9/9/2013 Feature: "Developing Theros"

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This thread is for discussion of the feature, "Developing Theros", which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

Megadog wrote:
 

Only a year after we finally get Murder, and it get's a stickly better...

Not that I'm complaining. It's nice to have plainwalker removal. 

 

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

Jamas wrote:
 

Wow, Polukranos got a massive downgrade. Not only dividing X, but the activation becoming XX. 

 

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

Taudisban wrote:
 

I'd complain about that spell being strictly better than Murder but honestly Murder was underwhelming. It could use a strict upgrade. I also like that we are getting proper Planeswalker removal after such a long time - it helps to keep them from being dominatingly powerful. 

 

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

Dream_Spinner wrote:
 

I wish it was just: Even heroes break.

 

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

PureLiquidAwesome wrote:
 

This card feels like such a failure. What's the red half of Dreadbore now?

Seriously; destroy target creature was obviously the black half of Dreadbore (since red hasn't been able to do that since the bad old days), destroy target plansewalker must then be the red half. But apparenly destroy target planeswalker is a black effect. So why is Dreadbore BR? 

 

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

Amarsir wrote:
 

This explains why the Legendary artifacts feel like equipment - because they originally were.  There's still no mechanical reason for them to be enchantments, though. 

 

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

Fireballmage wrote:
 

So Black has an answer to Planeswalkers, but none to Enchantments or Artifacts. That doesn't inspire me with confidence.

Also, their solution to Red's problems is so silly and predictable. "Red's not doing well against Enchantments? Make Red faster!"

Amarsir wrote:
This explains why the Legendary artifacts feel like equipment - because they originally were.  There's still no mechanical reason for them to be enchantments, though.
They have colors and static abilities, which feel more like Enchantment traits.

 

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

Amarsir wrote:
 

Fireballmage wrote:
Amarsir wrote:
This explains why the Legendary artifacts feel like equipment - because they originally were.  There's still no mechanical reason for them to be enchantments, though.
They have colors and static abilities, which feel more like Enchantment traits.

That might be a satisfying explanation if I'd never seen Mindlock Orb.

 

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

DarthBunny wrote:
 

I wanted red to be the deck that tried to use speed to overcome enchantments. Black would use a more controlling strategy. Ordinarily, I would think Thoughtseize is too strong for Standard; since it can take any spell, it doesn't matter as much what spells are in the new set or in a particular deck. Thoughtseize pushes the game more toward attrition and card advantage than is typically correct.


Wait, in New Phyrexia, the other colors were allowed to have small amounts of life loss to help the feel of the set. In Innistrad, certain graveyard cards were in colors other than black to help push the graveyard theme. But in a block where enchantments are a major theme, red and black are restrained? I know the whole set hasn't been released and that you guys must have playtested this block alot, but this article does not inspire too much confidence.

The color pie prohibits black and red from dealing with enchantments directly, but this block should have encouraged more creativity. Maybe:

Screw Enchantments
RRR
Enchantment
At the beginning of each upkeep, that player sacrifices X non-basic lands, where X is the number of enchantments he or she controls.

Enchantments Beacon
1R
Instant
Target creature you control gets +X/+0 until end of turn where X is the number of enchantments on the battlefield.

Enchantment Drain
BB
Aura - Enchant enchantment
Enchanted enchantment has "At the beginning of the controller's upkeep, sacrifice this unless the controller exiles a card from his or her graveyard."

 

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

Fenix. wrote:
 

PureLiquidAwesome wrote:
This card feels like such a failure. What's the red half of Dreadbore now?

Seriously; destroy target creature was obviously the black half of Dreadbore (since red hasn't been able to do that since the bad old days), destroy target plansewalker must then be the red half. But apparenly destroy target planeswalker is a black effect. So why is Dreadbore BR?

Well, by losing red it gains instant speed, so it's faster..... what?

Yeah this is a mess.
 

 

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

alextfish wrote:
 

DarthBunny wrote:
Wait, in New Phyrexia, the other colors were allowed to have small amounts of life loss to help the feel of the set. In Innistrad, certain graveyard cards were in colors other than black to help push the graveyard theme. But in a block where enchantments are a major theme, red and black are restrained? I know the whole set hasn't been released and that you guys must have playtested this block alot, but this article does not inspire too much confidence.

The color pie prohibits black and red from dealing with enchantments directly, but this block should have encouraged more creativity. Maybe:

Screw Enchantments
RRR
Enchantment
At the beginning of each upkeep, that player sacrifices X non-basic lands, where X is the number of enchantments he or she controls.

Enchantments Beacon
1R
Instant
Target creature you control gets +X/+0 until end of turn where X is the number of enchantments on the battlefield.

Enchantment Drain
BB
Aura - Enchant enchantment
Enchanted enchantment has "At the beginning of the controller's upkeep, sacrifice this unless the controller exiles a card from his or her graveyard."
It's possible something like this does exist in Theros. Erik was talking about ways to directly deal with enchantments. I imagine there are plenty of less direct answers to enchantments in black and red in the block. I wouldn't be surprised to see a functional (non-Arcane) reprint of Aura Barbs.

As for "the red half" of DreadboreReturn to Ravnica was a gold block, and those will always have quite a few gold cards that don't really gain anything from being gold except efficiency. Rhox War Monk could have been monowhite (and more expensive). Coursers' Accord, Ascended Lawmage, Armored Wolf-Rider and many more could have been monocolour (green, blue and white respectively) if they gained a mana. So it turns out Dreadbore can be monoblack, if it gains a mana. And while I wish the sorcery->instant transition was always consistent in adding to mana costs, sadly for us sticklers sometimes it isn't.

 

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

EyeballFrog wrote:
 

Amarsir wrote:
Fireballmage wrote:
Amarsir wrote:
This explains why the Legendary artifacts feel like equipment - because they originally were.  There's still no mechanical reason for them to be enchantments, though.
They have colors and static abilities, which feel more like Enchantment traits.

That might be a satisfying explanation if I'd never seen Mindlock Orb.

Colored artifacts aren't the norm. That was just Alara block's (and to a lesser extent New Phyrexia's) thing.

 

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

aver6080 wrote:
 

Sooooo...this set was great, then development happened?

Obviously its not that simple, but so far reading the spoilers dont read even a quarter as well as Innistrad. Sorry guys. The ideas: great. The cards themselves though are not hitting the right chords so far 

 

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

Bracador wrote:
 

DarthBunny wrote:
I wanted red to be the deck that tried to use speed to overcome enchantments. Black would use a more controlling strategy. Ordinarily, I would think Thoughtseize is too strong for Standard; since it can take any spell, it doesn't matter as much what spells are in the new set or in a particular deck. Thoughtseize pushes the game more toward attrition and card advantage than is typically correct.


Wait, in New Phyrexia, the other colors were allowed to have small amounts of life loss to help the feel of the set. In Innistrad, certain graveyard cards were in colors other than black to help push the graveyard theme. But in a block where enchantments are a major theme, red and black are restrained? I know the whole set hasn't been released and that you guys must have playtested this block alot, but this article does not inspire too much confidence.

The color pie prohibits black and red from dealing with enchantments directly, but this block should have encouraged more creativity. Maybe:

While, to some extent, I agree with your assessment of Black and Red being allowed more tools to deal with enchantments for the Enchantment Set, a lot of the set's enchantments ARE creatures which Black and Red are very capable of dealing with.

In fact, before this article, I was a bit concerned about Black and Red's lack of enchantment control, too.  But when I saw that many of the revealed enchantments were hybrid (i.e. Enchantment Artifact, Enchantment Creature), I didn't worry that those two colours would have enough ways to deal with them.

Sure, a few global enchantments and auras would be impossible to hit, but that's how it normally is for those colours.

Also, @Amarsir, you're totally right.  For years, MaRo has told us that enchantments as a card type are hurting because the line between enchantments and artifacts is already so thin.  With these new Artifact Enchantments, you could effectively see that line be obliterated.

 

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

orcishartillery wrote:
 

Regarding Bow of Nylea: "However, Aaron had an awesome idea of having four abilities for the four seasons!"

That flavor doesn't come through at all for me.  Which effect is supposed to correspond to which season?

 

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

Amarsir wrote:
 

Also, @Amarsir, you're totally right.  For years, MaRo has told us that enchantments as a card type are hurting because the line between enchantments and artifacts is already so thin.  With these new Artifact Enchantments, you could effectively see that line be obliterated.
Not to mention Mark's oft-stated rule that a card should only have the components it needs to have; that simpler is better.  Which I think is good advice.  As the writer Antoine de Saint-Expury said, "Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."  In some of these cases it really seems that taking "Enchantment" off the type line yields a better card.

That said, I'm getting subtle hints that there might be something coming later in the block to redeem this choice.  We won't know until later, and they're certainly fighting uphill.  But I'm maintaining some hope.

 

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

Ertai87 wrote:
 

If I had to guess (and I do), I'd say they're making everything Enchantments because this is going to be the eleven thousandth set in a row to contain Naturalize, and they want to have a feeling with Naturalize the same as they had with Shatter in Mirrodin block (both of them), where normally you'd take the Doom Blade or whatever, but in this case you take Naturalize becaue it's more versatile.

Except for a couple problems: First of all, I'm getting a bit sick of Naturalize.  Can we get something new already?  Secondly, Hero's Downfall (because Hero's Demise was taken, unfortunately) implies that we likely won't see a Doom Blade effect at common, meaning the choice will never come up.  Thirdly, it also means that green will have the best creature removal in the set, which they probably won't do, so they probably won't print Naturalize anyway.  I have a hard time figuring out how they're going to do this, if this is what they want to do, without screwing up the color pie. 

 

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

Highwayman wrote:
 

I didn't approve of dreadbore being a rare and similarly, if not a fortiori, I disapprove of this murder upgrade being rare. The specialness of planeswalker is a tenuous justification once they had begun to be referred at lower rarities. When Dreadbore was printed I thought that it should have cost , been an instant and an uncommon (indeed in doing so I thought it would make a nice addition to the mortify + putrefy collection, and named it Petrify). Likewise this seems like a cash upgrade.

Also, seeing them effectively adopt the Petrify template, but losing the two color requirement in the name of rarity upgrades, is a shame IMO. Red is arguably one of the best colors for dealing with PWs because of the direct damage, and black for destroying creatures. This landmark instant should have followed dreadbore's colors.

Fail on rarity. Fail on color.

 

"Words of power never disappear. They sleep, awaiting those with the will to rouse them."

Here's how I see it: Dreadbore is a hybrid card.

The two colors that are best at killing creatures are red and black--red through damage, and black through destruction. The two colors that are best at removing planeswalkers are also red and black--red through damage, and black through destruction. So, in theory, you could print Dreadbore at 1BB (as seen here) or at, say, 2R, on a card like Char. The reason that Dreadbore is cheaper is because the two colors are teaming up on something they're both excellent at, and so the synergy gives the card a cost reduction; that is, the multicolored aspect of Dreadbore is the fact that it costs two mana and not three.

Also, I love the flavor of Hero's Downfall, even if it's not quite as good as Hero's Demise.

With all the storm cards banned in pauper, is there a reason for frantic search to remain banned?

I've never been a fan of Temporal Fissure but is there a reason why Izzet post gets screwed on this too? The lack of sweepers in the format made it seem to me like it was fair that control decks got cheaty mana.

@greentea9

Frantic Search is also just free hand fixing. I think it would interesting, might make Mongrel decks a thing, but it is likely still too powerful even in non storm builds. I certainly don't think that the Delver decks need more options.

Was really hoping to see something unbanned in Modern.  I was particularly hoping that the printing of Green Sun's Zenith in FTV20 might be WotC realizing that GSZ is probably fair for Modern and thinking of unbanning it, and adding more "pimp" ones into the market.  But I guess that was wishful thinking.

That said, though, can we PLEASE get something unbanned in Modern in the near future?  With 6 Deathrite Shaman decks in the GP Detroit Top 8 and Pod winning the 3rd Modern GP in a row, it's getting somewhat ridiculous that cards like Bitterblossom, Mental Misstep, and Wild Nacatl are still banned.

On a related note, when GSZ was banned, the rationale was that GSZ made every green deck into a bunch of 1-of bullet cards and GSZ to find them.  Well, surprise, but now there's still 1 type of green deck, which is Deathrite Shaman midrange (Birthing Pod is not really a "green deck", although it does play green cards).  Has the problem been solved?

I'm happy for the bannings in Pauper.  The format had become too stagnant.  Maybe I'll start playing it again.

Taudisban wrote:
Frantic Search is also just free hand fixing. I think it would interesting, might make Mongrel decks a thing, but it is likely still too powerful even in non storm builds. I certainly don't think that the Delver decks need more options.
Compare Frantic Search to Careful Study, whose only appeal is dropping to the graveyard on turn 1.  Frantic is broken for the untap ability, or else it's fair.  The filtering itself is card disadvantage and not otherwise a problem.

 

I was a major advocate of banning Frantic Search back then, because I thought it would enable the storm decks to remain in a powered-down state.  Since they're gone, and so is Cloudpost, I just don't see that much room for trouble.  If you really want to jump through hoops to generate mana with Karoos and Fertile Ground, what's the worst you can do with it?

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.

Hmmm... in the Future Set Speculation forums, when we were speculating about gods, I came up with very similar mechanic to their Deity:

Their version:

Deity (If this God would enter the battlefield from anywhere other than Nyx, put it into Nyx instead. Exile it from Nyx when your devotion to its color is 0. At the beginning of combat, if your devotion to its color is 5 or more, you may put this God onto the battlefield with haste, then return it to Nyx at the end of combat.)
As long as CARDNAME is in Nyx or on the battlefield, [benefit].

My version:

Celestial (If this card would enter the battlefield or be put in the graveyard from anywhere other than exile, put it into exile instead. You may cast this card from exile.)
As long as CARDNAME is in exile or on the battlefield, [benefit].

 

Shame they didn't pursue it, IMO.

Taudisban wrote:

I've never been a fan of Temporal Fissure but is there a reason why Izzet post gets screwed on this too? The lack of sweepers in the format made it seem to me like it was fair that control decks got cheaty mana.

@greentea9

Frantic Search is also just free hand fixing. I think it would interesting, might make Mongrel decks a thing, but it is likely still too powerful even in non storm builds. I certainly don't think that the Delver decks need more options.

Can't similar decks still get cheaty mana from Urzatron? I thought those were legal in Pauper and it was just that no one used them because Posts were better -- lifegain with Glimmerpost, less likelihood of losing all of the big mana potential when the wrong land gets nuked, etc.

I could be losing my mind and Tron's not legal in the format, but I thought it was...

The Urzatron was uncommon-only on MTGO for the longest time.  The after Posts were a thing, MED4 was released with Urza lands at common.  So yes it is possible, but people never got used to using them before.

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.

Theros looks great overall, but there is something about the artwork that bugs me