Friday, May 13, 2011

CCDD 051311—Phyrexian Mana Stone

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/13/2011 - My draft group was able to play NMS last night thanks to the packs we won at the prerelease. I discovered there that while Etched Monstrosity is still a very solid 5/5 for five, he is nothing more. This was in stark contrast to how he played on the Magic Online beta where the New Phyrexia packs are drafted alongside all the old sets, but most importantly, the Alaran tri-lands and Lorwyn Vivid lands. It got me thinking more about the references that NPH makes to its predecessor, Fifth Dawn, and—more acutely—those it does not.

For one, I would have liked to see a Phyrexian Mana Stone that enables more colors. Something like this (pretend this uses the φ mana symbol):

Another interesting possibility would have been the intersection of φ and sunburst. The choice of how to pay that mana would not just be whether to pay life to cast your spell earlier, but also whether to wait to get full value out of your spell by paying more colors of mana for it. I'm not remotely surprised this didn't happen, because it would have eaten a mechanic slot (to which they would have had to dedicate a fair number of cards) that is neither new nor advances the set's themes.

One more note on this subject: Imagine how different the war against Phyrexia would have been if the Mirrans hadn't somehow magically forgotten all their modular and sunburst technology. Having +1/+1 counters to negate infect would have been huge. This is more of a Vorthosian continuity complaint than a design complaint since we know they were right not to put both types of counters in the same set.

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