05/07/2012 MM: "Avacyn-gle Ladies, Part 3"

45 posts / 0 new
Last post
This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
A lot of that, though, is going to depend on how Tamiyo is received. If players like having a Planeswalker clearly from a plane of Magic's past, perhaps we'll do more. I know I'd like to see more Planeswalkers who feel like they come from somewhere else.

Flamekin Planeswalker from Lorwyn, please.

I've talked previously about how we decided to make green the best color for soulbond. One of the ways we did this was to put all the power-boosting soulbond cards in green. Why does this matter? Because the power-boosting cards have a very unique quality among soulbond cards. They are the only ones where you are encouraged to pair them with themselves.

Tandem Lookout.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
When making Zealous Strike was the design team aware that it was making a card obsolete that appeared in Dark Ascension (Skillful Lunge)?  Were one of these two cards changed in development in a way that led to this?  Obviously making cards strictly better than other cards happens from time to time, especially given the power level of very old cards, but to do it one set later feels more like an oversight.
As far as planeswalkers from other sets go, I'm fine with shoutbacks to older sets, as long as the planeswalker involved seems like he/she has a reason to belong in the world (and preferably, his/her abilities synergize some with that world).  For instance, I think Tamiyo makes a lot of sense...in Zendikar.  When I think moonfolk, I think bouncing lands, which would fit well with Zendikar's landfall mechanic.  Heck, Zendikar seems like such a great place for moonfolk I'm surprised they didn't migrate there en masse, but barring that seeing a moonfolk planeswalker there wouldn't seem that strange.  Preferably one whose +1 ability is something along the lines of "bounce a land you control".  Something like that would be a cool nod to Magic's history.

But why is Tamiyo in Innistrad?  Nothing on her card nor, as near as I can tell, any other card in the set hints at a reason she would be here, or any other way she's affecting the world.  She seems out of place, and I don't think that "but planeswalkers can come from all over the place" is a good enough excuse.  It might be true, but I doubt she's the only planeswalker to ever visit there, so why should she (rather than any other) get a card in the set?  Heck, she doesn't even feel like a moonfolk to me.  Moonfolk are flying creatures that bounce lands.  None of her abilities have anything to do with flying, and none of them have to do with bouncing lands.  And, of course, none of them fit in Innistrad.  Couldn't she at least have a plus ability that granted flying until EOT to your team?

tl;dr -- I like the idea of planeswalker shoutbacks, but only when appropriate.  I feel Tamiyo misses the mark.
1. I love Misthollow Griffin and think it's one of the best designs in this set. I also don't get why you're worried about it, since it can only bring itself back from exile. I get that you don't want players to start getting used to exiled things coming back, but you've done it already and the griffin is so limited and what it does I think it has every right to exist.

I'd say Runic Repetition is a far bigger offender in this case, and you didn't mention or talk about it when you were going over Innistrad cards 1by1.

2. I like Planeswalkers from other sets, please do it. Tamiyo is cool and I hope we see more 'walkers like her.

3.
You see, with most undying creatures you want them to die because they come back stronger, but Treacherous Pit-Dweller is the undying card where undying is a drawback, not an upside mechanic. I don't like to do too many of these kinds of cards but one or two a set is usually fine.


Fine? It's not fine, it's awesome! Yeah there shouldn't be too many of this type of cards, but Treacherous Pit-Dweller is amazing design, I can't believe you are not more excited/have not more to say about this card.

4. Zealous Strike baffles me. I have no qualms with strictly-better version of card getting printed, but Skillful Lunge is from Dark Ascension, Just one set ago! I know they won't ever get drafted together, but I wish Zealous strike was at least a little bit different..

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

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

LOVE this article. Even if I disagreed, I always enjoy hearing what MaRo has to say on individual designs.


All this is a long way of saying that I have mixed feelings about this card. I feel it's awesome that R&D as a group isn't defined by the thoughts and opinions of any one person. It allows us to create the game in a way that one single visionary never could, but it does mean there are cards like this that make me personally twitch a little. (My mantra for this card is "At least it's not Hornet Sting.")


I'm glad to see Rosewater feels the same way I do about Misthollow Griffin. The problem with the card is that exile effects are supposed to have an advantage over regular destroy effects because nothing interacts with the exile zone on both a flavorful and mechanical level. If you kill a Baneslayer Angel, a necomrancer can make it Rise From the Grave. But if you exile the angel (Whether that means imprisoning it, cleansing it, or letting it become a farmer hippie), it ain't coming back. Creatures that are exiled don't come back from the dead, spells that are exiled cannot be recalled by a mage, and artifacts that are exiled can't be rebuilt.


I was thinking about how, in the Pokemon TCG, I noticed that the newest version of the rules has a zone similar to "removed from the game"/exile. However, despite the zone's novelty, there are already cards that interact with it, rendering it essentially a harder to reach discard pile (graveyard).


So please, MaRo, keep fighting the good fight.


A lot of that, though, is going to depend on how Tamiyo is received. If players like having a Planeswalker clearly from a plane of Magic's past, perhaps we'll do more. I know I'd like to see more Planeswalkers who feel like they come from somewhere else.


I love seeing Tamiyo. Magic is a game that's awesome due to its endless possibilities, and it evokes a sense of wonder seeing a moonfolk scholar from Kamigawa among devils, vampires, ghosts, and crazy villagers.


Mechanically, the interesting thing about it is that it does something designers love to do. It takes a mechanic and finds a way to invert how it normally works. You see, with most undying creatures you want them to die because they come back stronger, but Treacherous Pit-Dweller is the undying card where undying is a drawback, not an upside mechanic. I don't like to do too many of these kinds of cards but one or two a set is usually fine.


I personally love this kind of card. Treacherous Pit-Dweller is probably my favorite card in the set. The more of this type of card, the more weird interactions a set can have outside of it. Simple is good, yes, but at Rare or Mythic, I want to see more Treacherous Pit-Dwellers or Dead-Eye Navigators.


I made the original punisher cards in Odyssey because I was trying to find different ways to give red the feeling of chaos. I liked the idea that these were spells that allowed red to stretch what it could do (usually one of the punisher cards in Odyssey block did something out of color pie for red) but didn't allow it the control to what was going to happen.


The punisher cards went over very well. So much so that we've pulled them out from time to time. Vexing Devil has not bucked this trend and initial response to Vexing Devil has been very strong.


The problem with the Odyssey Red punisher cards (And the Black Time Spiral ones), and the reason why people have been so positive about Vexing Devil, is that the Devil fixed one of the inherent problems of the original punishers. Both effects of Vexing Devil are something you want at any time in a Red Deck Wins build; you always want to deal damage to the face, either through burn spells or through hyper-efficient creatures. Contrast with Dash Hopes, where most people will just let you counter the spell unless it's one you need to counter. The only other punisher in Red that feels even decent is Browbeat, because at least drawing cards is something that can give more damage in a traditional RDW build (Although Browbeat is still bad).


Ironically, the best punisher effects in the game are Blue, since they allow you to rig the choices. Fact or Fiction, Intuition, and Gifts Ungiven are easily the best punisher spells in the game. Keep this in mind when making new punishers, either as inspirations or as warnings.


Personally, I love punishers, so I hope more of them turn out to be good in the future. They allow a lot more interaction than most other spells, and it's fun to try and influence an opponent's choice if it's a hard one.


1. I love Misthollow Griffin and think it's one of the best designs in this set. I also don't get why you're worried about it, since it can only bring itself back from exile. I get that you don't want players to start getting used to exiled things coming back, but you've done it already and the griffin is so limited and what it does I think it has every right to exist.

I'd say Runic Repetition is a far bigger offender in this case, and you didn't mention or talk about it when you were going over Innistrad cards 1by1.


I also dislike Runic Repetition, but I feel that Misthollow Griffin is still treading on sacred ground. While I like the simplicity of its ability, it feels like it was just made because it could be made.

3. Fine? It's not fine, it's awesome! Yeah there shouldn't be too many of this type of cards, but Treacherous Pit-Dweller is amazing design, I can't believe you are not more excited/have not more to say about this card.


Agreed, so much. We need more Pit-Dwellers in Magic.
On the topic of Taimyo: I feel that the core concept is good, and I for one am glad to see a planeswalker "out of place." Some of the others are saying that she doesn't make sense here, but she doesn't have to. Planeswalkers are beings of incredible might and questionable (less questionable in poor Sarkhan's case) sanity; for all we know, she went to Innistrad because TAIMYO HATE HERONS KILL THEM DEAD.

But with that said, I think the swing-and-a-miss here was making her from Kamigawa.

Kamigawa actually holds a special place in my heart; for all that the set was a little lackluster, I feel like there was a lot of the world that was interesting. It and Rabiah the Infinite would probably be the two worlds that, now that Ravnica's coming back and Mirrodin already has, I'd most like to see Magic return to.  But it seems that most people don't agree with me. Of course, what are you going to do? Not many planes have truly unique races (though the flamekin planeswalker posted about above is a fantastic idea; in fact, Tibalt actually makes more sense to me as a flamekin than a devil!)  and Kamigawa is one of the few. If you want a "stranger," it basically needs to be from one of those places because even someone like Nissa would fit right into Innistrad. (I know there aren't any elves, but elves aren't different enough to make her stand out in my opinion.) But then, we've only been to so many of these.

If you're doing a blue planeswalker and trying to think out of the box race-wise, moonfolk is about your only choice. (Cephalids and Rootwater-style merfolk are too Dominarian.) But then again? Flamekin Tibalt. So my personal solution would have been to make Taimyo an Innistradian 'walker (Maybe a geist, to go with her Dungeon Geists-esque cost and ability? Vorthoses of the world: Can that happen?) and make Tibalt a Flamekin. But hey, I don't work for you.
On the CO IRC, generally as TorpedoFish.
Vain? Me? NEVER.
57223408 wrote:
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
56868168 wrote:
Ah, Tsuyo. When your post isn't one sentence long full of asterisks, you have much wisdom to share with us .
From the IRC:
(19:52) RuinsFate: You know, I was gonna agree with something PalOn said... but I think I'm just gonna through my lot in with tsuyo's sudden train-wreck grade interjection. (01:45) Nausicaa: yes your rage is a righteous rage :D (01:45) Nausicaa: righteous rage of torpedo
My sci-fi writing.
When making Zealous Strike was the design team aware that it was making a card obsolete that appeared in Dark Ascension (Skillful Lunge)?  Were one of these two cards changed in development in a way that led to this?  Obviously making cards strictly better than other cards happens from time to time, especially given the power level of very old cards, but to do it one set later feels more like an oversight.




I was also hoping for Maro to at least mention this - also, to expand, having Moment of Heroism, Skillful Lunge, and Zealous Strike all in different sets of the same block feels a little weird. Sure, maybe  Limited wants these types of effects in those amounts, but do they have to be so similar? Especially with one being strictly better than another?
Two things:
1) Tamiyo is fine as a design and fine in terms of backstory.  Her problem is the same problem Tibalt has: they're no-names.  Since when are plot-irrelevant 'walkers made into cards?  The closest to that that you've ever done before is Nissa, and I am not at all happy to see you fall further down this slope.  If you're going to bring a 'walker from Kamigawa into the game, make her a critical part of the lore that the block centers around, so that when she shows up, it's exciting fulfillment of expectation instead of "Oh, planeswalker #5 in the block.  Okay."

2) Thatcher Revolt is stupid.  Having played against it repeatedly now, I can definitively say that nearly all the stuff it interacts with leads to unfun, noninteractive game states.  Having a limited format center around ETB effects and board stalls was the worst idea you guys ever had, and Thatcher Revolt is the apotheosis of that.  I actually hate this limited format more than Shadowmoor, which is saying something.

EDIT: (Actually, just thought of something - both this format and Shadowmoor share a critical flaw.  They both take a central concept of deckbuilding and make it irrelevant.  In SHA it was color, and in AVR it's curve, but in both cases you're punishing people for conservancy by decreasing the amount of focus a deck needs to be effective.  ISD and ROE, both excellent formats, did exactly the opposite.)
1) For everyone saying Tamiyo doesn't have a reason for being on Innistrad: if you read up on her flavor, either on the website or in the Fatpack guide, it explains that she's there because she's interested in the ways that Innistrad's moon affects the plane (werewolf transformations, for example). To be fair, they could have done a better job at presenting this, but they did provide us with an explanation.

2)As for planeswalkers from old planes: I think it's a great idea, especially for less popular planes that we might not get to revisit. I'll second the idea for a Lorwyn Flamekin planeswalker. Ooh, or maybe a Treefolk! Or even a changeling, although you might have to do something similar to Tibalt, since they're not especially intelligent...

3)I'm honestly not concerned by Misthollow Griffin or Runic Repetition. The Griffin only gets itself back, and Runic Repetition only deals with a small subset of cards. Neither seems particularly degenerate, and as one-offs, both excite me. I play Yu-Gi-Oh, where exile (banishment) really is a second graveyard. Magic is a long, long, way from that, and I don't see it getting close anytime soon.

4)This is still one of the best Making Magic titles ever. 
The moon carries great significance to the people of Innistrad. Werewolves transforming is the big thing. All of those new double-faced cards have a moon on the back. The Helvault is made of moon silver, apparently, and the moon is somehow symbolic of the good guys even though it buffs the bad guys.

Well, Tamiyo is a big fan of moons. She pays a lot of attention to them. I thought it was obvious that she's a tourist, and that she's visiting Innistrad because their moon does stuff and changes people's lives. Not every plane can boast a moon as exciting as Innistrad's. If Wizards was any more blunt with it, it wouldn't be fun. But apparently too many people are missing it.

moonmist Lunar Mystic

EDIT: nath'd while I searched for Lunar Mystic. Figures.
I do think it would be better if Misthollow Griffin didn't exist.  There are usually two cards involved in exiling: the exiler and the exilee.  While Misthollow Griffin only works when it's the exilee, it can still interact with all exilers in ways that messes with their functionality.  It's not as bad as Pull From Eternity, but it's not zero bad.
Pull From Eternity did have a specific point in the set though: to hose suspend. You might disagree with the way it went about it.
I would have been perfectly fine with Pull From Eternity if it had said "target suspended card" instead.  There are other cards that interact with suspended cards (mainly adding/removing time counters), and I don't think those cause a problem.

The problem is that there are a lot of cards that exile something and then expect it to remain where they put it.  That way, they can either get information about that card (e.g. Chrome Mox), copy that card (e.g. Isochron Scepter), or return that card to some other zone (e.g. Oblivion Ring).  I don't think it's good that the cards they exiled can be pulled out from under them.

With suspended cards, there isn't any other card that's expecting them to remain in exile.  They're just there to have time counters removed from them and eventually get played.
Makes sense to me!

When making Zealous Strike was the design team aware that it was making a card obsolete that appeared in Dark Ascension (Skillful Lunge)?  Were one of these two cards changed in development in a way that led to this?  Obviously making cards strictly better than other cards happens from time to time, especially given the power level of very old cards, but to do it one set later feels more like an oversight.

I was also interested in hearing about this. I'd guess that if they did it for any specific reason it would have been mentioned, so it was a screw-up on their part.
I second those that say Tamiyo was fine in concept but the flavor presentation was poorly exectued.

"Tamiyo shows up to study the moon" which is all we got from MJF's column, isn't much of a backstory, because it's not a story. There's no drama.  

By contrast, if we had been told some crisis that made the study of the moon more epic  (maybe Kamigawa's moon became defective after someone used it to kill a mockingbird: www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/mockingbi..., so Tamiyo needs to repair it), it would feel less random, and Tamiyo might feel like less of a throwaway.

Having a backstory for Tibalt would be nice too, but since he's from Innistrad his presence there requires less explanation.

Usually, you don't want to pair the same creature with itself because having the same ability twice doesn't do anything extra. But power-boosting stacks, so it does work. Remember, if you pair a Trusted Forcemage with another Trusted Forcemage both become 4/4 creatures.


Really? That's kind of underwhelming - a 4/4 for would be great, but if it's conditioned on the survival of another creature it's barely on-par - and it's not how I read it. Wouldn't each Trusted Forcemage give +2/+2 to itself and the other, making them 6/6 creatures? That looks much better to me.

Makes sense to me!

When making Zealous Strike was the design team aware that it was making a card obsolete that appeared in Dark Ascension (Skillful Lunge)?  Were one of these two cards changed in development in a way that led to this?  Obviously making cards strictly better than other cards happens from time to time, especially given the power level of very old cards, but to do it one set later feels more like an oversight.

I was also interested in hearing about this. I'd guess that if they did it for any specific reason it would have been mentioned, so it was a screw-up on their part.


From a flavor perspective, it actually makes a sort of sense.  In the absence of Avacyn, a cathar might perform a skillful attack to defeat an enemy in combat, but would still be vulnerable to a spell or an attack by multiple enemies.  With the support of Avacyn, the same cathar could perform a similar attack and also be protected from harm.

From a gameplay perspective, on the other hand, it makes no sense at all.  It feels like making a card strictly better just for the sake of making it strictly better, since the toughness pump is going to be irrelevant most of the time.



Usually, you don't want to pair the same creature with itself because having the same ability twice doesn't do anything extra. But power-boosting stacks, so it does work. Remember, if you pair a Trusted Forcemage with another Trusted Forcemage both become 4/4 creatures.


Really? That's kind of underwhelming - a 4/4 for would be great, but if it's conditioned on the survival of another creature it's barely on-par - and it's not how I read it. Wouldn't each Trusted Forcemage give +2/+2 to itself and the other, making them 6/6 creatures? That looks much better to me.



Read Trusted Forcemage again. 
Reread Trusted Forcemage.  The bonus is just +1/+1.  If each gives each +1/+1, that makes them a total of 4/4.

A pair of Druid's Familiars will be 6/6, while a pair of Wolfir Silverhearts would be 12/12.
From a flavor perspective, it actually makes a sort of sense.  In the absence of Avacyn, a cathar might perform a skillful attack to defeat an enemy in combat, but would still be vulnerable to a spell or an attack by multiple enemies.  With the support of Avacyn, the same cathar could perform a similar attack and also be protected from harm.

I did wonder if it might be something like this, but I think if it was the cards would have much more explicit flavour ties.
Makes sense to me!

When making Zealous Strike was the design team aware that it was making a card obsolete that appeared in Dark Ascension (Skillful Lunge)?  Were one of these two cards changed in development in a way that led to this?  Obviously making cards strictly better than other cards happens from time to time, especially given the power level of very old cards, but to do it one set later feels more like an oversight.

I was also interested in hearing about this. I'd guess that if they did it for any specific reason it would have been mentioned, so it was a screw-up on their part.



They do this all the time. Azure Drake versus Amphin Cutthroat. Magic is more interesting if things are costed differently in environments. Wizards already stated somewhere that while being only 1 set apart is unfortunate, because they're not in the same limited environment they were okay with it. 

Really? That's kind of underwhelming - a 4/4 for would be great, but if it's conditioned on the survival of another creature it's barely on-par - and it's not how I read it. Wouldn't each Trusted Forcemage give +2/+2 to itself and the other, making them 6/6 creatures? That looks much better to me.

 

It's good enough for Limited which is what MaRo is talking about.

2) Thatcher Revolt is stupid.  Having played against it repeatedly now, I can definitively say that nearly all the stuff it interacts with leads to unfun, noninteractive game states.  Having a limited format center around ETB effects and board stalls was the worst idea you guys ever had, and Thatcher Revolt is the apotheosis of that.  I actually hate this limited format more than Shadowmoor, which is saying something.



Zendikar likes to say hi. At least AVR is better than that.

1. I love Misthollow Griffin and think it's one of the best designs in this set. I also don't get why you're worried about it, since it can only bring itself back from exile. I get that you don't want players to start getting used to exiled things coming back, but you've done it already and the griffin is so limited and what it does I think it has every right to exist.



Food Chain. There are reasons to worry about even a card like this. 
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Food Chain. There are reasons to worry about even a card like this. 


The reason isnt the gryphon its the food chain. Food chain is a potential degenerate mana generator and has shown up in the past in such a way.

Tibalt bothers me because not random looting wouldnt be overpowered and also because there isnt a need to make a 2 mana planeswalker. Planeswalkers are supposed to feel pretty epic, and even at 3 it takes work to say that. A 2 mana dragon would be pretty weak to and it just feels like it subverts the whole concept of a planeswalker.

One of my biggest issue is planeswalkers really dont make sense flavorfully. Why does some ability grant loyalty and others lose it? And why at so many numbers? Its all just mechanics. No flavor.

Re: Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
Sure, I get that planeswalkers are supposed to appear out of place, but is that supposed to apply mechanically as well as flavorfully?  For example, when Sorin Markov visited Zendikar, he synergized with the vampires there even though that wasn't his native plane.  Tamiyo doesn't seem to have any sort of mechanical tie to either Kamigawa or Innistrad; she could just as easily have been a generic blue planeswalker.  I also agree with CFL's point about her flavor not having any drama because there's no story to it.

Now that I think about it, though, Ajani Vengeant doesn't have any direct mechanical ties to Naya, either.

Re: The Exile Zone
Considering that red and black like to use the exile zone for stuff like Pillar of Flame and Extirpate, I think it's weird to say that exile represents white's commitment to non-lethal force.  Plus, I'm pretty sure Undead Slayer and Angel of Glory's Rise aren't sending the zombies they exile off to become farmers or whatever.  Personally, I think white's removal is more closely captures that non-lethal flavor when it sends creatures to the library, such as with Excommunicate and Condemn.
On Misthallow Griffin-
It's blue. Again. With the crazy power breaking game rules thing.

That said I also feel that this is the appropriate place for it. If blue is meant to represent thoughts, well then, ideas never really go away. So OK. But I agree; this is an area to tread lightly. 

From the Article:
'The number one comment with Tamiyo I've received is, "She doesn't feel like she belongs in this block." My response is that what people are really saying is, "She doesn't seem to fit in this world." My response to this is, "Exactly. That's the point."
 '

Right.

Personally, I'm totally good with a planeswalker from other planes showing up. My issue is that when Tamiyo was introduced, it was revealed that she'd been there the whole time. No mention of her anywhere else. 

Don't you think that an alien being showing up to do reasearch with an astronomer in a plane where the moon is critical might merit some discussion?  Someone might've mentioned it, flavor text, something? For a set that is supposed to emphasize the flavor, hinting at a critical break in that flavor should have been done, because in a world where werewolves and vampires are the norm, people will talk about the weird stuff. Namely; moon people.

Tibalt being there isn't jarring because he's a devil and devils are all over Innistrad. Tamiyo has every right to appear but to insist that she's been there the whole time was a huge mistake. Having her be drawn to the plane after Avacyn was released (which because of hocus-pocus or Helvault destruction, has caused the moon to do something awesome) would have been perfect! 

Instead, you're trying to shoot someone in act 3, insisting the gun has been there the whole time, when it really hasn't appeared at all.

So by all means, do more travelling Planeswalkers. But either justify them appropriately or don't even bother and leave it at: they go where they want and you never know who's going to show up.  
I would also like to join with the others in saying that Planeswalkers from previous sets are a very cool idea, but Tamiyo just feels out of place in a bad way. You say that they should feel out of place, but I'm not so sure you're correct. Sure, they look different and all that, but Lilliana makes perfect sense in this world, while Tamiyo just seems randomly thrown in. Yeah, moon stuff blah blah, but that's not all that easy to figure out from the card, and a throwaway line about it on Lunar Mystic is probably not enough for most people to make the connection; I guess just make sure they fit with the plot better if you are going to have them, instead of Planeswalkers just making a cameo appearance.
Profile picture by Mackenzie Schubert www.plaincomics.com
It seems to me like it would suit White better to boost power or toughness, but not both - simply making stuff 'big' seems very Green. On that note, I like Skillful Lunge better than Zealous Strike; especially when it comes to granting first strike, granting toughness as well seems inelegant. But then, I've always thought Guided Strike was the epitome of White combat tricks.

As for Tamiyo seeming 'out-of-place', I agree that that's the point of planeswalkers - the issue is less that she seems out-of-place conceptually, though, and more that she feels out-of-place on too many different levels. As others have mentioned she seems isolated mechanically, and it's also worth noting that she feels out-of-place in continuity - with no intention of returning to Kamigawa anytime soon (had she been a Ravnican it would be easier to buy), she just doesn't seem to have a 'place' at any level. Don't get me wrong, I love that you're not restricting Planeswalkers to 'making sense' within the story or mechanics of the block in which they appear, but I can absolutely see why the audience is seeing her as just a random addition. The next time you try it - and I hope you do - just give us some reason to buy-in.

EDIT: Thinking back, the immediate justification for Tamiyo is "because it's awesome" - and I know I'm simply not Timmy enough to grasp that. I hope it goes over well for the players it was designed for, but I think your audience simply expects the few Planeswalkers it gets to strike a broader appeal, if possible.

On the subject of Wildwood Geist, I'll admit that I didn't catch the point; but I suspect I would've pretty quickly in-practice. I think the effect would've communicated the point better if it didn't boost toughness as well, but it also would've felt less Green - but then, normally Green's 'attack with me' signal is Trample. I'm not sure I'm in love with the idea of Green getting attack-time-only boosts, and the fact that I don't think this version portrays it well seems indicative of that...
Regarding Misthollow Griffin:

I, too, dislike cards that use the exile zone as a "second graveyard". However, I feel it's fine on cards like this. Here, it's used to make the card feel mythic; this is the exact opposite of condoning the behavior. The card is saying "You're not supposed to be able to do this, but this is a mythic rare, so it allows it." It only gets itself back, which makes it a mythic rare version of Reassembling Skeleton rather than a Pull from Eternity. I'm fine with it.

Regarding Tamiyo, the Moon Sage:

I love that Tamiyo feels out of place, both flavorfully and mechanically. That's the essence of what a planeswalker is: the perpetual outsider. Belonging to no singular world, a planeswalker doesn't fit in at any of them. They gave her a reason to be there, which is more than I even feel is necessary. Are people forgetting the first five planeswalker cards? None of them had any business being in Lorwyn at all, and that's what made them so awesome.

If every planeswalker in a block has to be tied to the story, then they've got two choices: reduce the number of planeswalkers in each block, or make the story convoluted, and likely edge out the locals. Neither of these is too appealing. By having the option to include planeswalkers that are just there, they take a third option.

Furthermore, by having planeswalkers not tied to the block's mechanics, there are still cards that appeal to those people who don't enjoy those mechanics. Not every non-planeswalker card has to care about the block's mechanics, so why should that restriction be placed on planeswalkers?

Regarding Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded:

I feel that they should never have printed a two-mana planeswalker. As has already been said in this thread, planeswalkers are supposed to be epic. After all you, as the player of the game, are a planeswalker. The planeswalker cards are supposed to strive to feel like they're your equals. Reducing Tibalt's power level just to make him fit into a cost you arbitrarily decided needed to be filled destroys that illusion.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
As far as planeswalkers from other sets go, I'm fine with shoutbacks to older sets, as long as the planeswalker involved seems like he/she has a reason to belong in the world (and preferably, his/her abilities synergize some with that world).  For instance, I think Tamiyo makes a lot of sense...in Zendikar.  



Flavor.  I didn't catch it right away, but with all the subtle "warship the moon" hints, she makes sense, and I actually really enjoyed reading about her.  It was a very subtle surprise, and it made me smile inside.

Moonfolk are flying creatures that bounce lands.  None of her abilities have anything to do with flying, and none of them have to do with bouncing lands.  And, of course, none of them fit in Innistrad.  Couldn't she at least have a plus ability that granted flying until EOT to your team?



Very valid points.



 Her problem is [she is a] no-name.  Since when are plot-irrelevant 'walkers made into cards? ... If you're going to bring a 'walker from Kamigawa into the game, make her a critical part of the lore that the block centers around, so that when she shows up, it's exciting fulfillment of expectation instead of "Oh, planeswalker #5 in the block.  Okay."



Excellent point.  I hadn't thought about this until you mention it, but giving her some card quotes, or a minor role in the Hellvault situation (maybe she knew Avacyn was in there) would have been a perfect opportunity.

For that matter, I would have liked to see her "fixing" the werewolves, rather than an angel.  (see the art on Blessings of Nature)  That would have made more sense.

So yah, just a subtle mention please?  

Casual Magic player since 2003 (Onslaught Block). 60% Johnny, 40% Timmy. Want a free, graphics-based, collection database to inventory your cards? I made one! Feedback welcome. Program runs offline, includes powerful search options, art, Oracle text, data import/export, and a rigorously updated list of every card ever printed. Version 5.13 (Theros) now available!

So. Green needs an iconic creature type, eh? How about wurms!

One Billion Words - 1001 Fantasy Landscapes: Share DnD-ish landscapes for use in homebrew campaigns!

At first, I thought Tamiyo was pretty cool flavorfully. Not so much now. I have no qualms about her being from somewhere else. Thats one of the cool parts. the problem is she just seems like a spin off of jace, just made into a moonfolk. A traveler trying to understand the secrets of the Multiverse. most people would respond on "jeopardy", Who is Jace? Thats the problem, all blue walkers seem alike.
"These little details might sound silly, but it's actually key to the game's wellbeing. The color pie is vital to Magic's health, so one of the things we must always be vigilant about is ways to make sure each color has clear definition, even when two colors do similar things."

Can someone at Wizards please explain exactly what they are doing to black then?  I have played black decks since my first deck when Beta was launched, and I feel like the majority of core black concepts have been given out to other colors at this point.. Spell based mana acceleration (ex: Dark Ritual) has been given to red, targeted creature removal has been given to white for the most part, even reanimation has been creeping over to white, and there aren't even that many self-damaging or "sacrifice a ~something~: do something cool" effects any more.  It seems like all we have left from the old days is discard effects, and most of the available ones in standard are highly conditional and/or high cost, plus tend to be 1-for-1 which reduces the appeal to using them over say, a creature. >.>;;  

 If the color pie is indeed so vitally important to the game, then please do something to solidify black's position within it.  I'm not asking for a return to the glory days, just somewhere that it's as easy to explain black's role to a new player as the other 4 colors.
I feel like the majority of core black concepts have been given out to other colors at this point. Spell based mana acceleration (ex: Dark Ritual) has been given to red,



Mana Flare

targeted creature removal has been given to white for the most part,



Swords to Plowshares

even reanimation has been creeping over to white,



Resurrection

and there aren't even that many self-damaging



Griselbrand

or "sacrifice a ~something~: do something cool" effects any more.



Corpse Traders

The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Well, there is some truth there. Black is (or was, maybe I'm not up to date) the least played color in Modern, simply because it offers not that much these days.
One of my biggest issue is planeswalkers really dont make sense flavorfully. Why does some ability grant loyalty and others lose it? And why at so many numbers? Its all just mechanics. No flavor.


Really? I thought that was explained very well, back when the first Planeswalkers were printed in Lorwyn. For example, Chandra Nalaar, she has one player-burn spell that she actively likes casting. Being "ordered" to cast that spell just makes her cackle with glee. Garruk Wildspeaker loves it when you "order" him to renew your mana bonds with a couple of lands: that's what he loves to do already. Jace Beleren has a spell that sharpens the minds of everyone around, and he's always happy when he gets to cast that. If you use up your one opportunity this "slice-of-time" (let's not get into the flavour of what a "turn" is right now) ordering a 'walker to cast a spell that they really like getting to cast, they'll come to feel happier being around you, be willing to stick around you a bit longer, and so on - which is mechanically reflected with loyalty counters.

There are other spells which take a lot out of them; they can't cast them too frequently, and asking them to do it too much will get them fed up with you. Garruk in his Garruk Wildspeaker phase found it exhausting to summon beasts all day, but by the time reflected on Garruk, Primal Hunter he's got to the stage where summoning beasts is a snap-of-the-fingers activity that makes him smile.

And as for casting Overrun, or spewing out giant wurms from every land in the area: that's something that Garruk ain't gonna do on a first date. His big spells are precious things; you need to sweet-talk him for a while before he'll make his wurms pop out for you. Erm. As it were.

...Anyway, what I was trying to say is that I think the flavour of some loyalty abilities being [+1] and others being [-3] is great. 
When making Zealous Strike was the design team aware that it was making a card obsolete that appeared in Dark Ascension (Skillful Lunge)?  Were one of these two cards changed in development in a way that led to this?  Obviously making cards strictly better than other cards happens from time to time, especially given the power level of very old cards, but to do it one set later feels more like an oversight.


You're right, silly oversight on their part.



If you kill a Baneslayer Angel, a necomrancer can make it Rise From the Grave. But if you exile the angel (Whether that means imprisoning it, cleansing it, or letting it become a farmer hippie), it ain't coming back.


Yeah, this is important flavor. People understand that mechanically, exile is often used as a holding place so you can use holding cards like that, and open that design space up for a great deal of effects. 

However, many didn't realize this flavor. Exile is not death, the creature isn't lifeless in a Graveyard, or re-spun into a spell in the library, or re-spun into a spell into the hand. It is not in some parallel dimension somewhere, it is just completely made irrelevant to the current battle. Whether Swords to Plowshares makes it a pacifist, Journey to Nowhere sends it on an illusionary trip not to be found, Appetite for Brains causes the consumption of a major memory (a large spell), or Temporal Mastery is lost in the aether during the time travel, none of these exiled cards can be considered dead in a grave somewhere, returned as a memory, or lost in some dimension called the exile dimension. That's the key difference in this game compared to yugi, where exile is another dimension, called simply a different dimension, and things pop in and out of it all the time.

With that in mind, I agree it is odd Misthollow Griffin acts kind of like it dimension-walks, even when it is just become a pacifist with a peaceful existence somewhere. The odd flavor to support it, is that it just kind of changes existence. No matter where or what it's doing, what spell it is under, or what idea is planted in it's mind, sometimes it simply vanishing and reappears somewhere else... completely strange indeed.



Tamiyo is fine as a design and fine in terms of backstory.  Her problem is the same problem Tibalt has: they're no-names.  Since when are plot-irrelevant 'walkers made into cards?  The closest to that that you've ever done before is Nissa, and I am not at all happy to see you fall further down this slope.  If you're going to bring a 'walker from Kamigawa into the game, make her a critical part of the lore that the block centers around, so that when she shows up, it's exciting fulfillment of expectation instead of "Oh, planeswalker #5 in the block.  Okay."


You're right, that's the biggest problem with Tamiyo and even Tibalt. Yes, you can design a PWer to really be right with the set, and Tamiyo misses even that mark a bit, but there's something that doesn't settle with me. The major issue is that the PWers are name-dropped, and have no affect on the plot. They are just randomly on the plane, and that warrants their inclusion? 

How's this for the novel back cover: "The disrupted plane of Innistrad is withering away from the inside. The creatures of old lore creep from their nests into the godless cities. The people are backed into a corner with no way out, praying to angels that may not exist. Is their only hope forsaken? Meanwhile, Tamiyo studies for her doctoral thesis in selenology. As her dissertation fast approaches, will her studies yield fruitful before she is eaten alive? Or will her degree seep into another 4 years of obscurity? Find out next time!"
However, many didn't realize this flavor. Exile is not death, the creature isn't lifeless in a Graveyard, or re-spun into a spell in the library, or re-spun into a spell into the hand. It is not in some parallel dimension somewhere, it is just completely made irrelevant to the current battle. Whether Swords to Plowshares makes it a pacifist, Journey to Nowhere sends it on an illusionary trip not to be found, Appetite for Brains causes the consumption of a major memory (a large spell), or Temporal Mastery is lost in the aether during the time travel, none of these exiled cards can be considered dead in a grave somewhere, returned as a memory, or lost in some dimension called the exile dimension.

That is usually the flavor, yes, but there are exceptions, usually red. Pillar of Flame and Carbonize, as well as other, similar cards, are represented as the creature being atomized: so thoroughly destroyed that there's not a remaining piece large enough to rebuild it. White and Black dabble in this with cards like Cremate or Purify the Grave.

So, just like most things in the game (card drawing as a tasty fish) one thing is represented many ways.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
Re: Planeswalker Loyalty
I thought that was explained very well, back when the first Planeswalkers were printed in Lorwyn. For example, Chandra Nalaar, she has one player-burn spell that she actively likes casting. Being "ordered" to cast that spell just makes her cackle with glee. Garruk Wildspeaker loves it when you "order" him to renew your mana bonds with a couple of lands: that's what he loves to do already...

...And as for casting Overrun, or spewing out giant wurms from every land in the area: that's something that Garruk ain't gonna do on a first date. His big spells are precious things; you need to sweet-talk him for a while before he'll make his wurms pop out for you. Erm. As it were.


Yeah, they explained it pretty well when planeswalkers were introduced.  What I don't like about it is that you have to go through the sweet-talking every time you summon the planeswalker.  No matter how many times I've worked with Ajani Goldmane in the past, he never remembers who I am.  I suppose the problem there is less with planeswalker design and more with there not being any continuity between games of Magic; my legendary creature can come back in the next game even if it got killed in the last game.

Re: 2-Mana Planeswalkers
I don't really see what the problem is with there being 2-mana planeswalkers.  As the article mentioned, the only thing all planeswalkers have in common is that they...walk planes.  They don't necessarily have to have epic power levels.  A 2-mana planeswalker card just represent one that's just not very powerful.  Think of summoning a low-level planeswalker as getting paired with a newbie player for 2-Headed Giant.

Alternatively, that particular card just represents what spells the planeswalker is willing to bring to the fight when you only use two mana to summon him or her.  It's entirely possible that Tibalt has stronger magic at his disposal in general, but his 2-mana incarnation is holding back.

Re:  Tamiyo
I just realized something: Tamiyo is a Japanese female wizard who lives on the moon.  SHE IS RITA REPULSA.
Re: Planeswalker Loyalty

Yeah, they explained it pretty well when planeswalkers were introduced.  What I don't like about it is that you have to go through the sweet-talking every time you summon the planeswalker.  No matter how many times I've worked with Ajani Goldmane in the past, he never remembers who I am.  I suppose the problem there is less with planeswalker design and more with there not being any continuity between games of Magic; my legendary creature can come back in the next game even if it got killed in the last game.



That is an impressive level of commitment to Vorthos-y goodness! Kudos to you, sir!
He never remembers who you are because every time you summon him you reset those recent memories. The spell you drafted of him is of a particular time and thus dimension. When you summon that period of him, a copy from that time is put under your control, with exactly the same memories and abilities as the first time you did it-- that's the nature of a spell. You later lose loyalty, and cause that incarnation of him to fade out of your control. If somehow you can restore the spell or cast another copy (or a copy of him from a later time period), then you see him again-- but as the exact copy of the spell you cast. He has no reasons to have memories a past incarnation of him had since that incarnation faded and lost all its memories of working with you.

He never remembers who you are because every time you summon him you reset those recent memories. The spell you drafted of him is of a particular time and thus dimension. When you summon that period of him, a copy from that time is put under your control, with exactly the same memories and abilities as the first time you did it-- that's the nature of a spell. You later lose loyalty, and cause that incarnation of him to fade out of your control. If somehow you can restore the spell or cast another copy (or a copy of him from a later time period), then you see him again-- but as the exact copy of the spell you cast. He has no reasons to have memories a past incarnation of him had since that incarnation faded and lost all its memories of working with you.

I don't care much for that interpretation.  It loses the flavor of actually having another planeswalker as your teammate, and instead makes him some sort of mindless drone who operates under a predictable set of rules.  It seems like what would happen if Melvin took over describing the flavor of MtG mechanics.  That's certainly not how I picture it working when Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker summons Sarkhan the Mad or Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas to do his bidding.

If you were just making a copy of the planeswalker, then why would there be the limit of only one on the battlefield?  Seems like there could be as many copies as you and your opponent care to invest mana in.  I think it makes a lot more sense to assume that casting a planeswalker spell means inviting the real one show up and help you out.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
My Decks
These are the decks I have assembled at the moment:
Tournament Decks (4)
Kicker Aggro (Invasion Block) Sunforger/Izzet Guildmage Midrange (Ravnica/Time Spiral/Xth Standard) Dragonstorm Combo (Time Spiral/Lorwyn/Xth Standard) Bant Midrange (Lorwyn/Shards/M10 Standard)
Casual Multiplayer Decks (50)
Angel Resurrection Casual Soul Sisters Sindbad's Adventures with Djinn of Wishes Sphinx-Bone Wand Buyback Morph (No Instants or Sorceries) Cabal Coffers Control Zombie Aggro Hungry, Hungry Greater Gargadon/War Elemental Flashfires/Boil/Ruination - Boom! Call of the Wild Teysa, Orzhov Scion with Twilight Drover, Sun Titan, and Hivestone Slivers Rebels Cairn Wanderer Knights Only Gold and () Spells Captain Sisay Toolbox Spellweaver Helix Combo Merfolk Wizards Izzet Guildmage/The Unspeakable Arcane Combo Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and his Wizards Creatureless Wild Research/Reins of Power Madness Creatureless Pyromancer Ascension Anarchist Living Death Anvil of Bogardan Madness Shamen with Goblin Game/Wound Reflection Combo Mass damage Quest for Pure Flame Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle/Clear the Land with 40+ Lands Doubling Season Thallids Juniper Order Ranger Graft/Tokens Elf Archer Druids Equilibrium/Aluren Combo Experiment Kraj Combo Reap Combo False Cure/Kavu Predator Combo Savra, Queen of the Golgari Sacrifice/Dredge Elf Warriors Eight-Post Sneak Attack Where Ancients Tread Zur the Enchanter with Opal creatures Tamanoa/Kavu Predator/Collapsing Borders Esper Aggro Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and his Darksteel Reactor Theft and Control Unearth Aggro Soul's Fire Vampires Devour Tokens Phytohydra with Powerstone Minefield Treefolk Friendly? Questing Phelddagrif Slivers Dragon Arch Fun I'm probably forgetting a few...

He never remembers who you are because every time you summon him you reset those recent memories. The spell you drafted of him is of a particular time and thus dimension. When you summon that period of him, a copy from that time is put under your control, with exactly the same memories and abilities as the first time you did it-- that's the nature of a spell. You later lose loyalty, and cause that incarnation of him to fade out of your control. If somehow you can restore the spell or cast another copy (or a copy of him from a later time period), then you see him again-- but as the exact copy of the spell you cast. He has no reasons to have memories a past incarnation of him had since that incarnation faded and lost all its memories of working with you.

I don't care much for that interpretation.  It loses the flavor of actually having another planeswalker as your teammate, and instead makes him some sort of mindless drone who operates under a predictable set of rules.  It seems like what would happen if Melvin took over describing the flavor of MtG mechanics.  That's certainly not how I picture it working when Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker summons Sarkhan the Mad or Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas to do his bidding.

If you were just making a copy of the planeswalker, then why would there be the limit of only one on the battlefield?  Seems like there could be as many copies as you and your opponent care to invest mana in.  I think it makes a lot more sense to assume that casting a planeswalker spell means inviting the real one show up and help you out.





Space/time continuum.  See Back to the Future.


Ajani and Nicol know a little bit about this sort of thing.     

And it's not a copy, it's summoning that planeswalker from a certain point in time/space.  You only know how to summon them from that point, so it's the same every time.

  
Yeah, copy can be misunderstood considering magic terminology.


This is a massive flavor topic, and yeah it also delves into the legend rule. With a particular time your spell takes a legend/PWer, the problem is that there can be infinite of such PWer in the multiverse, but the PWer is still from that time, it's still that individual PWer, it still has that essence of being a unique person. When you try to bring two in contact with each other, instead they phase out of existence to prevent time paradox.

Now the flavor of why Ajani let you craft a summoning spell of him all that time ago is of course another entire story in itself, one for you to decide.