08/22/2011 Feature: "Homelands: The Making of a Magic Expansion"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Feature Article, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.

The playtesters' responses were mixed—an encouraging sign, recalled Scott. "If it had all been a good response, it wouldn't have been as good as if there had been some controversy. If it's a good set, some people will love it and others will hate it."

In keeping with the original diverse spirit of Magic, Sandra worked to make sure that the artists' vision wasn't compromised by too much artistic direction.





This explains so much... 

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

I have been craving knowledge of how some of Magic's earlier expansions were envisioned and designed of late. Fantastic article, thank you for republishing it (coincidentally, the week before Innistrad previews).
I have been craving knowledge of how some of Magic's earlier expansions were envisioned and designed of late. Fantastic article, thank you for republishing it (coincidentally, the week before Innistrad previews).

I still wonder how coincidental the timing is.  Kelly assures us that Innistrad is not Ulgrotha - fine.  The reason I originally suspected Ulgrotha, however, is because it looked like Liliana had slain Baron Sengir - even if that happened in Innistrad, rather than Ulgrotha (and he was looking for a way to invade some other plane), that could justify an article showing us his design now.
Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
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The set was a little underpowered, Glenn observed—the result of Kyle's first look at Legends, which would be released within a few months. In response to the raw power ofLegends, Kyle set about creating a set that relied on strategy.


This is somewhat ironic considering that the average power level of Legends is not much higher than that of Homelands.  Legends had a few very good cards, but it also had a lot of very bad ones.
The set was a little underpowered, Glenn observed—the result of Kyle's first look at Legends, which would be released within a few months. In response to the raw power ofLegends, Kyle set about creating a set that relied on strategy.


This is somewhat ironic considering that the average power level of Legends is not much higher than that of Homelands.  Legends had a few very good cards, but it also had a lot of very bad ones.



Remember, that you're skating around 4e here. Actually, I think what they're getting at is that Innistrad is supposed to be another "nerf-block" much like 4e, Invasion and Ravnica were, because Scars has all of the signs of a block used to transition into a more options based, less utility based phase in Magic cards (the raw utility of Shards and Zendikar cards is comparable to that of Onslaught and Mirrodin, which nearly ruined the constructed form of the game)

IMAGE(http://i998.photobucket.com/albums/af108/acatan/sigwynzermancopy.png) Signature by IMAGE(http://www.poke-amph.com/heartgoldsoulsilver/sprites/258.png)
After Zendikar I wouldn't care if the next decade were nerf blocks.
Wynzerman, what do you mean by "nerf block"? The connotation of that word fits sets like Mercadian Masques and Kamigawa more than it fits the sets you're describing. I think you're looking for a different term there.



This was a great article. I just added it to the Expanded Multiverse Archive for preservation.

Incidentally, speaking of the archive, if anyone is interested in the story of Homelands you should go check out The Homelands Document, which has detailed descriptions of each card and was given to the community by Scott Hungerford himself. It might be worth checking out just for the sake of getting a sense of how a story-driven set can be designed.
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Okay,
Baron Sengir
3BBB
Legendary Creature: Vampire
Flying
[T]: Regenerate target Vampire. It loses all +1/+1 counters.
Whenever a creature dealt combat damage this turn by ~ dies, put a +1/+1 counter on ~.
5/5
would be good enough to be an M12 nostalgia rare. That's just so much better than the real baron.
Which reminds me, The Last Baron is the best Mastodon song.
Which reminds me, Seige Mastodon is ridiculously bad.
Which reminds me, so is Baron Sengir.
LOOP CLOSED.
The set was a little underpowered, Glenn observed—the result of Kyle's first look at Legends, which would be released within a few months. In response to the raw power ofLegends, Kyle set about creating a set that relied on strategy.


This is somewhat ironic considering that the average power level of Legends is not much higher than that of Homelands.  Legends had a few very good cards, but it also had a lot of very bad ones.



Remember, that you're skating around 4e here. Actually, I think what they're getting at is that Innistrad is supposed to be another "nerf-block" much like 4e, Invasion and Ravnica were, because Scars has all of the signs of a block used to transition into a more options based, less utility based phase in Magic cards (the raw utility of Shards and Zendikar cards is comparable to that of Onslaught and Mirrodin, which nearly ruined the constructed form of the game)




If I understand correctly what you mean by 'nerf' blocks (blocks designed to reset the game's power level and thus avoid long-term creep), Invasion and Ravnica were certainly not nerf blocks. Kamigawa was, though as far as I can tell not intentionally. Masques block is probably the best example. And of course, it's been admitted that Scars was an attempt by development to be the next nerf block.

Sets like Fallen Empires, The Dark, and Homelands were just weak on their own  
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.
Innistrad is Homelands 2.0. That's the only good reason I can think for this article.

By the way, my GDS2 designs for Ulgrotha (actual Homelands 2.0) had a page dedicated to tribes, where the humans vs werewolves vs vampires was a major flavour setting. Oh, and there were a lot of pirates too. That page got deleted for some reason. Was I getting close to the mark?

/conspiracy theory

I would be very interested to see this "The Brothers' War: A History ofAntiquities" mentioned in the article reprinted.  Or is it archived online somewhere?

I hope that the player response to the return of the Phyrexians continues to encourage Wizards to revisit the epic that was Magic's first 10-year+ storyline.  Even if the only remnants of it are a blasted wasteland of Dominaria and the New Phyrexians, I would be happy. 
I would be very interested to see this "The Brothers' War: A History ofAntiquities" mentioned in the article reprinted.  Or is it archived online somewhere?

I hope that the player response to the return of the Phyrexians continues to encourage Wizards to revisit the epic that was Magic's first 10-year+ storyline.  Even if the only remnants of it are a blasted wasteland of Dominaria and the New Phyrexians, I would be happy. 

Well, the Artifacts Cycle (The Brother's War, Planeswalker, Time Streams, Bloodlines, and The Thran, sorta) tie into a lot of what went on in Antiquities. In fact, The Brother's War is the direct novelization of that story. It's very worth checking out. You can buy the books in omnibus form now, actually, which I highly recommend doing.

There is not, to my knowledge, a lot of supplementary material. If anyone knows of anything, please send it along to me, because something like that would belong in the M:EM Archive.
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I have read the Artifacts cycle, but would love to read this original document, see what differences there are and such.

Also, if there are scans of this article, complete with the Dancing Ferrets on it, I would love to see them.

In fact, Wizards, I owuld love you guys forever if you could publish the whole run of Duelist and TopDeck online for viewing, or possibly iPad download.  Some great stuff to see there. 
This is somewhat ironic considering that the average power level of Legends is not much higher than that of Homelands.  Legends had a few very good cards, but it also had a lot of very bad ones.

In the long run, nobody is going to remember Sivitri Scarzam and Teleport, but holy crap Mana Drain and Moat!

Average power level is meaningless.  Sets are defined by only their best cards, over time.

I have read the Artifacts cycle, but would love to read this original document, see what differences there are and such.

Also, if there are scans of this article, complete with the Dancing Ferrets on it, I would love to see them.

In fact, Wizards, I owuld love you guys forever if you could publish the whole run of Duelist and TopDeck online for viewing, or possibly iPad download.  Some great stuff to see there. 

Ah, that, I don't know, unfortunately. To my knowledge, there isn't any original design stuff from back in those days floating around. I'm pretty sure that was before even Venters got really involved with the storyline, so I doubt even he would really have any material.

It's quite possible that some stuff is still somewhere on the net. I have to go through the Internet Archive a bit more in search of this kind of thing.

You might try asking around on phyrexia.com. They might know of another place to look that I haven't thought of.
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I have been craving knowledge of how some of Magic's earlier expansions were envisioned and designed of late. Fantastic article, thank you for republishing it (coincidentally, the week before Innistrad previews).

I still wonder how coincidental the timing is.  Kelly assures us that Innistrad is not Ulgrotha - fine.  The reason I originally suspected Ulgrotha, however, is because it looked like Liliana had slain Baron Sengir - even if that happened in Innistrad, rather than Ulgrotha (and he was looking for a way to invade some other plane), that could justify an article showing us his design now.


Yeah, I've tended to believe that Innistrad was the very plane the Baron and his army had invaded via the Dwarven Gate ever since we saw the first promo art for the set. And while it makes sense on a couple different levels (she's a planeswalker, ending the old storyline neatly) that Liliana would defeat Baron Sengir, I hope that's either not the case or that the Baron puts up a good fight.

And now, watch Innistrad have nothing to do with Homelands at all.


Which reminds me, The Last Baron is the best Mastodon song.



\m/
The reason I originally suspected Ulgrotha, however, is because it looked like Liliana had slain Baron Sengir - even if that happened in Innistrad, rather than Ulgrotha (and he was looking for a way to invade some other plane), that could justify an article showing us his design now.

Well, with both having a horror theme, I suppose that is enough.

After others mentioned Homelands in connection with Innistrad, what I noticed was the groove in a circular arc in the Innistrad logo - so I thought that might suggest a globe, which ties in to the Homelands expansion symbol.

I knew that was quite a reach, but I thought it worth mentioning at the time.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

Over the years I've learned to parse statements from WOTC very carefully. 

Now, please note that—and you can quote me on this—Innistrad is not Ulgrotha, a few superficial similarities notwithstanding.



The author doesn't say there is no relationship whatsoever, just that the plane of Innistradis is not Ulgrotha. There could still be folks that escaped from that little pocket universe and are wreaking havoc elsewhere.

I managed to buy a few issues of The Duelist back in the day, and this issue with this story is one of them, and I've always loved reading about it. Still hard to believe so many of the problems are because one person didn't turn a page....

 
Proud member of C.A.R.D. - Campaign Against Rare Duals "...but the time has come when lands just need to be better. Creatures have gotten stronger, spells have always been insane, and lands just sat in this awkward place of necessity." Jacob Van Lunen on the refuge duals, 16 Sep 2009. "While it made thematic sense to separate enemy and allied color fixing in the past, we have come around to the definite conclusion that it is just plain incorrect from a game-play perspective. This is one of these situations where game play should just trump flavor." - Sam Stoddard on ending the separation of allied/enemy dual lands. 05 July 2013
Homelands didn't really have a horror theme, though. Just because Baron Sengir was the breakaway character from the pack doesn't mean that he was the set's theme. You wouldn't say Ravnica had a horror theme, and yet the big bad was a vampire.

The similarities between the planes really are remarkable only in their superficiality. They are remarkably unremarkable.
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If I understand correctly what you mean by 'nerf' blocks (blocks designed to reset the game's power level and thus avoid long-term creep), Invasion and Ravnica were certainly not nerf blocks. Kamigawa was, though as far as I can tell not intentionally. Masques block is probably the best example. And of course, it's been admitted that Scars was an attempt by development to be the next nerf block.

Sets like Fallen Empires, The Dark, and Homelands were just weak on their own  



Not really, sets from The Dark onwards were intentionally nerfed too because the broken cards from Arabian Nights, Antiquities and Legends made them unconfortable. With Tempest they were allowed to get out of the comfort zone again. So in a way, The Dark was the first Masques.

What's with all the Ferret Pictures?  To my knowledge there was only one ferret card in Homelands (Joven's Ferrets), and these particular ferrets look very different from those ferrets.  Especially the one with the Harp and the Owl Wings.  A Ferret Angel?  Why the heck isn't that a card?  That would be awesome!

This is somewhat ironic considering that the average power level of Legends is not much higher than that of Homelands.  Legends had a few very good cards, but it also had a lot of very bad ones.

In the long run, nobody is going to remember Sivitri Scarzam and Teleport, but holy crap Mana Drain and Moat!

Average power level is meaningless.  Sets are defined by only their best cards, over time.





What? Who else has tamed Scarzam's Dragon?
I've been playing (with some gaps) since the late 90's. Land Destruction can be fun! I really don't get the Command Tower backlash.

I've said before that part of why Homelands had a bad repuation, a part that isn't really recognized, is that it was the victim of bad printing behavior.  April 95 saw 4th Edition.  2 months later June 95 had Ice Age.  4 months later October 95 had Homelands.


And then nothing until Alliances in June 96.  That's a gap of 8 months for a small set with no breakout mechanics.  Nowadays even a standalone wouldn't be asked to cover that much time.  At 115 cards,  Homelands was 35% smaller than New Pyrexia alone and didn't have the support of any other block set.


Even once released, Alliances was woefully underprinted so players who wanted it either paid well over the printed price or found it sold out.  So after 8-9 months of waiting, you went to stores to ask "do you have Alliances?" and were told "No, but we have lots of Homelands. Want to buy more Homelands?"  We didn't.  Not until Mirage (3 months later) were new cards regularly available.


So that was about a full year of going to a store, asking "got any new Magic?" and being shown Homelands.  Yeah the set was weak, but even if it hadn't been Wizards leaned on it way too hard.

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

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

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

Average power level is meaningless.  Sets are defined by only their best cards, over time.


That is completely untrue.  There are lots of people who care about the "other" cards.  Legions was not very well received, even though Akroma, Angel of Wrath was extremely popular.
@Amarsir:

That's a really interesting analysis, and one I had never heard before. Thanks for sharing that. It does put a very different spin on the antipathy towards Homelands.

@goblinrecruiter:

I don't think that's accurate. I'm pretty sure Legions was quite well received, as was most of Onslaught block. There's a reason why WotC points to tribal as a particularly popular mechanic.
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I never realized how similar the designs of Homelands and Ravnica were. They were both planes isolated away from the multiverse, they both were designed around ten heavily color-aligned factions, and they both had the boss-lieutenant structure within the factions. I wonder if this was coincidence or if Homelands provided any inspiration for Ravnica.
Average power level is meaningless.  Sets are defined by only their best cards, over time.


That is completely untrue.  There are lots of people who care about the "other" cards.  Legions was not very well received, even though Akroma, Angel of Wrath was extremely popular.

Q. E. D.

Note how you naturally associated Legions with Akroma, but not Aven Envoy nor Fugitive Wizard.
Hey Wizards,
Stop beating yourselves up and apologizing for Homelands!

There are plenty of us who enjoy the game for the fantasy themes, stories, art and flavor. It is also the 'hook' for every new player I have come across. The reason they even pick up a card out of curiosity is the amazing looking pictures.


Super fast games based on pure power hold little interest for anyone who loves magic for its imagination and world creation.






Hey Wizards,
Stop beating yourselves up and apologizing for Homelands!

Wizards doesn't need to apologize at all for giving us Merchant Scroll.
Average power level is meaningless.  Sets are defined by only their best cards, over time.


That is completely untrue.  There are lots of people who care about the "other" cards.  Legions was not very well received, even though Akroma, Angel of Wrath was extremely popular.

Q. E. D.

Note how you naturally associated Legions with Akroma, but not Aven Envoy nor Fugitive Wizard.


You said that the most powerful cards were the only ones that mattered.

I gave you a counterexample in the form of a set where one powerful card was very popular, but the set itself wasn't.

Let's make an analogy:

You:
All rectangles are squares.


Me:
Not all rectangles are squares.  Here's a rectangle that isn't a square.


You:
Q. E. D.  Note how you naturally associated rectangles with squares.  All rectangles are squares.

Damn, Goblin Recruiter, you're really hitting the silly balls out of the ridiculous part. Batting 1000. 1000... sillies. Uh.

The only way your analogy could possibly make sense is if you phrased it "The only rectangles that matter are squares, because that's all people will remember". In which case, if you replied "Well, but I remember this one square that was with some HORRIBLE rectangles!" Qmark would be totally correct to say "Uh, well, thanks for proving my point, buddy."

Argument from analogy only works if the analogy is... well... analogous.
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I gave you a counterexample in the form of a set where one powerful card was very popular, but the set itself wasn't.



Except it was. It's one of the best-selling small sets of all time.

Although I do think you have a point in that there must be a certain threshold of powerful cards for a set to be remembered positively. The Kamigawa sets have a few gems, but are they viewed in a positive light?
What? Who else has tamed Scarzam's Dragon?

A multicolor and legendary vanilla creature?

Now I've seen everything.

Of course, at a CMC of three mana for a 6/4, I suppose one could say that Sivitri Scarzam would have been seriously undercosted, but still... oops, that was a "5" in that circle, not a "1".

Ah, but it's blue and black, and they're not supposed to get good creatures.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

What? Who else has tamed Scarzam's Dragon?

A multicolor and legendary vanilla creature?

Now I've seen everything.

Of course, at a CMC of three mana for a 6/4, I suppose one could say that Sivitri Scarzam would have been seriously undercosted, but still... oops, that was a "5" in that circle, not a "1".

Ah, but it's blue and black, and they're not supposed to get good creatures.

There were a lot of cards like that in Legends. It's a mix of Wizards not realizing the drawback of multicolor, and not realizing the relative weakness of creatures at the time. The result is vanilla, useless legends.
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Hey Wizards,
Stop beating yourselves up and apologizing for Homelands!

There are plenty of us who enjoy the game for the fantasy themes, stories, art and flavor. It is also the 'hook' for every new player I have come across. The reason they even pick up a card out of curiosity is the amazing looking pictures.


Super fast games based on pure power hold little interest for anyone who loves magic for its imagination and world creation.




The problem is that the flavour was the only thing going for Homelands. If Innistrad can give us good flavour and good cards, well then WotC doesn't have to apologize for anything.

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

In fact, Wizards, I owuld love you guys forever if you could publish the whole run of Duelist and TopDeck online for viewing, or possibly iPad download.  Some great stuff to see there.

Seconded.

If I understand correctly what you mean by 'nerf' blocks (blocks designed to reset the game's power level and thus avoid long-term creep), Invasion and Ravnica were certainly not nerf blocks. Kamigawa was, though as far as I can tell not intentionally. Masques block is probably the best example. And of course, it's been admitted that Scars was an attempt by development to be the next nerf block.

Sets like Fallen Empires, The Dark, and Homelands were just weak on their own  

I will have to look up that "admission". Certainly, when people heard about Scars of Mirrodin, they were hoping for an overpowered block like the original Mirrodin - because then they would be getting valuable cards for their money in the booster packs they buy!

Wizards can hardly afford to make a "Nerf®" block - because sales will be poor.

It used to be claimed, unofficially and not by people connected with Wizards, that Wizards tried to avoid power inflation, and yet have every block rotate Standard away from the preceding one, by using a scissors-paper-stone principle; the gimmick block beats the multicolor block, the tribal block beats the gimmick block, and the artifact block beats the tribal block.

But then once every five years, it broke down, and we got Mercadian Masques and Kamigawa.

Stop beating yourselves up and apologizing for Homelands!

There are plenty of us who enjoy the game for the fantasy themes, stories, art and flavor. It is also the 'hook' for every new player I have come across. The reason they even pick up a card out of curiosity is the amazing looking pictures.

Super fast games based on pure power hold little interest for anyone who loves magic for its imagination and world creation.

Oh, boy. Where do I start?

The problem isn't that you're wrong. No, most of what you're saying here is quite correct.

Making all the cards more powerful, making the game faster, wouldn't make it more fun. The game is of interest because it's fun to play, and because of the flavor of the cards.

And if the game wasn't of interest, and no one wanted to play it, none of the cards would be valuable.

But because the game is a collectable card game, because different cards have different values on the secondary market, the prospect of getting an individual card that stands out from the other cards in power level, like Tarmogoyf or Jace, the Mind Sculptor, sells lots of booster packs.

It's not people wanting the overall power level of the game to be higher. It's the lure of getting something for less than its normal cost.

So if all the creatures were like Tarmogoyf, people wouldn't get excited about it, any more than they get excited about Trained Armodon.

Since collectability is the unique feature of TCGs that get people to spend more money on them than games that aren't "bigger than the box", Wizards has to manage the dance of power level, of card value, of greed - to put it bluntly - adroitly. That's the way it is, and when they drop that ball, they will sell fewer cards.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

Hmmm... we don't know what the third set in the block is called yet, do we?

If not then, if that guy in the liliana pic really is Baron Semgir... the story could shift back to the Homelands ... a permanent portal opening.. something like that.

So... I'm going to predict now that SET 3 OF INNISTRAD BLOCK IS ULGROTHA!

You heard it here first.
Average power level is meaningless.  Sets are defined by only their best cards, over time.


That is completely untrue.  There are lots of people who care about the "other" cards.  Legions was not very well received, even though Akroma, Angel of Wrath was extremely popular.

Q. E. D.

Note how you naturally associated Legions with Akroma, but not Aven Envoy nor Fugitive Wizard.

Not to nitpick, but when I think of Legions, I think of Slivers. I completely have forgotten that Akroma existed, actually.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/0a90721d221e50e5755af156c179fe51.jpg?v=90000)

Baron Sengir
3BBB
Legendary Creature: Vampire
Flying
[T]: Regenerate target Vampire. It loses all +1/+1 counters.
Whenever a creature dealt combat damage this turn by ~ dies, put a +1/+1 counter on ~.
5/5
would be good enough to be an M12 nostalgia rare. That's just so much better than the real baron

Thing is, I think of the one above as the real Baron, and the one that saw print as a pale imitation. The entire set had its power level dropped by R&D because they felt they didn't have enough time to test the effects of the set on the play environment.


Ah, that, I don't know, unfortunately. To my knowledge, there isn't any original design stuff from back in those days floating around. I'm pretty sure that was before even Venters got really involved with the storyline, so I doubt even he would really have any material.

My first story job at Wizards was helping John Tynes write the Encyclopedia Dominia coffee table book which unfortunately was scrapped halfway through development. Next, I did a revision and continuity edit on the Homelands story. After that, my next job was writing the story for Alliances. It was especially fun to sink parts of Terisiare. However, I have next to nothing of the documentation from that period.

Wizards doesn't need to apologize at all for giving us Merchant Scroll.

Merchant Scroll is actually my doing! When R&D handed the set back to the designers, they'd not only cut the power level but gave the designer about 4 days to completely replace up to a dozen cards. I was visiting at the time and had been keeping a writing pad with me which I filled out with card ideas while travelling. Merchant Scroll was one of those cards. True story.


If you're interested in acquiring some prints, artist proofs or original paintings, contact Pete at peteventers (at) gmail (dot) com Pete also occasionally appears on Twitter: http://twitter.com/PeteVenters

The entire set had its power level dropped by R&D because they felt they didn't have enough time to test the effects of the set on the play environment.

Ouch.

Although I suspect they did learn at that time never to make that mistake again, they did remain cautious with power level for quite some time.

I don't know what the alternative would be, and it's a good thing Magic survived its difficult times... but I know that had I been running Wizards in the early days of Magic, I would have done things very differently.

Since people would be upset and angry and disappointed if the new Magic sets didn't have the good and valuable cards that the old Magic sets had, I would never have replaced Unlimited Edition by Revised Edition.

There would still have been a Revised Edition, though. The only cards removed would have been the ante and dexterity cards. A limited number of cards would be added to replace them and some (or, preferably, all) of the basic lands.

And that would have continued being printed instead of Revised, Fourth, and Fifth Editions.

To solve the problem of Black Lotus being too powerful for serious play, Standard would only include current black-bordered card sets. So the Core Set would be for casual and Legacy/Vintage play.

There would have been a Chronicles II and a Chronicles III... for the extra cards that would have been in Fourth and Fifth Edition, as well as other cards that didn't get reprinted, like Bazaar of Baghdad, Library of Alexandria... and those, too, would have been white-bordered.

Finally, with Sixth Edition, which would be called Fourth Edition, the Power Nine would be excluded from the Core Set, and the Core Set would be admitted to Standard tournament play. But that wouldn't mean that the Power Nine would become unavailable in current product. No; they would re-appear... in Portal: Third Age.

In this alternate history, Sixth/Fourth Edition likely would still have the original duals.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

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