A little while ago I was working on introducing two new colors to Magic, orange and purple. I will probably get back to working on that set once I finish Blighters. Having extra colors had a few benefits. It allowed some effects to get into more colors while other effects could be focused into relatively fewer colors. It made it easier for new players to draft because there would be less people fighting for the same color. However one problem I came across was that it was hard to develop strategies for each color pair when there are 21 possible combinations of two colors! This is where I got the idea of having a set with fewer colors, so there would be fewer combinations.
The most mechanically similar color pairs, in order, are green-white, black-red, and white-blue. So it made sense to take away red and white, and let their neighbouring colors cover for most of their effects. If black can get Bump in the Night and Last Gasp then there's no reason why it can't get Volcanic Hammer . Blue has already got similar removal to white and cost-increasing effects, I let it make a few tokens also and then green just covers the Naturalize , life gain, and it was stretched a little to include smaller mass-creature pump. Does anyone really care about there being no first strike?
The white-red opposition is basically law vs chaos, so I thought what sort of world would not really have those elements. Thinking to 3rd edition Dungeons and Dragons, Druids have to be neutral on at least one axis to reflect the neutrality of nature, so I decided on a druidic world with trees and animals etc. Green druids would be neutral good, blue druids true neutral, and black druids neutral evil. The plot thickens when most of the black druids give in to their thirst for power and realise that they're better off by destroying and exploiting nature than protecting it. They become Blighters (a prestige class I didn't read much about). The other druids react as their alignment would suggest - green rallies together to try and save the forests, while blue goes into hiding in their safe coastal locations at the top and bottom of cliffs and just chills out while the whole thing blows over.
The mechanical expression of this flavor, and in order to give each color pair a strategy to use, meant that black both sacrificed its own lands for powerful effects (which has synergy with green's ways of getting more land) and destroyed enemy lands (which has synergy with blue's cost increasing effects). I know that these days land destruction is considered unfun, and people who started playing either a long time ago when ponza was a force to be reckoned with, or more recently after land destruction has been seriously nerfed, probably don't really care to see it as a set theme, but there are still a bunch of players who like it and I think it can create an interesting limited format. I basically learned Magic with the red 9th edition theme deck containing 2x Stone Rain , 2x Demolish and 1x Wildfire . I have stuck with the modern day design rule that you don't get LD for three mana, but I have added riders or options to make the spells more playable (think like Tectonic Rift ).
Some of the creatures you will see on this world are birds (both flying and non flying), fish, illusions, crabfolk, koalas, zombies, ferrets, dryads, treefolk, and humans, as well as various other real creatures and common fantasy types. It's like a jungle out there - but you are a planeswalker and sure to prevail. You won't run into any other planeswalkers there, except for your opponent of course. In a later post in this thread I will explain the keyword mechanics of this set.
Think of how Neo couldn't beat the robots, but they kept him around anyways to defeat Agent Smith. Sure, the robots might not like having a Neo running rampant because instead of playing their favorite 4 drop fatty robot, they have to play a bunch of one mana Matrixs to contain him, but at least Neo keeps Agent Smith from reanimating an Iona on turn two.
I really enjoy imagining this from Kevin's perspective. Because in Kevin's world, Rosewater actually reads everything he types. Mark is sitting there right now, reading this, and thinking "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled. . ." Or some such. He chuckles low, then clicks on "The Best Of KEVINSET" and says "Yes, this'll do just fine. A busty lady with banding who deals direct damage to Zones!? Why this will be the star of my next set, and no one will ever believe you Kevin." Then he closes his Macbook, so his servant may move it out of the way, while another servant puts a Fetal Richard Garfield Clone lathered in Steak Sauce in front of him. Then Mark Feasts.
I mean, In KevinWorld, Mark is reading the very words I'm typing as well. Heck, in KevinWorld maybe I am Mark.
[In response to a thread about how hard grading is]
Upon reading this, I've found myself completely unable to operate in the world. I tried to decide what to eat for breakfast, and pondered the vast consequences of my choice. How do I balance my dietary needs against my desire to eat good-tasting food? Should I factor in how long it takes to prepare? Cereal is ready in moments, but bacon takes longer to cook.
Then there is the impact on other industries. Do people in the cereal industry deserve to be employed more than people in the bacon industry? Which industry should I support? I don't even have the data regarding HOW MUCH the cereal industry benefits from me eating a bowl of cereal, or how much the bacon industry benefits from me eating a side of bacon. How can I compare two qualities I can't even quantify?
And let's not forget the milk on the cereal. In addition to determining whether or not milk is healthy for me, how much that benefits the milk industry, and how much the people in the milk industry deserve my support, we have to factor in the fact that cows are put under brutal conditions in order to collect thier milk. Of course, the same goes for the pigs, and then they get killed. Of course, I really like bacon. So I need to come up with a scale that compares the value of cow happiness to pig happiness to my happiness. What trade-offs am I willing to make here? Does the fact that the pig gets put out of its misery count as a plus or a minus? Isn't bacon bad for me anyway?
Deciding what to eat for breakfast (or any meal) is impossible. Help me!
Anyway, you'd be surprised about Time Stop. When I first saw that card as a relatively new player I didn't see its full potential until I read the reminder text. Is it that unintuitive, though? Mine I mean. What is possibility? Is it possible for me to type these words with my tusks? No, because I don't have tusks. Although I am now tempted to go buy some - obviously not from poachers or whatever - and use them as typing apparatus. I could be the best secretary ever. "What's your words per minute sir?" "Well, only six, but I use these tusks to type them." "You're hired!" That was the interview. And is anyone else disappointed that "apparati" is not the plural form of apparatus? I just could strangle a dictionary, because "apparatuses" is a real word. I guess it sounds pretty cool. I'll call them my Apparatusks.
Cliff (cost) = At the beginning of each opponent's combat phase, creatures that player controls can't attack you unless that player pays (cost).
Disbelieve N = 1: Put a disbelief counter on this permanent. Then if it has N or more, its controller sacrifices it. Any player may activate this ability.
Secrecy = When this permanent enters the battlefield, look at the top card of your library. You make exile it face down. You may look at it as long as it remains exiled. At the beginning of your upkeep or when this permanent leaves the battlefield, you may put the exiled card on top of its owner's library. A permanent is 'keeping a secret' if there is a card in exile that was exiled by its secrecy ability.
Xblasting (cost) = (cost), sacrifice this permanent: Destroy target X. Activate only as a sorcery. (eg, Creatureblasting, Landblasting)
Tree spirit = This permanent is a Forest land in addition to its other types and subtypes as long as it's on the battlefield. (It has T: Add g to your mana pool).