First of all, there is a thesis of simplicity. It says "Of all possibility, the simpliest is the most likely"
. That's it! It neither says "the right one" nor "it's the truth". (And it doesn't says anything about iteration.) "Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem!"
To translate this sentence: Entities should not be 'added' or 'created' unnecessarily.
To describe what entities are: The easiest explanation is "a thing"; another is "the essential part". In the context above it's maybe better to call it 'preassumptions' or 'propertiies' or 'speculations'. What is the "simpliest" possibility? - Well, it's the one with the least preconditions or assumptions. So to rephrase this sentence again:
"Do not add unnesserary speculations, but keep to the facts"
Qillong isn't strictly right with his statement about "the process by which a subject is reduced to its smallest particulars", but it refers to the "stay to the facts" part. His comment about Doyle is also about a completely different thing. Doyle is about the fact that if all other possibilities have proven wrong, the last possibility ought to be considered. In some way, it includes the strategy to find the right answer by eliminating all other possibilities.
These two phrases have not much in common. The first one states: "If there is no way to prove multiple possibilities as either true or false, and you HAVE to choose a good candidate nonetheless, pick the one that seems to be the easiest"
. The second phrase is about: "Believe it or not, but if there is only one option left (all others were proven wrong), it's your best - and by the way only - choice"
Quilong is wrong however, when he says: "Further, parsimony in this manner is applied continuously, including to the end result. MaRo stopped as soon as he got to his desired results, but dredge in its playing has proven itself dangerous powerful, and as such could have been made even simpler by restricting when it could work."
That's wrong. You CAN repeat the phrase again and again, but it's not a part of it. It only describes the fact that the simpliest option seems the right one in most situations. (it has a higher percentage to be right).An example:
You have 3 buttons (left, center, right) and you see 3 lights in front of you (left, center, right), you should press the left button to activate the left light. This comes from the fact that "horizontal orientation" is an easy explanation or logic behind this task. Although you might be wrong, it's still the most appealing choice.
That brings me to Mr. Rosewater: Mark had multiple options to choose from. And now he tries to guess what players would like most (or by a different criteria). Since there is no way to prove either option as better or worse, he uses the guideline above to pick one: The easiest one.
In some other circumstances, you could also apply this guideline: "Your first thought is/was most likely the right one, cause all the others are/will be more complex or more speculative"
________________________________What's the Hardest Thing About This Color Pairing?
Well, to understand my statement, you have to keep in mind that humans are lazy and repetative beings. So if someone designs a keyword like "regeneration", he will add it to multiple cards, especially if they do similar things. => The essential part here: the cards do similar
things, not the same
Black and green share regeneration... that's true. But does it mean the same in both colors and is regeneration the only way to express the things they do?
For example, both Drudge Skeletons
have regeneration. But what happens, if the Wisp would rather be a recurring 0/1 flying creature token? It could be similar to a Kher Keep
card, limited to a maximum of one token.
If an Armada Wurm
puts a token onto the battlefield, does this mean that there will be a second wurm or is it just the other end of the same wurrm? And if it's a second wurm, isn't a token mechanism just a simple way to avoid "search the cards you own for another card named ~ and put it onto the battlefield"
With this in mind, which card is more suitable for green: Activating Centaur Glade
or using a Citanul Flute
and cast that creature. Choose again - which is the best: Regeneration, undying, persist or Verdant Succession
Regeneration or token creation is simple, but the graveyard is ignored this way. You can't reanimate a dead Centaur that was put onto the battlefield with Centaur Glade
. But why not?
When I design Magic cards, I stick to the following guideline:
Befriended colors do similar things, enemy colors do the opposite.
White, green and black share a common concept: Returning threats. White heals badly wounded soldiers, so they can return to the battlefield later. Green has regenerating trolls and a seemingly endless pool of creatures. Black has magically reanimated creatures or magically renewed/restored creatures.
So, with my own guideline in mind, I try to differentiate these things to make the colors unique.
To do so, I also discern between tokens and nontoken creatures. There is one essential part about tokens: They have converted mana cost 0. In my opinion, this means that they are mindless//soulless. And this is the reason, why token creation is mostly black flavored (except for 0/1 tokens) in my opinion.
To replace creature tokens in other colors, I introduced another concept - basic creatures:
It combines the concept behind basic lands and Relentless Rats
. There is also a hidden part: You can add as many basic cards to your sideboard (or they can exceed the usual number [treated as a second sideboard]). That's quite similar to tokens, but you're actually able to add them to your deck if you want to.
With these type of creatures, I can design cards that replace the concept behind Centaur Glade
. Similar to a Living Wish
limited to basic creatures, you can seek & pick basic creatures even if they are currently in your sideboard.
In this way, you can create tokens that actually go to the graveyard, have a casting cost, are considered cards and so on.
But to return to the original question: What's the hardest thing about this color pairing? - It's the different approach to regenerate.
What's the Mechanical Heart of This Color Pair?
It the cycle of life. New life is created "out of nothing", dies eventually and makes room for another life.
Whereas a black mage would seek for magical ways to stay alive indefinitely, a green-black mage would seek for ways to be reborn again and again. A transferation into a new body.
So if I were to design a Golgari keyword, it would have been something a creature-based imprint (see Death-Mask Duplicant
) or something like a "kinship in death", a soulshift or "creature-cascade".Dredge
I really, really like this ability and I do not blame anyone at R&D about this concept. Its an A+ in my opinion. I do however chide all of them for Bridge from Below
in this way. This was the most ridiculous card ever designed and you really need to be punished physically! To create a card that has a mana cost and NO effect at all while on the battlefield... how could you expect this card not to be broken?
Dredge has a minor inherited issue. Is a higher dredge number worse or better? If the number is lower, it feels like no additional drawback at all and you could have skipped it completely. If it has a higher value, it feels like a tutor effect for other dredge cards and therefore more like an advantage.
This is the only concern I have about dredge.
Two of my favorate black cards (beside Duress
) is Tortured Existance
and Haakon, Stromgald Scourge
. Both cards can produce an easy way to generate a returning or endless stream of the creatures, without the disadvantages of dredge.
F.e. you could have made dredge dependant of the card type you draw each turn. If you draw a creature => put that card into your graveyard to return a creature with dredge instead. That would have worked well together with mill effects and library reordering (that's what I do with tortured existence).
And if you look at Gravebane Zombie
, where is the need for such a mill drawback at all? To keep the normal mana cost low, you could have introduced a mana cost to use dredge during your draw step. Scavenge
To understand why this ability was introduced you have to understand that the designers forced themself to stay close to the original Ravnica flavor for all guilds. Beside dredge, the Golgari were about +1/+1 counter.... so it was obvious that there will be a combination of dredge with these sort of counters in RTR. (see Shambling Shell
, Golgari Guildmage
and Vulturous Zombie
Basically, this mechanic fills the gap between "enters the battlefield" abilities, "when ~ dies" abilities and reinforce (discard) when we talk about +1/+1 counter. (Kinship was used for "on card draw") trigger.
The restriction to sorcery speed is necessary to avoid the flashback feeling from the Odyssey cycle, where players where constantly looking at their opponents graveyard to make sure they didn't miss a possible flashback. This game ought to be fun for new players too. And to ensure this, avoid additional complexity that is "hidden".
So to all the crybabies out there: Be happy that it isn't like forecast!!!Grave Concerns
Personally, I don't like Scavenge that much. Even an Epochrasite
keyword would have been more fun. Any creature returns sooner or later with additional +1/+1 counters on it.
A semi-suddenly powerboost to any creature (without any other cool effects) feels dull. As a designer, I shy away from accumulation counter on a creature. I neither print a spell or ability that is able to place masses of +1/+1 counter on a variable target, no do I allow creatures like Vulturous Zombie
or Champion of the Parish
to happen. Persist or Undying is ok, but I wouldn't go much further. It messes around with alternative concepts like auras and equipments and I don't want competition of concepts.
So even if Mark's Aura made with the Magic Set Editor isn't of such a great design (with the "destroy" stuff and such), I would prefer that one over Scavenge.
And by the way, Mark: That you use the MSE makes you my friend. It allows you to quickly "save" your ideas without considering license problems with "official" or "professional" software. I wish I had a mobile version though.