10/11/2010 MM: "A Different World"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
I sent in my answers Saturday night. I was a little annoyed that I didn't receive any confirmation that it was received so I hope they got it.I'm particularly enamored with my answer to number 8:

A tribute to the best mechanic in Magic.

It starts with the letter F,
and ends many games.
Nary is there a pack that isn't packing at least one example,
yet it is seldom ever given as an example.
Players often forget it exists,
but never forget how it works.
The only mechanic that rises to its level is its mechanical arch nemesis, (1)
and it's no stretch to sat that the nemesis is meaningless without it. 
When it can't exist, R&D has to create an identical copy to run right along side it. (2)
It has spawned many offspring: 
A joke that's all wet (3), a major block theme (that some say shouldn't have seen the light of day), (4)
a version filled with frightening flavor (5), and a brash and colorful grandchild. (6)
It has a high version up in the clouds, (7)
and a low version down in the trees. (8)
So simple that it scarcely needs explaining,
and yet still able to impact the most complicated board state.
Often feeling blue,
but never down on itself.
It is ubiquitous, ever there, but never noticed,
yet in limited, there's never enough, and it's one of the first things you look for.
It it can make creatures irrelevant, and yet it makes all creatures more relevant. (9)
It appears in every color (though some more than others), in colorless,
and on artifacts, creatures, enchantments, instants, lands, planes, planeswalkers, schemes, sorceries, tribals, and vanguards (10).
It can be snow, or legendary,
but not on basic cards despite its basic nature.
It's brethren don't just talk the talk,
they walk the walk.
It is true to Magic and true to its flavor, 
and yet it always ends in lying.

My answer is probably too clever for it's own good, unlike the mechanic. Here's the numbered notes:
Show

1 (Reach), 2 (Horsemanship), 3 (Swimming), 4 (Shadow), 5 (Fear), 6(Intimidate) , 7 (on Cloud Elemental), 8 (on Treetop Scout), 9 (it makes creature combat a larger part of the game), 10 (Tribal = Bitterblossom, Plane = Shiv, Scheme = Into the Earthen Maw, Vanguard = Akroma).


The rest of my answers are here, if anyone is interested:
community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/...

Foam_Mox




That's a beautiful answer and it's probably the right answer. And you're right, it's one of those things that's so obvious most people would never think of it (including myself).
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
Interesting article i must say. Nothing earth shattering, but some good tips that i plane to use tommrow.

Though i'll just point out that the Rakdos were heavy on the circus flavor.
… and then, the squirrels came.
I sent in my answers Saturday night. I was a little annoyed that I didn't receive any confirmation that it was received so I hope they got it.I'm particularly enamored with my answer to number 8:

That's very nice!  I wish I'd had the time to write essays like that; as it was, I was lucky just to get all of the questions answered, I hope submitting at 11:59 wasn't too late.
The only mechanic that rises to its level is its mechanical arch nemesis, (1)
and it's no stretch to sat that the nemesis is meaningless without it.

I'm sure it doesn't matter, but "sat" here is a typo.
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...
Arg. Last time I was frustrated by the brilliance of the finalist who used a draft pick analogy for "why you should hire me." I tried to spend the last few weeks working out a "voice" that I would use for the answers, but I ended up just using my normal essay voice. 

I went with what came naturally... how i speak. Edited it once just to remove excess words and clarify my thoughts, and then i sent it.

Maro cares more about how you came to your conclusions than how you write them.

… and then, the squirrels came.
Okay, so Scars of Mirrodin started with flavor, and is an extremely awesome mechanical set.  And Zendikar starts with mechanical design and then comes up with flavor to fit it, resulting in a world that would kill every one of its inhabitants five seconds after they're born, yet somehow has a thriving economy which revolves ENTIRELY around hunting "rare" and "mysterious" treasures from "hidden" and "exotic" sites which are never farther away than Starbucks from the somehow-thriving communities of the natives.

I think I can regard this as a fairly definitive proof that "flavor first" is the more effective method.  Zendikar's flavor is cool, but it makes no sense.  SOM's mechanics are cool AND they make sense.  Apparently making mechanics is easier, so you should do it second.  I've always believed this to be true, so it's good to have some concrete evidence of it.

I've also been wishing that they'd finally go to one of the crazy planes teased by Future Sight and named by Planechase (Arkhos, Iquatana, Ir, Muraganda, etc.), and MaRo's discussion of Flavor Begets Design (which, by the way, please don't use Kamigawa as your "proof" that top-down design is harder, it would have turned out very well if you hadn't intentionally made it suck in order to dial back the borkenness of the original Mirrodin) strongly implies that "Shake" is them doing just that.  I can't wait to see the result.  (Also, something that would more or less qualify as Circus World would in fact work if you were careful about how you did it; just as Kamigawa was difficult because you couldn't just go "aw eff it, we'll just do Anime versions of everything", Circus World is an inherently goofy concept that has to be very carefully disguised and played 100% straight in order to come out awesome rather than stooopeeed.  Take a look at the Marvel Comics villain Arcade for an example of it being done slightly right-ish, but he's still something of a joke despite really trying to be a scary psychopath.  The Joker has occasionally done a MUCH better version of the same principle, though it's only a side project for him.  Chaos Harlequin is a Magic card, and I'd have no problems whatsoever with the idea of his planeswalker version creating a strongly Red-, White- and Black-aligned world devoted to the bacchanalia of the absurd.)

As an old-school sci-fi geek, I'm sad that he used something as dull as TiVo as his example of prioritization, because there's an easily grokkable (ha!) concept very central to sci-fi which he could have used to perfectly illustrate the point:  Isaac's three Laws of Robotics.
1.  A robot may never harm a human (or through inaction allow a human to come to harm).
2.  A robot may never harm itself (or through inaction allow itself to come to harm), UNLESS this law contradicts Law 1.
3.  A robot may never disobey a human, UNLESS this law contradicts Law 1 or Law 2.
Very easy to understand.  If a you give a robot an order, it has to obey, unless you tell it to harm itself or a human.  And it may never harm itself unless doing so avoids harm to a human.
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


MARO SAID:


Design is dirty work. If you want to do it right, you're going to have to get your hands dirty. This is hard to do because designers (and artists) become emotionally attached to the work they do. Killing cards often feels personal, but it's what the job entails. If an idea isn't doing what it needs to do, no matter how good it might be—it's got to go.


Always be aware that inertia will make you want to keep things the way they are. Mediocre cards will sneak by because, well, they begin feeling comfortable to you.



There is a major flaw with this logic.  Sometimes, if you cut something because it isn't working right now, you have destroyed its only opportunity to ever work.  Magic visits a world once and then moves on.  Even if it revisits the same plane, that plane has changed and there's no going back.  A Mirrodin being infiltrated by Phyrexia is not a Mirrodin under the thumb of Memnarch.  If you don't show something off when its time is right, you might never get to.


A good example would be Bruenna, the Neurok wind mage from the original Mirrodin.  She's all over flavor text and plays a massive role in the novels, but she didn't get a card in the original Mirrodin.  Now that we're going back, she's gone for good (I forget whether she died or just got sent back by the soul traps, but either way she explicitly could nto have remained on Mirrodin).  Say that I had been on the Mirrodin card, and I created a Bruenna legend card, one that perfectly captured her essence and was the ideal design to represent her.  Then it got cut because it wasn't relevant enough in Limited or some similarly stupid "it's not doing its job" reason.  We can't print it now, and the odds of us going back to pre-Vanishing Mirrodin are pretty damned slim.  So you didn't just cut my card right now because it wasn't doing its job right now; you cut it forever because it wasn't doing its job right now.  This is inexcusable.

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
Also, I'll wait before posting the essays I sent in, but here are two essays I didn't send in, having scrapped them after my initial write for a better version.

HOW CAN YOU DESIGN MAGIC TO BE MORE FRIENDLY TO NEW PLAYERS?
The biggest difficulties with introducing new players to Magic revolve around technicalities - the fact that cards have Oracle text contradicting their printed wording, the fact that some abilities function in the rules in a fashion that you can't guess without knowing the rules intimately, etc.  Frankly, I see the use of the CR and Oracle to hold the entire Magic edifice together as counterproductive; finessing the wordings of cards that will never be reprinted just generates pointless confusion.  There is an easy tool at Wizards' disposal which you refuse to use for reasons that I do not think are sufficient.  Magic Online needs and has ironclad rules support; achieving the same in paper is an exercise in frustration, and I think it's better ditched.  Allowing cards to function differently depending on platform would solve a lot of problems while creating only a few confusions - thinking that your online card should function exactly the same as your paper card with the same name is only slightly more reasonable than thinking houses should follow the same rules in Monopoly as in Sim City.  Better to outright admit that MODO is its own thing, and make all cards function as best they can on whatever platform they exist on.  Ditch the "may" on triggered abilities for online cards to save needless clicking, and streamline the wordings of both online and offline cards in order to stop accounting for loopholes that will never apply to that version of the game.  Permit all offline cards to be played in a common-sense fashion without applying the level of rules structure MOL requires, and focus on wording all cards as cleanly as possible, without confusing phrases like "up to one target" that are valid only due to encoded rules meaning that will fly over a newbie's head.  The cards should be as attractive as possible, which means they should have simple, clean wordings; corner cases can be dealt with by Melvin grognards after the fact, and they might even enjoy it.
(In retrospect, this answer has nothing to do with design and it's a dashed good thing I cut it.)

OF ALL THE MECHANICS IN EXTENDED, WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER BEST DESIGNED?
Probably the overall best design work of the last four years went into Rise of the Eldrazi, which was reinventing the wheel to such an extent while still ostensibly keeping things largely the same; I do not regard the "levelers" as good design personally, though I can appreciate them as a reasonably good execution of an extremely good idea, but while they don't work for me, most of the rest of the block does.  My dark horse choice for the mechanic I regard as best is the additional cost to play a few spells such as Induce Despair, where you reveal a card from your hand and reference its converted mana cost (although I've always had a bit of a problem with mechanical effects interacting with a flavorfully-meaningless number like CMC, this is less of a problem  since CMC in the hand is at least a measure of how hard you're going to have to work to get the spell out of your hand - but I digress).  These spells, unfortunately few though they were, rewarded you for playing the Eldrazi but remained perfectly playable in their absence, which is exactly how Magic design ought to work - a playable card by itself, but better when combined with the right other cards.  Induce Despair is a particularly good example, since you only need a high X if your opponent has a high X, so it's a weapon which doesn't work against fatties except when you use fatties yourself - the perfect way to shift the contest up to a more Eldrazi-sized theater.  I might be able to come up with a better example, but I find fault more easily than I appreciate quality, and I can find none here so that speaks well for the mechanic.
(I'd just like to yet again harp on the fact that I refuse to call it "Extended" now that it is three years shorter than it was last year.)
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
As an old-school sci-fi geek, I'm sad that he used something as dull as TiVo as his example of prioritization, because there's an easily grokkable (ha!) concept very central to sci-fi which he could have used to perfectly illustrate the point:  Isaac's three Laws of Robotics.
1.  A robot may never harm a human (or through inaction allow a human to come to harm).
2.  A robot may never harm itself (or through inaction allow itself to come to harm), UNLESS this law contradicts Law 1.
3.  A robot may never disobey a human, UNLESS this law contradicts Law 1 or Law 2.
Very easy to understand.  If a you give a robot an order, it has to obey, unless you tell it to harm itself or a human.  And it may never harm itself unless doing so avoids harm to a human.



Um... I think you made a small mistake. Asimov's Three Laws Of Robotics are:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

  2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.




So if you tell a robot to go jump off a cliff, it will.

- Doug

 

"Collectability is just a code-word for ripping you off." - David Sirlin

As an old-school sci-fi geek, I'm sad that he used something as dull as TiVo as his example of prioritization, because there's an easily grokkable (ha!) concept very central to sci-fi which he could have used to perfectly illustrate the point:  Isaac's three Laws of Robotics.
1.  A robot may never harm a human (or through inaction allow a human to come to harm).
2.  A robot may never harm itself (or through inaction allow itself to come to harm), UNLESS this law contradicts Law 1.
3.  A robot may never disobey a human, UNLESS this law contradicts Law 1 or Law 2.
Very easy to understand.  If a you give a robot an order, it has to obey, unless you tell it to harm itself or a human.  And it may never harm itself unless doing so avoids harm to a human.



Um... I think you made a small mistake. The Three Laws Of Robotics are:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

  2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.




So if you tell a robot to go jump off a cliff, it will.



Hm.  I thought Asimov was smarter than that.  "Jenkins, our stock just dropped another ten points because Ubercorp's robots are better than ours.  Go stand outside Ubercorp's production facility with a megaphone and order all their robots to bash each other's positronic brains out.  I'll beef up security at our plant to make sure they don't return the favor."

The order I listed is clearly correct even if Asimov didn't write it that way.
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
In Asimov's early robot stories, there was only one robot manufacturer. (Which sounds kind of stupid today.) Also, in the settings in which robots were common, they were pretty much expendable because they were made by robot labor. Also, because robots give priority to orders from its owner, if you didn't want your robot to go kill itself when some vandal tells it to, all you have to do is order it not to listen to that kind of thing.

But Asimov was pretty explicit about the fact that robots would indeed obey orders to destroy themselves.

- Doug

 

"Collectability is just a code-word for ripping you off." - David Sirlin

So you didn't just cut my card right now because it wasn't doing its job right now; you cut it forever because it wasn't doing its job right now.  This is inexcusable.

But, unless it's using keywords that are inexplicably abandoned in place after a year, what's to keep the card from becoming Derp Derperson in some other set?
Even then, the next time they do a timespiral-like mashup, or a revisit set, even the keywords wouldn't be an issue.

Also, I'll wait before posting the essays I sent in, but here are two essays I didn't send in, having scrapped them after my initial write for a better version.

HOW CAN YOU DESIGN MAGIC TO BE MORE FRIENDLY TO NEW PLAYERS?
(Short version - don't errata so much for paper magic and just let MTGO be its own thing)

The problem with this answer is that it isn't related to design. (My own is borderline in that respect too but at least I own up to it; I actually think design, as distinct from development, marketing, creative etc, does very well as it is.)

Do you really think erratta is that big a barrier to entry? I think in order to care about it, people already have to be somewhat invested in the game, and thus to be past what I think are the two biggest hurdles - Magic's (largely justified) image as dominated by young males who skew low in social skills, and the sheer amount of money it costs to get anywhere. As my essay answer says in slightly more detail, though, design is poorly positioned to help with the former and can only do so much about the latter.

Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
Well, I have to say I read questions #6 and #7 differently from you. I read them as "How do you do this?" as opposed to "What are we doing wrong?" While obviously things they are doing badly should be included (and are good things if you have them), I primarily answered this as being more along the lines of "What should we do?" rather than "What aren't we doing?" So my answers were more along those lines.

Incidentally, I gave some feedback on those essays. I suppose I should post mine as well, at some point, so people can read what I had to say:

 


  1. 2.      You are instructed to move an ability from one color to another. This ability must be something used in every set (i.e. discard, direct damage, card drawing etc.). You may not choose an ability that has already been color shifted by R&D. What ability do you shift and to what color do you shift it? Explain why you would make that shift.

 


I would move the ability to tap permanents from blue to green. Blue is the color with the most mechanics, and green is the color with the fewest. Additionally, green lacks the ability to remove creatures; while flavorful, this results in green being somewhat awkward in both limited and constructed, as unless a creature flies, its only means of dealing with them is its fellow creatures. While a weak removal mechanic, it would help make mono-green decks viable a little more often and would open up new design space for green in limited.


 


Green is a reasonable flavor fit for the effect; in fantasy and horror, one of the things nature can do is entangle creatures in vines or roots, slowing them down or trapping them, but almost never killing them. This fits into green not being able to kill creatures; while tapping them down inconveniences them, it isn't fatal and the creature is still on the battlefield and can potentially do other things, or be untapped by other magic - vines can be cut back, but it takes energy to do so.


 


Mechanically, the ability to tap permanents gives green a limited removal mechanic which does not feel clunky, and the ability to tap other sorts of permanents occasionally turns up in constructed as a means of gaining tempo; as green has very limited options for removing creatures, it could even show up in mono-green constructed decks. Finally, blue would still have the ability to bounce permanents, so it would not lose its primary removal mechanic.


 


Historically, green has had this ability on a handful of cards in the very early days of magic; of them, only Roots and Elder Druid were generic tap effects, and both had similar flavor to what I am proposing; however, the ability was never truly green.


 


Thus, I would move tapping permanents from blue to green. Green needs the ability to deal with creatures, if only a weak one, and blue can afford to give it up, and because entangling is a common fantasy archetype, it is a strong flavor fit.


 


  1. 3.      What block do you feel did the best job of integrating design with creative? What is one more thing that could have been done to make it even better?

 


Ravnica did the best job of integrating design with creative; the flavor of the guilds was very strong, and each of the guilds felt like a very distinct entity. While the guild insignias on the cards helped identify their affiliation, guild cards felt very strongly like they were a part of whatever guild they were in. The guilds had a very clear impact on limited play; when you played in limited, facing a Dimir deck was very different from facing a Selesnya or Golgari deck. You were not forced to do so, and it was often enough to your benefit to keep things from being monotonous, but it was good enough often enough that Ravnica limited helped make the flavor of the block come out.


 


There were a few ways in which this could have been better. This flavor could have been brought more into constructed; while the guilds felt strong in limited, only the Selesnya, Orzhov, and Gruul had their flavor carry over to constructed. Despite Boros Deck Wins being a major deck archetype, it felt too similar to the Gruul's sort of blunt instrument horde; it didn't feel enough like a disciplined army. Other guilds had their colors and even mechanics heavily played, but they didn't feel like the guild enough; despite the power of Transmute and Dredge, Heartbeat of Spring, Ichorid, and the various Life from the Loam decks did not really capture the essence of the guilds.



As the block went on the flavor of limited was diluted. The later guilds had fewer cards to work with, and while it was still fun, the flavor of the guilds was lost. The Azorius and the Rakdos did not have the representation necessary to bring out the flavor of their guild in Dissension, and the original four guilds had their flavors washed out due to providing fewer cards in limited; the Dimir were particularly affected. Fewer guilds, more cards with subtle tie-ins with previous and future guilds, and/or more cards which felt strongly guild aligned on their own (like Gelectrode) could have maintained the guild flavor in limited.


 


  1. 4.      R&D has recently been looking at rules in the game that aren't pulling their weight. If you had to remove an existing rule from the game for not being worth its inclusion, what would it be?

 


The ability to cast spells during your draw step should be removed, or more likely replaced with the cleanup step's restriction that you can only cast spells and activate abilities during that step if something triggers. This would make it easier to print instant speed discard effects, and the gameplay effects would be minimal as few cards are best played during the draw step.


 


The ability to cast spells during your draw step seldom is important. Oftentimes, the time you most would want to cast a spell during your draw step would be in response to a card which triggered in response to you drawing a card, and in general this is the "most fun" time to cast spells during the draw step.


 


Otherwise, the primary purpose of casting a spell or activating an ability during the draw step is to force an opponent to discard a card prior to their main phase or to deal damage or gain a larger effect on the basis of them having an extra card in hand. Typically speaking, other spells would be cast during the upkeep step to avoid their opponent from drawing an answer; the only time you would cast a spell during the draw step is in order to maximize the damage a card can do. Draw locks via instant discard is rare these days due to the lack of effects which cause instant speed discard, in order to avoid this exact draw locking problem.


 


The effect of this rules change would be to weaken cards which are dependent on the size of your opponent's hand, such as Sudden Impact, as well as to weaken instant speed discard, which nowadays almost never is made. The latter is actually a positive effect, though; by making instant speed discard worse, it can be printed more often, as it would prevent the most unfun part of instant speed discard, which is effectively preventing your opponent from drawing cards.


 


  1. 5.      Name a card currently in Standard that, from a design standpoint, should not have been printed. What is the card and why shouldn't we have printed it?

 


Asceticism should not have been printed because it is not a fun card to play with. In theory, it is a Timmy card; it turns all your creatures into Troll Ascetics. It prevents your creatures from being targeted, and therefore blown up by targeted removal, and it allows them to regenerate, making them an unstoppable force in combat. While the card is not constructed caliber, it is quite strong in casual gameplay.



The card was a mistake to print is because the card is not fun when it is actually in play. While many cards can make your opponent's life miserable, Asceticism has the flaw that while it will often win its caster the game, it does nothing to actually hasten their opponent's demise; it simply removes interactivity. This creates a feeling of helplessness in their opponent, and many decks run few to no answers for it, resulting in a game where one player has lost, but won't resign in the hopes of drawing some sort of answer.


 


When Asceticism works, it works by making one player unable to interact very much with their opponent, and that is an unfun experience. Players hate prison and land destruction because you are dead long before you actually reach a condition which causes you to formally lose the game, and because the position you are in tempts you not to resign. This card often creates a similar situation.


 


Therefore, this card should not have seen print as-is. If it had had some way of making your creatures better able to kill the opponent, such as making them larger or giving them evasion, it would be a better designed card. While it would still cause the other player to lose the game, they would lose the game in only a couple turns rather than ten miserable minutes later.


 


 


  1. 6.      What do you think design can do to best make the game accessible to newer players?

 


To make the game accessible to newer players, a set needs to be sufficiently simple to be understood the first time you play with the cards, needs to include simple cards which are easy to understand, needs to have some linear themes or subthemes, and needs to support creature combat.


 


The most basic entry level of the game needs to be fun as soon as possible. People should be able to pick up a deck of cards and play with only a small amount of instruction; this applies either to brand new players or to people playing a new set for the first time.


 


Simple cards are necessary building blocks for the new player so they can get a handle on the rules, on the themes of a set or block, and so they can understand some cards without having to think too much about them. Vanilla creatures, french vanilla creatures, creatures and enchantments with a single, easily understood ability, and spells with a single, simple effect are the most easily grasped. If possible, new abilities should show up by themselves or in conjunction with known quantities on commons so as to make it easier for a newer player to understand the mechanic.


 


Linear themes or subthemes help guide newer players. These do not have to be the central theme, or even a major theme, but there should be simple, obvious "build around me" cards. Additionally, there should be decks which are pretty obvious and easy to build, even if they aren't very good, for the new player to cut their teeth on constructing. Tribal decks and decks built around a keyword or similarly obvious theme are easy for newer players to build and make them feel less lost.


 


Finally, creatures need to be good. Creatures are likely the single most complicated card type, but they are fairly intuitive, and because they are known quantities when on the battlefield, there is less hidden information regarding them and ergo they are easier for newer players to understand. The majority of decks should want to use creatures.


 


  1. 7.      What do you think design can do to best make the game attractive to experienced players?

 


To make the game attractive to experienced players, there should be a number of distinctive top strategies, games should be interactive and allow players to leverage their playskill, modular themes or subthemes need to be present, and new sets need to feel fresh.


 


The top level of play should have as many diverse strategies as is practicable; there should be a number of different top decks in each constructed format, and varied archetypes in limited. Diversity of play is important for experienced players, as they tend to play a lot of magic and don't want it to feel repetitive.


 


Games should have a number of interesting decisions in them; decks should not "play themselves". As such, interaction needs to be important in all matchups. Both players should be doing things to affect the other player's strategy, and the best decks should be interactive ones, ones which don't just play only on "their side of the board". Interaction helps increase gameplay diversity, as well as allowing the experienced player to leverage their playskill and make strong plays.



Modular themes or subthemes are important to experienced players because they want to build their own decks, not feel like they are following breadcrumbs. An experienced player wants to feel clever with the deck they built, and they want to make interesting deck construction decisions. Likewise, in limited, they like it when they can go their own way and build a strong deck, though linear themes, if executed in an interesting way, can also excite them, particularly if it is tricky to draft properly.


 


Finally, sets need to feel fresh and distinctive to experienced players; they don't want to do the same thing year after year, they want new themes and new directions. As they have been playing for a long time, they are the most likely players to notice repeats, and while they can enjoy them the same as any other player, they always want to feel like they're doing something new with them.


 


  1. 8.      Of all the mechanics currently in Extended, which one is the best designed? Explain why.

 


Hybrid is the best designed mechanic in extended. It is a very intuitive mechanic, is beloved by players, and opens up considerable design space.


 


Hybrid is simple to understand because how it works is pretty intuitive; the mana symbols are split between two different costs, and in combination with the reminder text, it is very grokkable - you have a lot of choices in terms of what mana to spend on the creature. The cards have a very distinctive card frame which helps reinforce how they function - they aren't normal multicolored cards, they're hybrids. The whole card reinforces how the mechanic works, so it is easy for players to pick up and understand the cards.


 


Hybrid mana costs open up a lot of interesting design space. They can be used to reinforce either a multicolored or monocolored set theme.  In both cases, it allows you to effectively inflate the number of cards of each color in the set in both limited and constructed without increasing the size of the set. With hybrid costs such as r/2, some cards can even be played by all colors. Additionally, because of the costs of these cards, they can interact with cards which care about color, be it actual card color, color spent while casting the card, or colored mana in the card's casting cost. Hybrid cards grant two colors the same card, and can even potentially grant two different color pairs the same card if two different colored hybrid mana were used in the casting cost - for example, a r/w b/g creature with first strike and deathtouch.


 


Hybrid mana is also interesting because it encourages designers to play in the ground where the colors overlap. It encourages them to find the common ground and make cards which feel like they are of both colors, and in the case of multicolor hybrids can even encourage common space to be found between color pairs.


 


  1. 9.      Of all the mechanics currently in Extended, which one is the worst designed? Explain why.

 


Clash is the most poorly designed mechanic in extended because it can help your opponent, is misplaced, misunderstood, overcomplicated, texty, and disliked by the players who value the "real" benefit the most.


 


Clash often helped your opponent. It often felt bad even when you won the clash if your opponent got to ditch a dead draw, thus resulting in the situation of feeling bad if you won the clash because your opponent threw away a useless card, and feeling bad if you lost the clash because your card didn't work as well as it could. Losing clash after clash was frustrating even for good players who knew they were getting rid of excess lands, while weaker players didn't properly understand the draw smoothing effects. To many spikes, they felt like coin flip cards, but they had to play with them, making them do something they didn't want to do.


 


Lorwyn was the wrong set for the mechanic as well; it did not focus on cards with high casting costs, and due to intertribal synergies, most decks ran both low and high casting cost cards in limited. In a set like Time Spiral with many alternative casting cost cards, Rise of the Eldrazi with the expensive Eldrazi, or Scourge with a high casting cost theme, it would be more interesting as some decks could more consistently gain advantage with it. The mechanic was inserted into the set as a draw smoother, but it is too obviously a mechanical addition; it does not help that many of the cards with the mechanic on them are boring and repetitive.



As a common mechanic meant to help out in limited, it is too complicated; both players have to make a decision every time a clash occurs, and there is a great deal of text on the card explaining the ability, resulting in a card whose text box was invariably completely filled, even for what should be a very simple common card.


 


Ultimately, clash made players do something they didn't want to do, and brought too little reward for the work invested.


 


10. Choose a plane to revisit other than Dominaria or Mirrodin. What is a mechanical twist we could add if we revisit this plane?


 


Ravnica's ghost world is slowly bleeding into the real world, the two merging together. The ghost world is faded in comparison to the real world, not quite as real, making it colorless.



The mechanical twist would be the usage of colorless as a mechanic, to contrast with the strong colors of its counterpart plane. These would not be truly colorless cards, but mostly in the vein of Ghostfire - cards which cost colored mana but are colorless. The spirit world cards, which would all have single-colored casting costs, would be colorless and would care about colorless cards, colorless mana, spirits, and other "ghost world" things (possibly including flickering effects and similar); while they would still mostly be useful for other decks, they would synergize best with one another. Meanwhile, in the real world, the guilds' alliances would be growing closer as they seek to keep their magic working and their world as the real one rather than the reflection. Hybrid cards would become more prevalent to help reflect this change, as well as to help make up for having less space devoted to the guilds with the colorless theme.


 


One advantage this twist would have is that it would encourage two color decks more; Ravnica the first time did encourage them, but a lot of decks were three colors because the mana fixing was so abundant. With cards which care about colorless, decks would be more inclined towards two colors, particularly in limited, to help take advantage of the colorless theme, as opposed to what happened with the original ravnica, where by the end of the block many limited decks were four or five colors to take advantage of the power of the many multicolored cards. Some such decks would still exist, but they would give up a bit more to do it, and the greater prevalence of hybrid cards would also help to allow decks to stick to fewer colors.


 
Okay, so Scars of Mirrodin started with flavor, and is an extremely awesome mechanical set.  And Zendikar starts with mechanical design and then comes up with flavor to fit it, resulting in a world that would kill every one of its inhabitants five seconds after they're born, yet somehow has a thriving economy which revolves ENTIRELY around hunting "rare" and "mysterious" treasures from "hidden" and "exotic" sites which are never farther away than Starbucks from the somehow-thriving communities of the natives.

I think I can regard this as a fairly definitive proof that "flavor first" is the more effective method.  Zendikar's flavor is cool, but it makes no sense.  SOM's mechanics are cool AND they make sense.  Apparently making mechanics is easier, so you should do it second.  I've always believed this to be true, so it's good to have some concrete evidence of it.



Yeah this definitely proves that Kamigawa was a better block than Ravnica ;)

And that Homelands is still the best set ever.




MARO SAID:


Design is dirty work. If you want to do it right, you're going to have to get your hands dirty. This is hard to do because designers (and artists) become emotionally attached to the work they do. Killing cards often feels personal, but it's what the job entails. If an idea isn't doing what it needs to do, no matter how good it might be—it's got to go.


Always be aware that inertia will make you want to keep things the way they are. Mediocre cards will sneak by because, well, they begin feeling comfortable to you.



There is a major flaw with this logic.  Sometimes, if you cut something because it isn't working right now, you have destroyed its only opportunity to ever work.  Magic visits a world once and then moves on.  Even if it revisits the same plane, that plane has changed and there's no going back.  A Mirrodin being infiltrated by Phyrexia is not a Mirrodin under the thumb of Memnarch.  If you don't show something off when its time is right, you might never get to.


A good example would be Bruenna, the Neurok wind mage from the original Mirrodin.  She's all over flavor text and plays a massive role in the novels, but she didn't get a card in the original Mirrodin.  Now that we're going back, she's gone for good (I forget whether she died or just got sent back by the soul traps, but either way she explicitly could nto have remained on Mirrodin).  Say that I had been on the Mirrodin card, and I created a Bruenna legend card, one that perfectly captured her essence and was the ideal design to represent her.  Then it got cut because it wasn't relevant enough in Limited or some similarly stupid "it's not doing its job" reason.  We can't print it now, and the odds of us going back to pre-Vanishing Mirrodin are pretty damned slim.  So you didn't just cut my card right now because it wasn't doing its job right now; you cut it forever because it wasn't doing its job right now.  This is inexcusable.




The rule is more about mechanics than flavor. According to that logic, your card could still see print under another name.

It is a shame. But I, as someone who likes the mechanical approach more, see it as a necessary evil Tongue out
Also, I'll wait before posting the essays I sent in, but here are two essays I didn't send in, having scrapped them after my initial write for a better version.

HOW CAN YOU DESIGN MAGIC TO BE MORE FRIENDLY TO NEW PLAYERS?
(Short version - don't errata so much for paper magic and just let MTGO be its own thing)

The problem with this answer is that it isn't related to design. (My own is borderline in that respect too but at least I own up to it; I actually think design, as distinct from development, marketing, creative etc, does very well as it is.)

Do you really think erratta is that big a barrier to entry? I think in order to care about it, people already have to be somewhat invested in the game, and thus to be past what I think are the two biggest hurdles - Magic's (largely justified) image as dominated by young males who skew low in social skills, and the sheer amount of money it costs to get anywhere. As my essay answer says in slightly more detail, though, design is poorly positioned to help with the former and can only do so much about the latter.




Aren't you also not answering the question? You bring up A and B which you say are the biggest problems, but shouldn't you look at C then which is a design-related issue?

(Cow is an animal, animal isn't a cow. What can design do to more new-friendly =/= What makes the game more new-friendly, what's design's role in that)
Just because someone gets a major role in the novels doesn't mean they automatically get a card, especially if their type has been represented elsewhere - Feather didn't get a card, for example, but there was a generic Boros angel which could represent her. A lot of people (probably the vast majority of players) have no idea at all what happens in the novels, and couldn't care less. This is not to say there can't be tie ins, and that the most important characters shouldn't be represented somehow if reasonable, but there doesn't need to be a 1:1 correspondence either.

If a mechanic is good, it will get printed eventually, even if it isn't today, because mechanics do get reused. Sure, a broken mechanic, or a dangerous one, like Affinity, Storm, or Dredge, might not see the light of day again for years (if ever), and lame mechanics are less likely to be brought back (like, say, Radiance), but most mechanics will eventually be seen again, and for an individual card without a keyword mechanic its even more likely. So even if your card for Bruenna got cut now, the card itself might show up again some other time under a different guise.

Moreover, there are only limited slots, and other things are more important than your random card; that's WHY it was cut.

Even then, the next time they do a timespiral-like mashup, or a revisit set, even the keywords wouldn't be an issue.



I dunno that they're going to do something quite like Time Spiral again; it didn't work out really that well the first time, and had a variety of issues. That said, they revisit keywords in normal sets now - post Time Spiral, blocks are free to reuse mechanics, and even prior to Time Spiral it had happened twice, with Cumulative Upkeep (meh) and Cycling. 

"To everyone else, I hope today's column has given you a better insight into what we in Design do here day in and day out."


Totally.  I salute you, Mark.  Well done.  (Took a lot of notes, today.)



"Until then, may you find world peace."


Yo...that one's nice:-)


Aren't you also not answering the question? You bring up A and B which you say are the biggest problems, but shouldn't you look at C then which is a design-related issue?

B, they can do a certain amount about. I mostly focussed on that.

As TD pointed out, I read the question as being about how they could improve, not about the more general question of what a good approach would be independantly of what they're doing right now. This was probably a mistake on my part. There are certainly things design can do to make the game welcoming to newbies, but they're already doing many of them IMO. That left me a bit stuck for a response to that particular question.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
Incidentally, I gave some feedback on those essays. I suppose I should post mine as well, at some point, so people can read what I had to say:

These are mostly very well written and I like almost all your arguments, even if they might not be my choices. If it had been me, I'd have made the suggestions for improvements to Ravnica a bit more concrete, and pointed out that Asceticism could still have preserved its reference to Troll Ascetic while receiving the modifications you propose - for example, making the creatures also have +3/+2.

Your discussion of Hybrid read a bit like "What did design do with hybrid in Shadowmoor block": all the points are good and Shadowmoor block was fantastic because of them, but there's not much there about anything you can do with Hybrid that design didn't already do in Shadowmoor.

However, I really have to take issue with this bit:

Clash often helped your opponent. It often felt bad even when you won the clash if your opponent got to ditch a dead draw, thus resulting in the situation of feeling bad if you won the clash because your opponent threw away a useless card 
I'm surprised to see you say this given your comments on Asceticism show you realise the game is best when it's interactive. I'll agree Clash is wordy and didn't fit Lorwyn, but helping the opponent get past manascrew or manaflood is a good thing! I love playing with Clash cards because they reduce the number of games that are determined by someone drawing too many or too few land. 

Every game that ends with the loser stuck on 2-3 land, or having drawn 5 land out of the past 6 draws, is unpleasant for both players. When I'm the winner of such a game, I don't enjoy it at all; I wince in sympathy and suggest we could have a rematch. While I understand there are ways in which manascrew is good for the game, I also think Clash's ability to ameliorate it is a very good property. Yes, it means that it's not strategically all-upside, but I thought we experienced players liked mechanics like that? 

R&D explicitly added Clash as a mana-smoothing mechanic like cycling or cantrips, and I love that it works for both players. It makes the experience more fun for both players, and that aspect of the mechanic is highly praiseworthy.

(On the other hand, as I say, you're right that it's wordy, flavourless, and a poor mechanical fit for its set.)

Incidentally, I gave some feedback on those essays. I suppose I should post mine as well, at some point, so people can read what I had to say:




I'll give you my two bits. 




    I would move the ability to tap permanents from blue to green. 

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    Blue is the color with the most mechanics, and green is the color with the fewest. Additionally, green lacks the ability to remove creatures; while flavorful, this results in green being somewhat awkward in both limited and constructed, as unless a creature flies, its only means of dealing with them is its fellow creatures. While a weak removal mechanic, it would help make mono-green decks viable a little more often and would open up new design space for green in limited.

     


    Green is a reasonable flavor fit for the effect; in fantasy and horror, one of the things nature can do is entangle creatures in vines or roots, slowing them down or trapping them, but almost never killing them. This fits into green not being able to kill creatures; while tapping them down inconveniences them, it isn't fatal and the creature is still on the battlefield and can potentially do other things, or be untapped by other magic - vines can be cut back, but it takes energy to do so.


     


    Mechanically, the ability to tap permanents gives green a limited removal mechanic which does not feel clunky, and the ability to tap other sorts of permanents occasionally turns up in constructed as a means of gaining tempo; as green has very limited options for removing creatures, it could even show up in mono-green constructed decks. Finally, blue would still have the ability to bounce permanents, so it would not lose its primary removal mechanic.


     


    Historically, green has had this ability on a handful of cards in the very early days of magic; of them, only Roots and Elder Druid were generic tap effects, and both had similar flavor to what I am proposing; however, the ability was never truly green.


     


    Thus, I would move tapping permanents from blue to green. Green needs the ability to deal with creatures, if only a weak one, and blue can afford to give it up, and because entangling is a common fantasy archetype, it is a strong flavor fit.






    I would have moved "Tap target creature" from White to Green, for basically all the same reasons you gave. It's funny, we have basically the same answer, except that I picked a more narrow version of the abillity. I may have broken the rules though, since "Tap target creature" is only in nearly every set, not every set. Hopefully they'll overlook the fact that unbeknowst to me it wasn't in Worldwake.



      Ravnica did the best job of integrating design with creative; the flavor of the guilds was very strong, and each of the guilds felt like a very distinct entity. 

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      While the guild insignias on the cards helped identify their affiliation, guild cards felt very strongly like they were a part of whatever guild they were in. The guilds had a very clear impact on limited play; when you played in limited, facing a Dimir deck was very different from facing a Selesnya or Golgari deck. You were not forced to do so, and it was often enough to your benefit to keep things from being monotonous, but it was good enough often enough that Ravnica limited helped make the flavor of the block come out.

       


      There were a few ways in which this could have been better. This flavor could have been brought more into constructed; while the guilds felt strong in limited, only the Selesnya, Orzhov, and Gruul had their flavor carry over to constructed. Despite Boros Deck Wins being a major deck archetype, it felt too similar to the Gruul's sort of blunt instrument horde; it didn't feel enough like a disciplined army. Other guilds had their colors and even mechanics heavily played, but they didn't feel like the guild enough; despite the power of Transmute and Dredge, Heartbeat of Spring, Ichorid, and the various Life from the Loam decks did not really capture the essence of the guilds.



      As the block went on the flavor of limited was diluted. The later guilds had fewer cards to work with, and while it was still fun, the flavor of the guilds was lost. The Azorius and the Rakdos did not have the representation necessary to bring out the flavor of their guild in Dissension, and the original four guilds had their flavors washed out due to providing fewer cards in limited; the Dimir were particularly affected. Fewer guilds, more cards with subtle tie-ins with previous and future guilds, and/or more cards which felt strongly guild aligned on their own (like Gelectrode) could have maintained the guild flavor in limited.






      I picked the same block, and agree with your complaints. I would have done three equal sized sets, with three guilds per set, and Dimir "hidden" throughout all three sets. I gave a block architecture that I felt would have made for a much better limited environment.

      I didn't have room, but I also would have not included Hybrid in Ravnica (I would have saved it for later). I think without hybrid, decks would have felt a bit more guild-oriented.




        The ability to cast spells during your draw step should be removed, or more likely replaced with the cleanup step's restriction that you can only cast spells and activate abilities during that step if something triggers. This would make it easier to print instant speed discard effects, and the gameplay effects would be minimal as few cards are best played during the draw step.


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        The ability to cast spells during your draw step seldom is important. Oftentimes, the time you most would want to cast a spell during your draw step would be in response to a card which triggered in response to you drawing a card, and in general this is the "most fun" time to cast spells during the draw step.


         


        Otherwise, the primary purpose of casting a spell or activating an ability during the draw step is to force an opponent to discard a card prior to their main phase or to deal damage or gain a larger effect on the basis of them having an extra card in hand. Typically speaking, other spells would be cast during the upkeep step to avoid their opponent from drawing an answer; the only time you would cast a spell during the draw step is in order to maximize the damage a card can do. Draw locks via instant discard is rare these days due to the lack of effects which cause instant speed discard, in order to avoid this exact draw locking problem.


         


        The effect of this rules change would be to weaken cards which are dependent on the size of your opponent's hand, such as Sudden Impact, as well as to weaken instant speed discard, which nowadays almost never is made. The latter is actually a positive effect, though; by making instant speed discard worse, it can be printed more often, as it would prevent the most unfun part of instant speed discard, which is effectively preventing your opponent from drawing cards.





        I like this answer. What I especially like is the last part about how it would allow them to start printing instant speed discard. It would be good if they could occasionally print a card like:
        Bla
        Instant
        Do this sets mechanical thingy on your opponent, and that player discards a card.

        Of all the questions, I'm most curious about players answers about which rule to remove.  



          Asceticism should not have been printed because it is not a fun card to play with. In theory, it is a Timmy card; it turns all your creatures into Troll Ascetics. It prevents your creatures from being targeted, and therefore blown up by targeted removal, and it allows them to regenerate, making them an unstoppable force in combat. While the card is not constructed caliber, it is quite strong in casual gameplay.


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          The card was a mistake to print is because the card is not fun when it is actually in play. While many cards can make your opponent's life miserable, Asceticism has the flaw that while it will often win its caster the game, it does nothing to actually hasten their opponent's demise; it simply removes interactivity. This creates a feeling of helplessness in their opponent, and many decks run few to no answers for it, resulting in a game where one player has lost, but won't resign in the hopes of drawing some sort of answer.

           


          When Asceticism works, it works by making one player unable to interact very much with their opponent, and that is an unfun experience. Players hate prison and land destruction because you are dead long before you actually reach a condition which causes you to formally lose the game, and because the position you are in tempts you not to resign. This card often creates a similar situation.


           


          Therefore, this card should not have seen print as-is. If it had had some way of making your creatures better able to kill the opponent, such as making them larger or giving them evasion, it would be a better designed card. While it would still cause the other player to lose the game, they would lose the game in only a couple turns rather than ten miserable minutes later.





          I like your reasoning, but not your card choice (which is better than the other way around, since WotC just cares about reasoning). A loss of interactivity is bad, and long games where one player can't do much are bad. But I don't think Asceticism is all that guilty of the crimes you charge it with.

          Giving all your creatures regen should help you win through combat. Mostly though, all it does is turn all of your opponent's targeted removal spells into dead cards. If that removal would make a difference, than you must have a creature that's winning you the game. Moreover, most opponents will have their own game plan for winning, and Asceticism doesn't necessarily shut their plan down.



            To make the game accessible to newer players, a set needs to be sufficiently simple to be understood the first time you play with the cards, needs to include simple cards which are easy to understand, needs to have some linear themes or subthemes, and needs to support creature combat.

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            The most basic entry level of the game needs to be fun as soon as possible. People should be able to pick up a deck of cards and play with only a small amount of instruction; this applies either to brand new players or to people playing a new set for the first time.


             


            Simple cards are necessary building blocks for the new player so they can get a handle on the rules, on the themes of a set or block, and so they can understand some cards without having to think too much about them. Vanilla creatures, french vanilla creatures, creatures and enchantments with a single, easily understood ability, and spells with a single, simple effect are the most easily grasped. If possible, new abilities should show up by themselves or in conjunction with known quantities on commons so as to make it easier for a newer player to understand the mechanic.


             


            Linear themes or subthemes help guide newer players. These do not have to be the central theme, or even a major theme, but there should be simple, obvious "build around me" cards. Additionally, there should be decks which are pretty obvious and easy to build, even if they aren't very good, for the new player to cut their teeth on constructing. Tribal decks and decks built around a keyword or similarly obvious theme are easy for newer players to build and make them feel less lost.


             


            Finally, creatures need to be good. Creatures are likely the single most complicated card type, but they are fairly intuitive, and because they are known quantities when on the battlefield, there is less hidden information regarding them and ergo they are easier for newer players to understand. The majority of decks should want to use creatures.





            Bravo. Much, much, much better than my answer.



              To make the game attractive to experienced players, there should be a number of distinctive top strategies, games should be interactive and allow players to leverage their playskill, modular themes or subthemes need to be present, and new sets need to feel fresh.

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              The top level of play should have as many diverse strategies as is practicable; there should be a number of different top decks in each constructed format, and varied archetypes in limited. Diversity of play is important for experienced players, as they tend to play a lot of magic and don't want it to feel repetitive.


               


              Games should have a number of interesting decisions in them; decks should not "play themselves". As such, interaction needs to be important in all matchups. Both players should be doing things to affect the other player's strategy, and the best decks should be interactive ones, ones which don't just play only on "their side of the board". Interaction helps increase gameplay diversity, as well as allowing the experienced player to leverage their playskill and make strong plays.



              Modular themes or subthemes are important to experienced players because they want to build their own decks, not feel like they are following breadcrumbs. An experienced player wants to feel clever with the deck they built, and they want to make interesting deck construction decisions. Likewise, in limited, they like it when they can go their own way and build a strong deck, though linear themes, if executed in an interesting way, can also excite them, particularly if it is tricky to draft properly.


               


              Finally, sets need to feel fresh and distinctive to experienced players; they don't want to do the same thing year after year, they want new themes and new directions. As they have been playing for a long time, they are the most likely players to notice repeats, and while they can enjoy them the same as any other player, they always want to feel like they're doing something new with them.






              I agree with all of that. I said about the same thing, though you seem to have said in more clearly than I did.


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                Hybrid is the best designed mechanic in extended. It is a very intuitive mechanic, is beloved by players, and opens up considerable design space.


                 


                Hybrid is simple to understand because how it works is pretty intuitive; the mana symbols are split between two different costs, and in combination with the reminder text, it is very grokkable - you have a lot of choices in terms of what mana to spend on the creature. The cards have a very distinctive card frame which helps reinforce how they function - they aren't normal multicolored cards, they're hybrids. The whole card reinforces how the mechanic works, so it is easy for players to pick up and understand the cards.


                 


                Hybrid mana costs open up a lot of interesting design space. They can be used to reinforce either a multicolored or monocolored set theme.  In both cases, it allows you to effectively inflate the number of cards of each color in the set in both limited and constructed without increasing the size of the set. With hybrid costs such as r/2, some cards can even be played by all colors. Additionally, because of the costs of these cards, they can interact with cards which care about color, be it actual card color, color spent while casting the card, or colored mana in the card's casting cost. Hybrid cards grant two colors the same card, and can even potentially grant two different color pairs the same card if two different colored hybrid mana were used in the casting cost - for example, a r/w b/g creature with first strike and deathtouch.


                 


                Hybrid mana is also interesting because it encourages designers to play in the ground where the colors overlap. It encourages them to find the common ground and make cards which feel like they are of both colors, and in the case of multicolor hybrids can even encourage common space to be found between color pairs.






                I agree with all of that. I picked a different mechanic (you'll have to read my answers to see which), but it's hard to argue with your choice.


                  Clash is the most poorly designed mechanic in extended because it can help your opponent, is misplaced, misunderstood, overcomplicated, texty, and disliked by the players who value the "real" benefit the most.


                   


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                  Clash often helped your opponent. It often felt bad even when you won the clash if your opponent got to ditch a dead draw, thus resulting in the situation of feeling bad if you won the clash because your opponent threw away a useless card, and feeling bad if you lost the clash because your card didn't work as well as it could. Losing clash after clash was frustrating even for good players who knew they were getting rid of excess lands, while weaker players didn't properly understand the draw smoothing effects. To many spikes, they felt like coin flip cards, but they had to play with them, making them do something they didn't want to do.

                   


                  Lorwyn was the wrong set for the mechanic as well; it did not focus on cards with high casting costs, and due to intertribal synergies, most decks ran both low and high casting cost cards in limited. In a set like Time Spiral with many alternative casting cost cards, Rise of the Eldrazi with the expensive Eldrazi, or Scourge with a high casting cost theme, it would be more interesting as some decks could more consistently gain advantage with it. The mechanic was inserted into the set as a draw smoother, but it is too obviously a mechanical addition; it does not help that many of the cards with the mechanic on them are boring and repetitive.



                  As a common mechanic meant to help out in limited, it is too complicated; both players have to make a decision every time a clash occurs, and there is a great deal of text on the card explaining the ability, resulting in a card whose text box was invariably completely filled, even for what should be a very simple common card.


                   


                  Ultimately, clash made players do something they didn't want to do, and brought too little reward for the work invested.






                  I agree that clash was misplaced in its block (would have been great in Eldrazi), but I disagree that it was a bad mechanic. Yes the text was long, but it was just like playing war. It was so grokable that it didn't matter that it was complex, players understood anyway. And it was fun, which, in the end, is more important than being useful in competitive. 



                    Ravnica's ghost world is slowly bleeding into the real world, the two merging together. The ghost world is faded in comparison to the real world, not quite as real, making it colorless.

                    Show

                    The mechanical twist would be the usage of colorless as a mechanic, to contrast with the strong colors of its counterpart plane. These would not be truly colorless cards, but mostly in the vein of Ghostfire - cards which cost colored mana but are colorless. The spirit world cards, which would all have single-colored casting costs, would be colorless and would care about colorless cards, colorless mana, spirits, and other "ghost world" things (possibly including flickering effects and similar); while they would still mostly be useful for other decks, they would synergize best with one another. Meanwhile, in the real world, the guilds' alliances would be growing closer as they seek to keep their magic working and their world as the real one rather than the reflection. Hybrid cards would become more prevalent to help reflect this change, as well as to help make up for having less space devoted to the guilds with the colorless theme.

                     


                    One advantage this twist would have is that it would encourage two color decks more; Ravnica the first time did encourage them, but a lot of decks were three colors because the mana fixing was so abundant. With cards which care about colorless, decks would be more inclined towards two colors, particularly in limited, to help take advantage of the colorless theme, as opposed to what happened with the original ravnica, where by the end of the block many limited decks were four or five colors to take advantage of the power of the many multicolored cards. Some such decks would still exist, but they would give up a bit more to do it, and the greater prevalence of hybrid cards would also help to allow decks to stick to fewer colors.




                    I picked the same plane, Ravnica. Your mechanical twist is much better than mine, though I don't think you've explained it clearly enough. It would be good if you could run 2 color in Ravnica2.0 limited.

                    My answers are here if you're interested:
                    community.wizards.com/magicthegathering/...


                    Good luck in the GDS2 




                    Interesting article i must say. Nothing earth shattering, but some good tips that i plane to use tommrow.

                    Though i'll just point out that the Rakdos were heavy on the circus flavor.



                    If they ever revisit Ravnica, I really hope they play this up much more. For reasons stated by Titanium_Dragon, above, there just weren't that many cards affiliated with each guild (there were ten) so they had to paint the world with a broad brush.

                    Good luck to everyone participating in GDS2.
                    For the one about which card i think should not have been printed i said Turn to slag because just as MaRo doesn't want leeches there shouldn't be a card that allows such an easy 2/3 for 1 like this card does esp in Scar's Limited where the creatures are sub optimal in the format and need equipment to survive and with as much artifact removal that red has in scars anyway there is no need for such a parasitic card. Just my two cents.

                    The biggest Vorthos Ever I'd rather have an awesome mechanic than the most flavor any day. Constantly coming up with cards all the time. So if you see a card you like tell me. Constantly trying to get into card of the week if you see a card you like please nominate.

                    So you didn't just cut my card right now because it wasn't doing its job right now; you cut it forever because it wasn't doing its job right now.  This is inexcusable.

                    But, unless it's using keywords that are inexplicably abandoned in place after a year, what's to keep the card from becoming Derp Derperson in some other set?
                    Even then, the next time they do a timespiral-like mashup, or a revisit set, even the keywords wouldn't be an issue.




                    Because a Legend card which could possibly represent anyone other than the exact person it was designed to represent is representing that exact person poorly and thus was poorly designed?
                    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
                    The problem with this answer is that it isn't related to design.



                    Which is exactly why I pulled it and wrote a different essay that I will put on these boards after I know whether I won or not.  (Though I estimate my chances being lower now that I realize I was goobering so hard in my "why we should revisit my favorite plane" that I forgot to define a concept I had taken for granted as being obvious about that plane.  That article ought to convey my enthusiasm, but perhaps not my skill in letting other people into my head - granted I resemble MaRo in that respect, but he's probably not the only judge and even if he was, both of us thinking in MyBrainRoxorzese will not help us understand each other since it it's a language with six billion regional dialects)

                    Do you really think erratta is that big a barrier to entry?



                    Absolutely.  If I show a card to someone and then have to explain to the player for five minutes why it doesn't work the way it says it does, and then expect them to play it without making a mistake that makes them feel stupid for forgetting what I said when I told them about that card, I've cost myself credibility as a teacher and I do that easily enough as is.  And unlearning wrongly-learned lessons is hard (see this past weekend's XKCD), so I certainly don't want to teach them to play the card as written if that's going to get a judge called on them during their first FNM.

                    Magic's (largely justified) image as dominated by young males who skew low in social skills, and the sheer amount of money it costs to get anywhere.



                    The gender skew is probably just about impossible to correct for.  Don't kill me because this is a vague generalization, but in general women tend to care more about people than about things, so it's a small minority of the female populace that is going to care any more about Magic than the sum total of their entire social circle does, and most women know more people who aren't Magic players than those who are.  Exceptions will occur, but in capitalism you can't reduce your product's appeal to a majority so that a minority is more tempted by it, so whenever the company has to decide on a decision that will please most of the boys a lot and tick off most of the girls a little, they have to go with where the money is.
                    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
                    So you didn't just cut my card right now because it wasn't doing its job right now; you cut it forever because it wasn't doing its job right now.  This is inexcusable.

                    But, unless it's using keywords that are inexplicably abandoned in place after a year, what's to keep the card from becoming Derp Derperson in some other set?
                    Even then, the next time they do a timespiral-like mashup, or a revisit set, even the keywords wouldn't be an issue.




                    Because a Legend card which could possibly represent anyone other than the exact person it was designed to represent is representing that exact person poorly and thus was poorly designed?



                    Most Legends are designed relatively poorly, I can't think of any legend off the top of my head that couldn't exist with another name.
                    I'm envious of a couple of TD's answers, (agree = hybrid is awesome and Ravnica wins question 10, disagree = Ascetism is any more of a design mistake than, say, a Circle of Protection; it might be stronger but it's the same basic principle and cards that make you nigh-invincible are a far cry from cards that stop your opponent from even building up his own defenses; I forget what all else he said).printing instant speed discard. It would be good if they could occasionally print a card like:

                    Of all the questions, I'm most curious about players answers about which rule to remove. 


                    I'll go ahead and summarize my answer here, prior to posting the essay verbatim (it's not like I haven't done enough tl;dr posts for one day): I said that the mulligan rule, most especially the "Paris" mulligan rule, needs to go because it's better at helping extremely good players win with absurd combo decks than it is at helping so-so players avoid miserable losses with decks that have 24 land and a solid mana curve, but still manage to draw 2 lands and 5 expensive spells or 5 lands and 2 cheap spells.  It's not hard at all to do this sort of thing if your deck is anything less than absolutely tip-top optimized with every card in Legacy (there aren't enough cards in Standard or even Contracted to make a deck that's invincible to mana issues apart from maybe White Weenie or Red Deck Wins).  If the mulligan rule can't be replaced by something that never enables degenerate "search my deck until I find all the cards I need for my absurd turn 1 combo-off" strategies, while letting you ditch a genuinely unlucky hand without its replacement being smaller and smaller each time the bad luck bug bites you, then I'd be comfortable with going entirely without a mulligan rule, so that even the most skilled Spike would occasionally have to eat a random loss.  Timmies are reluctant to mulligan anyway, and Spikes could still try hard to optimize their deck's efficiency to minimize the risks.  It's not quite as much as going back to the old "free mulls for anyone that draws almost no land or almost no spells" rule (simplistic though it might have been in its definition of "almost" - why exactly did they ever stop using that?  But it's better than what we have now, I say.


                      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
                      Most Legends are designed relatively poorly, I can't think of any legend off the top of my head that couldn't exist with another name.



                      Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir.  He's been in the storyline since Mirage, he's always been defined by his mastery of time, and his card means you can play any spell at any time while other people can only play spells at the time you expect them to.  The card could be made to represent some random doof, but it is leagues better being Teferi.

                      Sisters of Stone Death.  Three gorgons, one of whom lures you in with green Hypno-Toad eyes, one of which kills you stone dead with black death-ray eyes, and one whom makes your fossilized corpse animate in service of her summoner with black-green eyes of command.  The only ways they could have done better was to actually name the gorgons on the card (all three have names starting with L but the only one that I recall of hand was Lyudmilla, who I think was the reanimator one), and to make the card a 6/6 (or a 6/9, but that would have lead to too many infantile jokes) to make it possible to imagine they'd have consistent P/T values (all 2/2s, or one of those plus a 3/1 and a 1/3) if you could separate them.  Just about perfect top-down design that wouldn't work for any card that wasn't explicitly a trio of black/green gorgons.

                      Sedris, the Traitor King.  While nothing feels especially kingish about him, he's more about being a master of undeath these days anyway, and him being the only unearth-granter (aside from the Planechase plane of Grixis itself) makes his status at the chief nasty of the area (prior to Bolas's declaration of oogeyboogedyboo) abundantly clear.  What other plane than Grixis, and what other person than the doofus who sold out Vithia to demons that would kill every living thing they could find and just leave the corpses sitting there with no green mana to rot them, could this card have been recycled as if they cut it?  Even if they bring back unearth someday, it's more likely to turn up in WBG than in UBR, as blue and red normally have nothing to do with the graveyard.

                      Shall I go on?
                      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
                      [...]
                      Shall I go on?

                      Chicken-Egg syndrome.
                      The "story" comes largely from the novels, which are written from a fairly detailed godbook crated near the end of development.  They already have a decent idea of what the card does before the author is coerced into writing terrible dialogue and contrived plotlines about some guy.

                      Go back into history and nameswap Teferi and Chronatog, and nobody would ever assume it was otherwise.
                      Do you really think erratta is that big a barrier to entry?

                      Absolutely.  If I show a card to someone and then have to explain to the player for five minutes why it doesn't work the way it says it does, and then expect them to play it without making a mistake that makes them feel stupid for forgetting what I said when I told them about that card, I've cost myself credibility as a teacher and I do that easily enough as is.  And unlearning wrongly-learned lessons is hard (see this past weekend's XKCD), so I certainly don't want to teach them to play the card as written if that's going to get a judge called on them during their first FNM.

                      Are there any cards other than Walking Atlas and Elixir of Immortality in Standard with errata? This is an honest question, since I don't recall any.

                      I mean, new players tend to come in through what is available, i.e. the most recent sets, thus I focus my question to Standard (although I think we could use Extended also, with Oboro Envoy gone)... am I wrong here?

                      Most Legends are designed relatively poorly, I can't think of any legend off the top of my head that couldn't exist with another name.



                      Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir.  He's been in the storyline since Mirage, he's always been defined by his mastery of time, and his card means you can play any spell at any time while other people can only play spells at the time you expect them to.  The card could be made to represent some random doof, but it is leagues better being Teferi.

                      Sisters of Stone Death.  Three gorgons, one of whom lures you in with green Hypno-Toad eyes, one of which kills you stone dead with black death-ray eyes, and one whom makes your fossilized corpse animate in service of her summoner with black-green eyes of command.  The only ways they could have done better was to actually name the gorgons on the card (all three have names starting with L but the only one that I recall of hand was Lyudmilla, who I think was the reanimator one), and to make the card a 6/6 (or a 6/9, but that would have lead to too many infantile jokes) to make it possible to imagine they'd have consistent P/T values (all 2/2s, or one of those plus a 3/1 and a 1/3) if you could separate them.  Just about perfect top-down design that wouldn't work for any card that wasn't explicitly a trio of black/green gorgons.

                      Sedris, the Traitor King.  While nothing feels especially kingish about him, he's more about being a master of undeath these days anyway, and him being the only unearth-granter (aside from the Planechase plane of Grixis itself) makes his status at the chief nasty of the area (prior to Bolas's declaration of oogeyboogedyboo) abundantly clear.  What other plane than Grixis, and what other person than the doofus who sold out Vithia to demons that would kill every living thing they could find and just leave the corpses sitting there with no green mana to rot them, could this card have been recycled as if they cut it?  Even if they bring back unearth someday, it's more likely to turn up in WBG than in UBR, as blue and red normally have nothing to do with the graveyard.

                      Shall I go on?



                      Teferi & Sedrix could definitely exist with other names, they're more Bottom-Up than Top-Down design to me. Sisters certainly has an awesome design =)

                      But still, each of them could be Derb Derberson, so from a Melvin's point of view, nothing is lost forever

                      Do you really think erratta is that big a barrier to entry?

                      Absolutely.  If I show a card to someone and then have to explain to the player for five minutes why it doesn't work the way it says it does, and then expect them to play it without making a mistake that makes them feel stupid for forgetting what I said when I told them about that card, I've cost myself credibility as a teacher and I do that easily enough as is.  And unlearning wrongly-learned lessons is hard (see this past weekend's XKCD), so I certainly don't want to teach them to play the card as written if that's going to get a judge called on them during their first FNM.

                      Are there any cards other than Walking Atlas and Elixir of Immortality in Standard with errata? This is an honest question, since I don't recall any.

                      I mean, new players tend to come in through what is available, i.e. the most recent sets, thus I focus my question to Standard (although I think we could use Extended also, with Oboro Envoy gone)... am I wrong here?




                      Glint Hawk Idol Laughing
                      Are there any cards other than Walking Atlas and Elixir of Immortality in Standard with errata? This is an honest question, since I don't recall any.

                      Elixir has errata?
                      Ugh, last post on any thread today, I swear.  (Seriously, my post count has probably increased by a fraction expressible in single digits in just the past eight hours.)

                      Though i'll just point out that the Rakdos were heavy on the circus flavor.



                      If they ever revisit Ravnica, I really hope they play this up much more. For reasons stated by Titanium_Dragon, above, there just weren't that many cards affiliated with each guild (there were ten) so they had to paint the world with a broad brush.



                      Personally I'd agree that the Rakdos were easily the most under-explored of the guilds compared to their potential*, it isn't the circus part I'd want to see more of; it's the part where the Rakdos guild runs pretty much the entire less-than-entirely-licit industry in Ravnica, particularly keeping the populace too drunk and too busy gambling to notice the Orzhov oppressing them.  I figure most members of the Cult of Rakdos are like fraternity members who don't give a thwip about the Inner Circle's masonic rituals and just show up at the house's parties to get laid; kids play this game so I know we'll never get a Rakdos Mamasan or a House of Ill Repute as cards (although I think the art of Blood Tribute makes it pretty clear that Lyzolda keeps her boyfriend in a spiked collar and chains in a dungeon under her kitchen), but at the very least cards could show the guild's rank and file running Perfectly Legitimate Public Houses which go for four or five business days at a time without any demonspawn getting cheesed about the rising cost of devil-dust and committing seventeen murders (three more than the guild's legal limit for the off season, so the Boros will have to slap them with a fine and the Orzhov will pretend to give them a stern talking to about the economic impact of killing too many paying customers in a month).

                      Can you tell I really like Ravnica?  It was my choice for a plane to revisit too (at this point I'm hoping to see a poll confirming the currently-apparent semblance that this is the obvious choice for most of us), and I'll tell you exactly why, in a bit more detail than I thought to do in the essay I submitted two days ago (sob), sometime that isn't today.  Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to explore the kingdom of Morpheus and try to brainstorm mechanics for Dream World.  (No that's not my actual world for round 3, but it would be an awesome one, feel free to steal it if you think you can do it justice.)

                      * Orzhov and Izzet come close since their respective commercial and industrial flavors were not really explored in the rather slapdash Guildpact set (the Gruul didn't care, doing justice to the guild of grunting and hitting stuff is hardly difficult, although I could have made them more than that if anyone thought it was worth bothering).  The other seven have been more or less nailed in one set worth of attention, so if Ravnica 2.0 was "let's leave an entire color out this time" design experiment with nature entirely wiped out and no such color as green, I could live with that 100%. Such a world would have only six surviving guilds; I'd miss the Golgari and Selesnya for flavor reasons but I'm sure they'd assimilate into the Rakdos and Boros respectively with little trouble, and the Simic are both clearly evil and have a professional mandate exclusively tied to the continued existence of a natural world, so they'd tender their resignation naturally when the last non-domestic animals gave up the ghost (and then were ghostbusted by the Wojek cops).  Boros and Azorius having been done thoroughly wrong in my opinion and could use a reversioning for this block; I share TD's opinion that Boros didn't feel any different from any other aggro build, and have a ton of flavor ideas inspired by cards like Searing Meditation which would be interesting to try and expand on.  Azorious, meanwhile, were designed as a flying aggro fashion because they'd be frustrating to players as a prison deck, but the fluff around them is very explicit that a prison deck is the only thing that could possibly do them justice; they want to ensure that nothing ever goes wrong, as the other nine guilds are constantly causing it to, by ensuring that nothing ever goes at all if it can possibly be stopped.  Plus, while the artists that illustrated them played up their desire to make everything shiny and ceremonial, their status as the exact opposite of the down-and-dirty Golgari, Gruul and Rakdos guilds makes it clear that they absolutely must have a metric ton of shroud, protection, flickering and Cowardice to represent their aversion to ickiness and disorder.  Even Dimir could play up there "man who isn't there" flavor a good bit better instead of just having dorks like the Cutpurse who stand around going "please shock me before I attack you" - when Matt Cavotta was forced to write House of Cards for a week and made three flavor-inspired decks for three more or less randomly picked guilds, I decided to try and do the other seven, but the only one I ever got around to making was a Dimir build entitled "The Deck That Isn't There", which was allowed to contain not a single card that would ever be blocked by a creature or affected by a targeted spell.  Cephalid Inkshrouder was the flagship card and tons of other unblockables, shrouded creatures, and ways of granting either quality; ideally, a player piloting the deck would never play a creature that would be forced to stay in play long enough to eat a Lightning Bolt unless there was a Mage's Guile in his hand, and would never attack against a player who could hope to block with anything other than Fog Patch.  It wasn't much fun to play, but it was House Dimir dammit, and it didn't waste any of its design space on a tutoring mechanic that only barely and vaguely fit the guild's flavor.
                      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
                      For me it was:

                      2) Move temporary stealing to black. (Yes i know this isn't used every set, but it's a very common ability)

                      3) Ravnica, it could have had more watermarks (and watermarking outside the set the guild was in), guild abilities that better matched the guild's focus (Transmute had nothing to do with milling), and replaced graft with something that let cards have reminder text.

                      4) Planeswalker redirection rule & merge the planeswalker uiqueness rule and the legendary rule together.

                      5) Birds of paradise. Green should never, ever, ever get a flying creature unless it's obviously an exception to the rules. (Also that, but also in a core set)

                      6) Keep it simple at common, another thing i can't remember right now, and not printing clever cards. (I gave examples of how to solve each)

                      7) Promote nolstalgia, and create new experiences. Examples of each.

                      8) Planeswalkers. I went on about 100+ words about counters.

                      9) Granduer. Gatherer told me (incorrectly) time spiral block was still in extended. It's a boring mechanic that takes up too much space, doesn't interact with EDH, and the problem it solves could have been solved with cycling, reinforce, morph, or many other abilities that currently exist.

                      10) Kamigawa.
                      … and then, the squirrels came.
                      4) merge the planeswalker uniqueness rule and the legendary rule together.

                      Huh?
                      So that 'Nicky, PW' can't be in play at the same time as 'Nicky, EDL'?
                      Or so the three versions of Crovax can't exist at once?
                      I don't get it.

                      4) merge the planeswalker uniqueness rule and the legendary rule together.

                      Huh?
                      So that 'Nicky, PW' can't be in play at the same time as 'Nicky, EDL'?
                      Or so the three versions of Crovax can't exist at once?
                      I don't get it.




                      Indeed, you create a new type that can go on all cards, call it a "legendary type". Make them golden so they stand out against the other types.

                      And then just use the rules for the planeswalker types. (The legendary supertype and the planeswalkers type would be removed)

                      All Akromas destroy each other, Bolas the creature and bolas the planeswalker can't stay on the battlefeild together, you get rid of a rule, and create a single rule govering all special characters.

                      Doesn't make sense to have two rules that are trying to do the same thing in the rulebook.
                      … and then, the squirrels came.
                      (there aren't enough cards in Standard or even Contracted to make a deck that's invincible to mana issues apart from maybe White Weenie or Red Deck Wins).


                      What's Contracted? Newest block block constructed? Of course there's not enough cards in that if there's not in Standard, it's /smaller/ than Standard.
                      Doesn't make sense to have two rules that are trying to do the same thing in the rulebook.

                      What, like Flying and Horsemanship? Or Vanishing and Fading?  Or Kicker and all that stuff that could have just been Kicker?

                      (there aren't enough cards in Standard or even Contracted to make a deck that's invincible to mana issues apart from maybe White Weenie or Red Deck Wins).


                      What's Contracted? Newest block block constructed? Of course there's not enough cards in that if there's not in Standard, it's /smaller/ than Standard.


                      He's calling Extended "Contracted" in protest of the new rotation policy that makes Extended = double-Standard. It is a dumb format, but then again I have trouble caring about any Constructed format that rotates.


                      Indeed, you create a new type that can go on all cards, call it a "legendary type". Make them golden so they stand out against the other types.

                      And then just use the rules for the planeswalker types. (The legendary supertype and the planeswalkers type would be removed)

                      All Akromas destroy each other, Bolas the creature and bolas the planeswalker can't stay on the battlefeild together, you get rid of a rule, and create a single rule govering all special characters.

                      Doesn't make sense to have two rules that are trying to do the same thing in the rulebook.


                      That is very over-engineered for such a rare situation. It's easier to just pretend that the different versions were summoned through time portals than to mess up the Legend and planeswalker rules to maintain cross-type uniqueness. They could add names like Bolas to a subtype list on the supertype Legendary, but the Legendary Creature type lines are already super-crowded, so there's a serious risk it would constrain how long a character's name could be.