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.
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Jan 12, 2017I 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.Posted in: Custom Card Creation
Azakesh, Stormlord 3UU
Legendary Creature - Zombie Wizard (M)
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.
Legendary Creature - Ape (M)
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.
The Cloudscraper 1GGGG
Legendary Creature - Treefolk (M)
At the beginning of each end step, if a creature with flying died this turn put three +1/+1 counters on CARD.
Unpleasant Return 4UU
Counter up to two target spells.
Apr 20, 2016Here are two version of the same concept, which use slightly different mechanics:Posted in: Custom Card Creation
Dust Transmuter 2
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
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
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.
For a Commander set:
Pillar of Sight 3
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.
Feb 8, 2016Jaxck posted a message on [GDW] Mutate: A Simic Mechanic With Rider To Make It The Most Interesting Mechanic Ever Designed In the History Of GamingHorrible title to thread. Otherwise okay mechanics.Posted in: Custom Card Creation
Nov 30, 2015Although 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.Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
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.
Nov 13, 2015I'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
Nov 4, 2015That 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.Posted in: Custom Card Creation
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.)
Nov 2, 2015It 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.Posted in: Custom Card Creation
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.
Oct 30, 2015Here's some of my ideas for Evergreen/Deciduous mechanics:Posted in: Custom Card Creation
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.
Oct 29, 2015What do mean "How Overload (aside: rename to Overcharge?) is NOT supposed to work?" How is Overcharge supposed to work, based on your understanding?Posted in: Custom Card Creation
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.
Oct 29, 2015@ .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:Posted in: Custom Card Creation
Void Storm 2R
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.
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.
Oct 28, 2015MOON-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
Oct 28, 2015Inspire - 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.Posted in: Custom Card Creation
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?
Oct 28, 2015I have a confession to make: I really like Hearthstone. I picked the game up a few weeks ago and I'm hooked. It's everything digital Magic should be, but with some new and unique mechanics which keep things fresh. Some of these mechanics would be interesting if brought into Magic, so here goes:Posted in: Custom Card Creation
Inspire (Whenever you activate an activated ability of your commander, [effect])
A niche but interesting mechanic which would find a home in a commander set.
Banana King 3GG
Creature - Ape (R)
Inspire - Whenever you activate an activated ability of your commander, put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control.
Overload N (As an additional cost to cast this spell, choose N tapped lands you control. Those lands don't untap during your next untap step.)
An all in mechanic which makes for interesting mana management scenarios.
Void Blast R
Overload 1 (As an additional cost to cast this spell, choose one tapped land you control. That land doesn't untap during your next untap step.
CARD deals 3 damage to target creature or player.
Rage (When this creature attacks, you may instead remove it from combat and have it fight target creature.)
Attacking creatures is something which makes Hearthstone play well, and is something that I think could find a home in Magic.
Frenzy Plant 2G
Creature - Plant (C)
Lure (This creature must be blocked if able.)
Keywording an existing ability, as it fits the Taunt ability from Hearthstone so well.
Banjo Bear 2G
Creature - Bear (U)
Spell Damage N (Whenever an instant or sorcery you control would deal damage, instead it deals that much damage +N)
A limited format defined by slinging large amounts of damage around would be quite exciting.
Ullon Magi 2U
Creature - Orc Wizard (C)
Spell Damage +1 (Whenever an instant or sorcery you control would deal damage, instead it deals that much damage +1)
You get N armor counters. (Whenever you would take damage, you may instead remove that many armor counters.)
Playing around in the "counters on players" space, I think with the technology of counter cards (like poison counters) armor could be viable.
Divine Shield 2W
You get five armor counters. (Whenever you would take damage, you may instead remove that many armor counters.)
Draw a card.
Burrow (You may put this card from your hand face down into exile for 2.)
[trigger], play this creature from exile.
Basically a way to create trap creatures. This also works as a cheap version of Morph, since you can scale the costs down to 2 rather than 3.
Hidden Predator 3R
Creature - Horror (C)
Burrow (You may put this card from your hand face down into exile for 2.)
When an opponent plays an artifact or planeswalker you may turn CARD face up and put it onto the battlefield.
Extract - [cost] ([cost], Exile this artifact: You get an emblem with [global version of effect]. Activate this ability only when you could cast a sorcery.)
Basically you can take a potent artifact (typically an Equipment) and extract it's power so it can be used by your whole team permanently.
Kossith's Blade 5
Artifact - Equipment (R)
Equipped creature gets +4/+1 and gains deathtouch
Extract 7 (7, Exile this artifact: You get an emblem with "Creatures you control get +4/+1 and have deathtouch". Activate this ability only when you could cast a sorcery.)
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Mar 23, 2015Jaxck posted a message on Word of Command #6 - Preventing a Blast from the PastI find Rest in Peace is actually pretty bad in EDH. Sure you can build around not being able to use your graveyard, but it cuts off so many good cards and strategies that unless the whole table is playing out of the graveyard I'd rather use something with a bit more finesse.Posted in: Articles
Great article, points out some very good cards I hadn't previously considered. I've never actually played with Stonecloaker. Is he really good enough?
Feb 26, 2015Silly oversight, but I forgot to actually explain what Dunes actually are:Posted in: Jaxck Blog
Basic Land - Desert (B)
(T: Add 1 to your mana pool.)
Yes I will be including a new basic land type, Desert, a topic which deserves its own series of posts, so hold of commentary on that topic for now.
Apr 30, 2013Trait Doctoring probably isn't as good as I initially thought it was, but it does serve a role as one of the better Cypher cards, mainly for its use as part of combos. I think this card in particular shows a big issue with Cypher, the need to attack makes it that much more interesting in Limited, but really hampers the mechanic's constructed viability.Posted in: Jaxck Blog
Renegade Krasis' ability is incredibly strong. Evolving him just once or twice is enough to get value out. Combined with Evolve all stars such as Fathom Mage and Cloudfin Raptor, I see him being very strong in more casual EDHs and in Limited. I think he'll definitely find a home but not as a staple.
Dec 7, 2011Abbey Gargoyle - Too big with too many abilities for its cost. I'd either make it a 2/4 (1/4 in a weaker format) or give it defender.Posted in: Robert Blog
Abbey Matron - Fine. Can't target your opponent's stuff, so fewer shennanigans.
Aysen Bureaucrat - This could be more powerful, but I think this is the right version of this card. Gideon's tapper is too good in my opinion.
Aysen Crusader - My only issue with this card is that it feels green, or green-white. If it's ability hit only white creatures I'd say good.
Rashka, the Slayer - Couple of things. A) This needs a new name, as Raksha already exists; B) I want this to do more, as is it is kind of an underwhelming card. Perhaps she blows up black permanents on the attack?
Serra's Silencing - Nice Pacifism rif. Not spashable, so I'd say good.
AEther Storm - Too good of a hoser I think, especially in uncommon. I'd move it to rare and change the sacrifice cost.
Baki's Curse - Not blue. White or green. Blue moves Auras, that's all it does with enchantments.
Chain Stasis - I always liked Chain Lightning.
Dark Maze - Too good for common. Make it uncommon, its activated ability 2U, and I think its good.
Dwarven Sailor - THIS IS NOT BLUUUUUE!!!! Blue gets the worst one-drops, not ones that can kill just about every other one-drop out there.
Forget - Ooh! I like this. Its like Sign in Blood, but better in mill decks.
Giant Albatross - What is it with you and blue creatures? This is too big for its mana cost. If this were 2U, it would be a very good common, but still fair.
Labyrinth Minotaur - Fair I guess, but why is a Minotaur blue?
Marjhan - Good till you get to the last ability. That ability is red, or black with the -1/-1.
Dec 7, 2011I challange you to build a pair of decks with just vanillas and "vanilla spells" (Giant Growth and such). Find a friend with the same play level as you, and play some games. I guarantee you will have fun. What Wizards has been doing recently is lower the complexity level of commons, while raising the complexity of higher rarities(read MaRo's recent article for more in depth on the topic). What this means is more common vanillas and fewer uncommon and rare vanillas. You've also got to consider the set from which those cards were drawn. One is a rare from an expert level expansion, while the other is an uncommon from a core set. If you don't understand the distiction I just made there, you should not be complaining about vanilla creature's existing.Posted in: Massive Marc Blog
Dec 18, 2010I understand what your saying. I've understood it all along. What I'm saying is that it doesn't break the game to the degree your proposing. Really what needs to be made is a Poison-Life converter of some sorts, that would allow the two totals to be controlled to the same degree. Remember that they still have two whole sets in which to fix Infect.Posted in: Demagogue Blog
Dec 18, 2010Your not getting what I'm saying. I agree with what your point. MY point is that Infect is in its own design space, with absolutly nothing around it to support Poison. Imagine if you will all mechanical components of Magic in visual form, with lines connecting related mechanics. Every block theme save Poison is already interconnected into the rest of the game. However Poison is not, and therefore Infect will suck until Poison gets more stuff. That is my point.Posted in: Demagogue Blog
Dec 14, 2010I see the point that your making. Really that is a problem with Poison, not directly with Infect. Infect is a perfectly fine mechanic which I expect will see a lot of play in the coming year. If they somehow bring back more Poison in later years, I expect Infect will become even stronger. Your point is a valid one, and I agree somewhat.Posted in: Demagogue Blog
I agree in that Infect is an exclusive mechanic. It does encourage playing almost excusively with Infect. However I would like to make the counter point that Infect is really the first of its kind. It is the first Poison mechanic to actually have any major effect, and as such will be very exclusive. You could make the same point about tribal when Lorwyn came out, if there were absolutly no tribal cards prior to Lorwyn. My point is really that Infect occupies its own design space, with absolutly no connected mechanics. So yes, judge it. But do not throw it away out of hand.
Dec 14, 2010I see your problem with Infect. It is basically the same with most linear mechanics. Slivers beget slivers, allies beget allies, infect begets infect, I agree completly. I also agree that Infect is particularly guilty in this category, having only a couple of creatures (Putrefax, Necropede, or Blight Mamba in my mind) that can be played outside Infect decks. I would also like to point out that this is a three part block, not the two parters which we have had since Time Spiral (I call Alara a two part block because Conflux and Reborn went so off theme from Shards, that togethor only one sets worth of Shards theme cards were produced), each set of which will feature Infect. I expect that come Febuary Infect/Proliferate will become one of the stronger constructed forms. MaRo has made a major point of several of his design articles that one should not spoil all their good stuff in one go, but rather spread it out across all the sets which share the theme.Posted in: Demagogue Blog
Rant aside, I agree Infect is a very linear mechanic and there aren't many cards to play with, but I also say that there are more on the horizon. I know this point has been made before, but you can't dismiss Infect till we have seen its complete cycle of existance. If you were writting this after the release of Besieged, I'd have less of a beef. But you cannot dispell Infect simply because of its linearity.
I completly agree with Persist. It is basically flashback for creatures, albeit with a way to get them to come back. I love Persist, and I hope to get my hands on a couple of boxes of Shadowmoor/Eventide to round out my collection. That being said, it does mess with the game and the right deck can manage to get an infinate mass of creatures. This is hard however, as the correct tools aren't really availible. This is one of the simplest, but not neccessarily the best ways to balance a mechanic. I really dislike this methodology however, and really wish they would have (or do in the future) print more persist/Persist support, and balance it by putting the mechanic in the appropriate enviornment.
Dec 13, 2010I believe the reason that Instant still exists is two-fold: A) They've been a part of the game, in one form or another, since the beginning, and most player's don't find a major problem with them; and B) wording. I accept that the first arguement is weak, but honestly, which is more intuitive: an Instant or a sorcery with flash? Maybe to an experienced player like you or myself, but not to a young inexperienced player. My second point is basically that it would require a huge overall of thousands of cards, and fundamentaly change the way the game works. Plus flash is defined as "playable at instant speed", so flash itself would need to be reworked, in a way which would require more text on cards with flash, limiting its uses.Posted in: Nis Blog
Dec 13, 2010I would have to disagree with your ordering of these mechanics, but I agree with the general gist of your list.Posted in: Demagogue Blog
Cycling is a fine mechanic. Everyone loves drawing cards, and almost every deck is improved by having a couple of decent cyclers. The big problem with cycling is that it fundamentaly changes the way the game works. If everyone is drawing cards more effeciently, then the game gets accelerated. However lands are not being played any faster (assuming your using a single block which has cycling), so player's access to mana doesn't really shift. This hurts blue, one of whose primary attractors is amazingly efficient card-drawing spells. Cycling is a good, straight-forward mechanic for players, but a headache for designers.
Dredge is one of the worst mechanics in the game. It is also one of the most fun mechanics in the game. The player who intelligently uses Dredge in their deck design will almost invariably end up with a powerful deck, with plenty of options. However the player who isn't playing dredge loses game time, as they have so many fewer relative options, dragging the game out. Dredge also messes with two of the balancing elements of the game: the random draw and the graveyard. The random draw is what makes Magic work, as it stops any one deck from automatically winning, as a player doesn't neccessarily draw everything they need. The graveyard is where dead cards go to die, and should, for the majority of the game, remain untouched. Of course there are obvious exceptions to these rules, as there should be. The problem is that Dredge breaks both of these rules, without much cost to the dredge player. I personally love dredge, but I also think it is one of the worst mechanics for the game as a whole.
Flashback almost falls into the category of Dredge, but doesn't due to the exile clause and the generally high mana cost for the effect. I'll be honest, I don't have that much experience with flashback, but from what I have played with it, it seems to be a fine mechanic.
Scry is a simple way to allow a player to alter the random element of the card draw, without overtly changing the shape of their library. One of the better mechanics I have seem, its primary weakness is wordiness, and an expodential power level as the Scry # gets higher and higher.
Wither is a strange creature mechanic. I call it strange in that it doesn't really effect how my creature works, rather how your creature will work in the future. Due to this, there is very little design space within the mechanic. This is really its only weakness, as it is hard to break such an obviously abusable mechanic.
Kicker is an option giver. That is all it does. Period. This makes it, in my opinion, among the best mechanics ever printed. It adds options to one player, without detracting from the balancing elements of the game (like dredge or cycling) or taking options away from your opponents.
Metalcraft is Affinity V 2. That's all it was designed to be, that's all I expect it ever will be. Overall a limited/casual mechanic, I have no issue with a power pumper like this. One of several of the block mechanics, it encourages a certain theme in a set.
Landfall. Another block mechanic, landfall is simply a way to push the importance of lands without fundamentaly changing the lands. Personally one of my favourites, I'd rank Landfall up for originallity and uniqueness.
Affinity is another one of the worst mechanics in the game, and another of my favourites. While Dredge broke card drawing and the graveyard, Affinity breaks mana. Without the balancing effect of mana, the game breaks down into a "I win, you lose" scenario, without an opportunity for the loser to respond. And it wasn't the artifact lands that broke affinity, it was affinity that broke affinity. Anything which fundamentaly alters one of the game's balancing aspects on a large scale is a bad mechanic.
Infect is a block mechanic. Nothing more. It is meant to sell Scars and to be a powerful casual/limited mechanic. Your primary beef with it seems to be that it is linear, but I would disagree and say that this is a good thing. For a set to be successful, it should have at least one or two linear mechanics which players can immediatly lock onto and play with. One of the reasons Ravnica was so successful was that each Guild was very well defined. Sure, players played multiple guilds in limited. But they almost always worked best with other cards of the same guild.
Just some thoughts. By the way, what was with the etc? It is not immediatly apparent what you are talking about there.
Sep 8, 2010Whenever I draft Shards block, I always go ALA-ALA-ALA, or occacionally ALA-ALA-REB. I do this because I completly agree with you. I started playing in regualr limited and standard events right after Conflux came out (I think I started the week after the release), and it was a very bad way to start my competative career. In my first draft, I was all over the place, as I hadn't been able to catch onto the shards just by the cards themselves. The one thing I think Alara did well was Esper. Being artifacts, almost everything meshed and it was really easy to build mechanically and flavourfully around the shard. Alara should have taken a que from Ravnica, but not in block design and set distrebution. They should have had three sets of roughly the same stuff flavourfully (with new mechanics obviously), but they should have also included a watermark for each of the shards. This would have given new players, like myself at the time, an opportunity to better understand the set. I remember first organizing my Alara cards by shard, but I couldn't with some of the stuff from Conflux and Reborn. If Conflux had had an enemy bi-color (rather than five-color) theme, that would have been excellant. Reborn's dilution of flavour broke the already Maelstroming block, severing any hope Wizards had of building a good, solid-gold set in the year 2009.Posted in: Improbable Things
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