Let's Make A Comprehensive Ability Map

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The idea here is to thoroughly define what each color gets, and perhaps what each color pair gets. Your suggestions can be broad or specific, and I'll try to create a good list that can be used for reference. Speaking of reference, real card examples would be nice.

You can discuss what a color could feaibly get (red vigilance ahoy!), but without evidence, it won't be added. Furthermore, all evidence will be scrutinized.

Also, shards and wedges get certain abilities; like Jund gets targeted land destruction, Naya gets artifact destruction, and Oros (WBR) gets first//double strike.  But anyways, here's a few:

Blue:
Hard counter
Pure draw
Bounce

White:
Permanent exile
Most creatures
Vigilance
Pure life gain//damage prevention (May want to split lifegain to GW, and leave damage prevention here)

Green:
Biggest creatures
Pure pump

Red:
Pure direct damage
Nonflying hate

Black:
Life Theft
Pure ummm....(opposite of pump...?)
Pure creature destruction

Ignoring the obvious Rav mechanics...

WG: Enchantment hate

BR: Life Loss

GR: Flying hate

WB: Reanimate

BG: Recover (to hand)

UR: Lootin'

URB: Thievery (may want to split into temp and permanent)

OK, I may come back with more.  (Edit: In the process of examplifying (Edit Edit: Done with this post)).

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Set 2 — TBD
Set 3 — TBD
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White: Sweepers, Conditional removal

Blue: Looting, "Knowledge Stealers"

Black: Haste, Paying life

Red: Random Effects

Green: Reach

Blue/Black: Milling

May contribute more later.

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

I think this is a colour-bleed into red because it feels very similar to player-burn. Normally red doesn't get this and it's pure-black.
GR: Flying hate

This is a bleed into red; it's exceptionally rare for red to get this. This is normally pure-green.
BG: Recover (to hand)

This can be subdivided: "return target creature card from graveyard to hand" is black, whereas without the restriction to creature cards it's green.


Blue/Black: Milling


Milling in black is a bleed. Black more often gets lobotomy effects.

I think that if you want to do this, it could be a lot more organized than people posting random things in a list.

Also, keep in mind that some effects used to be primary but are becoming secondary, others have exceptions or instances in Planar Chaos and older sets that people remember, etc. so there will be a lot of discussion.

For example, Fenix. said white gets conditional removal. It does, but (aside from Oblivion Ring effects) it also gets unconditional removal if it gives something back or is crappy enough. Unmake, Path to Exile, Iona's Judgment and Trostani's Judgment are all recent, and Oblation and Catapult Master aren't that old. Gaze of Justice may be just a Hand of Justice reference, but the line is blurry. And some may think Crib Swap is included here, but I think that if it gives another creature, it's fine. There's a lot of debate about these cards, even inside R&D, but many see print.

Keep that in mind when you put green gets direct damage or "doesn't untap" effects.
Blue/red gets "return target instant or sorcery from your graveyard to your hand" and copying.

Enchantment hate is green/white.
139359831 wrote:
Clever deduction Watson! Maybe you can explain why Supergirl is trying to kill me.
---- Autocard is your friend. Lightning Bolt = Lightning Bolt
I think that if you want to do this, it could be a lot more organized than people posting random things in a list.

Also, keep in mind that some effects used to be primary but are becoming secondary, others have exceptions or instances in Planar Chaos and older sets that people remember, etc. so there will be a lot of discussion.

I wanted this to be a social exercise as well. I could put it together on my own, but the discussion is what interests me. For instance:

BR: Life Loss

I think this is a colour-bleed into red because it feels very similar to player-burn. Normally red doesn't get this and it's pure-black.

I'd argue that the difference between "Target player loses 3 life." and "~ deals 3 damage to target player. This damage can't be prevented." are invisible. The mechanic is the same in almost all cases you could imagine it in.

This is the type of discussion that could prove useful to this chart. Ultimately, the idea is to grab both broad and specific ideas, work out categories, and discuss the philosophy behind these choices and figure out which might not hold up. But also, it'd be a nice reference to have. 
BR: Life Loss

I think this is a colour-bleed into red because it feels very similar to player-burn. Normally red doesn't get this and it's pure-black.
GR: Flying hate

This is a bleed into red; it's exceptionally rare for red to get this. This is normally pure-green.
BG: Recover (to hand)

This can be subdivided: "return target creature card from graveyard to hand" is black, whereas without the restriction to creature cards it's green.



I agree with all of these except flying hate.  I think, although appearances rare, Red flying hate has consistently appeared in all eras of the game (to include Thunderbolt reprinted in Modern as common last block).  Therefore, I think Red should be considered "second best" at flying hate.

Somnia, the Evanescent Plane -- A 3-set Block
Set 1 — Somnia
Set 2 — TBD
Set 3 — TBD
Planeswalker's Guide to Somnia

Build Around This
A weekly MTG Cards and Combos forum game.
Build Around This #1 - Sage's Starfish Wish
BAT #1 was built using the Legacy format with Spiny Starfish, Sage's Knowledge, and Make a Wish. Winner: Dilleux_Lepaire with Fishy Starfishies. Runner-Up: JBTM
I'd argue that the difference between "Target player loses 3 life." and "~ deals 3 damage to target player. This damage can't be prevented." are invisible. The mechanic is the same in almost all cases you could imagine it in.


I also like the ability to discuss, but ideally you're planning on updating the OP, yes?  Also, you may have wanted more than one post up top.

As for this topic (life loss vs. damage prevention prevention), I think the effects are actually dissimilar enough that red would just get "damage prevention prevention" or some such.

Somnia, the Evanescent Plane -- A 3-set Block
Set 1 — Somnia
Set 2 — TBD
Set 3 — TBD
Planeswalker's Guide to Somnia

Build Around This
A weekly MTG Cards and Combos forum game.
Build Around This #1 - Sage's Starfish Wish
BAT #1 was built using the Legacy format with Spiny Starfish, Sage's Knowledge, and Make a Wish. Winner: Dilleux_Lepaire with Fishy Starfishies. Runner-Up: JBTM
I'd argue that the difference between "Target player loses 3 life." and "~ deals 3 damage to target player. This damage can't be prevented." are invisible. The mechanic is the same in almost all cases you could imagine it in.

They are. (Mostly.) But invisible differences are at times the heart and soul of the color pie. For example, these two cards are functionally identical:


Creatures are Sneaky
Enchantment
Creatures are unblockable.

Creatures are Scared
Enchantment
Creatures can't block.


But one of them's unquestionably blue, while the other's unquestionably red.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

56965458 wrote:
As long as it's random, I really can't see where's the problem. Anyway, there's already a few standard ways for doing this. We listed them in this thread. If someone does the bogey-bogey, eats the cards, waits until they come out, look out the approximate order, place replacements in the same order, calls the president to ask him to give him a string of numbers, puts the card in the given order, then pick the cards in the order given by taking the date of birth of his opponent, reversed, and taking only every other number, then a judge can clearly declare that he's random enough.
56874518 wrote:
The beauty of sarcasm is that when the person using it is totally incorrect, you can just remove the sarcasm and end up with a post that is actually correct.
I also like the ability to discuss, but ideally you're planning on updating the OP, yes?  Also, you may have wanted more than one post up top.

Yes, ultimately the OP will be mapped out in some hopefully readable manner. If I need another post, I'll just make a new thread an perhaps request a sticky.

I'd argue that the difference between "Target player loses 3 life." and "~ deals 3 damage to target player. This damage can't be prevented." are invisible. The mechanic is the same in almost all cases you could imagine it in.

They are. (Mostly.) But invisible differences are at times the heart and soul of the color pie. For example, these two cards are functionally identical:


Creatures are Sneaky
Enchantment
Creatures are unblockable.

Creatures are Scared
Enchantment
Creatures can't block.


But one of them's unquestionably blue, while the other's unquestionably red.

I agree. And as we both know, any chart is going to have cases where the application doesn't actually fit perfectly. But for the purposes of this exercise, many of the similar mechanics are going to be lumped together because they easily work that way. When talking about and separately, I'll list them in their own specific ways. But when it comes to the () chart, it's useful to use one term. 

I agree with all of these except flying hate.  I think, although appearances rare, Red flying hate has consistently appeared in all eras of the game (to include Thunderbolt reprinted in Modern as common last block).  Therefore, I think Red should be considered "second best" at flying hate.



With the obvious add-on that green flying hate is generally strictly worse than black/red removal or (in the case of reach) baseline creatures with flying.

Some of this is inexcusable; see, for instance, Kessig Recluse costing versus for Vampire Nighthawk, and the latter has not only flying but lifelink as well.
139359831 wrote:
Clever deduction Watson! Maybe you can explain why Supergirl is trying to kill me.
---- Autocard is your friend. Lightning Bolt = Lightning Bolt
Individual cards are allowed to vary in power. Nighthawk is an bomb uncommon in both Zendikar and M13 limited, near the top of the power curve--it's playable in Constructed occasionally. Is it really any surprise that your average limited-fodder common isn't that powerful?

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

Bay, you already have a thread for complaining about how much green's flying hate sucks.
We don't need another. 
Honestly, the pattern I keep seeing here is that the mechanics chosen to be unique are atrociously imbalanced, even though I would say that on the whole, multicolored sets have done a good job of making each color pair stick. I'm not sure whether I should be posting how it appears in the current state of Magic, or how I feel it should ideally work.
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Individual cards are allowed to vary in power. Nighthawk is an bomb uncommon in both Zendikar and M13 limited, near the top of the power curve--it's playable in Constructed occasionally. Is it really any surprise that your average limited-fodder common isn't that powerful?



True, but the strictly-worse add-on is vital to understanding it. Would you play Leaf Arrow or Lightning Bolt?
139359831 wrote:
Clever deduction Watson! Maybe you can explain why Supergirl is trying to kill me.
---- Autocard is your friend. Lightning Bolt = Lightning Bolt

WU: Rhystics



This is normally called "taxing", but blue doesn't do that outside counterspells. (At least not nowadays.)

WU: Rhystics



This is normally called "taxing", but blue doesn't do that outside counterspells. (At least not nowadays.)


You're correct about nowadays, but I did mean for more than just attacking.
56965458 wrote:
As long as it's random, I really can't see where's the problem. Anyway, there's already a few standard ways for doing this. We listed them in this thread. If someone does the bogey-bogey, eats the cards, waits until they come out, look out the approximate order, place replacements in the same order, calls the president to ask him to give him a string of numbers, puts the card in the given order, then pick the cards in the order given by taking the date of birth of his opponent, reversed, and taking only every other number, then a judge can clearly declare that he's random enough.
56874518 wrote:
The beauty of sarcasm is that when the person using it is totally incorrect, you can just remove the sarcasm and end up with a post that is actually correct.

WU: Rhystics



This is normally called "taxing", but blue doesn't do that outside counterspells. (At least not nowadays.)


You're correct about nowadays, but I did mean for more than just attacking.



Yeah, but that was a block mechanic.

Oh, the "variable power/toughness" pie.

green--based on lands
green/black--based on cards in graveyard
green/white--based on number of creatures you control or number of auras attached
green/blue--based on cards in hand
red/white--based on number of equipment attached

Red occasionally gets such things, like Scourge of Geier Reach and Malignus.
139359831 wrote:
Clever deduction Watson! Maybe you can explain why Supergirl is trying to kill me.
---- Autocard is your friend. Lightning Bolt = Lightning Bolt
Seriously, Bay_Falconer, you already have a thread for why flying hate is terrible.

As for variance, there was a whole cycle of lhurgoyfs in Odyssey, and things like Slag Fiend and Detritivore suggest that any goyf variant can exist that plays off things that color wants to be doing anyway.
I will be slow updating this. But it should happen.

On the lhurgoyf topic: there are certain parts to the game so integral that all the colors should interact with them: card draw, life totals, graveyards, libraries, etc. Lhurgoyfs seem to fit the bill. It's how they do so that make them different.

WU: Rhystics



This is normally called "taxing", but blue doesn't do that outside counterspells. (At least not nowadays.)


You're correct about nowadays, but I did mean for more than just attacking.


Again, nowadays blue doesn't tax for anything other than counterspells. Now it's white domain.
Seriously, Bay_Falconer, you already have a thread for why flying hate is terrible.



True, no other color gets something so inherently horrible on top of the obligatory "experimental" and "what is the dev team thinking?" cards that every color gets.
139359831 wrote:
Clever deduction Watson! Maybe you can explain why Supergirl is trying to kill me.
---- Autocard is your friend. Lightning Bolt = Lightning Bolt