Friday, August 26, 2011

M13 Envision Returning Mechanic

It's Friday and this is the fifth M13 article in as many days. I wasn't expecting to update this frequently, but as long as we're making progress at this pace, I don't intend to slow us down arbitrarily. While I won't be posting Saturday or Sunday, I do have some fun homework for everyone interested. It involves actual card design.

Before I get to the details of that, let me catch you up on where we are with our list of possible mechanics. We had tons of great discussion yesterday and were able to narrow the list considerably. I did make a pretty bone-headed move with the list yesterday because I only included the items that got no specific attention from the original list, meaning that some of the big items got completely left out. Kind of a gaping omission on my part. Sorry about that.

The omitted items were legendary, morph, clash and multicolor. Legendary is an option for inclusion in the set, but it's the not the returning mechanic because it has no keyword and can't occur at common. Morph, like flip, split and hybrid is too special/important, too different and too complex for a core set. Multicolor, like legendary isn't keyworded, but it's actually so visually apparent and so beloved I would still consider it as the featured mechanic for a core set. That said, I think we've agreed it's a bad fit for a set meant to lead into a multicolored set (Rav 2). Clash is still an option. I love how it fits with the 13 theme and I love that it adds both variance and card-selection, but that it was considered a failure to some extent is obviously a pretty big damper. Can anyone locate the article(s) where that's explained?

So, our current list of possibilities is: The Ogre Savant Ability or The Kird Ape Ability or Sunburst, Exalted or New Bushido, Rebound, Clash, Prowl, Gating, Battle Cry, Kicker, Persist, Allies. I suspect the items in bold are more likely to pay off than the rest, but not enough to remove the others from the list.

Now for everyone's assignment. For each mechanic you have faith in, design up to one card that will demonstrate how that mechanic would look in M13 and why it's worthy of beating out all the other contenders. With that card, write something short (6 lines or less) that describes the impact that mechanic will have on the gameplay of the set and the design of the rest of the cards. Please only share one card for each mechanic, but you can submit for any number of mechanics. Alternately or in addition, you may design one support card that doesn't have the keyword but does work well with in some way.

Post your stuff in the Wiki on the appropriate page and please be sure to sign your work. I'll be doing a few too. Since the Wiki is a living thing, feel free to replace or edit your own submission before, say, COB Monday EST. I'll post and review the most relevant submissions here Monday evening and hopefully we can come to an initial decision on our returning mechanic by mid-week next week.

Mr. Spalding had to bow out of doing the black analysis because of time restraints. I'm glad that he'll still be able to contribute via the comments and this is exactly the reason I decided to keep the team fluid. As enthusiastic as we may be, the fact this isn't our day job means other priorities may usurp this one from time to time. No big deal. Who else wants to claim the black analysis?


  1. If there's another step before we finish selecting the mechanic, I think it would be useful to also design cards that don't have that keyword themselves, but belong in an environment that has that mechanic. For example, in M12's case that would Goblin Fireslinger. For Sunburst, that would be a mana fixer. It could be a good indication of how the mechanic can influence the environment.

  2. I'm surprised no one has mentioned color shifting / plane shifting as a returning mechanic. You get Damnation as a marquee reprint, and can subtly play with the pie going into a multicolor block.

    Lorwyn onward especially hasn't been explored in this manner.

  3. I'm adding the option to design one support card that doesn't have the mechanic in question but does complement it some way (in place of or in addition to the keyworded card) .

  4. What about madness?

  5. I can't figure out how to add a card on the wiki. I would like to make a New Bushido card, but the help pages aren't being very clear. Could anyone tell me how? I have made anaccount and joined the group.

  6. Rourke, the wiki is an awful abomination and the help pages offer no assistance.

    I'm assuming the issue you're having is that you can't seem to edit any pages, as the help pages refer to a tab that doesn't exist for you (at the moment).

    This is because you have to join the Wizards group, or whatever it is, through the social interface. Hopefully someone on there can can give you more specific directions if you need them.

  7. Thank you very much.

  8. This is as long an explanation as I was able to find on Clash from the Wizards website:
    "Somehow we made a mechanic for Timmy that Timmy didn't like but Spike did. Even Spike didn't care about the random part of this mechanic, which was the point of it. I consider it a noble but failed attempt."

  9. Yeah I HATE Clash. I'd be pretty upset to see it return. If you want, I can offer at least my reasons for such distaste, but I won't gunk the thread up with them unless you prefer.

  10. Also, Jay, I've done a Black Analysis. My wiki-fu is horribly lacking, so shoot me an email if you'd like to see it.

  11. Colorshifting (to be exact, colorBLEEDING) was seen as one of the major problems of New Phyrexia in Scars block. Allowing every color to access removal (black's Dismember with Phyrexian mana) was a mistake in the eyes of development.

    Although I don't like Clash, I think it would have a somewhat decent fit as the mechanic of the core set, especially between Innistrad and "Hook". The nonkeyworded abilities that link with it should have something to do with arranging the cards at the top a player's library (not just your own; for example, red or black could be able to remove a card from the game for a turn and return it the next turn while blue can look through several cards and rearrange them as desired, etc.).

  12. I don't really like the Ogre Savant ability or Sunburst as themes. Both are going to require an environment with a lot of mana fixing. This will make building a good mana base important in this environment. I think this concept is a little too advanced to be pushed in a core set. We don’t really need to worry beginning players with whether they should be playing their one swamp in their blue/red deck so they can boost their sunburst spells. Also, I don’t think cards should have any more than one type of mana symbol in a core set. One of the purposes of the Core Set is to establish the identities of each color, and having different types of mana symbols, be it gold cards or Ogre Savants, dilutes the player’s understanding of each color.

    Also, I just posted my black analysis onto the wiki.