10/1/2012 MM: "Love and Compassion"

33 posts / 0 new
Last post
This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
I'm happy I started with Selesnya because its design was much like the guild itself—pleasant and non-threatening.



Yeah right. Seems someone is brainwashed already:

they believe that by silencing the consciousness of the individual, they can become aware of the murmurings of the Conclave, a group of dryads who serve as the spiritual transmitters of Mat'Selesnya's consciousness. The guild's goal is to subsume the identities of individual members, transforming them into instruments of the Conclave.

I went back and read all the original Ravnica Guild articles, and they were a really good read. This one though, I felt it really had nothing new to say. I know you can't do the same color pie articles again, but I feel this kinda article doesnt have enough meat for one week.

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

192884403 wrote:
surely one can't say complex conditional passive language is bad grammar ?
Q: What's the difference between green and white?
A:

Really though, if you wanted to have multicoloured cards that felt both green and white, you'd have to delve into some of white's control mechanics, which definitely could have fit Selesnya's flavour of brainwashery. The fact you didn't is kind of a shame, honestly. OK, you did with Selesnya Charm, but other than that y'alls was just fartin' around. A lot of the trad-multi Selesnya cards definitely feel multicolour for its own sake.
I agree.  The Vows from Commander (e.g., Vow of Wildness) or a modification of Bonds of Faith would better fit the bill.
"Love and compassion" such a nice title to represent green and white.

Q: What's the difference between green and white?
A:

Really though, if you wanted to have multicoloured cards that felt both green and white, you'd have to delve into some of white's control mechanics, which definitely could have fit Selesnya's flavour of brainwashery. The fact you didn't is kind of a shame, honestly. OK, you did with Selesnya Charm, but other than that y'alls was just fartin' around. A lot of the trad-multi Selesnya cards definitely feel multicolour for its own sake.



There's more to Selesnya than the brain-washing subtheme. Not sure if you mean control strategies or gaining control of creatures. Either way, such abilities would be stepping on the toes of the other guilds. Between the Dimir, Azorius, Izzet, Orzhov and Simic, I feel it likely we'll get plenty of control oriented guilds. We don't need anymore. Simic had the creature stealing theme in the last ravnica block. Wouldn't surprise me to see that come back for them. Why waste it on Green/white when Blue has much, much stronger creature gaining abilities than white?

Besides, if you put white control oriented cards on green sized creatures what's seperating it from just being big white creatures?

I went back and read all the original Ravnica Guild articles, and they were a really good read. This one though, I felt it really had nothing new to say. I know you can't do the same color pie articles again, but I feel this kinda article doesnt have enough meat for one week.




Agreed. I personally would have preferred to hear more on color philosophy. At least partially.

There's more to Selesnya than the brain-washing subtheme.

But the brain-washing subtheme isn't there in the cards. There is- or there should be- more to Selesnya than 'creatures out the wing-wang', but you wouldn't know it.

Not sure if you mean control strategies or gaining control of creatures. Either way, such abilities would be stepping on the toes of the other guilds. Between the Dimir, Azorius, Izzet, Orzhov and Simic, I feel it likely we'll get plenty of control oriented guilds. We don't need anymore.

I was talking about control strategies rather than gaining control of creatures, yeah. And I don't think the Izzet and Simic, at least, are just about control. What I'm saying is that Selesnyan white could have done with a minor control theme to separate it from Selesnyan green. Obviously not too much or you'd be missing the point of it being a single guild. But having them too similar means you miss the point of having it be two colours in the first place.

Besides, if you put white control oriented cards on green sized creatures what's seperating it from just being big white creatures?

What's stopping Armada Wurm or Loxodon Smiter or Risen Sanctuary from just being big ol' monogreen creatures? Not much.
Besides, if you put white control oriented cards on green sized creatures what's seperating it from just being big white creatures?

What's stopping Armada Wurm or Loxodon Smiter or Risen Sanctuary from just being big ol' monogreen creatures? Not much.

One colourless mana in the mana cost.

Yes, I agree this isn't the best way to do gold design.
Besides, if you put white control oriented cards on green sized creatures what's seperating it from just being big white creatures?

What's stopping Armada Wurm or Loxodon Smiter or Risen Sanctuary from just being big ol' monogreen creatures? Not much.

One colourless mana in the mana cost.

Yes, I agree this isn't the best way to do gold design.


You mean "colored" right?

One could argue that making a couple of big creatures (especially if they're efficiently costed) is green and white. (White makes tokens better than green; green gets bigger creatures than white.)

Unfortunately, as everyone knows, one color always seems to be second at what the other is first, so Worldspine Wurm, Feed the Pack and even Parallel Lives demonstrate green also gets away with making multiple tokens easily.
I totally agree that there are several WG selesnya cards which could easily have just been mono green and that's really quite a shame. We expect better.
Besides, if you put white control oriented cards on green sized creatures what's seperating it from just being big white creatures?

What's stopping Armada Wurm or Loxodon Smiter or Risen Sanctuary from just being big ol' monogreen creatures? Not much.

One colourless mana in the mana cost.

Yes, I agree this isn't the best way to do gold design.


You mean "colored" right?

One could argue that making a couple of big creatures (especially if they're efficiently costed) is green and white. (White makes tokens better than green; green gets bigger creatures than white.)

Unfortunately, as everyone knows, one color always seems to be second at what the other is first, so Worldspine Wurm, Feed the Pack and even Parallel Lives demonstrate green also gets away with making multiple tokens easily.



No, he means "colorless".
Show
For the sake of discussion, we'll consider Colored mana (C), a Different color of mana (D), and colorless mana (1, 2,... ).

If you think about a card which could be printed in either one color (C) or two (CD) for at fixed rarity, one color is going to be easier to pull off. A cost of 2CC is an option in mono-color decks whereas a cost of 2CD isn't. Also, to reliably get the second color on an early turn, more of your deck has to be committed to the second color, and you still run the risk of missing a critical drop and falling a turn behind due to color screw.

If you compare two print cards that are similar, one mono-colored and one gold, you tend to see one with a cost like 3CC and another with a cost like 2CD. The 1 colorless mana difference (essentially a delay by 1 turn) compensates the riskier multi-color deck build. (At the very least, it keeps the multi-color player from being strongly punished for not playing a stricly-better mono-colored creature).

You see a similar thing in compaing costs within a single color: a CC spell and a 2C spell will have similar power level, the CC spell will just be more broadly applicable to compensate for a strong color commitment. Also, colorless artifacts (in particular artifact creatures) tend to have a CMC which is 1 higher than the CMC of an equivalent colored creature

A rough rule of thumb I've noticed, if you were to reduce every every cost to a colorless "cost metric" for comparison, with higher numbers means harder to pull off on earlier turns:
metric = CMC + 1 for each colored mana (C or D), + 1 for each color you would need beyond the first
4 (artifact) = 4
3C = 5
2CC = 6
2CD (2-color gold) = 7
1CCD (2-color gold) = 8
1CDA (3-color gold) = 9
This is just my observation from sifting through gatherer, but it tends to hold pretty well.

True two-color hybrid mana (H = {C/D}) gets tricky, since that's an inverse of the situation with gold mana requirements (that is, it's "almost colorless"). You tend to see  things along the lines of HH being equivalent in power to 1C, but you also have some cards where a single H is equivalent to C or D, on effects that are now not considered as strong as when they were originally priced (for example, the way Dawnglow Infusion obsoletes Stream of Life and is roughly the same level of power as the more flexible Alabaster Potion.)


Edit: You know, I spent so much time on the mana side that I forgot to comment on the color issue.

Worldspine Wurm, Feed the Pack and Parallel Lives are all not quite the same as white's token making. White gets to pay mana, turn the crank, and get a fist full of tokens, as with Midnight Haunting or Lingering Souls. Feed the Pack invites you to spend six mana and sacrifice a creature to double your power. In other words, it invites you to take that 5/5 you ramped up to that's always going to be chump blocked, and, in lieu of the 6/6 you should get this turn, double and spread out that power to five 2/2s that are harder to chump block. There are ways to game this, but it cannot be called easy creatures. Parallel lives lets you pay less to double oyur power as creatures come into play... provided that creature is already a token. Again, still not easy. Its an investment.  Worldspine Wurm similarly works after a fashion of "investment" in the real 15/15 wurm. This is not easy, but is also an example of a different theme at work: reslience.

Show
Thragtusk is the other recent addition to the token resilience club, a proud tradition that includes the Symbiotic creature and Penumbra creature vertical cycles, where a dying creature replaces itself. Those are a specialty of triggered resilience, which also includes persist creatures and undying creatures. (To keep cost-free triggers from firing off in an infinite loop, the creature has to change state by coming back from the graveyard or coming back "as a token". In either case you get a different object, so some change in status or ability -- like the presence/absence of a counter, or the fact that it's a not-quite-exact-copy token -- is necessary to indicate that it has already returned once. If you didn't have some way to track how many times it came back, it would be effectively indestructible.)

Undying and persist also dovetail nicely with diminishing mechanics (like the counter removal seen on the Phantom creature vertical cycle and some hydras.

The purest form of resilience is, of course, regeneration, but since it doesn't really leave you with any useful state change, it can't be free.

Green gets a lot of resilience, and sometimes that involves counter manipulation, and sometimes that involves tokens, both of which are mechanics it toys with a lot. But at all times, the mechanics serve the theme of a hard-to-kill creature.


The point is: tokens are in green, but cheap, plentiful tokens are not.

Armada Wurm is a green wurm, except that you get a token as a teammate (as an ETB effect), not as a replacement (as a death trigger effect), which is definitely more white. Loxodon Smiter feels more green than white (creature type excepted), because discard (in black) is an enemy to both green and white, while counters (in blue) are a mostly-green flavor enemy. Vigilance in green is pretty weird, and it's cheap for the P/T, so Risen Sanctuary feels like a fair gold card to me. Overall, the Smiter is the only one that feels a little off to me, and even then, not by much.
Yeah, LSmiter would have to be GGG in any other case, and have his flavor completely changed into something else entirely. He probably wouldn't be a loxodon, he wouldn't be a soldier, he may not have that aggressive a cost (he could be 2GG as well), etc. White really provided the flavor and cheapened up the card to be something really cool and supportable instead of just another midrange fatty.
There are a few issues I take with this article.

First, Convoke was never a good mechanic.

"Convoke did a wonderful job of conveying a sense of closeness between the creatures because they have to work together to cast spells."

The problem being that none of that closeness between the creatures actually worked together for the player. Covoke had to be overcosted in order to keep people from powering out 3/3 creatures on turn 3. If you were lucky.

It was a horribly inefficient use of resources. If I can generate 4 creatures, why use them to create mana: why not just attack? If I am using mana to cast a creature, the amount I've put into that creature is far greater than the mana it can provide for Convoke, saving a Llanowar Elf, which I can just tap for mana anyway!

If I can't attack, then how is using them (and thus taking away my defensive capabilities) for mana to provide me with one creature (or other, similar non-impactful spells) going to help?

So Convoke actually left this player feeling like the creatures he'd summoned were abandoning him. The instants were the exception to this but even those weren't very good, saving Chord of the Calling. 

So now we move to Populate and while I'd agree that this is a better representation of the guild the problem with it is stated in the article itself: "One, the populate part of the two-tier system was parasitic. It didn't mean anything without the other piece."

Then, for redundancy's sake we get "Two, common populate cards had the problem of stranding players with populate cards without tokens." Which is just a specific instance of the first problem.

More relevantly, Populate, as with Convoke, had to be overcosted in order to make it fair. Paying 4 for two 1/1 fliers is generally not how one wants to spend turn 4 but it has to be this way, in order to prevent token overruns. 

However the real flaw is what some posters in this thread have pointed out: The Selsneya guild is about conversion: brainwashing subjects to their side: You join us/become one of us. This is a blue theme! How do you get Green/White to accurately express that?

Which leads to the next issue, which previous posters have commented on: where are the control elements? If Azorus is about control through the rule of law, then Selsneya is going to be about control through the power of conformity. Everyone is going to be like us and those unlike us will be turned or destroyed. 

But this isn't reflected in the mechanics nor the cards. The 'white' element of the guild is missing and that's unfortunate because it could have been really interesting. 
Internal conflict: Green favors the strong, while white favors the weak in large numbers. Oddly, white has the fewest natural elements of any color.
139359831 wrote:
Clever deduction Watson! Maybe you can explain why Supergirl is trying to kill me.
---- Autocard is your friend. Lightning Bolt = Lightning Bolt
So do people realize that "members agree to ignore their own desires for the purposes of strengthening the whole" doesn't actually mean "we brainwash everyone in the world into confortmity and cackle maniacally"? No? That's how everyone thinks it works? Okay.
So do people realize that "members agree to ignore their own desires for the purposes of strengthening the whole" doesn't actually mean "we brainwash everyone in the world into confortmity and cackle maniacally"? No? That's how everyone thinks it works? Okay.



Isn't that a matter of persective? The Wiki, while not the be all/end all of data, suggests that there is more to the guild than the pure upsides you are. 

And that is a far more interesting thing.  

In addition, talking down to the rest of us is not a very good way to make your case. 

Besides, if you put white control oriented cards on green sized creatures what's seperating it from just being big white creatures?

What's stopping Armada Wurm or Loxodon Smiter or Risen Sanctuary from just being big ol' monogreen creatures? Not much.


One has vigilance! Heh, but yeah, that's true. Those other two do feel very mono green. Kinda like Rafiq of the Many or Giltspire Avenger from Bant. Both could have easily been monowhite. Could have at least given Rafiq something blue like Hexproof...


So do people realize that "members agree to ignore their own desires for the purposes of strengthening the whole" doesn't actually mean "we brainwash everyone in the world into confortmity and cackle maniacally"? No? That's how everyone thinks it works? Okay.



Yeah, I've felt the same way. It feels just like the Azorius problems really. People want them to be one-dimensional, brainwashing, cultish, badguys. So that's the only thing they remember.
So do people realize that "members agree to ignore their own desires for the purposes of strengthening the whole" doesn't actually mean "we brainwash everyone in the world into confortmity and cackle maniacally"? No? That's how everyone thinks it works? Okay.



Isn't that a matter of persective? The Wiki, while not the be all/end all of data, suggests that there is more to the guild than the pure upsides you are. 

And that is a far more interesting thing.  

In addition, talking down to the rest of us is not a very good way to make your case. 



Quoting MtGSalvation's wiki -- of all things -- is never a good argument. Especially when the most it says about them are
Despite their superficial, and readily misapprehended, appearance of being a "good" and "peace-loving" guild, the Conclave, often employing their quietmen and other members to silence the civilians of Ravnica and wreak havoc to Ravnica, are, in truth, hypocritical and as sinister, if not more so, than other Ravnican guilds.



I am reluctant to call such impressions of a very thinnly-sketched, fictitious organization "paranoid"... but its a fitting description.

White is authoritarian, and does seek harmony over individual freedom. Those are natural drawbacks to counter balance the inherent "good" qualities of white magic. It's not "white magic" for nothing. Magic was not born in a vacuum. I carries forward a lot of fantasy tradition. And yet there are a lot of posters in recent threads that seem bent on describing all things white as a two faced plot. It just doesn't make sense.

I find it particularly weird when you note:
However the real flaw is what some posters in this thread have pointed out: The Selsneya guild is about conversion: brainwashing subjects to their side: You join us/become one of us. This is a blue theme! How do you get Green/White to accurately express that?


Wait, what? Who said they were about brainwashing? And who said that brainwashing was blue? Every color gets some take on the control of creatures. Blue deceives and black enslaves. Red leads by charisma, and green dominates as an alpha over a pack. White inspires and convinces. As a planeswalker, each player has control over his creatures. How do you think that happens if control is only blue?

Yeah, I've felt the same way. It feels just like the Azorius problems really. People want them to be one-dimensional, brainwashing, cultish, badguys. So that's the only thing they remember.



For the Azorius, the appeal of having them be emotionless automata is that is shows how they've given themselves over mind and body to the system. That is a pretty good example of white/blue overlap. Blue is the color of ego, which wants to organize all understanding to achieve control. White is the color of order, which holds out the promise that everything in the world is already orderly. The way the two colors view and approach reality are complementary in that respect. I don't see why they should be the bad guy (except that people like to root for an individualist a lot more than they like to root for a standardizer), but the highly legalist interpretation works pretty well for the colors.
While it is true that white and green are often more similar than what it is desirable and their combination can almost look like incest, they have enough difference as long as people are willing to see.
1
Green: likes to get as much lands as possible (Rampant Growth)
White: gets lands just to keep pace with the opponent (Land Tax)
2
Green: gets mana from even nonland permanents (Llanowar elves)
White: puts mana taxation on opponents beyond playing spells (Ghostly Prison, Magus of the Tabernacle).
3
Green: appreciate creatures and whenever it destroys them its almost always throught fights (Prey upon)
White: destroys all creatures or pick them indirectly on the combat step (Condemn, for the sake of the argument let's ignore the offenders Swords and Path).
4
Green: untaps permaments (Ley Druid)
White: taps permanents (Gideon's Lawkeeper)
5
Green: destroy discrete lands by targeting (Plow Under)
White: destroys all lands. (Armageddon)
6
Green: graveyard recursion in terms of returning cards from the graveyard to the hand. (Regrowth, Praetor's counsel)
White: graveyard recursion through reanimation or by bouncing back to the battlefield (Faith's reward, Second Sunrise)

You get the idea: green is about generating resouces while white is about denying them. I think some sort of theme about "my resources deny yours" could have been great for Selesnya, expanding the previous card Glare of Subdual. I can see two arguments against this:

a) Most particularities about green and white are exploited on other guilds. In #6 green applies to Golgari and white to Orzhov, in #4 green applies to Simic and white to Azorious, etc. Although this reply is legit, I can't help feeling Selesnya got really shafted then: "let's put all the interesting stuff on the other guilds and throw the vanilla creature ripoff to Selesnya".

b) Which I fear it's probably true: all the differences between green and white have been deemed the evil of all things fun in the NWO. No way we were going to see something close to #5 and even #2 is probably too unfun for modern design purposes.

Overall, I feel this was a wasted chance to show how cool the GW pair can be and instead it just confirmed everyone's expectation about GW meaning redundancy. Flagship cards such as Armada Wurm and Loxodon Smiter sum how I feel about the guild: one-dimensional and not even that good.
If Limited gets in the way of printing good Constructed cards... Screw limited
Isn't that a matter of persective? The Wiki, while not the be all/end all of data, suggests that there is more to the guild than the pure upsides you are.



It's a Wiki! I'm not here to pull the "all Wikis are unreliable" card, but the first line, "The guild is one of peace, life, and community", has a goddamn "citation needed" tag! That's not something you need a citation for, it's their freaking modus operandi! And then it immediately goes on to emphasize their "brainwashing" nature. That page was pretty clearly edited by someone with a chip on his shoulder against Selesnya and just wanted to make them seem like malicious villains when they're one of the most selfless guilds. Why don't you cite some of the bios on the guild from the actual Wizards site, where all it says is that they're all about unity and togetherness?

Yes, when you join Selesnya, you put your own wants and desires aside to further the whole, and yes, when you accomplish something, it's considered a victory for the guild, and not a personal victory for you. But there's nothing WRONG with that, and they're not brainwashing people into joining. If you want to join, awesome, here's our rules that we need you to follow. If you don't, that's okay, our doors are always open.

I dunno, I'm just so tired of seeing groups in stories that are about togetherness and unity, which tend to be the groups I favor, and seeing everyone fall over themselves to discover every single fault and negative interpretation they can to demonize them. Just let me have my goddamn hippie conclave.
Isn't that a matter of persective? The Wiki, while not the be all/end all of data, suggests that there is more to the guild than the pure upsides you are.



It's a Wiki! I'm not here to pull the "all Wikis are unreliable" card, but the first line, "The guild is one of peace, life, and community", has a goddamn "citation needed" tag! That's not something you need a citation for, it's their freaking modus operandi! And then it immediately goes on to emphasize their "brainwashing" nature. That page was pretty clearly edited by someone with a chip on his shoulder against Selesnya and just wanted to make them seem like malicious villains when they're one of the most selfless guilds. Why don't you cite some of the bios on the guild from the actual Wizards site, where all it says is that they're all about unity and togetherness?

Did you even read the Ravnica novels? Because the Selesnya were one of the major villains. The quietmen, the Selesnyan secret soldier force (which they weren't supposed to have) were trained assassins brainwashed into total obedience. They attacked and killed random, defenseless civilians.

Maybe that's why everyone is saying the Selesnya guild brainwashes and isn't purely heroic; because they do and they aren't.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
Did you even read the Ravnica novels? Because the Selesnya were one of the major villains. The quietmen, the Selesnyan secret soldier force (which they weren't supposed to have) were trained assassins brainwashed into total obedience. They attacked and killed random, defenseless civilians.

Maybe that's why everyone is saying the Selesnya guild brainwashes and isn't purely heroic; because they do and they aren't.



Ahh, dammit, I haven't read them since high school, so I largely forgot most, if not all of the details from that trilogy of novels. I ought to look into re-reading them to get back up to speed.

The main character of those novels was Teysa, though, who's a member of the Orzhov, so it's not like it was the Selesnyans going up against a pure, heroic soul, Teysa wasn't exactly nice either. Plus, that WAS Ravnica-era, which was supposed to be a long while ago, it's completely possible that Selesnya might have changed since then. Plus, I forget how many creative liberties writers of those novels were allowed - I'm not saying the writer just made it up, because they're official novels and everything, but you'd think if that was a big part of the guild, it'd show up more than in just the novel.
Did you even read the Ravnica novels? Because the Selesnya were one of the major villains. The quietmen, the Selesnyan secret soldier force (which they weren't supposed to have) were trained assassins brainwashed into total obedience. They attacked and killed random, defenseless civilians.

Maybe that's why everyone is saying the Selesnya guild brainwashes and isn't purely heroic; because they do and they aren't.



Ahh, dammit, I haven't read them since high school, so I largely forgot most, if not all of the details from that trilogy of novels. I ought to look into re-reading them to get back up to speed.

The main character of those novels was Teysa, though, who's a member of the Orzhov, so it's not like it was the Selesnyans going up against a pure, heroic soul, Teysa wasn't exactly nice either. Plus, that WAS Ravnica-era, which was supposed to be a long while ago, it's completely possible that Selesnya might have changed since then. Plus, I forget how many creative liberties writers of those novels were allowed - I'm not saying the writer just made it up, because they're official novels and everything, but you'd think if that was a big part of the guild, it'd show up more than in just the novel.



If you make factual statements about what they do and how everyone has it wrong then are immediately contradicted by evidence from the novels, maybe you should re-evaluate your position rather than scrabbling for counterpoints? You're coming across as rather 'invested' the same way you thought the wiki writer might be. I don't think anyone should have to pay any attention to the novels if they don't want to, of course.

I have no view on whether they 'brainwash' or not because there's basically no evidence on the cards either way as to how they go about spreading or reinforcing their philosophy. All I remember is an official description of the guild being 'regarded as a brainwashing nature cult' by some others. The same way some others may regard Dimir as not existing at all or Gruul as not being an actual guild because of the lack of order. It doesn't mean they don't exist or aren't a guild but it does suggest something about the way they operate.
Did you even read the Ravnica novels? Because the Selesnya were one of the major villains. The quietmen, the Selesnyan secret soldier force (which they weren't supposed to have) were trained assassins brainwashed into total obedience. They attacked and killed random, defenseless civilians.

Maybe that's why everyone is saying the Selesnya guild brainwashes and isn't purely heroic; because they do and they aren't.

The major villains were the Dimir, Izzet (Although only because of Zomaj Hauc), and Azorius. More minor villains were the Simic, Golgari (Although only because of Savra), and Rakdos.

The Selesnya were not antagonists and were not treated as villainous in the Ravnica novels. Agents of Artifice was the book that really established how the Worldsong was evil.
Dear everyone who tried to tell me that using the Wiki for evidence was not a good way to support my position.

Please read the article next time. Because if you do, you see that the quote is annotated.

Namely, to this place

@longwinded: showing cards that haven't been reprinted in 10 years is not a very convincing way to suggest that blue isn't about Mind Control but white is. A theme that has been pervasive in the blue for the entire of Magic's history carries a lot more weight than two cards from so long ago. 

And this statement: "Every color gets some take on the control of creatures." is to my knowledge incorrect, as Green has no such thing and Red doesn't bring chrisma so much as encourage tretchery, and does so as a counterbalance to Blue. In addition such events in White and Black are extremely rare--like Time Sprial era rare. 

That said; you want to work the 'persuasion' angle for white, then great! It could have been reasonably in theme with what the Selsenya guild and I would have applauded it because that's a clever use of Magic's history to apply to it's present. 

Now please demonstrate in the article, or anywhere at all, where WotC has said they wanted to bring this back for White because of X. Seriously: I would like to know.

More to the point: previous posters are talking about ways to make the guild represent White/places where the G/W cards have white elements and they are finding it lacking. I am as well and the suggestion of control elements, even looking into a G/W control style, could have been interesting and thematically relevant.
Dear everyone who tried to tell me that using the Wiki for evidence was not a good way to support my position.

Please read the article next time. Because if you do, you see that the quote is annotated.

Namely, to this place

@longwinded: showing cards that haven't been reprinted in 10 years is not a very convincing way to suggest that blue isn't about Mind Control but white is. A theme that has been pervasive in the blue for the entire of Magic's history carries a lot more weight than two cards from so long ago. 

And this statement: "Every color gets some take on the control of creatures." is to my knowledge incorrect, as Green has no such thing and Red doesn't bring chrisma so much as encourage tretchery, and does so as a counterbalance to Blue. In addition such events in White and Black are extremely rare--like Time Sprial era rare. 

That said; you want to work the 'persuasion' angle for white, then great! It could have been reasonably in theme with what the Selsenya guild and I would have applauded it because that's a clever use of Magic's history to apply to it's present. 

Now please demonstrate in the article, or anywhere at all, where WotC has said they wanted to bring this back for White because of X. Seriously: I would like to know.

More to the point: previous posters are talking about ways to make the guild represent White/places where the G/W cards have white elements and they are finding it lacking. I am as well and the suggestion of control elements, even looking into a G/W control style, could have been interesting and thematically relevant.



I don't think I'm making myself clear on control. It is not a mechanical statement, it is a flavor statement. Every color gets a flavor of control: you are a planeswalker, and you control lesser beings. How does that happen? Why shoould they follow you once you suck them through some hole in the aether? What does it mean to have control over something? Each color has a different answer to that. Black enslaves creatures so they have wills of their own, they just don't get a chance to follow them. ("It just obeys you. It doesn't <em>like</em> you"). Blue deceives or directly tweaks minds: the creature's will becomes to achieve goals that "just happen" to be exactly what someone else wants, even though it's not really sure how it came by those goals.... And so on. White falls back on authority (control over a lower being is vested in the controller by a higher power) or in simply convincing the controlled. The creatures still follows his own will, you just convince him to willfully change his goals.

That being said, control as you use it (in the game sense now) is a mechanic. Mechanics alone are not abilities. Mechanics are a means to an end. A lot of times, that means the mechanic will follow some color's ability, the way change of control or copying effects stick to blue, or counter accumulation sticks to green. And sometimes, a completely different color will need to use those means to achieve its' own ends. If the effect is on-theme, and the effect needs the mechanic to make that theme work, it'll take the mechanic, regardless of color.

As for the wiki, we did follow the link. That's where we saw a version of what Mark re-wrote this week: "Within the Conclave, ideally all are equals regardless of individual roles." The only thing that supports the brainwashing theory is this line: "Depending on your point of view, the Conclave is either a selfless, nurturing, spiritual group or a brainwashing nature cult." It says nothing about what they are, only how they're perceived. In other words, groups that don't like organized religions and group-think are probably going to call them a cult. (Ironically, one of those groups might actually be the Cult of Rakdos). Groups that do like those things won't. Are they a cult? Do they brainwash? It doesn't actually say. The only ones who are actually shown brainwashing people are the Orzhov. The thing about viewpoints is that they tell you much more about who is commenting than what is being commented upon. You're given two opposing views in the same sentence. Sso why should you read the brainwashing half of that sentence as true, while you read the selfless half as false?
Dear everyone who tried to tell me that using the Wiki for evidence was not a good way to support my position.

Please read the article next time. Because if you do, you see that the quote is annotated.

Namely, to this place

@longwinded: showing cards that haven't been reprinted in 10 years is not a very convincing way to suggest that blue isn't about Mind Control but white is. A theme that has been pervasive in the blue for the entire of Magic's history carries a lot more weight than two cards from so long ago. 

And this statement: "Every color gets some take on the control of creatures." is to my knowledge incorrect, as Green has no such thing and Red doesn't bring chrisma so much as encourage tretchery, and does so as a counterbalance to Blue. In addition such events in White and Black are extremely rare--like Time Sprial era rare. 

That said; you want to work the 'persuasion' angle for white, then great! It could have been reasonably in theme with what the Selsenya guild and I would have applauded it because that's a clever use of Magic's history to apply to it's present. 

Now please demonstrate in the article, or anywhere at all, where WotC has said they wanted to bring this back for White because of X. Seriously: I would like to know.

More to the point: previous posters are talking about ways to make the guild represent White/places where the G/W cards have white elements and they are finding it lacking. I am as well and the suggestion of control elements, even looking into a G/W control style, could have been interesting and thematically relevant.



I don't think I'm making myself clear on control. It is not a mechanical statement, it is a flavor statement. Every color gets a flavor of control: you are a planeswalker, and you control lesser beings. How does that happen? Why shoould they follow you once you suck them through some hole in the aether? What does it mean to have control over something? Each color has a different answer to that. Black enslaves creatures so they have wills of their own, they just don't get a chance to follow them. ("It just obeys you. It doesn't <em>like</em> you"). Blue deceives or directly tweaks minds: the creature's will becomes to achieve goals that "just happen" to be exactly what someone else wants, even though it's not really sure how it came by those goals.... And so on. White falls back on authority (control over a lower being is vested in the controller by a higher power) or in simply convincing the controlled. The creatures still follows his own will, you just convince him to willfully change his goals.



That's a very, very narrow view on the concept, one that doesn't ever allow for white to be villainous, one that ignores how WotC has set up the color to exist: Just as every color gets a flavor of control, every color gets a flavor of good or evil.

That authority you cite is just as likely to be used for nefarious purposes: authoritarian societies or cultures are rarely known for their tolerance of alternative mindsets. 

So yes; every color gets that and this can be viewed as good (lawkeeping in Azorus/Boros) or bad (law enforcment in Azorus, groupthink in Selsnya, etc). Again, depending on perspective. 

That being said, control as you use it (in the game sense now) is a mechanic. Mechanics alone are not abilities. Mechanics are a means to an end. A lot of times, that means the mechanic will follow some color's ability, the way change of control or copying effects stick to blue, or counter accumulation sticks to green. And sometimes, a completely different color will need to use those means to achieve its' own ends. If the effect is on-theme, and the effect needs the mechanic to make that theme work, it'll take the mechanic, regardless of color.



Sure, this follows but I don't know what your point is. My point-one I've pulled from previous posters- is that there is a missed opportunity in the Selsnya guild to show its white influence. It could really just be a mono-G guild, for the mechanic and other creatures representing that guild.

As for the wiki, we did follow the link. That's where we saw a version of what Mark re-wrote this week: "Within the Conclave, ideally all are equals regardless of individual roles." The only thing that supports the brainwashing theory is this line: "Depending on your point of view, the Conclave is either a selfless, nurturing, spiritual group or a brainwashing nature cult."



That point of view is precisely the point! That's the thing that gives a guild depth and makes it interesting. The citation, from WotC's own site, coupled with the input from the books, suggest that there's a lot more to them than just 'we all coexist happy'. 

It says nothing about what they are, only how they're perceived.



Never heard the saying 'perception is reality'?

In other words, groups that don't like organized religions and group-think are probably going to call them a cult. (Ironically, one of those groups might actually be the Cult of Rakdos). Groups that do like those things won't. Are they a cult? Do they brainwash? It doesn't actually say. The only ones who are actually shown brainwashing people are the Orzhov. The thing about viewpoints is that they tell you much more about who is commenting than what is being commented upon. You're given two opposing views in the same sentence.



Refer back to my comment about what makes this guild potentially interesting. Look at it this way: a plain blue sky is boring. Add in clouds, color, and depending on the time of day, sun or stars or moon and contrasts with mountains, citylines etc: Now you have something interesting to look at. 

Why bother telling us in official statements that there's something deeper going on and then just bail on it?

Sso why should you read the brainwashing half of that sentence as true, while you read the selfless half as false?



I'm not, nor did I ever say that the selfless half was false.  I'm saying that the offical language describes this guild as being more complicated than  just a peace and love guild and I am in agreement with the previous posters that one way to do that might have been through the presentation of some of white's control elements (or even white/green control elements!), since many of the multicolored cards do not represent white, the mechanic only vaguely represents white and the white cards affiliated with the guild don't really show off the possibilities of what the official language describes. 

I am suggesting that this guild could be represented in a far more interesting manner because of the inherent conflict of trying to incorporate individuals into a collective because both statements are true.

See?
Yes, when you join Selesnya, you put your own wants and desires aside to further the whole, and yes, when you accomplish something, it's considered a victory for the guild, and not a personal victory for you. But there's nothing WRONG with that, and they're not brainwashing people into joining. If you want to join, awesome, here's our rules that we need you to follow. If you don't, that's okay, our doors are always open.

I dunno, I'm just so tired of seeing groups in stories that are about togetherness and unity, which tend to be the groups I favor, and seeing everyone fall over themselves to discover every single fault and negative interpretation they can to demonize them. Just let me have my goddamn hippie conclave.



www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.a...

The Selesnya message is personal as well as public; they believe that by silencing the consciousness of the individual, they can become aware of the murmurings of the Conclave, a group of dryads who serve as the spiritual transmitters of Mat'Selesnya's consciousness. The guild's goal is to subsume the identities of individual members, transforming them into instruments of the Conclave.



Your own wants and desires extends to your own individuality and identity. Some people will find that WRONG.
This is getting, a bit long, so I hope you'll excuse some abbreviated quotation:

That's a very, very narrow view on the concept, one that doesn't ever allow for white to be villainous, one that ignores how WotC has set up the color to exist: Just as every color gets a flavor of control, every color gets a flavor of good or evil.

That authority you cite is just as likely to be used for nefarious purposes: authoritarian societies or cultures are rarely known for their tolerance of alternative mindsets. 

So yes; every color gets that and this can be viewed as good (lawkeeping in Azorus/Boros) or bad (law enforcment in Azorus, groupthink in Selsnya, etc). Again, depending on perspective.


As you pointed out, not all authority is just/good/beneficial to underlings. I doubt someone under the ruinous authority of Konda, Lord of Eiganjo or Elesh Norn would consider himself in a particularly happy situation. There is plenty of room for villainy.

Sure, this follows but I don't know what your point is. My point-one I've pulled from previous posters- is that there is a missed opportunity in the Selsnya guild to show its white influence. It could really just be a mono-G guild, for the mechanic and other creatures representing that guild.


Recall earlier when you wrote:
"However the real flaw is what some posters in this thread have pointed out: The Selsneya guild is about conversion: brainwashing subjects to their side: You join us/become one of us. This is a blue theme! How do you get Green/White to accurately express that?"


Your comment has several facets, and so too did my response. One was on the matter of brainwashing as a strictly blue theme: it isn't. You made a flavor comment, I made a flavor comment. Another facet which I did not comment upon was why Selesnya has no strong control elements. Since you mention it again, here, I'll say my opinion is that the green/white guild does not NEED to be particularly control-oriented, when the white/blue guild is, the white/black guild probably will be, and the white/red guild will probably not be. Not all of white is about control. Green certainly isn't. Why should Selesnya be? You have white control in other guilds, so why water down Selesnya's message by making it less distinguished from other guilds.

The third facet to your original comment was on Selesnya brainwashing. Besides the question of whether that matches the flavor of white, or whether or not they misses an opportunity for control cards in Selesnya colors by not addressing it more directly, there's still the question of whether they do or not brainwash. to continue...

That point of view is precisely the point! That's the thing that gives a guild depth and makes it interesting. The citation, from WotC's own site, coupled with the input from the books, suggest that there's a lot more to them than just 'we all coexist happy'.


You argue that that one point of view is the point, as it lends depth. Of course, there's no reason the OTHER point of view couldn't be the point. Some people don't trust Selesnya. You can find some people who don't trust every guild and/or the guildless. And they all probably have a point somewhere. It doesn't mean that brainwashing is canonical or core to Selesnya's identity. The argument so far reads as "some readers don't trust any guild that claims to be happy and welcoming, and other readers think it's boring to have a guild that's happy and welcoming, so we choose to say those traits are secondary to brainwashing, which we all find more interesting." It's just not enough to stand on its own.

Never heard the saying 'perception is reality'?


Of course. It means "how you're perceived is how you will be treated, regardless of whether or not there's any truth to it." It does not support your thesis at all.

Refer back to my comment about what makes this guild potentially interesting. Look at it this way: a plain blue sky is boring. Add in clouds, color, and depending on the time of day, sun or stars or moon and contrasts with mountains, citylines etc: Now you have something interesting to look at. 

Why bother telling us in official statements that there's something deeper going on and then just bail on it?


Because the suggestion of something you have no intention of following up on satisfies people much more than an explanation of how what they find interesting 100% is NOT in the story. In a setting like this you try to be as evasive as possible to maximize the mystique. Think about the bar scene in Star Wars, for example. Before anyone knew it was "a cantina, not a bar" or what any of the various races in it were called, they were captivated by the variety, the notion that there was a bigger world that you had just scratched the surface of. That interested a lot of people. The later editions that named "hammerhead" as a member of a race called Bothans, that the band were all "Bith", and that the little furry guy had nightvision in his upper two eyes? Oddly, much fewer people cared. People don't want a role of psuedo-facts. They want the allure of possibilities. Even when there's not anything there yet.

I'm not, nor did I ever say that the selfless half was false.  I'm saying that the offical language describes this guild as being more complicated than  just a peace and love guild

On this matter, the official language says basically "people have opinions." Full stop.

and I am in agreement with the previous posters that one way to do that might have been through the presentation of some of white's control elements (or even white/green control elements!), since many of the multicolored cards do not represent white, the mechanic only vaguely represents white and the white cards affiliated with the guild don't really show off the possibilities of what the official language describes.


I'd say the cards pretty accurately describe a religious nature order dedicated to communal equality, nature over edifice, growth, harmony of parts, and, yes, love and compassion. As for the brainwashing that may be mentioned only in Agents of Artifice (haven't read it), maybe it doesn't come through because it's present, buts fringe. Maybe it doesn't come out because there's no need in the game to put it in card/mechanic form. (I do know that "W/U control" and "W/G creature" makes a lot more sense to me than "W/G control".) Maybe you're right, and that is an angle they'll play up in Sinker. For now, it seems pretty remote from the main Selesnya message, and I personally don't see a driving need or huge boon to be had from delving into it further.

I am suggesting that this guild could be represented in a far more interesting manner because of the inherent conflict of trying to incorporate individuals into a collective because both statements are true.

See?


Sure, it could be interesting. Lots of things could be interesting. That alone doesn't mean that they happen. Besides, wouldn't conflict make more sense from an enemy pair? Say, Orzhov?
This is getting, a bit long, so I hope you'll excuse some abbreviated quotation:

Sure, this follows but I don't know what your point is. My point-one I've pulled from previous posters- is that there is a missed opportunity in the Selsnya guild to show its white influence. It could really just be a mono-G guild, for the mechanic and other creatures representing that guild.


Recall earlier when you wrote:
"However the real flaw is what some posters in this thread have pointed out: The Selsneya guild is about conversion: brainwashing subjects to their side: You join us/become one of us. This is a blue theme! How do you get Green/White to accurately express that?"


Your comment has several facets, and so too did my response. One was on the matter of brainwashing as a strictly blue theme: it isn't.



I didn't say brainwashing was a strictly blue theme. It is, however, a dominantly blue theme: people don't think brainwashing and think white. As a theme, though, that according to the official documentation provided on the WotC site, is a part of the Selsnya guild.

You made a flavor comment, I made a flavor comment. Another facet which I did not comment upon was why Selesnya has no strong control elements. Since you mention it again, here, I'll say my opinion is that the green/white guild does not NEED to be particularly control-oriented, when the white/blue guild is, the white/black guild probably will be, and the white/red guild will probably not be. Not all of white is about control. Green certainly isn't. Why should Selesnya be? You have white control in other guilds, so why water down Selesnya's message by making it less distinguished from other guilds.



First, you're avoiding the problem by saying 'this doesn't need to be about control'. That's not the issue: the issue is that control is a suggested part of the guild and it's not represented. The other guilds are irrelevant and bringing them up so I'm going to ignore all of that. That isn't the issue. The issue is: how are you representing White in the Selesnya guild?

You may not consider the brainwashing element to be relevant to the guild. Maybe you don't see that White isn't represented in the guild. Great. You can cease to care about the rest of this conversation, if you like.

The third facet to your original comment was on Selesnya brainwashing. Besides the question of whether that matches the flavor of white, or whether or not they misses an opportunity for control cards in Selesnya colors by not addressing it more directly, there's still the question of whether they do or not brainwash. to continue...



Right so: the documentation that suggests they do doesn't matter?

You argue that that one point of view is the point, as it lends depth. Of course, there's no reason the OTHER point of view couldn't be the point. Some people don't trust Selesnya. You can find some people who don't trust every guild and/or the guildless. And they all probably have a point somewhere. It doesn't mean that brainwashing is canonical or core to Selesnya's identity. The argument so far reads as "some readers don't trust any guild that claims to be happy and welcoming, and other readers think it's boring to have a guild that's happy and welcoming, so we choose to say those traits are secondary to brainwashing, which we all find more interesting." It's just not enough to stand on its own.



Incorrect. My argument is that BOTH points of view existing simultaniously is what gives it depth.


Of course. It means "how you're perceived is how you will be treated, regardless of whether or not there's any truth to it." It does not support your thesis at all.



If you say so. You're the one arguing that the perception that the guild is a peace & love guild is the one we should all support. All the mechanic of the guild suggests is that they breed.


Because the suggestion of something you have no intention of following up on satisfies people much more than an explanation of how what they find interesting 100% is NOT in the story. In a setting like this you try to be as evasive as possible to maximize the mystique. Think about the bar scene in Star Wars, for example. Before anyone knew it was "a cantina, not a bar" or what any of the various races in it were called, they were captivated by the variety, the notion that there was a bigger world that you had just scratched the surface of. That interested a lot of people. The later editions that named "hammerhead" as a member of a race called Bothans, that the band were all "Bith", and that the little furry guy had nightvision in his upper two eyes? Oddly, much fewer people cared. People don't want a role of psuedo-facts. They want the allure of possibilities. Even when there's not anything there yet.



People didn't care about names of the aliens in the cantina scene because they didn't matter. All that you needed to know was conveyed in the shots establishing the scene. Suggesting something you have no intention of following up on that leaves holes in your story and pisses people off and the Selesnya guild is a critical piece to the story. You can't leave them with holes.

I'm not, nor did I ever say that the selfless half was false.  I'm saying that the offical language describes this guild as being more complicated than  just a peace and love guild

On this matter, the official language says basically "people have opinions." Full stop.


Then that's just as true of the 'peace and love' faction.

and I am in agreement with the previous posters that one way to do that might have been through the presentation of some of white's control elements (or even white/green control elements!), since many of the multicolored cards do not represent white, the mechanic only vaguely represents white and the white cards affiliated with the guild don't really show off the possibilities of what the official language describes.


I'd say the cards pretty accurately describe a religious nature order dedicated to communal equality, nature over edifice, growth, harmony of parts, and, yes, love and compassion. As for the brainwashing that may be mentioned only in Agents of Artifice (haven't read it), maybe it doesn't come through because it's present, buts fringe. Maybe it doesn't come out because there's no need in the game to put it in card/mechanic form. (I do know that "W/U control" and "W/G creature" makes a lot more sense to me than "W/G control".) Maybe you're right, and that is an angle they'll play up in Sinker. For now, it seems pretty remote from the main Selesnya message, and I personally don't see a driving need or huge boon to be had from delving into it further.


No, the problem is that the white elements-things that could be played up in a brainwashing theme of the guild, don't exist right now and if they suddenly bring it up in the 3rd act, that's terrible storytelling. Since they're trying to create a margarieta of flavor and mechanics, this is a very bad idea.

I am suggesting that this guild could be represented in a far more interesting manner because of the inherent conflict of trying to incorporate individuals into a collective because both statements are true.

See?


Sure, it could be interesting. Lots of things could be interesting. That alone doesn't mean that they happen. Besides, wouldn't conflict make more sense from an enemy pair? Say, Orzhov?


Conflict makes sense when you have understandable but opposing points of view and that can come from anywhere. For purposes of Ravnica ALL the colors coexist in one guild or another, so it would make just as much sense for Orzhov to be perfectly aligned and together as it would for them to be at odds with each other.

But it's more interesting when there are internal conflicts (see Golgari's trouble with keeping a leader) than it is when everyone gets along.

The reall issue, which I've tried to articulate is: White is not represented in this guild. There's nothing in here that couldn't just as easily be mono-green. Perhaps to you this is not the case. That's fine but nothing you've said has suggested that White is properly represented in this guild in a way that is distinct from green.

Note, our disagreement has created much text and made for interesting reading.

Anyway, I'm done. Cheers!
Brainwashing does not necessarily mean convincing your opponent's followers to come over and fight for you. It also means convincing more people to join your side than join their side. In this sense populate is a brainwashing/control (flavour, not gameplay) mechanic; you are convincing more creatures to fight for you. In the context of the Selsnya guild the flavour of populate is not that of a purely green, 'generative' mechanic.
I'm eagerly awaiting the one on Rakdos :D
I will not comment the previous statements directly... this would create a very long reply.

What's the Easiest Thing About This Color Pairing?

The easiest part about this color combination comes from the fact that R&D has a wicked understanding of these two colors. Often, white becomes more a 'yellow' or 'orange' ... an aggressive color that uses light as a source for heat/fire. On contrast, green doesn't purely focus on aggressive beatdown either.

In the past, green was the color with powerful weenies like Pouncing Jaguar, Wild Dogs, Skyshroud Ridgeback, Albino Troll, Muscle Sliver, but also powerful, combat-oriented heavies like Thorn Elemental, Child of Gaea or Ancient Silverback.

White rarely had creatures with converted mana cost 1 and a high power and it didn't have powerful heavies. Back then, in Urza's Saga era, Master Healer or Elite Archers would have been the 'rare cards' in your booster packs.

With the time passing, Mark and others decided to give white more weenies and green more heavies, but they couldn't decide whether white should be aggressive or defensively. The same is true for green. All in all, right now you have a nonsense mix of all aspects in both colors without a true distinction between each other. Green has Fog, white has Holy Day... green has Naturalize, white has Disenchant... they don't share philosophy alone... they even share the same cards.

Wait... there is a difference: Green hates flyers!

You see, R&D has no clue. And that's the reason why most green-white multicolor spells feels like they could have been monocolored as well and are only multicolored to keep the casting cost lower than with monocolored spells. (see Watchwolf vs. Elvish Warrior).

What's the Mechanical Heart of This Color Pair?

Now, when I talk about the mechanical design of a color pair, I'm referring to what is the one mechanical element that most defines the interrelation between the two colors. For green and white, this is creatures. Both colors are focused on creatures and both colors define much of their philosophy and mechanics around supporting creatures.


We have a different opinion on this matter. Each color focusses on some sort of creatures. I can see a black Zombie deck, a blue Wizard deck or a red Goblin deck as well. Red gives creatures a power-boost and blue gives them some sort of evasion.

So to answer this question in general...

If two colors share a common enemy (color), the "Mechanical Heart of This Color Pair" is the opposite of that color's identity.

Since black is the enemy color to both green and white, you just need to look at what black is all about. If you inverse this... doing the opposite... you've found your "Mechanical Heart".

Black is the color of death, fear, and amorality—these are the twisted values of the darkness.
...
Black mana opposes white mana through the conflicts of darkness vs. light, corruption vs. purity, and the needs of the individual vs. the needs of the many. Black mana opposes green mana through the conflicts of death vs. life, decay vs. growth, and greed vs. abundance.


Beside the nonsense part of black being the "individual" loving color or green being about "abundance", you can still recognize that black is about death, fear, darkness, corruption and decay.

If you inverse that, green and white are about life, hope, light, cleansing and melioration.

life and cleansing are easy parts. And all the others aren't that difficult. The real problem comes from the fact that you have to design a unique ability for the Selesnia guild.

Convoke
Convoke is a wonderful but also highly problematic ability. It is wonderful, because it requires a community to achieve a common goal. However, Convoke was designed poorly, because spells with convoke have a higher casting cost.

Now you had the chance to either cast a 3/3 flying Soldier for 5 mana and have some other goodies (see Shepherd of the Lost or Castle Raptors) or you can have the same creature with convoke for 6 mana and no goodies.

The result is that you get actually punished for using convoke. It's usually better to use another form of mana acceleration and cast a similar creature without convoke. If you want to cast a Leatherback Baloth on turn 2, just cast a Noble Hierarch on turn 1.

If convoke would not increase the mana cost, you would have been able to transform any creature into Llanowar Elves for that spell, including a Wild Nacatl. This allows you to avoid mana acceleration creatures and stick to beaters. Beside the fact that it would hurt me to tap the Nacatl early in the game to create mana, you would have limited yourself to convoke. With the Llanowar Elves or Wild Growth, you forgo a bit beating power to be able to cast ANY or ALL creatures one turn earlier. With convoke, you are limited to creatures with this ability.

Convoke shines, if you use the hidden "haste" effect (you can tap creatures that have entered the battlefield that turn)... and really shines on instants (see Gather Courage). Beside the fact that the mentioned spell doesn't really suffer from the "increased mana cost" drawback, convoke allows you to play reactive spells even if you have no untapped lands.

That's the reason why it is a pure white ability whenever I design cards: If you make convoke nearly free of cost, you can balance other things out a bit.

F.e. a Lightning Bolt is always better than a Healing Salve. You can cast the bolt whenever you want. To be able to prevent damage with the salve, you must not spend all your mana, even if there is no reason to cast the salve.... you need to stay prepared. So you simply wasted your mana and lost game speed.

When I design new cards, I use convoke mainly on defensive spells. Since white doesn't have a Day of Judgment in my "universe", it has a Mana Leak with convoke instead.

PopulateThe good news first: It interacts with the "old" Selesnia token mechanic (which was used to make convoke less a pain in the ass) without copying/repeating the old ability.

The bad news: It's poorly designed as well.

Although Mark is right that it's better to avoid card dependencies and create some spells with populate that actually create creature tokens themself, you can't be sure which token will be copied. And to avoid shenanigans, you'll have to suffer in form of an increased mana cost.

Let's say I use a Cackling Counterpart or Mimic Vat to create a token of an  overpowered creature, populate effects could 'ruin' the game balance. Just copy a Knight of the Reliquary each turn.

Conspire
Although this isn't a green/white ability, I add this here to show an alternative approach that combines populate and convoke. Simply design a few spells with conspire that put creature tokens on the battlefield, search for land cards, gives you lifepoints, etc. And you'd also create quite the same flavor. IF you have a community, you get an additional bonus.

Any Final Thoughts?
I would have avoided the token-based story completely. It's the green way to create card advantage and avoid targeted destruction, but I'm still not a fan of it in white.  I would have rather concentrate myself on lands, enchantments, shroud, hexproof and lifelink.

Black is centered around targeted destruction, but also on global -X/-X effects, so a green-white populate strategy feels stupid. Black has graveyard abusal spells, so I could  also imagine a green-white ability that's centered about the opposite.

All in all. It's nice to see the tokens strategy returning, but I'm a bit disappointed that it isn't something better.