9/3/2012 Feature: "On the Origin of Scavenge and Overload"

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This thread is for discussion of the feature article "On the Origin of Scavenge and Overload", which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Clicking on dracogenius at the beginning of the article reveals the playtest card..

Awesome article. 
Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius?  Granted, MTG is a fairly geeky pastime, but that is just the worst card name I've seen in ages.  Dracogenius?  Seriously?  Just awful.
I like most the bit where he completely ignored one of the most important changes to scavenge. A bunch of players had asked why Scavenge didn't have a number to go with it. Here we see a playtest card of almost-finished scavenge that does indeed have a number, yet it is absent (without comment) from the final version.

I'm guessing it was because they felt they didn't need the extra layer, but I'm curious if there was a more specific reason for the omission. 
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
The playtest card is kind of awesome... Niv is such a draco freaking genius that he gets smarter by breathing fire.

As for the article, I always enjoy looking into how mechanics evolve over the R&D process, so it was a fun read. I might have just looked at one keyword at a time and gone into a bit more depth with it, but there might have not been enough changes to justify two articles.

I agree that Dracogenius is an odd word, but it does have a little something to it.  Maybe if it was hyphenated it would look less silly?  (ie: Niv-Mizzet, Draco-Genius)
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I like most the bit where he completely ignored one of the most important changes to scavenge. A bunch of players had asked why Scavenge didn't have a number to go with it. Here we see a playtest card of almost-finished scavenge that does indeed have a number, yet it is absent (without comment) from the final version.

I'm guessing it was because they felt they didn't need the extra layer, but I'm curious if there was a more specific reason for the omission. 



The number + mana cost template you see in the playtest cards is pretty ugly, and I don't think Wizards has used it before. It could lead to confusion with the two numbers and stuff. If they don't need it, that seems like reason enough.
Dragon_Nut: Omitting the number on Scavenge is smart.  Train people to just check the power, done.  R&D has said that hacking Echo to allow Echo costs not equivalent to the mana cost was a big mistake, and that's something I agree with - I don't think a 1/1 which turns into 6 +1/+1 counters when dead is a particularly interesting design pathway.

Re Overload: Insert usual comment about how while I respect that double-edged mechanics are less popular at first glance, they are ultimately interesting, so I wish R&D would merely reduce their presence rather than eliminate them entirely.  Overloads that affected your stuff too are *interesting*.  Bonfire of the Damned is not interesting: do you want to destroy your opponent's board yes/no.  Hypothetical Mizzium Mortars that said "target creature" is less Timmy riffic, sure, but leads to interesting gameplay situations.  Can I stick more 5+ toughness creatures in my deck?  Is it worth clearing out 3 enemy critters while losing 1 of my own + Hypothetical Mortars that targeted anything?  I'm not saying that the "target you do control / don't" isn't clever, and certainly it's fine for SOME effects (especially flying / first strike type dealies), but you can have at least a few spells that might go out of control and backfire.  Which seems rather Izzet.
I prefer the old Niv I think, more combo-prone. :P

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The number + mana cost template you see in the playtest cards is pretty ugly, and I don't think Wizards has used it before.

They have.
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Boy when he said "hidden" he wasn't kidding. That took a while to find the playtest Niv-Mizzet.
I think Overload has a bit more design space left than they give it credit for, once you branch out into other colors' spell effects and experiment with different/no targeting restrictions. Probably not enough to fill up a block, but maybe it could come back in another set.
Rules Nut Advisor
i like the niv mizzet playtest card.

"draw as many cards" mmmhm  yum.

oh well, he can't always be great. i like the old one better. but the new one is not bad either.

new niv mizzet means no combo shenanigans for me. sadface. 
FWIW, Reinforce isn't the only 2-parameter mechanic: Suspend was as well. But then that was pretty fiddly.

New Niv-Mizzet is interesting. Can't hit creatures at all, but can more easily draw you multiple cards a turn. But, crucially, it's less comboriffic, which makes me think it's a bit of a failure as an Izzet card.

It's very interesting to see the evolution of digestible/scavenge. I'm curious as to whether they end up being a bit eggs-in-one-basket, like devour, especially since a bounce spell with Overload seems pretty much a given. (Now that's an interesting question. People think Vapor Snag is strictly better than Unsummon, but it's not, because there are times you want to bounce your own creature. So does the overload bounce spell say "target creature you don't control", or not?)
The combo you want now is Mycosynth Lattice + Cadaverous Bloom. No wonder his most recent duel deck was against the Golgari: he clearly just wants to steal their stuff. And take back Mirrodin from the Phyrexians somehow.
typical just add +1 to P/T for same cost for no apparent reason
typical just add +1 to P/T for same cost for no apparent reason



1. This Niv wants to attack to get in damage, so that is not no reason.

2. Most people feel the original's abilities were more powerful, this one balances weaker abilities with stronger stats. 
3. Mythic Bloat.
Mythic Bloat.



You just named the new Simic guild leader.
FWIW, Reinforce isn't the only 2-parameter mechanic: Suspend was as well. But then that was pretty fiddly.

New Niv-Mizzet is interesting. Can't hit creatures at all, but can more easily draw you multiple cards a turn. But, crucially, it's less comboriffic, which makes me think it's a bit of a failure as an Izzet card.

It's very interesting to see the evolution of digestible/scavenge. I'm curious as to whether they end up being a bit eggs-in-one-basket, like devour, especially since a bounce spell with Overload seems pretty much a given. (Now that's an interesting question. People think Vapor Snag is strictly better than Unsummon, but it's not, because there are times you want to bounce your own creature. So does the overload bounce spell say "target creature you don't control", or not?)

all overload cards say either "You don't control" or "you control" so no mass overload bounce.

Personally, I think jarad and scavenge first work well together, but beg to be played alongside blood artist. Mostly jarad, but scavenge recoups the cards.
I think Niv 2.0 is great precisely because they didn't venture too far from what made the first one so appealing.
He's better at controlling the board than 1.0, too.
Dracogenius is my new favourite word. However, here's yet another U/R legend with an activated ability. I want a U/R commander with a static ability or a comes into play trigger. Tibor and Lumia is the only one that's interested me so far, and he/they/it is/are weak, but no so weak it's fun.

The combo you want now is Mycosynth Lattice + Cadaverous Bloom. No wonder his most recent duel deck was against the Golgari: he clearly just wants to steal their stuff. And take back Mirrodin from the Phyrexians somehow.



Try Orochi Leafcaller.
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Hell, if they steal from us, we'd be honored.
oh my god, AWESOME! Then changing the Slivers was your idea! haha lol
56734518 wrote:
Occassionally when catering, I've been put the task of arranging Fruit and Cheese or Grilled Vegetable platters. More than once a high class buffet has started with the mark of Phyrexia upon it. Since i've got a good eye for color so it looks great to people who don't get the "joke" (it's a niceley divided circle after all: the outline gives you 4-6 "regions" to work with), this has actually got me put on platter design more often, resulting in Phyrexia's presence at more private and industry events.
I have 6917 Planeswalker points, that's probably more than you. [c=Hero's Resolve]"Destiny, chance, fate, fortune, mana screw; they're all just ways of claiming your successes without claiming your failures." Gerrard of the Weatherlight[/c]
It's disappointing to see the Sorcery speed stamp on the Scavenge mechanic. It is already win more by asking to have a creature in play and now it begs for a removal spell to fizzle. Considering that Reinforce itself wasn't a big hit, I wonder why they decided to bring it back on a nerfed form.

Overall, it seems to me that Ken felt that New Phyrexia was too Spikey and decided to compensate with a set that looks far more simplistic and casual this time. That's a shame considering that New Phyrexia was awesome but since the shocklands are back I won't complain too much.
If Limited gets in the way of printing good Constructed cards... Screw limited
It's disappointing to see the Sorcery speed stamp on the Scavenge mechanic. It is already win more by asking to have a creature in play and now it begs for a removal spell to fizzle. Considering that Reinforce itself wasn't a big hit, I wonder why they decided to bring it back on a nerfed form.



It's not a nerfed Reinforce. With Reinforce, you got either the creature (or spell) or the counters. With Scavange, you can play the creature, use it, and then use it again after it dies.
It's disappointing to see the Sorcery speed stamp on the Scavenge mechanic. It is already win more by asking to have a creature in play and now it begs for a removal spell to fizzle. Considering that Reinforce itself wasn't a big hit, I wonder why they decided to bring it back on a nerfed form.

Overall, it seems to me that Ken felt that New Phyrexia was too Spikey and decided to compensate with a set that looks far more simplistic and casual this time. That's a shame considering that New Phyrexia was awesome but since the shocklands are back I won't complain too much.



1. Reinforce is OR. Scavenge is AND. Definitely not nerfed. Getting cards in the graveyard from your library is also cheaper than getting them in your hand.

2. New World Order. Scavenge at instant-speed is deemed to complicated =( 
After thinking about it, I'd say the new Niv is more powerful. The original needed you to draw a bunch, and spend your time figuring that out. The new one is like a straightforward dragon-- self-sufficient, he really needs nothing, and you kind of can't help him work better. He hits, he draws, you soak mana into him, he draws. That's the deal. The cards look very similar, but this distinction actually does make them very different. Untapping with him practically promises you a LSpike and a Concentrate.
I think Niv 2.0 is great precisely because they didn't venture too far from what made the first one so appealing.
He's better at controlling the board than 1.0, too.

*doubletake*
*rereads the preview*
"creature or player"?! Ohkay. That's quite a bit better than I thought.  
Also, I just noticed the flavour text, and it made me giggle out loud.
Between those two factors, I'm rather more impressed with Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius now than I was on first reading.
(Also, I think "Dracogenius" is a pretty cool and undeniably in-character title. Remember the original flavour text on Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind, and the strange Izzet names like Vacuumelt and Gelectrode. "Dracogenius" is perfectly fitting with all those.)

The combo you want now is Mycosynth Lattice + Cadaverous Bloom. No wonder his most recent duel deck was against the Golgari: he clearly just wants to steal their stuff. And take back Mirrodin from the Phyrexians somehow.



Try Orochi Leafcaller.

The real combo is Mirror Gallery plus both copies of Niv Mizzet so they trigger off each other.
Why would you need Mirror Gallery? They have different names, so they can co-exist.

Can't wait to pull the Niv-Niv combo off in EDH.

Doesn't work. New Niv only triggers on damage from himself

www.nogoblinsallowed.com

. . . Can't wait to pull the Niv-Niv combo off in EDH.

Doesn't work. New Niv only triggers on damage from himself



Had this thought, too. Got sad when I realized it didn't work, too.
It's disappointing to see the Sorcery speed stamp on the Scavenge mechanic. It is already win more by asking to have a creature in play and now it begs for a removal spell to fizzle. Considering that Reinforce itself wasn't a big hit, I wonder why they decided to bring it back on a nerfed form.

Overall, it seems to me that Ken felt that New Phyrexia was too Spikey and decided to compensate with a set that looks far more simplistic and casual this time. That's a shame considering that New Phyrexia was awesome but since the shocklands are back I won't complain too much.


Setting aside the idea that flavor can take a back seat to mechanics for the purposes of fun, it does make sense flavor-wise for Scavenge to be sorcery-speed. Consuming corpses for arms, armor, and nourishment takes time!

I imagine an instant-speed version would look a little strange in flavor: Searing Spear gets flung at your Korozda Guildmage. In response, the guildmage pulls a rotworm out of the refrigerator, cleans and guts it, eats the meaty center, and fashions the rest into wicked weapons and protective armor, which it equips just in time to be merely singed by the burn spell.

Actually, I like this version and now want to see what a Golgari refrigerator looks like.
I think Overload has a bit more design space left than they give it credit for, once you branch out into other colors' spell effects and experiment with different/no targeting restrictions. Probably not enough to fill up a block, but maybe it could come back in another set.

Not really. I don't know why people keep saying it has more design space. It's extremely shallow.

Basically, it only wants effects that can both target one creature and all creatures. Players not so much, since then it does nothing in duels. Most effects that work with Overload even feel pretty similar. You've got your basic destruction (-X/-X, destroy, sacrifice, exile, burn), your temporary removal (blink, tap, bounce), and your buffs (grant keywords, increase stats).

How many cards can they make with that? Not many. 
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Actually, I like this version and now want to see what a Golgari refrigerator looks like.



At the PAX wordbuilding panel, they joked about how since there isn't really a very realistic way to keep everyone in Ravnica fed, they must have access to a "refrigerator plane".
I like most the bit where he completely ignored one of the most important changes to scavenge. A bunch of players had asked why Scavenge didn't have a number to go with it. Here we see a playtest card of almost-finished scavenge that does indeed have a number, yet it is absent (without comment) from the final version.

I'm guessing it was because they felt they didn't need the extra layer, but I'm curious if there was a more specific reason for the omission. 



From the mechanics article:
(There's at least one scavenge creature with a power that changes while it's in your graveyard, but Sluiceway Scorpion's power is always 2 when it's in your graveyard.)



You try making a creature with a variable scavenge without adding a bunch of extra text. And don't use X in the scavenge cost. That's cheating.
As far as I see it, all mechanics have a downside, except Detain:
Overload cost much more than the original, unleashed creatures can't block, in order to scavenge, you have to get the creature in the graveyard first, and Populate just seems weak, being almost no relevant tokens out there.
But Detain, it just SEEMS like it has no downside. You stop a nonland permanent from doing anything, and there's no but.
If there is one, can anyone tell me it's flaw? 
Man, I like the new Nivvers.  Yeah sure, he doesn't have the obvious combo with curiosity and friends, but in a vacuum he's quite a bit stronger than the original.  I like that you can use his activated ability and attack with him on the same turn, something that the previous Niv lacked.  I like when my dragons can gnaw your face off in combat.

Oh hey...I see there was something about golgari in there too.  Almost missed you there Scavenge.

Overload is plenty shallow in terms of design space, but what it does have is pretty awesome.  I realize that "all upside" effects may seem too potent, but as long as they are costed correctly, I think they are okay.

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

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Post #777

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

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

As far as I see it, all mechanics have a downside, except Detain:
Overload cost much more than the original, unleashed creatures can't block, in order to scavenge, you have to get the creature in the graveyard first, and Populate just seems weak, being almost no relevant tokens out there.
But Detain, it just SEEMS like it has no downside. You stop a nonland permanent from doing anything, and there's no but.
If there is one, can anyone tell me it's flaw? 



It's a keyword friendly way to say "Tap target creature, it doesn't untap on it's owners next untap step." which isn't a very strong effect , it's weakness is that it doesn't do much.
2. New World Order. Scavenge at instant-speed is deemed to complicated =( 



markrosewater.tumblr.com/post/3085720586...

tnessfftto asked: On the forums, someone still thinks this: "New World Order. Scavenge at instant-speed is deemed to complicated =(" Can you reaffirm once and for all that putting things at sorcery speed is done to improve gameplay and force players to make choices on how they spend their mana (and not wait until their opponent's end step to commit), and NOT primarily to reduce complexity?


Making scavenge work at “sorcery speed” (yeah, not really a thing but you all know what we mean) is about good game play and not New World Order. Making players have to make choices rather than being able to wait until the choice gets made for them leads to better game play.




Seems I got the wrong reason, even though the reason itself wasn't wrong =)

Also, this might be true in the case of Scavenge, but not everything that is sorciefied is done for gameplay, some thing are for NWO. 
How many cards can they make with that? Not many. 



You might be surprised -- a few cards are now possible that wouldn't make sense otherwise:

Illusory Cover:
Target creature with hexproof loses hexproof -- Overload 1UU

Breath of Kozilek
Target creature loses protection -- Overload 7

Consider all the things that don't make sense (or are even illegal) when done to a single creature but would be useful to do to all creatures of a given classification. The 'creatures you control - creatures you don't control' dichotomy is just the simplest possible implementation; different design parameters could give much more interesting options.

--
Pauper
The problem with your Illusory Cover is that it could just be printed as : All creatures lose Hexproof.

The Kozilek one would work even with a mana cost, though.  Probably needs to be cantrip since it's a narrow ability, but a colorless spell that makes creatures lose protection could actually be quite useful.
Re Overload: Insert usual comment about how while I respect that double-edged mechanics are less popular at first glance, they are ultimately interesting, so I wish R&D would merely reduce their presence rather than eliminate them entirely.  Overloads that affected your stuff too are *interesting*.  Bonfire of the Damned is not interesting: do you want to destroy your opponent's board yes/no.  Hypothetical Mizzium Mortars that said "target creature" is less Timmy riffic, sure, but leads to interesting gameplay situations.  Can I stick more 5+ toughness creatures in my deck?  Is it worth clearing out 3 enemy critters while losing 1 of my own + Hypothetical Mortars that targeted anything?  I'm not saying that the "target you do control / don't" isn't clever, and certainly it's fine for SOME effects (especially flying / first strike type dealies), but you can have at least a few spells that might go out of control and backfire.  Which seems rather Izzet.



I will whole-heartedly agree with this.  The backfiring is definitely Izzet flavor-worthy.

Those who fear the darkness have never seen what the light can do.

I've seen angels fall from blinding heights. But you yourself are nothing so divine. Just next in line.

191752181 wrote:
All I'm saying is, I don't really see how she goes around petrifying swords and boots and especially mirrors. How the heck does she beat a Panoptic Mirror? It makes no sense for artifacts either. Or enchantments, for that matter. "Well, you see, Jimmy cast this spell to flood the mountain, but then the gorgon just looked at the water really hard and it went away."
Does Overload need to be more expensive?


Overloded card draw. 3U
sorcery
Target player draws two cards
Overload 1U
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My sig was so awesome it broke Browsers, [url= http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75842/29455423/For_some_reason...]I had to remove it.[/url] Support Magic Fiction! Or Bolas will eat you
57193048 wrote:
You should never explain layers to people unless one of the following is true: they're studying for a judge exam, you're both in a Ben Affleck movie and it's the only way to save the world, or you hate them.
56663526 wrote:
We try to maintain the illusion that Magic cards are written in English.
56333196 wrote:
69511863 wrote:
Hell, if they steal from us, we'd be honored.
oh my god, AWESOME! Then changing the Slivers was your idea! haha lol
56734518 wrote:
Occassionally when catering, I've been put the task of arranging Fruit and Cheese or Grilled Vegetable platters. More than once a high class buffet has started with the mark of Phyrexia upon it. Since i've got a good eye for color so it looks great to people who don't get the "joke" (it's a niceley divided circle after all: the outline gives you 4-6 "regions" to work with), this has actually got me put on platter design more often, resulting in Phyrexia's presence at more private and industry events.
I have 6917 Planeswalker points, that's probably more than you. [c=Hero's Resolve]"Destiny, chance, fate, fortune, mana screw; they're all just ways of claiming your successes without claiming your failures." Gerrard of the Weatherlight[/c]
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