9/30/2013 MM: "Typecasting"

31 posts / 0 new
Last post

This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.

Ha ha! Love it. And it really does explain the reason for the Gods and their influence as enchantments (as well as there ephemeral look/card frame). Very good. I always enjoy your design articles.

Poor Tribal. Didn't even get invited to the discussion. MaRo probably told Tribal the wrong time, building, and dimension the meeting was talking place in (yes, I know why tribal isn't be used anymore).

Wizards.Com Boards Net Rep

DCI Level 2 Judge

Questions don't have to make sense, but answers do.

In fairness to Maro, Tribal only ended up as a card type because of awkwardly rules-hackey technicalities. It was a cool idea that was fifteen years too late.

"Proc" stands for "Programmed Random OCcurance". It does not even vaguely apply to anything Magic cards do. Don't use it.

Level 1 Judge as of 09/26/2013

Zammm = Batman

"Ability words are flavor text for Melvins." -- Fallingman

No Tribal, and Interrupt would have been great for a joke but I guess it would go over too many heads.  I also think the personalities of Instant and Sorcery would resonate better if they switched.  As R&D has been quite insistently saying, instants just wait until the last minute.  (Although on reflection I guess Instant was technically speaking up at the end of Mark's turn, which would be clever but it's so subtle that I suspect it's an accident.)

In my opinion, one of the misses of the block (so far) is that "Enchantment Artifact" is a forced concept.  Enchantment in general has been losing mechanical identity for years, and merging with the enemy just makes that worse.  If simplicity makes better design, as Mark has always said, then then Enchantment Artifacts should just be Artifacts.  Because they can be.  That's been my opinion for weeks.  So when this column makes it sound like Mark was also resistant to the idea, I definitely took notice.

To prove that Enchantment can be used well though: the gods as Enchantment Creatures that sometimes aren't?  Works really well.  

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.

Sorceries aren't that slow! #sorceryfans

Colored artifacts are wrong. Enchantments with tap abilities are wrong. Enchantment artifacts make sense if you want to make colored permanents with tap abilities.

I enjoyed the humor of this article.

Awww. Poor Instant. When will it be his turn? When will it be Instant's turn to have a block?

Enchantments, especially auras, have been the dog food of card types for some time. The recent trend toward better, more playable enchantments (reprinting Rancor, Mark of the Vampire, Madcap Skills) has been good, as has narrowing some of the removal (which has helped lessen the risk of auras). There are some people who don't want enchantments to be good, but that's like wishing for there to be X number of unplayable cards in every set or wishing that Magic had less depth (one fewer card type). Broadening out their scope to allow them to mimic creatures and artifacts in special situations is cool. This would be a neat way to revive shadow - to have enchantment creatures that are essentially ephemeral, like they are walking in an astral plane. 

Not to mention that the shadowed areas of Nyx-affiliated creatures displays the stars associated with Nyx. Nice concept, there.

My understanding of Enchantment Artifacts is that the static ability is the enchantment and the tap-to-activate ability is the artifact.

Loved it. Especially the personalities. Planeswalker as the Diva, Sorcery only speaking when given explicit priority, Land being there to enable others...

I'd love to see your notes for this article actually would be great from a writer's perspective (I'm always looking to learn).

Instants (and sorceries) have been the theme for Izzet each time Ravnica has come around. Enchantments have never even been the theme for one-fifth of a set; the closest we've come is a minor enchantment subtheme in (original) RavnicaRTR, and M14, the latter two probably just as setup for Theros

I love Bestow (though the costs are really painfully high), and I think the Gods' devotion mechanic works very well. I'm unconvinced that the Enchantment Artifacts were necessary for the set, though I'll admit my custom set themed around card types also included a couple of enchantment artifacts, as well as enchantment lands and creature lands. 

I would like to see some ways for enchantments to win without needing creatures involved. Like a Sphinx-Bone Wand for enchantments, or a Honden of Infinite Rage variant, that kind of thing. I have a cool five-colour creatureless control deck whose main win condition is Sphinx-Bone Wand, and it's a blast to play. It'd be nice to see something else explicitly themed around enchantments. I agree creatures need to be involved in most games and most decks, but most != all.

Flopfoot wrote:
Colored artifacts are wrong. Enchantments with tap abilities are wrong. Enchantment artifacts make sense if you want to make colored permanents with tap abilities.

Manite wrote:
My understanding of Enchantment Artifacts is that the static ability is the enchantment and the tap-to-activate ability is the artifact.

Enchantments don't tap, and that's fine.  That means Bow of Nylea couldn't be just an enchantment.  But why couldn't it exist just as an artifact?  

"Artifacts aren't colored" was tossed aside years ago.  And "static abilities = enchantment" hasn't really been true ever.  So while those could theoretically have been justifications, they've been undermined by history.  Once the Pyxis of Pandemonium has been opened you can't close it back up.  If MaRo wants to say "we'll never do colored artifacts again" then at least we could pretend.  But he hasn't.

If:

  • Artifacts are magical things
  • Artifacts can have static abilities
  • Artifacts can be colored

then Enchantment is a vestigial card type.  It's unfortunate, and I was hoping they'd do more cool stuff with Enchantments this block.  (They still might.)  But as it stands they're victims of their own rule-breaking.

 

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.

You at least have to admit that colored artifacts are not evergreen though. They have only been done where there is a specific reason, so they won't work in every set.

I liked that Sorcery could only speak when someone else explicitly passed it priority - nice touch!

Amarsir wrote:
Enchantments don't tap, and that's fine. That means Bow of Nylea couldn't be just an enchantment. But why couldn't it exist just as an artifact?
Flowstone Embrace, Second Wind, and Witch's Mist say howdy do.

Also, cards like Gigadrowse can tap enchantments, and cards like Dream Leash can then target them.

It's not an everyday thing, but it's incorrect to say "Enchantments don't tap".

maestrogrande wrote:
Amarsir wrote:
Enchantments don't tap, and that's fine. That means Bow of Nylea couldn't be just an enchantment. But why couldn't it exist just as an artifact?

Flowstone Embrace, Second Wind, and Witch's Mist say howdy do.

Also, cards like Gigadrowse can tap enchantments, and cards like Dream Leash can then target them.

It's not an everyday thing, but it's incorrect to say "Enchantments don't tap".

There are exceptions to every rule, but Amar is talking about the general rule that enchantments shouldn't tap, and I agree with him.  Mechanically, if enchantments represent the physical manifestation of an ideal, a thought, or a feeling then they shouldn't tap because they are not a physical thing themselves, but the mere REPRESENTATION of an idea.  Ideas don't tap.  Personally, I like the conflict between enchantments and artifacts.  Imo enchantments represent magic and ideas (Zur) and artifacts represent technology and industry (Mishra).  If that is the case, enchantments shouldn't tap as they are not physical; therefore, nothing to tap.   Enchantment creature makes sense though because they  are the living breathing representation of a feeling or idea.  The enchantment Gods were the one home run in this set, imo the most brilliant innovation since the introduction of PW's in Lorwyn.  Devotion is so flavorful, so interesting, and mechanically it just works.

BTW, I know I'm in the minority here, but I really don't like the structure of this article.  It seems to me as if MaRo tries to do creative things with his articles just for the sake of being creative, as if he is bored writing a new column every week, but it makes for a more difficult read.  There was actually some insight buried in there, but it took wading through several lines of pointless, hack, dialogue.

Keep up the Podcasts though, they're very insightful!

Bringing back things from Future Sight is always pretty cool though, and if there was ever a reason to do so, Theros would be the reason for tap enchantments. Especially the way they were flavorfully represented in Future Sight as being something visible but not tangible (mist, wind) would translate well to being the influence of Gods.

I found myself mostly wondering what Theros would have been like as a [c]Lightning Bolt[/b] matters block.

Oh yeah, enchantments matter is a much cooler idea than instants matter.  In any case, I don't agree that spells matter has never been a set theme.  Catalyst Stone was a real card in Odyssey and Innistrad had Burning Vengeance.  I think Theros worked out well in general, the Gods in particular.  I just don't like Bestow and think they stretched a little with some of the enchantments.  But hey, stretching the previous boundary is the only way to learn how far we can go.

Oh yeah, enchantments matter is a much cooler idea than instants matter.  In any case, I don't agree that spells matter has never been a set theme.  Catalyst Stone was a real card in Odyssey and Innistrad had Burning Vengeance.  I think Theros worked out well in general, the Gods in particular.  I just don't like Bestow and think they stretched a little with some of the enchantments.  But hey, stretching the previous boundary is the only way to learn how far we can go.

Amarsir wrote:
"Artifacts aren't colored" was tossed aside years ago.

Not really. Colored artifacts in Alara were Esper things (weird Conflux-y things and Borderposts aside), and colored artifacts in New Phyrexia were, well, Phyrexian. It's pretty clear that colorless is still the default for artifacts and that colored artifacts only ever show up for special reasons. In this case, it's the Enchantment type that makes the artifacts colored.

maestrogrande wrote:
Amarsir wrote:
Enchantments don't tap, and that's fine. That means Bow of Nylea couldn't be just an enchantment. But why couldn't it exist just as an artifact?

Flowstone Embrace, Second Wind, and Witch's Mist say howdy do.

I think what he meant to say is "enchantments don't have tap abilities". The three cards you listed are all Future Sight future-shifted, which don't exactly play by the rules.

Instants and sorceries really do need their own theme. The Izzet being non-permanent matters is like saying the golgari make return to ravnica graveyard matters. it's a taunt to the theme. It would be pretty easy to do the instants matter without making the decision tree's all endstep. simply make creature trigger abilitites that will only work or be proftible during your own turn.

Viltris wrote:
maestrogrande wrote:
Amarsir wrote:
Enchantments don't tap, and that's fine. That means Bow of Nylea couldn't be just an enchantment. But why couldn't it exist just as an artifact?

Flowstone Embrace, Second Wind, and Witch's Mist say howdy do.

I think what he meant to say is "enchantments don't have tap abilities". The three cards you listed are all Future Sight future-shifted, which don't exactly play by the rules.

Future Sight doesn't count in general.  It was intentionally using standards that don't actually exist.  Also Licids, the original enchantment creatures, could be tapped in their aura state.  But that was explictly stated as a mistake, so I don't hold it against them.

Viltris wrote:
Amarsir wrote:
"Artifacts aren't colored" was tossed aside years ago.

Not really. Colored artifacts in Alara were Esper things (weird Conflux-y things and Borderposts aside), and colored artifacts in New Phyrexia were, well, Phyrexian. It's pretty clear that colorless is still the default for artifacts and that colored artifacts only ever show up for special reasons. In this case, it's the Enchantment type that makes the artifacts colored.

 

The point is not that it's standard, but that it's possible.  A card like the Bow could do what it does, concepted as it is, by being simply an Artifact.  Tribal, which they now say they don't like as a card type, was doing more work than that.  If design strives for simplicity then "it's possible" is not a good answer to "it's unnecessary".

Imagine if they created a new card type called "Beings" that were "like Creatures, but more intangible".  They'd attack and block like Creatures, and couldn't be targeted like creatures so they'd start printing/errata-ing cards to say "target Creature or Being".  Possible?  Sure.  Good idea?  Certainly not.

That's what Enchantments have become next to Artifacts.  A slightly different concept but mechanically eclipsed.  And I was hoping this Enchantment block would give them a new lease on life, but this isn't 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.

ZursApprentice wrote:

 

maestrogrande wrote:
Amarsir wrote:
Enchantments don't tap, and that's fine. That means Bow of Nylea couldn't be just an enchantment. But why couldn't it exist just as an artifact?

Flowstone Embrace, Second Wind, and Witch's Mist say howdy do.

Also, cards like Gigadrowse can tap enchantments, and cards like Dream Leash can then target them.

It's not an everyday thing, but it's incorrect to say "Enchantments don't tap".

There are exceptions to every rule, but Amar is talking about the general rule that enchantments shouldn't tap, and I agree with him.  Mechanically, if enchantments represent the physical manifestation of an ideal, a thought, or a feeling then they shouldn't tap because they are not a physical thing themselves, but the mere REPRESENTATION of an idea.  Ideas don't tap. 

Neither do physical objects. Tapping is a game abstraction. The idea of a card type that doesn't tap (very often in the normal course of events), even moreso.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011

You know, they probably could have made the god weapons only Enchantments by having them something like "Cost: Ability. Activate this ability only once per turn." and not having tap part of the cost.

Jamas wrote:

You know, they probably could have made the god weapons only Enchantments by having them something like "Cost: Ability. Activate this ability only once per turn." and not having tap part of the cost.

 

Extra text on the card to solve a solved problem. No, thank you.

Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011

they don't like filling card space

URLOCK
the gods influence the world
so it wasn't me that determine the fate of the dodo?

SEVEN EYES
It's fate was determined by each of you crossing

CLIFF
Urlock kills dodo.

URLOCK
perhaps eating is a god

SEVEN EYES
a tranference of material

CLIFF
A constant motivation but neither creature nor artifact
 

jeff-heikkinen wrote:

 

ZursApprentice wrote:

 

maestrogrande wrote:
Amarsir wrote:
Enchantments don't tap, and that's fine. That means Bow of Nylea couldn't be just an enchantment. But why couldn't it exist just as an artifact?

Flowstone Embrace, Second Wind, and Witch's Mist say howdy do.

Also, cards like Gigadrowse can tap enchantments, and cards like Dream Leash can then target them.

It's not an everyday thing, but it's incorrect to say "Enchantments don't tap".

There are exceptions to every rule, but Amar is talking about the general rule that enchantments shouldn't tap, and I agree with him.  Mechanically, if enchantments represent the physical manifestation of an ideal, a thought, or a feeling then they shouldn't tap because they are not a physical thing themselves, but the mere REPRESENTATION of an idea.  Ideas don't tap. 

Neither do physical objects. Tapping is a game abstraction. The idea of a card type that doesn't tap (very often in the normal course of events), even moreso.

If an enchantment is an abstraction, and artifacts tap to turn off, would it be fair to say that an enchantment that got "turned off" wouldn't exist? I.e., evaporates?

"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)

jeff-heikkinen wrote:

 

ZursApprentice wrote:

 

maestrogrande wrote:
Amarsir wrote:
Enchantments don't tap, and that's fine. That means Bow of Nylea couldn't be just an enchantment. But why couldn't it exist just as an artifact?

Flowstone Embrace, Second Wind, and Witch's Mist say howdy do.

Also, cards like Gigadrowse can tap enchantments, and cards like Dream Leash can then target them.

It's not an everyday thing, but it's incorrect to say "Enchantments don't tap".

There are exceptions to every rule, but Amar is talking about the general rule that enchantments shouldn't tap, and I agree with him.  Mechanically, if enchantments represent the physical manifestation of an ideal, a thought, or a feeling then they shouldn't tap because they are not a physical thing themselves, but the mere REPRESENTATION of an idea.  Ideas don't tap. 

Neither do physical objects. Tapping is a game abstraction. The idea of a card type that doesn't tap (very often in the normal course of events), even moreso.

If an enchantment is an abstraction, and artifacts tap to turn off, would it be fair to say that an enchantment that got "turned off" wouldn't exist? I.e., evaporates?

Let me revise:

Tapping is a concept designed to convey absence of function. It "turns off." But the object remains. An artifact doesn't cease to exist when it becomes tapped, as it is meant to be a physical, real thing. It just gets "turned off." This follows from the old days when any permanent when tapped "became as nothing." It retains types, power, toughness, but that was it. It didn't even deal damage if it was a creature and was blocking.

Artifacts represent physical things that "get used," and you have to wait for them to be "ready." You "ready" them, to use the WOWTCG term, when you untap them. In Magic terms, this means the artifact should inherently have a quality that turns itself off when tapped. Instead, we've got artifacts that represent arcane qualities, like Eon Hub, and artifacts that represent rare use, like Strionic Resonator.

But we've also got enchantments. These represent esoteric things. Concepts like Greed, remnants of forces, energies, even elemental or godly things. They are not objects, but concepts made manifest in a less physical way. Enchantments, classically, are effects that are "on," set, and to be turned "off," but be dispelled. Removed. Revoked, banished, you name it. Thus, an enchantment is always on.

If youy think there is such a thing as magical matter and magical energy, and that the two, whilst similar, are distinct forms made manifest, then you could say that they represent two different manifestations of whatever magic is necessary. Artifacts are imbued, but the magic is provided a shell, a host of sorts. Not so enchantments. They are simply applied to something, or someplace. Anything really. One might even have called the elementals from Lorwyn concepts made flesh, and good proxies for where enchantment creatures should have been. It would have made flavorful sense, if not mechanical.

"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)

*shrug* I was just suggesting a possible way to make a distinction between artifacts that tap and enchantments that are not allowed to tap. Something that isn't literally mashing the two together, which to me is ugly and inelegant.

Amarsir wrote:
The point is not that it's standard, but that it's possible.  A card like the Bow could do what it does, concepted as it is, by being simply an Artifact.  Tribal, which they now say they don't like as a card type, was doing more work than that.  If design strives for simplicity then "it's possible" is not a good answer to "it's unnecessary".

Imagine if they created a new card type called "Beings" that were "like Creatures, but more intangible".  They'd attack and block like Creatures, and couldn't be targeted like creatures so they'd start printing/errata-ing cards to say "target Creature or Being".  Possible?  Sure.  Good idea?  Certainly not.

That's what Enchantments have become next to Artifacts.  A slightly different concept but mechanically eclipsed.  And I was hoping this Enchantment block would give them a new lease on life, but this isn't it.

 

I'm kinda confused what point you're trying to make. Are you arguing that they should change the standard? That they should make colored artifacts a default part of the game and consolidate non-Aura enchantments and artifacts into a single card type?

 

It's certainly an interesting idea. It would require massive amounts of errata and require a major reworking of the color pie. (Not like that's stopped them before.) If they were hypothetically rebooting Magic from scratch though, it might be worthwhile, just to cut down on complexity.

Viltris wrote:
I'm kinda confused what point you're trying to make. Are you arguing that they should change the standard? That they should make colored artifacts a default part of the game and consolidate non-Aura enchantments and artifacts into a single card type?

 

It's certainly an interesting idea. It would require massive amounts of errata and require a major reworking of the color pie. (Not like that's stopped them before.) If they were hypothetically rebooting Magic from scratch though, it might be worthwhile, just to cut down on complexity.

Maybe.  You could establish the flavor that colorless artifacts are more everyday and colored ones are more magical.  If it was important that something like a Glorious Anthem not be concepted as a physical item, it could get a subtype.  So that's a possibility.

 

If we're playing with do-overs, I'd have said "don't make colored artifacts in the first place" so that the distinction remains.  Or I always liked how static artifacts would turn off if they were tapped but global enhantments wouldn't.  So instead of eliminating that they could have embraced it.

 

Or another possibility is to remember how there used to be Enchant World cards - sort of a player-directed Planechase concept.  They could have embraced that, making every global Enchantment a one-of-a-kind that replaces other global enchantments.

 

Or take the opportunity of the "Enchantment Block" to come up with something new.  When Artifacts got Mirrodin it brought Equipment into the game.  Enchantments haven't yet picked up anything with that kind of cache.

 

All I'm really saying is that if Enchantments are worth maintaining as a card type, they should have something mechanically distinct.  I shouldn't look at an Enchantment Artifact and think "this could be printed without that word and be 99.9% the same card".  Especially in the "enchantment block".  I may not know what the best solution is, but there should be one.  And I had faith that R&D would come up with one, but Theros would have been the time.

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.

Sign In to post comments