2/10/2014 MM: "Being Inspired, Part 1"

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

Ah... suddenly Shards block makes sense to me. The story and sets have always felt a bit disconnected for me and I never knew why.

Apparently the whole story with the Conflux and the Maelstrom was so that you guys could do an all-multicolor set...


It was a small thing nagging in the back of my mind that I didn't really understand why you guys did it that way, but since you started out by trying to make an all-multicolor set, I suppose the story wrote itself in a way.

It still felt kind of off though.

Ah. Finally, I understand why landfall and kicker seemed like organic parts of Zendikar, whereas allies, traps, and quests all seemed forced. The former were approved by design; the latter were shoehorned in after creative got ahold of the block. I'm glad design talks to creative more in the early days of a block's formation in the current era.

This was coming to it as someone who started with Innistrad, btw (okay, technically M12, just barely, but I round it up to Innistrad because that's more interesting). I looked back on Zendikar and I was like, "Whuhhh...quests...I get the trope the cards are trying to capture, but whuhhh...WALL O' TEXT, amirite?" Same for traps. Allies, I kind of got, largely because I played a loaner EDH deck built around them (My Karona as the commander, and the whole thing was completely foiled out, lol) at my second GP. Plus, you know, tribal...it's easy to latch onto as a new player.

(ETA: Because this was super unclear to everyone around me with lots more experience than I had and now I've opened the can of worms, yes, Karona can give itself the bonus. Its creature type is avatar, according to Oracle. (Power to iPhones for finding that out in the moment). I kept saying, "YES, IT HAS TO BE ABLE TO GIVE ITSELF THE BONUS, LET'S MOVE ON" but it didn't work. Oh, MtG players. You put the a*** retention in a*** retention sometimes (myself included).)

Possibly I've just indulged in some wine for the first time in awhile and that's why I'm babbling on here. Just sayin'. Call me a troll if you will I can take it .

So, I'm realizing now as a person who creates for a living (#humblebrag???) that this was inherently the problem with Lorwyn: "Let's build Shadowmoor and then reverse-engineer it so that Shadowmoor minus darkness is the first set of the (kind of) four-set block." I'm thinking if your premise is, "Wait for it, wait for it...no really, it gets better later; I promise! I'm setting this up for a reason! Please ignore the fact that it sucks in the meantime!" then you've got a problem, creatively speaking.

In retrospect, I actually find Lorwyn moderately amusing, if for no other reason than being an interesting experiment that failed. But still, learning the history of its inspiration (#BNGpuns) makes me retrospectively dubious.

"My main inspiration was not "do a horror set" but "prove a top-down set can be done properly.""


Unfortunately, I consider Kamigawa being done better top-down block than Innistrad. Innistrad was flavorfully totally unbalanced. It was either white or it was black with all remaining colors raped to black flavor. I call that terribly unballanced and idea like that is too "narrowsighted". For somebody who is not inclined to black or white color (I suppose majority of players has favourite colors and disliked colors.), there was nothing to cling onto in whole block. There only came little hope in third expansion Avacyn restored, which gave nonwhite, nonblack colors alittle more freedom to be themselves again.


On the other hand, Return to Ravnica was perfect flavor design. All colours had chance to see Ravnica city from their own perspective and they had own goals independed on other guilds (color pairs). If card had flavor from this color and this color, it also had mana cost colored properly. In Innistrad were mono blue, mono red and mono green cards which had very distinctive black flavor, but lacked single black mana in mana cost or at least ability cost.

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