Thursday, May 17, 2018

GDS3 Challenge 1: You Might As Well Tribal (Discussion Thread)

Hey all. The results of the first challenge have posted. Go ahead and use this thread for general discussion of the results. There are also individual pages for each contestant's submissions, where you can offer individual comment and critique, and more easily reference the cards.

Contestant Challenge 1 Discussion Threads

24 comments:

  1. Things as I go:

    On the Ooze devour land:
    Maro:"Putting +1/+1 counters on a land is interesting. I'd playtest it to make sure it doesn't cause too much confusion. I think the second ability could just move counters from Famished Fen onto Oozes, I'm not sure you need the rigmarole of having to filter color and then cast an Ooze with the mana from this card. I also know that restrictive mana is an issue with the digital team because it requires tracking what mana gets used for what spell."
    There was a land with Graft on it before, so it has precedent. (LLanowar Reborn)

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  2. Woah, these challenges are all doozies. Good for showing off, but I know I'd really struggle to show the things particularly for the challenge (which in both cases I really like!) at the same time as satisfying the design constraints. I guess, that's what a lot of practice helps with :)

    Every single card must care about the tribal identity is quite a burden too. It makes sense to turn the tribal up to 11 to see how the contestants cope. But it rules out a lot of simple, natural cards.

    Alex's horrors. Oh no, sorry to Alex :( I loved the horror theme, I didn't think you could do Horror tribal but the intro was convincing. But I agreed, the cards didn't carry it through quite as persuasively :(

    Ari's insects. Woo swarm queen! I'm rarely excited by tribal mythics but I liked these, they felt a lot more tribally relevant than "just win". And I like the "lots of insects, keep tapping them" idea. Rosewater says too cautious, but overcompensating to show you can do both sides is probably more sensible than under-compensating and suffering through "aren't you listening?"

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    1. Oozes! Shamans! Those are some nice tribal choices.

      Ouch, reading feedback is always emotionally draining. "Let Challenge #1 Jay come up with ideas, but have Design Test Jay execute on them" is right, you're excellent at both, but it's really hard to find the time to do both at once!

      hybrid tap/mana is genius, I can think of lots of designs where it would be nice to have the option. And "cares about activations" would have been a good place for it.

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    2. Rogues! Aetherborn! Imps!

      Loved the tribes people found. Sad aetherborn and imps weren't more successful implementing the flavour the intro described, I thought both concepts were excellent.

      Samurai. I loved the flavour, I didn't have much to add about the mechanics.

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    3. Sometime I'd like to see Nantuko tribal as well as insect tribal, but I think the flavour for that would be different.

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    4. Surprised no squirrels but I guess they would not get a standard set.

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  3. Based on just my initial drafts, I suspect I would have been bounced for not being tribal enough. Like Ari did, I have cards that generate the tribal creature to be used as synergy with other cards, but didn't "mechanically care" about the tribe. Fortunately Ari got away with it because he had only one and also had such a clean, clear tribal vision.

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    1. Yeah, it wasn't entirely clear to me what "cares" meant. I thought having "insect" in the text box was enough.

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    2. I'm genuinely surprised this happened only once and only to you. There are quite a few tribal play concepts that generate creatures to be used as resources for other mechanics.

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  4. This was a tough challenge, but a found the feedback and expectations to be much more consistent this time around.

    I was impressed with the execution of Rogues, and thought it was a bold choice given Prowl / Rogue tribal already exists. With art and flavor evocative of a heist, I think the mechanical identity makes sense.

    Insects was probably my favorite submission. I would agree with the judges that the rares were a slight miss, but otherwise everything seemed nearly perfect.

    Imps I thought had a lot of potential with nuisance effects like redirection, stealing, small drain, goading, pinging, but leaned too much into the self-discard. I was hoping to see a cross-tribal lord for Devils and Imps.

    It would be neat to do this challenge. I think I would choose Turtles. With the rate these episodes are coming out, I wonder if there will be time for us to try them all.

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  5. Still reviewing the entries, but I love tribal and digging for ways to execute. I was very interested in Jay's unique tap/mana cost hybrid (it's an interesting angle to recognize the aesthetic similarity between a mana symboo and the tap symbol and relate it to hybrid) is intriguing, but I can't wrap my brain around the correct execution. My favorite example from that bunch was caring about a Shaman having activated an ability. I think that's very elegant but fertile and it even reads flavorful.

    Sad nobody did ninjas! At least Scott nabbed up Samurai.

    Linus made a very good love to pick Aetherborn. They're a favorite I think but not esprcislly resonant or evocative since they're a Magic original race. Fortunately Kaladesh did give them a mechanical identity so there was something to hang a hat on.

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    1. By correct execution on hybrid taplp, I mean what kind of abilities want to be tap OR repeatable and has a wide enough swathe of design space to fill an archetype.

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    2. And he didn't make a "good love", he made a "bold move". Autocorrect is a hassle.0/

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  6. I'm working on my draft of this challenge now, and it is incredibly challenging. In essence, you're building an entire, loud set subtheme -- the vast majority sets don't have more than eight cards, two at each rarity, that care about a specific tribe in their rules text. The Wizard tribal component in Dominaria, for example, feels pretty loud -- it's nine cards, none of which are lands. The Vampire tribe in Ixalan has six cards that would meet these critera. Red/Black Minotaurs was a viable draft archetype in Theros, and there were TWO cards in the whole set that cared about Minotaurs!

    In my opinion, all eight designers did a truly admirable job. Like the judges, I was especially impressed with Ari and Jeremy. Chris's Oozes and Linus's Aetherborn were tremendous too. Condolences to Alex, who I think is a great designer.

    This is the second GDS in a row in which the design test frontrunner had a tough first week (Jay Treat here, and Jon Loucks in GDS2). From Wizards' perspective, I'm curious about the utility of offering feedback to the designers on where they stand in the competition (you had the best challenge this week; you are the frontrunner; you're middle of the pack). On an emotional level, it's certainly information you crave whenever you're in a competition. But it's also not feedback that helps a person improve their craft. It merely introduces complicating psychological factors.

    I'd be interested to hear what Jay has to say about his thought processes for this round. I'm sure they weren't the same processes that he used for his design test -- nor should they be, since he got feedback that Mark wanted to be "wowed." But speaking from my teaching experience, telling someone you want them to wow you isn't the best way to get it to happen. It's a difficult needle for Mark to thread. If only communication were easy!

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    1. Wow, those comparative numbers are shocking. This didn't seem that crazy, but seeing numbers like even Ixalan's vampire theme had only six cards that fit the criteria of the challenge is eye opening. When seen in that light it makes the trial seem s little strange. I'm off the opinion that a cohesive mechanical there is the best execution of a tribal component in the first place rather than referencing type, but needing to do that and also make sure every card cared about the tribe mechanically is a lot of stuff to have put on a card.

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    2. The two mythic slots in particular were a massive trap. Even in Ixalan block, I think only one (Kumena) mechanically cared about tribes.

      In my brainstorming I immediately went to a creature and then ended up in enchantment for the second. But I'm still at a state with it that the enchantment actually does nothing unless you have a tribal creature out. And that's not a real good design space for an uberpowerful mythic.

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    3. Gishath and Admiral Beckett Brass also had tribal support.

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    4. Oh, right! Forgot about them. Probably because I've never seen anybody actually play them, which is probably a design lesson right there.

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    5. I think Beckett Brass is pretty unpopular for a pirate commander, even if she feels very piratey. But I personally think Gishath is an awesome commander! I think he encourages a play pattern a style of deck that is really perfect for casual commander play. I would say he's a pretty good design.

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    6. Funnily, I thought the "all must care mechanically" was a bit too emphatic, but seeing your numbers made it actually make more sense. It's like, they're saying, "the ones that care mechanically are the HARD ones, assume there are some other ones too, either enough to bring it up to the numbers in a tribal heavy set, or an unusually heavy tribal theme in a small tribe, we trust that you can design plenty of *relevant* oozes, you design the subset that are most challenging"

      But it's easy for that to be misleading, because you usually DO need to design a balanced mix of cards, both enablers and outlets, designing only one goes against what you expect. I'm surprised more contestants didn't get tripped up on making each card care about the tribe, they emphasised it in the original description, but it felt more like they were explaining the challenge that adding an extra rule, even though that's effectively what they were doing. (I wonder if explicitly saying, "assume there are N to N other cards of the type, design the ones that care" would have conveyed it more clearly)

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  7. The hyperlink for Chris is broken. (Why does this keep happening to you, Chris?! Loved your video by the way.)

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    1. My autolinks keep getting messed up from backdating these.

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  8. Looking ahead at the next challenge -- Did anybody else notice that it specifically does NOT say that this challenge is for a standard-legal set?

    Is it just me or does this beg for a commander theme?

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