Thursday, February 16, 2012

M13 Choosing a Mythic Dragon

I can't thank this community enough for the amazing discussion and awesome ideas you all contributed to in the last week. There were a ton of great dragon ideas, many of which are better saved for an expert expansion where they can truly shine in all their zany hotness. I've mocked up the ones that I think are the best fit not just for a core set, but M13 in particular. I want to share them with you so that you can vote which ones you like the best and the least and so we can consider any final edits to them. Do not take the absence of a design you proposed or liked as judgment against that design. There were a couple that are arguably better in the abstract than the following, but that just weren't appropriate for Magic 2013.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dev Concerns - Vapor Ops

In the midst of Dark Ascension spoilers, Aaron Forsythe commented that one of the recent reveals, Séance, had been included on the most recent Vapor Ops test, a part of the R&D hiring process. This lead me to dig up an old Randy Buehler article in which he created (or recreated) such a test for readers to challenge themselves with. After the break, you'll find my evaluations of each card presented on Randy's test. One of the more interesting aspects of this task is that nine years later many of these designs still demand thorough analysis, which I take as an indication of Magic's resilience and depth of possibility rather than a sign of stagnation. However, there's still a great deal of context that has changed, and I make no effort to hide that fact.

M13 Mythic Dragon

Every set needs an exciting dragon. At least, that's the logic behind Balefire Dragon and Moonveil Dragon. However true it is for a gothic horror set, there can be no question how important it is for a core set. The number one thing players will be disappointed not to see in the set that introduces them to Magic is an impressive dragon. There are 98 cards with subtype "dragon" and many more cards that interact with or even just reference them. Right now Magic 2013 is looking for its poster dragon. It could be a reprint, but it needs to be worthy of mythic rarity, appropriate to the setting-neutral environment, and feel refreshing. Bogardan Hellkite was a great inclusion in M10, but would be a bit repetitive to bring back again so soon.

Monday, February 6, 2012

CCDD 020612—Eternal Embrace

Cool Card Design of the Day
2/6/2012 - On first blush, this probably just looks like a variant of Bone Splinters and/or another crack at Destroy target creature. Both of those are ultimately true, but neither explain how it came into being. I was reading MaRo's article today and thinking about cards that could enable more different strategies.

Usually, bigger creatures are better so how can make smaller creatures better? Mentor of the Meek does the job admirably. Smaller creatures tend to swarm, what about running fewer creatures? Creatureless turbo-fog decks have existed forever, can we find something that wants you to play some creatures? What if I could trade the potential of having a creature for my opponent's actual creature?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Design Review of Dark Ascension—Other

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Other

I already mentioned how I wish that Altar of the Lost were modular rather than parasitic. It could have worked with all manner of cards castable from the graveyard if they'd just omitted "with flashback" like they did on Burning Vengeance and Secrets of the Dead. Maybe they thought it was too good with retrace (Call the Skybreaker).

Friday, February 3, 2012

Design Review of Dark Ascension—Green

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Other

I'm glad they brought back Briarhorn. It's a fun, strong card that deserves to be simplified. It really says a lot about how far the original was pushed that we can remove evoke from Briarpack Alpha and still need to reduce its effect to keep it balanced. It's a bit of a shame that the growth effect doesn't match its power and toughness but sometimes we must sacrifice art for science. Or something.

CCDD 020312—Owlbear

Cool Card Design of the Day
2/3/2012 - I posited about the printability of a 4/4 for 2GG in common a few weeks ago on Twitter. Dark Ascension's Hollowhenge Beast (alongside Gnarled Mass) confirms that it's reasonable, at least in a small set that affords efficient fatties.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Design Review of Dark Ascension—Red

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Other

Afflicted Deserter shows the evolution of the werewolf mechanic: transform triggers. Whenever it becomes Werewolf Ransacker, you get a free Smash to Smithereens. Not bad. I'm a fan of this trigger. Werewolves totally freak out when they are unleashed. An upgraded Manic Vandal seems like a plenty flavorful ability here.