica or Trigon of Whatever" cycle is at least somewhat interesting.  Glint Hawk Idol is far and away the coolest, which is funny considering that it was a last-minute include; had I been on that design team, all the others would have been promptly ditched and a full Idol cycle created, though there would have needed to be a replacement for Soliton or else Heavy Arbalest would have sucked.

Sigh, Alexis, please tell us you were joking this time too about how "perfect" Affinity was.  Remember, sarcasm is invisible over the internet.

I wonder if "Still Haven't Found What We're Looking For" is a reference to the hidden track on Disturbed's latest album.  Alexis doesn't impress me as the metalhead type, but then if you had never seen my Mustaine-like mane and seen me headbanging at my desk while processing some financial nonsense or other, you might not have thought I had that type either.
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
Sigh, Alexis, please tell us you were joking this time too about how "perfect" Affinity was.  Remember, sarcasm is invisible over the internet.

There was sarcasm, and it wasn't invisible.  Just turn the gain on your sarcasm detector up a bit higher.
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...
Sigh, Alexis, please tell us you were joking this time too about how "perfect" Affinity was.  Remember, sarcasm is invisible over the internet.

There was sarcasm, and it wasn't invisible.  Just turn the gain on your sarcasm detector up a bit higher.



I forget who said this originally, but a quote in someone's signatures on the Giant ITP forums is "The Internet removes the two most important tools in detecting sarcasm: tone of voice cues, and the assumption that the speaker is sane".  Seriously, trying to be stealthily snarky on the web is a baaaaad idea.

By the way Alexis, congratulations on creating Wurmcoil Engine, easily one of the five coolest cards in Scars of Mirrodin and I can't think of any offhand that better deserve the #1 spot.  I just wish it cost more so I could regard it as balanced.  (But now I want an Equipment card called "Legs of Dauntless Standing".

Delicious sounds like a good mechanic for Jund, if we ever somehow go back to a plane which no longer exists.
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
How does R&D reconcile affinity being "dangerous" and yet still continue to print free spell mechanics such as Cascade, which always seemed inherently unfair when stapled to Bloodbraid Elf and Bituminous Blast, let alone the menace that Hypergenesis became in old extended? Without the artifact lands, surely affinity wouldn't really be that much of a problem?
One could have included Affinity for Artifacts, but in a vitiated form: instead of giving it to something that costs :6mana:, give it to something that costs :2mana: . A Mox Opal with Affinity would even have been possible - instead of having its effect depend on Metalcraft, have it cost :3mana:, just like Darksteel Ingot or Coalition Relic. But then, since the initial cost isn't :0mana:, its name wouldn't be able to have Mox in it, making it a less exciting card.

I'm happy to see some revelations about rare design; I remember when the secrets of common design were revealed, in

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

and, sadly, they were largely reviled rather than the article being praised for its candid nature. Taking care of the easy stuff first - and avoiding the pitfalls of Fourth Edition - doesn't mean sets are now stereotyped.

Of course, the Mocks could have been the grand old cycle of Marble Diamond, Sky Diamond, Charcoal Diamond, and Moss Diamond, as another alternative to dreaming up new cards, but obviously the classic Myr were more appropriate in this set for flavor reasons. I was also just reviewing Magic: 2011 the other day, and I notice it has a lot of powerful artifacts in it, not just the obvious Voltaic Key.

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.

"...and partly because Mark waited fourteen years for his thunder and I'm not about to steal it from him."


YOW.  Sounds about right.  Poor guy.

Sigh, Alexis, you were the one who first came up with "make artifacts colored cards" during GDS (that blue crown thingy), and I will say again now what I first said then, before Alara or even Future Sight made it real:  IT WAS A BAD IDEA.  I am SO glad it was done what they did here in Mirrodin.  The whole POINT of artifacts is their colorlessness, the fact that since they're physical objects rather than static spells, you just have to cast a colorless "my blade, to me!" spell and your sword is right there ready for you to hack something in half with it.  They had no reason to ever be colored; Esper was a fairly decent design but it totally could have functioned without the "everybody's a robot" design, and might well have been more interesting without that rather lazy mechanical basis.  (Laziness being forgivable in a set that required five times the usual amount of design, but still, slapping one extra word on the typeline of every creature and playtesting for borkenness is hardly the most impressive of accomplishments.)



The one place where I really love it is colored equipment  Basically you can have color-specific (and thus more powerful) equipment that doesn't suck like auras. Love m!

How does R&D reconcile affinity being "dangerous" and yet still continue to print free spell mechanics such as Cascade, which always seemed inherently unfair when stapled to Bloodbraid Elf and Bituminous Blast, let alone the menace that Hypergenesis became in old extended? Without the artifact lands, surely affinity wouldn't really be that much of a problem?



Good question. What does the design/development article from cascade week say again?
Affinity was dangerous because you could play strong stuff for little to no cost.

Honestly, as long as they don't reprint artifact lands, something that can hurt the opponent when artifacts go to the graveyard ( Disciple of the Vault), and something that can continuously sacrifice artifacts at no cost (Arcbound Ravager) affinity may have been able to be reprinted.  Even if it was affinity for artifacts on colored spells.
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)
I will henceforth always refer to my favorite little card as "Belugatron". I am also going to print out some "Bel" and "Uga" tokens. Thanks Alexis!
Did anyone in design ever question the idea of having a keyword ability named "Rebel"? You know, given that the creature type Rebel is almost almost always indicative of a certain ability itself (X, tap: search for a rebel...). It would just be disappointing if all my Rebels couldn't rebel.
Did anyone in design ever question the idea of having a keyword ability named "Rebel"? You know, given that the creature type Rebel is almost almost always indicative of a certain ability itself (X, tap: search for a rebel...). It would just be disappointing if all my Rebels couldn't rebel.



Nope because names in design are just purely functional, giving an idea of what the mechanic kinda does. Rebel would most likely be renamed later on if it stayed in the set.
How does R&D reconcile affinity being "dangerous" and yet still continue to print free spell mechanics such as Cascade, which always seemed inherently unfair when stapled to Bloodbraid Elf and Bituminous Blast, let alone the menace that Hypergenesis became in old extended? Without the artifact lands, surely affinity wouldn't really be that much of a problem?

I could be wrong, but I think b0rkenness like that happens because they're inventing something that hasn't been tried and they don't quite gauge its impact properly. So "affinity is b0rked!" is hindsight, but "cascade won't be, because we know it was good in FFL but it was beatable" is prediction. Hindsight is always the more accurate of those two.

Has anyone seen my rear end? I lost it while laughing at the Dancing MaRo...

Also, I wonder if they ever considered giving the watermarks rules presence (or doing "Mirran" and "Phyrexian" on the type line or such) and doing 'Affinity for Mirran' and 'Affinity for Phyrexian'? I know I would have pitched that out while brainstorming. (And I know I probably would have thrown it away, too. :P)

Also, I wonder if they ever considered giving the watermarks rules presence (or doing "Mirran" and "Phyrexian" on the type line or such) and doing 'Affinity for Mirran' and 'Affinity for Phyrexian'? I know I would have pitched that out while brainstorming. (And I know I probably would have thrown it away, too. :P)



Watermarks matter is impossible because cards get reprinted. Next time they reprinted Mindslaver it would need a Mirran symbol on it. Because not doing so would funtionally change it.
… and then, the squirrels came.
Watermarks matter is impossible because cards get reprinted. Next time they reprinted Mindslaver it would need a Mirran symbol on it. Because not doing so would funtionally change it.

The rules infrastructure behind the expansion hosers suggests otherwise.

Watermarks matter is impossible because cards get reprinted. Next time they reprinted Mindslaver it would need a Mirran symbol on it. Because not doing so would funtionally change it.

The rules infrastructure behind the expansion hosers suggests otherwise.




Good point... it's not impossible. It's just not going to happen. Happy?

The Chime was designed back when people weren't thinking clearly, today they'd never reprint a card that was functionally different from a previous version.
… and then, the squirrels came.
The Chime was designed back when people weren't thinking clearly, today they'd never reprint a card that was functionally different from a previous version.

Chime was even printed well after the obvious problem was obvious.

The Chime was designed back when people weren't thinking clearly, today they'd never reprint a card that was functionally different from a previous version.

Chime was even printed well after the obvious problem was obvious.




Yeah, it makes you wonder doesn't it?

Luckily i don't think Mago (or Matt) is crazy enough to let them make watermarks matter.
… and then, the squirrels came.
I want to give a shout out to Trevor Schrock, the artist who penned Belugatron and gave me such awesome inspiration He works here at Wizards as a software architect.
I'm still disappointed that Entwine had gotten discarded so easily at early designt just because "it doesn't feel like Mirrodin" which is very narrow view that focuses exclusively on first impressions without caring if the set and its cards are actually liked in the long run. I at least (although I'm sure many more feel the same way) loved Entwine cards like Reap and Sow, Journey of Discovery, Promise of Power, One Dozen Eyes and many more, including of course the most famous of them all: Tooth and nail. C'mon "Tooth and Nail" is something that immediately comes to mind when speaking of Mirrodin as much as "Cryptic command" is something tied to Lorwyn regarless of being nontribal. The net result of this aversion to modular cards and mechanic are sets with antagonic mechanics that neither play well among themselves nor they play well with anything else. Zendikar commited this mistake with its Allies and Vampires along lands and traps, Scars continues it. Let's hope there's a fix to this in upcoming sets.
If Limited gets in the way of printing good Constructed cards... Screw limited
Entwines a good mechanic, and we'll see it again, but it has nothing to do with Mirrodin.

Plus i'd like to see entwine return in a new setting.
… and then, the squirrels came.
"one of the most lauded decks of all time was named after affinity"

Might want to check the definition of lauded.
Affinity was a great mechanic and got me more interested into Tournament play then just playing casual.  I believe that is why the first Mirrodin sold so well, because the every day gamer thought they could actually win with the decks they built, and spent more money on it.  I know I did, before Mirrodin came out I never thought twice about taking my Soldier or Elf deck to a tournament just to get blowen up by a mega Psychatog, and I have been here since Masques.

I recently took an interest to Magic again since I heard Mirrodin was coming back.  I left after Kamigawa with disappointment that the game was going back in the same direction it was before Mirrodin.  I would love to see Affinity back, not in the Affinity for Artifact + my creature has */* for each artifact sense, but in the Golem sense that if I play a mono color deck my vanilla 3/2 for 6 gets better and better.  But you can't always get what you want, but I am still excited to see Mirrodin make it's return and it is the sole reason I am back into the game.