Monday, June 27, 2011

An Overrun Replacement

Recently, a conversation erupted on twitter about the validity of Overrun in M12 as an uncommon. It can lead to extremely unsatisfying, uninteractive conclusions to games. I personally felt that in M10, Overrun was interesting the first 3-5 times, but then it got more and more lame. It didn't make me want to go back to M10 over and over to explore more, like I wanted to with M11, as games in M10 seemed to be ruled by a heavier dose of luck than most environments. (For example, some of the Equipment were also very strong.) In M11, Overrun was replaced by the rare card Overwhelming Stampede.

While some common cards like Negate, Fog, Safe Passage, Distress can deal with Overrun, you are at a disadvantage when you're answering a game winning bomb with a narrow purpose card. In many games, you will draw the narrow answer card when the opponent doesn't have the Overrun, while in other games your opponent will draw the Overrun while you don't have the answer card.

It seems green was weak during development and needed ways to break stalls. But there's got to be ways to break stalls that aren't so overwhelming that it wins the game on the spot.

I wonder if this could work:

Another flavor text I considered was, "'Before you learn to overrun, you must learn to overwalk' - Stampeder's Creed"

Finally, I'd like to say that I'm keeping my mind open - maybe the environment works differently and it won't be a huge problem this time. In M10, Sleep, and to a much lesser extent, Safe Passage were game-swinging cards. But in M11, they didn't feel so swingy because the tempo was much faster and creature trades happened much more frequently. These two cards were only strong in games where both sides would accumulate a large number of creatures. So I'm hoping Overrun would play differently this time.


  1. I think that card is overcosted by GG. And it should be "you may".

  2. Don't know what to cost it. I started at 2GG but I guess I wanted to show that it's not "strictly worse" than Overrun (in Limited) even at the same cost.

    If there was an Equipment with "Equipped creature gets +3/+3 and has trample while attacking" the Equip cost was 0, the casting cost shouldn't be 2G.

    But maybe it could cost GGG. A mono-green deck deserves to have this early.

  3. As a better-than-Ana Sanctuary sans effort, 2GG or GGG could be appropriate, but something like this really can't be adjusted out of context.

  4. I notice you tend to express dissatisfaction with certain types of cards or abilities, lamenting a lack of interactivity on one hand, or a lack of sophistication on the other.

    Whether or not I agree with your personal views on what makes Magic fun, I am reminded that you and I aren't typical players. Wizards is unwilling to intentionally create an environment in which every card results in a massive decision tree filled with subtlety and nuance.

    They unwittingly did so, for example, in the most recent Standard environment, resulting in (multiple!) bans in Standard for the first time in ... a decade? (I started playing in ZDK, so forgive me if my ban history isn't up to snuff.)

    The new, decision-heavy card you suggest is certainly interesting, but Magic has to has to have a fair number of swingy cards like Overrun or the unwashed masses get antsy and stop paying the price of admission for the rest of us.

  5. Also, this is nitpicky technical stuff that I suppose a designer doesn't necessarily need to know, but your template should account for the possibility of multiple combat phases, i.e. "at the beginning of your first combat phase each turn" or "at the beginning of each of your combat phases".

  6. Battle-Rattle Shaman has the correct templating.

  7. I've gotta say that I generally feel that Overrun is one of the most well designed green cards in the game. Ascetically, it is the embodiment of green's "killem with creatures" ethos in a noncreature spell. It's also not just an automatic win, it's a terrible top deck if you are behind. Honestly, Overrun would be among my top 5 best designed green cards ever.

    The problem with Overrun (And Fireball) is one of development. Why are these cards Uncommon in a base set? I think the main reason is that they are iconic, beautiful cards that get new players excited about playing magic. One reason that apparently isn't considered is having a less bomb laden limited environment. Which, considering the goal of this product isn't as focused on limited play, is probably the right balance to have.

    As casual custom card creators, we have to wear the hats of creative, design and development all at once. It can sometimes result in looking at a development problem like "cost" or "rarity" and thinking that it's a flaw in the design of the card. I'm just not sure that's the case.

  8. I think the better question that arose from the twitter debate regarding Overrun was what other possible Green Uncommons existed for core set inclusion that could be considered viable 1st picks without being deemed "too swingy" or "obnoxious" as some people feel Overrun can be.

  9. Bestial Menace, Cudgel Troll, Elephant Guide, Eternal Witness, Imperious Perfect, Ivy Elemental all seem first pickable and would be fine as core set uncommons.

  10. I was aiming for a card that would be a reason to go into green in draft, and that could give green the ability to bust through creature stalls.

    However, for the sake of constructed, Overrun is a beautiful card. I like how it inspires a tournament viable deck type that feels green, and that it's also a deck type that new players can understand and try to collect cards for.

    I guess there are many factors to a card's inclusion. Maybe late in the development stage, there's no room for new cards and you have to adjust power levels using existing cards. And there has to be enough cards in the set that contribute to constructed, including budget constructed.

  11. @Duncan I do think limited is a high consideration for core sets, because it's the reason why experienced players continue to buy the product after they already have the Titans that they need.

  12. I'm okay with Overrun. I've done the Safe Passage + block their best guy with Acidic Slime, and it feels good. Overrun seems way easier to answer than, say, Grave Titan in M11 Limited. Sure, you might say, "but Grave Titan is a Mythic Rare". That doesn't stop multiple sealed opponents from having it! Overrun also requires more interesting deck construction decisions than bombs like Garruk, Baneslayer, or Titans.