01/23/2011 MM: "Dark Shadows, Part 1"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Mark, one of the cards you didn't mention that I'm most curious about is Grafdigger's Cage. Obviously it interacts with Flashback, which is relevant in-block, but the additional text about libraries strikes me as specifically designed for Vintage -- in particular, it hoses Tinker and Yawgmoth's Will, perhaps the two biggest R&D "mistakes." Was this intentional?
The developer chat said the library text was for Birthing Pod.

Maro, I get the idea behind tokens having only one type, but every single card that makes raceless tokens has humans in the art on both the card itself and the tokens. Humans are being treated like they aren't a real race, as they were pre-Mirrodin. Especially now that humans have tribal relevance, the fact that the Hero of Bladehold's soldiers are apparently not fellow Auriok feels weird and wrong. Humans should be treated the same as every other race, even on tokens.
blah blah metal lyrics
So for you to be continuing tonight's column as well as heeding the theme week, that makes it... "Design Week?"

Also, thanks for teasing about AVR with the whole Helvault blurb.  Sleepless nights ahoy.  :|   (Not really, but you get my point.)
Mark, one of the cards you didn't mention that I'm most curious about is Grafdigger's Cage. Obviously it interacts with Flashback, which is relevant in-block, but the additional text about libraries strikes me as specifically designed for Vintage -- in particular, it hoses Tinker and Yawgmoth's Will, perhaps the two biggest R&D "mistakes." Was this intentional?



MaRo didn't really have anything to do with the cage, it was made from skratch in development.

I have to give props to creative for crushing vines, even though it's a "no flavor" card, they gave it such awesome flavor text that it gets vorthos like me excited.
Official Speaker of the Expanded Multiverse Project, Step into Dominia-Embrace the infinite Magic of the Planes. This -> is my favorite smiley, I will use it often and without reason. You have been warned.
The Story of My Love
79035425 wrote:
BURSTING WITH VIGOR!
Trolljuju wiped the sweat from his brow as he continued his slow trudge up the snowy mountain. The wind was strong and fiercely cold, but he pressed against it. Juju knew Beast Engine was somewhere at the peak, waiting for him. But this was not a matter of confronting the forces of nature themselves; that had been accomplished long before, and was now too easy to maintain the manly man's interest. Today, Beast Engine was here waiting for a friend. Trolljuju's mind drifted from his appointment to thoughts of Beast Engine's manliness. The only man in history to punch the fossilized remains of a dinosaur back to life just to punch it to death again. The man who deflected bullets with his pectoral muscles during his daily assassination attempts. The man who cured cancer with a serum made from pure crystalized virility. The man who burst with vigor. Not just a man but a Man- the manliest of all men. A god of masculinity in physical form. Trolljuju's heart fluttered at the memory of him and lightened his steps as he pressed on. Suddenly, he was shaken from his reverie by a deep, powerful rumble in the mountain that shook him to his core. Instinctively, he threw himself to the ground just before the slope ahead of him exploded in a fiery wall of light and heat. So great was the force that the entire upper section of the mountain was vaproized. It scorched Juju's coat, then rose on the air to drift far away, a plume of white-hot ash. When Trolljuju lifted his head to see what was left behind, he beheld a wide, perfectly flat stone plateau, and in the distance he could see a muscular figure, his foot still held up from the kick. There was no doubt it was Beast Engine. As soon as the ground beneath him cooled, Juju cast his heavy pack aside and ran. As the figure grew with closeness, he could see Beast Engine was nude, as was expected. The snow that fell near him turned to a thin wall of steam, looking to Trolljuju's eyes like a barrier. Engine was too strong, too manly to occupy the same space as the ordinary universe. He lived in a world all his own. But fortunately for Juju, it was only an illusion. He ran at full speed into Engine, who caught him with both arms and effortlessly twirled with him, resting with Juju dipped low to the ground in Engine's arms. "Beast Engine, my love," Trolljuju breathed, sturck with awe at Engine's masculine beauty despite the familiarity of his face. Engine just smiled, radiating from every inch of him with incredible strength, yet gentle warmth. "It's been so long, Juju. I've missed you." "Forgive me. I lost contact with you while you were boxing with Death to win back and consume the soul of Theodore Roosevelt. But now I'm here..." Juju lifted one tentative hand to Engine's face, but he pulled away. "You know I cannot give you what you seek. Were we to make love, your body would be destroyed by the force." "I know, of course I would," Juju responded, tears in his eyes. "May I have, at least, one kiss?" "Very well. For you, my friend." Slowly, gingerly, they came closer. But the moment their lips met, a flood of unbridled manliness rushed into Trolljuju, body and soul, and every cell in his body exploded. Beast Engine fell to his knees, and in his grief, he wept. The tears that fell from his face burned deep into the rock beneath him. But slowly, his sorrow turned to conviction. He beat the crap out of Death once. He could do it again.
Maro teasing us about an upcoming set?  Never.  Couldn't be.  :D

I like the idea behind the Captain cycle, but the Immerwolf doesn't read as an alpha wolf (especially since it prevents transforming), especially with other more explicit alpha's from Innistrad.

As for the PvZ fans commenting on the zombie plant, having played the heck out of PvZ the Zombies won a ton of times when I was playing... way more times than the Plants did, even though the photosynthesizing tribe eventually did drive them off... but to find out if Innistrad plants ultimately triumph, we'll have to wait for AVR.
~ Current Decks I'm Playing or Building ~ (Click a deck's name to see list) [] CorpseJunk Menace/Township Counters (Standard) [] Reanimation/Clerics Theme Deck - Commander: Ghost Dad [] Devouring Tokens (Planechase, Multiplayer) [] Krark-Clan Ironworks: 2012 Edition (Modern) [] Azorious Turbo Fog (Modern)
I just read through the complete spoiler list, and Dark Ascension looks awesome! Couple of questions/comments (related to your column):

1. What in the world is that thing on Artful Dodge? Some sort of alien zombie monkey?

2. I'm normally good at this, but Immerwolf being part of the captain cycle went completely over my head.

3a. Is Elbrus the sword from the viral email story about the cathar who gets kicked out of the Church when he realizes his boss is a demon worshipper

3b. Withengar is awesome! I love the multiplayer ability.

4. Red looting: discard, then draw?

5. Oh no. Somebody breaks the Helvault! I'm guessing it was Liliana Vess? She's evil like that.
Mark, one of the cards you didn't mention that I'm most curious about is Grafdigger's Cage. Obviously it interacts with Flashback, which is relevant in-block, but the additional text about libraries strikes me as specifically designed for Vintage -- in particular, it hoses Tinker and Yawgmoth's Will, perhaps the two biggest R&D "mistakes." Was this intentional?



MaRo didn't really have anything to do with the cage, it was made from skratch in development.

I have to give props to creative for crushing vines, even though it's a "no flavor" card, they gave it such awesome flavor text that it gets vorthos like me excited.



As for the Vines, I agree. The Flavor is solid, but I do think it's kind of funny that a card initially devoid of any creative logic (hmm, is that an oxymoron?) came from the Flavor-Happy-Top-Down-Funzone of Innistrad.
~ Current Decks I'm Playing or Building ~ (Click a deck's name to see list) [] CorpseJunk Menace/Township Counters (Standard) [] Reanimation/Clerics Theme Deck - Commander: Ghost Dad [] Devouring Tokens (Planechase, Multiplayer) [] Krark-Clan Ironworks: 2012 Edition (Modern) [] Azorious Turbo Fog (Modern)

I just read through the complete spoiler list, and Dark Ascension looks awesome! Couple of questions/comments (related to your column):

1. What in the world is that thing on Artful Dodge? Some sort of alien zombie monkey?

2. I'm normally good at this, but Immerwolf being part of the captain cycle went completely over my head.

3a. Is Elbrus the sword from the viral email story about the cathar who gets kicked out of the Church when he realizes his boss is a demon worshipper

3b. Withengar is awesome! I love the multiplayer ability.

4. Red looting: discard, then draw?

5. Oh no. Somebody breaks the Helvault! I'm guessing it was Liliana Vess? She's evil like that.



1. It looks like a wolf, being magicky-magic'ed.
2. Me too. Though you can kind of see it in the mechanics.
3a. Good thinking!  I bet it is.
3b. I agree. Sometimes you just have to print cool stuff like "whenever a player loses" or "destroy all humans" as is.
4. That doesn't seem likely... it would sure be red-like, but probably wouldn't pass the "unfun" sniff test.  Maybe random discard?
5. It's either of the Walkers... Lili in order to release the Demon she's hunting, or Sorin
Show
to release Avacyn
~ Current Decks I'm Playing or Building ~ (Click a deck's name to see list) [] CorpseJunk Menace/Township Counters (Standard) [] Reanimation/Clerics Theme Deck - Commander: Ghost Dad [] Devouring Tokens (Planechase, Multiplayer) [] Krark-Clan Ironworks: 2012 Edition (Modern) [] Azorious Turbo Fog (Modern)
Wow I love Black Cat. It's like, oozing . It even feels Blacker than Phyrexian Obliterator to me! Right now it's one of my favourite Dark Ascension cards. You just can't not love a Zombie Cat!

Also, upon seeing the Legendary Sword that turns into a demon card, the only thing I could think was: "Thank God Stoneforge Mystic is banned!". Just thinking of what the 2 cards could do together is scary D: turn 3 trample, intimidate, flying 13/13 ahoy!

I really, really love the dual colour lands cycle, and the Dark Ascension ones are very cool. The :bgm: enables morbid and I think will see a lot of play, there are so many interactions with creatures that like to die with it. Plus it's instant speed so you can use it mid-combat or at the end of the opponents turn if you feel like doing so. The one is also really nice, should be killer in token decks (which have gotten so many cool tools in the last 2 sets). So now the missing 3 that will be in Avacyn Restored are the , and ones. Hmmmm, I wonder what they'll do.

Overall, I really love the DA cards, but there's only one aspect I feel was kind of average. Spirits. Sure, there are cool spirits but to bind them with the tap/untap mechanic seems kind of unexciting to me... Plus despite having one of the most badass artworks, the Spirit lord, Drogskol Captain could be so cooler. Right now it's just a Lord of the Unreal with flying, which I find kind of meh since the Illusion lord is such a new addition to Magic.

ALSO, (kind of unrelated to this article) but Alpha Brawl is like, the manliest Magic card ever!

IMAGE(http://i1.minus.com/jbcBXM4z66fMtK.jpg)

192884403 wrote:
surely one can't say complex conditional passive language is bad grammar ?

erdana, sans-serif; font-size:12px; font-style:normal; font-variant:normal; font-weight:normal; letter-spacing:normal; text-indent:0px; text-transform:none; white-space:normal; word-spacing:0px">We also spent some time coming up with the ways the two colors were going to use looting differently, but that happened after this card got sent to print, so we'll save that discussion for another day. I will hint that under our new paradigm for how red uses looting, this card would be printed slightly different from its current wording.


not much of a tease maro ;)


obviously can only be the 'hellbent looting idea of gleamaxe from gds2 (discard first, then draw)

The developer chat said the library text was for Birthing Pod.



What's that and can it be read somewhere?
The developer chat said the library text was for Birthing Pod.



What's that and can it be read somewhere?



There was a live chat a few days ago with some of the developers,

You can read the transcript here
Official Speaker of the Expanded Multiverse Project, Step into Dominia-Embrace the infinite Magic of the Planes. This -> is my favorite smiley, I will use it often and without reason. You have been warned.
The Story of My Love
79035425 wrote:
BURSTING WITH VIGOR!
Trolljuju wiped the sweat from his brow as he continued his slow trudge up the snowy mountain. The wind was strong and fiercely cold, but he pressed against it. Juju knew Beast Engine was somewhere at the peak, waiting for him. But this was not a matter of confronting the forces of nature themselves; that had been accomplished long before, and was now too easy to maintain the manly man's interest. Today, Beast Engine was here waiting for a friend. Trolljuju's mind drifted from his appointment to thoughts of Beast Engine's manliness. The only man in history to punch the fossilized remains of a dinosaur back to life just to punch it to death again. The man who deflected bullets with his pectoral muscles during his daily assassination attempts. The man who cured cancer with a serum made from pure crystalized virility. The man who burst with vigor. Not just a man but a Man- the manliest of all men. A god of masculinity in physical form. Trolljuju's heart fluttered at the memory of him and lightened his steps as he pressed on. Suddenly, he was shaken from his reverie by a deep, powerful rumble in the mountain that shook him to his core. Instinctively, he threw himself to the ground just before the slope ahead of him exploded in a fiery wall of light and heat. So great was the force that the entire upper section of the mountain was vaproized. It scorched Juju's coat, then rose on the air to drift far away, a plume of white-hot ash. When Trolljuju lifted his head to see what was left behind, he beheld a wide, perfectly flat stone plateau, and in the distance he could see a muscular figure, his foot still held up from the kick. There was no doubt it was Beast Engine. As soon as the ground beneath him cooled, Juju cast his heavy pack aside and ran. As the figure grew with closeness, he could see Beast Engine was nude, as was expected. The snow that fell near him turned to a thin wall of steam, looking to Trolljuju's eyes like a barrier. Engine was too strong, too manly to occupy the same space as the ordinary universe. He lived in a world all his own. But fortunately for Juju, it was only an illusion. He ran at full speed into Engine, who caught him with both arms and effortlessly twirled with him, resting with Juju dipped low to the ground in Engine's arms. "Beast Engine, my love," Trolljuju breathed, sturck with awe at Engine's masculine beauty despite the familiarity of his face. Engine just smiled, radiating from every inch of him with incredible strength, yet gentle warmth. "It's been so long, Juju. I've missed you." "Forgive me. I lost contact with you while you were boxing with Death to win back and consume the soul of Theodore Roosevelt. But now I'm here..." Juju lifted one tentative hand to Engine's face, but he pulled away. "You know I cannot give you what you seek. Were we to make love, your body would be destroyed by the force." "I know, of course I would," Juju responded, tears in his eyes. "May I have, at least, one kiss?" "Very well. For you, my friend." Slowly, gingerly, they came closer. But the moment their lips met, a flood of unbridled manliness rushed into Trolljuju, body and soul, and every cell in his body exploded. Beast Engine fell to his knees, and in his grief, he wept. The tears that fell from his face burned deep into the rock beneath him. But slowly, his sorrow turned to conviction. He beat the crap out of Death once. He could do it again.
The developer chat said the library text was for Birthing Pod.



What's that and can it be read somewhere?



I remember that chat, it was a few days ago, it was live on this site, but I only stumbled upon it due to Facebook telling me about it. It was with Tom and Zac answering peoples random questions. I seriously doubt it was saved anywhere it seemed like a pretty spontanious thing. EDIT NvM Troll got it.  

An what the hell is up with Black Cat!? I would like to love this card if it had any other ability, because after Typhoid Rats last set I REALLY REALLY wanted a Ravenous Rats reprint and these two cards are way to similar. Hate it. But at least Spirits will be kicking some ass now, can't wait!!

An based on that last comment about Helvault ... could this be something like the "Eye of Ugin" in worldwake becoming awesome next set? (granted less obvious)
An based on that last comment about Helvault ... could this be something like the "Eye of Ugin" in worldwake becoming awesome next set? (granted less obvious)



Don't look at it from a gameplay perspective, but a story perspective =p
An based on that last comment about Helvault ... could this be something like the "Eye of Ugin" in worldwake becoming awesome next set? (granted less obvious)



Don't look at it from a gameplay perspective, but a story perspective =p

Story perspective we already know what it is, what it's holding inside it, and that it's gonna bust open next set and it's gonna be all angels vs demons (yet to be seen but it's headed that way). You'd think if he's hinting at something, it would be about something we don't know. Unless of course he's just a big ol' troll like the rest of us >_> haha
Story perspective we already know what it is, what it's holding inside it, and that it's gonna bust open next set and it's gonna be all angels vs demons (yet to be seen but it's headed that way). You'd think if he's hinting at something, it would be about something we don't know. Unless of course he's just a big ol' troll like the rest of us >_> haha



Remember how in Savor the Flavor a few weeks back there was a mystery planeswalker appearing in Dark Ascension who's identity was yet unknown while Sorin's image was all over the site already? =p They're not fully aware what every other person has spoiled and what hasn't. 

erdana, sans-serif; font-size:12px; font-style:normal; font-variant:normal; font-weight:normal; letter-spacing:normal; text-indent:0px; text-transform:none; white-space:normal; word-spacing:0px">We also spent some time coming up with the ways the two colors were going to use looting differently, but that happened after this card got sent to print, so we'll save that discussion for another day. I will hint that under our new paradigm for how red uses looting, this card would be printed slightly different from its current wording.


not much of a tease maro ;)


obviously can only be the 'hellbent looting idea of gleamaxe from gds2 (discard first, then draw)


If that is what it will be, then I am all for that! I love the symmetry -blue thinks before it discards, red just throws stuff out and grabs more. Awesome sauce. 

I assumed that it would end up being a self-only version of Burning Inquiry ie "Draw X cards, then discard X cards at random."
Then two things happened. First, the card changed from an instant to a sorcery. The reason was that our previous uses of flashback had taught us that the game is less fun when you are surprised by something that in theory you were supposed to be able to notice. Players aren't trained to watch the graveyard, so instant flashbacks always seem to come out of nowhere, often leading to ill will.



Why?  They should be.  If you didn't want to force players to pay attention to what's in graveyards, you shouldn't have printed Flashback ten years ago - heck, you shouldn't have printed Raise Dead eighteen years ago.  The graveyard is public information and is occasionally relevant even in sets not fixated on it, so players should be trained to always pay attention to it, just as they pay attention to lands untapped during their turn and opponent's cards in hand.  Also I like that because of this "don't confuse the players with short attention spans" logic, your anti-werewolf weapon is no longer capable of making an enemy werewolf transform on your upkeep so that you can hit it with a sorcery-speed burn spell or the like while it's small (or just crash through with a creature bigger than the Human Werewolf while two others go unblockable which couldn't survive fighting him).  So the "tiny incremental change," made solely because you think your players are stupid (well, ditzy at least) was to significantly decrease the card's ability to fulfill the purpose for which it was "subtly" designed in the first place.

For Innistrad, I drew a line that all double-faced cards (save the one exception mandated by the brand team—the mythic rare planeswalker, Garruk Relentless)



Fixed.  (To be clear, I'm speculating, but I strongly suspect I'm right.  The creative team would have supported MaRo's logic in sticking to this rule, but Brand wouldn't care about anything other than having a flagbearer to put on posters in hopes of increasing sales.  It's not like ideological purity means anything to someone with a marketing degree.)

One of the options that seemed very natural was an artifact that transformed into an artifact



Personally I would have called that one of the least natural options; artifacts remain artifacts all the time, it kind of goes along with being an inanimate object.  If it was a cup that could be filled with two kinds of liquid, I might be more okay with this card, but what's the in-universe logic behind a cup decorated with angels physically shapeshifting into a cup decorated with demons?  I would have made these separate cards (though admittedly this would have made them just retreads of Marble Chalice and Onyx Goblet; it'd be worth it just for the art.)  With this being the last set anytime soon that will have DFCs, this card was kind of a dud, and I would have vastly preferred you do things like "Nonbasic Mountain that transforms into a Giant" or "Wurm that transforms into an Artifact Creature - Wall".  I'm rather bitter that they came up with a mechanic as awesome as DFCs only to short-sell it.

Before Dark Ascension was known, a lot of players asked me if the "13 matters" theme was going to continue in the set. My answer was always, "But, of course." Why wouldn't we continue such an awesome theme?



By printing, at least in this case, an utterly non-awesome card.

Tom believes strongly that we shouldn't make cards in this category. If a card doesn't have a clear concept creatively, he believes, then that is a sign we shouldn't make it.



I'm with Tom on this one, although from one of his LD columns I think he's basing this belief on logic I disagree with (that players want a super-straightforward feel-good experience and don't enjoy being mentally challenged by things that are difficult to parse; the article I'm referencing is one where he described how you should teach newbies to play Magic by giving them a series of rote instructions that an intelligent, do-it-yourself kind of player would likely find infuriating).  Also I think it's funny that a developer was the one saying this to a designer.

One of the rules about subtypes is that we can't use them solely for decoration. If we use them, at least one card has to care about the subtype mechanically. This is why, for example, traps had a subtype in Zendikar and quests did not.



This is horrible logic.  You junk up cards with "ability words" (like Fateful Hour) that have no mechanical effect and are just there to say "HEY NOOB LOOK AT ME, I'M A SET THEME MORON!  IF YOU DON"T WANT TO BE A DUMB LOSER YOU"LL PLAY ME WITH OTHER CARDS THAT HAVE THIS SAME MEANINGLESS WORD ON THEM!!!111!!!"  Putting "Quest" on the Zendikar quests (enabling them to have less boring names, like "Seeking the Pure Flame" and "Climbing the Soul Stair" would have fulfilled the same purpose, and would have left the door open for the designing of "quest matters" cards in a future set without the need to eratta Zendikar.
(In other news, I was earlier bemoaning the fact that Bitterheart Witch is in ISD where there isn't really much incentive to build a curse deck; Curse of Misfortunes and Curse of Thirst make the curse deck possible and I really think Bitterheart should have been in the same set as them, whichever of the two that was.  Also it would be nice if they didn't all have the exact same mana cost.  IMO the Curses are one of the more poorly-done aspects of Innistrad, though it remains a good set despite them.)

Tokens are already on the complicated side, in that the require players to remember something using an item that often doesn't have the information on it. (The big exception being token cards.) The less there is to remember, the better.



Which is why I strongly believe that Wizards should push the availability and strong-suggestion of tokens, making more complicated tokens in recognition of the fact that players won't use beads and pennies if they have easy access to a far cooler alternative.  You do a little of this already; when you make a Duel Deck, it includes the tokens you'll need for it (though this can go wrong in some cases; Ajani vs. Nicol Bolas gives you one Saproling).  There are various high-concept solutions, such as selling small print runs of non-random token packs or using sophisticated sorting to put corresponding tokens into booster packs with the cards they belong to (exactly what you could have done with DFCs to avoid the hidden-information problem and the dull checklists).

But there's one very, very easy solution - ditch the fairly useless Tips and Tricks cards (most sets don't have a mechanic complicated enough to need such discussion, but they still show up and aimlessly discuss topics that are pretty obvious and certainly don't take an entire card worth of space to describe), and the completely worthless ads (seriously, why the hell would you advertise your own product inside itself? people who buy boosters are already sold on the game, stop trying to persuade the already-persuaded!), and have that slot in each booster occupied by a double-sided token card - the most common would be "green meanie/white weenie" (examples: Soldier/Saproling, Soldier/Insect, Knight/Wolf, Saproling/Citizen, Elf/Kithkin), or a few more exotic but similar "throngs" (Human/Zombie, Bird/Illusion, haste-Elemental/deathtouch-Snake, Golem/Beast, Germ/Pentavite, whatever), with any token that you generally only need one or two of being "rare" but still having a "common" half on the back, and enough mix-and-match that a nigh-endless variety of combinations are distributed across the set.  It would offer a lot of extra collectibility and would sure as heck excite the players more than those stupid ads.

In conclusion - Speculation on the GU, UR, and RW lands in AVR anybody?  I'm hoping that the RW has something to do with "being stuck in the Helvault with Gristlebrand has driven Avacyn axe-crazy and now she's setting holy fire to everything that looks at her funny",  GU represents a desperate search through old records and pagan traditions predating Avacyn's rise in the hopes of finding a way to stop her by summoning up some elemental spirit of comparable power to curbstomp her and the monsters and restore a livable balance (GU being the overall least nasty colors, Momir Vig notwithstanding), and UR gives hints about how the madness of the newly-released demons is affecting curious or impatient souls who are cobbling together unholy arcane devices to tear down the dimensional barriers to Hell (the devices and their makers themselvs aren't evil, just completely looney and irresponsible like Ravnica's Izzet).
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
Tokens are already on the complicated side, in that the require players to remember something using an item that often doesn't have the information on it. (The big exception being token cards.) The less there is to remember, the better.



Which is why I strongly believe that Wizards should push the availability and strong-suggestion of tokens, making more complicated tokens in recognition of the fact that players won't use beads and pennies if they have easy access to a far cooler alternative.  You do a little of this already; when you make a Duel Deck, it includes the tokens you'll need for it (though this can go wrong in some cases; Ajani vs. Nicol Bolas gives you one Saproling).  There are various high-concept solutions, such as selling small print runs of non-random token packs or using sophisticated sorting to put corresponding tokens into booster packs with the cards they belong to (exactly what you could have done with DFCs to avoid the hidden-information problem and the dull checklists).

But there's one very, very easy solution - ditch the fairly useless Tips and Tricks cards (most sets don't have a mechanic complicated enough to need such discussion, but they still show up and aimlessly discuss topics that are pretty obvious and certainly don't take an entire card worth of space to describe), and the completely worthless ads (seriously, why the hell would you advertise your own product inside itself? people who buy boosters are already sold on the game, stop trying to persuade the already-persuaded!), and have that slot in each booster occupied by a double-sided token card - the most common would be "green meanie/white weenie" (examples: Soldier/Saproling, Soldier/Insect, Knight/Wolf, Saproling/Citizen, Elf/Kithkin), or a few more exotic but similar "throngs" (Human/Zombie, Bird/Illusion, haste-Elemental/deathtouch-Snake, Golem/Beast, Germ/Pentavite, whatever), with any token that you generally only need one or two of being "rare" but still having a "common" half on the back, and enough mix-and-match that a nigh-endless variety of combinations are distributed across the set.  It would offer a lot of extra collectibility and would sure as heck excite the players more than those stupid ads.


I wholeheartedly agree with these points.

In conclusion - Speculation on the GU, UR, and RW lands in AVR anybody?  I'm hoping that the RW has something to do with "being stuck in the Helvault with Gristlebrand has driven Avacyn axe-crazy and now she's setting holy fire to everything that looks at her funny",  GU represents a desperate search through old records and pagan traditions predating Avacyn's rise in the hopes of finding a way to stop her by summoning up some elemental spirit of comparable power to curbstomp her and the monsters and restore a livable balance (GU being the overall least nasty colors, Momir Vig notwithstanding), and UR gives hints about how the madness of the newly-released demons is affecting curious or impatient souls who are cobbling together unholy arcane devices to tear down the dimensional barriers to Hell (the devices and their makers themselvs aren't evil, just completely looney and irresponsible like Ravnica's Izzet).


You are trying to predict them looking from a flavour standpoint, I was trying to figure out what they could be mechanically. I think GU could be some kind of graveyard-to-hand regrowing land, maybe doing so randomly/with a high activation cost to avoid being too good? Or making your creatures draw cards for you when they connect? As for RW, something like giving +1/+0 to creatures during your turn and +0/+2 to them during your opponents turn is what I was thinking about. Or something akin to a mini Lightning Helix? Creatures you control gain vigilance and first strike could also make sense maybe. RW land is the one that intrigues me most. Some form of looting seems kind of plausible. Or maybe some form of copying an instant/sorcery?

That's in case they're not directly related to the AVR mechanics.


IMAGE(http://i1.minus.com/jbcBXM4z66fMtK.jpg)

192884403 wrote:
surely one can't say complex conditional passive language is bad grammar ?
You are being very unfair. Players should not be expected to treat the graveyard like they might treat permanents or a revealed hand because there are numerous cards that chuck really absurd amounts of stuff into the graveyard. Having to sift through someone elses cards (usually in a pile, potentially not a pile you can reorder because order matters cards are still in casual circulation) looking for abilities over and over again is not fun for anyone.

Last week I played a deck that chucked about 30 cards into the grave in the space of three turns. Two thirds of them had flashback. I'm pretty glad the pile wasn't rife with instants or it would have been much more of a pain in the ass. This was a casual game so paying strict attention to all public information was far less important than smooth gaming.


One of what's the in-universe logic behind a cup decorated with angels physically shapeshifting into a cup decorated with demons?



I found this very intuitive. One side (of the cup) has angels, one side has demons. You drink from the side closest to you (angels) and you make them drink from the side away from you (demons).

The card flips to show you the other side.

I don't think the art backs this up that strongly (I think the cup changes shape a bit too) but the concept seems clear. A lot of people named it their favourite card of the previews too, so I doubt wotc regard it as a dud.



Which is why I strongly believe that Wizards should push the availability and strong-suggestion of tokens, making more complicated tokens in recognition of the fact that players won't use beads and pennies if they have easy access to a far cooler alternative.  You do a little of this already; when you make a Duel Deck, it includes the tokens you'll need for it (though this can go wrong in some cases; Ajani vs. Nicol Bolas gives you one Saproling).  There are various high-concept solutions, such as selling small print runs of non-random token packs or using sophisticated sorting to put corresponding tokens into booster packs with the cards they belong to (exactly what you could have done with DFCs to avoid the hidden-information problem and the dull checklists).



Have you not noticed they already do this in a somewhat hit and miss manner in boosters? You do fairly often get a token instead of a rules reminder or advert. That token is more often than not generated by one of the cards in the booster. This is at a higher rate than coincidence would dictate, which tells me the two are related, though they are not perfectly related by any means. I assume there are printing/sorting reasons that doing more than this would cost more.

I agree the adverts and rules reminders are a bad idea. However they are only a bad idea because they sometimes include tokens. Once you work that out, whenever you don't get a token you feel annoyed. It's part of the human condition that sometimes not getting that extra thing at random will overall make you feel worse than never getting anything at all. If it was 'you get a token or you don't' then people wouldn't mind. The problem is the token being replaced by the advert/rules is like being taunted that you didn't get one.

Dual faced tokens would be a good idea, I agree, but not in a set with DFCs.
@ BaconRadar:  I'm fairly sure that at the moment any parallel between the token you get and the cards in the pack is coincidence.  If bunches of cards make Saprolings and bunches of the tokens are Saprolings, it doesn't prove much.  Now if the only card in "Return to Time Spiral" that makes a Griffin token was a reprinted Griffin Guide and the boosters that contained a Griffin Guide also got a Griffin about half the time, with this being statistically unlikely - well that'd be neat, but it would also make me wonder why the heck they didn't go all the way and make them always match.

As to the red looting thing, my assumption was that the "tweak" would simply be making all such cards capable of targeting the opponent, as this enables Red to be the party animal who both "gets drunk" (assuming that shuffling through thoughts in your brain randomly is akin to intoxication) and to pressure others into doing the same rather than being boring "I have a plan and I'm sticking to it" types as is typical of White and Blue in particular and Red almost never.
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
Curse of Exhaustion was then put into white in Dark Ascension to show the shift in Innistrad, that even the purest part of the land was starting to get tainted. The problem is that I didn't do a good job explaining to Erik the importance of "curses are in every color but white." As such, he changed our green curse called Curse of Tastiness to red—now called Curse of Stalked Prey—to match it with the vampire slith mechanic (+1/+1 counters for damaging, AKA "feeding off of" the opponent). Not understanding the value of curses being in every other color, he didn't replace the green curse with another curse in green. (By the time the file got to development, only one green curse remained.)



Okay, that's why there's no green curse in Innistrad. But if having a green curse was important to you why isn't there a green curse in Dark Ascension?
I chose an instant so it allowed you to stop transformations on both your and you're opponent's turns.

As much as I am excited about this set the missing of the rest of the spell land cycle, and no legendary werewolf has really got me down.  Those were the cards I was looking forward to when I saw Grim grin and Olivia spoiled laster year and Grim Backwoods and Vault of the Archangle spoiled a few weeks ago.
Why?  They should be.  If you didn't want to force players to pay attention to what's in graveyards, you shouldn't have printed Flashback ten years ago - heck, you shouldn't have printed Raise Dead eighteen years ago.  The graveyard is public information and is occasionally relevant even in sets not fixated on it, so players should be trained to always pay attention to it, just as they pay attention to lands untapped during their turn and opponent's cards in hand.



And cards in library. I mean, a decent players knows the exact count of cards in both players library at all times right?

There are a lot of (limited) games where the graveyard doesn't matter. In some enviromnents more than other. But you don't want to train them to have to play attention to things that don't matter. That's like forcing them to watch paint dry.

It's not an all-or-nothing thing anyway. There are still instants with flashback. They're just more careful which ones have it and which don't. 

By printing, at least in this case, an utterly non-awesome card.



It is an awesome card. Like Ghostly Possession, it's niche-removal, meaning that the decks that want it can pick it up late. Also, the 13 makes this card at least a bit memorable. It's not that you wouldn't find it non-awesome if it said 6 or something.


There are various high-concept solutions, such as selling small print runs of non-random token packs or using sophisticated sorting to put corresponding tokens into booster packs with the cards they belong to (exactly what you could have done with DFCs to avoid the hidden-information problem and the dull checklists).



That would be awesome, but MaRo explained that the printing process (including randomization of boosters) prevents them from doing stuff like this. 

I found this very intuitive. One side (of the cup) has angels, one side has demons. You drink from the side closest to you (angels) and you make them drink from the side away from you (demons).

The card flips to show you the other side.

I don't think the art backs this up that strongly (I think the cup changes shape a bit too) but the concept seems clear. A lot of people named it their favourite card of the previews too, so I doubt wotc regard it as a dud.



But it's not a flip card. It's a transform card. It should show transformation, not just another angle. 

 
because there's no reason to want to grant unblockability at instant speed



My Ruhan of the Fomori Commander deck begs to differ with you, sir.

--
Pauper
Ideas for red looting are interesting. I like how there's so many switches in what seems like a simple ability. 3 switches for a total of 8 choices in how to present it.

1. Draw X cards, then discard X cards. (I doubt this would be targettable, but it's a choice...)

2. Draw X cards, then discard X cards at random.

3. Target player draws X cards, then discards X cards at random.

4. Discard X cards then draw X cards.

5. Target player discards X cards then draws X cards.

6. Discard X cards  at random, then draw X cards.

7. Target player discards X cards at random, then draws X cards.

Though 3 seems a bit unlikely, I think any of the others are possible. I'd personally hope to see 7 since it has so many possible applications. Failing that, my  2nd pick would be 3.

I think the most likely option, though, boringly enough, is 2. However, I think I'd be excited to see any choice 3-7 becoming a staple.
I personally like the fact that green doesn't get any Curses because green is probably the colour most incapable of genuine malice.
the more i read maro, the more i understand that he does not know much about  his player base.  the players wouldnt understand "immerwolf"  belong to captain cycle. defy gravity is bad because instant flashbacks is too complex for players. seriously, i dont think these remarks have any valid point.

1. Draw X cards, then discard X cards. (I doubt this would be targettable, but it's a choice...)

2. Draw X cards, then discard X cards at random.

3. Target player draws X cards, then discards X cards at random.

4. Discard X cards then draw X cards.

5. Target player discards X cards then draws X cards.

6. Discard X cards  at random, then draw X cards.

7. Target player discards X cards at random, then draws X cards.



Ranking these on likeliness of what MaRo meant, from least to most, I'd go 7, 3, 5, 1, 2, 6, 4. 

Although I think the right answer is actually, "Discard X cards. If you do, draw X cards."

But it's not a flip card. It's a transform card. It should show transformation, not just another angle.



What about the classic trope of the many masked/faced creature whose mood/mind change depending on which mask it's showing (or arguably, the other way around).

Perspective is transformative.


I was hoping they'd do a card in innistrad that represents the horror trope of reading or seeing something horrible about to happen to someone, only to realise it's you. Something like a crypt robber reading a tome that describes a man reading it, unaware that something is lurching out of the darkness behind him.... wait, what [dies horribly].

A DFC that is purely about a shift of perspective would be interesting, I think. A first person protagonist card that becomes a third person puppet. Or the other way around - you summon up a puppet and when it transforms it represents the realisation that it's you (the player) - so if it gets destroyed you lose the game. Or if that would be too radical, a puppeteer who creatures creepy 0/1 puppet tokens and transforms into a monster that creates/controls puppeteers (humans).
Although I think the right answer is actually, "Discard X cards. If you do, draw X cards."



And that's another 4 choices there, when you consider the discarding may be random and/or the effect targetable.

I'll hold out some hope that whatever the effect is, it's targettable.

I guess your proposal is more likely than giving red access to conditional card draw. It'd be easier for development - letting them cost the cards assuming the cards will be replaced, rather than costing it as card draw, making it generally look weaker.
I require 9 copies of Black Cat with which I will build a single deck.  Deck building rules be darned.

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From Mark Rosewater's Tumblr: the0uroboros asked: How in the same set can we have a hexproof, unsacrificable(not a word) creature AND a land that makes it uncounterable. How does this lead to interactive play? I believe I’m able to play my creature and you have to deal with it is much more interactive than you counter my creature.

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Post #777

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MaRo: One of the classic R&D stories happened during a Scars of Mirrodin draft. Erik Lauer was sitting to my right (meaning that he passed to me in the first and third packs). At the end of the draft, Erik was upset because I was in his colors (black-green). He said, "Didn't you see the signals? I went into black-green in pack one." I replied, "Didn't you see my signals? I started drafting infect six drafts ago."

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MaRo: I redesigned him while the effect was on the stack.

when you consider the discarding may be random...

Which would mean R&D did not figure out why red's contributions to several cycles in Onslaught block were mostly all unplayable when compared to the other four colors.

the more i read maro, the more i understand that he does not know much about  his player base.  the players wouldnt understand "immerwolf"  belong to captain cycle. defy gravity is bad because instant flashbacks is too complex for players. seriously, i dont think these remarks have any valid point.



Meanwhile, people who get paid to do market research think otherwise. 
What about the classic trope of the many masked/faced creature whose mood/mind change depending on which mask it's showing (or arguably, the other way around).

Perspective is transformative.


I was hoping they'd do a card in innistrad that represents the horror trope of reading or seeing something horrible about to happen to someone, only to realise it's you. Something like a crypt robber reading a tome that describes a man reading it, unaware that something is lurching out of the darkness behind him.... wait, what [dies horribly].

A DFC that is purely about a shift of perspective would be interesting, I think. A first person protagonist card that becomes a third person puppet. Or the other way around - you summon up a puppet and when it transforms it represents the realisation that it's you (the player) - so if it gets destroyed you lose the game. Or if that would be too radical, a puppeteer who creatures creepy 0/1 puppet tokens and transforms into a monster that creates/controls puppeteers (humans).



DFCs, as a medium, have a lot of design space left and one day we should get there, but the way they are applied here on Innistrad is as physical transformations and that's how they should be used to keep a coherent narrative. 
the more i read maro, the more i understand that he does not know much about  his player base.  the players wouldnt understand "immerwolf"  belong to captain cycle. defy gravity is bad because instant flashbacks is too complex for players. seriously, i dont think these remarks have any valid point.



Meanwhile, people who get paid to do market research think otherwise. 



and how do you know that? did you see the market research reports?
Anyone else like the interaction between Mystic Retrieval, Runic Repetition, and any other card with flashback? Provided you have the mana, you can loop the three spells infinitely.

Cast Geistflame (for instance)
Flashback [c]Geistflame[c/]
Runic Repetition to get Geistflame back
Mystic Retrieval to get Runic Repetition back
Cast and flashback Geistflame
Runic Repetition to get Geistflame back
Flashback Mystic Retrieval to get Runic Repetition back
Cast and flashback Geistflame
Cast Runic Repetition to get MYSTIC RETRIEVAL (not Geistflame) back
Mystic Retrieval to get Runic Repetition back
Runic Repetition to get Geistflame back
Flashback Mystic Retrieval to get Runic Repetition back
Cast Runic Repetition to get Mystic Retrieval back
Ad infinitum

... and top it off with any spell that has storm.
and how do you know that? did you see the market research reports?



No but I do see the cards. Why would a company lie to itself to make less money?

I love when I'm watching an LSV draft video, and the opponent self-mills a couple cards, and Luis goes "I'm not going to bother seeing what they are, because they're probably not instants."


I understand that instants require considerations that sorceries don't, and the favoring of sorceries in Innistrad was obvious enough that it's certainly not news now.  But Magic is a game about information, and sabotaging a werewolf-fighting card just so you can pretend that people don't need to watch something they should be watching anyway seems like doing your players a disservice.

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.