04/25/2011 MM: "Phyrexian Powers: International Mana Mystery"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
"My team consisted of myself, Mark Gottlieb and Mark Globus (the very first all-Mark design team)."

The logician in me objects: Unglued came first.
The dragon used to be your spoiler card didn't it?
I feel bad for all of you...
;_; 
Stop using "IMO" in sentences that aren't opinion. If you don't think a deck will ever be tier 1, that's great - but it's not an opinion. It's a prediction of the future. I identify as neither male nor female. You may refer to me with either gender pronoun or the singular they, whichever suits you best. ^_^ Re: Dismember
97543238 wrote:
Everybody knows that having your awesome creatures killed before they can do anything is frustrating, but the Red mage in me doesn't seem to understand why it's so bad when his creatures spontaneously combust into Flame Javelins and make his opponent discard something at the same time.
Currently Working On: Self-Mill (Standard)
Its a shame that you had to reveal the full spoiler all at once like this, thanks to someone leaking it all over the internet. I always look forward to the Spoiler Week(s).
Profile picture by Mackenzie Schubert www.plaincomics.com
It was thrilling to imagine whether you would go on a regular preview season as if nothing ever happened or if you were going all-in and change the focus of this previews. It's nice to see you moving on and showing the full spoiler and it is quite bold. The article looks extra cautious and conservative about expressing any personal doubts or concerns but it's understandable, since scaring players away when the set isn't even available yet could be suicide. Anyway, I guess writers will have to step up and make some other bold statements to leave the players convinced and wanting to buy.

IMO, New Phyrexia looks neat but for the present it won't help Standard at all to get out from the immense hole it is actually stuck in. Let's hope that once the shadow of Zendikar and Jace disappears, this block has a chance to shine.

I guess there will be a lot of time to discuss the details but anyway, I feel there should have been more double and triple Phyrexian mana costed cards. A single one is all nice to showcase some simple executions ala Mental Misstep, but overall, too much single phy mana cards feel as you were handicapping yourself everytime you actually pay the color. At least that's how Spikes feel, maybe noobs are going to kneejerk at a card whose feature is to pay life. Anyway, having a vision beyond how a novice player would see the card is a big step forward these days, so congratulations for it. I really hope you don't end regretting this set just like Planar Chaos.
If Limited gets in the way of printing good Constructed cards... Screw limited
I understand why they did the whole set, but I for one had resisted looking at it, wanting the reveal to occur as I like it -- ala one card at a time w/ articles.  So I'm a little disappointed they didn't just say "Hey, its been spoiled... but if you want the slow roll that's what we are going to do."  I am probably the minority of people who wanted that, so I understand... but it still makes me sad.
Wow! They officially spoiled the whole set at once. I seriously thought they were going to play dumb and write the same old previews.

For those of you who don't know.
1) Massive leak on the Internet.
2) Everyone already has (had) full scans of every card, among those who want them.
3) Legacy players have already changed their decks for Mental Misstep.
4) The P1P1 picks have been debated.
5) Karn is liberated, and the novel was spoiled.
6) Much whining about how Despise is the only viable Jace answer, NPH changes nothing, etc.

Actually, #5 was already spoiled because someone stole a large pile of Japanese rares, scanned them, and translated them. And Karn was in that pile. (Oh, #7 - Much whining from Vorthoses who insisted that it was impossible for Karn to be a PW again, even after seeing his card. But that was sooo last February.)




I always assumed Sarcomyte Myr was from some other world that had myr and fleshificers, maybe a Frankenstein World or the like - the flavor text did not say Phyrexia to me, though admittedly I never thought of the possibility.

I'm sad that they decided that cards couldn't have both colored and phybrid mana; I think that would have been a good thing to do for a few of the more boring cards (like the green artifact creature), since it would have helped with the whole colorblindness issue some folks have had.

And for the record, I'm sure that better executions for Esper could have been found, though I recognize that they didn't have infinite time to look for them.  But overall I think colored artifacts in Esper were a failure, both because they didn't connect to the rest of the set and because, apart from looking a little weird (a lot weird with the art of esper, but otherwise only a little), they really aren't that interesting.  I know at least once I wrote up a very satisfactory alternate direction for Esper design, but I can't find it in my notes at the moment.

I wish Mark would elaborate more on why the "twosee" creatures failed.  I think they would have worked just fine myself:

Llanowar Myr
Artifact Creature - Myr, {2/G}, 1/1
TAP: Add G to your mana pool

Rodney of Ruin
Artifact Creature - Wizard, 2{2/R}, 0/2
TAP:  Rodney of Ruin deals 1 damage to target creature or player.

Skinwingdrake
Artifact Creature - Drake, {2/U}{2/U}, 2/2
Flying
(Could be white instead but at this point I really don't see why blue couldn't be "pushed" a little creature-wise to come even with other colors; it would force people to actually use creatures in blue, which were never the part of the color they were breaking.)

Wall of Porcelain
Artifact Creature - Wall, {2/W}W, 2/4
Defender

Necromech Demon
Artifact Creature - Demon, 3{2/B}{2/B}{2/B}, 7/7
Flying, trample.
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice an artifact and a creature. Lose life equal to the lower converted mana cost among permanents sacrificed this 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
Yeah, I'm not too thrilled that the entire set got spoiled all at once.  I don't think it's the end of the world, but it is a bit of a shame.

I don't know how the leak occurred, but I bet it has to do with the printing schedule.  Once you've called up your factories and they've started production, the resulting cards go through a lot of hands, and the chance of a leak increases greatly.

I think the solution is for Wizards to start previewing cards earlier and faster.  If we'd had half the set previewed over the past two weeks, at something like five cards a day, I wouldn't care too much if the rest of it got suddenly spoiled.
I am very curious as to what Mechanic X could have been. The fact that it was difficult to implement from a rules perspective and that it was in a areas "that really haven't been messed with" really intrigues me. I hope that if it show up in a future set that Mark will notify us.

I would kill for a hint.
The reason we picked Ken as the lead designer of New Phyrexia is that we knew that it had the potential to be one of the griefer-iest (yeah, I'm not afraid to make up words) Magic sets possibly of all time. After all, the Phyrexians are not known for playing nicely with others. And no one in the offices (well, except perhaps Magic digital studio director Worth Wollpert) enjoys griefing more than Ken, so we knew he was our man. (Aaron is also up there, which is why we made him the lead developer of the set.)


If MaRo was building a house out of flammable materials, would he find the biggest pyromaniacs to oversee its construction?
I am very curious as to what Mechanic X could have been. The fact that it was difficult to implement from a rules perspective and that it was in a areas "that really haven't been messed with" really intrigues me. I hope that if it show up in a future set that Mark will notify us.

I would kill for a hint.

I feel like the "visual impact" bit might have been a hint. I get the feeling it was some kind of card layout shenanigan, like the flip cards from Kamigawa or the level-up cards in Rise of the Eldrazi. Problem is, it couldn't just be a "flip this creature OH LOOK it's compleated now!" type of effect, since Kamigawa handled that fairly fully, so it fails the "haven't been messed with" area. 

Actually, could it have had something to do with the faction watermarks? Watermarks give you the visual impact, it's in an area that hasn't been messed with, and it'd be horrible from a rules perspective, since the rules pretty much state that watermarks have no in-game effect. 
5) Karn is liberated, and the novel was spoiled.


Since feature articles are written further in advance than columns, and indeed the feature today does treat its subject like an actual preview card, it seems they intended to reveal Karn today (i.e. before the book comes out) anyway.
blah blah metal lyrics

I think I absorb the preview articles better with all the cards spoiled.  I'm not pulled in to see what he's previewing, but have fuller context for mechanic discussions.


Here's what I'd like to hear about: Phyrexian mana is a very Spike ability, and I could have sworn that the key players in this (Aaron, Mark, and Ken) were all firmly against having much of that in a set.  I'd expect Mark to be telling us how life for mana is a choice (or decision, or option, or whichever the bad one is), Ken to say how losing life isn't fun, and Aaron to say that it seems like a drawback and people don't like their chief mechanic with drawbacks.

If you're on MTGO check out the Free Events via PDCMagic and Gatherling.

Other games you should try:
DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

Planetside 2 - Free to play MMO-meets-FPS and the first shooter I've liked in ages.
Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

If I was making a wild guess, it's that most moderate to advanced players are well aware of the benefits of occasionally paying life at this point, and novices can just think of it as an option - playing the color, great, but occasionally, when you really need it, pay life! Besides, if the other player is playing infect, paying life sounds like a really great idea all of a sudden because you aren't using it.
The first ever colored artifact wasn't Transguild Courier.
It was Alloy Golem from Invason.
Cool story regarding the evolution of colored artifacts from Shards of Alara to New Phyrexia.  Very glad that R&D decided to implement the simplest version of the idea first, just artifacts with colored mana symbols and colored borders, to the more complex idea.  This article has me convinced that we'll eventually see some 2/C artifacts in the future.

Very much looking forward to that explanation of what Phyrexian mana in all colors does to the color pie.  Also interested in what having Infect in all five colors, at common level, means.  Having such mechanics as corrupted mana and infect showing up in non-life loss, non-poisonous colors make me wonder if this sort of bleed is ever going to be done with existing keyword abilities like lifelink or deathtouch in the future.

By the way, your whole goal of telling a story with the block format: great success!
The first ever colored artifact wasn't Transguild Courier.
It was Alloy Golem from Invason.

I am sure that what Mark Rosewater meant was the first colored artifact card. While the creature that Alloy Golem becomes when you cast it does indeed have a color, the card itself does not. To put it another way, Transguild Courier has a color (indeed all colors) in all zones while Alloy Golem only has a color in one zone (the battlefield).

Indeed, colored artifacts have been around since the first time somebody cast Chaoslace targeting a Basalt Monolith (No doubt mistakenly believing it would allow it to produce colored mana).
I am surprised that Mark didnt address complaints from color-blind players about the Phy-mana symbol...

~ Tim
I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)
If I was making a wild guess, it's that most moderate to advanced players are well aware of the benefits of occasionally paying life at this point, and novices can just think of it as an option



You realize we're talking about people who rate Earth Elemental higher than Arc-Slogger, right?



If you're on MTGO check out the Free Events via PDCMagic and Gatherling.

Other games you should try:
DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

Planetside 2 - Free to play MMO-meets-FPS and the first shooter I've liked in ages.
Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

This article has me convinced that we'll eventually see some 2/C artifacts in the future.



Reaper King =D

If MaRo was building a house out of flammable materials, would he find the biggest pyromaniacs to oversee its construction?



He would if the purpose of the house was to burn (the house continues to burn after the pyromaniacs leave the construction site.)

I think the solution is for Wizards to start previewing cards earlier and faster.  If we'd had half the set previewed over the past two weeks, at something like five cards a day, I wouldn't care too much if the rest of it got suddenly spoiled.



Nah, then you'll probably lose the attention span. Iirc Wizards has done a much better job these years keeping the cards unspoiled. I remember a few years ago when cards were much earlier spoiled on other sites compared to the last few years.

I'd expect [...] Aaron to say that it seems like a drawback and people don't like their chief mechanic with drawbacks.



I do wonder where it falls on the drawback scale. Echo would be an extreme. If I read Cradle Guard, I read 3 mana, 4/4, nice, trample, nice... echo, boing.

Those mechanics make a card cost less because it has the drawback mechanic.

Phyrexian mana makes a card cost (slightly) more because it has the drawback mechanic.

Perhaps it's only the first category they really shy away from? (The most recent version I can think of would be Champion)
I am surprised that Mark didnt address complaints from color-blind players about the Phy-mana symbol...

~ Tim



Allow me. There really isn't an issue. Most of the cards' colors can be inferred from context (e.g. it's a big flying Dragon). All of the cards actually have the correpsonding mana symbol printed in the reminder text. Players who are unable to distinguish between colors should have no problems figuring out the color of their cards with Phyrexian mana symbols.
Mark did also mention the reminder text in a tweet. Not that Twitter should ever be confused with the main site. But he did say something there.

Most of the cards are easy to tell as long as they don't violate the color pie. Well...except for the part that paying life for any color of spell kind of does. Spined Thopter is a card I only know is blue because of the reminder text.

So while the dragon and the Giant Growth variant work due to context, not all of them fall neatly into to that pile. For that matter, you actually have to know the color pie. That said, now having seen them all it likely will not be be quite the issue I originally envisioned, but that's only because R&D played it safe. Gold cards, or cards with multicolored actvation costs, are much more problematic. So this is a case where it basically works because it is only showing up in a single set and they were cautious enough with card selection, not because there isn't an inherent problem with those mana symbols.
The only thing I see that really bothers me is that you had this great new resource in Phyrexian mana, you were still showing Phyrexian corruption of Mirrodin, yet you didn't manage a Phyrexian perversion of Sunburst? Something that comes into play with a +1/+1 counter for each 1 life you spent to play it, or the like? I suppose I only looked over the spoilers list briefly, though - I could've missed it. It just seems appropriate; I know you had a lot to fit into the set, but the overall (i.e. over the course of the whole block) execution of tying Mirrodin and New Phyrexia was mechanically weak.

And, actually, I've seen that problem a lot lately. You'll hit some real home-runs in your core sets, where you're really valuing flavour-mechanic ties, but recent expansions just seem mechanically sloppy. While I wasn't around much for Alara block (multicolour doesn't interest me much, generally speaking), I noticed it a lot in Zendikar (Maps, Traps, and Chaps was quite the jump from a land theme, and I wouldn't have picked up on it without your articles - the cards didn't express it well, on their own), and it seems to have played through Scars block, as well. I have the utmost respect for your design standards, but you seem to have grown exceptionally lax, lately. Or maybe that's just a personal impression; I don't know.

Anyhow, I had no intention of this turning into a rant; I sure tangentialised the subject matter, eh? Good work on New Phyrexia, anyhow - there's still plenty about it for me to enjoy, even if I can't help but pick out the objectionable bits...

EDIT: I should note, it may not be so much that design has gotten sloppier; as I've grown more familiar with your articles, and your theories on design in general, my standards may simply have risen. Either way, I don't feel that Magic design has lived up to its potential over the past couple blocks, and I haven't really seen any indication that things are getting better. I'll keep my hopes up, though, and I look forward to what's coming in the future...
Here's what I'd like to hear about: Phyrexian mana is a very Spike ability, and I could have sworn that the key players in this (Aaron, Mark, and Ken) were all firmly against having much of that in a set.

I would assume this was a conscious effort to evade the general trend of "set 3 of [block]" pretty much always being the weakest set of the block.
The only thing I see that really bothers me is that you had this great new resource in Phyrexian mana, you were still showing Phyrexian corruption of Mirrodin, yet you didn't manage a Phyrexian perversion of Sunburst? Something that comes into play with a +1/+1 counter for each 1 life you spent to play it, or the like? I suppose I only looked over the spoilers list briefly, though - I could've missed it. It just seems appropriate; I know you had a lot to fit into the set, but the overall (i.e. over the course of the whole block) execution of tying Mirrodin and New Phyrexia was mechanically weak.


Etched Monstrosity is sort of the phyrexian version of sunburst. Something that uses +1/+1 counters wouldn't really work in this set because of infect (they don't really like mixing counters types, the interaction isn't the most intuitive thing ever, it makes board states confusing), and I'm not really sure how interesting some kind of +1/+1 counters for life payed mechanic would be. It seems like it would be very difficult to balance it so you'd ever want to play it for regular mana, and it doesn't really seem like it would play like sunburst (since instead of sort of scaling, it seems like it would always either come into play with 2 or 4 counters based on if the card had one or two Ph in the cost). You'd have to pretty much redo the template so you could easily make multiple cards that cost ugly things like PPPPP if you wanted it to play like sunburst.
Something occurred to me this morning. I seem to remember reading an article about Scars of Mirrodin or Mirrodin Besieged (maybe a preview article, maybe a Latest Developments column after they were released, who knows) which said that in this block they made lifegain better than usual because of all the times it would be useless against poison counters. That is, normally they don't make life gain too powerful because it slows down games and doesn't help end them, but here they made it more common than usual and let it grant larger amounts of life and/or cost less mana than they would in another block.

Well, here they are letting you use life as mana. This reminds me of Channel, one of those ridiculously powerful cards made before Wizards figured out how the game's resources actually worked. Obviously the Phyrexian mana mechanic is different - you pay 2 life per mana instead of just one, it's on specific cards instead of giving you mana you can spend on anything - but still, I hope they were careful with this. Fangren Marauder, Birthing Pod and/or Thundering Tanadon look like they might make a powerful deck archetype, Vault Skirge will pay for itself quickly, and Immolating Souleater and True Conviction can go infinite.

Also, rules question: what happens if you control Phyrexian Unlife and Melira, Sylvok Outcast? I think you can't lose the game, but I'm not sure.

Finally, there's something that's been annoying me for a while: when are they going to add Ravnica watermarks to the Gatherer "Mark" search criterion? I realize the block is long since out of print, but still, it's been six months or so since we've been able to search for Mirran or Phyrexian cards with that. It's due.
Finally, there's something that's been annoying me for a while: when are they going to add Ravnica watermarks to the Gatherer "Mark" search criterion? I realize the block is long since out of print, but still, it's been six months or so since we've been able to search for Mirran or Phyrexian cards with that. It's due.

I don't recal Ravnica watermarks being used as a seasonal "you must do this" gimmick, which is the only real reason the Scars watermarks have a lookup.
Etched Monstrosity is sort of the phyrexian version of sunburst. Something that uses +1/+1 counters wouldn't really work in this set because of infect (they don't really like mixing counters types, the interaction isn't the most intuitive thing ever, it makes board states confusing), and I'm not really sure how interesting some kind of +1/+1 counters for life payed mechanic would be. It seems like it would be very difficult to balance it so you'd ever want to play it for regular mana, and it doesn't really seem like it would play like sunburst (since instead of sort of scaling, it seems like it would always either come into play with 2 or 4 counters based on if the card had one or two Ph in the cost). You'd have to pretty much redo the template so you could easily make multiple cards that cost ugly things like PPPPP if you wanted it to play like sunburst.

I see that that's what it was aiming for, but it was just... Underwhelming. I recognise the -1/-1 counter issue, so I wouldn't be surprised if they stuck to a noncreature charge counter artifact - but there were plenty of those to use, anyhow. If they did want to use a creature (to do something more iconic, presumably), it could simply work in reverse - coming into play with fewer -1/-1 counters, for as much life as you paid. And I'm not strictly talking about multiple cards with the ability; just one really iconic, direct reflection of Sunburst. I assume that's what they were getting at with Etched Monstrosity, but the execution of it was just very lacking.

Naturally, I see your concerns - but I can also see at least a few ways that could make a functional card from the mechanic. Feel free to ignore, me, though - I've been generally underwhelmed with a lot of recent Magic design; perhaps I'm being unnecessarily harsh...
I already felt pity for MaRo when I saw the "Full Spoilers" out on the main page. His article confirmed it.

"Aaron thought my idea sounded good, so our first pitch to the design team had Phyrexian mana live in the colored mana symbols. The idea went over well and as it's the key mechanic of New Phyrexia, obviously things worked out all right. If you haven't had a chance to see Phyrexian mana in action, here are some cards that show it off. My particular favorite is a Dragon that definitely feels Phyrexian in nature. If you're interested in seeing the whole set, you can go straight to the Card Image Gallery"

This paragraph (no doubt changed ever since they got hold of the news of the leak) expresses sorrow. The normal MaRo article would have likely been.

"Aaron thought my idea sounded good, so our first pitch to the design team had Phyrexian mana live in the colored mana symbols. The idea went over well and as it's the key mechanic of New Phyrexia, obviously things worked out all right. If you haven't had a chance to see Phyrexian mana in action, there were a couple previewed earlier (Insert Surgical Extraction and Phyrexian Metamorph) My particular favorite is a Phyrexian Dragon. Click Here to see it."

And MaRo would have most certainly went at length about the Dragon.

But, the changes gave the vibe of "My favorite is the dragon and I'm supposed to preview it, but you have the whole spoiler in front of you now and are probably more interested in Mental Misstep and Beast Within than the dragon and me liking it. I give up, here's the link to the spoiler." (It is, also, pretty much indicative it was a last-minute change.)

This was what I felt when I read the article... of course, I'm not MaRo and may have gotten it completely wrong. But from his previous preview articles, you can just feel the "break" in the article and a chunk of missing information about his opinions on Moltensteel Dragon. Maybe he'll read this and clarify whether he had initially wrote about the dragon in a future article (and hopefully he still holds a copy of the original text for the dragon, I'll read it.)
Finally, there's something that's been annoying me for a while: when are they going to add Ravnica watermarks to the Gatherer "Mark" search criterion? I realize the block is long since out of print, but still, it's been six months or so since we've been able to search for Mirran or Phyrexian cards with that. It's due.

I don't recal Ravnica watermarks being used as a seasonal "you must do this" gimmick, which is the only real reason the Scars watermarks have a lookup.


True, they weren't. But it seems like a waste to add this feature just for a seasonal "you must do this" gimmick, which so far is unique. Maybe they'll use it every block from now on, although that would get old quickly, maybe just for special occasions every few years. But either way, would it really be all that hard for them to add the mark coding to the Ravnica block cards that have them? It would help Vorthoses building guild-themed decks and anyone building EDH decks in those colors, just for starters. I think the benefit it would offer would be non-trivial, since the Ravnica watermarks were based on the guild's signature mechanic, or being multicolored, or having an ability with an off-color activation cost, or abilities based on whether a certain color was spent to play the spell. Searching for all that stuff together is a fair amount of work when we could just type in one guild's name for the same effect.
They should have made a (P) mana symbol that is only paid for by paying two life.  Then they could use the hybrid (2/r) mana symbol template they used in Shadowmoor.  The colored pyrexian mana cost in New Phyrexia would then be the hybrid symbol (P/r) where "P" is an uncolored phyrexian symbol.

This would not only be more consistant with the past, it would allow more design options as (P) costs could be included without color.  Also you could use a colorless hybred mana cost (P/2) which could be paid with two life or two colorless mana.
True, but it's an odd-looking symbol and it would be crammed into half of a hybrid mana. I already have enough problems looking at NPH cards and seeing what I just know if the Zendikar expansion symbol.
Odd looking? It's a stylized phi... anyway.

I wish that they'd 'hilight' cards despite having spoiled the whole set, because I'm not a very good player, I overwhelm looking at the full spoiler, and seeing a few cards like that would let me get my bearings more easily.
I understand why they did the whole set, but I for one had resisted looking at it, wanting the reveal to occur as I like it -- ala one card at a time w/ articles.  So I'm a little disappointed they didn't just say "Hey, its been spoiled... but if you want the slow roll that's what we are going to do."  I am probably the minority of people who wanted that, so I understand... but it still makes me sad.

I feel exactly the same way.  I can't decide whether I should go ahead and look at the whole spoiler now, or wait and try to pretend that the next two weeks' articles have actual previews.

Definitely a bummer for Wizards that this happened.  Will there be an official statement about it?
This set feels like it was designed by me. I think it's top notch stuff. Although I do think putting in potent infect hate is a bit redundant considering infect's efficacy in competititve play (although I eagerly await ZEN rotating out, which could bring about infect's day in the sun).
Odd looking? It's a stylized phi... anyway.

I wish that they'd 'hilight' cards despite having spoiled the whole set, because I'm not a very good player, I overwhelm looking at the full spoiler, and seeing a few cards like that would let me get my bearings more easily.



They'll still do articles and I'll still read them. 

I understand why they did the whole set, but I for one had resisted looking at it, wanting the reveal to occur as I like it -- ala one card at a time w/ articles.  So I'm a little disappointed they didn't just say "Hey, its been spoiled... but if you want the slow roll that's what we are going to do."  I am probably the minority of people who wanted that, so I understand... but it still makes me sad.

I feel exactly the same way.  I can't decide whether I should go ahead and look at the whole spoiler now, or wait and try to pretend that the next two weeks' articles have actual previews.

Definitely a bummer for Wizards that this happened.  Will there be an official statement about it?


Unlikely that there'll be a statement. The only time they ever said anything was after the Rancored Elf incident. They have a real "head in the sand" attitude towards the whole issue which some would call noble, but I just call tiresome. Though I don't play videogames as much as I used to, I still like keeping up with the industry news from time to time, and when there's a leak or a hack, the people from the game company are often out there, either calming the masses or lambasting those reponsible. I just get a better sense of community awareness when I see responses like that.  

Personally speaking, even when I learn the cards early, I still like reading the articles by the WOTC staff for their insider point of view. And if they were to make this their policy going forward, to release the whole set much sooner, I would think the articles would only improve since they wouldn't have to be filled with so much hype-fluff and could just talk about the cards (and would also be able to reference other cards in the set without having to resort to referring to them as "such and such black card works well with this card"; they could just say the damn card. )

 

Always interesting to read Maro's takes on how sets came together, though I'm still of the opinion that they should have stuck with their initial plan and just started with New Phyrexia. As it is, the block kinda suffers from the same thing the Star Wars prequels did: a lot of folks would liked the prequels to start with Revenge of the Sith, with the next two movies being the Jedi Purge. I think the first two sets fell into the same trap The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones did: some interesting stuff here and there, but was it really necessary?

Anyways, about the design team, again, nice to see people from slightly outside the game pitching in with ideas.

Again with the Future Sight stuff. I'm one of the folks that loved that whole block for both the nostalgia and all the unique ideas, but it's getting kind of annoying to see all these concepts come to fruition in the sets, but without the original cards we first saw them on. 

And I'm looking forward to your explanation on allowing the phybrid cards to stretch the color pie (by being able to be played in a completely different color deck). I personally have no issue with stretching the boundaries of the color pie almost to the breaking point, but I still like to know the thought process behind it.
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
Wait, why did they spoil the whole set? Didn't they at one point state they had a clear policy of completely ignoring leaks?
It was probably too big of a leak to ignore. My biggest problem was all of the Articles on other sites saying how bad it was that someone would spoil all the cards and basically condemning whoever leaked the set, but then going on to read all the cards. Seems pretty hypocritical to me.

Always interesting to read Maro's takes on how sets came together, though I'm still of the opinion that they should have stuck with their initial plan and just started with New Phyrexia. As it is, the block kinda suffers from the same thing the Star Wars prequels did: a lot of folks would liked the prequels to start with Revenge of the Sith, with the next two movies being the Jedi Purge. I think the first two sets fell into the same trap The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones did: some interesting stuff here and there, but was it really necessary?



And I'm looking forward to your explanation on allowing the phybrid cards to stretch the color pie (by being able to be played in a completely different color deck). I personally have no issue with stretching the boundaries of the color pie almost to the breaking point, but I still like to know the thought process behind it.



Indeed, the set feels almost as much like Planar Chaos as it does Shadowmoor. I'm fine with that; let the color pie fanatics have at it, I don't care.

But I do wish this was the first set, or at least that this wasn't tied to the rest of the block. If ever there was a good time to actually make a standalone third set this is it. What's holding me back from the prerelease more than anything is the fact that I would have to crack Scars packs and play with them. I'd rather crack six NPH boosters.
Here's what I'd like to hear about: Phyrexian mana is a very Spike ability, and I could have sworn that the key players in this (Aaron, Mark, and Ken) were all firmly against having much of that in a set.

I would assume this was a conscious effort to evade the general trend of "set 3 of [block]" pretty much always being the weakest set of the block.


...What? Are you forgetting that the last set-three had cascade and the one before that had Tarmogoyf?
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