04/22/2010 LD: "Common Comparisons"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.
I kind of wish you hadn't shown the big picture of Kraken Hatchling. Until now I thought it's fact was a big eye, and it was cute seeing it from that perspective. Now that I know it's a snarling face (plus with the picture of it holding a machete!) it's not so innocent anymore.  : (

For the most part I agree with you. I understand how the Ravnica bounce lands are bad in that the G/W/x player didn't get the G/W land, and that does subvert their purpose. As a budget player, however, I'm glad to have those cards available to me, especially for Commander. Having cheap dual lands in my decks are nice, even if they are strictly worse than the outrageous original duals.

I also disagree with Leaden Fists being bad. I understand that it's a card that makes you question what you're supposed to do with it, and many players, including myself, won't run it. But it makes you think in a good way, and it's versatility is nice. You're correct that you can have a beefed-up defender, or you can tap that opposing creature for a turn, which might be enough time to combo off or go in for the kill. Or you could throw it on a creature with vigilance, say a Serra Sphinx, and get a P/T boost in blue you wouldn't normally experience. Newer players will not understand and not like it, but I don't see how it is any less bad for them than an obviously terrible common creature that is in the set (and sometimes Intro Packs!) to let new players compare better cards to and see what they're supposed to be looking for. At least with this card, once you understand the game better, you can come up with better ways to use it.

Otherwise great article! I wouldn't mind seeing your take on some more commons in this way in the future.
I kind of wish you hadn't shown the big picture of Kraken Hatchling. Until now I thought it's fact was a big eye, and it was cute seeing it from that perspective. Now that I know it's a snarling face (plus with the picture of it holding a machete!) it's not so innocent anymore.  : (



Omg!! I thought it was a giant oogly eye too!! although I do like the tiny blue eye below it's mouth now that I see it for what it is ... but damn ... talk about change of perspective ...

I liked Leaden Fists, because it was versatile.


Also, I generally found that Shimmering Grotto was too slow to be worth playing even when I really wanted it for mana fixing.


Lastly, I am currently finding that most of the Standard environment seems to be dominated by rares and super-rares (You call them mythic rares, but I'm not letting you get away with name shenanigans).  I've been messing around with Standard at the FNM the past few weeks, and the format is about as broken as it can be.  Everybody at the top is running Jace the Wallet Slayer, and once it hits the board there's very little you can do about it, especially when you're mostly running commons (like anybody just getting into the format typically is).  You're trading 1-for-1 at best, but your opponent is drawing cards too fast to do anything about it.


I'm disappointed in Magic in general lately.  I like the game, and play mostly to play with my friends and hang out on Fridays.  I do hope you tone down the power level of super-rares in the future.

Mythics have been bad for Standard, especially of late.  Don't get me wrong, the idea of what Mythics are supposed to be at their origin isn't an issue.  Even their real existence isn't an issue.  The issue is what people perceive about them.  People are so disgusted with the whole thing that they aren't playing as much any more because they can't afford the $400 entry fee a playset of Jaces costs (good luck actually finding Jaces to buy, anyway.  Most online stores are sold out permanently).  Barring that, you could always play RUG!  Oh, wait, 4 cobras and 4 inferno titans, those aren't cheap either.

I remember Ravnica/Time Spiral Standard and how innovative decks were capable of performing.  Nowadays, the only innovation is having 5 or less cards different in your 75 than the last dude to win a PT/GP/SCGO with the list.  The format is stale because people perceive it as stale, and certain cards are the culprits here.
I thought the bouncelands were great in draft, precisely BECAUSE they didn't necessarily end up with the players that were specifically drafting that guild.  Each bounceland you got opened up possibilities and enabled/encouraged you to easily branch out with a third color or more.  I enjoyed the tension between maximizing the card advantage of bouncelands and avoiding total manabase implosion from overaggressive splashing of off colors.
I kind of wish you hadn't shown the big picture of Kraken Hatchling. Until now I thought it's fact was a big eye, and it was cute seeing it from that perspective. Now that I know it's a snarling face (plus with the picture of it holding a machete!) it's not so innocent anymore.  : (



Omg!! I thought it was a giant oogly eye too!! although I do like the tiny blue eye below it's mouth now that I see it for what it is ... but damn ... talk about change of perspective ...


Copletely agreed.
Even though I have a few copies around, I always thought that thing was a cute eye. Now everything changed.
OMG click HERE! OMG! How to autocard and use decklist format
--->
For autocarding, write [c][/c] with the name of the card inside it. [c]Island[/c] = Island For linking a card to Gatherer without writting the name of said card for readers, use the autocard brackets together with and equal sign and right the name of the real card. Then put the message you want inside the tags, like you would do with autocarding. Like this: [c=Curse of the Cabal]Captain Never-resolves[/c] = Captain Never-resolves For using the decklist format, follow this: [deck] 4* Terramorphic Expanse 4* Evolving Wilds ... [/deck] It equals:
Real signature, Sblocked for space:
57817638 wrote:
I like storm crow because I really like crows in real life, as an animal, and the card isn't terribly stupid, but packs a good deal of nostalgia and also a chunck of the game's history. So it's perhaps one of the cards I have most affection to, but not because "lol storm crow is bad hurr hurr durr".
Listen to my SoundCloud while you read my signature. The Island, Come And See, The Landlord's Daughter, You'll Not Feel The Drowning - The Decemberists by vimschy IMAGE(http://dragcave.net/image/rkvR.gif)IMAGE(http://dragcave.net/image/L3es.gif) IMAGE(http://dragcave.net/image/m71H.gif)
Quotes
56747598 wrote:
57295478 wrote:
Although I do assume you deliberately refer to them (DCI) as The Grand Imperial Convocation of Evil just for the purposes of making them sound like an ancient and terrible conspiracy.
Now, now. 1994 doesn't quite qualify as "ancient".
56734518 wrote:
Oh, it's a brilliant plan. You see, Bolas was travelling through shadowmoor, causing trouble, when he saw a Wickerbough Elder with its stylin' dead scarecrow hat. Now, Bolas being Bolas took the awesome hat and he put it on his head, but even with all his titanic powers of magic he couldn't make it fit. He grabbed some more scarecrows, but then a little kithkin girl asked if he was trying to build a toupee. "BY ALL THE POWERS IN THE MULTIVERSE!" he roared, "I WILL HAVE A HAT WORTHY OF MY GLORY." and so he went through his Dark Lore of Doom (tm) looking for something he could make into a hat that would look as stylish on him as a scarecrow does on a treefolk. He thought about the Phyrexians, but they were covered in goopy oil that would make his nonexistant hair greasy. He Tried out angels for a while but they didn't sit quite right. Then, he looked under "e" (because in the Elder Draconic alphabet, "e" for Eldrazi is right next to "h" for Hat) in his Dark Lore of Doom and saw depictions of the Eldrazi, and all their forms. "THIS SHALL BE MY HAT!" he declared, poking a picture of Emrakul, "AND WITH IT I WILL USHER IN A NEW AGE OF DARKNESS -- ER, I MEAN A NEW AGE OF FASHION!" And so Nicol Bolas masterminded the release of the Eldrazi.
57864098 wrote:
Rhox War Monk just flips pancakes, and if games have told us anything, it's that food = life.
56747598 wrote:
76973988 wrote:
This thread has gotten creepy. XP
Really? Really? The last couple days have been roughly every perverse fetish imaginable, but it only got "creepy" when speculation on Mother of Runes's mob affiliation came up?
76672808 wrote:
57864098 wrote:
57531048 wrote:
Nice mana base. Not really.
Yeah, really. If my deck was going to cost $1000+, I'd at least make it good.
99812049 wrote:
I like to think up what I consider clever names for my decks, only later to be laughed at by my wife. It kills me a little on the inside, but thats what marriage is about.
56816728 wrote:
56854588 wrote:
Of course, the best use [of tolaria west] is transmuting for the real Tolaria. ;)
Absolutely. I used to loose to my buddy's Banding deck for ages, it was then that I found out about Tolaria, and I was finally able win my first game.
70246459 wrote:
WOAH wait wait wait
56957928 wrote:
You know, being shallow and jusdgmental aside, "I later found out that Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people"
56957928 wrote:
"I later found out that Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people"
56957928 wrote:
Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates
56957928 wrote:
OH MY GOD
109874309 wrote:
The only way I'd cast this card is into a bonfire.
82032421 wrote:
The short answer is that there's no rule barring annoying people from posting, but there a rule barring us from harassing them about it.
56747598 wrote:
Browbeat is a card that is an appropriate deck choice when there's no better idea available. "No better idea available" was pretty much the running theme of Odyssey era.
56874518 wrote:
Or perhaps it was a more straightforward comment indicating a wish for you to be bitten (Perhaps repeatedly) by a small yet highly venomous arachnid.
70246459 wrote:
58280208 wrote:
You're an idiot, and I'm in no mood for silliness.
57817638 wrote:
57145078 wrote:
You just... Vektor it.
That's the answer to everything.
70246459 wrote:
58347268 wrote:
I think the problem is that you don't exist.
This would sound great out of context!
56965458 wrote:
Modern is like playing a new tournament every time : you build a deck, you win with it, don't bother keeping it. Just build another, its key pieces will get banned.
57864098 wrote:
57309598 wrote:
I specifically remember posting a thread when I was just a witty bitty noob.
You make it sound like that's still not the case.
58325628 wrote:
Rap is what happens when the c from crap is taken away.
Doug Beyer:
But sometimes it's also challenging. Because sometimes OH MY GOD, WHAT THE HELL IS THIS THING?
141434757 wrote:
Flashforward five thousand years (Click for atmosphere) :
57927608 wrote:
to paraphrase Jeff Goldblum, Vektor finds a way.
58347268 wrote:
when in rome **** AND PILLAGE
143229641 wrote:
I always find it helpful when im angry to dress up in an owl costume and rub pennies all over my body in front of a full body mirror next to the window.
Dymecoar:
Playing Magic without Blue is like sleeping without any sheets or blankets. You can do it...but why?
Omega137:
Me: "I love the moment when a control deck stabilizes. It feels so... right." Omega137: "I like the life drop part until you get there, it's the MtG variant of bungee jumping"
Zigeif777:
Just do it like Yu-Gi-Oh or monkeys: throw all the crap you got at them and hope it works or else the by-standers (or opponents) just get dirty and pissed.
57471038 wrote:
58258708 wrote:
It's true that Alpha and Beta didn't contain any cards like Tarmogoyf, Darksteel Colossus, or Platinum Angel. It just contained weak, insignificant cards like Black Lotus, Mox Sapphire, and Time Walk.
Normally it's difficult to pick up on your jokes/sarcasm. But this one's pretty much out there. Good progress. You have moved up to Humanoid. You'll be Human in no time.
91893448 wrote:
94618431 wrote:
I didn't know Samurai were known to be able to cut down whole armies...
They can when they're using lightsabers!
57129358 wrote:
97980259 wrote:
My wife brought home a baby black squirrel they found on a horse track and cared for it for a few days. We named it Grixis, but it died.
Unearth it!
70246459 wrote:
[/spoiler] And I'm on Magic Arcana. How about you? Oh, by the way, I'm also on From the Lab now. Twice, actually. And now with my own submited decklist!
Future Sight was a weird set. It's theme was weirdness. Maro says it was supposed to be the "future" set, but it was really the weird set. Unless Magic in the future is going to be complicated and wordy, even at common? Of course you won't make it so. Therefore, FUT's theme must have been "weird".

My point is, using FUT commons as examples of anything is probably bad. It's kind of like using PLC commons as examples of the color pie.

P.S. I loved Time Spiral block. So many neat one-ofs. There was much less "cookie cutter Giant Growth effect that we have to make" and so many more cards that felt like invitational submissions that you wanted to make. (Hyperlink every letter of those last 8 words.)
Tom,

I feel like you are taking a very simplistic approach to development, and this article really shows it.  Commons are something that every player has to see with great frequency, and for some, it's all they ever see.  But that doesn't mean they have to be boring!

You specifically gun for Leaden Fists, a card that was quite well received for the limited environment it was a part of.  Are you opposed to double-edged cards?  Leaden Fists is the kind of card that allows players to be EXTREMELY tricky!  For me, it found just the right balance of upside and downside.  I even played it in constructed with Coral Trickster!

Do you want all cards to scream to the player what their best use is?  I agree that Ichor Wellspring is the kind of card that tickles the mind with possibilities, but doesn't Leaden Fists accomplish the same thing?

Complexity on commons isn't the worst thing in the world.  You've got to give the players some credit!  I understand you want to keep the text size small on most commons, but when you do that, you also run the risk of over-simplifying the card in ways that become uninteresting.  It's entirely possible to keep things clean while providing the same amount of depth.

I know you are a smart guy, and I don't want to pigeon hole your development skills, but please, don't just strip complexity off of commons to make them more appealing to the lowest level of player.  Complexity is what makes Magic fun, and it should extend to all levels of rarity, not just the top-level.
Complexity:
Complexity is paradoxical. It's both what makes Magic fun in the first place, and what can very easily make it unfun. I've seen (and built) decks so straightforward there's close to zero interest in playing them, and decks so complex that you need a pen and paper to keep track of the 40 items on the stack. 

Complexity on commons is the same. You need common to include some repeatable triggered abilities, so that people like Noel deCorva can build pauper combo decks around Mirran Spy and suchlike. But too much complexity on commons leads to a board state getting extremely brainbending extremely quickly, and even for Johnnies like me, having a brainbending board state is best reserved for occasional moments, not every Limited game.

I'd hate to see R&D institute a rule like "No red common removal spells with more than 18 words". I don't think complexity on common removal spells should always be avoided. But I think Tom's right that there's usually going to be better places to spend your complexity budget.

I think Tom said it very well in this sentence: "It's important that there is enough complication forMagic to be interesting, but there's a limit to how many cards in a game of Magic can be complicated before the game drags down and becomes hard to process." However, I'm fully expecting the usual complainers to turn up and whinge that Magic's being dumbed down, or that game states should get brainmeltingly complex every game.

Bouncelands:
Perhaps Selesnya Sanctuary and friends were too good to achieve the precise purpose for which you designed them. But personally, they're the single common cycle I've been happiest to see in all my 12+ years of playing Magic, by a landslide. I've bought 30+ of each of those ten cards, because they make my casual decks sooo much more reliable (and I have 100+ decks). They're the ultimate budget dual lands. (And they're not even "strictly worse" than the original duals as an earlier poster claimed: a hand of a basic and 2 bouncelands gives you 5 land drops and 5 mana. To do that using Alpha cards you'd need to head for broken things like Dark Ritual or Moxen.)

Kraken:
Yeah, the Kraken Hatchling holding eight Trusty Machetes is awesome (and rather terrifying).
I think Ravnica Draft might have worked better if these lands were weak enough that they actually made it to people who were sure that they were playing both colors before taking them.



Agreed with earlier posters that it's somewhat disheartening to hear this said about a cycle so beloved in all levels of casual. Not that the statement isn't true, but it doesn't really clarify how much Development is thinking post-Limited.
Leaden fists is an awesome card.  I always assumed the default use of it was "one time giant growth".  I mean, it has flash for a reason.

But yeah, commons are a casualty of draft at this point, I'm afraid.  Heck, I don't think they even like thinking about sealed, let alone kitchen table magic.
As a mostly Pauper player, I really enjoy cards that make you think, like Ichor Wellspring or Leaden Fists, as well as cards that are super-versatile like Immolation.  I know you mostly think about commons for Limited, Tom, but please be aware that some of us are hyper-focused on what commons can do as real cards, not just filler.

My top five list of commons that have added the most to Pauper deckbuilding options:
 - Grapeshot / Empty the Warrens (shared slot, representing all Pauper playable Storm cards)
 - Trinket Mage
 - Freed from the Real (the first good Pauper combo IMHO)
 - Armadillo Cloak
 - Terramorphic Expanse and Ravnica bouncelands
Honorable mentions:  Twisted Abomination, decent Transmute cards at common

All of these cards have some flexibility as well as extra power.  It's the flexibility that really lets them shine, since Pauper has relatively few ways to draw cards over the long term, so you have to get more out of the cards you see.

The single best thing you've ever printed on a common was probably anything that enabled Storm combo, because that really let Pauper start to feel like "real Magic" (for better or for worse).

Please keep making commons that reward thought and exploration.  I can't count how many hours of fun I've had from trying to figure out cards like those above.
You specifically gun for Leaden Fists, a card that was quite well received for the limited environment it was a part of.

Leaden Fists has come up before - Tom's just doesn't seem to like this style of card.

It's a bit of a shame that a better distinction isn't drawn between "bad design" and card types which are not to the taste of particular R&D members. On the other hand, as was made clear during the Great Designer Search 2 there is a very strong house style in R&D when it comes to card design. As such, the topic under discussion is what sorts of things we're likely to see on future Magic cards rather than good design in any wider sense. Given the site we're on here, that seems reasonable!

I would like to point out a subtle fact that a lot of folks seem to misunderstand about complexity in Magic:

Complexity doesn't make Magic fun; fun makes Magic complex.

In case that doesn't make sense (I tend not to, I'm afraid), the point is that complexity is the price you pay to make the game more interesting - not the end goal of doing so. In fact, any time you can make the game more interesting without making it more complex, you do it - that's the key to elegant design. (Apologies if that hardly seems relevant, but it's a pet peeve of mine. Saying "the game needs to be more complex" is like saying "I wish my dinner were more expensive" - it's completely backwards. What you mean is "I'd be willing to pay more for a better-tasting dinner," and likewise "The game could handle more complexity, if it facilitates more interesting situations." Assuming good design, of course, any complexity added would make the game more interesting; but you make a much stronger argument by focusing on the interest added, rather than the complexity.)

The point this article is making, in that regard, is that while Magic can certainly facilitate high-complexity cards, Common just isn't the place to do it at.

Now, the personal points: I actually agree with the distaste for Leaden Fists; in fact, I personally don't think Immolation is very clean, either (though that probably has more to do with it representing fire as a toughness reduction, when the game has already firmly established that fire deals damage), though I'll submit that I prefer it to Leaden Fists. It's almost ironic, in fact, because I tend to design effects like this myself (curse my Johnny blood, eh?) - but it's really only the most elegant ones (like Immolation, minus the flavour hiccup) that I can stand, overall. As much as I understand that it's sometimes interesting to have to decide whether a card serves better to present a threat, or to remove one, I hardly think that should be a regular occurrence - essentially, it really oughtn't be Common. Which, essentially, was the whole point of this article - or so I presume...
I would like to point out a subtle fact that a lot of folks seem to misunderstand about complexity in Magic:

Complexity doesn't make Magic fun; fun makes Magic complex.


"If you do not master your rage..."

"Your rage will become your master? That's what you were going to say, isn't it?"

"...not necessarily." 
Very well said, RedKutal; I agree wholeheartidly. The way I look at card design, you start with fluff. If you don't start with fluff, you tend to end up with fluffy messes, wool strewn about haphazardly and calling it 'art'; fluff is a key component of Magic card design, otherwise sets are just a collection of random cards and not stories. Then, based on this fluff, you try to make 'good' cards. The lesser number of words you can convey the fluff in, the better. For example, say you have an idea for a goblin named G'tintalin who is a pacifist against everything but elves. Please excuse any wording mistakes.

You COULD have something like this:

Goblin Pacifist
R
Creature - Goblin
2/2
Defender
Goblin Pacifist loses Defender if an opponent controls an Elf.
G'tinalin good, not fight. Elves aren't fight, are massacre.

Or you could have the more simple:

Goblin Pacifist
R
Creature - Goblin
2/2
Defender
T: Goblin Pacifist deals 1 damage to target Elf.
G'tinalin good, not fight. Elves aren't fight, are massacre.

It's probably safe to say no one would use either card, except perhaps in a side deck during a format flooded with elves, but even then. However, the second card would probably see more use. It has less words, the second ability is easier to understand for newer players, and it's an overall more effective card for what it's supposed to represent (elf-killin'). It's just plain more fun and doesn't need complexity to accomplish that. But for certain ideas, you do need complexity to achieve their full fluff and fun. And that's fine, but complexity itself is not something to shoot for.
I just want to add my voice to those above who have stated that, even if the Ravnica bounce lands were a failure on Development's part because they did not fulfill the role originally intended for them in Limited, they were still successful in many other ways.  They are some of the most innovative duals lands that have ever been printed.  Not only are they not strictly worse than the original duals, they are playable in many formats.  They are certainly some of the best common mana fixing lands ever printed and a boon to casual/budget deckbuilders everywhere.  They were pretty fun to play with in Limited, too....
Interesting that he chose to compare Immolation with Fatal Attraction and not Flowstone Embrace from the very same set.

Or Flowstone Embrace with Fatal Attraction for that matter.  Or even mention that red had two common removal Auras in the same small set.
I misread Immolation as being +2/+2 while reading the first paragraph.Embarassed I've probably got a handful of those in my collection gathering dust, I need to dig those out. 




Bouncelands:
Perhaps Selesnya Sanctuary and friends were too good to achieve the precise purpose for which you designed them. But personally, they're the single common cycle I've been happiest to see in all my 12+ years of playing Magic, by a landslide. I've bought 30+ of each of those ten cards, because they make my casual decks sooo much more reliable (and I have 100+ decks). They're the ultimate budget dual lands. (And they're not even "strictly worse" than the original duals as an earlier poster claimed: a hand of a basic and 2 bouncelands gives you 5 land drops and 5 mana. To do that using Alpha cards you'd need to head for broken things like Dark Ritual or Moxen.)



When I first saw them, I actually wrote the bouncelands off as too weak. After learning how to use them like you pointed out in your last sentence, I've come to appreciate their design and it's very disheartening to see WOTC criticize them in such a manner. I wouldn't mind seeing them reprinted in the core set, especially with new names for the EDH and kitchen table folks to run as duplicates. 




Kraken:
Yeah, the Kraken Hatchling holding eight Trusty Machetes is awesome (and rather terrifying).



As soon as I read that line about using equipment on it, I thought about making a comment about how the mental image of goofy creatures waving around swords is what keeps me enjoying this game. When I saw that picture I knew I had to comment. 

(snips for space)

My top five list of commons that have added the most to Pauper deckbuilding options:
 -
 - Terramorphic Expanse and Ravnica bouncelands



I've already said my piece on the bouncelands, so as far as Terramorphic Expanse goes: I've said before this card should have been created as soon as WOTC decided to stop printing the original duals. It should be in every core set from now on, and I'd also consider printing it on the basic land sheet so it sometimes shows up in the land slot in the booster packs. I would truly love to hear more on it's history, such as who came up with it, and why it wasn't created sooner. 


Despite disagreeing with some of the opinions put forth by the author, I really enjoyed this type of article and would like to see it again (especially with the opinions, as it gives us a window in the mind of WOTC, and gives us a chance to comment on those ideas in the forum). 

Proud member of C.A.R.D. - Campaign Against Rare Duals "...but the time has come when lands just need to be better. Creatures have gotten stronger, spells have always been insane, and lands just sat in this awkward place of necessity." Jacob Van Lunen on the refuge duals, 16 Sep 2009. "While it made thematic sense to separate enemy and allied color fixing in the past, we have come around to the definite conclusion that it is just plain incorrect from a game-play perspective. This is one of these situations where game play should just trump flavor." - Sam Stoddard on ending the separation of allied/enemy dual lands. 05 July 2013
I've already said my piece on the bouncelands, so as far as Terramorphic Expanse goes: I've said before this card should have been created as soon as WOTC decided to stop printing the original duals. It should be in every core set from now on, and I'd also consider printing it on the basic land sheet so it sometimes shows up in the land slot in the booster packs. I would truly love to hear more on it's history, such as who came up with it, and why it wasn't created sooner.


It seems clear that they didn't make it sooner because of color pie concerns. Putting any basic land into play from your library so easily is very powerful color fixing, which used to be one of green's best abilities, shared infrequently. And it was only a handful of years earlier that green had been the long-term, much-maligned "worst color" because even white had a history of power cards like Wrath of God, so taking away its abilities probably got a skeptical reception.

I'm sure that making colorless fixing that good was a big debate in R&D, and one that Devin Low wrote in Latest Developments once in terms of Time Spiral block making it too easy.

That said, I'm glad they printed both Terramorphic Expanse and Evolving Wilds. I won't go so far as to suggest putting it on the basic land sheet, but the effusive praise is justified.
Is anyone else not able to vote on this weeks poll?
Just once when I was about to select 'bad' as my choice the poll won't work... 
Future Sight sure is easy to rip on these days as most of its coolness was actually a mistake. Who knew?
Is anyone else not able to vote on this weeks poll?
Just once when I was about to select 'bad' as my choice the poll won't work...

The poll doesn't work for me, either.

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...
Very well said, RedKutal; I agree wholeheartidly. The way I look at card design, you start with fluff. If you don't start with fluff, you tend to end up with fluffy messes, wool strewn about haphazardly and calling it 'art'; fluff is a key component of Magic card design, otherwise sets are just a collection of random cards and not stories. Then, based on this fluff, you try to make 'good' cards. The lesser number of words you can convey the fluff in, the better. For example, say you have an idea for a goblin named G'tintalin who is a pacifist against everything but elves. Please excuse any wording mistakes.

You COULD have something like this:

Goblin Pacifist
R
Creature - Goblin
2/2
Defender
Goblin Pacifist loses Defender if an opponent controls an Elf.
G'tinalin good, not fight. Elves aren't fight, are massacre.

Or you could have the more simple:

Goblin Pacifist
R
Creature - Goblin
2/2
Defender
T: Goblin Pacifist deals 1 damage to target Elf.
G'tinalin good, not fight. Elves aren't fight, are massacre.

It's probably safe to say no one would use either card, except perhaps in a side deck during a format flooded with elves, but even then. However, the second card would probably see more use. It has less words, the second ability is easier to understand for newer players, and it's an overall more effective card for what it's supposed to represent (elf-killin'). It's just plain more fun and doesn't need complexity to accomplish that. But for certain ideas, you do need complexity to achieve their full fluff and fun. And that's fine, but complexity itself is not something to shoot for.



The second one is not common though. Not anymore =p They've moved away from activated abilities that could influence other cards and math on the board state on commons lately (ping, samite, pump, etc)
I am noticing alot of cards that are common that need to be uncommons and unc that need to be rare.

I see cards that are mythic that should be rares and vice verse.

Honestly as good as Squadron Hawk is it should be uncommon.
Learn about autocard here ==> [*c]Lightning Bolt[/*c] Remove "*" and you get Lightning Bolt. IMAGE(http://internetometer.com/image/27264.png) Keep extended alive for future generations so they dont have to sell out for modern. "If there is such a thing as too much power, I have not discovered it." —Volrath
On Leaden Fists, Tom has missed a basic point. He points out that commons "form the bulk of both most players' collections" - and as a result of this, they are a staple of kitchen table games, which are quite commonly multiplayer.
But he completely fails to consider multiplayer when evaluating Leaden Fists, claiming that "it's not obvious what I'm supposed to do with this card".

But in multiplayer with your friends around the kitchen table it really is. Player A has a scary creature, and swings it a B. C doesn't want that creature coming at him next turn, and also wants to take B down a few more life points - so hey plays Leaden Fists on it. It even has flash, perfect for exactly this purpose, a point Tom failed to even mention in the article. Presumably because he didn't consider how that fits with each of the cards abilities so well when they're considered seperately, let alone together.

I think Leaden Fists is a wonderfully designed card. In one-on-ones it can be used in two obvious ways depending on what you need it to do at the time, and you can have fun finding interactions that allow you to use it in different ways. And it's a common card that really shines in multiplayer, and we need more of those.
Personally, I don't care for budget or pauper manabases, but the karoo lands is the biggest reason that Ravnica block is my favorite limited format (in both draft and sealed) of all time, partly because you didn't need to be in both colors to pick them. (You could play 4- or 5-color decks with 14 lands, how is that not awesome?)

I see your point on Leaden Fists, and I wasn't a big fan of it myself, but in my mind the possibility of putting it on Jodah's Avenger makes up for all of its shortcomings.

Your thoughts on the infect commons makes good sense, but Rot Wolf seems like a poor example as I'm happy playing that too in a non-infect deck.

What you're saying on Wall of Heat and Kraken Hatchling is probably true for nearly all limited formats, but Zendikar would have needed something like Wall of Heat to slow it down (Kraken Hatchling was a good card, but it just wasn't enough).
Is anyone else not able to vote on this weeks poll?
Just once when I was about to select 'bad' as my choice the poll won't work...

The poll doesn't work for me, either.

Haven't been able to vote since I upgraded to Firefox 4.0. May be a coincidence, may be not.