05/14/2012 MM: "The Name's Bond, Soulbond"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Very nice work with Soulbond, the idea is simple yet amazing fun. You can make your pairs as simple and obvious as you want, or you can find more complex interactions with other creatures that benefits interestingly from the pairs. The set offers both.


You mention Soulbond creatures look weak, but I just want to reassure you that the average player won't notice, TBH. Competitive players of course can accurately judge for themselves a card's merit, but the average player is more casual: they think of the maximum possibilities of a card/mechanic, whether it be Lord of Shatterskull Pass's final level being brutal, Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded having a sweet ultimate, or Silverblade Paladin and Wolfir Silverheart paired. They don't take a swift look at a card and dismiss it, they think of greatest possibilities. That's what draws them, not the mana expenditure, or the exact stats compared to the metagame, or the inherent card advantage here, there, and all this. So Soulbond will be a big hit at my FNM.


I'm already getting tired of Soulbond in limited. The entire set is Soulbond:

1) it's in 4 colors
2) removal is scarce
3) it's increased with blink, which doesn't affect the opponent's Soulbond, and also influences the increase in EtB abilities
4) bounce is only allowed because it is so weak against Soulbond and EtB
5) creatures are smaller than usual because theyre meant to pair, 2/3 for 4 is the average, and usually you have to pay more for even 3/3 level barrier
6) Black is everything 1-5 is not.

It's good the set is designed around its mechanics, but this one shoves it too far down my throat and just wears me out of the same thing all the time.
I don't play limited so I can't speak for that, but I'm already planning a soulbond deck for standard.  Casual of course, but that's what makes soulbond great is that it is a fun mechanic.  As compared to some of the previous mechanics of earlier sets I don't see how anyone can look at soulbond and think it's overpowered or will lead to unfun game states.


Strangely though while green is supposed to be the best color for soulbond I don't find this to be the case.  My favorite soulbond cards thus far are all the blue ones.  Elguad shieldmate will be going in several decks to come for my casual play I'm sure.  Making all my creatures hexproof is great (especially when you consider it for protecting a griselbrand in ubw renanimator or something like that).


I also really like the way tandem lookout and wingcrafter play.  The lookout is the first easy to splash card draw creature that simultaneously can give it's power to another creature and still has a 2/1 power/toughness ratio (earlier cards like scroll thief were a 1/3, neurok commando was a 2/1 shroud but there was few ways to get it past the opponents creatures easily, and cold eyed selkie required all colored mana and was a 1/1 albeit one of the better versions we've seen).   It's easy to dismiss wingcrafter until you consider that it essentially is a 1 mana flyer that makes all your other creatures evasive.  Plus he has two relevant creature types.  So, for example, being a human wizard I could use him in an old school wizard deck or I could use the human aspect to go with all the things that pair with human in the last few sets.  Such as mayor avabruk and so on.

For creature boosting wolfir silverheart is pretty amazing, but I don't see the other ones making big waves.  If for no other reason than we are pretty jaded about seeing big creatures in green by this point (woolly thoctar and leatherback baloth backlash).  Not to mention standard is overflowing with aggro creatures and power boosting effects which are very similiar, but more powerful than soulbond (the 2 color lords and the mayor for example give all their respective creature types +1/1 across the board).


Even lightning mauler looks pretty amazing.  The whole 2 mana creature that gives haste thing has been done many times, but usually it always took not attacking with that creature and a mana investment.


Maybe it's just me, but it actually feels like green is a lot weaker for soulbond overall (well excluding black anyways).  Especially considering that it's either make my guys have: double strike, draw more cards, fire breathing, hexproof and etc or just be very large.  All the same I think they will be fun to play with for sure.  I look forward to surprising my opponents with a simple play like tandem lookout/wingcrafter to draw 2 every turn.


Edit:  One thing that should be in an article though is for example what happens if multiple soulbound creatures enter play at exactly the same time.  Can you pair them up with the same creature all at once since they are unpaired or do you have to do an individual pair for each one?  Also what happens if my soulbond creature becomes something else (for example via an infinite reflection)?  Like if my soulbond creature is a wingcrafter paired with another creature and I use infinite reflection on my opponents wolfir does that mean my wingcrafter and the other creature become paired wolfirs that are 12/12 or do I need to play another creature?  I think that it would help to explain some of the nuances in the next article.  
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Multiple Soulbond triggers may occur, but once two are paired, it does no good to try and pair the third wheel out to one of the paired creatures: neither of them are unpaired as the text for Soulbond requires.

But even if you don't understand that, they went ahead and also released another rule that simply states a pair is two creatures. 
Multiple Soulbond triggers may occur, but once two are paired, it does no good to try and pair the third wheel out to one of the paired creatures: neither of them are unpaired as the text for Soulbond requires.

But even if you don't understand that, they went ahead and also released another rule that simply states a pair is two creatures. 



I see, so they happen on the stack then.  What about the second question though, what if my soulbonded creature turns into another soulbonded creature or something like that?


I didn't realize there had been rulings posted yet.  
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Dear Wotc,

Please find a new name for New World Order. I'm not arguing whenever or not it's a good policy for magic to have, but the name is extremely ironic. New World Order, when heard by those outside magic design, brings to mind evil power elites plotting to take over the world via a cunning masterstroke after centuries of plotting. I don't think it is good PR to associate your design plans with the Sith from Star Wars or with western perception of Communism. Also, the phrase just sounds super sinster.

Btw, good job with soulbond. Tried it out at the prerelease and I actually really enjoyed it. Especially Tandem Lookout.

EDIT: Why was soulbond second in blue? I know it plays well with blue's bounce and (in this set) temporary exile mechanics, but soulbond seems flavorally white: teamwork, organization and dedication to others. Heck, it could have even been red to finally play up that red "is the color of love". Black of course should not get soulbond except for a wierd rare or mythic. If soulbond returns in a future set, would white or red get a large share?
Flowering Lumberknot looks way too much like Vigean Hydropon to me.  I know you wanted to make it situational, but it's too risky in limited and too weak for constructed.

Also, I grok'd Soulbond right away, but some people who really should have understood it are really, REALLY struggling with it.  Perhaps Paired was a bad choice of term.
I've noted a number of mistakes made at the prerelease:

1. Pairing with your opponent's creatures (the 'you control' is hidden in the second sentence. Many will read the first sentence and think it's possible.
2. Repairing creatures. I made this mistake a LOT >.> I had a pair on the battlefield, then wanted to play a 3rd and pair it with the soulbond guy from the pair.
3. Forgetting creatures lost the ability when unpaired. This won me games I should have lost =) Playing Terrifying Presence on your Vorstclaw against my blocking recently unpaired Nightshade Peddler preventing your other creatures from doing damage to me? Don't mind if you do.

6) Black is everything 1-5 is not.

It's good the set is designed around its mechanics, but this one shoves it too far down my throat and just wears me out of the same thing all the time.



Try drafting monoblack =D
It's a house and has tons of removal.  

Maybe it's just me, but it actually feels like green is a lot weaker for soulbond overall (well excluding black anyways).



MaRo is purely talking about limited.

I see, so they happen on the stack then.  What about the second question though, what if my soulbonded creature turns into another soulbonded creature or something like that?




702.93e A paired creature becomes unpaired if any of the following occur: another player gains control of it or the creature it's paired with; it or the creature it's paired with stops being a creature; or it or the creature it's paired with leaves the battlefield.

So yes they would be 12/12 Wolfirs =)
They would even remain paired if both lost all abilities (but they wouldn't give out bonusses)

Soulbond is obviously a good mechanic, and quite popular. It's bleedin' obvious its going to come back, and it'll be good to see what black can do with the ability.

I remember the "freak out" value when I first read soulbond. I assumed it was a reworking of banding (bond/band?) and was preparing for the worst. Though this is a great way to communicate the working together. 
Dear Wotc,

Please find a new name for New World Order. I'm not arguing whenever or not it's a good policy for magic to have, but the name is extremely ironic. New World Order, when heard by those outside magic design, brings to mind evil power elites plotting to take over the world via a cunning masterstroke after centuries of plotting. I don't think it is good PR to associate your design plans with the Sith from Star Wars or with western perception of Communism. Also, the phrase just sounds super sinster.




I, for one, welcome our new Sith Overlords.
I had a blast with a blue/green souldbond deck at the prerelease.
Went 5:2 with it, mostly by sheer luck, though.
It was funny how people kept telling me about how my Flowering Lumberknot was bad, after they lost to it.

A fun mechanic, but the reminder text was hard to understand.
It took three matches until someone pointed out to me that you can't "repair" already paired creatures.
(Of course only after I paired my creature to a defender just for fun.)
The judge even had to go and look it up on the internet or something.

Also it didn't offer much for the Achievement Card* to cross out

*please do that again, it was sooo amazing
Soulbond is the one part of AVR I'm looking forward to playing. But having had a scheduling conflict for the prerelease, and a really busy summer with lots of games to play, it looks like I won't actually get to play it at all. Which is a bit of a pity.

Dear Wotc,

Please find a new name for New World Order. I'm not arguing whenever or not it's a good policy for magic to have, but the name is extremely ironic. New World Order, when heard by those outside magic design, brings to mind evil power elites plotting to take over the world via a cunning masterstroke after centuries of plotting. I don't think it is good PR to associate your design plans with the Sith from Star Wars or with western perception of Communism. Also, the phrase just sounds super sinster.

As I said last time this came up - speak for yourself. Many of us are aware that "New World Order" just means a way of arranging/organising things that's, erm, new. There have been very many things branded as the "New World Order" since the English language formed; if you happen to associate the phrase with just one or two particularly negative ones, and find it sinister for that reason, all that means is that you've only encountered (or noticed) the particularly sinister subset of those many things.

It may well be worth R&D trying to find a different phrase for the sake of people who do take it the way you do, but please recognise that you're not speaking for "everyone outside Magic design" but just a small number of people who have the associations you do.

I'm so disappointed that this is their "fixed" banding. I suspected it was going to be, due to the thematic similarity, but mechanically it's nothing like banding, and I'm really looking want a fixed banding. I fear that they're going to call this a short term victory for new banding and back burner it for a long time again.
Dear Wotc,

Please find a new name for New World Order. I'm not arguing whenever or not it's a good policy for magic to have, but the name is extremely ironic. New World Order, when heard by those outside magic design, brings to mind evil power elites plotting to take over the world via a cunning masterstroke after centuries of plotting. I don't think it is good PR to associate your design plans with the Sith from Star Wars or with western perception of Communism. Also, the phrase just sounds super sinster.

Do you really suspect that was unintentional? It's been evidenced many times that MaRo is a fan of ironic humour, even specifically as it pertains to Magic design - he regularly refers to "destroying Magic" as one of his career goals. I suspect he's fully aware of its sinister implications, and simply considers that a humourous bonus on an otherwise accurate term.

Irony is generally only a bad thing if the person being ironic doesn't realise it. When irony is evoked intentionally, we generally regard that as a sign of wit...
I think soulbond is an intelligent design, and putting them in a set with flicker effects makes for interesting combat trickery.  Flavourwise, it doesn't make much sense that a creature that gives, say, deathtouch, doesn't have deathtouch itself, but I suppose it is easier to remember if none of the creatures have the paired ability until paired.

I did find soulbond harder to track than I thought it would be. A shame that a token crappy in-pack advert slot wasn't given to a "sideways orientated bond card" which you could lay over / under a pair of cards to show that they are bound. I would find that much more useful than the needlessly pointless poison counter token from last year.

The only downside is that I think soulbond will dominate limited games a little too much because of the imbalance between the power of soulbond (and, moreso, soulbond plus flicker) versus the general lack of instant speed removal. I find the message from Wizards that "these cards are more powerful than you think" is interesting - most people I draft with never for a moment thought that these cards weren't incredibly powerful from the outset.

I much prefer it to miracle, which I hope never to see again. I wouldn't mind if well designed soulbond cards made an appearance in a future set though.


I did find soulbond harder to track than I thought it would be. A shame that a token crappy in-pack advert slot wasn't given to a "sideways orientated bond card" which you could lay over / under a pair of cards to show that they are bound. I would find that much more useful than the needlessly pointless poison counter token from last year.




Thats how I felt too. And it also felt that you should be able to repair creatures as they come down, that was played wrongly all prerelease and even judges made mistakes. Ya with blinking and sometimes paired creatures not doing anything for a while it was easy to forget which ones were in a pair. It ended up playing much worse than I was hoping it would, as this mechanic looked fun and wizards has been making mechanics pretty bad for a while now. They even ended up making flashback feel bad.
I'm so disappointed that this is their "fixed" banding. I suspected it was going to be, due to the thematic similarity, but mechanically it's nothing like banding, and I'm really looking want a fixed banding. I fear that they're going to call this a short term victory for new banding and back burner it for a long time again.


Mark just says they both try to group creatures, that's their only similarity. Really, an even more key difference is that want attempts to group two creatures, and the other attempts to group multiple creatures. Subtle difference.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />It may well be worth R&D trying to find a different phrase for the sake of people who do take it the way you do, but please recognise that you're not speaking for "everyone outside Magic design" but just a small number of people who have the associations you do.



Well if you put the phrase into any internet search engine, the first few pages still show the conspiracies that the phrase dredges up. Anyway, my response: 1) the positive uses came later, so it's more likely that people came across the first meaning first 2 ) that the associations were in fact the orginal meaning, so the new positive things are a rebranding of the orginal term.


Do you really suspect that was unintentional? It's been evidenced many times that MaRo is a fan of ironic humour, even specifically as it pertains to Magic design - he regularly refers to "destroying Magic" as one of his career goals. I suspect he's fully aware of its sinister implications, and simply considers that a humourous bonus on an otherwise accurate term.

Irony is generally only a bad thing if the person being ironic doesn't realise it. When irony is evoked intentionally, we generally regard that as a sign of wit...



Intentional or not, MaRo invokes NWO to justify a number of changes in design that he believes are postive, but the name makes the message awkard sometimes. Like in this article, I actually agree with the change, but the name used to justify that change made it a harder sell. I don't have a super serious problem with the name, but if the goal was to convince me that the design changes associated with NWO are great, the name (and name is marketing) doesn't help further that goal, as funny as it may be.

I, for one, welcome our new Sith Overlords.



Best response to the mess I've created yet.



I much prefer it to miracle, which I hope never to see again. I wouldn't mind if well designed soulbond cards made an appearance in a future set though.



Second. I can think of many fun things to do with soulbond. Miracle, maybe one or two.
at the release party I made a red-green beatdown deck. Red has little soulbond, but I would have loved it if there was more for it. Seems like it was another example of "cool mechanics should be blue" thinking. Blue has even fewer communitarian aspects than red, which I like to think of as a color of swift justice and rage, not selfish destruction. But anyway, I lost my first game to a Gisela, then broke my opponent in half when I paired Lightning mauler and Wolfir Silverheart. Third game I lost due to mulligans. I won my next match, using mauler as the main facilitator. Red provided the speed and removal my big green guys needed to win. I lost next match due to incorrect plays, but won the next when my opponent didn't have a plains in the deciding game and couldn't miracle Entreat the Angels. So soulbond is very powerful in all colors. And, a word on black: its perception as being bad will lead to it being open alot and meaning those who do draft it will get some great cards, and will be able to dip into other colors when they see bombs. Black will be back!! (and I love miracles as much as soulbond, btw)
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