06/13/2011 MM: "The Bleed Story"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
But Mark! TimeSpiral was Magic's "Gladiator," Cineplex moneymaker and Best Picture winner!
I still think you're selling Time Spiral short.  At the time, me and my friends were pretty casual players (our first tournament was the Planar Chaos prerelease).  Even then, the set had a ton of appeal to our casual eyes, as it had a ton of different themes going on, so my friend who wanted a tribal deck could build Thallids or Slivers, my friend who wanted a control deck could load up on Think Twices and Mystical Teachings, and my friend who wanted a wacky combo deck could build Paradox Haze-Chronomatic Escape.  Plus, you basically got 2 rares in every pack (at least in Time Spiral, and sometimes in Planar Chaos).  Who doesn't want 2 rares in every pack, especially when they're a casual player without a huge budget?  Also, looking back, Ravnica-Time Spiral had one of the most vibrant Standard formats ever, with viable control, aggro, and combo options and a wide pool of strong but not overwhelmingly powerful cards to choose from - a perfect toolbox.  So I definitely think it succeeded in being a fun block, and the most balanced one released in a long time. 

Modern design could learn more lessons from Time Spiral than Time Spiral could learn from modern design.  Embrace the arthouse!  I would much rather R&D design with an arthouse sensibility and rely on creative team/branding to market it to the lowest common denominator than for the sets to be built from the ground up with the lowest common denominator in mind.  To use your metaphor, make a brilliant arthouse film, then leave it to the marketing team to give it glitz to sell to the people who just want to see explosions and breasts.  Your job is to create a film that will be remembered, not a film that will sell well and then fade into the haze of so many summer blockbusters.
Magic is in many ways alive. The game, like a shark, can never rest.  Like a shark, it is barreling swiftly towards the future.  You might say Magic has several sets of serrated teeth, slanted backwards into its mouth, making it difficult to remove a mechanical or conceptual element from Magic, once that element has entered the game's massive jaws.  Which in many ways makes Magic comparable to a shark.

I was hoping for more specific discussion of the New Phyrexia cards, but I appreciated the column anyway. NPH is my favorite set since my all-time #1, Future Sight, so I obviously think it turned out well, but I'd still love to hear what Mark thinks about the results.
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to do pinpoint enchantment removal in artifacts? We know doing so would undercut red's weakness, so we are very careful about not letting artifacts have access to that ability.



Mark, why do you only ever fixate on this one weakness?  You are not "very careful" about making sure a green deck can't use artifacts to kill creatures.  You are not "very careful" about keeping decks with no blue and no black from using artifacts to draw cards or force discards.  Those artifacts are all vital components of a healthy game - and a Disenchanting Rod would be too.  MAKE ONE!!!
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
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to do pinpoint enchantment removal in artifacts? We know doing so would undercut red's weakness, so we are very careful about not letting artifacts have access to that ability.

Mark, why do you only ever fixate on this one weakness?  You are not "very careful" about making sure a green deck can't use artifacts to kill creatures.  You are not "very careful" about keeping decks with no blue and no black from using artifacts to draw cards or force discards.  Those artifacts are all vital components of a healthy game - and a Disenchanting Rod would be too.  MAKE ONE!!!

Lux Cannon?  Liquimetal Coating+Shatter?  Seems like they have.  That's basically the level of quality for artifacts that kill creatures, anyway.
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...
I've been waiting for this article and it didn't disappoint. I love learning about the inner workings of the game so it was really interesting reading what you had to say on the matter.

Also, the  color pie archive was a great idea.
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to do pinpoint enchantment removal in artifacts? We know doing so would undercut red's weakness, so we are very careful about not letting artifacts have access to that ability.



Mark, why do you only ever fixate on this one weakness?  You are not "very careful" about making sure a green deck can't use artifacts to kill creatures.  You are not "very careful" about keeping decks with no blue and no black from using artifacts to draw cards or force discards.  Those artifacts are all vital components of a healthy game - and a Disenchanting Rod would be too.  MAKE ONE!!!



The (relative) lack of Enchantment removal is probably the one edge they have over Artifacts. 
So Mark, I guess giving blue direct damage, life gain, and land searching at common rarity is okay, but giving red a 2 card combo that destroys enchantments at uncommon isn't.

Amirite?

I appreciate that MaRo loves the color pie enough to write this column, but he seems to have double standards on what breaks the pie.
I think it would have made your analogy easier to not use perfect circles. If a circle is placed within another circle, the natural position for it to be in is the center--place it anywhere else and the first question anyone asks is why it wasn't placed in the center. But if you are simply placing an irregular shape inside another irregular shape, it would be much easier to understand that the initial shape and placement of the core is arbitrary--there's no reason one irregular shape would necessarily be better than another.

Going geological with core, mantle and crust was also probably not the best choice for your initial column, since in our everyday life we interact with the Earth's crust all the time, but only rarely with the mantle--even then usually indirectly--and practically never with the core.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the column.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

Lux Cannon?  Liquimetal Coating+Shatter?  Seems like they have.  That's basically the level of quality for artifacts that kill creatures, anyway.



Those work on creatures too.  But Heartseeker, Pit Trap, Cursed Scroll, Fodder Cannon, Suncrusher, Altar of Shadows, Predator Flagship, or a Mortarpod with a Basilisk Collar can't destroy enchantments.

So Mark, I guess giving blue direct damage, life gain, and land searching at common rarity is okay, but giving red a 2 card combo that destroys enchantments at uncommon isn't.



This.  Seriously, just let it happen already.

If you think that red should be a special case because it has direct damage, haste, and various ways of ending the game fast and so you want it to be more crippled by its weakness than any other color, just say so.  But stop pretending any other color has any other weakness which you are this adamantly committed to not breaking.

PS - Dear tech team, please fix whatever is screwing up my autocards....
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 color philosophies are a constant. Black means today what black meant when the game came out eighteen years ago. (To be fair, though, we've spent a lot of time since Alpha getting a better understanding of what those philosophies are.)



Ah, Mark Rosewater. You're very amusing sometimes.
So Mark, I guess giving blue direct damage, life gain, and land searching at common rarity is okay, but giving red a 2 card combo that destroys enchantments at uncommon isn't.

Amirite?

I appreciate that MaRo loves the color pie enough to write this column, but he seems to have double standards on what breaks the pie.


Don't you know by now?  It's nothing against Red in particular.  It's just that Blue gets to do everything.

It's funny, Mr. Rosewater says, "[E]arly Magic was very much defined by blue. (Okay, blue also had the most overpowered cards.)"  I like how he uses the past tense - as if Jace, the most powerful card in Standard - didn't exist.  And when he says "early Magic," he must be talking about that little slice of time I call the first 15 years of the game.  To be fair, we have had a few non-blue years recently, but it hardly seems like the problem with blue's pie has been fixed.

On topic, I thought the article was pretty decent, and more or less described how I think of the pie, shifts, and bleeds.  I prefer these more straight-forward technical articles without a lot of asides and non-Magic talk.
I agree with willpell on the red enchantment-removal thing. Also, is black still considered 'weak' as a color? Black not having any way to kill artifacts in an artifact-themed block (Gate to Phyrexia reprint at least? No?) seems rediculous. I would desperately try to find a philosophically compatable way for black to deal with enchantments and/or artifacts a bit if it needs a push to be more competitive. Same with red dealing with enchantments. It just seems to me like a color is pretty weak if it has to win by 6, can't deal with a major card type, and only really has one consistently good deck type. The game gets more complex with each new set release, and having colors not being able to come up with answers to major card types seems like it will only simplify those colors. I just think having answers is more important than MaRo's idea of 'color balance' since the colors are unbalanced anyway in terms of abilities (everyone knows that's blue, right?)

Having more answers and fleshing out new abilities seems to be working well for seperating green and white identity (Green: noncreature permanent kill, flyer hate, deathtouch; White: few/no permanent removal for everything, mana-taxing counterspells). One idea I had for red was to give it annihilator, something like this:

Scorching-Field Elemental
1RR
Creature - Elemental
Haste, Annihilator 1
At the beginning of the next end step, sacrifice CARDNAME.
3/1

Definitely not a powerhouse, but it lends to red's ability to make an opponent sacrifice a permanent of their choice in cards like Misguided Rage. Compare this to something that might have too much bleed and power focused in one color:

Deteriorating Destruction
1U
Instant
Destroy target nonland permanent if it came into play this turn unless its controller pays 3.

...except as its real version, Mana Leak, it's actually much better since it can effectively do the same to instants and soceries, destroy indestructable permanents, prevent ETB abilities, and cannot be responded to unless your opponent pays the mana or has another card similar to this (which is also 99.9% likely to be blue). The answer to counterspells? Maybe a card or two in an entire block or core set that says 'cannot be countered.' The color pie doesn't mean anything to me if it doesn't provide balance and strive to be that perfect circle.
Don't forget about Spine of Ish Sah and Karn Liberated as cards that let red remove enchantments. (Actually in practice I use Ratchet Bomb).

Drawing cards is an important part of the game so that's why all colors have access to it.

Allowing blue and green to destroy creatures doesn't really give them that much more ability than they used to have, since they already have ways of dealing with creatures like bounce and counter, Provoke style effects, blocking, permanently tap down, etc.

Being able to destroy enchantments is not vital to the game nor is it something that red could already do in a different way. So making a disenchanting scepter is a more serious color bleed than Jayemdae Tome or Brittle Effigy
So, I read through the article, went to the link to all the colour pie articles and read the ones that explained each colour kinda. 2 things.

1. I noticed that, yes, Magic does seem to harp on Red not having enchantment removal. Of course I noticed that AFTER having read it here. So.

2. Why is there no Green Simpsons character? Would that be Maggie? Lisa is Blue, Marge is White, Bart is Black, Homer is Red. No Maggie or Green character. One of the articles also mentions needing a Simpsons character for each type.

Rawr. I'm tired.
Mr. Rosewater, I want to make one thing absolutely clear.

You know that one movie you like? That one movie that maybe didn't really make it at the box office, the one that got a lot of indy play but never caught on? The one that a lot of peopel dismiss as terrible, but you find so much value in that every single time you watch it, you notice some new detail that gives you that warm inner glow that you felt when you saw it for the very first time?

That, to me, is Time Spiral block. No matter what anyone else says, TS block was, in my eyes, a love letter written to eveything I loved, love, and will love about Magic. 
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
So, I read through the article, went to the link to all the colour pie articles and read the ones that explained each colour kinda. 2 things.

1. I noticed that, yes, Magic does seem to harp on Red not having enchantment removal. Of course I noticed that AFTER having read it here. So.

2. Why is there no Green Simpsons character? Would that be Maggie? Lisa is Blue, Marge is White, Bart is Black, Homer is Red. No Maggie or Green character. One of the articles also mentions needing a Simpsons character for each type.

Rawr. I'm tired.


Yes, Maggie is the green Simpson. I thought he said so in the green article - I know he said it somewhere. Though really, I think some of them are iffy. Bart as Red and Marge as White are spot-on, but Lisa and Homer seriously bleed out of their colours, in particular Lisa's almost as White as she is Blue; and I don't think Maggie has a well-formed enough to place anywhere.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
Being able to destroy enchantments is not vital to the game nor is it something that red could already do in a different way. So making a disenchanting scepter is a more serious color bleed than Jayemdae Tome or Brittle Effigy



Destroying enchantments isn't vital? Tell that to Oblivion Ring, or even better, Necropotence.

Red's inability to destroy enchantments has long been one of the reasons it sucks in EDH (The other being its lack of card advantage).
Magic is in many ways alive. The game, like a shark, can never rest.  Like a shark, it is barreling swiftly towards the future.  You might say Magic has several sets of serrated teeth, slanted backwards into its mouth, making it difficult to remove a mechanical or conceptual element from Magic, once that element has entered the game's massive jaws.  Which in many ways makes Magic comparable to a shark.



Epic first post.  I lol'd.
I read this and immediately came to the forum to praise Time Sprial to see that I had been beaten to the punch by everyone, nice


I agree with the previous posts about red getting the short end of the stick but I also feel like R&D has been doing a fine job of honing in on making red stronger around Zendikar with cards like Burst Lightning, Arc Trail, Slagstorm, Staggershock, Goblin Bushhacker, Ember Hauler, Manic Vandal, Cunning Sparkmage, Chandra's Spitfire, Obsidian Fireheart, Comet Storm Red Sun's Zenith, Slagstorm and Koth of the Hammer.

Interesting to note in Mark's article titled Chaos Theory he says:

"You see, I was all excited. I’m jumping up and down screaming, “alternate reality, alternate reality!” I knew we’d found our answer. Everyone else in R&D just looked at me weird. One of my ongoing issues is that I’m an intuitive thinker. I reach solutions instinctually. That is, ideas come to me and I just know they’re correct. The problem is that the rest of R&D are speculative thinkers."

Sounds straight out of his article Seeing Red dedicated to red and its motivations.  Mark, PLEASE make a set with Ken Nagle somewhere in the lead that is focused on red

Red's inability to destroy enchantments has long been one of the reasons it sucks in EDH (The other being its lack of card advantage).

I think the  phrase you're looking for is "40 starting life points."

I agree with everyone else's posts about red without a doubt, as mono-red is my favorite deck type but I also think red has had some wonderful spells added to it's arsenal in "modern" Magic to give it more efficiency in Burst Lightning, Slagstorm, Staggershock, Hell's Thunder, Ember Hauler, Manic Vandal , Chandra's Spitfire, Comet Storm, Slagstorm, Koth of the Hammerand Bituminous Blast (if it were color-shifted to 3RR)

You must really like Slagstorm Smile - counting both modes separately?
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...
I didnt play during the TS block, but i really love cards like ancestral recall and lotus bloom that let me play nearly identical cards to p9 cards I will never own. Blue will always be the best color as long as it was powerful card drawing effects, and powerful counterspells (mana leak im looking at you). On a sidenote I hope innastrad has a lot of green love. Green in scars block was all infect, and we have the eldrazi leaving.
I liked this article. Mark's a career apologist and one could read the article this way, but I'm inclined to think on this, arguably his pet topic, he wrote with sincerity (albeit a slight miopia).

And, for the most part, I agree with him. When vengevine was printed at mythic (blah blah blah) I saw a rare elevated to mythic for cash reasons. Some argued that the haste ability made it special in a mythic way. In other words, they argued from the small circle POV. I argued, to the effect, that haste has always been within green's philosophy, it was nothing surprising and therefore not mythic. With the benefit of this article I would have added that there is no rule that color bleed is supposed to happen "mythic down". Without spoiling things not yet spoiled, check out M2012 and a certain creature mechanic shifting to black.

Two niggles. Firstly, I was hoping for a line or two about hornet sting. Mark's view that the card is out of color is well known, so I would have liked to hear if this is still regarded as such or merely just the implementation of color bleed. In fact, I'd love to know if there are other cards he regards as out of color (personally, I think diabolic tutor is and always has been).

Secondly, what I call the vanilla curve (the mana curve for vanilla creatures). It is in my view the one area where the mechanical implementation of the color philosophy needs to be more rigid. Does red get a better creature for than black for ? I know the answer in M12, but I feel I should know the answer before I look at examples, and I don't.

Otherwise, a good read.
Red's inability to destroy enchantments has long been one of the reasons it sucks in EDH (The other being its lack of card advantage).


Spine of Ish Sah is fine in EDH. The reason red is the weakest EDH colour is that it has very little tutoring, no decent draw, and a lot of difficulty dealing with creatures in a world where most things you'd want to kill have upwards of five toughness. Black has just as much trouble with enchantments (and it can't kill artifacts either, which I'd say is a bigger weakness), and nobody's accusing black of sucking in EDH.
blah blah metal lyrics
Hornet Sting has already been answered to death. It was done because it was far easier to understand that a color is bad at some aspect of the game if you make comparatively weak cards. If you print direct damage in red, and restricted direct damage in white, you get it at first sight that red is better at direct damage than white. If you print an awesomely bad direct damage spell like Hornet String in a set with Lightning Bolt, new players immediatly understand that it's bad, much like the pairing Serra Angel / Air Elemental.

The only interesting words from this article is that Mark Rosewater says that blue hasn't any defined weakness. I hope this means they're going to be a little more strict in what blue can't do, and that their choice of weaknesses start becoming meaningful. Right now, Blue merfolk decks are stronger than goblins and slivers because every printed merfolk lord in the last sets act like monocolored slivers with TWO abilities at a probably too cheap cost, and despite blue being supposedly the weakest creature color, heh. Your design rules don't mean anything if you don't follow them. How about following a check list before moving the product to press? Tongue out

But Mark! TimeSpiral was Magic's "Gladiator," Cineplex moneymaker and Best Picture winner!



We all wish it was, but it wasn't.

Modern design could learn more lessons from Time Spiral than Time Spiral could learn from modern design.  Embrace the arthouse! I would much rather R&D design with an arthouse sensibility and rely on creative team/branding to market it to the lowest common denominator than for the sets to be built from the ground up with the lowest common denominator in mind.  To use your metaphor, make a brilliant arthouse film, then leave it to the marketing team to give it glitz to sell to the people who just want to see explosions and breasts.  Your job is to create a film that will be remembered, not a film that will sell well and then fade into the haze of so many summer blockbusters.



The first is what we want, but the second is his job. A job that doesn't bring in money doesn't work.

Bart as Red and Marge as White are spot-on



Except that Bart is black and Homer is red =p
Black has just as much trouble with enchantments (and it can't kill artifacts either, which I'd say is a bigger weakness), and nobody's accusing black of sucking in EDH.



Black removal is actually an interesting case study. Black removal has some sharp limitations, and none of them for philosophical reasons. Black is bad at destroying enchantments and at destroying artifacts. Further, Black is bad at destroying Black creatures. (Yes, yes, Go for the Throat, Assassinate, I know. Enough staple Black removal cards specify 'non-Black creature' that I think it's fair to say that Black has a weakness when it comes to destroying Black creatures.)

Why does Black have those weaknesses? It's certainly not to do with Black's philosophy. There's no real reason why Black would not destroy enchantments or Black creatures, nor are there reasons why the ability to do so should be beyond Black's power. But it's important to preserve Black's frequent 'deal with the devil' flavour. It's not that Black is unwilling or unable to make a lopsided bargain and then weasel out of paying the price; it's that the flavour requires that it be hard for Black to weasel out of these things. Black can't just use its own removal on, say, Abyssal Persecutor. It's important that when Black plays a Dark Confidant or Dark Tutelage that Black have to pay the price, and not just have an easy way of destroying the creature or enchantment when it ceases to be useful. It's not that Black doesn't want to or is not in theory capable of weaselling out of its own deals: it's that when you make a deal with the devil, you eventually pay for it. The devil will be back to make sure of it. Black's flavour requres that it not have easy ways out.

The only interesting words from this article is that Mark Rosewater says that blue hasn't any defined weakness.



Blue's weakness, as I understand it, is supposed to be a lack of efficiently costed creatures.

It's just that:

1) Blue gets efficiently costed creatures anyway.

2) Blue doesn't particularly need them. Lacking particularly efficient creatures is not a huge problem for control, and further, Blue has very good ways to cheat in powerful or efficient creatures (re: Master Transmuter shenanigans). Blue has in-colour ways to counteract and shore up its own weaknesses.

As for the article, I too would've liked more concrete NPH examples, a look at what those cards are and aren't.

Normally black and green (and to a lesser extent white) are the graveyard colors, but in a set about the graveyard, we bleed to areas that blue and red make sense in.



Innistrad? =D

You'll find that historically the biggest color bleed mistakes have come when we let colors do something they're not supposed to be able to do.



What other forms of color bleed are there >.>
Spine of Ish Sah is fine in EDH. The reason red is the weakest EDH colour is that it has very little tutoring, no decent draw, and a lot of difficulty dealing with creatures in a world where most things you'd want to kill have upwards of five toughness. Black has just as much trouble with enchantments (and it can't kill artifacts either, which I'd say is a bigger weakness), and nobody's accusing black of sucking in EDH.



Worth noting as well that the difficulty in dealing with big creatures for red is not limited to just EDH.  A lot of red standard decks are aggro decks, as the further you get into a game, the more red decks start having to do two for ones.  A 6/6 for 6...easy to deal with in black, white, or blue.  Not so so easy for red.

That said, I wouldn't mind if red or black got some more affordable enchantment removal.  Maybe then the design team would feel like they could make some better enchantments, instead of making enchantments (not auras, enchantments) generally cost more mana than they should to be playable.

I also wouldn't mind if the devs tried a little harder to make some interesting bigger green creatures.  Green is supposed to be the creature color.  It should have some interesting stuff on its creatures.  Instead, it is usually some angel, demon, dragon, or sphinx that is interesting, while the green sits over in his corner debating whether he'll have trample, play with mana in some way, or, in the case of something like the green titan, both.
The only interesting words from this article is that Mark Rosewater says that blue hasn't any defined weakness. I hope this means they're going to be a little more strict in what blue can't do, and that their choice of weaknesses start becoming meaningful.



Wanna bet?

(Magic 2012 spoiler)

Apparently there was a design need to bleed some stuff in Magic 2012, so blue is getting
Show
an illusion lord granting all illusions hexproof.

For two mana. Because why shouldn't blue get an ability that prinicpally belongs in another colour for three mana cheaper than that colour pays?
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to do pinpoint enchantment removal in artifacts? We know doing so would undercut red's weakness, so we are very careful about not letting artifacts have access to that ability.

Mark, why do you only ever fixate on this one weakness?  You are not "very careful" about making sure a green deck can't use artifacts to kill creatures.  You are not "very careful" about keeping decks with no blue and no black from using artifacts to draw cards or force discards.  Those artifacts are all vital components of a healthy game - and a Disenchanting Rod would be too.  MAKE ONE!!!

Lux Cannon?  Liquimetal Coating+Shatter?  Seems like they have.  That's basically the level of quality for artifacts that kill creatures, anyway.



I think those examples exist mostly because they don't want to start using the phrase nonenchantment permanent (or nonplaneswalker permanent). Artifact creature kill, life gain and milling exist at the lower rarities.

Quite frankly, the only thing I see as being in Mark's defense here is that artifacts specifically killing enchantments don't really make that much sense.

But I do think that Wizards should try to emphasize the weaknesses of the other colours a little more. Blue doesn't really have any weaknesses, especially given that Wizards likes pushing artifact creatures. Blue shouldn't be able to deal with cards when in play, but they can. Blue's bounce is fairly efficient, Blue gets Auras which either keep a creature down (Mystic Restraints) or outright steal something (Steal Artifact, Mind Control). Its creatures are pretty efficient. Magic 2011 brings us Water Servant (which is way better than Hill Giant), Cloud Elemental and Azure Drake, both pretty good flyers. And inefficiency is easily solved when going up a rarity or two. Noone can accuse Conundrum Sphinx or Frost Titan of being inefficient. In fact, for quickly killing people in the air, blue is simply the best colour. White and Black don't get the efficient top-end flyers and Red doesn't get the efficient low-end flyers. White's weakness is supposedly that it can't deal with things permanently (Oblivion Ring, Oust) or that it can't deal with things out of combat (Condemn, Chastise). But Path to Exile meant that that weakness was gone (even if White made it into a "fair" trade). Besides, and here's the real problem, Oblivion Ring has no weakness when you're playing against Red or Black. They can't deal with it at all. Add to that that white is the protection colour and gets to have insane anti-red and anti-black cards (I would love to see the reactions of all the blue-lovers if Wizards printed a blue hoser of the level of Kor Firewalker) and white doesn't really have any significant weaknesses against that pair. Green's weakness, finally, is that it has no way of dealing with creatures outside of combat. But then again, Hornet Sting and Desert Twister, plus a number of other cards (Arena-like stuff, Provoke, Lure).

So I'm sorry Mark, but except for Black and Red, no colours have any significantly fleshed-out weaknesses that Wizards has kept standing through the years. White gets a weakness which doesn't even matter against its enemies (because they can't deal with the enchantments) and is broken quite often, Blue doesn't have a weakness, and Green can get around it quite easily. Only Black and Red can't deal with everything without leaving their colour or dipping into artifacts.
76125763 wrote:
Zindaras' meta is like a fossil, ancient and its secrets yet to be uncovered. Only men of yore, long dead, knew of it.
Also, is black still considered 'weak' as a color? Black not having any way to kill artifacts in an artifact-themed block (Gate to Phyrexia reprint at least? No?) seems rediculous.



I wouldn't mind black getting enchantment destruction to mirror red's ability to destroy artifacts; each would then lack half of Disenchant (nevermind Naturalize, they tried to remove Disenchant from the White pie and have still left it in Green but keep giving it back to White).  Since white is theoretically not supposed to destroy creatures unless they attack or block, Disenchant + Shatter + black Demystify would have been cool by me.  Inability to touch artifacts makes sense for the color of death, since artifacts are made of dead matter; destroying enchantments could represent "killing" the magic that represents them, sapping all the energy into the void, which might reduce the effectiveness of some kinds of artifacts but certainly wouldn't deprive a sword of its sharpness or a wall of its toughness.

Gate to Phyrexia was a no-no for NPH due to the creative - there's no direct connection between Yawgmoth's world and Sheoldred's, they're just both fulfilling the same mission encoded into the Oil.

I just think having answers is more important than MaRo's idea of 'color balance'



The development team would appear to agree with you there, at least to a point.

Definitely not a powerhouse, but it lends to red's ability to make an opponent sacrifice a permanent of their choice in cards like Misguided Rage. Compare this to something that might have too much bleed and power focused in one color:



I did like that subtheme, but it was VERY small, to the point of not being even remotely useful.  Annihilator would definitely be an interesting way to play it up, but I doubt we'll ever be allowed to see it outside of the Eldrazi.
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
(I would love to see the reactions of all the blue-lovers if Wizards printed a blue hoser of the level of Kor Firewalker)

 

Actual City of Solitude
Land
T: add 1 to your mana pool.
Each player can cast spells only only during their own turns.

That'll teach 'm.
One reason why black doesn't have as much trouble as red is that it has discard.  You don't need to destroy an artifact/enchantment if you can pluck it out of the opponent's hand, so only ones that get out early or that are luckily topdecked pose a threat.

Also, black and red are the two colors that can just blow their opponent's head off (if he doesnt' have Leyline of Singularity); that's probably part of why they make their weaknesses more drastic.

Time Spiral was an awesome set, but if it didn't sell then nothing else matters.  Remember, Wizards needs a LOT of money coming in, if only to pay for all the awesome art they commission (I don't know how much this costs but it's at least several hundred dollars per piece, possibly thousands, and they do at least 500 new paintings a year - then they have to pay their devlopers for tons of playtests, and prize money for tournaments, and oh this little thing about actually printing and shipping the cards).  The most wonderful and awesome set in the world doesn't cut the mustard unless they sell probably a few million booster boxes; that's just business, sad to 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
I wouldn't mind black getting enchantment destruction to mirror red's ability to destroy artifacts; each would then lack half of Disenchant (nevermind Naturalize, they tried to remove Disenchant from the White pie and have still left it in Green but keep giving it back to White).



It makes sense for enchantment destruction to be in White, though. White is the enchantment colour. You will notice that of White's allies, Green gets to destroy enchantments, and Blue gets to tinker with enchantments (e.g. Aura Finesse); whereas White's enemies, Black and Red, are the colours with no in-built enchantment affinity. Just as Green has historically loved creatures, and Blue been given immense artifact synergy, enchantment manipulation and enchantment synergy seems to be in White's domain.

Gate to Phyrexia was a no-no for NPH due to the creative - there's no  direct connection between Yawgmoth's world and Sheoldred's, they're just  both fulfilling the same mission encoded into the Oil.



That's a nonsense excuse. You can:

1) Reprint the card with different flavour. Flavour Gate to Phyrexia as one of the lacunae; perhaps have the art show a Mirran peering into the Phyrexianised bowels of the planet in horror.

2) Make the card a functional reprint. Change the name, clean up the templating, fiddle with the mechanics as necessary for balance, and there you go. New card, same mechanic; and people who recognise the similarity to the old card will nod their heads and feel smart for catching a link between old and new Phyrexia.

To make this clear:

When someone says 'reprinting card X would be a great idea mechanically', you can never answer 'flavour doesn't allow that'. Flavour will always allow it. Flavour is by far the most mutable part of any card, and WotC has proven entirely willing to reprint the exact same card with a new name in the past. (For example. They wanted to reprint Arenson's Aura in Invasion, but the name made no sense. So they printed Teferi's Care. Exact same card, but changed name for flavour reasons. The only possible impact it has on balance is that now someone can run eight of the card: but no one was clamouring to run eight Arenson's Auras, and no one will be clamouring to run eight Gates to Phyrexia.)

And incidentally, on flavour:

No, Yawgmoth's Phyrexia was most emphatically not fulfilling the same mission due to the oil, because the oil did not exist back then. Yawgmoth's Phyrexia fulfilled Yawgmoth's will. That was its only purpose.
As I read this article, all I could think about is how overpowered Blue is.
(I would love to see the reactions of all the blue-lovers if Wizards printed a blue hoser of the level of Kor Firewalker)

 

Actual City of Solitude
Land
T: add 1 to your mana pool.
Each player can cast spells only only during their own turns.

That'll teach 'm.



I'll fateseal you, and then I'll do it again next turn, and next, and next... what? I sided out those Mana Leaks anyway...

That card would mess with mono-blue, but I don't think it would do too terribly much to blue-and-something-else. My personal feeling is that counters are much less relevant than they used to be (which I don't like. It seems that Blue these days is "a bunch of stuff that's only situationally relevant... and then an amazing bomb that wins games on its own and makes everything massively unfun." I suppose this is an improvement over "Want to win? Play Blue!" but I'd much rather have a more... even color than one so up-and-down. It didn't kill me to shift my major loyalties to Black, but I'm still wearin' my sadface.)

One reason why black doesn't have as much trouble as red is that it has discard.  You don't need to destroy an artifact/enchantment if you can pluck it out of the opponent's hand, so only ones that get out early or that are luckily topdecked pose a threat.

Also, black and red are the two colors that can just blow their opponent's head off (if he doesnt' have Leyline of Singularity); that's probably part of why they make their weaknesses more drastic.



I loathe White and Green and love Blue and Black, so I should be grumbling here, but as much as I hate that weakness in my two favorite colors (yeah, Blue can bounce and counter, but that's awkward) I think you're right here. Black already does almost everything, and does it very powerfully if you can get around the "deal with the devil" aspect, which is usually not even that tough. Giving Black the ability to deal with everything would just make it more ridiculous than it now is.

Which I'd grin evilly about and play with, don't get me wrong, but I could easily see it making Black a bogeyman on the level of old-school Blue.

2) Make the card a functional reprint. Change the name, clean up the templating, fiddle with the mechanics as necessary for balance, and there you go. New card, same mechanic; and people who recognise the similarity to the old card will nod their heads and feel smart for catching a link between old and new Phyrexia.

They could have color-shifted it!  That would have been cool - it could have shown good Phyrexian flavor in Red or possibly White.  "Goblin! Take this artifact and carry it into the Furnace.  ... Next goblin!  Take this artifact..."

Incidentally, it looks like (according to mtgsalvation) the new Commander sets have a card Chaos Warp, which appears to be the Red equivalent of Beast Within, potentially able to deal with any kind of permanent.  So there's your answer for Red enchantment hate.

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...
RED:

In regards to flavor, it makes sense as to why Red can't deal with enchantments. Red is a color of heated passion and one that acts upon impulse. Red is the color of fire and destruction. Red charges onto the battlefield first with its rage, then with its sword, then with its body, and lastly - if the former last through the fight - its mind. Red doesn't care to stop and think if the battlefield has been "enchanted" with effects; Red wants to burn and destroy.

In regards to gameplay, however, Red needs something in their arsenal to deal with enchantments. I truly believe the flavor of this can be put onto a card. for instance:

The Virtue of Patience   1R
Sorcery
Destroy up to 2 echantments. Each Enchantment destroyed this way deals 2 damage to you.
"Sometimes the best chance of victory comes at striking where your foes least expect. Even if it also means you take a few hits for the cause."