<~Gardevior> Welcome to the Zendikar Dev Chat with Aaron Forsythe and Doug Beyer!
1. <+obsidiandice> What do you consider development's biggest success over the last few years? Its biggest failure?
<@mtgDoug> I can answer from a creative perspective -- there's been much more communication between developers and the creative team on issues of flavor
<@mtgaaron> Big-picture, I think the current Standard environment is a big success, and that includes pre-rotation. Lorwyn block introduced some big problems--Faeries and the -color mana-base, but we managed to make a good, fun environment that could let players work around those problems, and the PTQ attendance bears this out.
<@mtgDoug> M10 was a huge success in terms of altering our normal processes to allow for flavor-driven cards, cards that remain true to what they "are" in flavor terms, e.g. hydras or basilisks or howling banshees etc.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> biggest success is hiring Erik Lauer! biggest failure is probably not killing enough crap from design. Not sure how "Q" (untap mechanic) made it all the way, yuck!
<@mtgaaron> Failure... Time Spiral block and Lorwyn block were way too cutesy-complicated--every card did too much, games bogged down or got really complicated, and they were rejected by a large part of the audience. To put it in MaRo's terms, we were making those sets too much for ourselves. Alara, M10, and Zendikar have been more correct on that axis.
2. <+LSK> Why does R+D continue printing "chase" nonbasic lands at rare, despite the price barrier they present to potential Constructed players? Similarly, why do mana-generating creatures for cheap (Noble Hierarch, Lotus Cobra) tend to have ridiculous rarities compared to Llanowar Elves?
<@mtgaaron> A lot of this is precedent set in Alpha, to be honest, with dual lands and Birds of Paradise. Over time, players have made it clear that they are willing to chase down hard-to-get mana, so we keep doing it.
<@mtgaaron> The thinking is that the cards that "do things" in your deck are generally widely available, and the mana-fixing is an optimization or luxury that the hardcore can go after.
<@mtgaaron> We also try to supply lots of budget mana, like Terramorphic, Karoos, tri-lands, etc.
3. <+Forgotten_Hope> Now, it's pretty obvious that Ob Nixilis is a fallen planeswalker (we've been told it a few hundred times by now), but, are we ever going to see this played upon in a story, or was it just used as flashy flavortext?
<@mtgDoug> There's some backstory with Ob Nixilis that hasn't played out. Yeah he's an old-skool planeswalker from way back, and he lost his spark somehow and has been stuck on Zendikar all this time
<@mtgDoug> He's none too happy to be stuck there -- he misses the days of romping around the multiverse, gathering power for himself, as you might imagine
<@mtgDoug> But so far, that's all we know about him. Unclear whether he'll become more of an ongoing character, or whether he'll come into his own and somehow regain his spark. For now he's just a terror to anyone there on Zendikar.
4. <+pick15> The original Map design... any of them stand out as being particularly splashy / cool / wish we coulda kept? Or any other splashy card that couldn't make it.
<@mtgaaron> I wasn't on that team, but I loved the original idea. Like, you needed a Cleric and a Zombie and a shovel (Equipment) to make the Gravelord.
<@mtgaaron> Doug or Ken, did you work on that stuff?
<%Kenneth_Nagle> Aaron you made those!
<@mtgDoug> Not a lot, it was toward the end of design that they came up. They would have had some weird implications for the art
<@mtgaaron> I made the template.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> errr, at least I think you did
<%Kenneth_Nagle> well, it was like The Fallen Apart
<@mtgDoug> Some of the idea was that the art would literally have three regions on it, one for each of the Map's requirements
<@mtgaaron> Right, the art had little areas you had to make with beads to show what you'd done.
<@mtgDoug> and you would put a counter on that part of the art, sort of like an Unglued(hinged?) card.
<@mtgDoug> (B.I.N.G.O. maybe.)
<@mtgaaron> A little too out-of-the-box I suppose.
<@mtgDoug> Yeah it was a little nuts. I'm not sure it would have generated great art quality.
<@mtgDoug> But creative for sure.
<@mtgaaron> Lots of dotted lines.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> It was a harsh flavor/mechanic marriage that was basically set in stone. Then we had to make sure there was a cleric and an equipment and such at common
<%Kenneth_Nagle> but current quests are actually cleaner
<@mtgDoug> Yeah, the quests currently are far cleaner.
5. <+SunByrne> R&D appears to account for what's coming in block N+1 when you design block N. For example, cards like Path to Exile and Knight of the White Orchid seem to be anticipating landfall. How much of that is happy accident, and how much is planned?
<@mtgaaron> There is a ton of planning, and some accidents. Knight of the Reliquary was always meant to help out the next block, for example.
<@mtgaaron> Just like cards like Volcanic Fallout are meant to hurt the previous block. We want each new set to alter what's good and what's bad.
<@mtgDoug> Path to Exile is a fun example, creatively speaking -- that card was actually named to ancipate the change in terminology from "remove from the game" to "exile." A splashy example that would prime players to have the word "exile" on the tip of their tongue from the get-go.
<@mtgaaron> Path, I think, was mechanically a happy accident. The card was cool enough on its own and wasn't thought about in a Zendikar environment until we started playing FFL
<@mtgaaron> There are a number of cards in the ZEN block that will get better with Lights.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> we make Magic cards do all kinds of things. They happen to create combos - it's the nature of the game. Sometimes by happenstance. But yes sometimes on purpose (Vampire Nocturnus!)
<@mtgDoug> Ob Nixilis enjoys it when you Path one of your own creatures. I heard him say that.
<@mtgDoug> Oh yeah the vampires in M10 are a good example of priming the pump for Zendikar.
6. <+MtgColorpie> With the idea of bringing back keywords in blocks, has more effort been given to create mechanics that can be repeated in different ways? (Cascade on mono-color cards (bad idea jeans), or Exalted on Red cards...)
<@mtgDoug> Exalted... Bant mechanic... red cards... *headexplodes*
<@mtgaaron> Sort of. The discipline comes from making mechanics with wide application and forcing ourselves to pigeonhole them in certain ways. Would a green card work with unearth? Absolutely. Will it happen someday? Maybe, and when it does it will be cool because we kept it in three colors the first time.
<@mtgDoug> I know that naming keywords can be hard because of the potential of repeating a mechanic.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> We can create design space by "parameterizing" a keyword, like saying Threshold 7 instead of just Threshold (which implicitly means 7). However, it's often much cleaner and more lovable to just write "Exalted" on there and be done with it. Not Exalted 1, Exalted 2, etc.
<@mtgaaron> Yeah, the big trick comes from naming. I often ask creative for names to be both flavorful and reusable, which often doens't work.
<@mtgDoug> Sometimes there's a more flavorful term that limits our reuse of a keyword in future sets. Bushido is a great word and very flavorful in Kamigawa, however the mechanic could appear elsewhere if it were not so tied to that setting
<@mtgDoug> So there's a tradeoff, sometimes, between dripping-with-flavor and repeatable-and-flexible. Sometimes we find awesome words that nail both, but it's tough.
<@mtgaaron> I hate "arrays" on keywords that don't need them, btw. I look for clean, singe-word abilities. Those are the homeruns to me.
<@mtgDoug> Yeah giving everything "Exalted 1" would be kind of lame, however accurate.
7. <+Chad> Do you find the reserve list impairs your work on a set? Would you have liked to be able to reprint Undiscovered Paradise in Zen? Can we get rid of it?
<@mtgaaron> I hate that darned list, and it really plagued me working on older core sets like 9th and 10th Editions. It is a remnant meant to be reparations for the sins of Chronicles and Fourth Edition to people that speculated on Arabian Nights and Legends, and I don't think it is necessary any more.
<@mtgaaron> We have proven we won't print absurd cards like Mana Drain that *aren't* on the list; I do wish I had the ability to reprint Deranged Hermit and Masticore and stuff like that. Unless we ever decide to get rid of it, I'm stuck making Thelonite Hermit and Razormane Masticore.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> People are apprehensive aboutl "investing" in say gold, especially if we can just "print more gold" and devalue it. But Magic has such amazing longevity that it's a burden instead of a boon.
<@mtgDoug> Yah this issue is mostly Aaron's baby
8. <+jaycarozzi> as a development team, do you take into account what other similar games are doing, and how aware are you of the trading card game industry, specially for outside the us?
<@mtgaaron> I tell my guys to try to pay attention. I played some Huntik against Ken recently.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> it's part of my job to investigate the goings on of other TCGs, especially at say GenCon and Penny Aracde Expo
<@mtgDoug> In creative we look at all kinds of IPs (intellectual properties). We keep track of trends, sometimes to follow them, sometimes to avoid them consciously
<%Kenneth_Nagle> What they do, what their packaging looks like, how their Organized Play is setup
<%Kenneth_Nagle> what they copy from Magic *ducks*
<%Kenneth_Nagle> we have to stay on top of everyone else to...stay on top of the industry
<@mtgDoug> Mostly I'd say we blaze our own trails though.
<@mtgaaron> We have lots of contact at the other big companies, so we'll swap stories at cons and such. We're the king of the "grownup" TCGs though, and we tend not to learn/copy from other games as much as they do from us.
9. <+zammm> Where do the residents of Zendikar stand on health care refor...just kidding.
<+zammm> But really, the past couple of years have seen a number of long-absent races make their returns--Kithkin, Viashino, Leonin, and now the Kor. How do you decide when it's appropriate to bring these races back, and which do you really want to see return? Are there any you don't want to see back?
<@mtgDoug> The past is a really excellent resource for us there -- we try to keep some beloved races from block to block, but vary other ones
<@mtgDoug> It's usually someone's brainstorm during world-building... "Hey, we've decided there are no humans on Lorwyn, so we need some humanoid race for white... what about kithkin?"
<@mtgDoug> We like there to be a few years in between, so that they have splash value when they return, sort of like mechanics
<@mtgaaron> In M10 and Zendikar, I think we finally solved all the problames with Merfolk fighting on land in a way we can all live with, which makes me very happy. I wasn't ready to retire them forever.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> We have a steadfast fixture on Elves for green and Goblins for red, Merfolk for blue had some turmoil but we love them again. It's probably a good thing that white moves around so much in its current race, it gives some character to the "white weenie" deck that's everpresent in our testing
<@mtgDoug> There are definitely some that I'd like to see again someday... I am a Thrull fan, for example
<@mtgaaron> I really liked how Kithkin came out and I hope we don't forget about them going forward. I think they were embraced.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> I have a Cephalid deck I'm foiling out, but I don't give them much chance to return :s
<@mtgaaron> Why were Kor chosen for ZEN?
<@mtgDoug> There are some that I think will stay in the vault for a long long time. Ha, yes, Cephalids
<@mtgDoug> White-aligned races tend to be the toughest, as white is already sort of Human-heavy
<@mtgDoug> But we had set up Kor slightly in Time Spiral Block, and had enough knowledge of what they looked like and wanted to look into that more
<@mtgDoug> They're nomadic, so that fit well with Zendikar's exploring themes.
<@mtgDoug> And they like connections with ropes and lines, which fit with the costuming notes already in the style guide.
<@mtgaaron> Zendikar is their home plane and they were brought to Rath, right?
<@mtgDoug> That's one thought we had, although the specifics are not worked out on how that happened
<@mtgDoug> So it's unclear at present.
<@mtgDoug> Oh, and, free health care for all goblins!
10. <+Shadikka> What is your favorite ZEN card by flavor and why? Or if you cannot choose a single favorite, does some card just somehow really do it for you, or feel like it ended up being exceptionally flavorful? (Greetings from a definite Vorthos!
<@mtgDoug> Hmm, there are a lot I'm fond of
<@mtgDoug> Halo Hunter is a guy who delivers exactly what he promises, and has awesome art by one of our new superstars, Chris Rahn
<@mtgDoug> (Chris also illustrated the cover of my book, Alara Unbroken, so I'm biased there
<@mtgaaron> It's hard not to love Blazing Torch.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> I like either Lorthos, the Tidemaker or Mindless Null most. I only designed one of those cards, though.
<@mtgDoug> I really enjoy how the Expeditions turned out. They feel like travel, which is a tough thing to pull off in a game that doesn't have a sense of *going* places.
<@mtgaaron> We made a big push to make lots of flavorful cards, and even had design sub-teams to try to make flavorful cards: Vampires and Kor, Equipment, Quests, Traps, and Allies.
<@mtgaaron> In general, those teams did great jobs. Vampires really debuted with a bang, I love the Equipment, and the Expeditions and Ascensions are super-awesome flavor AND gameplay.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> yeah go teams especially mine
<@mtgDoug> My fave might be Sorin Markov. You read his abilities, and you just get it. He's a badass vampire planeswalker, end of story.
11. <+ManaCrevice> So in the upcoming Standard we're going to have 4 unique Cancels(including the promo) to play with. Is there any reason behind this besides the obvious "No we're not reprinting Counterspell and this is what you're going to play ok."?
<@mtgDoug> It's probably to prevent "here's a silly Cancel variant #739 that is slightly worse that Counterspell"
<@mtgaaron> 1) People play Cancel. Maybe not you, maybe not your friends, but poeple do. Top 10 most traded cards on MTGO for October: Lightning Bolt, Sign in Blood, Doom Blade, Relentless Rats, Duress, CANCEL, Llanowar Elves, Ponder, Naturalize, Giant Growth.
<@mtgaaron> 2) Simple is better most of the time.
<@mtgaaron> 3) We used to reprint staples in every set several years ago (Dark Ritual, Disenchant, Stone Rain, etc.) I think getting back to that habit is good instead of trying to be weird and different all the time.
<@mtgaaron> 4) We will make other powerful counterspells in the future.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> Simplicity is something we are striving for more and more. It's nice to have a choice of artwork in my Cancels, I've found.
<@mtgDoug> I'm glad we didn't make Stone Rain in Zendikar.
12. <+norbert88> Were there any reasons why you decided to have Emeria Angel produce Bird tokens instead of the usual Spirit tokens (Luminous Angel among others)? ie a change of pace, something to do with the storyline, throwing a bone to Kangee EDH players, etc?
<@mtgaaron> I don't know the answer but I know Kangee didn't factor in.
<@mtgDoug> No huge reason. Zendikar is pretty light on ghostly things, and the other big choice for small white flyers is hawks/falcons/birds of prey
<%Kenneth_Nagle> I read the most hilarious stuff like that. "It's perfect for my Kangee deck!" Heh, I guess it is. Gratz!
<@mtgDoug> There's kind of a wilder feel for Emeria Angel that way, she has landfall and has these mottled-feathered hawks around her, it contributed nicely to the art. Also Kangee rowr
13. <+tcgbuddy> What was your favourite card/ffl deck from the last standard rotation that never made the big time?
<@mtgDoug> Liliana Vess!
<@mtgaaron> I played a lot with Countryside Crusher and I had high hopes for him doing some nutso things. I had a 42-land deck with him and Seismic Assault; sadly the correct card for that deck was Swans of Bryn Argoll.
<@mtgDoug> (I see her in lists every once in a while, but I still think she's awesomer than people know.)
<%Kenneth_Nagle> I played the crap out of some Mosswort Bridge. And Lignify. And Primal Command. Eventually the R/G Manaramp decks wised up and discovered Primal Command is actually the 2nd best one, but less luck for Lignify and Mosswort Bridge I'm afraid.
<@mtgaaron> Rage Forger-fueled Shamans was another deck I thought had a good chance of showing up. I think it was only good in block.
<@mtgaaron> The Bridge eventually showed up in Elves.
<@mtgDoug> I think it's cool that there ended up being a deck based around Swans, that was one of our weirder art concepts, heh.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> If people played more lunatically large stuff like Woodfall Primus then their Mosswort Bridges would be hot!
14. <+egometry> Was the repackaging of "treasures" an idea that came from the design team or was it a marketing decision, and is there any credit to the rumors that they're first-print-run only?
<@mtgDoug> Some combination of "I don't know" and "We don't discuss collation."
<@mtgaaron> We do not speak of the treasures!
<~Gardevior> (obligatory myprecious?)
<%Kenneth_Nagle> They are secret.
<@WotC_Eric> Nothing to see here.
15. <+ArtosKincaid> After the numerous set structures we've had in the last few years, why is the third set in Zendikar block a large set again? Players have complained about the number of new cards multiple times.
<@mtgaaron> We had a couple awesome set ideas that didn't fit into a normal block structure. Often the normal three-set block leads to boring third sets so we're tyring to combat that with some crazy new plans. Shadowmoor was our first crack at it.
<@mtgDoug> Crazy! New! Plans!
<@mtgaaron> There are lots of new cards, certainly, but Standard is way, way smaller than it was in TSP/LRW year. / ga
<%Kenneth_Nagle> Lorwyn block was 892. Alara is 519. This Zendikar plan is somewhere in the middle.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> TSP was 1110!!! INSANITY!
<@mtgDoug> That is pretty psycho.
16. <+Andrew> What caused you to bring back kicker and "rewrite" fear as intimidate?
<@mtgaaron> Mark Rosewater caused us to bring back kicker.
<@mtgDoug> Fear had some flavor problems. It's the wrong word, first of all -- a creature "having fear" sounds like it's afraid, which is backwards
<@mtgDoug> Also, it's not very flexible. It can only go in black, whereas intimidate can spread into more colors
<@mtgaaron> In general, if something is great (like a mechanic, set idea, tribe, card, whatever) we need to reuse it. Kicker was fun and beloved, and it played well in "I want lots of land" world.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> We need evasion abilities. Green has extra size so it can just plow through. To make a game out of it, other colors need evasion to race. Fear is black-only, but Intimidate we've put on black and red (so far).
<@mtgaaron> Yeah, I didn't like fear because it was a color-specific keyword and other colors (like red) needed a bit of help. The flavor of "fear" really drifted from where it was at the beginning, and I felt it needed an upgrade.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> Intimidate is slightly different depending on what it's on. Sure, it's not a grand-slam homerun keyword like say Wither is, but I do believe it makes our game better.
<@mtgDoug> I'm interested to see how intimidate plays out. It has a bit more Johnny play to it, with color-changing effects.
17. <+Nom-Nom-Nom-Days-Nom-Nom-Nom> Hey guys, where exactly does Lorthos fit into everything? Is he a major BA bad guy, or a pawn of said bad guy, or just an all around cool, gardening octopus?
<~Gardevior> Nom, mind changing your name to something more type-able?
<~Gardevior> Oh, wow, I got it
<+Nom-Nom-Nom-Days-Nom-Nom-Nom> Yeah, eater of days
<@mtgaaron> I get it. Eater of Days.
<@mtgDoug> He is one of the scary, scary creatures that make Zendikar explorers' teeth chatter at night
<@mtgaaron> <--- (whistling the Beatles)
<@mtgDoug> He sometimes comes and ravages the Halimar Sea, near Sea Gate and the Lighthouse, in Tazeem (whoa, Vorthos power)
<@mtgDoug> And the merfolk think that he controls the tides. In the style guide he was known as the Moon Kraken, but he sort of changed to become a Legendary Octopus
<@mtgaaron> And he respawns every 10 minutes.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> I often look at my opponent's Living Tsunami and think how devastating it would be if it barfed out a Lorthos at me.
<@mtgDoug> He's nothing's pawn. Lorthos smashes whatever he wants.
<@mtgaaron> Many of us were simply tickled by the idea of "legandary Octopus"
<%Kenneth_Nagle> there's nasty stuff in the oceans of Zendikar!
18. <+Plejades> Hello everyone! Does it ever happen that you have to stick with a current design of a card or mechanic because of time constraints even though you are not 100% happy with the outcome? Example?
<@mtgaaron> Yes it happens... we could tinker forever and probably not be 100% happy. I know all three of us were suggesting changes to the set that just went to typsetting earlier this week right up to the wire.
<@mtgDoug> I lay awake at night thinking about card names I could have tweaked. I wish I was kidding.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> I had to change Manaplasm very late because it was too weird.
<@mtgDoug> Yeah, the "wire" is walked every single set.
<@mtgDoug> And then we ask politely if the wire could be moved slightly so that we could change ooooone moooore thing...
<@mtgaaron> The "worse than Healing Salve" in ZEN was changed at the last second to be simpler than it was; I have no love for that card.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> If we "polished" a set until it was squeaky clean then perhaps it would be too clean, too sleek, too Apple Macintosh.
19. <+charlequin> So land is another card type themed block. You did artifacts before but have shied away otherwise.
<+charlequin> Did ZEN seem like it worked out well on that angle? Do you feel like you could tackle some of the other types down the road?
<%Kenneth_Nagle> Actually Urza Block is Enchantment themed. There's Opals, Hiddens, Deathback aura like Rancor, but you'd never know it because it was called "The Artifacts Cycle"
<@mtgDoug> Zendikar was the Type Theme That Could. Not a lot of people had faith in making "lands matter" but the set is very very fun
<@mtgDoug> A lot of the work of the set was making people play it, so they could just experience the joy of ripping a land when they needed it
<%Kenneth_Nagle> We did all Creatures in Legions. I guess there's not many left, huh?
<@mtgDoug> Yeah, there's kind of a short list.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> We executed lands well enough (knowing Worldwake), moreso than I expected on day 1 of Zendikar design.
<@mtgDoug> But I think lands-matter did way better than people expected, designwise and fun-gameplay-wise.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> But it's pretty darn mechanical to say "Enchantments matter!" and spread it over every color with a mana curve and everything.
<@mtgDoug> Nagle is lead designer of the next set, Worldwake, btw. So he knows a few things about lands-matter designs.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> yes Worldwake is AWESOME (but be excited about Zendikar right now if you don't mind!)
20. <+Lunacite> What are the flavor reasons for including enemy fetch lands in Zendikar? They seem thematically misplaced as there don't seem to be a lot of enemy color lines going on otherwise.
<+Lunacite> Also, Do you think that any other colors will gain a little more ability to manipulate lands other than green? Harrow & Kahlni heart expedition seem like must-plays if going multi-colored
<@mtgDoug> Zendikar has a lot more color-mixing in flavor than some settings -- lemme explain what I mean
<@mtgDoug> For example, Dominaria has Urborg and Llanowar, very explicity "black-aligned" and "green-aligned" places
<@mtgDoug> but Zendikar is divided up into continents, each of which has several color-aligned subregions.
<@mtgDoug> There's no "goblin continent" on Zendikar -- there are places like the Makindi Trenches, that are full of canyons and peaks (red) but also high mesas and fields (white)
<@mtgDoug> It makes for a very real-feeling, but also slightly more confusing, world. And enemy fetches fit pretty well here flavorfully, even if it wasn't "enemy gold world" mechanically
<@mtgDoug> Also, they are hot with landfall, obviously.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> The multicolor thing is green's domain - it's not bad for green to be good at it.
21. <+PhoenixLAU> Did it concern you that Zendikar is heavily linear (landfall, allies, vampires), or was this intentionally part of a broader campaign directed at certain players (e.g. M10 combat rules)?
<%Kenneth_Nagle> Sets need both linear (Allies) and modular (somethings like Pyromancer's Ascension).
<%Kenneth_Nagle> We call these "rails" it helps guide players.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> If Zendikar is more linear than usual, it's still not in the "TOO LINEAR" territory that Kamigawa was with Spiritcraft, Soulshift, and Arcane
<@mtgDoug> That's a pendulum that swings, like everything else, too
<%Kenneth_Nagle> We like to cite Mirrodin as notably modular because you can play say Loxodon Warhammer no matter what colors you are.
<@mtgDoug> (by linear we mean "a mechanic that tends to make you want to play all those cards together" rather than "a mechanic that works well with lots of kinds of cards")
22. <+MtgColorpie> With Zedikar you released 4 new EDH generals to the world, all mono colored. I know that you're trying to get back to less multicolor, but do you guys think about sprinkling in Multicolor every once in a while when it comes to legends? I've been told you don't design with EDH in mind, but you guys support it now, so maybe?
<%Kenneth_Nagle> Well, it's absolutely NOT true, we DO design with EDH in mind
<%Kenneth_Nagle> it's stupid to design a game and be ignorant of a significant portion of your audience
<%Kenneth_Nagle> I'm the resident EDH dude in The Pit, and I know that 2-color+ Legendary is the golden spot for Generalness
<@mtgDoug> I like sprinklings of multicolor legends, but not because of EDH personally -- I think powerful gold legends help flavor and help guide you on what to build early on
<@mtgDoug> "Oh, I opened Brion Stoutarm, this guy is obviously nuts, I think I'll try R/W"
<@mtgDoug> I think the pendulum was trying to swing away from gold after Alara, but I think it's actively good for a few gold legends (or planeswalkers) to show up here and there, set themes be darned.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> Lorwyn does this, with Doran the Siege Tower to lead the Treefolk tribe. We are back in nongold world.
23. <+Mono789>Why isn't the cycle of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and company legendary?
<@mtgDoug> The creative team was bursting with unique locations across Zendikar, but the problem is that legendary is actually a very annoying drawback for gameplay.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> legendary is a sucky drawback, randomly manascrews players, and also makes players not want 4 of a card.
<@mtgDoug> There've been a few times in the past where we've concepted cards as unique locations, but gave them non-unique names
<@mtgDoug> Gilt-Leaf Palace comes to mind, which is just Dawn's Light Palace, where the elvish Perfects live
<@mtgDoug> We went ahead and put unique names on these places, here in the Land-Matters Block
<@mtgDoug> without hindering them with the legendary drawback.
<@mtgDoug> Not a trick I'm in love with doing, but we thought it was important
<@mtgDoug> to show off these unique locations, like Valakut.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> If we can balance without Legendary, we prefer to not use it except for choice flavor exceptions
<%Kenneth_Nagle> legendary land is a vastly different gameplay experience from legendary creature, despite their similar notation
(BONUS LORWYN QUESTION)
<+Sean> Why did you print hideaway the way you did instead of a more versatile format such as Hideaway 4, this land comes into play tapped and are there any plans for the mechanic to return in the future?
<@mtgDoug> As I remember, that template took significant cramming just to fit on the cards as it is
<@mtgDoug> Much cleverness on the part of editor Del Laugel and others. Also, as Aaron mentioned before, I think adding a numeral junks up the card aesthetically, even though it can add to reusability.
<%Kenneth_Nagle> The raw word count forced a number of things. They could either be "Land - Forest" or have the "this comes into play tapped" conjoined with the keyword.
<@mtgaaron> I'm sure this has been answered on the site somewhere. 1) It wouldn't fit unless the CIPT ability was folded into the reminder text; 2) remember, I hate arrays. It's a longshot to come back. It was really unliked when it debuted and took a long, long time for people to come around to even though they are nuts-powerful.
<@mtgaaron> I thought they were flavorful like Quests... if you do a little work, you get a prize! But people just saw the drawbacks.