Sunday, September 4, 2011

M13 Designing Terrain Part 2

The last post is pretty long on comments and I think it's time I checked in with you, so here are all the things the team has learned since Wednesday. I will be paraphrasing the contributors heavily as most of this gold is from their beautiful alchemy (as are the cards on the right).

Terrain should either be a plain ability word or presented without a label. I was pushing for the ability word so it would be easy to talk about and sell the mechanic, but if we're going to have variations on it (which may or may not be a good idea) then the ability word will lose meaning and value. Another alternative is to name cards with terrain similarly. This doesn't impact anything else so we can decide at the end of the project.

The quantity and distribution of terrain in the set is still up in the air. These are the options:
  • A CCW cycle at common and a CW cycle at uncommon. This is my original proposal and is nice in that it requires only ten cards, covers each of the color-to-allied-land-type pairs once, lets us show simple and not-so-simple uses of terrain and the cycles are symmetrical.
  • As above, except we don't force a consistent direction, putting some CW cards at common and some at uncommon. This breaks the symmetry, but allows us to print at least one cool idea (Champion of Purity and his nemesis) that we couldn't do otherwise. It also allows us to demonstrate that even though the color pair alliances are reciprocal, they aren't necessarily even. For example: Common — Wu Uw Bu Rb Gr; Uncommon — Wg Ub Br Rg Gw
  • A CW cycle and a CCW cycle at common. Going the other direction, we could be even more symmetrical by weighing all ten cards evenly. One version of this proposal suggests half the cards are creatures and half are not.
  • Not making a cycle at all, but selecting two enemy land types and putting terrain in the adjacent colors. Specifically, white has Terrain—Forest, blue has Terrain—Swamp and red has both. this allows us to show off ally color pairs with a minimum of cards. It also means we're not forced to design 10 terrain cards 'just because.'
None of those options exclude additional out of cycle cards at higher rarities, but set the expectation for the main contingent at common. Based on the work I've seen so far, I'm guessing the second option could win out, but I expect we'll try a few different tactics before we find what's best. Ultimately, the decision requires a more holistic picture than we have so far.

What about the actual execution of terrain? There's a compelling argument to make green cards that care about plains ideal for a different strategy than white cards that care about forests. That's the child of two ideas: if we make terrain cards strong in certain contexts, but not universally strong, the players who need them most will have a better chance of drafting them. We also want to enable enough different draft archetypes to keep things interesting. We can do that by giving white-splash-green a different focus than green-splash-white. That sounds like a lot of work, but most of it is already done for us simply because we're following the basic skeleton that's been carefully crafted over the last three core sets. For example, Wg tends to focus on winning in the air with white fliers while locking up the ground with green's champion blockers, whereas Gw is more inclined to drop meaty green bodies and close the deal with some help from white's tempo cards.

We don't want to muddy the allied-color-pair waters by printing bi-directional terrain cards, but we don't want to prevent three-color decks. As the core set lead-in to Ravnica 2, players should be able to play more colors slightly easier than usual in 2013, but the message of the set is about the way the colors view each other; we're not trying to rehash Shards of Alara which basically came with a sign that read "play three colors."

Two-color support possibly includes X spells that allow only two colors of mana (like Balduvian Fallen), land-count spells that count two types of land (think Corrupt meets Jaws of Stone) and double-terrain spells that require two lands of the specified type. I'm not in love with any of these yet, but we should definitely try them out.

We are considering enters-the-battlefield-tapped dual lands (with both land types) at uncommon. (I'd even like to test them at common just to see what happens.) There are a number of fancier alternatives as well, ranging from reprinting the Ravnica shock lands or the allied fetch lands to some more... creative solutions.

To capitalize on the feature of terrain that allows it to be turned on after the spell has been cast, permanents should either have static terrain abilities (like Kird Ape), triggered abilities (whenever ~ attacks) or "dies" abilities, but not ETB abilities (except for late game cards, where you're more likely to have found your splashed land). Spells with terrain are still an option but must account for the difficulty, timing and psychology (the Kavu Titan effect) involved.

We'll also be trying out Kird Ape at common, at least briefly. It really doesn't help to be conservative during the design stage. We won't find as many problems if we don't push some boundaries, but we also would guarantee mediocrity. Let's be bold.

Brilliant support cards include Awakener Druid (animating specific land types), Convincing Mirage (giving blue land-type fixing to compete with green), Evil Presence (to combat splashes), Path to Exile (now less good) and landwalking. We're also basing popular cycles like the enemy color hosers and the charms off of basic land types to further the basic-lands-matter theme.

Overall, I've seen more than enough potential to warrant moving forward with terrain. The next step in the plan is to complete a first draft of the white commons (and uncommons?) and actually playtest it to get a real feel for the deck. We'll see how that goes before working our way around the color wheel.


  1. maybe have a specific keyword for each land type of terrain, maybe something like swamp-native creature gets +1/+1, island-native creature gets flying... etc

  2. Terrain is turning out to be exciting!

    At first I thought it was just multicolor pretending it's not multicolor so it can sneak itself into a core set, and once it's in it would turn the set into Shards of Alara.

    I'm learning that actually, it has different design space than multicolor or hybrid or kicker - it allows cards to be different things for different decks. With the right tuning, it could be great for archetypes and repeat draftability.

    And cards like Vaportrail Imp actually teach the color pie.

  3. How exactly do we playtest a single color? Especially in a set with Terrain?

    I mean, building this set seems like an NP-Complete problem in math:
    Basically, they are equations where you know what you want the final solution to look like, but the only way to do that is to plug in values and see what works. There's no good way to put them together piece by piece.

    Personally, I'd just go through the skeletons, plug in all the commons and uncommons you can. If you can't think of a good replacement, leave it. If you want to use new designs, go for it. I mean, I know that I have a pretty good idea of how I want this set to play. I've built that into my design skeletons here. Post your list and have people test it out. It doesn't have to be pretty. But until cards are in people's hands, we're all just guessing how these cards will play.

  4. I'm going to second Chah's thoughts: I thought Terrain was just going to be "Multicolor: the Extra Rules Text," but it adds a lot of depth. Thanks for vouching for it!

    On the question of making the different weightings of color combinations feel different, we could very easily do so through the application of XCC cards, but we end up making black splashing red and black splashing blue similar instead. For this reason if no other, I think we'll end up with a double common cycle to help push each of the ten decks in a consistent direction.

    Random aside: since we'd include reminder text about intimidate/protection on these cards, we should do so in mock-ups to see how they'll look to a new player who opens them up.

  5. For a quick playest, lets plug in some Terrain cards and support cards into core set pre-constructed decks.

  6. Heh. Yes, this is basically an NP-Complete problem. Fortunately, humans are better at those than machines, and we don't have to find the one correct answer or do so in less than O-sub-n cycles.

    We'll playtest white the same way they did the GDS2 commons. We'll make a deck that's two of each common, add land (in this case, not just Plains) and try it out. It'll be better when we can test two different decks, but W v W is valid and even just goldfishing will give us a better feel than nothing at all. Chah's suggestion also works.

    This will likely require more design since white wasn't flush with homeruns (though it did have its share of decent stuff). Once everyone interested has their favorite white list in the google skeleton, let's discuss it down to just a few builds and then we'll each playtest one of the builds we _didn't_ favor (for more objectivity).

  7. This isn't new to the discussion, but I feel like it's been lost in the shuffle. Since I was thinking about it last night instead of sleeping, I thought I'd share:

    In addition to terrain giving a card an ability it might not get otherwise (like most of the cards above), we can use it to shore up weaknesses the primary color has that the second doesn't.

    For example,
    Fiery Doom Blade (cmn)
    Destroy target creature unless it's black.
    Terrain — If you control a Mountain, destroy that creature instead.

    Along the same line, we can evaluate the cost of a terrain card by imagining what it would look like as an always-on gold card and making it worse. For example,

    Fiery Doom Blade as gold card (cmn)
    Destroy target creature.

    which is a bit worse than Terminate. It should be because Terminate can only be played with BR where Fiery Doom Blade can be played as either BR or just 1B.

  8. How is W vs. W is going to let us find out how Terrain works? I guess we could put in a few Islands and Forests, but we really need a two-color deck.

  9. @Jay
    Where was the google skeleton? Should we make a new page in the spreadsheet for the Terrain cycles?

  10. Ok, found it.

  11. This is where it would be really nice to be able to have in-person meetings to discuss what should make our first pass for white in real time and then to playtest.

    I've added comments below each slot so we can discuss a bit more.

  12. I don't know where to recommend this, but I feel very strongly that Knight Errant would be an awesome grizzly bear in any set with Elspeth. I can't say how sad I was that Glory Seeker made it into Elspeth vs. Tezzeret.

    I realize that for now the Silvercoat Lion slot is going to a Terrain common, but if we want a vanilla bear reprint with awesome connections, that's my vote. (Obviously, as usual, of little importance at this stage.)

  13. Selecting the cards have been really fun. At the same time, designing/selecting Commons for a core set is also really hard! Because there are so many restrictions, such as showcasing each keyword a few times, or having the right number of vanillas, every choice affects every other choice. It's like trying to solve a Rubic's Cube - if you try to get one face to match up, another face gets messed up.

    For example, if I try to put in a 3/3 flyer at 5cc in white, I start wondering if I have to change the 3/3 5cc flyer in Blue. I think we should have a meaty GW vigilance guy to represent a GW style of attacking, but I don't know if I should put it in Green-Plains or White-Forest. If I put the meaty GW Terrain vigilance creature in one color, I'll have to move the GW Terrain team combat trick (which I also think GW should have) to the other.

    I see a lot of thought processes in each of the contributor lists. But in order to combine the fruits of our work, we really do need to discuss and share our thought processes, not just individual card slot selections.

    For commons, we can't effectively get the best of our combined work by simply selecting the best card for each slot from suggested candidates, because each selection in a contributor's list was a result of choices made in other slots of that list.

    I think we should discuss some bases that the color(s) are going to touch - such as whether to do the Soldier theme or not, or what the White-based color combinations should play like, etc. I think those kind of thoughts can be distilled into one final product for the better, even if the individual card selections end up being wildly different.

    P.S. One thing I noticed about the comments: creature types like Kithkin or Kor can be changed. I was thinking of a functional reprint, although I didn't change the names in the spreadsheet.

  14. Well said, Chah. Let's discuss those more macro level decisions here. One caveat first: we still haven't playtested terrain at all. That's our first goal because the problems that test shows could require a complete overhaul of any work and planning we do. To that end, I'm going to lock in an initial list by Friday so that we can playtest this weekend. That list will be refined or overhauled once we've got a better understanding, so don't worry too much about it contents.

    I do want to discuss Duncan's tribal suggestion. Subtly pushing players toward dual-colored decks by including color-specific tribal rewards is kind of brilliant. If we do go that route, however, I don't think we want white-soliders, blue-merfolk, etc because that pushes toward mono-colored decks which will end up splashing the two-allied colors. I hope some players do draft that way, but that's not what we want to push. So each tribe needs to exist across an allied-color pair: green-white-elves, white-blue-birds, red-green centaurs, etc. If we do go this way, let's not overdo it. Each tribe might get 5 cards at common, 3 at uncommon and 1 at rare (total, not per color).

  15. Jay, for the sake of allowing more mutability in P/T parameters, you might want to explore class-based tribalism. That way you won't find yourself feeling trapped by questions of "I need a medium-sized creature in this slot, but I also need X creature type that shouldn't receive 3+ power at common." Certainly there can be similar issues with some classes, but a Minotaur Cleric can still reasonably be a 3/3 or bigger, whereas a Human Cleric would suit a 2/1 shape, etc....

  16. Soldiers was always going to be one of them (thanks to Elspeth and M10) if we do them at all, but I was definitely on a racial path from there so I'm glad you chimed in. Could be fun to explore class tribal again. Here's a possible breakdown:

    WU Soldiers
    UB Wizards
    BR Rogues
    RG Warriors
    GW Scouts

  17. Historically, Wizards are traditionally associated as being a U tribe or UR. I think Rogues is the best fit for UB.

    Scouts as a class is pretty pathetic, in terms of classes that excite people by naming them. Maybe Druids in GW instead? (I admit Druids aren't very White, as they get Clerics instead.)

    And connecting to a comment Alex/Luminum made on twitter, it might be neat to explore Rebels as the BR class and try to erase the traditional connection to Masques block Rebels.

  18. I wasn't suggesting that every color needs a tribe, just that every color needs a game plan that rewards you for being in that color. Midrange soldiers for White. Mill for Blue. Swamp matters for Black. Goblins/firebreathing for red. Elves for Green.

    Just having CC mana costs at common is going to wind up with awkward mana unless you supplement it with archtype game plans.

    People should also keep those plans in mind while thinking about how the two color Terrain combos work. Maybe you want a Warrior theme in RG, but not as prominent as soldiers in white. Or maybe you make the RG uncommon Terrain an Overrun variant like I have so that RG has that as a plan. I'd like a chance to layout what I have in mind in a longer article, if possible.

  19. Yeah, I probably went a bit overboard with that suggestions (as seen by the new tribal tab on the google doc). Applying the same logic I did to the tribal idea to the strategy idea, we probably want these core strategies to be dual-colored. WU soldiers. UB milling. BR aggro, RG midrange, GW swarm. Or something.

    Also, I have good news for playtesting. Since WF can upload custom sets from MSE, we can test online. Here's a deck from the white list as of yesterday (now woefully) outdated): Click Enter on the Page. It's just two of each common. Gotta say, even with 2 white commons, I'm not overwhelmed by the impact of terrain. What's your impression?

  20. Your site is awesome. It makes me want to get back into programming.

    Later, when we playtest decks against each other, we can also use Magic Workstation.

    I think the impact level is ok - Terrain can't give bonuses as strong as Bloodthirst, because frankly the condition isn't hard.

    I don't think the double cycle is overdoing it, and the set definitely needs Terrain in both directions.

    I think the 3cc 4/4 is a beating, and it makes playing WG different from playing one of those colors in another combination.

    However, right now it's not so different from multicolor. In most 2-color WG decks, Terrain would almost always be turned on for Proud Buck.

    I do think it's good that both Terrain cards can be played in decks that can't satisfy its Terrain condition. That makes it different from multicolor. You get interesting branching possibilities during the drafting stage.

    However, I think Terrain is most different from multicolor when you play a Terrain card that needs a splash land.

    This set really wants a way to splash lands. Not normal fixing, but one that's only good for splashing. It's also better if the splashed lands arrive late, so that there's a difference between splash-land Terrain and main-color Terrain.

    I suggest testing a WG deck that uses a splashed Island and a splashed Mountain. I would also suggest using the converting lands I proposed. I can't think of many other ways to support "delayed Terrain" in splashed colors.

    Finally, I'd like to note that with Terrain, there isn't a "reward" moment like Bloodthirst, because there isn't any work or setup. It doesn't affect play decisions much, unless we include a ton of ways to manipulate lands.

    Path to Exile, Convincing Mirage, and Viridian Emmissary are a start. I think it would be good to test early if that kind of land interaction is fun or not. It would be an indication of whether Terrain is going to be something that matters mostly for drafting/constructing stage decisions rather than in-play decisions.

  21. Perhaps we need to think of Terrain as more of a deck-building restriction than a threshold to turn on and off in a game. As you say, a deck with 8 forests and 8 plains is pretty much always going to get a 4/4 Proud Buck. I really don't think there's anyway around that short of increasing the threshold to 2+ lands (as you have suggested previously).

    Another option is that we forget the allied color focus and put four threshold cards in per color so that you can never use all of them and are forced to just a couple to splash.

    That doesn't sound very core set to me so I really want to see if we can make this work as a mechanic that's relevant at deck-building time more than during the game. If not, well, maybe that's our sign that terrain doesn't fit for M13.

  22. What about making the comparable non-terrain commons slightly less-playable so that the terrain cards become more significant?

    (Homelands 2012!)

  23. If you start encouraging players to run 3+ color decks in limited, you're going to run into problems. If your mana fixing is that good and ubiquitous, there's no reason for any color discipline in draft and players just start taking the best cards/fixing they can. That might be fine for some sets, but it's the wrong message to be sending in a Core Set. Core Sets should be about establishing color identities.
    Instead, if you want to increase the amount of "splash terrain" (which I completely agree is the more fun option) you need to give players a strong incentive to play as close to mono-colored as they can. This means that you DON'T give them common fixing, and increase the strength of the non-terrain commons that work with the color's synergies. That doesn't mean the terrain cards are bad. On the contrary, it means that the terrain cards have to give them a counter incentive TO play other colors. I mean, playing two colors already has big upsides: every color has weaknesses shored up by others. So you want players to make choices in their deck construction: play for monocolor consistency or splash for more power.

  24. @Jay
    I do think that in Core sets, players should be able to slap together 9 Forests, 8 Mountains, and 23 R/G spells and call it a deck.

    But with Terrain, we will be incentivising splashing no matter what else we do in the set. In Zendikar block, people would put in 1-2 Plains in their UB deck with Sejiri Merfolks.

    Also, we'll be reducing the number of viable 2-color combinations, as Duncan mentioned some time before. It's true that color intensive spells will help make Rg into a different archetype from Gr, but they're not as distinct as having a completely different color.

    The costs are already there. My feeling is that if we are going to do Terrain at all (and it might be correct not to), we might as well embrace splashing and go all the way with it to make it worth it.

    P.S. For the number of color combinations problem, maybe we can do a staggered cycle of one ally and one enemy, at different directions in Common and Uncommon.

    We could also have Common Terrain be allied colors and Uncommon be enemy colors, with Uncommons making up for their lower frequency with higher power.

  25. @Duncan
    The splash fixing I posted works only in decks with heavy commitment to their main colors. Even if you pick up a whole bunch of them, or even had access to an unlimited number of them, you can't even build an evenly 3-color deck with them, much less a deck that casts spells in 4-colors. (What you can do is build a deck that has 2 main colors and splashes for Terrain in 2 colors.) We should really test this.

    Also, it's very slow fixing (only turning on after you get around 6-7 lands in play on average) so while it's ok to use it to turn on a Vaportrail Drake as another path to victory in the late game, it makes casting spells in that color very slow and risky. It's not like taking the best from every color with wild abandon.

  26. I'm all for testing it. I'm just not sure that a deck that has 2 main colors and is splashing for 2 colors requires a great deal of color discipline. You're not playing a deck with 6 of each color, but I don't imagine you're leaving any bombs in the sideboard.

  27. I wish we had a better understanding of how much of this is Design and how much is Development.

    I'm going to get an updated white deck to test out today, but I do think it's important to test a two-color deck too. That'll be our next goal I guess. Any preference whether we bear down on blue or green next?

  28. More stuff to test.

    I clearly went overboard trying to add weight to the curve. We need more one drops (maybe replace Angel in Training with Soul's Attendant). Draw Essence is probably too niche: probably need a disenchant. Tactical Retreat feels redundant with Stave Off. Got rid of too many two-drops and now we're top heavy. On the plus side, the main thing we're testing—how terrain feels— feels better, I think. At 2/2 Dodo felt like an iffy Pegasus but at 3/3 it's a Hill Giant that becomes an undercosted flier. What do you think?

  29. Oh THIS is much better. What have I missed? Does Sloth work? Does Stonehorn Dignitary feel out of place?

  30. White doesn't normally get hill giants. Like, there are four common ones in history and they all cost 2WW. I mean it gets 3/2s, but usually not 3/3s. Fwiw

    On the question of design vs development, I'd recommend having everyone design the rest of the colors before we make a "definitive" M13 list. That'll give us all way more design practice, and it gives people more perspective on where any given slot works in the context if the set. Then we can start playtesting different concepts to see what works and what doesn't. We can still go one color at a time, but lets save the testing to after we've gotten a rough draft of how the entire set looks.

  31. A Hill Giant is a little weird, but I think it's ok. 2WW seems good if that's what they costed before. When it's flying it becomes totally acceptable, like Esper Cormorants.

    It's funny, I remember Tom LaPille tweeting something like "Is a power 3 creature in White ok? or only if it's a flyer?"

    About design/development: I'm wondering that maybe with core sets, design and development of Commons quickly become intertwined, because a lot of it is selecting reprints.

    It also feels like designing a curve rather than designing individual cards. It's a puzzle-solving exercise of creating a curve that represents a deck style (or hopefully, multiple styles) that also satisfies complexity quotas like Vanilla/French, while making sure each ability is represented somewhere.

    Of course, many abilities can be moved around to different costs flexibly, so I'm sure there can be a design-only stage too.

    Some activities in the design-only stages could be:
    - Messing around with Terrain and playing games to find out what Terrain feels like/can feel like, without caring too much about individual cards.
    - Talking about what we want each color (or color combination) to play like and designing cards to support that.

    I second Duncan that we should get the commons of all colors out in a very preliminary way. Let's do the minimum work to start testing Terrain in games, and we can figure out the exact cards later.

    If we're going to design one color at a time, my vote for next color is Green because there's more constraints. WU is going to mesh well together anyways.

  32. Now that we have a preliminary list, let me make some comments before we begin play testing the White commons.
    Soul’s Attendant is fine, but last printed in 2010.
    Blinding Mage may be a problem, since that effect without an activation cost is really obnoxious. Last printed in 2010.
    Youthful Knight is really strong guy and will hold back attackers. Last printed in 2007 (Yay!)
    Leonin Skyhunter was just printed this year and has a weird Cat Knight thing. The double-W is nice to balance Terrain.
    Benalish Veteran was just printed this year and I think we should use this slot for a vanilla creature that’s either a Soldier or has strong resonance.
    Proud Buck is a house and I am sure 2W is too cheap for a common White 4/4.
    British Explorer is fine. Again I like the double-W, but I don’t see a need to have another Plains when I can cast this. This could also be a Vanilla creature.
    Plated Griffin for some reason this got the slot over my Gargoyle. I like the double-W though.
    Crested Dodo is a strong Terrain design and it shows how the commons should all have the same bonuses. I’ll be looking to see if this is just too easy to play and should be changed to 2WW.
    Griffin of Burden is confusing since M12 already has Chasm Drake. Is this a White or Blue card concept? I’d rather see something else here, but whatever.
    Stonehorn Dignitary – Boo to two Rhino men in our commons. And this was just printed in M12.
    Drowsing Rhox – There are double the number of Medium –sized creatures here compared to M12 (And that’s only if you count Peregrine Griffin’s 2/4 as Medium-sized.) I think we need to step back and think about why White is getting 4 Med creatures when it usually only gets 1 or 2.
    Tireless Elephant – Another beefy creature that could be placed for a smaller one (Beacon Hawk) It is nice to see vigilance finally. There are only 2 creatures in this list with evergreen abilities (beyond flying.) How can that be?
    Divine Favor is fine. I guess this means we’re also reprinting Dark Favor. Just printed for M12.
    Sloth - Having double-W is a nice way to keep it out of the wrong hands in limited. But Faith’s Fetters at four is better than this at three. When the mana cost is three I just prefer Oblivion Ring.
    Elspeth’s Covenant is a card I can get behind. Sorcery, correct? Very simple and hopefully fun to play with. It really makes me wish we had included Raise the Alarm at common.
    Reflexes of the Master and Stave Off are going to make combat a real nightmare since you should always assume a player holding W up has one of these tricks in hand. I’m looking forward to seeing whether these warp play. Stave Off was just printed this year.
    Disenchant – I must be misreading this. Why are we printing Disenchant? Is green not going to get Naturalize? Even though W gets effects like this, I think there’s a reason Disenchant hasn’t been printed since 2006.
    Inspired Charge – The extra medium-sized creatures in White are going to make this play more like Overrun than it ever has before. A team bonus card that only gives +1/+1 might need to be considered after playtesting. This was last printed in 2010.

  33. Good run-down, Nich. I agree or am re-considering my choices for a bunch of these. Some specific responses after one general comment: I'm much more concerned with reprinting a card for the fourth time in a row (Siege Mastodon) than one that was new to M12.

    Blinding Mage does have W in its activation.

    I honestly don't know whether Leonin should be printed or reconcepted. They used to do it all the time. Much less so now, but Rhox and Amphin made the cut...

    Proud Buck is almost certainly too good as is.

    Your Gargoyle concept is better than the Plated Griffin concept. Is 1/4 good or do we need 1/5? (Depends on other commons, obv.)

    If we keep Griffon of Burden, Chasm Drake must go.

    I thought Stonehorn Dignitary deserved a second print, but I'm not loving it here so far.

    Raise the Alarm really is tempting. Seems like it needs to be three dudes and have 'Elspeth' in the title.

    Disenchant is probably placeholder. That said, it's still very much in white color pie like Solemn Offering.

    Call the extra medium-ness sloppiness on my part. We'll downsize.

  34. On Raise the Alarm:
    I liked Raise the alarm, and had it as my 2 drop slot for a while. It totally works, but it's hard to justify as a vanilla slot so I went with the blade of the sixth pride soldier reprint instead.

    Also, while I like Elspeth's Covenant, it does break the model of the Planeswalker spells merely being synergistic with the walker, instead of just straight up making their abilities in card form. Like Garruk's Companion isn't a 3/3 beast, Sorin's Thirst only hits creatures, etc.

    @Jay Also, you do love you White Hill Giants. Your landwalker is also a 3/3. In fact, it's kind of identical to Dodo.

  35. All valid points I intend to act on.
    Particularly good call on the PW cards. This isn't the first time you've said it, but I agree: they should synergize with the PW's abilities, not replicate them.