02/06/2011 MM: "Dark Shadows, Part 3"

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

Little Red Riding Hood shout-out?  R&D, you are the best.  Mad props.

 

Goblin Artisans
a Magic: the Gathering design blog
I really don't get flavorwise why Young Wolf has undying.
I really like Dark Ascension, but want to point out the worst element of the entire expansion: the accent mark on Seance. As someone who's failed to find Junun Efreet and El-Hajjaj in card searches more times than most, and a usage nerd whose Concise OED doesn't show the diacritical mark for the word "seance", I wish it weren't there. If it has to be to encourage correct pronunciation, I wish Gatherer would find accented cards when I type in the unaccented letters.

Good stories and a great set, though; thanks, Mark.
I really don't get flavorwise why Young Wolf has undying.

The flavor text suggests that they are sent into dangerous situations early and either come back stronger or come back dead.

I really don't get flavorwise why Young Wolf has undying.

The flavor text suggests that they are sent into dangerous situations early and either come back stronger or come back dead.




Undying makes it come back both? :p
I really don't get flavorwise why Young Wolf has undying.

The flavor text suggests that they are sent into dangerous situations early and either come back stronger or come back dead.




Undying makes it come back both? :p



Exactly what Symar said. Critter has to die to get stronger, thus the word "dies" in the undying mechanic. Young Wolf isn't a zombie or spirt wolf or anything.
I picked on Somberwald Dryad in my Dark Ascension Review, and now I get the answer to why it exists - not even to "fill some boring Limited Quota", but for even less reason than that.  I get that they wanted to use this really pretty art, I do.  But could they possibly have made a more boring, useless, forgettable card in the process?
Reap the Seagraf really could have used that extra cost.  As-is, the card looks rather poor next to Moan of the Unhallowed - half as powerful for only B less, with its flashback impossible in mono-black.  Now if it had taken a page from Havengul Runebinder and had the Zombie come back with a +1/+1 counter, costing 3B instead of 2B, you'd have a nicely different card.  It probably couldn't be common, but then I'm increasingly coming to the conclusion that Magic should just stop making commons, since they have to be designed to be incredibly weak and incredibly boring with almost no exceptions.
Ghastly Haunting might be useful for the Disentomb possibilities, if not for its very excessive cost.  Sorry Mark, but no amount of apology is going to make up for the fact that someone screwed up by making this card far too much worse than Mind Control for any possible upsides to matter.
And I'd never have noticed the lack of haste on Seance if it hadn't been pointed out.  I don't think Haste would have been out-of-pie on this card, but it would have made it need to cost more, and I definitely like the cleverness and "white vibe" of it lacking that ability.
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
@Ravenous Demon: Humans as Lays Potato Chips, excellent. I like that card a lot more now.
@Reap the Seagraf: I understand why it had to be changed: it would break the Rule of Five to have just once card in a cycle have an additional cost (break the Rule of Five like Huntmaster did, that is). But I love the original design a whole lot better. It encompasses the zombie color divide in a single card.
@Somberwald Dryad: That art is lovely. Dryads rule.
@Sorin, Lord of Innistrad: I am one such person who loves the card a lot more as a White/Black. I'd rate it at 11/10, as it's literally the perfect card for me. Which sadly means no future design will ever top it. Oh well, worth it
@Soul Seizer: Reason to run it instead of Mind Control eh? Not hard to find: Soul Seizer can deal damage on its own, and is not a dead card even when there's no target to steal.
 I love this type of article, Mark. It's easily the number one reason I look forward to the release of new sets. Keep up the good work!
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
A few different things I want to say...

Reap the Seagraf

I really, really wish that it had the extra cost. The very first time I looked at the card, my reaction was "Wait, why is making zombies the same way Black does?! They shouldn't have made a zombie maker with a flashback cost, it wrecks the flavor." Of course, my reaction would have been the exact opposite (it oozes the flavor perfectly and elegantly) if it did have 'exile a creature' in the flashback cost. Different priorities, I guess.

Seance

This is less about the card than it is just about something you happened to mention talking about it. You said, "People don't play games so things will come easily. No, they play games to challenge themselves. Many activities are meant to be mindless, but games are, by definition, meant to be mindful. They are supposed to force players to have to work." I agree with you in the majority of instances, and in the case of MtG specifically, but I don't think that this is always true. I'm reading a book right now about game design, and it talks about Bejewled being successful because it requires so little thought and energy. It can fill in those little moments throughout the day, and you don't have to be an expert gamer to succeed in the game (some will certainly get through more levels than others, but every move you make is successful). You can also look at games like War - it literally takes as much skill as flipping a coin to see who wins. Actually, it probably takes less because flipping a card over takes less manual dexterity than flipping a coin.

Somberwald Dryad

I really, really don't like this card. Both its mechanics and flavor feel random. Why is there a Dryad in the set all of the sudden? What's the purpose of a forestwalking Grizzly Bear? Please don't make cards just to use a piece of art unless you work on making the card fit into the set somehow...

Sorin, Lord of Innistrad

I am one of the people who enjoys this card. I'm fairly Spike-y, but this appeals strongly to me because I greatly enjoy powerful cards that feel very flavorful (if all I cared about was skillful playing, I'd look at going into poker... it pays better) and I am looking forward to how it's constraints on deckbuidling impact the metagame. If it was mono black, it would see play in more decks, as you noted, but this also means that it would shift power less in the meta. This way, decks get a lot more powerful, whereas decks that forsake one color or another are greatly punished for doing so because of the opportunity costs (though I'm not trying to argue that decks with only one of the colors will be unplayable by any means). 
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)
I was hoping for more of an explanation as to why the Mythic Werewolf wasn't Legendary.
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 have to say that I like Sorin being BlackWhite. If he was 2BB he would show up in way too many decks, and I despise playing Planeswalkers because I'm too poor to afford them myself. (Okay, that's a lie, I'm just too lazy to trade for them and too much of a cheapskate to purchase them)

As far as Somberwald Dryad goes, I don't see why you couldn't swap it with Dawntreader Elk. A Dryad capable of finding you a land and an Elk that can forestwalk both make more sense in my mind. (Admittedly, Dryads do have a history of forestwalking, but still... By putting the art in such an unforgettable place, I think you are doing the artist a disservice)
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)

I would certainly have preferred the Reap the Seagraf with the blue cost including exiling a creature card. Without that, it just seems distinctly out-of-pie, and blurring the distinction that the rest of the block has been careful to make.


I'd never noticed Stormbound Geist had a blocking restriction :-o


As for Sudden Disappearance: Wouldn't the Allies deck have been just as happy with Ghostway?


@Vaasgothbloodlord: See MaRo's Tumblr for lots of discussion of that issue.

Somberwald Dryad

I really, really don't like this card. Both its mechanics and flavor feel random. Why is there a Dryad in the set all of the sudden? What's the purpose of a forestwalking Grizzly Bear? Please don't make cards just to use a piece of art unless you work on making the card fit into the set somehow...



While I agree in isolation, I think the wurms are worse offenders. Gravetiller Wurm and Boneyard Wurm. All the other types have some of the subtlety of horror (Insect, Beast, Elemental, Treefolk) but the Wurms are just like the Dragons, why are you in this world?  


As far as Somberwald Dryad goes, I don't see why you couldn't swap it with Dawntreader Elk. A Dryad capable of finding you a land and an Elk that can forestwalk both make more sense in my mind. (Admittedly, Dryads do have a history of forestwalking, but still... By putting the art in such an unforgettable place, I think you are doing the artist a disservice)



But otherwise you're not doing the artist of Dawntreader Elk a disservice? 

Ghastly Haunting might be useful for the Disentomb possibilities, if not for its very excessive cost.  Sorry Mark, but no amount of apology is going to make up for the fact that someone screwed up by making this card far too much worse than Mind Control for any possible upsides to matter.



Screwed up? Mind Control is a bomb in limited. Many people are glad to have a card with a lower power level, as it leads to more interesting gameplay. 

Making Soul Seizer is definitely no mistake. The mistake was using it for a preview card. Even worse, a preview card for the very first day.  

I would certainly have preferred the Reap the Seagraf with the blue cost including exiling a creature card. Without that, it just seems distinctly out-of-pie, and blurring the distinction that the rest of the block has been careful to make.


I'd never noticed Stormbound Geist had a blocking restriction :-o


As for Sudden Disappearance: Wouldn't the Allies deck have been just as happy with Ghostway?


@Vaasgothbloodlord: See MaRo's Tumblr for lots of discussion of that issue.




He was testing the Allies deck for Standard.
With comedy writing in my blood, I tend to like to riff on things. "Riffing" is a stand-up term for talking about a topic and finding the inherently funny things about it. I was going off on demons eating humans:

I don't think the average human understands how demons see humans. We're snack food for them. Demon is sitting around his hell dimension and says to his fellow demon, "You know what I could go for right now? I'm having a hankering for humans."
Humans aren't particularly good for demons. We're like Lays potato chips to them. They can't just eat one. So once they have a taste, they start binge eating. It's kind of why demons keep their distance from humans—they're watching their weight.

This isn't even slightly funny. Good thing he's got a different job now otherwise he'd probably be dead.
Somberwald Dryad - looks kind of like Selena Gomez, now that I think about it.

Young Wolf - every time I see it, I think of A Song of Ice and Fire.  I suspect there are maybe some fans within WoTC as well. 
Show
Shouldn't Undying be more of his mom's ability, though?
.
I haven't formed an opinion on Dark Ascension yet.  However, after seeing many complaints by people about the power level / appeal I find it interesting that so much of this column was saying "no, the weakness is a feature!"

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.

As far as Somberwald Dryad goes, I don't see why you couldn't swap it with Dawntreader Elk. A Dryad capable of finding you a land and an Elk that can forestwalk both make more sense in my mind. (Admittedly, Dryads do have a history of forestwalking, but still... By putting the art in such an unforgettable place, I think you are doing the artist a disservice)

 

But otherwise you're not doing the artist of Dawntreader Elk a disservice?   


One of these days I'lll learn to stop writing posts at two in the morning. Until then, I get to keep saying things in a manner that doens't actually convey what I was thinking.

It would be more accurate to say that I feel that it is kinda odd that they decided 'Hey! We really need a dryad' and then made the dryad into one of the most forgettable cards in the set. 
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
I really like Dark Ascension, but want to point out the worst element of the entire expansion: the accent mark on Seance. As someone who's failed to find Junun Efreet and El-Hajjaj in card searches more times than most, and a usage nerd whose Concise OED doesn't show the diacritical mark for the word "seance", I wish it weren't there. If it has to be to encourage correct pronunciation, I wish Gatherer would find accented cards when I type in the unaccented letters.

I don't necessarily agree that this is the worst element of the entire expansion, but I emphatically agree with your suggestion that Gatherer should find accented cards when searching for or linking to the card with unaccented letters.  Seance?  Nope!
I really don't get flavorwise why Young Wolf has undying.

The flavor text suggests that they are sent into dangerous situations early and either come back stronger or come back dead.




Undying makes it come back both? :p



Exactly what Symar said. Critter has to die to get stronger, thus the word "dies" in the undying mechanic. Young Wolf isn't a zombie or spirt wolf or anything.




Mechanically, yes, it has to die to come back stronger.  However, the "flavor" is that it didn't actually die, but that it was maybe near death, but was able to come back stronger from the experience.

Mechanics and flavor don't always line up 100%, you gotta give them a little leeway sometimes. ;)

(I think Mark R. even said at some point that undying represents the moment when you *think* you've killed the monster, but then it comes back stronger.)
You know what? SCREW ERIK LAUER. He ruined a perfectly playable, flavourful and - most importantly - logical card that was Reap the Seagraf. I understand his motives, but this time Mr. Lauer fails to grasp that it would actually be more intuitive and logical to have the flashback exile a creature from the graveyard.

First of all, none of the players I talk with, even recognize that the off-color flashback cards are a cycle. There are so many flashback cards at different rarities, people just think of them as "cards with off-color flashback". They don't give a flip if the flashback color "goes in one direction" or if it's higher, lower or straight up different than the other flashback cards, because every single one of these cards does something completely different and is evaluated separately.

Secondly, Innistrad has already introduced the concept of blue stitching corpses to get their share of the zombies. There are basically just two types of zombies in blue: enabler zombies and beatstick zombies. The first ones don't require stitching and dump bodies into the graveyard. The beatsticks are usually vanilla creatures that require stitching corpses as a cost to play them.

So you spend two whole sets to teach players this logic, just to ruin it with a card that says "hey, you can have a beatstick zombie without stiching". What's worse is that the reasoning behind this is to make the card more intuitive (as part of a cycle), but it ends up being less intuitive, because it's inconsistent with the previously established logic of the setting. Just ask the players how many people recognize the off-color flashback as a cycle (and how it works) and how many people feel a blue zombie that's meant to go to combat should exile a creature from a graveyard as part of it's cost. The second number is bound to be much bigger.

No offence, but it's not the first time that Mr. Lauer's meddling led to the creation of something overly simplified and frankly a bit insulting to the playerbase. I understand you want the game to be strategic and the pieces don't need to be complicated do achieve that goal, but Mr. Lauer just takes it to the extreme, where he just spoon-feeds us simplistic designs that just insult our ability to think logically. Case in point: the deck "Faeries" is running rampant. What does it do? It's a UB control deck: it counters stuff, has removal and defends itself with 1/1 black faerie tokens (that cost life to produce) until it takes control of the game. Erik Lauer designs Great Sable Stag. Just shove it in your deck and don't worry. Next year, "Jund" is running rampant. What does it do? Well, it uses Bloodbraid Elf to cascade into Blightning, dealing a lot of damage and decimating your hand. Erik Lauer designs Obstinate Baloth, which offsets the discard, regains the life and blocks Bloodbraid Elf. Tailor made and again: just shove it into your deck and don't worry.

Those are just some examples I can come up with from the top of my head, but there are more. So, what I'm trying to say is: Mr. Lauer tries too hard to make cards very simple and straightforward, while forgetting that players actually can think logically, evaluate and properly use every card that's being designed. IMHO, with Reap the Seagraf he actually out-thinked himself making the card not only less flavourful but also less intuitive and logical, ironically - for the sake of intuition and logic.

I picked on Somberwald Dryad in my Dark Ascension Review, and now I get the answer to why it exists - not even to "fill some boring Limited Quota", but for even less reason than that.  I get that they wanted to use this really pretty art, I do.  But could they possibly have made a more boring, useless, forgettable card in the process?


Useless? It's extremely playable in limited. It ravaged our opponents at the 2HG Prerelease.
Manaug.gif | Manawu.gif | Manau.gif | Manaub.gif | Manaur.gif
Little Red Riding Hood shout-out?  R&D, you are the best.  Mad props.

I disagree. The reasoning is actually very simple. We now have
1."Gothic Horror" (tropes resolved from the conflict between man and his inner nature, or the extent to which man can decieve himself);
2. "Pure Fantasy" involving magic, elementals and the like;
3. "Science Fiction" (tropes involving the exploits of science "gone wrong" or just with aliens and whatnot, often as a foible to man's primitiveness);
4. "Dumb Horror" (tropes involving extrapolations of typical horro but then just ignored for the sake of campiness, with the prime example being crap like "Night of the Living Dead"); and
5. "Fairy/folk Tales", including references to the Grimms.
While Red Riding Hood is part of the fifth category, you have smatterings of the others peppered throughout the flavor structure, such that someone just pulled up a list of "tropes" and decided to make representatives in them without understanding (or caring) what the differences were and that the whole would feel cobbled and jumbled, which it does.
This, including the use of dryads, feels heavily out of place in context with the others. Because zombies HAD to be part of the complex of tropes being used, the set feels distant from its mystical or magical roots, and should have departed from them just as Scars had. But perhaps this is because Scars feels so dissonate with Magic as a game in context with sets like the Rath cycle or Ice Age, which were steeped in the magical originality Garfield had enforced. It's fine, I think, that the game can evolve, but it shouldn't evolve outside of its magical roots, and keep itself within those boundaries as a Golden Rule (just as you shouldn't have changed the backs of cards you were supposed to put inside the deck).
"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)
Well, MaRo, you've certainly managed to bring out the zeroes on this thread. Personally, I value a lot of the cards highly (yeah Gravecrawler! ) and appreciate your work on this flavourful block.

Really like the Red Riding Hood trio!

"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

Little Red Riding Hood shout-out?  R&D, you are the best.  Mad props.

I disagree. The reasoning is actually very simple. We now have
1."Gothic Horror" (tropes resolved from the conflict between man and his inner nature, or the extent to which man can decieve himself);
2. "Pure Fantasy" involving magic, elementals and the like;
3. "Science Fiction" (tropes involving the exploits of science "gone wrong" or just with aliens and whatnot, often as a foible to man's primitiveness);
4. "Dumb Horror" (tropes involving extrapolations of typical horro but then just ignored for the sake of campiness, with the prime example being crap like "Night of the Living Dead"); and
5. "Fairy/folk Tales", including references to the Grimms.
While Red Riding Hood is part of the fifth category, you have smatterings of the others peppered throughout the flavor structure, such that someone just pulled up a list of "tropes" and decided to make representatives in them without understanding (or caring) what the differences were and that the whole would feel cobbled and jumbled, which it does.
This, including the use of dryads, feels heavily out of place in context with the others. Because zombies HAD to be part of the complex of tropes being used, the set feels distant from its mystical or magical roots, and should have departed from them just as Scars had. But perhaps this is because Scars feels so dissonate with Magic as a game in context with sets like the Rath cycle or Ice Age, which were steeped in the magical originality Garfield had enforced. It's fine, I think, that the game can evolve, but it shouldn't evolve outside of its magical roots, and keep itself within those boundaries as a Golden Rule (just as you shouldn't have changed the backs of cards you were supposed to put inside the deck).



Right, sure, but what matters to me is that there is now a card for Little Red Riding Hood.

Different priorities, you know? 

 

Goblin Artisans
a Magic: the Gathering design blog
You know what? SCREW ERIK LAUER. He ruined a perfectly playable, flavourful and - most importantly - logical card that was Reap the Seagraf. I understand his motives, but this time Mr. Lauer fails to grasp that it would actually be more intuitive and logical to have the flashback exile a creature from the graveyard.

First of all, none of the players I talk with, even recognize that the off-color flashback cards are a cycle. There are so many flashback cards at different rarities, people just think of them as "cards with off-color flashback". They don't give a flip if the flashback color "goes in one direction" or if it's higher, lower or straight up different than the other flashback cards, because every single one of these cards does something completely different and is evaluated separately.

Secondly, Innistrad has already introduced the concept of blue stitching corpses to get their share of the zombies. There are basically just two types of zombies in blue: enabler zombies and beatstick zombies. The first ones don't require stitching and dump bodies into the graveyard. The beatsticks are usually vanilla creatures that require stitching corpses as a cost to play them.

So you spend two whole sets to teach players this logic, just to ruin it with a card that says "hey, you can have a beatstick zombie without stiching". What's worse is that the reasoning behind this is to make the card more intuitive (as part of a cycle), but it ends up being less intuitive, because it's inconsistent with the previously established logic of the setting. Just ask the players how many people recognize the off-color flashback as a cycle (and how it works) and how many people feel a blue zombie that's meant to go to combat should exile a creature from a graveyard as part of it's cost. The second number is bound to be much bigger.

No offence, but it's not the first time that Mr. Lauer's meddling led to the creation of something overly simplified and frankly a bit insulting to the playerbase. I understand you want the game to be strategic and the pieces don't need to be complicated do achieve that goal, but Mr. Lauer just takes it to the extreme, where he just spoon-feeds us simplistic designs that just insult our ability to think logically. Case in point: the deck "Faeries" is running rampant. What does it do? It's a UB control deck: it counters stuff, has removal and defends itself with 1/1 black faerie tokens (that cost life to produce) until it takes control of the game. Erik Lauer designs Great Sable Stag. Just shove it in your deck and don't worry. Next year, "Jund" is running rampant. What does it do? Well, it uses Bloodbraid Elf to cascade into Blightning, dealing a lot of damage and decimating your hand. Erik Lauer designs Obstinate Baloth, which offsets the discard, regains the life and blocks Bloodbraid Elf. Tailor made and again: just shove it into your deck and don't worry.

Those are just some examples I can come up with from the top of my head, but there are more. So, what I'm trying to say is: Mr. Lauer tries too hard to make cards very simple and straightforward, while forgetting that players actually can think logically, evaluate and properly use every card that's being designed. IMHO, with Reap the Seagraf he actually out-thinked himself making the card not only less flavourful but also less intuitive and logical, ironically - for the sake of intuition and logic.

I picked on Somberwald Dryad in my Dark Ascension Review, and now I get the answer to why it exists - not even to "fill some boring Limited Quota", but for even less reason than that.  I get that they wanted to use this really pretty art, I do.  But could they possibly have made a more boring, useless, forgettable card in the process?


Useless? It's extremely playable in limited. It ravaged our opponents at the 2HG Prerelease.




I really like Stagg and Baloth so I guess I should thank him?  Its nice to have more madness stuff.  I like that they exist more than I care what they were originally made for.

The thing I find interesting about people complaining about that card, why is it that black can summon a zombie out of thin air?  How come people have no problem with that?  Isn't a zombie something that has been re-animated?  So should the black part be caring about zombies or creatures in your graveyard in some way?  Nope.  People are perfectly OK with just poofing out a black zombie from nowhere but somehow blue needs to have more restrictions.

Probably get some people in with the "well, well, well, it should just poof them out without caring that nothing is being re-animated".  Then I can say "well, well, well, the blue should just poof them out without caring about stitching something".
Little Red Riding Hood shout-out?  R&D, you are the best.  Mad props.

I disagree. The reasoning is actually very simple. We now have
1."Gothic Horror" (tropes resolved from the conflict between man and his inner nature, or the extent to which man can decieve himself);
2. "Pure Fantasy" involving magic, elementals and the like;
3. "Science Fiction" (tropes involving the exploits of science "gone wrong" or just with aliens and whatnot, often as a foible to man's primitiveness);
4. "Dumb Horror" (tropes involving extrapolations of typical horro but then just ignored for the sake of campiness, with the prime example being crap like "Night of the Living Dead"); and
5. "Fairy/folk Tales", including references to the Grimms.
While Red Riding Hood is part of the fifth category, you have smatterings of the others peppered throughout the flavor structure, such that someone just pulled up a list of "tropes" and decided to make representatives in them without understanding (or caring) what the differences were and that the whole would feel cobbled and jumbled, which it does.
This, including the use of dryads, feels heavily out of place in context with the others. Because zombies HAD to be part of the complex of tropes being used, the set feels distant from its mystical or magical roots, and should have departed from them just as Scars had. But perhaps this is because Scars feels so dissonate with Magic as a game in context with sets like the Rath cycle or Ice Age, which were steeped in the magical originality Garfield had enforced. It's fine, I think, that the game can evolve, but it shouldn't evolve outside of its magical roots, and keep itself within those boundaries as a Golden Rule (just as you shouldn't have changed the backs of cards you were supposed to put inside the deck).



Right, sure, but what matters to me is that there is now a card for Little Red Riding Hood.

Different priorities, you know? 


But it's not "Little Red Riding Hood"; it was inspired by the story, to be sure, but it's a werewolf. In the story, the girl is eaten, killed by the wolf, and it is the woodsman who kills the wolf itself. That was before the family-friendly remake that allows the girl and grandmother to live. Neither were themselves turned into "werewolves," and it is pretty clear that the Wolf in the story was just that, a Wolf, not a were anything; the Grimms tales are filled with talking animals. Werewolves themselves do not actually feature in the Grimms tales -- as they were largely created well after the fact from stories of lunatics or schizophrenics, or tangentially from stories of shapeshifters in eastern European or Russian folktales, such as one of the roots of "Dracula."
"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)
The thing I find interesting about people complaining about that card, why is it that black can summon a zombie out of thin air?  How come people have no problem with that?  Isn't a zombie something that has been re-animated?  So should the black part be caring about zombies or creatures in your graveyard in some way?  Nope.  People are perfectly OK with just poofing out a black zombie from nowhere but somehow blue needs to have more restrictions.

Probably get some people in with the "well, well, well, it should just poof them out without caring that nothing is being re-animated".  Then I can say "well, well, well, the blue should just poof them out without caring about stitching something".

You're missing the point. Black zombies have been established as regular old summons in this block, so being able to "poof out" a zombie in Black fits with the theme completely. It's not jarring at all to see, considering we already have Moan of the Unhallowed and Army of the Damned.
On the other hand, Blue zombies in this block have been established to have more hoops to jump through. Whether or not you agree that Blue should have to jump through more hoops is irrelevant; Wizards of the Coast designed it to be that way in this block, so that's how it is. And then this card comes along and breaks that established pattern.

That said, I know that Mark Rosewater (and many others) absolutely love Black zombies, but I don't get it. They're the same in almost every block: 2/2 tokens and reanimation. I like the Blue zombies in Innistrad, but they just make the same-old Black zombies even more boring-looking by comparison. By the way, this applies to elves and goblins too, but at least they mix it up a little bit more than zombies.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)

@Vaasgothbloodlord: See MaRo's Tumblr for lots of discussion of that issue.





Well, thanks for the info. It would be nice if he saved all those questions and answered them one after another.
Or, you know, answered them in this article that talks about Dark Ascension cards.



With comedy writing in my blood, I tend to like to riff on things. "Riffing" is a stand-up term for talking about a topic and finding the inherently funny things about it. I was going off on demons eating humans:

I don't think the average human understands how demons see humans. We're snack food for them. Demon is sitting around his hell dimension and says to his fellow demon, "You know what I could go for right now? I'm having a hankering for humans."
Humans aren't particularly good for demons. We're like Lays potato chips to them. They can't just eat one. So once they have a taste, they start binge eating. It's kind of why demons keep their distance from humans—they're watching their weight.

This isn't even slightly funny. Good thing he's got a different job now otherwise he'd probably be dead.




I though it was amusing, but in my head I read it as Seinfeld doing stand-up.


The thing I find interesting about people complaining about that card, why is it that black can summon a zombie out of thin air?  How come people have no problem with that?  Isn't a zombie something that has been re-animated?  So should the black part be caring about zombies or creatures in your graveyard in some way?  Nope.  People are perfectly OK with just poofing out a black zombie from nowhere but somehow blue needs to have more restrictions.

Probably get some people in with the "well, well, well, it should just poof them out without caring that nothing is being re-animated".  Then I can say "well, well, well, the blue should just poof them out without caring about stitching something".

You're missing the point. Black zombies have been established as regular old summons in this block, so being able to "poof out" a zombie in Black fits with the theme completely. It's not jarring at all to see, considering we already have Moan of the Unhallowed and Army of the Damned.
On the other hand, Blue zombies in this block have been established to have more hoops to jump through. Whether or not you agree that Blue should have to jump through more hoops is irrelevant; Wizards of the Coast designed it to be that way in this block, so that's how it is. And then this card comes along and breaks that established pattern.

That said, I know that Mark Rosewater (and many others) absolutely love Black zombies, but I don't get it. They're the same in almost every block: 2/2 tokens and reanimation. I like the Blue zombies in Innistrad, but they just make the same-old Black zombies even more boring-looking by comparison. By the way, this applies to elves and goblins too, but at least they mix it up a little bit more than zombies.




In Shards block, you could make B/U Wizard Zombie tokens.
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.
My respect for R&D and MaRo just went up massive amounts for that Red Riding Hood shout out and the Monty Python quote. 

On a seperate note, I do agree that the change to Reap the Seagraf (or knowing about it) makes me wish it didn't happen... Although I already am drowining in the flavor of these sets...

@lathspel
His mother AND both his brothers.... (although they technically didn't die....). And then his sister could be a Shapeshifter too! Wink 
  I get that they wanted to use this really pretty art, I do.  But could they possibly have made a more boring, useless, forgettable card in the process?



Somberwald Dryad is my favorite card in Dark Ascension, partly because of its art. The fact that she picks up Auras and equipment and simply demolishes many green and green-blue decks is just gravy. I thought you would have understood the concept of making cards for many different types of players.
The reason why people want Seance to have haste isn't because they care so much about whether or not the card is good, but because they care that the card isn't stupid.  Call it a Johhny card if you really want to, but no Johnny I know is going to be particularly impressed with a card that says "use me with ETB abilities!"  ETB abilities already have more and better ways to goof around with them, and more importantly, creatures with ETB abilities tend to be above par already - Seance adds very little to a deck using them.

So to recap: Seance giving haste? Fun, and good.  Seance not giving haste? Obvious interaction of last resort, boring gameplay, unplayable outside of an extremely casual environment.

Just say you nerfed it because you were afraid of Pod or something.  You know it was something like that.  Cards that play this badly don't see the light of day without a good bit of fearmongering.
Btw, as a hardcore Melvin, I like to thank Tom for printing Reap the Seagraf the way it is, as a counterweight for those who don't like it that way. For me the cycle is more important than some flavor. 
I internalized Reap the Seagraf having a Blue flashback cost because you were obviously dredging up zombies from the WATER.  The first one is easy and near the surface, but the second is sunk deeper in the shipwreck, so you need to spend more mana and use Blue.  Makes perfect sense to me.

But of course, I used to play with Drowned and Metathran Zombie so maybe I don't count.
I'm am in the "against the Seagraf" side. I don't get all this "Rule of Five" fervor in destroying perfectly good and flavorful cards. You have the corollary to break it(just change another card) and be good. It would be better if every time there is some resistance in cycle X flavor, you just change some other card in the same cycle? None of the cards could have a extra cost as well?
I'm am in the "against the Seagraf" side. I don't get all this "Rule of Five" fervor in destroying perfectly good and flavorful cards. You have the corollary to break it(just change another card) and be good. It would be better if every time there is some resistance in cycle X flavor, you just change some other card in the same cycle? None of the cards could have a extra cost as well?


This does seem the natural solution. Looking at other additional costs in the block, something like modifying Fires of Undeath to include a sacrifice of a creature or perhaps even a Corpse Lunge-style exile of a dead creature could have worked.

I find myself somewhat torn. I'm a diehard Melvin, and care deeply about patterns. The Rule of Five is very important to me, and an incomplete or asymmetrical cycle of off-colour flashback cards would have bugged me greatly. But I also care about the pattern of the blue Zombies in this block. I want both patterns to be respected, and therefore I think Reap the Seagraf should have had the additional cost, and one of the other 19 off-colour flashback cards in the block should also have had an additional cost.

Or, perhaps better, Reap the Seagraf should have been changed to a different design which doesn't need an alternate cost to fit the flavour of the block.
How is it so hard to grasp that the zombies are coming from the ocean, and thus have blue mana requirement?  People are complaining that "It's a blue zombie so it should be stitched!" when the spell clearely shows black-style zombies rising from the sea.  It's a black spell, not a blue spell, it just happens to have a flavor reason to have a blue flashback cost.

Like I said a few posts up, this is a falvor reference to stuff like Drowned, it has nothing to do with blue-style Frankenstein-zombies.  Because it's a black spell, and not a blue one.
Or, perhaps better, Reap the Seagraf should have been changed to a different design which doesn't need an alternate cost to fit the flavour of the block.


Alternately, they could have designed a different array of off-color flashback cards, one that had additional costs a la the Deep Analysis cycle, as it is clear that they won't "evolve" the mechanic in Avacyn Restored. They could have, for instance, placed an "exile a creature card in a graveyard" as the additional cost for Reap the Seagraf, making it both a Coffin Purge and a Skaab, fitting both colors mechanically in Innistrad flavor. I suspect the symmetry between the sides was less an issue than finding alternate costs that fit the OTHER cards in the cycle. Problematically, they'd chosen a reprint for this "backwards" cycle, Ray of Revelation, making it difficult to install alternate costs.

The cycles, in case they were missed:
Enemy-color in reverse [Uncommon]
Lingering Souls [manacost]2W[/manacost]/[manacost]1B[/manacost]
Mystic Retrieval [manacost]3U[/manacost]/[manacost]2R[/manacost]
Deadly Allure [manacost]B[/manacost]/[manacost]G[/manacost]
Burning Oil [manacost]1R[/manacost]/[manacost]3W[/manacost]
Tracker's Instincts [manacost]1G[/manacost]/[manacost]2U[/manacost]

Allied-color in reverse [Common]
Ray of Revelation [manacost]1W[/manacost]/[manacost]G[/manacost] - reprint
Saving Grasp [manacost]U[/manacost]/[manacost]W[/manacost]
Reap the Seagraf [manacost]2B[/manacost]/[manacost]4U[/manacost]
Fires of Undeath [manacost]2R[/manacost]/[manacost]5B[/manacost]
Wild Hunger [manacost]2G[/manacost]/[manacost]3R[/manacost]

Adding in extra costs to make the mechanics "fit" would be odd, as it would 1) increase the complexity of the cards, 2) make the cards less cyclic, 3) force the designers to move the cards out of cycles and potentially power-dampen some in order to make them fit, instead of allowing a few to be "exceptional" or "splashable" in constructed. Their primary purpose is Limited and thus there is a constraint to what certain cards must exist while certain costs are indicated. Note that Dark Ascension drafting can be played either by itself, or with Innistrad, so that the milling effects to make Skaab-cards work are not as prevalent, and you cannot always count on them to be present in your pool.
"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)
You're missing the point. Black zombies have been established as regular old summons in this block, so being able to "poof out" a zombie in Black fits with the theme completely. It's not jarring at all to see, considering we already have Moan of the Unhallowed and Army of the Damned.
On the other hand, Blue zombies in this block have been established to have more hoops to jump through. Whether or not you agree that Blue should have to jump through more hoops is irrelevant; Wizards of the Coast designed it to be that way in this block, so that's how it is. And then this card comes along and breaks that established pattern.

That said, I know that Mark Rosewater (and many others) absolutely love Black zombies, but I don't get it. They're the same in almost every block: 2/2 tokens and reanimation. I like the Blue zombies in Innistrad, but they just make the same-old Black zombies even more boring-looking by comparison. By the way, this applies to elves and goblins too, but at least they mix it up a little bit more than zombies.



I agree that the zombies to me are the most boring.  Which is sad because black is my favorite colour.  I really like the vampires as I first like vampire movies more and also they seem to have so much more abilities than zombies in such less time too.

Really still there should be objects to those cards as well.  Its one thing if you have a summon creature card that is a zombie because then its like it was some zombie sitting in your barn somewhere that you hope the crazy guy doesn't open the door to.  Its another thing to just summon some zombie token.  Thoes other two cards should of cared about creatures in your graveyard or all grave yards.  Black is about just raising up something the way it was but now its a zombie while blue is about taking parts and putting them together to make something better or more interesting.

At the very least you can look at it that the blue side you are still exiling a card.  You exile the spell card.  Or like the other person said that the black side was on shore and the blue side was something deeper in the water from the ship wreck.

Also both sides are putting a black zombie into play.  The blue flash back isn't putting a blue stitched zombie, its putting a black zombie in.
I would have preferred Undead Alchemist to make blue zombies, to really hammer home the difference between the blue and black ones. 
Sign me up for the Louis CK column -- he is far and away my favorite living comedian!