Monday, July 22, 2013

Designing Suvnica Hiatus, Week 3: Themes and Us

Hey everybody! A couple more weeks and we'll be getting back into the thick of it. I just wanted to throw out another question for you guys to consider while we're on hiatus.

The vast majority of everyone seems to want to go in a 5/5/10 direction with Suvnica, and some very strong arguments were made for it. That's fine with me. It changes the development of some of the cycles, and it makes the third set much more packed than I was hoping, but we can work with that.

In the meantime, I wanted to find out if anyone had ideas for a subtheme that we could explore a little. Original Ravnica block had an enchantment subtheme that ran throughout, and RtR Block had Gates. Now, odds are that these type of X-matters subthemes are something that crop up as a set is designed/developed and not especially planned for, but we can still start thinking about toys we'll want to play with other than guilds.

So what do you think? What would be an interesting/flavorful angle to explore? Put your ideas in the comments. You can pitch cards if you want, but I'm not going to be adding them to the file/reviewing them.



  1. And for those wondering, no, there was not a hiatus week 2 that you missed. I just skipped it.

  2. Ravnica didn't have a flavor behind its subtheme - and while RtR's subtheme didn't start as flavor (it started as necessity for its common mana-fixing), it very much tied into the flavor in the end.

    I propose that we seek a flavorful and resonant subtheme, one that really works well with what we have. It appears we're looking at Hindu style castes, and I'm assuming with that comes some Hindu mythology - so perhaps we should look through that, find a running theme of Hindu mythology, and make that a subtheme of our set?

    "Fate" definitely appears to be an increasingly large theme of the factions, and in some proposals, even the mechanics. Perhaps we could find a subtheme that works off of fate? Caring about the top card of the library, perhaps?

  3. The theme of lineage underlies the guild model on Suvnica, and can be expressed mechanically in several ways by caring about multiples of cards with the same name, e.g. Welkin Hawk / Squadron Hawk, Echoing Courage, Kindle, the Odyssey Shrines, Lobotomy, etc.

    Goatherd {2}{G}
    Creature - Human Nomad
    When ~ dies, search your library for a card named ~ and put it into your hand.
    "Asif was born to be a goatherd, like his father before him, and his father before him, and his father before him..."

    Wisdom of the Ancients {U}
    Look at the top X cards of your library and put one into your hand and the rest into your graveyard, where X is 1 plus the number of cards named ~ in your graveyard.

  4. I think emphasizing actual guild play would be a good idea. As I said about the Police mechanic, IMO one of the flavor/mechanics interaction problem with the Ravnica blocks is that 3-color decks are so damn good.

    An out-of-the-box idea comes from the fact that one of my idea with Rimid, which involved turning creatures face down. Emphasizing two-color play, people say, will affect limited negatively. How about upping the amount of nonartifact colorless creatures, then? This way we can doubly emphasize that colored=guilded and encourage people to use two-color decks because they can fill in with colorless stuff instead of needing to splash.

  5. A guild focus puts some interesting pressures on converted mana costs: the density of multicolored cards pushes towards fewer CMC 1 cards, but the fact that multicolored cards can be balanced cheaper than monocolored cards with the same effect pushes other mana costs down. This doesn't enable something Storm like, but does leave more room at the top end to do something with all that mana you'll be playing to make sure you can cast difficult colored costs. I'm not sure what we should do, but rewarding players for lots of mana would support good gameplay and relieve pressure on the guild mechanics to fulfill that role.

    1. RTR and GTC did a good job of promoting two color play simply by being fast formats. If we don't want to take that route (and for freshness, we probably don't), then the best way to encourage players to run fewer colors (apart from limiting mana fixing, which seems dangerous) is to explicitly reward playing more cards of one or two colors:

      Boros Goblin 1R
      Creature-Goblin Soldier (cmn)
      ~ has power equal to the number of red permanents you control.

      Scaling Helix RW
      Instant (unc)
      ~ deals damage to target c/p equal to the number of red permanents you control.
      Gain life equal to the number of white permanents you control.

      Horny Elves 1G
      Creature-Elf (cmn)
      Whenever another green permanent ETB under your control, put a +1/+1 counter on ~.

      Surrounded by Death 2B
      Instant (cmn)
      Chroma — Target creature gets -X/-X until EOT, where X is the number of {B} among mana costs of permanents you control.

    2. Good idea. We could even hit two birds with one stone by counting basic land types a la Corrupt, though that loses the nice interactions with gold cards. Still, since this is an alternate to Ravnica ever existing we could replace the Gates with etbt duals with basic land types.

    3. If a higher than normal number of monocolor cards have CC costs, that makes two-color decks more attractive.

      Red-Blue guy {1}{R}{U}
      Creature (U)
      Hybrid Chroma - When ~ enters the battlefield, draw X cards, then discard X cards, where X is the number of {R} or {U} among mana costs of permanents you control.

    4. I do like the idea of pushing mono-color and guild colors. There needs to be a push for activated abilities that require at least 2 colored mana, possibly at common. I am thinking of guildmage-like utility creatures but of inferior impact.
      Possible example:

      Tezzi common mage
      Creature 1/2
      RR, T: CARDNAME deals 2 damage to target creature already dealt damage this turn.
      2UU, T, Sacrifice CARDNAME: Counter target creature spell unless its controller pays 2.

      This could be used on a couple of cycles but with the intention of staying at common rarity. In addition, more mono-colored cards can be made with similar abilities but I prefer hybrid since they can fall into either of its guild colors in a pinch.