7/13/2011 StF: "M12 from the Inside, Part 1"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Savor the Flavor, which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
I'm afraid of Amphin Cuthroat putting us on the slope to gungans in Magic.
Do we need to explore a new Blue race? I don't think we did nearly enough with the Cephilid's from Fallen Empires just yet...
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Scarwood Bandits and Willow Satyr are green cards that let you steal stuff.
blah blah metal lyrics
Re: Stonehorn Dignitary
While I appreciate the flavor, why is it that he makes your opponent take the day off?  It's kind of a problem with Holy Day, too.  If a force of demons or barbarians is attacking, they're not going to care that the enemy is celebrating some sort of festival.

Re: Amphin Cutthroat
I love the name for this new race, but it seems like they're pretty much the same as the legged merfolk from Magic 2010.

Re: Turn to Frog
I wonder what sort of Alara spell would turn someone into a frog?  It's not a kind of magic I'd associate with any of the shards.

Re: Lord of the Unreal
Is blue supposed to be doing "proactive, attack-you-with-creatures" things?  I thought that was supposed to be one of its weaknesses.  That being said, I do think the skulking ability is very flavorful for Illusions.  I can't wait until Wizards prints Phantasmal Girl and Phantasmal Harelequin!

Re: Tormented Soul
Might this ability be the new version of shadow?

Re: Bloodrage Vampire
So, bloodthirst is now a black/red/green ability.  Too bad it wasn't around for Jund; I think it would have made more sense than the cannibalism devour ability.
I am one of those flavormongers who slings art descriptions, card names, flavor text, world-building material, and other creative writing for Magic.



Does that mean you're the one who replaced Flameblast Dragon's beautiful and poetic "edicts of flame" with its current hot mess of logorrhea, and replaced Lava Axe's genius, hilarious "catch" with some boring nonsense about redwoods?  (Speaking of Lava Axe, if I have to keep opening that piece of trash in boosters, I at the very least demand a chuckle.)  Because as far as flavor text (not overall flavor) is concerned, I was very disappointed with M12.  Simple and elegant with a touch of humor defines good MtG flavor text.  Huge, undigestible chunks of verbiage or story, do not.

And another thing.  The original flavor text on Zombie Goliath was funny, and that was the only memorable thing ABOUT that card!!  Aargh!  Why was so much good flavor text discarded in favor of bad with M12?  

Armored Warhorse:  That's all well and good, but why is it stronger and tougher than an Armored Pegasus?  :P  Sure, the Pegasus needs to be able to fly too.  But Pegasi are powerful, magical creatures.  Nowhere in the myth of Bellerophon is Pegasus described as being a wimp.  :P

Steeds:  I don't buy it.  When you guys really want to make the flavor of an idea work, you're willing to move heaven and earth.  Look at Level Up from Rise - it required a whole new kind of formatting for a card's text box (including alternating background color stripes) and confused the heck out of a lot of newbies for many moons (does it start at level 1 or 0?  Not obvious as printed).  But you guys endured the pain because you wanted the flavor that bad.

If you really wanted "steeds" badly enough, you could keyword it.  It would take one keyword and one activated ability.  The keyword would be "Rides (type)" and the activated ability would be "Mount (cost)", followed by a separate section in an alternate background color - or a "flipped" upside down section.  If you control a creature with "Rides Griffin" and a Griffin with "Mount 1W", then you pay 1W while you control both, the Griffin stops being a creature and becomes an Aura attached to the other creature that, for instance, gives Flying, Vigilance, and +1/+2.  If you pay the Mount cost again, or if the enchanted creature dies, it turns back into a Griffin.  You guys COULD do this, if you really wanted to.

Speaking of Arbalest Elite, did anyone else catch themselves thinking it was Heavy Ballista, and then get sad when they realized it wasn't anywhere near as good?  :P  Lot of 2-toughness guys in this limited format, sure would have been happy to trade one damage for constant protection from Bloodthirst... 

Amphin:  am I the only one whose immediate associates were "Ampin' " (as in, amping up) and "Amphora", as in a Greek urn?  It took me about 5 minutes to realize the intended root word was "Amphibian", since the creature looks like Jar Jar Binks.  My opponent who had one in the prerelease kept stopping my 3/3 and saying "Meesa Blocka yousa.  Owie ow ow!!"  >_<  Also:  flavor text here is an utter yawn.  Better would have been something funny with two adventurers stopping to ask each other "what the heck IS that thing", while the Amphin takes advantage of their confusion to kill them.   (Point being:  players won't know what it is either, so they'll empathize with the adventurers all the more.)

Master Thief:  have to agree, this card is a coup in every way.

Turn to Frog:  is not Snakeform.  Sigh.  And I see one-word flavor text isn't out just because it was dropped from Lava Axe.

It's a proactive, attack-you-with-creatures thing for blue to do, and I find it fun and healthy when blue does more of that.



Sigh...  I remember a day when a blue control or combo deck didn't need to waste deckspace on anything as crude as a creature.  Now they're mandatory as finishers, because apparently only red and black are allowed to win through damage without turning men sideways.  If I wanted to attack my opponent with creatures, I wouldn't be a blue fan.  Look, I'm not expecting Counterspell back.  But would a viable prison or lock archetype that doesn't involve creatures kill you guys?  Even Standard's current combo powerhouse uses 1/4 meatbags to collect its win slips.  

As for the illusion lord himself:  he's scarily undercosted, but at the least you guys learned the lesson of Scion of Oona, and two of him can't protect or pump one another.  Kudos on putting him in Shock range, that was a very important decision we're all going to be very grateful for eventually...

Tormented Soul:  I understand you can't keyword it as Shadow in a core set with no other shadows.  But in an article like this, you don't have to pretend it's something new.  :P

Bloodrage Vampire:  He's no Nighthawk, but he's a very scary common beater in M12 Limited.  Splashable too, so expect to be seeing a lot of him.

Vengeful Pharaoh:  Another flavor coup.  Given the low quality of other flavor text in M12, I'm going to come down on the side that it's a blessing that his abilities left no room for any.  Seems like a great EDH toy, but potentially a trap in constructed play (his ability is a must, so a clever opponent could choose to trigger it to deny you a draw step if they only need to play to prevent you from drawing an out, and if that out is not a 5/4 blocker).

Rune-Scarred Demon:  you failed to mention the similarity between his etchings and pre-Veil Liliana Vess's.  See Demonic Tutor from Divine vs. Demonic...  Another fine card, from the flavor perspective.

You missed my favorite flavor card from M12 - Adaptive Automaton!  None of my friends understood why this guy is awesome, or why I was so overjoyed, until I pointed out:  he is the first Human lord!  Finally, the maligned Human creature type gets its first synergy.  And I'd like to point out that Humans stand out as #1 at the intersection of "quantity of creatures of this type printed" and "types with no printed synergy cards / lords."  A long-standing oversight, at last corrected.  ^_^

Finally, when talking about the flavor of white "gain control" effects, you completely forgot the most iconic, and perfectly flavorful, white control effect of them all - Debt of Loyalty.  Yeah, it's somewhat screwy, mechanically, due to the rules changes since Weatherlight, but you can't beat Debt of Loyalty's flavor - the way it ties into white's themes of honor, duty, and loyalty - and the clever way in which, on the art and in the flavor text, the (white) trusting, noble Gerard thinks he has won the loyalty of the (red) treacherous Starke.  Absolutely perfect, in every way!  
My wild mass guess on the Amphin - the Salamander thing is a  Herring, but Rogue Tribal will be big in Innistrad (based on the almost nothing we know, it seems to fit the setting).  This thing was intended to fill some kind of a curve in Standard decks based on blue Rogues, though I'd imagine Rogues will be at least as much black as blue.

Have lots to say about the mind control question and responses to this thread when I have more time.
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
If blue rogue tribal is a thing in Innistrad, I will be very happy.
blah blah metal lyrics
But would a viable prison or lock archetype that doesn't involve creatures kill you guys?



Yes it does? It's exactly the sort of thing they -don't- want.
You missed my favorite flavor card from M12 - Adaptive Automaton!  None of my friends understood why this guy is awesome, or why I was so overjoyed, until I pointed out:  he is the first Human lord!  Finally, the maligned Human creature type gets its first synergy.  And I'd like to point out that Humans stand out as #1 at the intersection of "quantity of creatures of this type printed" and "types with no printed synergy cards / lords."  A long-standing oversight, at last corrected.  ^_^

Indeed. Wasn't it great? Finally, when Apocalypse rolled around, Brass Herald gave us all... oh no, wait, Brass Herald was printed before any Humans. Even before Mistform Ultimus, who wasn't Human when he was printed. That's because the first Human lord was printed in 2001.

The Human tribe had three tribal creatures before M12: Brass Herald, Mistform Warchief (I didn't say they were good), and Daru Stinger (changed from Soldier-tribal to Human-and-Soldier-tribal by the magic of the Great Creature Type Update). Adaptive Automaton is the fourth Human lord.

Now more generic lords are always good, certainly. Particularly for the pump effect: sure, we can use Shared Triumph, but even though it's a tribal card it still feels like we're just playing Glorious Anthem. But I do enjoy using Belbe's Portal and Urza's Incubator with unexpected tribes like Griffins or Lizards. My old tribal Illusion deck with Door of Destinies was quite a powerhouse, but I dismantled it a year or two ago.

I am a big fan of Amphin Cutthroat.  As Mr. Beyer says in his article, vanilla creatures are not the most mechanically-interesting out there; to me, this means that their value rests primarily in the evocative flavor that a vanilla creature is able to provide with its abundant space for flavor text.

Amphin Cutthroat is an example of this done well.

I remember reading the flavor text for Merfolk of the Pearl Trident back when I started playing Magic in 7th Edition and wondering what the stats on this clearly Legendary Artifact "Pearl Trident" would be.  Upon reading the full 7th Edition spoiler, I was pretty disappointed to find that no such thing existed- in fact, that there was no reference anywhere else to the Pearl Trident or its Merfolk.  

Amphin Cutthroat presents the opportunity for Magic to introduce another compelling race to the Magic multiverse just as it did with Vedalken in the Mirrodin block.  The Amphin appear poised to take advantage of this flavorful introduction and star in a later set.  Further, I feel an amphibian race fills the space Merfolk currently occupy in Blue quite well, as traditional Merfolk are limited in their interactions with other species by their lack of bipedal mobility (hence the evolution of legs on Zendikar by the Creative Team).  
Amphins, in contrast, maintain the strong connection with their watery homes of birth, while gaining to ability to traverse terrestrial soil with a minimal suspension of disbelief.

While the Vedalken introduced a more cerebral race to Blue, the Amphins may fill the role of a tougher, aggressive Blue race in the future.
Broken link in the OP, Wizards...please fix kthx.

Re: Stonehorn Dignitary
While I appreciate the flavor, why is it that he makes your opponent take the day off?  It's kind of a problem with Holy Day, too.  If a force of demons or barbarians is attacking, they're not going to care that the enemy is celebrating some sort of festival.



Holy Day is presumably casting magic which imbues the feelings of reverence associated with the holiday on anyone in range, but I agree that the Dignitary doesn't quite pull this off.  But we can always assume that both effects don't affect the creatures, but their controller - the planeswalker feels too reverent or respectful to order an attack.  (This doesn't explain must-attack barbarians missing the attack step, but 100% simulation is beyond the scope of the game in its current iteration - exactly why I've often thought it needs more iterations.)

Re: Amphin Cutthroat
I love the name for this new race, but it seems like they're pretty much the same as the legged merfolk from Magic 2010.



I confess the Amphin thing has me puzzled.  With Merfolk, the slightly fishy-looking Vedalken, and the ill-remembered Cephalids, I don't see a need for a new blue race.  What we need, desperately, is a new white race that isn't a bunch of animal people.  If you want a nonhuman, nonanimal race for each color, you have Elves, Goblins, Vampires, Vedalken...and for white the best you can do is Kithkin or Kor, neither of which has much punch IMO.  Kithkin almost makes it, the Thoughtweft thing in Lorwyn was an absolutely perfect bit for a white race, but they didn't really follow through and make it obvious that this was a trait of all Kithkin everywhere and perhaps give it a solid visual tie ("solid" meaning "more than a little glowy thing on their head that could easily be a trick of the light"; I would have gone with a third eye or some deely-boppers or something).  And don't even get me started on the Kor; I appear to be the only person who remembers that they were explicitly referred to in Tempest as one of the three human races on Rath, and the "catfish barbels" on the males' chins are just stylistically drawn beards.  Even if counted as a technically nonhuman race, they still aren't very distinct from humans except in culture, and thus they don't come even close to cutting the mustard in my book.

Re: Lord of the Unreal
Is blue supposed to be doing "proactive, attack-you-with-creatures" things?  I thought that was supposed to be one of its weaknesses.  That being said, I do think the skulking ability is very flavorful for Illusions.  I can't wait until Wizards prints Phantasmal Girl and Phantasmal Harelequin!



Much as they decided when they made Ravnica that there wasn't going to be a "mostly creatureless" guild no matter how much the colors involved demanded it, they've pretty much abandoned the idea of any color being "the non-creature color", just because creatures are too integral to Magic to do more than very slightly power down in one color, and even that only if you think it's slight enough that they'll still get played.  Green gets the best creatures and blue the worst, but every color is supposed to tempt you, and I think this is as it should be.  Focusing more on "finisher" creatures rather than weenie aggro swarms is as far as I want blue's non-creaturey status taken.

Re: Tormented Soul
Might this ability be the new version of shadow?



Er, no, this ability is exactly what it says on the tin.  It is also one of my very favorite cards in the set - straight unblockability is even more perfect for black than for blue and this is long overdue.

Re: Bloodrage Vampire
So, bloodthirst is now a black/red/green ability.  Too bad it wasn't around for Jund; I think it would have made more sense than the cannibalism devour ability.



I still maintain that the problem with devour was not its idea but its execution.  They just didn't give it enough of a push to really be worth paying attention to.
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

And another thing.  The original flavor text on Zombie Goliath was funny, and that was the only memorable thing ABOUT that card!!  Aargh!  Why was so much good flavor text discarded in favor of bad with M12?  



Your mileage may vary.  While I'm not a fan of the current Zombie Goliath text, I absolutely hated its original M10 version.  Seemed completely out of character and just kinda dumb IMHO.  But then, this just goes to show that different audiences have different preferences, which is why every set has to contain lots of stuff that lots of people think is crap - it was designed to please someone else, at least in theory.

Steeds:  I don't buy it.  When you guys really want to make the flavor of an idea work, you're willing to move heaven and earth.  Look at Level Up from Rise - it required a whole new kind of formatting for a card's text box (including alternating background color stripes) and confused the heck out of a lot of newbies for many moons (does it start at level 1 or 0?  Not obvious as printed).  But you guys endured the pain because you wanted the flavor that bad.



Please keep in mind that the WOTCO employees have their livelihood and often that of a family on the line; they MUST move product and must continue to do so for many years.  A player who doesn't routinely get rid of his old cards while continuing to play is not a healthy revenue stream; he's forced to be economical and eventually reaches a point where he has to cut the accumulation of further Magic out of his budget.  To remain financially viable (as a luxury product in a tough economy no less - we're lucky they're managing at all, let alone as well as they do), Wizards MUST move product, which means they CANNOT inflict a punishing experience on newbie players which will weed out those who are less than fully committed to enjoying the richness of the fantasy.  I want that richness myself, but not at the cost of bankrupting the company, putting its many employees out of a job, and ending the game's evolution forever.  As long as MTG keeps trudging along, no matter how pabulistic it may be sometimes, its continued existence gives hope of the possibility that the stars will one day be right to make a version of it which is more perfect than ever before.  The most perfect design you can imagine is worthless if you can't ever make it see the light of day because you couldn't keep your business going in the meantime...sad but true.

Also:  flavor text here is an utter yawn.  Better would have been something funny with two adventurers stopping to ask each other "what the heck IS that thing", while the Amphin takes advantage of their confusion to kill them.   (Point being:  players won't know what it is either, so they'll empathize with the adventurers all the more.)



An excellent idea.  Too bad none of us writers thought of it at the time.  My memory from that far back is vague, but I don't remember seeing any spectacularly compelling submissions (my own included) for what would become this card...I think all of us were going "huh?" just as most of you the public are now.  This might just be a tease to get our curiosity up about the future...if so, it's working for me, that's for sure.

Sigh...  I remember a day when a blue control or combo deck didn't need to waste deckspace on anything as crude as a creature.  Now they're mandatory as finishers, because apparently only red and black are allowed to win through damage without turning men sideways.



I don't think very many people share your desire for "slow the game to a crawl by ensuring nothing happens for 36 turns" gameplay to become viable again, but I do think it'd be nice if blue had a viable milling win.  Things like Belltower Sphinx and Tome Scour are nowhere near enough to deliver the goods; I think blue mill ought to be pushed almost as much as red burn, because winning with damage just seems a trifle gauche for blue to have as a goal.  On an unrelated note, I'd also like to see black's version of mill pushed a lot more - and in that, it would be fitting for the playstyle to be about sadistically robbing the opponent of options and leaving him writhing helplessly with all his relevant spells in the exile zone.  Because that's how black should work. (Though ideally the result shouldn't be too powerful, or else it would dominate every game instead of just a handful of them.  See previous point about making the game un-fun so new players stop joining.)

If I wanted to attack my opponent with creatures, I wouldn't be a blue fan.



Don't conflate all blue magic with the kind you've taken a shine to - Merfolk aggro and Sea Serpent-type fatties have always been part of blue's milieu, even if they weren't generally its winningest strategies.  I would like for a control deck to be viable, but NOT nigh-unbeatable.  Wizards is skewing a little low for my wishes but this is probably for the best, as it's hard to make something better by just the right amount.

Finally, when talking about the flavor of white "gain control" effects, you completely forgot the most iconic, and perfectly flavorful, white control effect of them all - Debt of Loyalty.  Yeah, it's somewhat screwy, mechanically, due to the rules changes since Weatherlight, but you can't beat Debt of Loyalty's flavor - the way it ties into white's themes of honor, duty, and loyalty - and the clever way in which, on the art and in the flavor text, the (white) trusting, noble Gerard thinks he has won the loyalty of the (red) treacherous Starke.  Absolutely perfect, in every way!  



I agree that Debt of Loyalty is perfect for white control, though Evangelize works too, and I forget whether Miraculous Recovery works on an enemy graveyard but it certainly seems like it would make sense for it to - someone saves your life and offers to treat you better than your former master, helping you to grow stronger in exchange for loyalty.  Meanwhile, I was unhappy with how Doug's article dismisses black's control magic - from a pure flavor perspective, Black should be the ultimate color of this, because it's the color that wants absolute power over everything.  I think a good way to flavor Enslave-type effects is as variations of necromancy, selective lobotomization combined with brainwashing (Brainwash is a white card from The Dark, but just as easily could have been a black card from The Bright; it perfectly exemplifies the philosophy of the Orzhov and similar "YOU will all sacrifice for MY definition of the Greater Good" factions), or one other archetype.

This one is my favorite because it plays up aspects of Black that don't overlap with Blue or Red at all:  manipulation of a target's natural instincts, exploiting the same characteristics that allowed a creature to evolve but using them in an utterly unnatural way.  Think of taking a creature whose nature is that of a pack animal, or whose ancestors were, and bringing its natural submissiveness to the forefront.  Think of bringing your own natural dominance tendancies out and targeting your victim's pheremones to figure out what will trigger enough fear and helplessness in the target that it bows to you.  Think of bringing out the target's deep-seated desire to dominate its environment and then manipulating it to regard your enemy as an obstacle.  With sufficient twisting of the target's inherent inclinations, you don't need to control it completely - you just poison its mind against its former master and let its thirst for retribution take its own course.

Note that while I agree green should be the absolute last color for gaining control, there are certainly situations where it makes sense, and the Archdruid is a perfect example - in such cases, its' not control you're taking in a flavorful sense, it's custody, and in the case of a lifeform also loyalty.  Stolen creatures would be like trained animals, taught to follow their instincts to someone who understands how to husband them in a way that's harmonious with their inherent wishes.
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
Please keep in mind that the WOTCO employees have their livelihood and often that of a family on the line; they MUST move product and must continue to do so for many years.  A player who doesn't routinely get rid of his old cards while continuing to play is not a healthy revenue stream; he's forced to be economical and eventually reaches a point where he has to cut the accumulation of further Magic out of his budget.  To remain financially viable (as a luxury product in a tough economy no less - we're lucky they're managing at all, let alone as well as they do), Wizards MUST move product, which means they CANNOT inflict a punishing experience on newbie players which will weed out those who are less than fully committed to enjoying the richness of the fantasy.  I want that richness myself, but not at the cost of bankrupting the company, putting its many employees out of a job, and ending the game's evolution forever.  As long as MTG keeps trudging along, no matter how pabulistic it may be sometimes, its continued existence gives hope of the possibility that the stars will one day be right to make a version of it which is more perfect than ever before.  The most perfect design you can imagine is worthless if you can't ever make it see the light of day because you couldn't keep your business going in the meantime...sad but true.


Every post like this that I read brings me one step closer to believing in communism.
My objection to Amphin Cutthroat is that there's no "cutthroat" flavor to it.  Even the flavor text doesn't help any.

Each of the previous cutthroat creatures has some obvious cutthroat flavor about it.  In most cases that's higher power than toughness and/or an evasion ability.  Sygg, River Cutthroat[c/] has an ability that rewards you when your opponent loses life, and [c]Zombie Cutthroat can surprise-kill your opponent's creatures in combat.

So, what makes a vanilla 2/4 creature a cutthroat?
Do we need to explore a new Blue race? I don't think we did nearly enough with the Cephilid's from Fallen Empires just yet...


Oh, yeah, those guys are definitely coming back. And I say that as somebody who liked the Odyssey block cephalids.
It's the age-old balance: how to get the feel of the flavor—in this case, "trusty steed"—with a simple, easy-to-understand line of text? Griffin Rider makes a strong assertion that there exist straightforward solutions.


Yes, but it's not new. The exaclty same design was used in the past on Cloudreach Cavalry. It's pretty much the same thing, except that the bonus is a bit bigger and she rides a griffin instead of a bird. But still, the same thing.

Every so often we try out a new creature race. The amphin are a race of lanky, shrewd, partially aquatic humanoids who can dwell either in the briny depths or in the overgrown shallows.


My problem with this race is that it's way, way too similar to the merfolk in Shadowmoor. No matter how I look at the flavor these guys can have, from their appearance to the flavor text in this card, it feels way too much like the Merfolk in Shadowmoor. The only difference is that instead of being part fish, they are part salamander. I don't see why this creature type had to be created at all.
OMG click HERE! OMG! How to autocard and use decklist format
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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!
Griffin Rider doesn't convince me flavorfully. It's hard to imagine her as a 4/4 Flying that can attack when her griffin cannot. It's hard to imagine her as a 4/4 Flying that can block a drake while her Griffin blocks another drake.

And the imagination has to jump through some serious hoops to visualize an Ice Cage'd Assault Grffin and yet a Griffin Rider who is still +3/+3 and has Flying. Her Griffin is encased in ice, yet somehow its presence magically gives her flight, fury to combat others more effectively, and the iron will to fall to more damage than usual... exactly the same amount as when she teams up with griffins.
Re - Amphin

Whatever happened to the Surrakar?

Also, the amphin seem pretty much identical to the rootwater merfolk. However, I'm not as well-versed on them so I may be way off base. 
You'll forget you ever read this the minute you look away.
Veslfen's House of Bone-Dry Sarcasm
88318561 wrote:
76783093 wrote:
there is nothing "epic" about a turn one victory. ever. or really any magic game, for that matter.
So this one time, I wanted to play a game of Magic with my friend, but he was in another country and neither of us had Magic Online. I hitchhiked my way to the coast, barely fending off hungry wildlife when I couldn't get a ride, nearly dying of thirst crossing deserts, and posoning myself half to death foraging for food. At one point, I was taken hostage by a group of kidnappers, only managing to escape after a week of careful planning thanks to careful application of a rusty spoon. Once I reached the coast, I had no money to buy a ticket across the ocean, so I built a boat using my own two hands, and spent months sailing across the waves, nearly losing my deck as I swam to the shore of a desert island in a storm after being capsized by an enormous wave. Nearly delusional after so long with no human contact (the notches I cut in the single tree to tell time had long since felled the thing) I was eventually rescued by a passing ship, where I was taken aboard as a crew member. We sailed around the world, seeing many exotic places and having great adventures, before we finally arrived at my friend's country. Once more I stumbled across a desolate landscape, riding on train or car when I could, and going on foot when I could not. Eventually, weary to the bone, seven years after I started my journey, I arrived at my friend's house, clutching my well-worn and weathered deck to my chest. We shuffled up our decks, I won the roll. Gleefully, I laid down my cards. Black Lotus. My friend looked quizzically at me, wondering what I was about to do. After so long, he no longer knew what deck I had brought with me to this game. Flash. A knowing smile appears on my friend's face as the knowledge slowly returns to him. Protean Hulk. My friend extends his hand, knowing the game is over before it even started. And finally, after so many trials, the sweet taste of victory is mine.
56866178 wrote:
108166749 wrote:
So no one else is upset with the stunt Wizards just pulled to drive sales?
Drive sales of what? Non-Jace, non-Mystic cards? I'm pretty sure people already own more than eight Magic cards. If you don't, I feel for you. Maybe you can trade those Stoneforge Mystics, which are still quite valuable, for some.
I've had issues with the flavor of red for years, and your comments about red's mind-altering magic give me a good reason to reply.

It seems like, more often than not, red magic that alters the mind "brings the enemy down to your level".  I've got some serious problems with that.  Red "makes people angry", so that they stupidly attack when they shouldn't, or so that they aren't thinking clearly and betray their friends without meaning to.


What bothers me is that the red characters are supposed to be impassioned all the time (or at least whenever you're using them in a duel), and this is essentially saying that red is fundamentally flawed and the way it wins is to make it's enemies flawed in the same way it is.  While that might be true, I really think that red is lacking in the flavor department.  In Shards block in particular, Red was such a weak color that the "red" shard ended up being a black/green shard instead.


There's nothing wrong with taunting people, but it bothers me that Red gets to project negative effects onto their opponents by making them more like Red.  It would be like if blue had the "does not untap" effects flavored as "thoughtful contemplation", in a "I make you sit around and think so I can beat up on you really hard" kind of way.  Instead, blue gets to do things like put you to sleep or incapacitate you some other way.


The issue I have is specifically a flavor issue.  I don't have problems with red borrowing things or making it's enemies attack, but I'd prefer it be in a way that makes red look clever or witty, instead of "I project my own stupidity into your mind so that now you are stupid too".  Goblins are stupid, but goblins aren't the only creatures in red.


[Edit] After reading the forum posts a bit, I'm kinda surprised to find so much love for the octopus folk, but they were pretty distinct.  They're also a good fit for blue:  Did you know that octopi are notoroiusly intelligent, and make a nasty habit of figuring out how to get past the things that are supposed to be keeping them caged?  We can all laugh about the octopus that predicted the world cup winner, though -- there's no divination there.

ITT: Armchair Vorthoses, and Spikes complaining about flavor.

To reiterate Wizards for the umpteenth time: "If you don't understand the card, then it wasn't designed for you."


Re: Amphin Cutthroat
I love the name for this new race, but it seems like they're pretty much the same as the legged merfolk from Magic 2010.



I confess the Amphin thing has me puzzled.  With Merfolk, the slightly fishy-looking Vedalken, and the ill-remembered Cephalids, I don't see a need for a new blue race.  What we need, desperately, is a new white race that isn't a bunch of animal people.  If you want a nonhuman, nonanimal race for each color, you have Elves, Goblins, Vampires, Vedalken...and for white the best you can do is Kithkin or Kor, neither of which has much punch IMO.  Kithkin almost makes it, the Thoughtweft thing in Lorwyn was an absolutely perfect bit for a white race, but they didn't really follow through and make it obvious that this was a trait of all Kithkin everywhere and perhaps give it a solid visual tie ("solid" meaning "more than a little glowy thing on their head that could easily be a trick of the light"; I would have gone with a third eye or some deely-boppers or something).  And don't even get me started on the Kor; I appear to be the only person who remembers that they were explicitly referred to in Tempest as one of the three human races on Rath, and the "catfish barbels" on the males' chins are just stylistically drawn beards.  Even if counted as a technically nonhuman race, they still aren't very distinct from humans except in culture, and thus they don't come even close to cutting the mustard in my book.





While I agree that white needs a humanoid race to become its iconic race in the same fashion as Elves, Goblins, Vampires and Merfolk (I think they are pushing Merfolk more than Vedalken at the moment) are for the other colors, I don't see why this could not be "a bunch of animal people" as you call it.

Yes, the Loxodon and Rhox type are kind of linked to high power and (mainly) toughness flavor wise so I wouldn't use them as you would want a white iconic race to fit into white weenie decks. But I think Leonin/Nacatl (basically sentient cat people) could do nicely, especially if you create an actual creature type for them to be distinguish from the non-sentient cats.

I think an iconic race should be easy to recognize so that even people new to magic understand what the flavor of that race is about. This is true for Elves, Goblins, Vampires and Merfolk, but for Vedalken, Kithkin and Kor? Elves, Vampires and Merfolk (mermaids mostly but still) are known to most people even outside of Magic, goblins are also well known outside of Magic although the distinction between them kobolds, orcs and the like might differ from one to another fantasy setting. On the other side: some Kithkin art just looks human to me, and Vedalken and Kor can just seem to be people with a blue or white skin color for the un-initiated, getting these to be iconic seems unlikely. (and concerning the Kor I think they just changed their minds about their human status, like it or not)


 So why not animal people for white? People with animal heads or other body parts have been around for ages, and they are easily distinguished from other races. You could also go with centaurs or minotaurs (more along the lines of Zedruu the Greathearted then canyon minotaur ) or something else/completely new I didn't think of, but I think Leonin (I think I'll go with that name for them for now) would do great. They are able to carry whites abilities easily enough whether it is flying (on a stead but still) first strike or vigilance, are based on animals that hunt in packs which fits whites society/ support each other flavor, and as mentioned before can go into the lower power/toughness levels better than most others although they can handle the higher ones as well, and I think they still seem human enough for people to relate to.

The problem with using animal-human hybrids as the characteristic race for a color is that typically, there are also non-sentient versions of those same animals, but their creature type-line is the same. So the Leonin Lord would also pump tigers and other non-sentient lions. This isn't necessarily the end of the world, but it does put a little extra strain on the flavor.

Personally, I don't think there really is an easy way to make a white race. The other four colors have more than just the personality to lend to their main race (merfolk live in the water, therefore they're blue. Vampires are undead and vampirism is treated like a sort of plague, so it fits black). White doesn't really have anything going for it other than "holy" or "light". The Kithkin and the Kor are great at being white for their community, but as far as any other traits tying them to white, there aren't any.

But I'm not a paid expert. Maybe the creative team has something awesome in the works, and the white characteristic race problem will finally be solved. My fingers are certainly crossed.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
While I agree that white needs a humanoid race to become its iconic race in the same fashion as Elves, Goblins, Vampires and Merfolk (I think they are pushing Merfolk more than Vedalken at the moment) are for the other colors, I don't see why this could not be "a bunch of animal people" as you call it.


Yes, the Loxodon and Rhox type are kind of linked to high power and (mainly) toughness flavor wise so I wouldn't use them as you would want a white iconic race to fit into white weenie decks. But I think Leonin/Nacatl (basically sentient cat people) could do nicely, especially if you create an actual creature type for them to be distinguish from the non-sentient cats.

I think an iconic race should be easy to recognize so that even people new to magic understand what the flavor of that race is about. This is true for Elves, Goblins, Vampires and Merfolk, but for Vedalken, Kithkin and Kor? Elves, Vampires and Merfolk (mermaids mostly but still) are known to most people even outside of Magic, goblins are also well known outside of Magic although the distinction between them kobolds, orcs and the like might differ from one to another fantasy setting. On the other side: some Kithkin art just looks human to me, and Vedalken and Kor can just seem to be people with a blue or white skin color for the un-initiated, getting these to be iconic seems unlikely. (and concerning the Kor I think they just changed their minds about their human status, like it or not)



Ever since this article was published (perhaps even longer), there has been a movement to make Dwarves a major white race.  The closest that that has come to happening so far has been the [manacost](R/W)[/manacost] Duergar in Eventide, but I think it might be time to revisit that idea.  Dwarves are one of the most recognizable fantasy races, and, for the most part, they are visually much easier to distinguish from humans than are, say, Kor.  Yes, they have a long history of being red in Magic, but Faeries once had a long history of being green and that didn't stop anyone.  (Perhaps they could be primarily white with a few red ones.)

That said, Leonin would also be an acceptable major white race. 
Armored Warhorse:  That's all well and good, but why is it stronger and tougher than an Armored Pegasus?  :P  Sure, the Pegasus needs to be able to fly too.  But Pegasi are powerful, magical creatures.  Nowhere in the myth of Bellerophon is Pegasus described as being a wimp.  :P


Actually, I think the pegasus needing to be able to fly is a flavor reason as well as a balance reason for giving it lower stats than the warhorse.  It needs to be able to fly, so its armor is lighter.  =)

If you really wanted "steeds" badly enough, you could keyword it.  It would take one keyword and one activated ability.  The keyword would be "Rides (type)" and the activated ability would be "Mount (cost)", followed by a separate section in an alternate background color - or a "flipped" upside down section.  If you control a creature with "Rides Griffin" and a Griffin with "Mount ", then you pay while you control both, the Griffin stops being a creature and becomes an Aura attached to the other creature that, for instance, gives Flying, Vigilance, and +1/+2.  If you pay the Mount cost again, or if the enchanted creature dies, it turns back into a Griffin.  You guys COULD do this, if you really wanted to.


I agree that it shouldn't be too hard for Wizards to come up with a mounting mechanic if they really wanted to.  An implementation similar to the equip mechanic makes sense; when you use an animal as a mount, you're basically treating it like a piece of equipment.  In fact, if you think about it, a mount is really just a living weapon in reverse.

On the other hand, I'm not sure if I'd want to be fighting with creatures who are useless unless I provide them with a mount or who are less useful than the creature they're riding.  When I summon Hobgoblin Dragoon, he's at least courteous enough to bring his own mount.  =P  Griffin Rider doesn't come with her own griffin even though it's in her name.

Actually, I think Griffin Rider would be fine if she gave shroud to the griffin she was riding.  She provides the griffin with shroud, and in return it provides her with +3/+3 and flying.  Then it's like they're a unit because the opponent has to knock her off the griffin before being able to target it.  In fact, this might be one way to do the hypothetical mount ability.

Holy Day is presumably casting magic which imbues the feelings of reverence associated with the holiday on anyone in range, but I agree that the Dignitary doesn't quite pull this off.  But we can always assume that both effects don't affect the creatures, but their controller - the planeswalker feels too reverent or respectful to order an attack.  (This doesn't explain must-attack barbarians missing the attack step, but 100% simulation is beyond the scope of the game in its current iteration - exactly why I've often thought it needs more iterations.)


Okay, I can buy that.  It's interesting to consider the possibility that Holy Day is affecting the opposing planeswalker instead of the opposing creatures, since black's and red's imbue-the-opponent-with-feelings abilities (e.g. Fear, Act of Treason) specifically affect the creatures.

More...iterations?  How would that work, exactly?  While there are a few mistakes in Magic design that are too established to be changed at this point, I'm not sure that reiteration is a realistic option (I guess it works for D&D, though), nor that reiteration will necessarily make the game 100% accurate.  I can live with a few flavor plotholes.  =)

Kithkin almost makes it, the Thoughtweft thing in Lorwyn was an absolutely perfect bit for a white race, but they didn't really follow through and make it obvious that this was a trait of all Kithkin everywhere and perhaps give it a solid visual tie ("solid" meaning "more than a little glowy thing on their head that could easily be a trick of the light"; I would have gone with a third eye or some deely-boppers or something).


Aren't the kithkin supposed to be Magic's version of hobbits or halflings?  I think that with the thoughtweft, they're an especially good fit for a white race.  I'm not sure that the thoughtweft needs to be explicitly shown in the art, though; adding something like a third eye or "some deely-boppers" would look really strange.

Much as they decided when they made Ravnica that there wasn't going to be a "mostly creatureless" guild no matter how much the colors involved demanded it, they've pretty much abandoned the idea of any color being "the non-creature color", just because creatures are too integral to Magic to do more than very slightly power down in one color, and even that only if you think it's slight enough that they'll still get played.  Green gets the best creatures and blue the worst, but every color is supposed to tempt you, and I think this is as it should be.  Focusing more on "finisher" creatures rather than weenie aggro swarms is as far as I want blue's non-creaturey status taken.


I don't have a problem with blue having creatures, and in fact I agree with your reasoning.  It just doesn't seem to be clear whether it's something they actually consider in Magic design.

Er, no, this ability is exactly what it says on the tin.  It is also one of my very favorite cards in the set - straight unblockability is even more perfect for black than for blue and this is long overdue.


Well, shadow and horsemanship are evasion abilities that are really similar to flying but are a tad bit more parasitic.  "Can't block and is unblockable" can have a similar flavor to shadow but without that parasitism, so I was suggesting it as a replacement.  I also like the ability a lot; Inkfathom Infiltrator was one of my favorite cards in Shadowmoor.

I still maintain that the problem with devour was not its idea but its execution.  They just didn't give it enough of a push to really be worth paying attention to.


I just thought devour didn't make any sense to begin with.  Naya's combat is themed around the summoning and veneration of gargantuan creatures.  Bant developed ritualized combat which sends in a lone champion to protect the rest of the army.  Grixis's keyword allows you to bring something back from the dead for one final strike.  Esper's obsession with artifice doesn't really provide it with any mechanical advantage, but at least it had a sort of recycling theme going on (e.g. Metallurgeon, Sanctum Gargoyle).  Jund's keyword makes your creatures eat each other.  Why do creatures with devour eat their teammates when they could be eating the opposing creatures?

I think blue mill ought to be pushed almost as much as red burn, because winning with damage just seems a trifle gauche for blue to have as a goal.


I agree with this; it's the same reason Leonard Nimoy invented the Vulcan pinch instead of punching people out as Spock.  But would pushing blue mill be compatible with also letting blue have decent creatures?

On an unrelated note, I'd also like to see black's version of mill pushed a lot more - and in that, it would be fitting for the playstyle to be about sadistically robbing the opponent of options and leaving him writhing helplessly with all his relevant spells in the exile zone.  Because that's how black should work. (Though ideally the result shouldn't be too powerful, or else it would dominate every game instead of just a handful of them.  See previous point about making the game un-fun so new players stop joining.)


Earwig Squad was one of my favorite cards in Morningtide.  (Yes, I had a mono-black rogues deck.  )  On the other hand, the first time I went to an FNM I got hit by an Extirpate, and it felt absolutely horrible.

I was unhappy with how Doug's article dismisses black's control magic - from a pure flavor perspective, Black should be the ultimate color of this, because it's the color that wants absolute power over everything.


I agree.  If it's something that black's allies like doing and something its enemes abhor doing, then black should probably be really interested in it.  It actually didn't occur to me that there weren't many black mind control cards until the Daily MTG articles made such a big deal out of Slave of Bolas and Enslave.

Note that while I agree green should be the absolute last color for gaining control, there are certainly situations where it makes sense, and the Archdruid is a perfect example - in such cases, its' not control you're taking in a flavorful sense, it's custody, and in the case of a lifeform also loyalty.  Stolen creatures would be like trained animals, taught to follow their instincts to someone who understands how to husband them in a way that's harmonious with their inherent wishes.


But animal husbandry sounds more white than green to me.  I imagine that a druid would be more likely to set opposing animals free than to recruit them, but I'm not sure how that could be represented mechanically.  Sending them to the library, perhaps?  But that's also a white thing...

Griffin Rider doesn't convince me flavorfully. It's hard to imagine her as a 4/4 Flying that can attack when her griffin cannot. It's hard to imagine her as a 4/4 Flying that can block a drake while her Griffin blocks another drake.


It is kind of strange, but I think that the difference between Griffin Rider and a creature that comes with its own mount (I'll use Hobgoblin Dragoon again) is that Griffin Rider specializes in mounted combat instead of just happening to use a mount like Hobgoblin Dragoon does.  Why is it that she and her griffin can attack and block separately while the hobgoblin and its mount can't?  She's just that good at mounted combat, in the same way that Palace Guard is just that good at defensive combat.

And the imagination has to jump through some serious hoops to visualize an Ice Cage'd Assault Griffin and yet a Griffin Rider who is still +3/+3 and has Flying. Her Griffin is encased in ice, yet somehow its presence magically gives her flight, fury to combat others more effectively, and the iron will to fall to more damage than usual... exactly the same amount as when she teams up with griffins.


I agree that this is strange, too.  But this problem is fixed with my "let the rider give shroud to its mount" idea. 

It seems like, more often than not, red magic that alters the mind "brings the enemy down to your level".  I've got some serious problems with that.  Red "makes people angry", so that they stupidly attack when they shouldn't, or so that they aren't thinking clearly and betray their friends without meaning to.  The issue I have is specifically a flavor issue.  I don't have problems with red borrowing things or making it's enemies attack, but I'd prefer it be in a way that makes red look clever or witty, instead of "I project my own stupidity into your mind so that now you are stupid too".  Goblins are stupid, but goblins aren't the only creatures in red.


QFT.

Personally, I don't think there really is an easy way to make a white race. The other four colors have more than just the personality to lend to their main race (merfolk live in the water, therefore they're blue. Vampires are undead and vampirism is treated like a sort of plague, so it fits black). White doesn't really have anything going for it other than "holy" or "light". The Kithkin and the Kor are great at being white for their community, but as far as any other traits tying them to white, there aren't any.


I think white might actually be better suited to having a characteristic class: soldiers.  There were soldier themes in Lorwyn, Bant, and Magic 2010, and I think it makes sense that white would focus on creatures' roles in society rather than their biological traits.  Boros Recruit is almost a perfect example of this.  Of course, one problem is that soldiers overlap heavily with humans--59% of the soldier cards are also human.

On the other hand, using an iconic race is much better with respect to newer players, and as I mentioned before, I think kithkin work really well as a white race.

Dwarves are one of the most recognizable fantasy races, and, for the most part, they are visually much easier to distinguish from humans than are, say, Kor.  Yes, they have a long history of being red in Magic, but Faeries once had a long history of being green and that didn't stop anyone.  (Perhaps they could be primarily white with a few red ones.)


Well, the other problem is that dwarves are also associated with being underground rather than above it; fairies aren't as strongly associated with forests.  Dwarves are also associated with drinking heavily, which is more of a red trait than a white one.  =P
Armored Warhorse:  That's all well and good, but why is it stronger and tougher than an Armored Pegasus?  :P  Sure, the Pegasus needs to be able to fly too.  But Pegasi are powerful, magical creatures.  Nowhere in the myth of Bellerophon is Pegasus described as being a wimp.  :P


  • Pegasus costs 1W.  Horse costs WW.  Overdedication to a single color should result in something better.

  • Pegasus was last reprinted in 1999.  Horse was first printed in 2011.  Creatures have been rampantly and blatantly ratcheted up in power over the last dozen or so years.

  • Neither card is any good anyway.

Call me silly, but I though Humans were the defined White Race...

Edit: Oops. Yes, this was not meant to be a supremist statement. Sorry if it seemed that way.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/0a90721d221e50e5755af156c179fe51.jpg?v=90000)
Personally, I don't think there really is an easy way to make a white race.



I think they're just too afraid it might be overpowered. They don't want the white race to be superior.
If I were to do steeds, I would have done them back in Lorwyn block with Champion.
Call me silly, but I though Humans were the defined White Race...



No, humans are in all five colors, though personally I'd say we're Black primary and White secondary (with none of the implications that sentence suggests).  We are first animals struggling for survival and to dominate territory, secondarily most of us are social creatures seeking to build structure for protection and mutual gain.  After that I'd say Blue, then Red, and Green least, but even Green has much more representation among Humans than all four non-red colors put together would have among Goblins.  We're just a more inherently diverse species I think - same as how in D&D we get extra Skills and Feats to represent our drive to be individuals (which is mostly a Red trait but is obviously sublimated in a lot of White majorities).
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
Every post like this that I read brings me one step closer to believing in communism.



Neverminding that communism was not socialism but thinly disguised fascism (I assume socialism is what you meant), the problem is a very simple one: how exactly do you stop whatever individual or group has the most power to enforce the socialist order from doing so in a manner which serves their own interests over those of the group?  It's never been done because it's virtually impossible; China got the closest but even they are clearly on a short and slippery slope to the Party just ruling as dictators and how the heck would anyone stop them?  The only way I can ever see socialism working would be if it were enforced by superhuman beings so powerful that they had no incentive to exploit us because we just weren't worth it (and they didn't have any domineering or sadistic impulses to indulge at our expense), perhaps trying to help us evolve to be like them or perhaps just having nothing better to do with their time than "brush the collie" on a planetary scale.  Magic being Magic, of course, this could totally work; Angels are usually a little more hands-off than this but it wouldn't have changed the flavor of Bant much if the Angels had outright ruled and unified the five nations so they couldn't war against each other, no matter how ceremonially.  However the result doesn't make for a very good basis for a game of fantasy combat so I don't expect we're likely to see it.

While I agree that white needs a humanoid race to become its iconic race in the same fashion as Elves, Goblins, Vampires and Merfolk (I think they are pushing Merfolk more than Vedalken at the moment) are for the other colors, I don't see why this could not be "a bunch of animal people" as you call it.



One, to me an anthropomorphization of an animal is not really distinctive, it's just throwing a human and an animal into a blender and taking out the combination, not creating something that is unique unto itself.  And two, there are way too many animals to pick just five to represent the colors, let alone one to represent one color, which isn't even "the" animals color.  I've got no problem with animal-people existing, but they don't exist on the same functional level as elves and goblins IMO, and nor do Merfolk which is why I mention the Vedalken even though they are less common.  I would instead list animal races in a second bracket, with at least two major races per color of which any particular world generally only gets one.  (Currently black is distinctly lacking in options for this category, since so much of its design space gets stolen by undead of various sorts.  I'd like to see more Nezumi and Surrakar and others such, but I may have to accept disappointment in this.)


More...iterations?  How would that work, exactly?  While there are a few mistakes in Magic design that are too established to be changed at this point, I'm not sure that reiteration is a realistic option (I guess it works for D&D, though), nor that reiteration will necessarily make the game 100% accurate.  I can live with a few flavor plotholes.  =)



I'm always trying to patch every pothole in the road (and then send City Hall the bill), lol.  The iterations thing might very well not work realistically, but it's still my ideal - making different versions of the game for different contexts is kind of my Holy Grail, though I admit I'd be hesitant to put my own money into it and thus can't very well ask Wizards to do so.  But the idea of being able to fine-tune your game to the detail and challenge and accessibility level you prefer appeals deeply to me.

Aren't the kithkin supposed to be Magic's version of hobbits or halflings?



I always thought so, I'm not sure whether that was intentional, especially going back to the original Amrou Kithkin who I always assumed was a human with a proper name.  (Sure she was in Legends and not a legend, but that might just have been because the first crop of Legends all had to be gold and she was mono-white; I still saw her as a specific person named Amrou, or the "kith and kin" thereof.)  In any event, Hobbits have never quite done it for me, but if they were played up a bit they definitely could work.  However Wizards seems to make a point of not having Magic overlap with D&D too much and that's probably why the Kithkin didn't stick (that plus they weren't really awesome-looking on the level that's typically preferred for Magic's demographic).

I don't have a problem with blue having creatures, and in fact I agree with your reasoning.  It just doesn't seem to be clear whether it's something they actually consider in Magic design.



From the tiny glimpse I've gotten into the door, I'm inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they pretty much consider everything, though maybe not incredibly hard.  Still, these are all passionate idea-people with a job where they have a lot of time to brainstorm and discuss ideas (lucky bastiches), I'd say that any idea that isn't incredibly far beyond the pale has probably drifted through the halls of Renton more than thrice by the time the community brings it up, and will continue to be bounced around by folks on their lunch break or doing mindless busy work long thereafter as well.

Well, shadow and horsemanship are evasion abilities that are really similar to flying but are a tad bit more parasitic.  "Can't block and is unblockable" can have a similar flavor to shadow but without that parasitism, so I was suggesting it as a replacement.  I also like the ability a lot; Inkfathom Infiltrator was one of my favorite cards in Shadowmoor.



There is a big difference between Soltari Foot Soldiers who can block each other and Tormented Souls who can't, to say nothing of what would happen if multiple creatures of either type were in one set.  Mono-black has a total unblockable for I think the first time ever, and I couldn't be happier; I'm not going to overanalyze it.

I just thought devour didn't make any sense to begin with.  Naya's combat is themed around the summoning and veneration of gargantuan creatures.  Bant developed ritualized combat which sends in a lone champion to protect the rest of the army.  Grixis's keyword allows you to bring something back from the dead for one final strike.  Esper's obsession with artifice doesn't really provide it with any mechanical advantage, but at least it had a sort of recycling theme going on (e.g. Metallurgeon, Sanctum Gargoyle).  Jund's keyword makes your creatures eat each other.  Why do creatures with devour eat their teammates when they could be eating the opposing creatures?



Presumably they would have to catch the opponent's creatures, whereas you can order your own to stand still (or to bathe in a delicious glaze).  But seriously, a much more complex and modular version of devour is in my homebrew design file (which is a file kind of the way the Pacific Ocean is a goldfish bowl); I think ultimately the fact that such a simple execution of the flavor was used can be explained simply by two facts.  One, they were making five sets in one and there was a lot going on, so they aimed for simple to limit the brain-melt factor.  And two, they were scaling the set back to reduce the crazy factor and make the game accessible because this was at the bottom of the economic catastrophe (and the design would have been happening around the time of Time Spiral's day in the public eye - we've been told that set didn't sell as well as Wizards wanted it to, and so this was probably a significant factor in Alara being scaled back and focused on classic fantasy tropes - oh, and it was also the year before m10 came out wasn't it? so that's yet another contributor to this perfect storm of Keep-It-Simple-Stupid, which I say not as a complaint because it seems to have worked and been good for the game in the long run).

Could they have executed Devour in a better fashion?  Absolutely.  Should they have?  That's harder to quantify.  I certainly don't blame them for playing it safe under the circumstances; a time will come when they can afford to do otherwise.

I agree with this; it's the same reason Leonard Nimoy invented the Vulcan pinch instead of punching people out as Spock.  But would pushing blue mill be compatible with also letting blue have decent creatures?



They keyworded infect; I don't see any reason they couldn't keyword "brainblast" or something if the stars were right.  Obviously there are complications, I don't know if it should be done, but it certainly could be.

I agree.  If it's something that black's allies like doing and something its enemes abhor doing, then black should probably be really interested in it.



Well that's not always a good maxim - Green and Blue are both colors which encourage knowledge, while White is totally capable of deciding to pull a Fahrenheit 451 for the sake of keeping people from figuring out why they shouldn't be complacent and obedient.  The ally-enemy status of the colors is extremely flexible; twisting the pie in nearly any imaginable fashion including all the way inside-out is perfectly possible and only slightly alien to the version we have now.  It shouldn't be done "just because", but reasons for doing it are easy to come up with.

It actually didn't occur to me that there weren't many black mind control cards until the Daily MTG articles made such a big deal out of Slave of Bolas and Enslave.



Technically it counts as far back as Animate Dead (and my favorite version, Ashen Powder), but for trips across the Me/You border without a layover in Deadsville, my favorite black-mana version has to be Mark of the Oni.  As Faith memorably put it, "Want, Take, Have".  She may not have been a Demon in the strictest sense, but she certainly had the right attitude at that stage of her psychopathology.

But animal husbandry sounds more white than green to me.



Domesticating animals is white; tending them and letting them thrive is green.  Husbandry can refer to either.  Or did you not think Diligent Farmhand made sense in green?  He works with plants rather than animals but the principle is the same - if you're not trying to force the animal to do something that's unnatural to itself, you're within Green's acceptible zone.  (Green also corresponds to the Red side which encourages a caged beast to rage out of control, but if it's a well-fed caged beast whose owner genuinely loves it and doesn't try to force it to do anything it stronlgy dislikes doing, then Red would have to encourage very hard.  Green is perfectly fine with the idea of creatures acclimating to a new environment and forming symbiotic relationships; humans and their agriculture are a stage in that cycle, just a much faster-iterating one than nature is entirely comfortable with, but farmers are hardly the worst example there.  It's a definite overlap is what I'm getting at here.)

I think white might actually be better suited to having a characteristic class: soldiers.



Every color has a characterisitc class, except possibly for black (Rogue is dubious since it overlaps heavily with blue and a bit with red; Mercenary works but has mechanical baggage, and Minion was perfect but they got rid of it for some reason).  Treating a class as a substitute for a race is exactly what happened way back in Alpha, and this is why White didn't get ANY kind of a tribal lord until Fallen Empires and was still without a terribly impressive one when Eladamri showed up in Tempest to correct the long-standing lack of an Elf lord.  We've been down that road a long time, and are still down that road, in fact.  Exactly what I want to see fixed.

Well, the other problem is that dwarves are also associated with being underground rather than above it; fairies aren't as strongly associated with forests.  Dwarves are also associated with drinking heavily, which is more of a red trait than a white one.  =P



I would rather not see Dwarves go full-bore White, though I would accept it - but I do think Red/White is a stronger fit.  I'm a little sad they didn't take advantage of Commander to do a red/white Dwarf lord, perhaps having a stubborn army of dwarven warmages instead of the rather dull Ruhan of the Fomori, or making Kaalia of the Vast a dwarf "just because".  I can live without dwarves but I wouldn't mind having them back either - pretty neutral on the whole idea, but I wouldn't want it done unless it could be done well.

Personally I think Dwarves are not that distinct-looking from Humans, better than female Kor but not as good as male ones, and I've always thought they were a trifle lacking compared to the over-the-top awesomesauce gravyboat of D&D's Elves (compared to which Magic's are rather pedestrian).  I've often debated solutions, but if Magic brought them in instead of making up something unique (and brandable), it would be specifically with the intention of taking advantage of their existing history and stereotypes, which would functionally amount to making them deliberately boring.  Can't say as I blame them for opting not to go there.

(Though on reflection, I suddenly think they should have made an exception for Time Spiral just because Dominaria canonically had dwarves and now we don't know what happened to them post-Karona; it'd be lame if they just went extinct for no better reason than that the designers didn't think of putting in a reference to them.  Oh well.)
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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


Every color has a characterisitc class, except possibly for black (Rogue is dubious since it overlaps heavily with blue and a bit with red; Mercenary works but has mechanical baggage, and Minion was perfect but they got rid of it for some reason).  Treating a class as a substitute for a race is exactly what happened way back in Alpha, and this is why White didn't get ANY kind of a tribal lord until Fallen Empires and was still without a terribly impressive one when Eladamri showed up in Tempest to correct the long-standing lack of an Elf lord.  We've been down that road a long time, and are still down that road, in fact.  Exactly what I want to see fixed.




I agree with this point. Soldiers pretty much ARE the white characteristic creature type already, with a lord in every core set (save M12 for some reason). It would be nice to have a characteristic race, but as I already posted, there are some definite troubles in finding one. I can't be sure, but I think the fact that every year's Block tries yet another new white race (or revisits one if it's a nostalgia set) is them trying to find one that fits. Since they're clearly much better at thinking up Magic than I am, hopefully they'll find one that works. In fact, the fact that there is no white lord in M12 leads me to get my hopes up that they're going to introduce something awesome in Innistrad that has a good chance of becoming widespread.

Then again, since we've seen so many worlds and none of them had a common white race, other than human which is every color, the fact that any new white race wouldn't exist on any of the already-seen planes hurts it: Elves, Goblins and Merfolk are all over the multiverse, on every plane. Then again, they recently introduced Vampires as the new characteristic race, and those haven't been on past worlds in any great numbers.

(An aside: I'm seriously hoping this resurgence of Zombie tribal was just because of the nostalgia factor of Scars of Mirrodin. As Mark said in his Care for a Bite article, Zombies DO NOT fit black as a characteristic creature type. The fact that Captivating Vampire was replaced by that Bloodthirst lord which doesn't help aggro at all [it comes down too late and doesn't buff any already-played vampries] is disheartening, made the worse by the fact that zombies got their good lord back. I am firmly in the "zombies as tokens only" camp [if it doesn't already exist, I'm inventing it]. Like saprolings for green, zombies are certainly the type of thing Black would summon, but not indicative of the type of people who would align themselves with Black. Here's hoping Innistrad gives us a second year of Vampire tribal, and isn't nerfed by going back to no-vampires the next year like Scars did to Zendikar.)

Dwarves are way too strongly tied to mountains to be the white race, even if they got a major personality change to eliminate their gruff ale-guzzling nature. Kithkin would be cool to see become more commonplace, but the fact that they haven't yet indicates that there's some problem with them that I haven't seen yet. Kor would be nice, too, but I admit that I only think so because I'm very strongly biased by my love of equipment. All of the other races they've tried have problems as well, and likely every race going forth will also, but the fact that they allow the aquatic Merfolk shows they are willing to put up with SOME flaws. My fingers are crossed as I look forward to their next try in Innistrad.
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(An aside: I'm seriously hoping this resurgence of Zombie tribal was just because of the nostalgia factor of Scars of Mirrodin. As Mark said in his Care for a Bite article, Zombies DO NOT fit black as a characteristic creature type. The fact that Captivating Vampire was replaced by that Bloodthirst lord which doesn't help aggro at all [it comes down too late and doesn't buff any already-played vampries] is disheartening, made the worse by the fact that zombies got their good lord back. I am firmly in the "zombies as tokens only" camp [if it doesn't already exist, I'm inventing it]. Like saprolings for green, zombies are certainly the type of thing Black would summon, but not indicative of the type of people who would align themselves with Black. Here's hoping Innistrad gives us a second year of Vampire tribal, and isn't nerfed by going back to no-vampires the next year like Scars did to Zendikar.)



I'd quite like werewolves to have a chance to shine in the moonlight, though suspect they'd work better at higher rarities than the characteristic creature really needs. Still. Would one or two a year be too much to ask? (I don't think that Zombies should be token only, but agree they shouldn't be - And most Zombie Lords should make their own Zombies while being Zombies...)

Dwarves are way too strongly tied to mountains to be the white race, even if they got a major personality change to eliminate their gruff ale-guzzling nature. Kithkin would be cool to see become more commonplace, but the fact that they haven't yet indicates that there's some problem with them that I haven't seen yet. Kor would be nice, too, but I admit that I only think so because I'm very strongly biased by my love of equipment. All of the other races they've tried have problems as well, and likely every race going forth will also, but the fact that they allow the aquatic Merfolk shows they are willing to put up with SOME flaws. My fingers are crossed as I look forward to their next try in Innistrad.



Probably the association between Hobbits/Halflings and, well, home counties rural England. Works great in a block based on English folklore, not so good in... Well, pretty much anything else. If we assume that Kithkin are Magic Brand Hobbits, then Kithkin get the home counties england vibe by association (deviate too much from that and they'd lose the hobbit vibe which would kill any sort of easy-to-latch-onto association that goblins, elves, vampires and merfolk have)

Personally I like Leonin, but... Again, doubt that suits every setting (Even the legged Merfolk I doubt really suit every setting imo, though, so...)

(Incidentally, while Dwarves are Ale Guzzling by default, I always get a strong community vibe from them - More likely to tell stories or sing folk songs than get into a fight when drunk. But, yeah, too mining associated for me to buy pure white in Magic. White/Red. And even less mutable than hobbits. (Seriously - as soon as a dwarf loses its beard it stops looking like a dwarf and starts looking like a short human. And that doesn't just apply to male dwarves, either.)
(An aside: I'm seriously hoping this resurgence of Zombie tribal was just because of the nostalgia factor of Scars of Mirrodin. As Mark said in his Care for a Bite article, Zombies DO NOT fit black as a characteristic creature type. The fact that Captivating Vampire was replaced by that Bloodthirst lord which doesn't help aggro at all [it comes down too late and doesn't buff any already-played vampries] is disheartening, made the worse by the fact that zombies got their good lord back. I am firmly in the "zombies as tokens only" camp [if it doesn't already exist, I'm inventing it]. Like saprolings for green, zombies are certainly the type of thing Black would summon, but not indicative of the type of people who would align themselves with Black. Here's hoping Innistrad gives us a second year of Vampire tribal, and isn't nerfed by going back to no-vampires the next year like Scars did to Zendikar.)



Innistrad seems to be the perfect place for both vampires and zombies. I expect them both in substantial magnitude.

Probably the association between Hobbits/Halflings and, well, home counties rural England. Works great in a block based on English folklore, not so good in... Well, pretty much anything else. If we assume that Kithkin are Magic Brand Hobbits, then Kithkin get the home counties england vibe by association (deviate too much from that and they'd lose the hobbit vibe which would kill any sort of easy-to-latch-onto association that goblins, elves, vampires and merfolk have)



I'm not sure, take the cityscape of Ravnica for example. Both Elves and Vedalken retain their looks but have a 'cityfolk' culture. I see no reason why Kithkin wouldn't fit in the same way.
Innistrad seems to be the perfect place for both vampires and zombies. I expect them both in substantial magnitude.



I'm almost positive they'll be there. I'm much more worried about the block AFTER Innistrad having decreased number of vampires. And also, I'm really not a fan of having the characteristic race split. Goblins don't have to compete with Dwarves or Viashino. Elves don't have to share with... um... all the other many small green races of Magic... But Vampires and Zombies have to share. Meaning my Vampire deck doesn't get as many options. But hey, better than no Vampires at all. Silver lining.

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If I were to do steeds, I would have done them back in Lorwyn block with Champion.


I thought about this, but I don't think it works as well as letting the rider grant shroud to the mount.  Suppose the opponent plays Wrath of God; if the rider is championing the mount, then the mount will survive somehow.

Magic being Magic, of course, this could totally work; Angels are usually a little more hands-off than this but it wouldn't have changed the flavor of Bant much if the Angels had outright ruled and unified the five nations so they couldn't war against each other, no matter how ceremonially.  However the result doesn't make for a very good basis for a game of fantasy combat so I don't expect we're likely to see it.


Um.  I think what goblinrecruiter meant was that every time someone says something can't be put into the game for economic reasons, he wishes those economic factors weren't an issue.

One, to me an anthropomorphization of an animal is not really distinctive, it's just throwing a human and an animal into a blender and taking out the combination, not creating something that is unique unto itself...I've got no problem with animal-people existing, but they don't exist on the same functional level as elves and goblins IMO, and nor do Merfolk which is why I mention the Vedalken even though they are less common.


Really?  So you didn't think having sentient cats on Naya and domesticated cats on Bant was a good illustration of the difference between those shards?  And why can't anthropomorphic animals be on the same functional level as elves and goblins?  Most creature cards both get a race and a class; how is "cat warrior" any different from "elf warrior"?

(Currently black is distinctly lacking in options for this category, since so much of its design space gets stolen by undead of various sorts.  I'd like to see more Nezumi and Surrakar and others such, but I may have to accept disappointment in this.)


I appreciated the anthropomorphic animals in Kamigawa a lot, but I also think it's unlikely we'll be seeing sentient foxes and rats in other settings.  I would think this is because Kamigawa was based on a relatively more animistic mythology, but we of course have sentient cats and birds on other planes.  I wonder what gives?  As for the surrakar, I didn't realize they were supposed to be sentient.  None of them have class types.

Actually, black focusing on characteristic races seems like a good mirror for white focusing on characteristic classes.  White cares more about making sure everyone has a place in society, and black cares more about what it can do with your body.  Green usually also cares more about race than class, and green and black are the colors that care the most about a creature's physicality.

There is a big difference between Soltari Foot Soldiers who can block each other and Tormented Souls who can't, to say nothing of what would happen if multiple creatures of either type were in one set.  Mono-black has a total unblockable for I think the first time ever, and I couldn't be happier; I'm not going to overanalyze it.


Right.  It's exactly the same difference between Suntail Hawks who can block each other and Tormented Souls who can't.  =P  That's what I was getting at; shadow is pretty much mechanically identical to flying, so representing that same flavor with "can't block and is unblockable" helps keep it from stepping on flying's toes.  I also couldn't be happier about mono-black having the ability, but I don't see how that's a reason not to overanalyze it. 

Could they have executed Devour in a better fashion?  Absolutely.  Should they have?  That's harder to quantify.  I certainly don't blame them for playing it safe under the circumstances; a time will come when they can afford to do otherwise.


But just giving Jund bloodthirst would have been simple and flavorful (obviously they must think so, otherwise bloodthirst wouldn't now be in a core set).  Esper's "keyword" was artifact, so it's not like they had to come up with something new.

Well that's not always a good maxim - Green and Blue are both colors which encourage knowledge, while White is totally capable of deciding to pull a Fahrenheit 451 for the sake of keeping people from figuring out why they shouldn't be complacent and obedient.  The ally-enemy status of the colors is extremely flexible; twisting the pie in nearly any imaginable fashion including all the way inside-out is perfectly possible and only slightly alien to the version we have now.  It shouldn't be done "just because", but reasons for doing it are easy to come up with.


But in the example of knowledge, it isn't something liked by white's allies and despised by its enemies.  Black's the color of tutor effects.  Red's usually concepted as the "dumb" color, but as Dragon_Bloodthirsty pointed out, this is a mistake.  Even so, it still has perfectly in-flavor cards like Sensation Gorger and Mindmoil.  Just like with the issue of Wizards finally realizing that every color needs creatures, I wish they'd realize that every color needs cards, too.  Fortunately, this isn't even an issue with mind control in black; the flavor is certainly a fit regardless.

Domesticating animals is white; tending them and letting them thrive is green.  Husbandry can refer to either.


Oh, I didn't know it could refer to either.  If that's the case, I don't have a problem with it in green.

Treating a class as a substitute for a race is exactly what happened way back in Alpha, and this is why White didn't get ANY kind of a tribal lord until Fallen Empires and was still without a terribly impressive one when Eladamri showed up in Tempest to correct the long-standing lack of an Elf lord.  We've been down that road a long time, and are still down that road, in fact.  Exactly what I want to see fixed.


But making white's characteristic creature type "soldier" wouldn't be treating a class as a substitute for a race, it would be treating it as an equivalent.  As far as the rules are concerned, there isn't any difference between race creature types and class creature types anyway.  Granted, the race-substitute problem is probably one of the reasons that there's so much overlap between soldiers and humans so far, but Wizards will possibly notice this and start making more non-human soldiers.  That should certainly be possible if white's characteristic race keeps changing from setting to setting; as long as white has soldiers, Captain of the Watch can whip them into shape.

Probably the association between Hobbits/Halflings and, well, home counties rural England. Works great in a block based on English folklore, not so good in... Well, pretty much anything else. If we assume that Kithkin are Magic Brand Hobbits, then Kithkin get the home counties england vibe by association (deviate too much from that and they'd lose the hobbit vibe which would kill any sort of easy-to-latch-onto association that goblins, elves, vampires and merfolk have)


So why is being based on English folkore a problem for hobbits but not for elves?

Really?  So you didn't think having sentient cats on Naya and domesticated cats on Bant was a good illustration of the difference between those shards?  And why can't anthropomorphic animals be on the same functional level as elves and golbins?  Most creature cards both get a race and a class; how is "cat warrior" any different from "elf warrior"?



The problem with sentient animals as a characteristic race isn't fixed by giving the sentient versions a class and the non-sentient versions no class. The creature type Cat, for example, is mechanically identical whether it's paired with a class or not. Therefore, any lord that buffed Leonin would also buff all the non-sentient cats out there. Some may think this is fine, and even build around this exploit, Johnny style. Others, like myself, would not enjoy this inconsistency. If the creature type were changed to Leonin instead of Cat, that'd be cool though.


But making white's characteristic creature type "soldier" wouldn't be treating a class as a substitute for a race, it would be treating it as an equivalent.  As far as the rules are concerned, there isn't any difference between race creature types and class creature types anyway.  Granted, the race-substitute problem is probably one of the reasons that there's so much overlap between soldiers and humans so far, but Wizards will possibly notice this and start making more non-human soldiers.  That should certainly be possible if white's characteristic race keeps changing from setting to setting; as long as white has soldiers, Captain of the Watch can whip them into shape.



I'm fine with Soldier being white's characteristic creature type, for now at least. But it is only, at least in my opinion, a temporary fix. It sets white apart from the other four colors. When we changed over to the Race/Class system, blue changed from Wizard tribal to Merfolk tribal. White's only still Soldier tribal because it hasn't discovered a race that fits it well enough. Every year brings a new try, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that eventually Wizards settles on one and makes it awesome. I have faith in them. Laughing

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Flying is NOT interchangeable with Shadow at all.  Ability to block both flyers and non-flyers is huge.
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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
(An aside: I'm seriously hoping this resurgence of Zombie tribal was just because of the nostalgia factor of Scars of Mirrodin. As Mark said in his Care for a Bite article, Zombies DO NOT fit black as a characteristic creature type. The fact that Captivating Vampire was replaced by that Bloodthirst lord which doesn't help aggro at all [it comes down too late and doesn't buff any already-played vampries] is disheartening, made the worse by the fact that zombies got their good lord back. I am firmly in the "zombies as tokens only" camp [if it doesn't already exist, I'm inventing it]. Like saprolings for green, zombies are certainly the type of thing Black would summon, but not indicative of the type of people who would align themselves with Black. Here's hoping Innistrad gives us a second year of Vampire tribal, and isn't nerfed by going back to no-vampires the next year like Scars did to Zendikar.)



I'm a Zombie fan. Maybe it's my love of Iron Maiden.

The idea of a walking, near-mindless corpse at first doesn't seem very Black. I can understand that. Vampires are parasitic creatures and are perfectly Black, because Black is inherently selfish (Note: Not a bad thing). The only zombies that really feel the same are liches who are sentient, since they want immortality at any price. However, I think zombies can very easily share a place with vampires as Black's characteristic race. Why?

Because the one paying the Black mana is you. Zombies might be mindless slaves, but they're your mindless slaves. And wow, one has to be one hell of a selfish person to raise undead. In my mind, zombification is one of the worst things you could do to a person in Magic. We honor the dead because they have undergone the final journey, and because they no longer have a way to be defended. Necromancy is a violation of the body's right to peace; worse, it's outright desecration. What better way to kick you while you're down than bringing you back to life to kill and devour in your enemy's name?

That's why, at heart, even the mindless zombies fit black. Only a person without any regard for spiritual morality or respect for the dead could make them, and only someone that selfish would command them. Black doesn't care about punishment in the afterlife or any kind of sanctity. All Black sees in a zombie is a tool that won't rebel. And as a Black planeswalker, the player deserves this kind of power from tapping into a swamp's mana.

"If he ain't using it, no reason why I can't." - Every Necromancer ever

There's no reason zombies can't share the room with vampires, however. They both are iconic. Both have received some very good tribal support (Vampires was a tier 1 deck in the Caw Blade meta, for crying out loud!). Vampires have received a ton of support in the time they've been out, so it's not like they're wanting in lords or tribal synergy. Let both tribes ebb and flow. Zombies barely got anything in Zendikar, but got quite some representation in the Scars block, in contrast to the Vampires who thrived in Zendikar and lost out in Scars. Innistrad will have Zombies, and Vampires would fit the setting perfectly.
I'm almost positive they'll be there. I'm much more worried about the block AFTER Innistrad having decreased number of vampires. And also, I'm really not a fan of having the characteristic race split. Goblins don't have to compete with Dwarves or Viashino. Elves don't have to share with... um... all the other many small green races of Magic... But Vampires and Zombies have to share. Meaning my Vampire deck doesn't get as many options. But hey, better than no Vampires at all. Silver lining.



I hate how Goblins and Elves hog the spot every single block. But I know why they do it, because I also remember when I wasn't playing for long yet how I hated they didn't appear in Odyssey...

I think zombies will be treated like cats. They can appear as random one-offs everywhere and once in a while, when it makes sense, they'll be a tribe.

I'd say the goblin/elf situation is more unhealthy than having to share.