12/10/2012 MM: "Designing for Rakdos"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
The link to the Drive to Work episode 11 actually points to episode 10.
The link to the Drive to Work episode 11 actually points to episode 10.


Yeah I noticed that too. I found it though. Here's the link:

media.wizards.com/podcasts/magic/driveto...

Show
Just right click on the link and select "copy link location". Open a new tab in your browser and paste that, change 10 to 11 and "timespiral" to "tenthings". Required a little of trial and error but I got there

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192884403 wrote:
surely one can't say complex conditional passive language is bad grammar ?
Thanks for that. Seems to be all fixed now too. Cheers!
The sound isn't working for the drive to work link for me.
Rakdos seems right. If anything, it's mechanic is actually the most popular in constructed. One thing I don't like with the mechanics is that many for RTR aren't necessarily "build around me" mechanics, and it's kind of said. Hellbent may be a bad mechanic, but at least all of the cards get better if you run more of them. For RTR, that feeling is lukewarm (or completely non-existent in Overload's case). Of course, Populate is the pick of the litter for actually buddying up more and more. Unleash is subtly good in that all of them are for basically the exact same deck archtype (aggro). Detain is similar, but a little more difficult due to being only really an aggressive tool (short-term removal for cheap) but the mechanic pervading many archetypes. Scavenge is of course not bad, it's just that even if all your cards in the grave have Scavenge, you don't have the mana for but one a turn anyway.


I assume Unleash X will appear in Latest Developments. Still, there is hope for Unleash being more creative in Dragon's Maze if there's more, "as long as CARDNAME has a +1/+1 counter on it..." 
Clearly the problem with Hellbent is that it needed to have more cards in blue.
Did you mean Unleash is popular in draft? I don't even play anymore, but I threw together a Standard format, constructed Rakdos deck as a suggestion to someone in the Casual Decks forum. Only one creature has Unleash, and it's just for synergy of it alongside the deck's central strategy. Another ironic thing about that deck is how it doesn't even use Rakdos' special ability at all. It just utilizes him for his raw power (as a 6/6 flying, trample @ four mana). Although the potential is amazing (like with Rakdos's Return, Carnival Hellsteed, or even Chaos Imps), it turns out that banking on his special ability only leads you to go out on a limb, and you'll end up falling to your doom if you try.

By the way guys, why do you keep putting that unnecessary ( 's ) at the end of a possessive noun? It should be, Rakdos' Return. The apostrophe just goes at the end of the S in Rakdos. Who keeps dropping the ball, because that looks so gaudy.



Here is something I just threw together.

Aside from basic lands in place of the expensive stuff...

...a few possible tweaks are,

-4 Tragic Slip > +4 Dreadbore
-4 Crimson Muckwader > +4 Stromkirk Noble
-4 Crimson Muckwader > +4 Thrill-Kill Assassin

If there are any kinks in it from there, I'm sure you can work it out. ;)

4 Tormented Soul
4 Crimson Muckwader
4 Hellhole Flailer
Rakdos, Lord of Riots

4 Curse of Stalked Prey
Furor of the Bitten 

4 Pillar of Flame
4 Tragic Slip
3 Auger Spree 

3 Pithing Needle
3 Rakdos Keyrune     

4 Cavern of Souls
4 Cathedral of War
4 Blood Crypt
4 Dragonskull Summit
4 Rakdos Guildgate

 

IMAGE(http://cdn.bulbagarden.net/upload/7/74/Spr_5b_645.png)


By the way guys, why do you keep putting that unnecessary ( 's ) at the end of a possessive noun? It should be, Rakdos' Return. The apostrophe just goes at the end of the S in Rakdos. Who keeps dropping the ball, because that looks so gaudy.  



That completely depends on your style guide. Chicago Manual of Style would add an s in that case, AP wouldn't. Both would add an s for a common noun (Rakdos is proper).
Style guide is second class here. All that matters is that how gaudy it looks. I stand strongly on the principles that card image accounts for a huge majority of appeal. When you're developing a product that's at least 50% optics, you can't afford any optical flaws. A neat card is an appealing card. Just having flashy artwork isn't enough. The text on the card needs to be even, nice and flush, easy to read; this is what makes the card optically appealing. The wording composition should also be neat and flowing. Nothing tacky, and nothing gaudy. Something easy to look at; or beyond this, something stylish.

Just compare,

Show
Rakdos's Return


Show
Rakdos' Return


One of them is obviously far more stylish than the other, and thus, more appealing.

The gaudy composure detracts from the card's optical appeal, degenerating its quality.

IMAGE(http://cdn.bulbagarden.net/upload/7/74/Spr_5b_645.png)

My one suggestion was to shift the negative from the red "must attack" to the black "can't block." I felt that it would be better flavor

In what universe is that better flavour punk!! 
It's funny you should say that because it's obvious to me that Rakdos has an undertone related to the British Punk rock wave of the 70's, of which rioting is both legendary and synonymous with. One of the things that lead to this was how Ravinca itself was a reflection of the Euro underground guilds (mainly criminal), yet expanding to the mainstream. For example, the corruption of the Roman Catholic church being symbolic in Orzhov.

IMAGE(http://cdn.bulbagarden.net/upload/7/74/Spr_5b_645.png)

Style guide is second class here. All that matters is that how gaudy it looks. I stand strongly on the principles that card image accounts for a huge majority of appeal. When you're developing a product that's at least 50% optics, you can't afford any optical flaws. A neat card is an appealing card. Just having flashy artwork isn't enough. The text on the card needs to be even, nice and flush, easy to read; this is what makes the card optically appealing. The wording composition should also be neat and flowing. Nothing tacky, and nothing gaudy. Something easy to look at; or beyond this, something stylish.

Just compare,

Show
Rakdos's Return


Show
Rakdos' Return


One of them is obviously far more stylish than the other, and thus, more appealing.

The gaudy composure detracts from the card's optical appeal, degenerating its quality.



Style guide is never second class, consistent application of one is what makes for an (almost invisible when done right) professional gloss, much more so than any one person's opinion about what looks gaudy or not. I personally hate the no s after singular nouns. How would you tell, otherwise, if you were talking about the return of the ENTIRE cult of Rakdos, versus the individual demon?

The Economist's style guide also says an apostrophe after a singular noun that ends in s. So while some premier grammaticists agree with you on the best use of the apostrophe here, many others do not.
By the way guys, why do you keep putting that unnecessary ( 's ) at the end of a possessive noun? It should be, Rakdos' Return. The apostrophe just goes at the end of the S in Rakdos. Who keeps dropping the ball, because that looks so gaudy.



It's not just a matter of style guide as some have said, it's a (now fairly long-standing) disagreement in the standardized language.

On the one hand, you have the older school of thought that a possessive should end in 's and be pronounced "-s" (the dog's bowl, David's labors), but that words that end in s already, such as plurals and proper nouns, should just have another apostrophe and be pronounced "-es" (the dogs' bowls, Hercules' labors). A newer school of thought (notably advanced by Strunk and White) calls the second case "archaic" and argues that the language is a lot simpler if there is a universal rule: always add 's... and pronounce it "-s" or "-es" depending.

In other words, one school has tradition and a less awkward written form, the other has a more analytic form which is easier to teach. The latter opinion has gotten very, very popular in recent years, mostly because teachers find it easier to avoid special cases. (Personally, that just strikes me as lazy more than anything else, but that's just one Charles' opinion.)
I thought black and green had more in common than black and red. In fact, didn't MaRo say so during Golgari Week?

Here's what black and red have as a difference, mechanically:

Graveyard: Black loves it (obviously; only green has better recursion, but green can't use the graveyard to cheat things into play), red doesn't really deal with the graveyard, except to recur instants, sorceries, and occasionally artifacts.
How they do control: Red usually destroys lands, black usually destroys creatures. Red can destroy creatures too, but "toughness matters" is the rule more in red than in black. (By which I mean it always matters in red but almost never in black.)
Life payment: Black just pays life up-front. Red spells damage you. (This has an interesting effect with cards like Platinum Emperion and, famously, Circle of Protection: Red.
Removal: The big difference here is that red can destroy artifacts.
Interaction with the stack: Black gets soft counters like Dash Hopes every now and then. Red doesn't, but does get copy effects (which can, as an aside, counter counters).
Punishers: Black punishers can be stopped by losing life. Red punishers can be stopped by taking damage.
Artifacts: Red gets more artifact love than black. Red gets "equipment matters", and can sacrifice artifacts for other things. (And obviously red had far more metalcraft cards than black, which had only Bleak Coven Vampires.)
139359831 wrote:
Clever deduction Watson! Maybe you can explain why Supergirl is trying to kill me.
---- Autocard is your friend. Lightning Bolt = Lightning Bolt
Don't keep telling yourselves that guys. You're only convicing yourselves, you're not actually correct.

IMAGE(http://cdn.bulbagarden.net/upload/7/74/Spr_5b_645.png)

Don't keep telling yourselves that guys. You're only convicing yourselves, you're not actually correct.



Rakdos is supposed to be more related to hedonism, with a type of "If you're an adult, you'll get that this is S&M. If you're a kid, you won't."-type thing.
139359831 wrote:
Clever deduction Watson! Maybe you can explain why Supergirl is trying to kill me.
---- Autocard is your friend. Lightning Bolt = Lightning Bolt
Your comment is based on a totally different subject. That has nothing to do with what we were discussing. Are you referencing the comment I made to Mata_Hari at the beginning of the post? If so, the British Punk rock wave of the 70's was all about hedonism. Parties, drugs, violence, anarchy, and one of the biggest elements, riots. That movement still carries on today. When riots break out in England these days, it's due to the people's attempts to relive that movement, trying to bring those glory days back to life.

IMAGE(http://cdn.bulbagarden.net/upload/7/74/Spr_5b_645.png)

I don't love Unleash.  While it creates an interesting decision at play time, it does so at the expense of future turns.

The most integral interaction in Magic is attacking and blocking.   Should I attack or hold back for defense?  More importantly, can I predict what my opponent will do? Often the decision's obvious, but on the whole it comes up a lot over repeated turns to form the basis for Magic play.

Unleash takes away from that.  Not only can't I block now, but bigger creatures for the same cost put me on a curve spot where the opponent is less likely to be able to block me.  In small amounts it's fine, just liKe a little flying, vigilance, or drawback is fine.  But as the basis of a whole mechanic I think it takes away decision at least as much as it gives.

If you're on MTGO check out the Free Events via PDCMagic and Gatherling.

Other games you should try:
DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

Planetside 2 - Free to play MMO-meets-FPS and the first shooter I've liked in ages.
Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

This might not be true for all mechanics, but it's true for Unleash. There is no use in complaining about it. A good player will make the best of it. Morph was far worse, and yet, there were still certain Morph designs that towered above the rest (like Exalted Angel). I think it's pretty bad moral for player to be complaining about it. That's just being dramatic, and it promotes negativity. Lighten up. It would make for a far better discussion to talk about the finer points of Unleash.

IMAGE(http://cdn.bulbagarden.net/upload/7/74/Spr_5b_645.png)

I thought black and green had more in common than black and red. In fact, didn't MaRo say so during Golgari Week?

Here's what black and red have as a difference, mechanically:

Graveyard: Black loves it (obviously; only green has better recursion, but green can't use the graveyard to cheat things into play), red doesn't really deal with the graveyard, except to recur instants, sorceries, and occasionally artifacts.
How they do control: Red usually destroys lands, black usually destroys creatures. Red can destroy creatures too, but "toughness matters" is the rule more in red than in black. (By which I mean it always matters in red but almost never in black.)
Life payment: Black just pays life up-front. Red spells damage you. (This has an interesting effect with cards like Platinum Emperion and, famously, Circle of Protection: Red.
Removal: The big difference here is that red can destroy artifacts.
Interaction with the stack: Black gets soft counters like Dash Hopes every now and then. Red doesn't, but does get copy effects (which can, as an aside, counter counters).
Punishers: Black punishers can be stopped by losing life. Red punishers can be stopped by taking damage.
Artifacts: Red gets more artifact love than black. Red gets "equipment matters", and can sacrifice artifacts for other things. (And obviously red had far more metalcraft cards than black, which had only Bleak Coven Vampires.)


Golgari has overlap, but there's enough distinction that the colors don't look like copies of each other with only small nuisances seperating the two. Green, for example, doesn't get alot of creature removal while black can't touch artifacts and enchantments. When green and black come together, they cover each other's weaknesses: green brings big beats while black has the removal to clear the path. Thus the overall deck is stronger because of added flexability.

Compare this to black and red. Black and red distinguishs between creature removal, but the point is that they're both good at turning creatures into french fries. You listed "punishers" as a shared mechanic, but the fact that the only thing seperating that mechanic between the two is a difference in how the player pays life makes it hard to distinguish between the two colors. When a player puts red and black together, its often more of the same: more removal and more sacrifice.

Life payment: Black just pays life up-front. Red spells damage you. (This has an interesting effect with cards like Platinum Emperion and, famously, Circle of Protection: Red.


Ehh, I wouldn't call burn spells life payment. First of all, black has burn too in the form of life drain cards like consume spirit. Second, burn cards, when directed at the opponent's life total, is just like hitting them with a creature when the opponent doesn't, or can't, block. Yet, we don't call creatures "life payment" do we?

So, the things black has that red doesn't: life payment, life gain from life drain, creature recusal from graveyards, and discard (which you didn't mention).

The things red brings to the table that black doesn't have: artifact removal, copy effects, and now fast mana, although black used to have that so I'm not sure it counts.

The things black and red have in common: removal, creatures with drawbacks, punisher spells, land destruction, haste and intimidate.

The shared weakness of black and red: no enchantment removal. At all.

 I'm surpised Maro doesn't mention this, because that one crucial weakness is what keeps black/red from mulitplayer games. Sure in 1v1 all the discard, removal and creatures with drawbacks can ensure victory, but in multiplayer games, the inability to touch that moat is going to effect gameplay more than the fact the mix of black and red doesn't add anything new that the other color doesn't already have.
What are you babbling about? Magic isn't all abilities and operations. Magic is all about flavor.

The game was built on it. It's about the real world relations. The embodiments of each color, and their real-world practices. Bringing those occult concepts to life in the cards. When you start talking all corporate about colors and effects like that, you've lost the heart of Magic itself.

This is why I wish they would discontinue the Making Magic article. In the absence of new things to discuss, Rosewater is raising a generation of players who are blind to the heart of the game, and its greatest attribute, realism.

In summery, the colors are only bound by what their counterparts do in reality. Green should be able to produce counterspells because many equinox and solstice rituals in Paganism, Druidism, Witchcraft, etc. all revolve around a tribute made with the hopes of being blessed with a ward; or to undo some misfortune; or to prevent some misfortune from happening.

You want to know each color's true limitations? Go study the occult.

IMAGE(http://cdn.bulbagarden.net/upload/7/74/Spr_5b_645.png)

I assume Unleash X will appear in Latest Developments. Still, there is hope for Unleash being more creative in Dragon's Maze if there's more, "as long as CARDNAME has a +1/+1 counter on it..." 



Not going to happen. The rules prevent Unleash from having a value modifier, like Exalted. However, like exalted, it stacks, though any "yes" decision will prevent blocking, while all "yes" decisions mean little but making the mook bigger. The same issue occurs with Scavenge, although that is somewhat for the good because of the difficulty of making Scavenge n work: Adding a numerical modifier would mean you can't use the elegant reference to a number already on the card: the only value to have to change is the cost, instead of the value of n PLUS cost.

Triggers on Unleashing or effects that care about a card if it's unleashed (likely a triggered ability rather than a continuous effect) are likely, and the same is true of Scavenge: "When you scavenge..." and "Whenever you scavenge...."

"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
Life payment: Black just pays life up-front. Red spells damage you. (This has an interesting effect with cards like Platinum Emperion and, famously, Circle of Protection: Red.


Ehh, I wouldn't call burn spells life payment. First of all, black has burn too in the form of life drain cards like consume spirit. Second, burn cards, when directed at the opponent's life total, is just like hitting them with a creature when the opponent doesn't, or can't, block. Yet, we don't call creatures "life payment" do we?

Pretty sure he meant spells like Char, which damage you as a drawback. That is firmly in Red's color pie.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
What are you babbling about? Magic isn't all abilities and operations. Magic is all about flavor.

The game was built on it. It's about the real world relations. The embodiments of each color, and their real-world practices. Bringing those occult concepts to life in the cards. When you start talking all corporate about colors and effects like that, you've lost the heart of Magic itself.

This is why I wish they would discontinue the Making Magic article. In the absence of new things to discuss, Rosewater is raising a generation of players who are blind to the heart of the game, and its greatest attribute, realism.

In summery, the colors are only bound by what their counterparts do in reality. Green should be able to produce counterspells because many equinox and solstice rituals in Paganism, Druidism, Witchcraft, etc. all revolve around a tribute made with the hopes of being blessed with a ward; or to undo some misfortune; or to prevent some misfortune from happening.

You want to know each color's true limitations? Go study the occult.



Well somebody got up on the wrong side of bed lolz.

First, the game was built from real world "relations," but I think the game can and has largely transcended those real world stuff.

Second, I don't know about "new" players, but I've been playing since Ice Age and I still love the flavor. However, the article and the forum on "Making Magic," a design column, is going to talk about design. I can understand the fustration with flavor, but that's something the creative team handles. Of course design and creative work together, but you're taking your complains to the wrong channel and making the wrong kinds of complains. Taking away design discussion isn't going to create more flavor discussion.

Third, blue has had counterspells since the beginning. I don't see wizards doing a massive shift to green just because you want a tie to the occult. Unless you have a time machine I'm not aware of.

Pretty sure he meant spells like Char , which damage you as a drawback. That is firmly in Red's color pie.



Oh thats what he meant, lolz meaning wasn't clear to me. Well that only furthers Rosewater's point though: black and red are too similar, with the only thing seperating them being subtle nuisances. Problem is that with multicolor, both gold and hybrid, the nuisances are lost when the colors come together.
Just as the song remains the same, the game remains the same as well.

At this point, you're trying to justify your misunderstanding by saying the game has "evolved". Yet the evolution you're talking about would flip the game inside out and violate the entire base of its existence. Magic will never transcend its own heart. It was built on realism and flavor, and that will always be the core of what Magic is. Even if some of them these days are designing empty husks, cards printed strictly to be profited from on the market (or fuel format hype), that doesn't change the genesis of the game, what it was born of. That will always remain the same. Those who understand it and respect it will always have a kindred bond with the game, like being one with the heart of the cards. Those who disregard it and corrupt it aren't worthy of the game Magic at all.

The worst thing about it all is how Rosewater knows the heart of Magic. In my investigation, he's caught between having too much authority and not enough. As an authority, and knowing well the true essence of Magic (it being an embodiment of fantasy and the occult), he has that kindred bond. He knows how important it is to the game. Problem is, he's becoming cold and corporate due to working with the game so much as a product. He's gotten wrapped up into the business side, and now he's torn between the two worlds. He won't be able to exist on both sides, and as he tries, he only fails. When he sees other people who don't know the heart of Magic, in his attempts to correct them, he lacks the authority to show them the light. They reject him, and are wise in their own eyes instead, feeling like they know better than he does, but they don't. This leads to him wanting to fight them on their own ground, relating to Magic as a product, relating to colors and abilities in that cold, corporate manner.

Tragic really...

IMAGE(http://cdn.bulbagarden.net/upload/7/74/Spr_5b_645.png)

Just as the song remains the same, the game remains the same as well.

At this point, you're trying to justify your misunderstanding by saying the game has "evolved". Yet the evolution you're talking about would flip the game inside out and violate the entire base of its existence. Magic will never transcend its own heart. It was built on realism and flavor, and that will always be the core of what Magic is. Even if some of them these days are designing empty husks, cards printed strictly to be profited from on the market (or fuel format hype), that doesn't change the genesis of the game, what it was born of. That will always remain the same. Those who understand it and respect it will always have a kindred bond with the game, like being one with the heart of the cards. Those who disregard it and corrupt it aren't worthy of the game Magic at all.

The worst thing about it all is how Rosewater knows the heart of Magic. In my investigation, he's caught between having too much authority and not enough. As an authority, and knowing well the true essence of Magic (it being an embodiment of fantasy and the occult), he has that kindred bond. He knows how important it is to the game. Problem is, he's becoming cold and corporate due to working with the game so much as a product. He's gotten wrapped up into the business side, and now he's torn between the two worlds. He won't be able to exist on both sides, and as he tries, he only fails. When he sees other people who don't know the heart of Magic, in his attempts to correct them, he lacks the authority to show them the light. They reject him, and are wise in their own eyes instead, feeling like they know better than he does, but they don't. This leads to him wanting to fight them on their own ground, relating to Magic as a product, relating to colors and abilities in that cold, corporate manner.

Tragic really...



 I love the focus on colors and the colors are entirely intutive as they are right now. Black = death and selfnessness, red = fire and emotions. I don't like mythics, core sets every year, new cards in core sets, crazy over the top creatures as mythics, I agree those are coporate attempts at money grabbing. But how is discussing color mechanics apart of that coporate mind set? If the game is based on the color wheel, some amount of discussion has to be had about it, both in the color's philosophy, something creative should focus on more imho, and what the colors are capable in the game, something design has to do to even make more cards for the game.

Ehh, sounds like your going off on a random tanget about Rosewater. I've never met the man, don't follow his twitter or anything so I have nothing to counter your "investigation." For the purposes of this thread though, it sounds like your making a personal attack on him. "I don't like his column, so I'll paint him as an out of touch coporate tycoon." Judging soley from his articles, which I admit is all that I read about him, he seems just as passionate about the game as he was when he first started writing the column in 2002. Is he biased towards his own ideas and pushes stuff he likes over the objections of others? (poison). Sure, but I wouldn't call it a coporate bias, just a Rosewater one.
Melvin and Vorthos people. Top-down and Bottom-up design. 
Magic has been both in its past, and the pendulum has swung back and forth. Ever since the new M sets and the sixth stage of design starting with Scars of Mirrodin, Magic has moved a bit away from it mechanical heart and towards the flavor heart.
Melvin and Vorthos people. Top-down and Bottom-up design. 
Magic has been both in its past, and the pendulum has swung back and forth. Ever since the new M sets and the sixth stage of design starting with Scars of Mirrodin, Magic has moved a bit away from it mechanical heart and towards the flavor heart.



Except it hasn't. Lorwyn was the most flavorful recent blocks in history, Time Spiral before it, and beaten only by Mirage and Kamigawa before it, and Portal: Three Kingdoms. Indeed, Kamigawa's whole premise was flavor, the concept of supreme individuals pushed to broad extensions.

Instead, there has been an overt need to push design and mechanics around central concepts, with all others ancillary to them: Alara block was built not really around the flavor of the shards, but the growing interaction of color, culminating in a all-multicolor set; Zendikar was about lands coming into play and playing off of that function, while Rise decided to slow the game down for the purpose of "battlecruiser" mechanics; Scars was about telling a story, sure, but it was essentially about Phyrexianization of Mirrodin, and this was largely mechanical. Each of these blocks was built around a core mechanical element, either a keyword or an aspect of deckbuilding, but little of it was directly -- or integrally -- flavorful more than mechanical.

So I wonder at the idea that this game is getting more flavorful than not, especially when you have Ravnica 2: Merfolk Boogaloo determining that the mechanisms for guilds must operate in a narrow band of workhorse/outlet and little play. (I'm not getting into how Merfolk "being discovered" has everything to do with R&D decided merfolk need to be in most blocks and nothing to do with some far-spanning story where it was intended all along. Any more than that.)

If Ravnica, Episode II - The Fish[People] Strike Back [at Having Been Forgotten] is about flavor, it's been messed up by a mechanical need to have the guilds operate within a narrow band of their actual capabilities. Consider that most of the guilds as originally developed were multi-faceted, diverse in form and function, and spread across the plane; but now are narrow, confined, have personal districts, either hate or distrust one another, and do not even function together (less so, in fact, than the first Guildpact allowed). If this was about flavor, we might see more diversity of thought, as in the first Ravnica block.
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
I agree with Qilong. If Time Spiral would be released today, it would have a tribe of bloodthirsty vampires for no reason at all, and a useless mythic red dragon in every set of the block.

Also this is just my impression, but I think the guilds are portrayed too simplistic. Its obvious which guilds wizards consider "good guys", and which guilds are "bad guys".
Except it hasn't. Lorwyn was the most flavorful recent blocks in history, Time Spiral before it, and beaten only by Mirage and Kamigawa before it, and Portal: Three Kingdoms. Indeed, Kamigawa's whole premise was flavor, the concept of supreme individuals pushed to broad extensions.

Instead, there has been an overt need to push design and mechanics around central concepts, with all others ancillary to them: Alara block was built not really around the flavor of the shards, but the growing interaction of color, culminating in a all-multicolor set; Zendikar was about lands coming into play and playing off of that function, while Rise decided to slow the game down for the purpose of "battlecruiser" mechanics; Scars was about telling a story, sure, but it was essentially about Phyrexianization of Mirrodin, and this was largely mechanical. Each of these blocks was built around a core mechanical element, either a keyword or an aspect of deckbuilding, but little of it was directly -- or integrally -- flavorful more than mechanical.



The entire point of the design era (not stage, I was using the wrong word there I think) we're in now is that they're NOT about a core mechanical element anymore. That's how it used to be. 

Also how is Time Spiral flavorful? That block is mechanical as heck. Melvin and Vorthos are about gameplay, about the actual cards, not about backstory.
Instead, there has been an overt need to push design and mechanics around central concepts, with all others ancillary to them: Alara block was built not really around the flavor of the shards, but the growing interaction of color, culminating in a all-multicolor set; Zendikar was about lands coming into play and playing off of that function, while Rise decided to slow the game down for the purpose of "battlecruiser" mechanics; Scars was about telling a story, sure, but it was essentially about Phyrexianization of Mirrodin, and this was largely mechanical. Each of these blocks was built around a core mechanical element, either a keyword or an aspect of deckbuilding, but little of it was directly -- or integrally -- flavorful more than mechanical.

What about Innistrad?
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
I don't love Unleash.  While it creates an interesting decision at play time, it does so at the expense of future turns.


Well, doesn't that make it the perfect mechanic for the shortsighted Rakdos, then?  =)  That moment when your creatures start just hanging out because they can't attack profitably anymore is kind of weird, though.  I guess they're hungover from all the partying...?

What are you babbling about? Magic isn't all abilities and operations. Magic is all about flavor.

The game was built on it. It's about the real world relations. The embodiments of each color, and their real-world practices. Bringing those occult concepts to life in the cards. When you start talking all corporate about colors and effects like that, you've lost the heart of Magic itself.

This is why I wish they would discontinue the Making Magic article. In the absence of new things to discuss, Rosewater is raising a generation of players who are blind to the heart of the game, and its greatest attribute, realism.


While I do think Rosewater delivers his fair share of corporate shill (for example, insisting that things like mana screw are beneficial to the game), in this case he's talking design, not corporate.  I really don't understand where you're coming from.  Real world practices?  Magic is a game, and occult magic isn't real.

Not going to happen. The rules prevent Unleash from having a value modifier, like Exalted. However, like exalted, it stacks, though any "yes" decision will prevent blocking, while all "yes" decisions mean little but making the mook bigger.


Something like "Unleash, unleash" could work, couldn't it?  Although since that offers the non-optimal choice of adding only one counter and still not being able to block, it might be considered inelegant.  "Creatures you control with unleash enter the battlefield with an additional +1/+1 counter," maybe?

Third, blue has had counterspells since the beginning. I don't see wizards doing a massive shift to green just because you want a tie to the occult. Unless you have a time machine I'm not aware of.


Time machine?  How about a time spiral: Avoid Fate.  =P  Obviously not representative of the modern color pie, of course.  Green counterspells would feel wrong to me also.  I'm fine with it interacting with counterspells by way of the "can't be countered" ability.

Oh thats what he meant, lolz meaning wasn't clear to me. Well that only furthers Rosewater's point though: black and red are too similar, with the only thing seperating them being subtle nuisances. Problem is that with multicolor, both gold and hybrid, the nuisances are lost when the colors come together.


Not trying to be pedantic here--especially with that prescriptivist linguistics discussion on the first page--but you mean to say "nuances" here, right?
Except it hasn't. Lorwyn was the most flavorful recent blocks in history, Time Spiral before it, and beaten only by Mirage and Kamigawa before it, and Portal: Three Kingdoms. Indeed, Kamigawa's whole premise was flavor, the concept of supreme individuals pushed to broad extensions.

Instead, there has been an overt need to push design and mechanics around central concepts, with all others ancillary to them: Alara block was built not really around the flavor of the shards, but the growing interaction of color, culminating in a all-multicolor set; Zendikar was about lands coming into play and playing off of that function, while Rise decided to slow the game down for the purpose of "battlecruiser" mechanics; Scars was about telling a story, sure, but it was essentially about Phyrexianization of Mirrodin, and this was largely mechanical. Each of these blocks was built around a core mechanical element, either a keyword or an aspect of deckbuilding, but little of it was directly -- or integrally -- flavorful more than mechanical.



The entire point of the design era (not stage, I was using the wrong word there I think) we're in now is that they're NOT about a core mechanical element anymore. That's how it used to be. 

Also how is Time Spiral flavorful? That block is mechanical as heck. Melvin and Vorthos are about gameplay, about the actual cards, not about backstory.



Time Spiral was about nostalgia; this isn't to parrot the line from Aaron Forsythe, but it was a block that I absolutely enjoyed because it called back to all the cute little elements from previous storylines, cards printed in it without any real reference to broad mechanical constraints, Limited play, or the diversity of decks to play with. Vanilla or "weak" legends, a tie-in with Tenth Edition's and Coldsnap's legends, and the broad range of deck types and variatios in aggro, control, and midrange, without trying to devise a metagame with a few of these, if ever. You had a lot of options with Time Spiral to do whatever you wanted to do. That's why there were so many mechanics in the block.

You may be confusing "having lots of mechanics" when what I am talking about is "mechanic vs. flavor." A "mechanical" set is narrowly constructed, largely advanced with a structural theme and then developed within that theme and only as far as that theme allows: the mechanical aspect dictates design. A "flavor" set is broadly constructed, where design is about filling a "setting" where the elements of a Plane or story are set, then defined with cards or mechanics.

Imagine, in the first, that the design of a plane (e.g., metal, artifacts matter, it's all artifacts, anti-artifacts) makes it so that diversity of mechanics cannot vary too much: the choices the developers want to give the players must be narrow, so as to fit in their setting more comfortably, while also allowing the developers to better predict the competitive environment and make sure "fixes" and "solutions" to gamestates are available. The fact that such an environment may have many mechanics is irrelevant, or even few or little. You can go back and calculate "number of mechanics" per set and find that this has little if anything to do with the distinction or flexibility in the set to "do what you want, and do it well."

In the second, the design of a plane is not really constrained (e.g., you have a broad setting, composed of many other settings as in Dominaria, or the many aspects of colors or color pairs) and development is allowed to provide a diversity of choices: Any group of colors has a thing they do, but also a second thing they can do, and perhaps a third thing. That was what made Time Spiral so FUN: there was little shortage of things you could build, directions you could go, and there were a decent set of cards available that enabled this strategy. Of course, the high number of "options" the developers gave players reduces the predictability of a metagame, and thus the ability to develop "fixes" fast enough. In an environment where "mechanic" overrides "flavor," the flexibility in deckbuilding is small, if null, and largely constrained by what manafixing is provided in the set ... not its mechanics.

(There is something to be said for whether R&D should "fix" the metagame for predictability, but when R&D continues to print cards they must ban in Standard, or cannot determine fast enough that a whole year can go by before "fixing" something by either silver bulleting it or banning it, one must question their ease of responsiveness with regards to their decisions to print these things. Money money money.)

We have shifted from an environment where R&D has constricted the mechanical structure of the setting for the sake of predictability, and any guise of "flavor" given has been to cast an illusion that provides players with "choices," though those are often quite poor in reflection of the total metagame's "options." There are cards you must play now, bar none, to "be competitive" -- this is not a setting where "flavor" is trumping "mechanic."
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
Not going to happen. The rules prevent Unleash from having a value modifier, like Exalted. However, like exalted, it stacks, though any "yes" decision will prevent blocking, while all "yes" decisions mean little but making the mook bigger.


Something like "Unleash, unleash" could work, couldn't it?  Although since that offers the non-optimal choice of adding only one counter and still not being able to block, it might be considered inelegant.  "Creatures you control with unleash enter the battlefield with an additional +1/+1 counter," maybe?



Depends; I do not think the rules allow the easiest ways to phrase this:
"Creatures you unleash enter the battlefield with an additional +1/+1 counter on it." Does Unleash have a verb function in the rules?
"When you unleash a creature, put an additional +1/+1 counter on that creature."


"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
It's a shame no one has mentioned Zendikar. I left the game right before that set came out, but I thought the Trap theme and the whole "treasure hunters" bit was top-shelf. The way those two elements were worked into the set made for an amazing display.

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You may be confusing "having lots of mechanics" when what I am talking about is "mechanic vs. flavor." 

[...]

In the second, the design of a plane is not really constrained (e.g., you have a broad setting, composed of many other settings as in Dominaria, or the many aspects of colors or color pairs) and development is allowed to provide a diversity of choices: Any group of colors has a thing they do, but also a second thing they can do, and perhaps a third thing.



I feel you are confusing "having a lot of mechancis" with "mechanic vs. flavor".

Whether a set is about a singular mechanical identity or a broad spectrum has nothing to do with flavor. How the competitive environment looks, whether it's more linear or more modular, isn't about flavor either. 

We have shifted from an environment where R&D has constricted the mechanical structure of the setting for the sake of predictability, and any guise of "flavor" given has been to cast an illusion that provides players with "choices," though those are often quite poor in reflection of the total metagame's "options." There are cards you must play now, bar none, to "be competitive" -- this is not a setting where "flavor" is trumping "mechanic."



What you say here is all true, it simply doesn't have anything to do with the top-down vs bottom-up debate. It's more of a Development issue you're talking about than a Design one.

I'm actually a bit confused because the last time you talked more about backstory and setting and this time you seem to be talking more about metagames and tournament decks. 
You may be confusing "having lots of mechanics" when what I am talking about is "mechanic vs. flavor." 

[...]

In the second, the design of a plane is not really constrained (e.g., you have a broad setting, composed of many other settings as in Dominaria, or the many aspects of colors or color pairs) and development is allowed to provide a diversity of choices: Any group of colors has a thing they do, but also a second thing they can do, and perhaps a third thing.



I feel you are confusing "having a lot of mechancis" with "mechanic vs. flavor".

Whether a set is about a singular mechanical identity or a broad spectrum has nothing to do with flavor. How the competitive environment looks, whether it's more linear or more modular, isn't about flavor either.



I just had that argument with what you were saying, especially in regards to Time Spiral. Are you trying to make my argument at me and say it's yours instead? You were the one who argued:

"Also how is Time Spiral flavorful? That block is mechanical as heck."

No, it wasn't "mechanical as heck" at all. It had a lot of mechanics, but this has nothing to do with its technical play. Time Spiral was very, very "Vorthos" because of its nostalgic factors. Vorthos, incidentally, loves backstory; he thrives on it. In many case, the construction of the card itself is irrelevant to Vorthos, if the flavor and the idea of the card works.

We have shifted from an environment where R&D has constricted the mechanical structure of the setting for the sake of predictability, and any guise of "flavor" given has been to cast an illusion that provides players with "choices," though those are often quite poor in reflection of the total metagame's "options." There are cards you must play now, bar none, to "be competitive" -- this is not a setting where "flavor" is trumping "mechanic."



What you say here is all true, it simply doesn't have anything to do with the top-down vs bottom-up debate. It's more of a Development issue you're talking about than a Design one.



I didn't realize we were having a "top down" vs. "bottom up" design argument. But, that works, too: Lorwyn is about flavor, as was Time Spiral, and both were designed top down. And development is directly tied to design: if a design requires top-down, development has less room to work in to enforce a structural effect, such as a "hotfix," or design has to devote a small space to cards that are "outside" the design circumstances so that every concerned format can get its cards. Development does not MAKE the set.
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
You may be confusing "having lots of mechanics" when what I am talking about is "mechanic vs. flavor."

 

I feel you are confusing "having a lot of mechancis" with "mechanic vs. flavor".

 

I just had that argument with what you were saying, especially in regards to Time Spiral. Are you trying to make my argument at me and say it's yours instead? You were the one who argued:



Yes I'm using your argument because it applies on you, because of 'mechanics' multiple meanings =)

No, it wasn't "mechanical as heck" at all. It had a lot of mechanics, but this has nothing to do with its technical play. Time Spiral was very, very "Vorthos" because of its nostalgic factors. Vorthos, incidentally, loves backstory; he thrives on it. In many case, the construction of the card itself is irrelevant to Vorthos, if the flavor and the idea of the card works.



Stormcloud Djinn does not work because the flavor and the idea of the card works. It works because it combines Electric Eel and Cloud Djinn. This is very Melvin. And so it is with many, many cards in the block. The color shifted cards from Planar Chaos are ver Melvin. The mix and match cards from Future Sight like Ichor Slick might be the most Melvin cards in existence.  

Printing a card for a missing legend like Kaervek the Merciless is Vorthos, sure. But Time Spiral block was far more the former than the latter. It was far more Melvin than Vorthos. 

I didn't realize we were having a "top down" vs. "bottom up" design argument. But, that works, too: Lorwyn is about flavor, as was Time Spiral, and both were designed top down. And development is directly tied to design: if a design requires top-down, development has less room to work in to enforce a structural effect, such as a "hotfix," or design has to devote a small space to cards that are "outside" the design circumstances so that every concerned format can get its cards. Development does not MAKE the set.



No both were designed bottom-up. have you read the design article about them? Time Spiral started out as the time-matters block and the flavor was later added to match. Lorwyn was designed as the tribal 2 block and the flavor was later added to match.
Stormcloud Djinn does not work because the flavor and the idea of the card works. It works because it combines Electric Eel and Cloud Djinn. This is very Melvin. And so it is with many, many cards in the block. The color shifted cards from Planar Chaos are ver Melvin. The mix and match cards from Future Sight like Ichor Slick might be the most Melvin cards in existence.



I think you have that card up there mixed up. Many cards that were printed as mash ups of other cards were done so strictly because of that mash up. They are also mechanical, but that has a tendency of the designers to find an effective mechanical cross with flavor; it did not mean that Time Spiral was "mechanical" as opposed to "flavorful," where one merely excludes the other. It meant the card's design was inspired by the evocativeness of those two cards, and then mechanical functionality was considered afterwards. An even better example of a highly mechanical card inspired through top down design was Stuffy Doll, but we can go further with Tivadar of Thorn, and indeed most of the other call-back legends of the set, which feature prominently. A top-down design doesn't mean you cannot have a Chinese menu of abilities, or whatever: Ith, High Arcanist was top-down, but was slotted in deliberately to have Maze of Ith, despite that there was also an effort to look at other Ithian cards.

Printing a card for a missing legend like Kaervek the Merciless is Vorthos, sure. But Time Spiral block was far more the former than the latter. It was far more Melvin than Vorthos.



Part of the block's problems was that it had two disparate elements: not that the for-the-mechanics design opposed or underweighed the for-the-flavor designs, but that the block was all over the place in interesting cards, but little mechanical cohesiveness -- suspend did not lend itself to one single effect, there was no linearity except with Slivers. There were few truly interesting cards, most of them were legends, and the play environment was chaotic. Personally, I loved TSP/CSP/RAV limited -- my favorite decks of all time came from that era, such as a UG Land-animator deck or my own take on Panda Express, or mt Thelon/Thallids deck paired with my sib's GW Selesnya tokens deck for 2HG fun ... we whooped butt with that pair.

Time Spiral started out as the time-matters block and the flavor was later added to match. Lorwyn was designed as the tribal 2 block and the flavor was later added to match.



TSP did start with "being about time," but consider that when that was the concept, it didn't even have suspend: It was about some temporal catastrophe. That was when they borrowed suspend from another Block (Kamigawa, no less, which it was designed for -- lost in favor of Epic), and introduced the Past-[alternate] Present-Future concept, and this necessitated designed under these premises. Re-read the article for yourself: Design work did not begin until block structure and the nostaligia reference for the first set was set-in, and it was then that "look at the things from the heydays" work came in.

I am not saying, and have not said, that mechanical aspects (not "of a keyword," as you seem to imply I say) are absent or ignored, but that they were secondary to the flavorful aspect of returning to Dominaria, and by revisting old concepts: Ith is no less top-down because he involves an ability we've seen before than Endrek Sahr is because his is new, or especially Dralnu for his innovative and eventually metagame-shaping ability.
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
I think you have that card up there mixed up. Many cards that were printed as mash ups of other cards were done so strictly because of that mash up. They are also mechanical, but that has a tendency of the designers to find an effective mechanical cross with flavor; it did not mean that Time Spiral was "mechanical" as opposed to "flavorful," where one merely excludes the other. It meant the card's design was inspired by the evocativeness of those two cards, and then mechanical functionality was considered afterwards. An even better example of a highly mechanical card inspired through top down design was Stuffy Doll, but we can go further with Tivadar of Thorn, and indeed most of the other call-back legends of the set, which feature prominently. A top-down design doesn't mean you cannot have a Chinese menu of abilities, or whatever: Ith, High Arcanist was top-down, but was slotted in deliberately to have Maze of Ith, despite that there was also an effort to look at other Ithian cards.



Stormcloud Djinn does not represent the top-down, flavor mash up of a djinn and an electric eel. It represents the botton-up, mechanical mash up of a combination of mechanics from earlier cards.

Time Spiral had far more Stormcloud Djinns than Stuffy Dolls. It had far more cards inspired by the mechanics with flavor considered afterwards than the other way around. 

But let's agree to disagree, I don't feel this is going anywhere =p
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