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Unstable Q&A with Mark Rosewater
 
The Dos and Don'ts of Silver-Border Commander
  • posted a message on Meta Warping Bombs
    Azakesh intentionally has the weird wording, to make sure that the player understands they can choose to put the searched for card in exile, hand, or graveyard. If Improvise can have an unnecessary line of additional reminder text, this additional wordiness is acceptable.

    Blue does interact with enchantments, just not as often or as strong as white or green. A mythic blue enchantment tutor is more than acceptable. A big push with the ability is to separate instants & sorceries, which are too often mechanically equated. Azakesh is not meant to be a blue aggro monster, I was inspired by the "Baneslayer test". Creating a "blue Baneslayer" is a useless exercise.

    Retiring shroud was one of the biggest mistakes Wizards has ever made, principally because hexproof is such a stupidly low-skill mechanic.

    Kuzrikol on review is indeed too pushed.

    Like I said, I'm not trying to make a "green Baneslayer", such an exercise is pointless.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Meta Warping Bombs
    I was thinking today about the Baneslayer test (if a format is healthy, Baneslayer Angel or its ilk should be a good card), and what Baneslayer-esque cards might look like in other colours. The principal role of Baneslayer in the format is as a five cost creature with good stats & keywords, so that was where I started with my designs.

    Azakesh, Stormlord 3UU
    Legendary Creature - Zombie Wizard (M)
    Flying, shroud
    When CARD enters the battlefield or dies, you may search your library for a blue sorcery or enchantment and reveal it. You must then choose to put that card into your hand, graveyard, or exile. Afterwards shuffle your library.
    4/3

    Kuzrilkol 2RRR
    Legendary Creature - Ape (M)
    Haste, trample
    When CARD enters the battlefield or dies, you may sacrifice any number of permanents. Deal X damage to up to X targets, where X is the number of permanents sacrificed this way.
    5/5

    The Cloudscraper 1GGGG
    Legendary Creature - Treefolk (M)
    Vigilance, reach
    At the beginning of each end step, if a creature with flying died this turn put three +1/+1 counters on CARD.
    5/7

    Bonus:

    Unpleasant Return 4UU
    Instant (R)
    Counter up to two target spells.
    Dredge 4
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Something Weird & Wonderful
    Here are two version of the same concept, which use slightly different mechanics:

    Dust Transmuter 2
    Artifact (M)
    X, T: Exile a card from your hand with converted mana cost X.
    T: Cast a card from your hand with converted mana cost equal to a card exiled with CARD.

    Dust Transmuter v2 X
    Artifact (M)
    Imprint - When CARD enters the battlefield, exile a card from your hand with converted mana cost X. It is imprinted on CARD.
    T: Cast a card from hand with the same converted mana cost as the imprinted card.

    Flashback meets madness:

    Sudden Craze 1R
    Sorcery(U)
    Add RRR to your mana pool. If you cast CARD with its madness cost, instead you may cast a card from your graveyard with converted mana cost X. Exile both the cast card and CARD as the cast card resolves.
    Madness XR

    For a Commander set:

    Pillar of Sight 3
    Artifact (U)
    T, Choose an opponent: Add 1 to your mana pool. You may look at a random card from the chosen opponent's hand.
    Your opponents play with the top card of their library revealed.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on [GDW] Mutate: A Simic Mechanic With Rider To Make It The Most Interesting Mechanic Ever Designed In the History Of Gaming
    Horrible title to thread. Otherwise okay mechanics.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] Animar, Soul of Elements (combo)
    Although it doesn't counter artifacts at all (in fact it probably helps the artifact deck) Lodestone Golem is an oft overlooked creature which works wonders in the Animar deck. We rarely if ever care about an additional 1 on our mana costs, if ever it simply requires playing another creature first. The golem itself is colorless (and thus potentially free) and has a not irrelevant body as a 5/3. Obviously the card works better in an artifact-centric build for Animar (a highly viable alternative build for the deck which I have built and had great fun with), Lodestone Golem is still a very decent control card for any Animar build.

    If artifacts chaining together is a real issue, have you considered more permission, such as Voidmage Husher or Pestermite? Both are affordable and fast creatures which can seriously delay your opponent's mana generation early (Mana Vault is an amazing early target) or prevent them from activating combos or delay developing their board. This of course helps us immensely, considering in any such match up we are almost certainly the aggro deck.

    In terms of straight up removal I run both Ancient Grudge and Hull Breach in my 99. Ancient Grudge is the best flashback card ever printed for a very good reason. Being able to deny an artifact at instant speed, then threaten the deny for just one mana is huge. Oftentimes Ancient Grudge is more valuable in the graveyard than out, as it forces players (especially pesky blue players) to reconsider their strategy rather than just committing all their combo mana to the board super quickly. Hull Breach is about as efficient as removal comes, and always has viable targets.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] Animar, Soul of Elements (combo)
    I'd drop Sun Qun because of the UU in the cost. 5G is effectively G in Animar. G for Overrun is pretty fantastic, much better than granting all your board unblockable. I really like Etherium-Horn because he digs so efficiently & is an artifact (which is relevant in my deck). It's also nice as board wipe protection and as a card which is excellant without Animar on the board. Primordial Sage is great, but I've always thought he is just second fiddle to the superior Soul of the Harvest. Oblivion Sower seems greedy and frankly pretty useless 90% of the time. It's effectively a bigger Wood Elves. That being said the potential for game winning combos is strong, especially when paired with Cloudstone. Testing still needs to be done, it seems more comparable to Bogardan Hellkite than anything else in the deck.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] Animar, Soul of Elements (combo)
    ExplodingWaffle has it right on the nail. No one is going to run a response that doesn't have flash.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Discard & Cycling Mechanics
    That is a fair point. In fact the issue of losing cards feeling bad is one of the biggest reasons I use Reclaim as an evergreen action word. Cycling is a whole lot less punishing when you can recover cards you cycle.

    I don't like the Alara cycle of Cyclers (heh) and the Decree cycle from Scourge because they lose what makes Cycling Cycling (replacing a useless card in hand for a potentially better one from your deck). This is a big part of the reason why bringing back base Cycling is less interesting than simply introducing similar mechanics for different effects. I think it's fine for sets to include more simple mechanics at lower frequency to diversify the experience. For example I would only include Prayer maybe 4 or 5 times in a given large set, 2 or 3 in a small set. I'm a big fan of more and more diverse keywords, indeed I think it's one of the most efficient ways to simplify the game for NWO.

    What do you think of these revised mechanics:

    Legion N [cost] ([cost], Discard this card: Put a N 1/1 white Soldier creature tokens onto the battlefield. Activate this ability only when you could cast a sorcery.)

    As per your suggestion, changed the name and added "at sorcery speed".

    Gravecycling [cost] ([cost], Discard this card: Put a card from your graveyard into your hand.)

    A flashback-esque mechanic which allows for retaining card advantage at the cost of mana (as opposed to turning every card into a 2-for-1).

    Spark [cost] ([cost], Discard this card: CARD deals 1 damage to target creature or player.)

    A simple way to maximize the value of effects which increase spell damage in Limited, where damage effects are otherwise rare. The effect is intentionally small and undervalued, but in combination with Totem Call or Spell Damage could be quiet potent.

    Totem Call [cost] ([cost], Discard this card: Put an 0/2 colorless Totem artifact creature onto the battlefield with Spell Damage +1.)

    Spell Damage +N (Whenever an instant or sorcery you control would deal damage, it deals that much damage +N.)

    These three mechanics (Spell Damage probably wouldn't be a keyword, that could be decided by playtesting) would I think make for an interesting red archetype in a more generically themed environment.


    @ ZasZ234: Your bi-Cycling idea isn't actually that bad, but there is a much cleaner format:

    Cycling - Discard another card (Discard another card, discard this: Draw a card.)
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Discard & Cycling Mechanics
    It is clear to everyone that Cycling is a good mechanic. The ability to replace a card in your hand for a random one off the top of your deck has been invaluable in making multiple formats work. The success of Cycling has spawned numerous varients and mechanics which make use of the Cycling effect. Here I would like to present some of my own varients & mechanics which play with Cycling.

    Cycling [cost] ([cost], Discard this card: Draw a card.)

    The golden oldboy, perhaps the greatest non-core returnning mechanic ever printed.

    [basic land]cycling [cost] ([cost], Discard this card: Search your library for a [basic land], reveal it, and put it into your hand. Shuffle your library afterwards.)

    One of the original varients of Cycling, easily expanded into a the bext varient:

    [type]cycling [cost] ([cost], Discard this card: Search your library for a [type] card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Shuffle your library afterwards.)

    We have technically only seen this mechanic a couple of times in Time Spiral block, but there is definitely room for expansion.

    Reinforce N - [cost] ([cost], Discard this card: Put N +1/+1 counters on target creature.)

    Not technically cycling, Reinforce is extremely close due to the discard cost.

    Lifecycling [cost] ([cost], Discard this card: You gain 3 life.)

    A simple varient of Cycling which instead of drawing a card, nets you some life.

    Creaturecycling [cost] ([cost], Discard this card: Put a 1/1 colorless Minion creature token onto the battlefield.)

    Simple varients of cycling with basic effects could potentially make for an interesting series of mechanics. However the varieties of Cycling starts to feel forced when everything is simply Cycling. Adopting Reinforce's scalar modal model (say that ten times fast) is probably ideal.

    Prayer N - [cost] ([cost], Discard this card: You gain N life.)

    Dropping Cycling also allows us to diversify the flavour to better fit a range of worlds. I could see this as a great fit for an Innistrad return.

    Legion Call N - [cost] ([cost], Discard this card: Put N 1/1 white Soldier creature tokens onto the battlefield.)

    Army in a can.

    Totem Call [cost] ([cost], Discard this card: Put a 0/2 colorless Totem artifact creature token with "Whenever an instant or sorcery you control would deal damage, instead it deals that much damage +1.")

    Removing Cycling also allows us to make more varied forms of Creature-Cycling which create creature or artifacts which we want en masse, but don't necessarily want to invest card slots in.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Let's talk Deciduous (Discussion)
    Here's some of my ideas for Evergreen/Deciduous mechanics:

    Lure (This creature must be blocked if able.)

    Not what the card Lure does, but Lure itself as a keyword is too strong for common. This would most likely appear in green & blue primarily (green already has Lure, and blue needs more combat mechanics), secondary in white & black (both of whom have flavourful uses for Lure at uncommon+), and tertiary in red (although there might be flavourful uses for Lure in red, red already has Menace and thus tends to play the opposite direction).

    Rage (Whenever this creature attacks you may remove it from combat and have it fight target creature you don't control.)

    Revamped Provoke that uses the technology of the fight action word. Would find a home on the occasional green, red, or black creature.

    Reclaim a [card type] (Put a [card type] from your graveyard on top of your library.)

    Making an existing simple effect (also a simple card, Reclaim) into an action word for wider use as a rider/mechanic.

    Obscure (This creature can't be the target of spells or abilities from the turn it enters the battlefield to the beginning of your next upkeep.)

    An alternate form of Shroud which is less punishing than Hexproof and more skill testing. Also not as powerful because the effect only lasts for one turn (while the creature has summoning sickness effectively), meaning that it could be more widely distributed at common. Would appear mostly in blue, additionally in black & green.

    Manashift (Instead of playing a land this turn you may exile this card from your hand. Put a Desert basic land token onto the battlefield with "T: Add 1 to your mana pool.")

    A version of Landcycling which doesn't require searching & shuffling. Simple enough to be used in multiple sets & environments. Note that it isn't abusable as the ability can only be used once per turn.

    Chivalry (Whenever this creature blocks, it gets +2/+2 until end of turn.)

    A simpler version of Bushido that works on the defensive. Considering the addition of "or is targetted for a fight", to make for a truly defensive mechanic.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Mechanic Bonanza
    What do mean "How Overload (aside: rename to Overcharge?) is NOT supposed to work?" How is Overcharge supposed to work, based on your understanding?

    Spell Damage works in a limited environment (I'd imagine most of these mechanics would appear in supplementals or stand along sets) where white, black, and green damage dealing abilities are cranked right up. As I said an environment which lacks destruction and makes up for it with increased damage dealing effects.

    The advantage of Burrow over the Opal cycle is that your opponent doesn't know what creature you have Burrowed. In the natural process of playing their deck a player will be forced to accidentally (or intentionally) trigger Burrow and give their opponent a cheap creature. There of course would exist cards which would interact with Burrowed creatures, such as by unburrowing them on command. Direct mechanical reference is an area I'd like to explore, especially in niche or relatively evergreen settings.

    Double-face cards are fundamentally a bad thing in Magic. Magic simply can't support that kind of transformation gameplay without distorting the normal rules of play and creating irritating logistical problems. Any scenario in which double-face cards are the only option is not a scenario that should exist in Magic. Extract neither requires, nor is best served by the use of, double face cards.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on UB-Evergreen Keyword Suggestions
    Welcome to the forums Tenshiwan, but in the future just start a new post than reviving one from several months past. Isolate is doing too much to even be a keyword, let alone evergreen. What are you actually trying to achieve with that ability which can't be done with Shroud or Hexproof?
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Mechanic Bonanza
    @ .Rai: Downside mechanics don't suck, Wizards sucks at making them into upsides. Having a keyword should always be a good thing, so if that keyword is a cost it should be relevant elsewhere. Overload would exist in a space with cards which care about overload & overloaded lands, like so:

    Void Storm 2R
    Sorcery(R)
    Overload 2
    CARD deals 2 damage to target creature or player for each overloaded land you control.

    Void Beast 2U
    Creature - Beast (C)
    As long as you control an overloaded land, CARD gets +1/+0 and gains flying.
    2/2


    If people have already said it, why do you need to too?

    Spell Damage would be a limited mechanic in a Hearthstone-y format with little destruction and lots of damage.

    I already mentioned Traps, stating that Burrow is creature-Trap. Traps have a couple of issues, most notably that they are all different and not necessarily immediately recognized as traps. The utility of a given Trap also varies a whole lot more than just dropping a creature on the board.

    As I already mentioned Armor has utility as an extra mechanical extension of life, where the counting doesn't start at 20.

    Not every mechanic here riffs off one in Hearthstone. Burrow & Extract are both references to Blizzard's other main franchises. The point, as I already stated, is to use emblems. You are taking the power of the artifact and extracting it & binding it to yourself. What better way to present that than an emblem? The "it's special" clause is fundamentally flawed. If you are going to add a new rule to a game as bogged down in rules as Magic, you better damn well use that rule. More cards should make emblems than already do, especially non-Planeswalkers.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Let's talk Deciduous (Discussion)
    MOON-E I'd like to point out an additional important criteria of deciduous mechanics: They don't automatically force a certain playstyle. They need to be mechanics whose triggers will come up naturally (Morbid), are a simple combination of evergreen effects (pump spell + creature = Bloodthirst), or don't relate to the working of other cards directly (Convoke). Of course any good mechanic can be built around (include more 1 toughness guys to die to Morbid, more tokens to tap for Convoke), but the reward of playing with the mechanic should be extra utility on the specific card rather than a result of devoting yourself to an archetype. This is why Exalted & Delve don't work. Both expect a certain usage and are suboptimal if not directly supported, often to the point of uselessness.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Mechanic Bonanza
    Inspire - I understand that it is narrow, but so are all the other Commander set mechanics. The point is to make Inspire effects powerful (and free), but require you to run a commander & strategy you wouldn't normally. I like the idea of adding whenever the commander attacks; multiple Inspire effects would effectively turn your commander into a super-Titan.

    Overload - One of the best features of Hearthstone that Magic lacks from a card design perspective is Blizzard's willingness to make full use of its keywords. There are cards which care about specific keywords en mass, encouraging odd and unique synergies. Magic's massive depth of card pool is ripe for this type of design ("All creatures with haste get +1/+0" anyone?). Overload (yes it needs a new name, simple oversight when posting) would be just such a mechanic. Effects would care about overloaded spells & overloaded lands. "Pure drawback" can be easily solved by creating interesting cards and environments in which such a mechanic is not a drawback (such as when Echo originally appeared).

    Rage - Provoke is a a great mechanic, and is something which I would like see return to modern Magic. When the game revolves around the combat step there needs to exist mechanics which allow you to control the pace of combat within combat (aka by attacking or blocking). The technology of the fight action word means that it is now much cleaner and flavourful to recreate, I see no issue with doing so.

    Lure - As you could probably tell by my Overload mix up names are subject to change. The question should be on the viability of the mechanic, which I think we can both agree makes for an interesting evergreen keyword (ala Menace type blocking control).

    Spell Damage - The simplest way to solve the Pyroclasm problem (which honestly isn't a problem with the mechanic, it's a problem with the standards of Magic) is to make sure that any card with Spell Damage has low toughness and is easily killed. Lure & Rage (whatever their names end up being) creatures should be more than capable of eating Spell Damage creatures for breakfast.

    Armor counters - Armor can be referenced independently of life and, like Overload, can thus open up its own genre of design space. Say what you will about parasitism Magic could do with more "straight synergy" effects & direct mechanical references.

    Burrow - The point is exactly as I said in the original post, to create trap creatures. Morph creatures are fundamentally not traps, they are 2/2s. Burrowed creatures will sit their until their condition comes up and then they spring out of the ground fully formed and ready to strike. The gameplay is very different when your flips are free & reactive rather than expensive & active.

    Extract - The point is to make emblems. You've extracted the power of the artifact and bound it to yourself in such a profound way that you only lose its power when you die. How is that complicated?
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
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