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Unstable Q&A with Mark Rosewater
The Dos and Don'ts of Silver-Border Commander
  • posted a message on Ulamog, Eater of Worlds and Ulamog, Corroder of Reason
    The title mentions "Ulamog" twice.

    Exiling the library feels more psachis than physical, so I don't understand why it's on Ulamog and not Kozilek.

    I'm not a fan of destroying all lands. It's bascially game ending in the worst way. Ulamog suddenly fixing colors seems also wrong considering that the Eldrazi distinguishing feature is that they are beyond colors.

    The line "Spend only colorless mana to cast ~" is really discouraging and just hiding the Colorless Mana flood this could have. It is also an extreme challenge considering that the two titans are not balanced in a way where Kozilek needs to have such an extreme drawback. Honestly its ETB effect doesn't even do anything in a vacuum, so its dependability is not certain.

    Ulamog destroying/exiling stuff and "processing" that into Eldrazi Scion tokens seems fitting and cool. Otherworldly belongs onto the other titan (or both - that's fine, too).

    Kozilek attacking the library is alright. I would use another threshold to scale against. Iam also surprised you decided against the usual cast triggers since the abilities you suggest don't seem like they wouldn't work with that timing.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on UB-Evergreen Keyword Suggestions
    Quote from chochky »
    Sabotage (Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, draw a card unless that player pays 2 life.)

    I really doubt this ability plays well. It feels super punisher to me. First you have to decide to attack, at which point your opponent gets to make blocking decisions. Even if they choose to let a sabotage creature through, they then get to decide if they care more about card advantage or life. This mechanic gives all control to the opponent. It will not play well.[/quote]
    oÔ Interactivity is not bet. And this is really "Pick your poison." Both effects can have a lasting input - as opposed to tribute where counters on a creature might be of zero impact if the opponent would have removal either way both card advantage and life advantage can build an incremental advantage - even if you get the lesser of the two options in any given instance, it can overwhelm the opponent if you can get the "lesser" option often enough.

    Did they keep you from drawing cards three times by paying life? Well' they are now down 6 life and may have dropped into the range where your clock got one turn faster. Did they dave some life in this close damage race by gving you a card? Well, you might just draw the removal/evasive atttacker/tempo card to swing that race around in your favor even more than two life could.

    I'm really fine with these thumb screw mechanics.

    It's a bit unfortunate that it will not matter if you get blocked, but that's why I personally was championing afflict - and still this mechanic is not disqualified by that - more like qualified.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on UB-Evergreen Keyword Suggestions
    Quote from chochky »

    Sabotage (Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, draw a card unless that player pays 2 life.)

    I like sabotage, but as long as this thread has been going I might have said that before already and/or suggested something like it already. I know I have put forward something that is basically afflict before it became official and I know I am a proponent for saboteur effects e. g. looting-curiosity, so this fits in between these concepts I like for this spot.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Unwatch
    Quote from Manite »
    Gideon, Studly Soldier 2WW
    Legendary Planeswalker - Gideon
    +1: Choose a gender. Until your next turn, creatures controlled by players of the chosen gender attack ~ if able. @ gets a loyalty counter for each creature controlled by one of those players.
    0: Until end of turn, @ becomes a 4/4 white Human Soldier creature with indestructible that's still a planeswalker. Prevent all damage that would be dealt to him this turn.
    -5: You get an emblem with "Shirtless creatures you control get +1/+1" and "Creatures your opponents control can't attack or block unless their controller pays X for each of those creatures, where X is the number of shirtless creatures you control."

    I like the sentiment of playing up the studliness to make fun of Gideon.

    The first ability has issues without reminder text helping to decide valid options. In conjunction with the card's theme it also conflates gender with sexuality which is... unfortunate and often enough the correlation will fail (unless you subdivide gender into so many different unique options that it becomes less likely to "hit on" more than one player at a time - which I suppose is not the intention). It's the beard problem again on another level.

    The first ability and ultimate also have negative synergy with each other - the tax on attackers working against forcing creatures to attack. I also think that taxing attackers/blockers does not fit Gideon's physicality, tendency to get into the fray. He is a green-leaning type of white character and Ghostly Prison is a blue-leaning kind of white.
    Jace, Disheveled Organizer 2UU
    Legendary Planeswalker - Jace
    +1: If you have a drink within arm's reach, scry 2, otherwise scry 1.
    -2: You may take a sip from a drink within arm's reach. If you do, draw two cards, then discard a card if you spilled any of the drink. Otherwise draw a card.
    -9: Rearrange target player's library. (You may look at any number of cards in that library, then put them all back in any order.)

    The nested conditions in the second ability make for actual ambiguous wording and really are not that good an idea. I don't see how putting the idea of spilling drinks into players minds as a game mechanic is anything but inviting disaster.

    The ultimate is rather passive/invites slow play and I would like it better if it emulated the timed card of a similar effect from Unstable (maybe not as an ultimate) - that would also fit the overworked theme - as Jace doesn't get anough time to rearrange things properly. Maybe time pressure and scheduling could generally replace the beverage theme which really becomes tenuous once you are using e. g. alcoholic beverages over a mug of coffee to satisfy the condition.
    Liliana, Deadly Dealer 3BB
    Legendary Planeswalker - Liliana
    +1: Another target player in any visible game may shake hands with you. If that player does, you both draw two cards and lose 2 life, otherwise that player discards two cards.
    -2: Another target player in any visible game may shake hands with you. If that player does, each of you chooses a creature card in the other player's graveyard and puts it onto the battlefield under his or her control, then loses life equal to its converted mana cost. Otherwise, create a 2/2 black Zombie creature token.
    -5: Another target player in any visible game may shake hands with you. If that player does, he or she may search his or her library for a card and put it into his or her hand, then you control that player during his or her next turn. Otherwise, search that player's library for a card and exile it. Then that player shuffles his or her library.

    Good theme. Better execution than the previous two.

    Once again the second ability needs less ambiguous wording. Who gets each creature? Is it switching games? Is the person losing the life the one who gets the creature or the one who chooses it?
    Outside of wording should the choice of creatures be made before shaking hands?

    The ultimate could be used on a player in another game and you could slow play in that game to control their shaking hands with you for the rest of your own game? Eh...
    Chandra, Deep Fryer 2RR
    Legendary Planeswalker - Chandra
    +1: Roll a six-sided die. Add an amount of R to your mana pool equal to the result.
    -2: Choose target creature, then roll a six-sided die. ~ deals damage to that creature equal to the result.
    -4: Roll a six-sided die. Chandra deals damage to each creature and player equal to the difference.

    Like the clean simplicity - but that's Chandra for you. Wink

    Ultimate: Difference between what? Each creature and player? The single die roll?

    I am kinda disappointed this doesn't go more all out on the dice theme. Like more dice or wackier dice. Maybe an emblem that turns all your dice into exploding dice (roll again on a six and ad the new roll to the result). You could even use "exploding dice" in the wording and it would be a flavorful addition to Chandra.
    Nissa, Tree Hugger 1GG
    Legendary Planeswalker - Nissa
    +1: You gain life equal to the number of permanents you control with one or more trees in their artwork.
    -2: Search your library for a creature or land card with a tree in its artwork, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
    -5: You get an emblem with "Whenever you cast a spell with a tree in its artwork, you may put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield tapped."

    Too one-note. Dice are okay as a theme for a whole card because they are basically stand-ins for numbers and you can make a diverse set of effects with numbers that really don't need to relate. You have a hard time making effects without numbers at some point.

    Caring about a single always identical aspect of art is like caring about a color or tribe. You get one of those ability and then you better move on to the next idea. There is probably some interesting silver-bordered mechanical joke about (re)cycling you can make. Separating a compost from your graveyard? Or expand the art theme beyond that one example that already exists. You get a point for not restricting this to land cards, but don't use up those points by wasting card space with three variants of it.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on The Grand Calcutron - RoboRosewater Twitter spoiler
    So a thought that just came to me: You can cast only the first spell in your program, but you can activate abilities of any of the card e. g. cycling/transmute. This should help with adding some options.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on UB-Evergreen Keyword Suggestions
    All I was able to gather is that you think Blight Keeper should cost more and that a mechanic that allows you to repeatedly look at your opponent's hand and gives you the option force them to loot their best card is a good idea - even if it makes Peeking evergreen and each time the trigger resolves it's a potential decision.

    If this even passes as evergreen it would see the double strike kand of frequency not the first strike kind of frequency that is really required.

    I could go over the individual points as well since there are some obvious corners and edges, but I won't since that would be nitpicking next to the points above. This is not a mechanic that can easily appear at common.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on What from the past of Dominaria do we want to see (places, & beings)
    I've been thinking and this might be a little less Baseless, but with Ixalan-block back around the corner I could see any of the tribes making their comeback. I could see Vodalians, a clan of local Sengir Vampires, skyship Pirates from the Talas, and leftover Allosaurus from before the Ice Age...

    More in the region of idle wish-fulfillment I'd like to get some updates on some of the more prominent locations and continents. Some nods towards Sarpadia, Otaria and Jamuraa. I wouldn't mind there to be nods to this diversity similar in style to original Zendikar introducing is to sooo many continents and places.

    I consider it a reasonable expectation but not guaranteed to see Vess Manor.
    Quote from saneatali »
    I thought that he hadn't quite gotten the planar engines working, and then he was off to New Phyrexia, and that went well...

    "Not quite" is just enough to get an errant protagonist or ally to make those last critical changes. Imagine Dovin Baan getting ported over to have a look at them. Or Jhoira of the Ghitu. Or a new character (who is at the same time the long awaited blue-red artifact themed commander!). Smile
    Posted in: Baseless Speculation
  • posted a message on What to Expect for Ixalan 2
    I wonder whether the flip cards will evolve. The first half of the block was about exploration and discovery primarily, but the second set might shift the focus more to conquest and fighting over the spoils - maybe lands that can transform into powerful enchantments/artifacts resembling those from the past to represent players activating ancient magicks?

    Or maybe they just expand the theme from colorless/monocolored into gold multicolor... (EDIT: Thinking of the back-side frame and how it is geared towards having no color markers this seems the save bet. Disregard the previous idea.)

    That said I also expect mostly a continuance of keywords and mechanics in line with their realizations with regard to abandoning mechanics too soon in favor of (thematically) weaker new ones in the blocks BFZ & SOI (I would count Tarkir as well, but for that the high number of mechanics was a deliberate action grounded in the block structure rather than defaulting to "second set needs N new things" which gave us some weaker block mechanics since then (and also before in the block THS)).

    I do not see necessarily abandoning any of explore, enrage or raid. They all have more design space and serve a simple purpose. I like the color definition of the tribes and don't see them going away entirely (the (mythic?) rare cycle we know about being not characteristic for the set).
    Quote from h3x4g0n »

    Quote from Morphling »
    Perhaps we will finally see some more Coatls in Ixalan 2? Shrugs

    i honestly can't believe we didn't get any in ixalan.

    I believe this to be a conscious decision. Feathered Snakes and feathered Dinosaurs are thematical similar and it seems reasonable for them to decide to have only one or the other in a particular setting; the same reason I won't expect any feathered Dragons or feathered Lizards - the "has feathers rather than scales" slot is taken by a major tribe.

    In the same manner I wouldn't be surprised if feathered Dinosaurs will remain a distinctive feature of Ixalan for the time being - even with more scaley Dinosaurs now options on other planes.
    Posted in: Speculation
  • posted a message on UST - is live
    Quote from Lectrys »
    He also has some additional options like the 4/4 gold Dragon, but basically it seems ~90% of results seem to be what was immediately suggested to proxy this, so this is going to be fine.

    I bet that 4/4 gold Dragon is a reference to Sarkhan Unbroken and how Temur Sarkhan is gold in MTG slang (because he's multicoloured).

    It certainly is. But the fact that they have altered it at least in the tiniest way is a first sign of where it could be going. Most of the other abilities are carbon-copied except for the "CARDNAME" they put in for self-referential wordings like damage.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Rivals of Ixalan Planeswalkers
    Quote from Manite »
    Ajani most likely doesn't even know about Ixalan. However, I do like the idea of a story arc where he begins rounding up the wayward Gatewatch with help from friends, beginning with Jace (who will have recently escaped from Ixalan with Vraska) and Liliana (who's likely to start playing double or triple agent). Then, after Core 19, we get sets starring Chandra, Nissa, and Gideon.

    That's what I was hoping for when we got wind of the storyline of Ixalan - the story just ending with Jace making it off the plane and running into Ajani (regaining his memory and joining up at the meeting point on Dominaria; intuitively planeswalking to the right place despite not being able to consciously find the memory; either joining Vraska on a planeswalk to Ravnica or extracting the plane as destination from her mind; Ajani actually noting them missing the meeting and being able to track Jace for some particular reason... the possible ways are endless) and then we follow up on others one-by-one. And in theory Dominaria being Liliana's homeplane could be a good next stop... but then again Dominaria doesn't feel like it is set up to be the second part of a five-part series; it feels like something that they may feel the urge to bring the Gatewatch together again, just so they can have a 25th Anniversary line-up of the team.

    Also the formula might get stale spread over appproximately two years (two sets for Jace already and at least one set per other member plus a Core Set that's guaranteed to be more of an intermission).
    Posted in: Speculation
  • posted a message on Mage-Ring Nexus
    Why is this so bad in multiplayer? How likely is it that there is a permanent each player controls? That's not even possible. Should be "an opponent controls" if you want a simple variant like Exotic Orchard or "for each opponent... that player controls" if you want something more like undaunted, but that's greedy, too. (EBWOP: So apparently you want the Exotic Orchard wording.)

    I really don't get keywording this specific action. If siphoning itself was the mana ability, then that would be a different matter. And imagine having multiple siphon activations... each increases your mana output rate by usually 100% per siphoned player, so even the most simple variation of this is Doubling Cube shenanigans.

    Have you considered rewording this to " tap symbol : Permanents you control get 'Whenever you tap this permanent for mana, siphon an opponent.'"? I'm not super-thrilled about this either, but it's at least not outrageous in the amounts you usually want to use a keyword action in.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Rivals of Ixalan Planeswalkers
    Quote from Manite »
    While there could technically be six PWs, five is the default design strives for. Monored Angrath and WU Azor balance out the set just fine. I expect RIX's PW decks to be a UR Pirate deck lead by Angrath and a BG Vraska deck.

    Unexpected twist: PW deck Vraska is monoblack to lead the Vampires, while Angrath is also black as part of leading the black-red Pirate deck. This fits and I might have seen this speculated somewhere (or done so myself).

    This still leaves a spot open for a planeswalker who doesn't appear in the Planeswalker Deck product and still this spot seems like it could belong to the speculated white-blue Sphinx planeswalker that could be Azor. Another green-white Ajani is obviously also an option, but I agree with the line of thought that sees him appear in Dominaria instead.
    Posted in: Speculation
  • posted a message on [XLN] [Speculation] City's Blessing
    City's Blessing is not a token. It's a generic object/state though that deserves a reminder.

    Common guesses:
    • Some cards will give you City's Blessing and some card effects will just get better if you have it - a threshold 1 mechanic.
    • You can collect multiple of these and at some point you win the game (reverse poison).
    • Some card effects will give you City's Blessing, but you can lose it again and/or it can be taken away. It's a resource to be fought over like being the monarch (which itself originally was designed for this block).

    Any further ideas?
    Posted in: Speculation
  • posted a message on Desperate Gamble, Dwarven Caravan, etc
    Quote from Scuirimancer »
    Desperate Gamble 1B
    Pay any amount of life, then flip a coin. If you win the flip, gain twice as much life as you paid.

    Not even in a deck wiith cards that triggers on my life loss and my life gain would I want to be reliant on this. It's also terribly swingy. Win a coin flip to start the game at 39 life? Ugh.

    It's also thematically off since you don't make this gambit when you are desperate i. e. at low life. At low life you have not much to gain from this either. Thematically this wants to be "Flip a coin. If you win, your life total becomes (half?) your starting life total. Otherwise, your life total becomes 1." or something similar: an option your prefer in desperation.

    I also wish there was a true conversion of resources e. g. life >> cards rather than a simple "double or nothing" wager.
    Dwarven Caravan R
    Creature - Dwarf Merchant
    Whenever Dwarven Caravan attacks, put a currency counter on it at end of combat.
    Remove a currency counter from Dwarven Caravan: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.

    We always welcome designs for the next inevitable custom set that returns to Ulgrotha. Smile
    Savage Sanctifier 1GG
    Creature - Ape Shaman
    When Savage Sanctifier enters play, you may destroy target artifact.
    When Savage Sanctifier leaves play, you may destroy target enchantment.

    That's nice enough. I'd develop insomnia over the decision which type to trigger under which condition. Death trigger removal has also a habit of being less useful.
    Creeping Sludge 1B
    Creature - Ooze
    Whenever Creeping Sludge becomes blocked, regenerate it.
    Whenever Creeping Sludge attacks and isn’t blocked, the defending player loses 2 life.

    I fear this is not really worth two mana. Barely?
    Balduvian Badger 2RR
    Creature - Badger
    Whenever damage is dealt to Balduvian Badger, put a +1/+1 counter on it.
    As long as Balduvian Badger has a +1/+1 counter on it, it attacks each turn if able.

    That p/t is trying to hide on top of the text box! At least it'll have a nice view before a Dominaria grizzly knocks the text box down and eats it.

    Flavorful and can steamroll an unprepared opponent. Could be an Otepec Badger from Ixalan with that enrage going on.
    Adopted Youth G
    Creature - Human
    When Adopted Youth enters play, choose a creature type other than Human.
    Adopted Youth gets +1/+1 as long as you control a creature of the chosen type.

    Single-handedly wins the Best-Mowgli/Tarzan-Impression award. Sufficiently powerful as well while still not quite "+1/+1 as long as you control another creature."

    Could also choose Pirate and get itself a hook for a hand, which is cute as much as it is disturbing. Smile
    Conjured Servants 3U
    Put three 1/1 creature tokens into play of the color and creature type of your choice.

    I just came from a discussion whether creating a handful of vanilla 1/1 tokens is something really any color could do at around 4 mana. I think you are giving a nice enough example here.
    Grudge Pit 3
    Whenever a creature enters play, put a ticket counter on it. Then, if two or more creatures have ticket counters on them, choose two of those creatures. Remove all ticket counters from the chosen creatures and they fight each other.

    I have a feeling this reads nicer than it is to play against/with. Suggesting heavy playtesting.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Promos Revealed: Captain's Hook, Evolving Wilds & More
    Quote from Dom4419 »
    Although the Evolving Wilds art is really nice, they could at the very least give us a new terramorphic expanse

    I agree. I don't know whether they want the option to play eight of them in Standard, but considering how insane rare dual lands are that shouldn't be an issue. [[[Terramorphic Expanse]]] is another thing that we know from Dominaria and could be in the eponymous set.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
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