Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tesla: Do-It-Yourself Progress

A while back, we all tried to make mechanics for Tesla that captured the themes of player progress. I think we made some pretty great mechanics last time, and this week, I'd like to highlight a few of them and discuss what ideas they bring to the table that we could perhaps explore further.
Last week, the focus of discussion was representing player progress with forms of progress inherent to every game of Magic. As AlexC noted, we already have many things in Magic that improve and grow over the course of the game. Lands are added to the battlefield; the spells cast generally trend towards being bigger and better; and the number of permanents we have increases. These three things are built into the structure of Magic, so perhaps we can exploit them to our advantage...

A large discussion last week was on the nature of lands as a form of progress in Magic. An interesting mechanic we keep returning to is Ruincast, a mechanic proposed by Reuben Covington that has you sap the colored-mana from your lands in order to power spells. However, this mechanic comes with a nasty price - this cost is invisible to many newer players, and they might end up mana-screwing themselves unwittingly. In addressing this issue, Jay Treat hit upon an intriguing solution. What if we instead made our lands better as a cost, rather than worse? Here, the 'cost' is that you don't have an unlimited number of lands to improve. 
Note that I changed two things - I changed the name of the mechanic (since 'developing' already has a specific usage in Magic R&D) and I've had the mechanic give a counter. This makes the mechanic textier, but it also avoids some memory problems I foresee it having. Of course, counters on lands aren't exactly ideal either.
Civilize cards would generally interact with nonbasic lands, not just Cities, to give them some more synergy with the rest of Magic as a whole. This reminds me a lot of Industry, one of my favorite mechanics from earlier in Tesla design. I still think Industry has a very compelling idea behind it, and Civilize takes this intriguing seed and pushes it even further.

Apprentice / Research, proposed by Mike George last week, has the issue (for me at least) of some confusing text. I've tried cleaning it up here, and changed the name to Research in order to facilitate discussing differences between the two versions. Basically, these cards ask what it'd be like to improve the cards that make up your deck. This idea is quite compelling - it's really cool to see the 'beginner' and 'expert' versions of spells, and it fits nicely into the natural pacing of a game of Magic, where as the game goes on, the impact of each spell players cast generally trends higher. I think this mechanic holds a lot of promise and has intriguing gameplay and a good sense of anticipation, as you hope to draw the researched card with each turn that passes.

Lastly, in AlexC's critique of a dedicated 'player progress' mechanic, he noted that the area that progresses most in a game of Magic is the battlefield. Could we simply look to our permanents to give us a sense of progress? Mike and Jay both proposed ideas relating to counters among permanents, and here is my own spin on the idea. The problem with mechanics like these is that they are tricky to track... it's quite cumbersome, counting all the counters among everything you control on the battlefield. But, seeing which permanents have a counter on them is a little easier to do at a glance, so I went with this version. Unfortunately, it doesn't work as well alongside Proliferate. But the presence of Proliferate in Tesla isn't certain yet, so this mechanic still holds some merit.
Improvement definitely points out to players that there will be a theme of counters in the set. What's nice is that any other mechanics-with-counters will probably add to one permanent - while Improvement looks for the number of permanents, not the number of counters. That's good, as it means that though they operate along similar lines, they play quite differently.

I still think that capturing 'progress of players' is an important aspect of Tesla, but the discussion a few weeks ago opened my eyes to the wide variety of 'player progress' mechanics that don't actually need player counters at all. Of course, if we do want to hit the Proliferate trifecta, we're going to want player counters. But I think the matter of including Proliferate is worthy of some separate discussion, and until we decide whether its presence is needed or not, we shouldn't let it limit our options.

Now, here are our discussion topics for the week:
  • How can the mechanics presented this week and last time be improved? What merits do these mechanics have, and what might we need to work on or fix?
  • This week, we discussed three 'inherent' forms of progress to a game of Magic - more lands, higher impact of spells, and more permanents - each with a mechanic showcasing how we can highlight their natural progress. What other possible mechanics could we make to showcase progress in these areas?
  • Besides more lands, higher impact of spells, and more permanents, what are some other 'inherent' forms of progress to a game of Magic? Are there any we're missing so far? What kind of mechanics can you make inspired by it?
Until next time, have a great week!


  1. And for those who missed it, Inanimate discussed Tesla in his recent interview with Reuben Covington in the Remaking Magic podcast. Worth a listen: http://remakingmagic.libsyn.com/re-making-magic-ep32-interview-with-trevor-cashmore

    1. Was about to post that, thanks for posting zefferal!

      Do note that there are some serious audio quality issues on my side. Sorry about that - I bought a new mic for the occasion but it wasn't working properly, so I had to use my phone.

    2. The audio is the worst for the first 3-4 minutes and settles down after that. I really enjoyed the episode though.

  2. Any way to consider your shrinking library as progress?
    Your opponent's reduced life total?

    1. Library = a lot of counting :(

      Loss of life might not really mesh well with, say, white'a philosophy or green's fatty strategy. I'm kind if stuck on the Zendikari Vampire sub theme here.

      Great points though

    2. I still like a card draw trigger as a measure of progress. It works like an upkeep trigger, but easier to boost and more thematic.

  3. Researched (You may cast this card's other face if a card with this name is in your graveyard.)

    Researching (You may cast this card's other face if cards with total Research 4+ are in your graveyard.)

    Researchable (Whenever you cast a spell with the same mana cost as this, you may transform and cast this card from your graveyard.)

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. The simplest would be just:

      Solforge (Transform this card and shuffle it into your library.)

    3. could add a cantrip to it to remove any negative card advantage then put the card a certain number beneath the top.

    4. Transforming only one of the (possible) 4 copies of this enables cheating too well. If a shady individual left even one of these transformed, draws it, plays an untransformed copy and draws a card or two, the opponent would never know. (Hence the search and transforming all of them)

      Shuffling a single card into a library should take no longer than two or three riffle shuffles. I understand shuffling should be limited as much as possible, which, again is why all copie are transformed in one action. Say a deck contains three different "perfection" cards: at most, you will have three shuffle actions. Compared to fetch lands...you have at most 12. One and done is the simplest way to mitigate excessive shuffles.

  4. The Comp Rules just redefined "front face" to mean "the side with the mana cost" and "back face" to mean "without mana cost", so you'd have to make another rules change to account for castable back faces.

    I don't see the appeal of Ruincast at all. Civilize looks like it'd be a fun online mechanic but too fiddly on paper. It also doesn't synergize with proliferate. I still like the idea of counting nonbasic lands without the need for a counter-adding mechanic.

    1. >The Comp Rules just redefined "front face" to mean "the side with the mana cost" and "back face" to mean "without mana cost", so you'd have to make another rules change to account for castable back faces.

      This is a change they already expect to make in the future; I can't remember whether it was noted in the CR update or elsewhere, but it was.

    2. I took that as sarcasm on Tabak's part to mean that he can't stop the design team from coming up with some mechanic that breaks the rule, but he hasn't actually thought about what a subsequent revision would entail.

    3. It should be noted that the reason I didn't use counters on the original version of ruincast was because of the mediums we playtest with make morph style overlays better.

      When doing physical playtests I always used sleeved proxies so the overlay can be slid infront.

      Online playtests are always done via Cockatrice where a simple annotation is more that sufficient.

      Adapting to the limitations and strengths of your game product is an important skill as a designer. Because WOTC is unlikely to print it due to their own limitations is something to consider but shouldn't be an automatic limiter.

    4. I forgot about morph-style overlays. Those are indeed way better than counters.

    5. Agreed, morph-style overlays should be used, whether they are considered to be counters or just reminders.

      I don't think this mechanic causes problems in paper magic. In casual Magic, players could just flip over the land card. That is the best way to show that the land has been tapped so hard, it is drained of its color. As long as players keep their land areas and creature areas separate, it should work fine. I feel that shorthand would spread very quickly among players, but there are isolated pockets of players who don't go to card shops or look at online resources/coverage, so maybe there should be a tip card suggesting you can do this to show the land is altered (or has a counter on it).

    6. We could tell players to flip lands upside down...
      [laughs uncomfortably]

  5. I really like civilise and improvement.

    Civilise, I agree counters on lands isn't _great_, but if it's just "yes or no", especially when it doesn't matter WHICH land so much, I hope it works ok. I like that it synergises with existing nonbasics. I like that it's all positive, but is naturally capped by the number of lands.

    My other worry is that if it does mana fixing, it may tread on green's toes: green is supposed to provide acceleration and fixing, but maybe playing some 1-mana instants in any colour provides all the fixing you need?

    And a minor concern is the balance between using civilise and playing nonbasics. It wants you to play more nonbasics to get the bonus. But playing too many two-colour lands means you DON'T get the benefit of "any colour". Is that good or bad? Not sure.

    Improvement looks even better, it rewards all sorts of different shenanigans, including civilise. Maybe choose a word that can also be a noun, like "equal to your devotion to black"/"equal to your improvement"?

    Research, I like the idea of "levelling up" spells a lot, but it seems to have a whole host of issues I'm not sure can be fixed. Flipping cards in the library doesn't work in the rules, may or may not be fixable. Bound to lead to forgetting before the next game. Shuffling for no immediate benefit will slow games down a lot. It's not that common to cast multiple copies of the same spell in a game, so most of the time the research will be wasted. I like "shuffle in", but I think a lot of intermediate players won't see the benefit of it, and even experts will be annoyed by the work for a small benefit. I like what it's trying to do, but to me it looks like a worse version of spell mastery. Can we use spell mastery, or some other similar condition, to represent the level up? Or have it like flashback/dredge, when you cast it, you get to cast the flipped side once more (from graveyard? exile?) maybe instead of a new card you draw?

  6. I think I'd like research more as a Spell Mastery type mechanic to avoid the rules issues associated with transformed cards in the library or graveyard.

    Research - 2 (When you cast this spell, if there is a spell in your graveyard with the same name you may pay 2 and transform it.)

    Its probably not doable to transform a spell on the stack without referencing the stack in the reminder text, which is the kiss of death. I don't know how I'd get double-faced spells w/o a casting cost on the other side to work otherwise. Maybe this?

    Research 2 (When you cast this spell, if it shares a name with a card in your graveyard, you may pay 2. If you do, exile it, transform it, then you may play this card from exile without paying it mana cost.)

    Its certainly wordier but I think it works in all cases.

  7. Improvement, as presented creates a lot of tracking complexity because it requires you to count the number of permanents with counters on it. It would reduce the amount of complexity immensely if worded to only care about having a counter at all, eg:

    Captain of Industry 3WW
    Improvement - As long as you control a permanent with a counter on it, Captain of Industry get +1/+1.

    This is far easier to track, "Do I have a permanent with a counter on it?" versus, "How many permanents with counters on them do I have?"

    The version presented could possibly be ratcheted up to uncommon as a way to reward counter heavy play since Improvement has all the hallmarks of an ability word to denote caring about counters.

    1. Too low a threshold. Maybe
      If Captain of Industry has a counter on it, creatures you control get +1/+1.
      If you control N or more permanents with counters, bonus.
      If there are N or more counters among permanents you control, effect.

    2. And the larger point I was making was that Industry seemed like a prime candidate for an ability word so that different cards could have different thresholds depending on their needs. That having to count all permanents with counters on them for that many cards would quickly exceed our tracking complexity budget.

    3. Of those options, I like the middle one, since its basically metalcraft for counters, which isn't an issue.

  8. I worked on "research" a little more last week and ended up here:

    Toast. 2R
    Deals 2 damage.
    Then, if you spent only R to cast this spell you may perfect it. (To perfect this spell search your graveyard hand and library for any number of cards named CARNAME, reveal them, and transform them. Then transform this card and shuffle it into your library.)
    B side > A side

    The first thing I did was remove all of the shorthand so that we could discuss the mechanic, rather than semantics. This text is VERY wordy, but only because I wanted to avoid getting bogged down again.

    The rulebook can be changed to allow something new (like the back side having a mana cost). This is simply the preliminary stage, so rules manager questions can be skirted for the time being.

    In reply to the first reactions:

    As for the implications of cheating, the first "research" action transforms all of the cards at once. They are either all-on or all-off. If any are off and you should have transformed them, it's your loss. You had the chance and missed it. If any are on and they aren't supposed to be, you have cheated and it is apparent.

    Logistics issues can be handled with checklist cards (as in Innistrad).

    So, I've already given thought to many of the questions raised and feel that it isn't a question of "can it be done?". It's more a question of "is it worth it?"

    My answer: I dunno. But I'd like to try. (See werewolves, phyrexian mana, leylines, serum powder, and colored artifacts)

    1. How would you indicate whether an unsleeved checklist card is turned to its front face or back face?

    2. What about something like

      Impulse of Fire R
      Instant (C)
      Perfection (When you cast this card, if you -whatever-, transform it.)
      Impulse of Fire deals 2 damage to target creature.
      Flaming Impulse
      Instant (C)
      Flaming Impulse deals 4 damage to target creature.

      With the stipulation (that I don't think is a big leap in logic) that spells retain targets when transformed.

      "-whatever-" here is whatever trigger we're using: card with the same name in a graveyard, cast another/two other spells this turn, pay extra mana, etc.

      And when it hits the yard, like every other double faced card, it stays there front face up.

    3. Which raises the question, why not just kicker?

    4. @jenesis:

      Just spitballing here, but what if the checklist card wa set up like this

      Apprentice master name
      O O Zolt
      O O Beam
      O O Splash
      O O Fireball

    5. Well, I had spaced them out, but the site eliminated those spaces. Oh well...

      Anyways the cards would (with this layout) be named apprentice's bolt // master's bolt or some such. Which incidentally helps hammer home the flavor concept and help with information "chunking"

  9. Civilize on Mug is a particularly egregious flavor fail, but the mechanic is interesting. I think it combines well with Improvement but putting counters on lands is pretty finicky in paper. Also, it would make mana production on Magic online a nightmare. People already bemoan Urborg for similar reasons. That's not to say its impossible, but there's a real cost to the mechanic in both mediums that has nothing to do with gameplay. The game play of the mechanic also seems suspect to me. It pushes towards multicolor, which isn't something that's seemed evident as a theme in Tesla. It weird on how you'd construct a mana base. It would be foolhardy to put a blue card in your red/black deck based soley on Civilize. So you'd include some islands, which would be your primary civilize targets so the islands don't hurt your ability to play your primary colors. Civilize also doesn't work with Domain as written since they stop being basic lands. That's very flavorful but works against the primary five color mechanic.

    1. They stop being basic lands but would still have their basic land types; a civilized Forest would be like Temple Garden: Land - Forest City.

    2. So it works with Domain then. Is that on the table then? Trying to gather all the basic land types certainly has an air of progressing towards a goal.

    3. Yeh I've been recently messing around with domain as a way to signify political influence in a Revolution/class warefare duel deck idea.

    4. Another option for civilize is for it do nothing beyond turning a basic nonbasic. That's least clever/fun but also the simplest and most focused. It serves it's purpose clearly.

    5. In which case, I'd prefer Improvement count nonbasics rather than counters.

    6. Note that nonbasic land count seems far less for for any limited environment and also has less Johnny "science!" moments.

      Another concern is nonbasics conflicting with Zendikar a bit, but that could probably be sorted with the right creative treatment.

    7. Why would nonbasics conflict with Zendikar? Even excluding fetchlands, there was a cycle of commons in each of ZEN/WWK, a cycle of fixing uncommons in ZEN, a cycle of rares in ZEN, and a cycle of fixing rares in WWK. That's as many as the two most recent multicolor blocks, and twice as many as Theros.

    8. exactly, so to support this you would need similar levels of nonbasics which conflicts with the identity of Zendikar as "the land set"

    9. I'm so confused. Zen had a lot of nonbasic lands. Isn't that a good interaction with a mechanic that counts them?

    10. Jay, I think the issue is pulling away focus. It's the same reason it's tough to make a two-color centric block after Ravnica. We want each set to feel unique and have its own identity and thing it exemplifies. For the same reason that we've been struggling to make Mirrodin and Tesla feel different (because they're both Artifact Sets), we'd also be struggling to define the difference between Tesla's land themes and Zendikar's.

    11. Ah.
      Have we stated that Tesla would be the block after Zendikar?

  10. What about changing Improvement to use devotion style wording?

    Factory Overseer 3W
    Creature - Human Citizen (U)
    When CARDNAME enters the battlefield, put a number of 1/1 colorless Thopter artifact creature tokens onto the battlefield equal to your industrialization. (Each permanent you control with a counter on it counts toward your industrialization)

    1. After Origins, can we make Tesla without Thopters? Can it be any plane other than Kaladesh?

    2. Sure it was just an easy example of the wording. I'm not particularly attached to using thopters.

    3. Sorry, it wasn't a comment on your design (which seems pretty solid), but on an elephant that's been in the room since Origins was spoiled. We should discuss Thopters regardless.

    4. It definitely *can* be different to Kaladesh. But we should (once we've got a concept of what mechanics we want) establish whether we're wanting to be on Kaladesh (and find ways to tie in the flavour with that), or deliberately distance ourselves from Kaladesh; we need to do one or the other.

    5. I think it's a great idea to make this Kaladesh. This project suffered for a long time of not having a clear goal. In the beginning, it was like "something like Mirrodin, except not Mirrodin" which is a very difficult type of goal in my opinion. Jules established the theme of Progress, which gave the project much more direction, but it was still somewhat abstract. Having some imagery you can visually latch on to like Kaladesh in addition to the overarching feel of Progress could be very helpful.

    6. I'm certainly in favor. Progress and artifacts-but-not-Mirrodin really isn't enough to build a block around. Steampunk-maybe-I-guess helped, but Kaladesh gives us real parameters. Something we can make roots in and draw battle lines on, something substantive and resonant to judge our ideas against.

  11. Considering the versions of Ruincast that makes lands colorless vs. colorful, I understand the desire for all-upside mechanics. But I've seen the "all-upside" style push mechanics up to very high costs. I'm thinking of mechanics such as Overload and Scavenge. When they are at high costs, the mechanics don't affect the way the game plays out until the very end stages. On the other hand, mechanics like Exploit and Dash are not all-upside. They give you a bonus in exchange for a downside. But these mechanics seem to be doing just fine.

    It is possible to make an all-upside Dash by flipping the creature-bouncing cost into a benefit. Instead of returning the hasted creature to your hand, you could be required to put another creature onto the battlefield for free as an additional cost. The benefits would be restricted by the fact that you only have a limited supply of creatures in your hand to pay this cost, but it would still be more powerful so that it would have to exist at a different mana cost range, The creature itself would have to be weaker because it has such a great rider bonus. The same is true for an all-upside Exploit. You could return a creature card from your graveyard as an additional cost (instead of sacrificing) and have that be the limitation on how many times you can play that effect, because there are only a limited number of creature cards in your graveyard. But it would still be very powerful and require adjustments in mana cost etc. It's possible that the adjusted version can't serve the needs of the set anymore because it only affects the late game.

    With the reverse Ruincast, the cards would need a high cost (like Traumatic Visions), be situational, or be restricted in some other way to not step over Green's toes.

    Here's some possible Limited cards I imagine with the version of Ruincast that sucks the land dry of color, but don't work with the all-upside version of the mechanic:

    (Coal-digging engine) 2R
    Creature - Goblin (Common)
    Develop a basic land you control (It becomes a nonbasic City with "T: add 1 to your mana pool."): ~ gains haste until end of turn.

    (Mineral-studded Rhino) 4G
    Creature - Rhino (Common)
    G[D]: ~ is indestructible until end of turn. ([D] is the Develop symbol.)
    (*Maybe the extra G in the cost helps player not mana-screw themselves?)

    Barricade Builder 2W
    Creature - Soldier
    W[D], T: Tap target creature.

    Tech-armed Knight 1W
    Creature - Knight (Uncommon)
    W: ~ gains first strike until end of turn.
    W[D]: ~ gains double strike until end of turn.
    (*I think the feel of "With a normal land tap, I get this normal effect. If I super-tap the land, I get this super effect." is important.)

    Neural Shock 1U
    Instant (Common)
    Tap two target creatures.
    You may develop a basic land you control. If you do, those creatures don't untap during their controller's next untap step.

    Constraints of Civilization 1U
    Instant (Uncommon)
    You may develop a basic land you control. (It becomes a nonbasic City with "T: add 1 to your mana pool.")
    Counter target spell unless its owner pays 1 for each City you control.
    (*I'm imagining the City-counting could be at uncommon to avoid complexity)

    Acidic Mire 2B
    Instant (Common)
    You may develop a basic land you control. (It becomes a nonbasic City with "T: add 1 to your mana pool.")
    Target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn. If you developed a land with this spell, that creature gets -6/-6 until end of turn instead.

    It's true that even with the all-upside reverse-Ruincast, the number of lands you can develop are still limited by the number of lands you control, but that doesn't justify cards like these. You can't have it on low-cost cards or use it as kicker. The creature abilities (like indestuctibility) would need to be weaker because you can activate them more times over the game (because with the beneficial version you don't need to save any of your color-producing lands.)


  12. (continued)
    I think the key is that the cards should give you a choice whether to make your lands dry or not. It should feel like a dangerous and powerful boost option, like "you can tap a land so hard that it produces a surge of energy that gives you a bigger effect, so powerful that the land tapped is dried out"

    Finally, I'm not a fan of the neutral version that just changes the category of the land and doesn't affect the way the land works. That feels only slightly better than the player counters that are just there to be counted.

    1. Writing out these examples, it just reminds me how good a mechanic Landfall is for counting your lands as a resource (in an another way than just tapping for mana) in a way that isn't fiddly or stressful.

    2. Good point and well-argued, regarding colorless versus colorful land changes. I agree even before we delve into the question of "what happens when all colors have some access to five-colors."

      I'd love to hear more about why you dislike the idea of not changing the land at all except whether it's basic or not. The comparison to player-progress counters is fair, but develop has significant advantages over it.

      It's a limited resource: You can have any number of progress counters, but you can only have as many nonbasic lands as you have lands.

      That makes drawing lands better, very much like landfall. (And to that end, I love the suggestion of having activated abilities that use development as a cost.)

      While your lands being basic or not doesn't often come up in a game of Magic, it does come up and particularly in larger formats. That gives this meaning out of the gates that progress counters lack. We can (and definitely would) also make non/basic-ness matter in Tesla's Limited environment. And unlike cards that care about progress counters, all these cards would still be relevant to rest of Magic.

    3. And while I agree with and support your insight on all-upside mechanics, my concern about land-becomes-colorless was never that it had a downside, but that it can and will cause players to color-screw themselves. They will lose games because of it and their frustration will turn into hatred for the mechanic, and push some players on the edge of quitting over. It's the opposite of Landfall in that it pushes players away from having enough [colored] mana to do what they need.

    4. About making basic-nonbasic matter:

      Somehow I don't like changing the Basic/Nonbasic status of lands just so other cards can care about them. I'm not sure I can explain what I feel very clearly, but I'm going to try:

      So far, Basic/Nonbasic has not been a flavor entity that tries to excite people (like creature tribes excited people long before they were a viable strategy). It has been a way to separate what you can play 4 of vs. unlimited of for balance purposes. Nonbasic has also been a useful tag for allowing the design of cards can punish them and keep them in check without punishing normal Magic.

      It's true that magic sets can take things that didn't matter before and make them matter, I have this feeling that the basic/nonbasic land distinction is not the right thing to try to make matter.

      If it was something more flavorful like a rider mechanic that changes the Snow/non-Snow status of lands, I would be more excited. But a huge chunk of nonbasic lands don't even feel artificial, they have names like "River Delta." Building deck with a rag-tag assortment of lands just to up the nonbasic land count feels off to me, it doesn't feel like building a tribal Spider deck or a Snow deck.

      It's also true there are cards in the rest of Magic that refer to the basic/nonbasic status of lands. But these are mostly sideboard cards that want to punish overdependence on nonbasics. That doesn't feel like to me like hooking up well with the rest of Magic.

      That said, I don't think it's impossible to build a set that cares about the basic/nonbasic status of lands.

      While in general Magic should punish nonbasics and not celebrate them and make them better than basics, that can be avoided by requiring a specialized build for decks that want to exploit nonbasics.

      Maybe there can be a resistance faction that favors basics vs. an industrial faction that favors nonbasics (plus some other factions that tangle with either, to avoid the negative points of Scars of Mirrodin).

      But overall I'm not a fan of building up this change of the status of your cards without functional change, just so other cards can refer to and care about that status.

    5. About players color-screwing themselves:

      I'm not sure how much players will color-screw themselves, but I just want to mention that new players are very hesitant to throw away their things and go all-in, so I think the most common play style for new players would be to hold back at least one land of each color.

    6. Might they not also be a bit overzealous in developing because of the cool effects it gives them, though?

    7. I'd much prefer to test how players new and old interact with develop then go all-in on any speculation, though I must say that in a system with as many iterations as Magic sees games played, any opportunity to break a thing will be seized some amount of the time.

      Your argument about the lack of flavor/meaning behind non/basic is strong and helpful, Chah. Thanks for putting it into words.

  13. Hi there, 1st time poster!
    I am really enjoying the flavor and mechanics people in the Tesla set, and I thought I'd try to contribute.

    I like the develop/civilize mechanic a lot. However, the color-draining version does seem like it would frustrate new players, and the all-upside color-fixing version seems too powerful and hard to balance. Just changing to cities with no functional change is OK but boring. Some possibilities:

    Slowly Civilize (Tap an untapped basic land you control; it does not untap during your next untap phase. That land becomes a nonbasic City with T: add one mana of any color to your mana pool.)

    Painfully Civilize (Tap an untapped basic land you control . That land becomes a nonbasic City with T, pay 1 life: add one mana of any color to your mana pool)

    This set also seems to be a natural place to bring back the fortify mechanic!

    Flak Cannon (2)
    Artifact - Fortification
    Fortify (2)
    Flak Cannon may only fortify a city.
    Whenever a creature with flying attacks you, Flak Cannon does 2 damage to that creature.

    1. Hi, Calvin!
      I feel that Slowly Civilize looks intriguing. The words probably won't fit but maybe at this stage it's more important to feel out how it plays so that something else can be made out of it? I feel Painfully Civilize might make it strategically correct to do something that players emotionally dislike, especially new players.

    2. Agreed with Chah. Slowly Civilize would be great if it could be imparted more easily.

      Fortify has a whole host of issues. We should talk about it nonetheless, however.

    3. Calvin's idea inspires a couple thoughts:

      A new mana symbol (let's say, a standard symbol with a glowing ring around it) that means whatever permanent you tap to produce it doesn't untap during your next untap step.

      Brass-Age Goblin ({1}){R}
      Creature-Goblin (cmn)

      Lamp Shade {B}
      Creature-Shade (cmn)
      ({B}): ~ gets +1/+1 until EOT. Gain 1 life.


      Full-Time Earth Mover {1}{G}
      Creature-Human Warrior (unc)
      Overtime (You may choose not to untap the lands used to cast ~ during your next untap step.)
      ~ ETB with a +1/+1 counter on it if you went into overtime.
      ~ has vigilance as long as there is a +1/+1 counter on it.

      Innovate {1}{R}
      Sorcery (cmn)
      Overtime (You may choose not to untap the lands used to cast ~ during your next untap step.)
      Discard a card, then draw two cards.
      If you went into overtime, discard another card and then draw another card.

  14. Higher Impact of Spells + Other forms of growth in Magic (that was discussed before)

    I think something like this was discussed before:
    Improvement - If you control a creature with power or toughness higher than its base stat, ~.

    Cyber Research 3U
    Draw two cards, then discard a card.
    Improvement - If you control a creature with power or toughness higher than its base stat, instead draw four cards, then discard two cards.

    It could be supported with a mechanic like:

    Tinkering Guy 1R
    Goblin - Artificer
    When ~ enters the battlefield, tinker. (Choose one - put a +1/+1 counter on another creature you control; or put a 0/2 Artifact Ornithopter Creature token onto the battlefield.)

    1. I like Improvement a lot, and I've previously advocated it. Definitely on my list as a potential way to interact with counters. It's a lot less blatant, too.

      Tinker is alright but the symmetry just isn't there. A 1/1 artifact token would be better.

    2. I like tinker, assuming we do indeed make the natural change to have it create 1/1 Thopters like all the Kaladesh cards in Origins do.

    3. I wonder if improvement as seen on Cyber Research isn't too easy to achieve, but I'd want to try it before assuming as much. I'd also want to try a more insular version:

      Potentially Menacing Goblin {1}{R}
      Creature-Goblin (cmn)
      As long as ~ has power higher than its base power, it has menace.

  15. Trade Route (A non-City land you control becomes a City. It gains "{T}: Add one mana of any color other Cities you control could produce.")

    (Was briefly tempted to use Locus instead of city, but that clearly breaks all the existing Loci.)