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Ultimate Masters: MMI Review
  • posted a message on Guildmages + Guild Rocks?
    Quote from Legend »
    How would you feel about triple hybrid costs?
    And/or making them like signets?

    Rakdos’ Guildmage (Uncommon)
    (B/R)(B/R)(B/R)
    Creature - Devil Wizard
    2/2
    (B/R), t: Add BR.
    4BR: Return a creature card at random from your graveyard to the battlefield. That creature gains haste until end of turn. Exile it at the beginning of the next end step.
    I think using three hybrids for the mana cost is fine. It looks a little nicer, though idk what impact it'll have on actual gameplay.

    Using a signet mana ability, or a filter ability, is an interesting option. Again, it looks nicer, as it now includes a mana cost to line up a bit better with how Guildmage abilities typically work. But it does draw attention to an interesting problem I hadn't seen before.

    Let's look at the second ability for a moment. Assuming it costs "4BR" and the same card can tap for black or red, that cost is actually functionally "4(B/R), T". Because the same card can help pay for its own ability's mana cost, it effectively turns the mana symbols in that mana cost into color-tap hybrids, which means that the ability would have to be treated as a hybrid ability.

    Using the signet mana ability yields the same result, as you're still paying a hybrid mana and four generic mana and tapping. So, here's my solution:

    Szadek's Guildmage (U/B)(U/B)(U/B)
    Creature - Human Wizard (U)
    2/2
    (U/B), T: Add UB.
    1UUBB: Draw two cards, then choose up to three cards in your hand and discard the rest.

    This way, the Guildmage can still help pay for its own ability, but you still have to invest at least one mana of each of each of its colors into it, making it safe as a gold ability.

    Alternatively, I could just go the other way and design each ability as a hybrid ability anyway. What do you think would be better?
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Guildmages + Guild Rocks?
    Okay so based on the feedback I got for my "guildwizards," I reexamined what I wanted out of this cycle for my Ravnica set. Here are my thoughts:

    Guildmages are less about rewarding players for committing to a guild and more about giving players something to do in the late game. My original idea was not good for this and it looks like trying to force them into the same spot is distressing to fans of traditional Guildmages.

    So I was thinking about how I could achieve a novel take on Guildmages without betraying their purpose, and while looking through guild cycles, I considered the Guild Rocks. Signets, Keyrunes, Cluestones, and now Lockets. Signets were just mana accelerators, but every other cycle had additional functionality. This got me thinking about a few things:

    What if Guildmages had two abilities: a mana ability, and a utility ability? Like this:

    Azor's Guildmage 1(W/U)(W/U)
    Creature - Human Wizard (U)
    2/2
    T: Add W or U.
    4WU: Creatures you control get +0/+1 and gain flying until end of turn.

    This card probably raises a few questions and red flags, not the smallest of which is the idea of a nongreen creature that taps for mana.

    Here's my answer: If every color can have access to an artifact that taps for any color, I see no problem with every color having access to something that produces mana of that color.

    Still, I would impose some rules to ensure nothing gets undermined: Firstly, nothing that costs under three mana. Secondly, nothing that produces more than one mana per turn. And thirdly, nothing that produces mana of colors outside the card's own colors. Essentially, each guild's new Guildmage should be no more effective for acceleration than Manalith and none of them should encroach on green's territory for fixing outside its own colors.

    Now lets examine each aspect of the card:

    3 CMC: Like I said, this is done to make sure these guildmages aren't any better at accelerating than the mana rocks they all normally have access to anyway. It is a departure for classic Guildmages, but I think it's fine.

    Hybrid cost: To facilitate the role of fixing mana within the colors of a single guild, it should be easy to cast even if you don't have both colors of mana on the battlefield.

    Two activated abilities: This technically lines up with all previous Guildmages, which also have two abilities each. This time around, one of those abilities just happens to be a very different kind of ability.

    Early game ability: This is the mana ability, giving you fixing and minor acceleration to cast your multicolored spells.

    Late game ability: This is the activated ability, which the mana ability can help to pay for. Part of the appeal of Guildmages seems to be the ability to be active even with an empty hand. This ability facilitates that.

    The next question this card raises is this: What happens to Guild Rocks with these in the set? The answer is that they get replaced by something else. That presents an interesting challenge, as Guild Rocks are historically common while Guildmages are historically uncommon. At some point, if people like these new Guildmages, I'll tackle that and make a new thread.

    Anyway, what I like about this new style of Guildmage is that only having one non-mana ability conserves design space a bit without sacrificing a lot of functionality.

    Anyway, what do you guys think?
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Bartizan Bats Revised
    Okay, time for the hard truth.

    WotC is a business. Its main goal is to sell as much product as possible.

    Taking that as our given, lets answer this question: What will sell more packs?

    A. A set in which every single card has appeal and can be used in a competent constructed deck.

    or

    B. A set which is comprised of 95% jank and 5% exciting, valuable, playable cards.

    The answer, as much as it may displease you, is B. WotC knows that in order to sell as many packs as possible, they need to design sets such that the open-rate of a desirable card is as low as possible without causing the customer to give up on buying said packs.

    In addition, WotC has to closely monitor A LOT of different aspects about the game to avoid making any large mistakes that will result in loss of playerbase, and therefore lots of sales. Primarily, that means balancing constructed formats, particularly standard. That means that WotC has to spend a considerable amount of their time and money playtesting and balancing each and every standard-legal set they put out, a process they have talked a lot about and to which they have devoted multiple teams of employees. Also taking into account that they start work on a new set only two years out and many of their designers and developers work on multiple projects at a time, we know that their capacity for balancing and developing sets is limited.

    If they decided to take your stance and endeavored to make every single card in a set constructed-playable, a single set (around 250 cards) would take significantly longer than two years to make, as every single card would need to be balanced against every single other card in a set, as well as every other card in the current standard format.

    Assuming they somehow do manage to stretch time to accommodate this goal, the playerbase now faces a much different problem.

    Looking back on Magic sets of old (which I suggest you do, considering you seem to think that only recent sets are guilty of printing bad cards), you may notice that some sets had card counts of over 400 cards. If you're wondering why this has changed for the modern design era, it's because they were trying to keep the standard card-pool at a more reasonable size. Giving players too many options of cards to sift through can take a heavy toll on constructed formats. Conversely, giving a person fewer things to choose between makes the choice much easier and more approachable.

    The reason I bring this up is that making every common card constructed-playable in some deck is effectively the same thing as increasing the standard card-pool by way of increasing the number of viable choices. To compensate, WotC would likely need to drop the number of cards in a set to a number that is not ideal for draft, which every standard set is designed for.

    That's another thing to think about. Just as not every rare is playable in standard, yet some might be allstars in formats like Commander (see End-Raze Forerunners), every common is not designed for constructed. In fact, most are designed specifically to play a role in limited. The few cases of commons showing up in standard can often be attributed to coincidence, or accident.

    What I mean is that you want every card in Magic to somehow be playable in some format, but that's already true. Draft is Magic's most popular format and the one in which the commons you're complaining about see the most play anyway.

    The short version of this argument is this: WotC simply doesn't have the time, money, or reason to make every common card playable by your standards. In fact, doing so would actively harm them as a business as well as the players who play their competitive formats.

    In the context of custom card design, you can do absolutely anything you want. You can carefully craft every single card in your set to be just as playable as you want it to be. Just keep a few things in mind:

    1. You will always get people who think some of your cards are trash, poorly designed, or inappropriately powerful.

    2. Your cards will never actually be played alongside the real Magic cards you are balancing them against, outside your own casual playgroup perhaps.

    3. You and your playgroup are probably the only ones likely to ever play with your cards anyway, so there's as little point in balancing those cards against other people's custom sets as there is in balancing them with real sets.

    The reason I'm saying this is to drive home the point that designing custom cards for anything other than a self-contained draft set that very few people will ever experience is nothing more than wish-fulfillment and no amount of argument on this forum will ever change how WotC designs their own sets, especially when your arguments are as naive as they are in this thread. It's pessimistic and it sucks, but it's true.

    For that reason, I seriously suggest you focus your custom card passions on more important things than trying to convince us that you know better than WotC.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Guildmages
    Quote from Metaethics »
    A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But a shoe called a "rose" still stinks.

    Your proposal is interesting design space (it doesn't "stink"), but they're not guildmages. Should they replace them? That's a tough call; people expect guildmages because, in many sets, Guildmages were both fun and good. No guildmages in Ravnica is like no lords in a core set... possible, but disappointing.

    Would you be against both cycles in the same set?
    Okay then, let's call these "Guildwizards," then Smile

    And yes, I am against having both, because while they approach it differently, they fill the same role.

    I've never thought of the Guildmages as being a requirement for a Ravnica set anyway. They're neat, but so are charms and the new CCDD cycle, and charms haven't made a return.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Guildmages
    Quote from Metaethics »
    Watchwolf,

    Innovation for innovation's sake is not necessarily a good thing. Fortunately there is plenty of design space to explore.
    Consider:
    1. Selesnya Guildmage
    2. Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
    3. Conclave Guildmage

    It seems the design space is clear:
    Name Guildmage :symwg::symwg:
    Creature - Elf Shaman (U)
    [small mana cost],T: Small Effect
    [large mana cost],T: Big Effect
    2/2

    For example:

    Renewal Guildmage :symwg::symwg:
    Creature - Elf Shaman (U)
    :symwg:,T: Each player creates a 1/1 green saproling creature token.
    1:symwg::symwg:,T: Destroy target artifact or enchantment. Its controller creates a 3/3 green beast token.
    2/2

    The design space here is pretty clear; it's full hybrid, so you don't need to run it in a 2 color deck to get both effects. It taps, so it's not an absolute mana sink (although I'd be for a non-tapper as well)

    Your "spells matter" design might be okay, but I don't think they occupy the same design space as guildmages.
    You act like doing something different with the guildmages is a crime. I think it's about time Ravnica got a bit of a shake-up in its tropes.

    It's not as though my model is problematic or plays poorly. They're just different. And yeah, we can fiddle around with different combinations of hybrid and gold and tap abilities and repeatable abilities and such until the death of Magic, but I can't be the only one who thinks the third time around has been disappointingly stale. I want to experiment with Ravnica and explore new ideas. Personally, I think that the inclusion of guildmages at all is a bit tame.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Guildmages
    Ahhh... Guildleader not Parun.
    Yeah. As we don't know who all of the paruns are, using their names would be difficult Smile
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Guildmages
    Quote from user_938036 »
    How married are you to the costing exactly 1 mana of the opposing color. The guildmages have always had varying costs for their effects and keeping them to no more than 3 extra on cost could give you a much wider range of abilities to choose from.
    I'd rather explore the 1-cost effects first. If it happens that I can't find a good 1-cost effect for each color combo, then I suppose I'll bite the bullet and look into more expensive effects, but I'd really rather the abilities all be equal. It would be different if they were activated abilities, but since these are like add-ons to spells, I want to avoid making spells of one color easier to enhance than spells of another.

    If it comes to that, then I'd at least like to keep the costs the same on the same guildmage. That way one color doesn't feel favored over the other by being easier to reward. For example:

    Vannifar's Guildmage GU
    Creature - Mutant Wizard
    2/2
    Whenever you cast a blue spell, you may pay 1G. If you do, put two +1/+1 counters on target creature.
    Whenever you cast a green spell, you may pay 1U. If you do, target creature has base power and toughness 3/3 until end of turn.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Practicing with Commons - Three Cards
    Quote from Metaethics »

    I think this mindset is a mistake. Many people enjoy trying to "break" weird or seemingly useless cards. Many people like tribal decks that are comprised of (U) or (R) tribal synergies and (C) creatures that wouldn't be good enough on their own. Many people enjoy Commander, a format where you can only run 1 card with each name.

    Even if you agree that some cards are primarily designed for limited, designing a "useless" card is tantamount to giving up. Designing such cards for (C) can be especially difficult, as (C) cards should be easy to read and relatively not complex, if only to help with draft and deck building. That said, I see no reason why you can't make a fair green (C) card that plays the role of "good enough limited big body" but also has some constructed application. Myr Enforcer played that role too well in Mirrodin standard, being a 4/4 for like 4 or 5 in limited most of the time, but being a 4/4 for like 1-2 in standard constructed. Keep in mind that's a vanilla (C) card.

    If cost reduction is not on the table, one can always add rewards for deck construction, or even Spirit of the Night-style ingredient potential.

    Finally, the "fills a limited role ONLY" cards you propose really are something to make at the end of a set; you can't tell on day 1 that you need a sorcery speed removal spell that costs 6 mana at common. (In fact, I'd argue, you can tell on day 1 that you don't *need* that.) But there was a time in the RIX card design where they said "We're looking for something like Colossal Dreadmaw"... at which point they should have done Imposing Sailback 4GG Flash, This spell cannot be countered. 6/6 just to say "It's different, but fulfills much the same role."
    I get why you feel that way, but the unfortunate fact is that both "useless" cards and lenticular commons exist and they both serve an important purpose. Yes, everyone likes a common with some hidden depth and potential, and yes, ideally every single card in every single set should have a home somewhere, but when a typical set includes something like 150 commons, making sure each and every design has some practical application outside of being limited fodder is just infeasible, at least for WotC. And for us, who aren't bound by a release schedule or any constructed environment, there's no real point in or way to craft every single common such that it is as dynamic as Myr Enforcer. As designers of sets which only might be drafted one day in some casual playgroup, and nothing more than that, we have to accept that some cards will end up being worse than others. and not every common will have a home.

    And your proposed replacement for Colossal Dreadmaw is neither common, nor does it fill the same role as Dreadmaw. It may have been a bit unexpected, but I see no problem with them reprinting a throwaway common from the last set because it accomplished what it needed to.

    In the context of 1110mystic's card, it's not as though the card will spend every draft rotting away in the unused pile of peoples' card pools. It has a decent body with evasion and a little extra incentive to participate in combat. I can see plenty of scenarios in which I'd play this card in limited, so it's not actually useless. I just meant to say that if it ends up being limited fodder, like Colossal Dreadmaw, that gets last-picked and then tossed in a bin at the end of draft night, that's okay. We designers need to be okay with that possibility.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Guildmages
    I have pretty much decided on using triggered abilities because I like the concept so much. It pushes players very effectively into being more active throughout the game, especially in the colors of your guild.

    As for the abilities, I've settled on a few that I'm happy with. I'll try to post them later.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Practicing with Commons - Three Cards
    Intimidate is retired because too much color-hate can feel like entire decks get arbitrarily hated on just for not playing a certain color. It's non-interactive and unfun when used in the amounts that warrent having a keyword. Menace is a healthier option and was just designated as the black-red evergreen creature keyword.

    I think Unrolling Scenery is fine. Let's compare three cards: Evolving Wilds, Wastes and Crumbling Vestige.

    Two cards feature only one ability with no drawback. The last features two abilities with a drawback. It follows, then, that one abikity is free, while two abilities needs to be balanced out with a drawback.

    That means that, in theory, there should be nothing to worry about when we take Crumbling Vestige and swap out its tap ability for the tutor ability, as both of those abilities can appear on a card alone without a drawback, making them theoretically equal.

    As for the way the card plays, it trades the moderate speed of Evolving Wilds being able to activate straight away for some short term fixing with an extra turn of waiting before the long-term fixing. It's just more instant-gratification at the cost of delaying a better effect, which I think is an interesting change of pace.

    As for the Vine, nobody likes designing useless cards, but they're important in that they allow the more exciting cards to stand out. It's a tool for draft to push players toward picking some cards over others, which can speed up drafting rounds. I've played enough power cubes where every card is first-pickable to know that that leads to very long, painful, drawn-out decision-making. Bad cards make the choice a bit easier and double as determining the baseline power level of that draft environment.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Practicing with Commons - Three Cards
    All of these seem fine I think.

    Intimidate is a retired keyword, but there's no rule preventing its use.

    I really like Unrolling Scenery.

    The Wurm seems, if anything, a tad weak. This is another case where playtesting will reveal whether it needs changes.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Guildmages
    While working on a Ravnica set, I was pondering the Guildmages. We have three cycles so far, but I wanted to include a cycle in this set. I also wanted them to be different this time around and thought about how to do that. What I came up with is this:

    Niv's Guildmage UR
    Creature - Human Wizard U
    2/2
    Whenever you cast a red spell, you may pay U. If you do, target creature an opponent controls doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step.
    Whenever you cast a blue spell, you may pay R. If you do, target creature attacks during its controller's next combat if able.

    So here are the changes:

    The naming scheme this time is Guildleader's Guilmage.

    The abilities this time are triggered, not activated. Each ability triggers off of casting a spell of one of the guild's colors, and allows you to pay mana of the other color to add an additional effect. This rewards players for playing spells of the guild's colors by sorta turning monocolored spells into gold spells. It also lets the player enhance gold spells with both triggered abilities.

    At this point, the only challenge I'm running into is finding enough triggered effects at an appropriate power level to cost one extra mana of a different color. I'm looking for suggestions here, so any idea is a good one.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Practicing with Commons - Three Cards
    I think they're all good at common, though the red one is a bit of a pie bend. 7 damage is essentially a Murder, which makes that a black effect. Usually you only see large amounts of damage on red effects if they're scaled versions of smaller effects or if they're costed really high. With the design you have, I would lower the damage or change it to a black card that just says "destroy target creature that was dealt damage this turn" instead. If you have any ability word in the set that upgrades spells by meeting a certain condition (like Addendum), that could also be used to turn the 7 damage into a scaled effect. For example: "~ deals 3 damage to target creature that was dealt damage this turn. If you did (insert condition here) this turn, ~ deals 7 damage to that creature instead."
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Practicing with Commons - Three Cards
    These are better.

    Misery could probably just say "Up to two target creatures each get -2/-2 until end of turn." That's sorta pushing the limits, but I think it would probably be fine.

    Inebrimancer seems fine, though its cost and stats might need to be adjusted. It seems a bit small for 3 mana to me, but it's so ambiguous that only playtesting will get you where you want to be.
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Ravnica Allegiance Mythic Edition
    Aside from Karn and Domri, none of the art here is bad. The crappy frame design just takes away from the look of the cards, especially on the multicolored cards. Ajani looks especially dry. I would have liked the UMA boxtopper frames a lot more here.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
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