09/26/2011 MM: "Scary Stories, Part 2"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
RE Urgent Exorcism: You could have printed this in Kamigawa, right? If it didn't work in Innistrad, would it be printed when we return to Kamigawa? (hint, hint)
I really like the exorcism, and now that I understand it better, I love trepanation blade
I opened a Trepanation Blade at the Prerelease, and it was a lot of fun to use. Now that I know it's a chainsaw, more fun!
Man, Gheist Catcher's Rig would have been awesome flavor as a scarecrow.  As it stands, the name and the art make me feel like it should Oblivion Ring a flier.  That also would've been awesome.
Man, Gheist Catcher's Rig would have been awesome flavor as a scarecrow.  As it stands, the name and the art make me feel like it should Oblivion Ring a flier.  That also would've been awesome.


Well, it was designed and built by mad scientists. Maybe their idea of "catching" something is to hit it with as much lightning as possible!
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
so it digs a whole in something? not hole? man the editorial staff sure has been slacking lately
Now I am extremely sad not to have Broomstick.  I don't see how the pointy-hat witch doesn't fit in gothic horror.
Darkthicket Wolf and Kessig Wolf are very poor spouts.  If they wanted to design cards that help you spend mana, they should have given you cards that have an ability that costs , or failing that at least an ability which does one of spending colorless or spending individual colored mana.  Mindshrieker, for instance, is a perfect card for a werewolf deck, which is screwed up.  Historically this plays into a pattern of Wizards making the things you most want to do in a given block unnaturally difficult to do - this set, for instance, puts a premium on creatures dying, so naturally cards that sack themselves for no mana like Bile Urchin are nowhere to be found, making "get a creature killed" vastly harder to do in Innistrad Block than it is in Magic in general.  IMO this defeats the purpose of having a cool ability like morbid in the first place.
Ghoulcaller's Chant is the card that really makes it suck that they didn't go Tribal with this set.  I also am never happy about the obsoleting of base cards - you can have just two Zombies in your whole deck and this card is still strictly better than Raise Dead/Disentomb.  I would have rather this card been a Tribal Sorcery Zombie and cost more - yes this would mean two of them could loop but that seems appropriate.
I'm annoyed by the Markov Patrician point because it's just so fiddly.  "We don't make Lifelink creatures with power over 2 at common but we're very carefully breaking that rule to see what happens".  Pfft.  Policies like this one keep commons from being awesome so that people who don't spend much money on the game can have awesome cards.  D&D should spend less time worrying about minutia and more time doing cool things so everyone can be happy.
I'm very happy to finally see white intimidate, although Spectral Rider isn't the best place for it IMO; I would have made the card a light-beaming Cleric myself, one who's trusted by innocent villagers but feared by everyone with dark secrets or unwholesome urges to stain their soul.  Still, I have few complaints about this gorgeous card.
Anyway, while many things could have been done better, Innistrad remains a rather excellent set and I'll be purchasing a fair bit of it.  Good work you guys, but keep striving for perfection.
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
Real world creatures that also show up in horror stories? Hmm, in that case I really want there to be a shark somewhere in the block. It would totally fit creatively - what ocean doesn't have sharks? And even though Jaws was a bad movie/book it's atill an influential horror trope...plus, sharks are freaking terrifying anyway. I would be so happy if they put one in...although, sadly I doubt they have.

Come to think of it, there's all sorts of ocean stuff that fits right into horror - sea monsters are a huge horror trope, which I hope they touch on at least a bit this block (they haven't really at all so far). It would fit right into blue. If they can have a legendary octopus in Zendikar, they can have some creepy sea stuff.

Alright, done with my rant. 
Hmm, I guessed Inquisitor's Flail as Chainsaw. I don't see Trepenation Blade's top-down design >.> 

RE Urgent Exorcism: You could have printed this in Kamigawa, right? If it didn't work in Innistrad, would it be printed when we return to Kamigawa? (hint, hint)



I'd say no, as the Kamigawa Spirits are very physical beings, so not really groupable with enchantments.

 IMO this defeats the purpose of  having a cool ability like morbid in the first place.

Now I am extremely sad not to have Broomstick.  I don't see how the pointy-hat witch doesn't fit in gothic horror.



It's fairy tale stuff, not horror :s

Historically this plays into a pattern of Wizards making the things you most want to do in a given block unnaturally difficult to do - this set, for instance, puts a premium on creatures dying, so naturally cards that sack themselves for no mana like Bile Urchin are nowhere to be found, making "get a creature killed" vastly harder to do in Innistrad Block than it is in Magic in general.  IMO this defeats the purpose of having a cool ability like morbid in the first place.



They think it's more fun in limited this way.

Pfft.  Policies like this one keep commons from being awesome so that people who don't spend much money on the game can have awesome cards.  D&D should spend less time worrying about minutia and more time doing cool things so everyone can be happy.



Again, they think it's for the best for limited. You can't please everyone, so they have to make a choice.

I'm guessing the lack of creatures that can sacrifice themselves is either because they didn't fit the set flavorfully or because they will be part of the block evolution (so will appear in dark ascension or something).

I too vote for broomsticks. Maybe they're not 100% front and centre of the horror genre, but they're a far better fit than Cobbled Wings which seem more out of place than a chainsaw to me. If goblins can have gatling guns (Goblin Sharpshooter) why can't we have a chainsaw by some other name too? Cobbled Wings are steampunk tech.

What's the flavor? In one word: necro-cannibalism.

Maybe that's the flavour you had in mind, but it didn't reach the card. The flavour text makes it clear that the bodies dug up are being sold. Now OK, you could argue they're being sold to be eaten (although I had assumed it would be that it's for scientific use) but certainly they're not being eaten by the person with the spade.

I don't see any problem with connecting payment for a service with life gained.
PLANTS VS ZOMBIES!!!!

If you Wizard doesn't make it, then i will. 
How to Autocard
card: [c]cardname[/c]-> [c]Vampire Nighthawk[/c] -> Vampire Nighthawk

I'm guessing the lack of creatures that can sacrifice themselves is either because they didn't fit the set flavorfully or because they will be part of the block evolution (so will appear in dark ascension or something).




No it was in GDS2 too, some blocks had a similar theme and they were encouraged by the judges to make the conditions harder to meet.
Wings are Gothic Horror, but Broomsticks are not? No wonder the Horror theme fell so flat with the set, a very limited and boring lore source informed the block design. Sadly, even fans of horror movies of the 1950s and '60s find only a very pale reflection of the genre.

Thanks for more proof of the anti-Green bias among your set designers. Dark Thicket Wolf vs. Feral Ridgewolf. The Green wolf can only pump once per turn, the red wolf can pump infinite. Then, to add insult to injury, you give Trample to the Red, rather than to the Green. Intentional? Or is there just a huge blind spot to the way Green is gimped in the design process?
Real world creatures that also show up in horror stories? Hmm, in that case I really want there to be a shark somewhere in the block. It would totally fit creatively - what ocean doesn't have sharks? And even though Jaws was a bad movie/book it's atill an influential horror trope...plus, sharks are freaking terrifying anyway. I would be so happy if they put one in...although, sadly I doubt they have.

Come to think of it, there's all sorts of ocean stuff that fits right into horror - sea monsters are a huge horror trope, which I hope they touch on at least a bit this block (they haven't really at all so far). It would fit right into blue. If they can have a legendary octopus in Zendikar, they can have some creepy sea stuff.

Alright, done with my rant. 



While I don't fully know what defines "Gothic Horror" I do believe that Jaws doesn't fit.  However, I could easily see some other sort of sea monster showing up.

Keep in mind that this set is about "Gothic" horror and not all horror types.  While there are plenty of horror types out there, they are only going for one.  
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)
Thanks for more proof of the anti-Green bias among your set designers. Dark Thicket Wolf vs. Feral Ridgewolf. The Green wolf can only pump once per turn, the red wolf can pump infinite. Then, to add insult to injury, you give Trample to the Red, rather than to the Green. Intentional? Or is there just a huge blind spot to the way Green is gimped in the design process?



I haven't played with the set yet, but the green one seems to be the most powerful to me, as it is a bear by itself. A strong early drop that remains relevant in the late game. Against an aggressive deck, I don't want to spend my 3rd turn playing a 1/2 creature.
Cobbled Wings are steampunk tech.

They're straight out of Greek mythology, actually.

But either way, one thing they aren't particularly is a gothic horror thing. No worse than broomstick-riding witches (intentional kitsch is the last thing you want in a set like Innistrad), but not much better either. Oh well, not every card can be a perfect flavour fit. Probably they just needed an Equipment that granted Flying.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
Historically this plays into a pattern of Wizards making the things you most want to do in a given block unnaturally difficult to do - this set, for instance, puts a premium on creatures dying, so naturally cards that sack themselves for no mana like Bile Urchin are nowhere to be found, making "get a creature killed" vastly harder to do in Innistrad Block than it is in Magic in general.  IMO this defeats the purpose of having a cool ability like morbid in the first place.



Like TobyornotToby said, it's probably for limited. Also, I'd disagree with the idea that it's "vastly harder" to sacrifice creatures here. Brain Weevil sacrifices itself for no mana, and six other cards have some kind of "sacrifice [this]" or "sacrifice a creature" ability. True, Brain Weevil is the only one with no additional cost, but still, they're out there. I'd say it's about as hard as it should be to trigger morbid and related abilities, considering that combat and removal spells are still the obvious way.

Thanks for more proof of the anti-Green bias among your set designers. Dark Thicket Wolf vs. Feral Ridgewolf. The Green wolf can only pump once per turn, the red wolf can pump infinite. Then, to add insult to injury, you give Trample to the Red, rather than to the Green. Intentional? Or is there just a huge blind spot to the way Green is gimped in the design process?


As for those wolves specifically, like Toby said (wow, he's just right about everything today), the red one isn't strictly better. The green one may not be infinitely pumpable, but it's a bear and pumping it gives a toughness boost.

As for the idea more generally, this is far from the first time I've read about some bias against green, and it still seems bizarre to me. Granted that designers probably personally lean more blue and/or black because they're probably a bit more Johnnyish and/or Spikish, green would be one of three colors losing out by comparison, and it still seems to get plenty of love in recent sets. The introduction (well, keywording) of the fight mechanic, the best of the M11 Titan cycle... and beyond that, the idea that there's some prejudice against green just makes no sense. Why? What does the company have to gain from systematically unbalancing the color pie? Was someone in R&D attacked by a bear as a kid, do you think? If so, who, and at what age?

Although they could screw green over for all time if it would lead to them printing a Stephen Colbert-inspired card. I'd buy or trade for a foil copy of it in five languages...
You sure like to use the word trope a lot without knowing its meaning.



trope



noun
1.
Rhetoric .
a.
any literary or rhetorical device, as metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony, that consists in the use of words in other than their literal sense.


b.
an instance of this. Compare figure of speech.




2.
a phrase, sentence, or verse formerly interpolated in a liturgical text to amplify or embellish.


3.
(in the philosophy of Santayana) the principle of organization according to which matter moves to form an object during the various stages of its existence.


To think there is anything to be proven via the tiresome and unimaginative "argument by dictionary" method is to fundamentally misunderstand how dictionaries work. (At least in English - it may be different in languages that actually have a central authority that defines them, like French and Japanese.) They attempt to summarize current usage, and that is all. They have no authority over what is and isn't correct, and for the most part don't even pretend to. The only people who think they do are a certain breed of bad English teachers, and those of their ex-students who didn't manage to break free of their spell soon enough.

Case in point: I don't care what your preferred dictionary says, it is just a fact that "trope" in the sense of "pattern commonly found in a given genre of fiction, music etc" is a common and widely accepted use. If your dictionary doesn't reflect that, then it's either flawed or out of date. (For what it's worth - which, as I just said, isn't much - Merriam-Webster, which I find has a lot less of these sorts of glaring flaws than the other major US dictionaries, does include that sense of "trope", albeit with a negative connotation that in reality, it seems to be losing - they present it as a near-synonym of "cliché", which doesn't quite do it justice.)
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
Silly MaRo:

"The Fly" is not Gothic Horror. You might as well have just been making cards for all the thriller and creeper movies produced in the last 50 years and ignored the label "Gothic" altogether. Killer clowns,  mutant small woodland creatures like hares (Night of the Lepus), spiders (Arachnophobia), rats (Ben), dogs (Benji, Cujo), the Soul Piper (My Neighbor Totoro), ants (Them!), mutant humans (Futurama: Amazon Women in the Mood, Pluto Nash), and other such lovely classics of terror and devastation.

In Plants Vs. Zombies, the Zombies EAT the Plants. What quality about the Plants make them "have protection"? Moreover, Erik was correct on this point, and having reach and defender would have been more in keeping with "Tallnut" than it would every have been to have protection, whereas it seems you want something to hit it that it could hurt. It's not a Spikerock, which damages but just sits there, it's not a Peashooter, which would be deliberately offensive but immobile, or a Cattail, but a Tallnut, who takes it and takes it, like a champ.

"Trepannation," in case it wasn't clear, is the act of using a device to drill a hole into something. A trepanning tool is usually a drill, and is associated with trepanning, a "medical" procedure to cut into a skull and drain out "bad fluids," or to prepare for a lobotomy. So, top down design effect achieved! How this relates to chainsaws, which are purely destructive, I don't know.

Gutter Grime fills that lovlely little Green, enchantment, token making quality that hits almost all of MaRo's buttons. I'm surprised it doesn't have the word "Double" somewhere on it.

It's a pity Unruly Mob is nothing like Angry Mob. Not so mobbish.
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
To think there is anything to be proven via the tiresome and unimaginative "argument by dictionary" method is to fundamentally misunderstand how dictionaries work. (At least in English - it may be different in languages that actually have a central authority that defines them, like French and Japanese.) They attempt to summarize current usage, and that is all. They have no authority over what is and isn't correct, and for the most part don't even pretend to. The only people who think they do are a certain breed of bad English teachers, and those of their ex-students who didn't manage to break free of their spell soon enough.

Case in point: I don't care what your preferred dictionary says, it is just a fact that "trope" in the sense of "pattern commonly found in a given genre of fiction, music etc" is a common and widely accepted use. If your dictionary doesn't reflect that, then it's either flawed or out of date. (For what it's worth - which, as I just said, isn't much - Merriam-Webster, which I find has a lot less of these sorts of glaring flaws than the other major US dictionaries, does include that sense of "trope", albeit with a negative connotation that in reality, it seems to be losing - they present it as a near-synonym of "cliché", which doesn't quite do it justice.)



I completely agree here. From TV Tropes:

"The reason that clichés become clichés is that they are the hammers and screwdrivers in the toolbox of communication."
—Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!
[..]
Tropes are just tools. Writers understand tropes and use them to control audience expectations either by using them straight or by subverting them, to convey things to the audience quickly without saying them.

Human beings are natural pattern seekers and story tellers. We use stories to convey truths, examine ideas, speculate on the future and discuss consequences. To do this, we must have a basis for our discussion, a new language to show us what we are looking at today. So our storytellers use tropes to let us know what things about reality we should put aside and what parts of fiction we should take up.

When editing the wiki, then, remember these two mantras:

Tropes Are Not Bad

Tropes Are Not Good


"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
If Red is truly the "secondary color" for Intimidate, then why does only ONE red creature have it??
Silly MaRo:

"The Fly" is not Gothic Horror. You might as well have just been making cards for all the thriller and creeper movies produced in the last 50 years and ignored the label "Gothic" altogether. Killer clowns,  mutant small woodland creatures like hares (Night of the Lepus), spiders (Arachnophobia), rats (Ben), dogs (Benji, Cujo), the Soul Piper (My Neighbor Totoro), ants (Them!), mutant humans (Futurama: Amazon Women in the Mood, Pluto Nash), and other such lovely classics of terror and devastation.



I was thinking a little more H.P. Lovecraft, at least the way they went with the art, though.


"Trepannation," in case it wasn't clear, is the act of using a device to drill a hole into something. A trepanning tool is usually a drill, and is associated with trepanning, a "medical" procedure to cut into a skull and drain out "bad fluids," or to prepare for a lobotomy. So, top down design effect achieved! How this relates to chainsaws, which are purely destructive, I don't know.



The most well known method of lobotomy involves a hammer and something resembling an ice pick, going through one of the eye sockets, actually.  From what I know about trepannation, in some bizarre alternate medicine practices, you're supposed to have a hole voluntarily drilled into your skull to improve blood flow to the brain. Crude medical tools from way back then are pretty destructive, especially when you consider how barbaric some of the procedures were back then. Personally, I'm always a bit creeped out by previous era medical practices, and something like this for me is a lot scarrier than a chainsaw. Why? We're expected to trust the guy who's holding the medical tools. You already know very well not to trust a guy with a chainsaw.

You already know very well not to trust a guy with a chainsaw.



... But he's got a bud light!

I agree with not getting Trepanation Blade=Chainsaw. Especially with the way it looks and the flavorful connection to trepanning. (As mentioned above) I'm not sure what I imagine a chainsaw card doing, but it definitely isn't this.
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
Creative team fail:

According to Urgent Exorcism, an exorcism is effective at destroying spirits and enchantments.

Cloistered Youth  is the one card in all of Innistrad that is an obvious target for an exorcism. However, Urgent Exorcism has no effect on the starting or transformed side (Unholy Fiend)  of this card. It starts as a "human" and becomes a "horror".

Not having these two cards connected seems pretty ridiculous.


Re: Tropes

Fair enough, your arguments are compelling.  I take back my criticism.

Chainsaw ... OK, that was clearly an anachronism from the start.  But if Broomstick was submitted by several designers, and if players keep wondering whether various things would fit in a Gothic Horror setting, then maybe this "Gothic Horror" definition isn't so well known after all.


I'm not saying there isn't a difference, as surely there are people who care enough about such things to draw clear lines between them.  But I think it's lost on most of us (myself included) who would be perfectly happy to see a broomstick card, an escaped mental patient card, and any number of other things alongside the more strict "gothic" horror.


Which again isn't bad, as a set need not be all-inclusive.  But it makes me hope that 6 months from now, Innistrad has an identity of it's own rather than being an homage to a genre many don't quite recognize.


During Innistrad development, Erik decided to break this rule. Note that this happened after the test was published and the answers were given. I didn't ask the question and give that answer knowing we were going to change it a year later.

Is this a one-time exception, or are we going to push higher-power lifelink at common? I don't know. Development is going to use Innistrad as test to see what happens. If things work out okay, we might shift how we treat lifelink at common. As I often say, Magic design and development are an ever-changing landscape.

That said, the test was checking if you knew what we were doing, not what we might do in the future.


I think the test was checking if we knew what number you were thinking of.  The issue is not that design rules change over time, as that's to be expected.  It's that maybe this rule was never as clear outside your head as it was on the inside.  (For the record I passed that test but don't like the effect randomness has on an actual measurement.)

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

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

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

If Red is truly the "secondary color" for Intimidate, then why does only ONE red creature have it??


This.

When they keyworded intimidate, I was like "Yes! Now it will be in other colors." Bladetusk Boar was cool.

But they skipped it in WWK (which seems fine) and ROE (there wasn't "real" intimidate in that set). M11 had no intimidate either, so I thought it was forgivable that red didn't see any new intimidating creatures because not even black did.

And then SOM block printed Bellowing Tanglewurm to confuse us all. When I saw Spectral Rider and Gatstaf Howler, I was in ISD, again I was excited that intimidate was being bled into other colors, which surely meant red was getting some. But no.

I think there are some people in R&D that mentioned haste in "mundane" black creatures seemed awkward, but at least that and green vigiance have had more than it's fair share these last years. Why it isn't the same for intimidate? It's okay if red is a bad place (I don't think it is), or if you want to use it in green. Just decide firmly and go on with that. It would be good if Maro could explain why recent cards don't reflect decisions about the color pie.

That, and Thraben Militia. Please.
It would be good if Maro could explain why recent cards don't reflect decisions about the color pie.

That, and Thraben Militia. Please.



That one was touched upon on Twitter:
"Trample is primary in green, secondary in red, and tertiary in WUB now. That is all."
"The color pie is refined and adjusted over time. Don't be surprised if we re-examine old precedents and make changes."
Except that, as I showed when he first made that "secondary in red" claim, it was complete bollocks at the time. A quick Gatherer search for red tramplers that are currently Standard-legal, which are roughly the cards that have come out since I first said that, shows that it's gone from something they do at Common less than once per block to less than once per set, so it's moving closer to being true, but I'd still say it's a pretty dubious claim at this point.

(On that previous occasion he had used language that suggested Red should get Trample at least as, if not more, often than Green gets Reach, which was blatant nonsense then and, while it's a less lopsided comparison now, remains clearly false.)
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
What's the interesting part this time is the tertiary in WUB, which explains white commons and blue uncommons having it suddenly.
"Doesn't this card contradict that statement? Yes, it does. Then wasn't common the right answer on the question? No, it wasn't, because at the time of the test we didn't create lifelink creatures with power 3 or greater at common. During Innistrad development, Erik decided to break this rule. Note that this happened after the test was published and the answers were given. I didn't ask the question and give that answer knowing we were going to change it a year later.

Is this a one-time exception, or are we going to push higher-power lifelink at common? I don't know."

Ummm... We all know, I think. Power creep is real, and at times out of hand. You'll continue to push. Someday there will be a 5/5 lifelink for 2WW at common. I hope it is a decade away, but I see no indications that power creep is slowing down.

Re: Tropes

Fair enough, your arguments are compelling.  I take back my criticism.



Wait... did someone on the internet just hear a rational argument and respond to it in a way other than getting mad and yelling at the other person? My mind is blown.

*applauds* 
Stop using "IMO" in sentences that aren't opinion. If you don't think a deck will ever be tier 1, that's great - but it's not an opinion. It's a prediction of the future. I identify as neither male nor female. You may refer to me with either gender pronoun or the singular they, whichever suits you best. ^_^ Re: Dismember
97543238 wrote:
Everybody knows that having your awesome creatures killed before they can do anything is frustrating, but the Red mage in me doesn't seem to understand why it's so bad when his creatures spontaneously combust into Flame Javelins and make his opponent discard something at the same time.
Currently Working On: Self-Mill (Standard)
Silly MaRo:

"The Fly" is not Gothic Horror. You might as well have just been making cards for all the thriller and creeper movies produced in the last 50 years and ignored the label "Gothic" altogether.



The trouble is, there are really two definitive mad scientist eras (when fiction asked the question "where is science taking us" as "my God, what has science done!"). The first coincides with gothic horror such as Frankenstein, and you can also pull in some real-world quacks of the era such as Mesmer. The rest are from 1940-1960. (There's also steampunk, but it's such a new genre that there's really nothing definitive, and that's mostly upbeat adventure so we'll just sidestep that altogether.)

The Fly reference on Insectile Aberration is one, but it's not really alone. Once it was mentioned that Ludevic's Abomination was originally called "Mutant Octopus", it read a lot more like a Bride of the Atom reference than a Frankenstein reference. And of course green gets the Blob... er, Gutter Grime. On the other hand, none of those monsters are completely out of place in a low-tech mad scientist theme. In my mind, they all fit in a lot better than, say, Balefire Dragon.

I don't think there's enough tropes in the gothic camp of mad scientists alone to sustain a block, so they fleshed it out with some more modern examples. Unless we have to start to see something really jarring, like a uranium golem, I'd say it's better to have a few genre-stranded mads than none at all.
Re Garruk's frame problems, I'd just like to know why they decided to go with coloured name/type lines a la Planar Chaos. I mean, I guess it looks neat, but it doesn't really work on the hybrid frame, does it? It looks cool but you might think it's monoblack if you don't look too closely.
Personally, I didn't care much for the Geistcatcher's Rig.  Of course, part of that is because it is an anti-flying vehicle and I dislike how many spirits/ghosts seem to fly.  In most horror tales, ghosts don't fly.  They walk, maybe float a bit above the ground, they might teleport in steps toward someone.  But I guess they needed something to give lots of flying to in white and blue.

For Cloistered Youth, I really wish the flavor text on the back side was a reference to Little Girl's.  I just like how the youth, who got refered to as little girl often where I went to the prerelease, might have become all sorts of good stuff but instead became a horror ;)

It's a pity Unruly Mob is nothing like Angry Mob. Not so mobbish.



Yeah, Unruly Mob doesn't feel much like Angry Mob at all.  Started to small, too slow to grow, lacked trample.

At the prerelease, the card most people connected with Angry Mob was Thraben Sentry/Thraben Militia.  Something died, it got angry, big, and trampled stuff.  Maybe they should have called the back side Thraben Mob.

I agree with some previous posters that Trepanation Blade doesn't feel like a chainsaw at all; it feels much more like some kind of bizarre surgical instrument.
At the prerelease, the card most people connected with Angry Mob was Thraben Sentry/Thraben Militia.  Something died, it got angry, big, and trampled stuff.  Maybe they should have called the back side Thraben Mob.



It actually was, until someone thought the set had too many mobs and this one was changed to militia.
I agree with some previous posters that Trepanation Blade doesn't feel like a chainsaw at all; it feels much more like some kind of bizarre surgical instrument.


well... somone could say that a chainsaw is a bizarre enough surgical instrument....