Monday, January 8, 2018

GDS3 Prep: Essay Question 3

3. R&D follows many rules for what kind of cards may be printed. However, these rules can be violated if the set calls for it. For example, Yoked Plowbeast broke the size limit on common white creatures because of the theme of Naya. Give an example of another set in which R&D should have broken a particular rule, and explain why.

17 comments:

  1. Oh, excellent question. It's very true, designers are often over-prone to breaking rules, and judging when they *should* do so is a skill that shows a lot of understanding.

    A classic example is Rosewater allowing "remove from exile" cards on Eldrazi, because they don't undo removal. Ideally I'd pair that with an example where they broke a rule because the gain was just straight up more than the cost.

    However, I've no idea! I'm sure I've thought this in the past, but I don't remember any of the examples. Examples where they broke a rule and shouldn't were much more obvious.

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    1. Thank you! I was thinking that they often ask questions of the form of, "When has R&D gone too far?" Thus, it's also interesting to ask, "When have they not gone far enough?"

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  2. Rivals of Ixalan should have broken the rule that green can't kill (ground) creatures without using its own creatures in order to make Form of the Dinosaur green. Dinosaurs are more fundamentally green than red. And while Form of the Dinosaur technically lets you kill without controlling a card of type creature, the same rationale that justifies red getting Moat and healing from Form of the Dragon—that the card is merely replicating the effect of you becoming a (flying) creature—Form of the Dinosaur turns you into the creature that's doing the killing. Instead, they broke the rule that red doesn't get life gain.

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    1. Ah! That's interesting, because I agreed that they *could* have done that in green, but I thought that the "fight everything all of the time" implementation worked better in red anyway.

      (I was excited to see another "Form of" either way.)

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    2. Gregory Marques made a compelling argument that forcing the player to fight every turn is reckless and therefore red. My counter is that because it's your choice what you fight each turn (as opposed to random or your opponent's choice), it's more representative of purely instinctual hunting fueled by limitless hunger.

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    3. Yeah, I think RG is the most defensible, but your argument for G > R definitely has merit.

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  3. Usually Dragons are exclusively high power/toughness creature and (partially therefore) only appear at rare or sometimes uncommon.

    This rule should have been broken for Dragons of Tarkir - a set whose selling point was "dragons", but has 0 cards at common with type Dragon, and 11 at uncommon. "If it's not at common it isn't your theme", and the set really needed to push through the restriction on Dragons to make the theme show up for a casual player who might only open one or two packs.

    The missed opportunity to break this rule led to player disappointment and one of the major design misses for 2015.

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    1. Wow, I didn't realize there were literally zero common dragons! What sort of card do you think they could have printed at common? Scion of Ugin, perhaps?

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    2. Oh yeah, good point. This does seem to have been a missed opportunity. They clearly tried to make uncommon+ dragons as impactful as possible.

      But they managed to make common eldrazi, surely they could have managed dragons. I think they would have had to compromise on "dragons are always incredibly good". And maybe "usually red". But they could have been good-for-common and still reasonably exciting.

      They accepted similar trade-offs elsehwere, e.g. when they made vampires common, they accepted there had to be so-so vampires.

      There could be a mid-size white or blue flier or two. A green flying+defender. Maybe a red burn spell changed to a haste sac creature. That kind of thing. Maybe a standard dragon with restrictions that make it less overwhelming in limited.

      Those clearly have downsides, they lose some of the "wow" factor. But they would have played up dragons-matter, and been "wow, there's dragons!" for more players.

      It's possible that fun common dragons would not have supported the sort of limited environment that suited Tarkir best and they had to choose, in which case, they probably made the best choice available. But something went wrong somewhere.

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    3. At least something like this:

      Common Dragon 6R
      4/4 Flying

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    4. try the common dragon they printed in fate reforged, the not dragon set. Lightning Shrieker ( https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/making-magic/state-design-2015-2015-08-24 maro's article so you don't have to navigate the search tool)

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  4. As Rosewater discussed in his lessons learned from Kaladesh podcast, I think the rule that artifacts can be played in any deck is problematic to build around and probably should be done away with. Lots of ways to accomplish that, from introducing more colored mana on costs to requiring a tribal component to crew a vehicle. If Smuggler copter had been "dwarf crew 1" I don't think it would have needed to be banned. Or if Marvel Aetherworks only allowed you to cast green spells.

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    1. I can see how that would have been beneficial in Kaladesh. But if Aetherworks Marvel can only cast green spells, why isn't it a green enchantment?

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    2. see below for a answer I was writing for very similar concept

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  5. R&D has rules against coloured artifacts. One of the largest reasons for the guideline is to prevent artifacts from loosing the identity of colourless spells and becoming more like enchantments or normal creatures. This rule has been broken in the past notably with Esper. These spells did not feel like enchantments they felt like artifacts, so why and how should have this been applied to Kaladesh.
    In Esper artifacts matter had to be tied to only three colours. Many of the coloured artifacts somehow referenced other artifacts or thopters and had art clearly depicting artifacts with coloured components. One issue with Kaladesh (and most artifact sets) is that the powerful colourless cards can run the risk of being played in most of the meta, smugglers copter style, this was not an issue for Esper.
    Kaladesh employed other strategies, tying activation costs to a mechanical identity (marvel), making them something with high deck building constraints (heart of Kerin and 3 power, Aetherfluc resivoir and storming off). However when cards where, and should have been for the sake of variety, printed without strong constraints or costs, such as smugglers copter another tool was needed to stop these cards being overly prevelant in standard. Coloured artifacts used in moderation would have helped constrict the decks certain artifacts could be played in, while crucially maintaining a critical mass of artefact cards for limited and standard to keep the feel of an artefact set.

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  6. Re: "enchantments can't tap", the restrictions that provided may have led to a few more interesting designs, but overall Theros (and honestly, original ZEN's quests) would have been improved with R&D willing to break that rule. You have to make sure the card concepting is still strong, and there's definitely a need for a meeting to sit down and figure out where colored artifacts and activated-ability enchantments move away from one another, but all in all the rule is about as old-fashioned as "artifacts don't work when tapped.

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