Wednesday, October 14, 2015

CCDD 101415—An alternative to devoid

Cool Card Design of the Day
10/14/2015 - I'm not convinced devoid was a mistake. Even so, it's an engaging challenge to find alternative solutions to the problem: Make a bunch of colorless creatures without breaking down the segregation of playable cards the color pie offers.

Feel free to propose some of your own solutions below.


  1. Can you try to fix Processors while your at it?

    1. I'm not sure what you mean Nich, so maybe this is a non-sequitur buuuuuut I for one am definitely not convinced that Processors are design problem. At least from a comprehension level.

      Today I built sealed decks with three friends. To give you a sense of their skill level, tonight was the first time they had encountered concepts like a mana curve, stacking triggers, attacking before casting spells, holding up mana. I expected trouble with the processors, but they figured it out as soon as I put one of their Culling Drones next to an Oracle of Dust. It was literally self-explanatory.

      It's very possible that people just don't like it for aesthetic or mechanical reasons, and I'd be interested to hear about that.

    2. I like Processors. I feel ingest was an annoying and ugly way of implementing them, though.

    3. As I see it, the fundamental problem with devoid and ingest is basically "no way should something like Dominator Drone be common".

    4. "What's wrong with Processors?"

      1.) Processors are too parasitic: Because of the way they are implemented, Processors only play well if you can manage to exile your opponent's cards. This is okay for Draft or Constructed, but miserable in a Sealed event, like a Prerelease, AKA the first place many players get to play with new cards. Which leads right into...

      2.) Processors are unattractively costed: Even though they all have a "may" clause, each Processor is costed as if you can process exiled cards. That may clause means you CAN cast them otherwise, but everything about them screams don't do it. If you can't process a card to bounce something, Murk Lurker is a 3/2 for 3U. Do you know how many vanilla 3/2's for 4 have been printed? Zero. The really crazy thing is that while they are below the curve if you can't process a card, they are slightly above curve if you can. But only slightly, which is my next point.

      3.) Processors don't have significant rewards for what they ask of you: Since they require cards be exiled first before being worthwhile, you'd think the reward would be worth the effort. But it's not. In every case, your reward is shaving 1-3 mana off the cost of the card. Mind Raker and Wasteland Strangler are undercosted by B in exchange for requiring a card be Processed. Murk Strider and Ulamog's Reclaimer are undercosted by U. Processor Assault and Ruin Processor are undercosted by 2. And Blight Herder, Ulamog's Despoiler and Ulamog's Nullifier are undercosted by 3 (although they each require you process two cards.) Cryptic Cruiser, Oracle of Dust and Void Attendant can repeatedly use their activated abilities, (and can't use them at all otherwise,) but I would not value that more than 2 mana a pop.

      4.) Processors hide their effect in a paragraph of rules text: Having a long explanation of putting exiled cards into a graveyard in the middle of an activated ability, or an ETB setup, makes everything look like alphabet soup. What do these cards do?! It's in here somewhere. One of the major benefits of keywords is chunking information. Since the exile to graveyard cost is always the same on these cards, there really should be a way to separate it from the rest of the effect. That way it's easy to see what each Processor can do. Process is a Limited mechanic. There are 12 Processor cards, and all but 2 of them live at Common or Uncommon. So making them easy to grok is important.

    5. How I would fix them.

      First thing I would do is make processing a key action. This let's us chunk information so players can more easily understand the cards. Process 1 means "Put a card an opponent owns from exile into that player’s graveyard."

      Second, acknowledging that Process is really only being used as a cost reduction effect, I would make it so every processor always provided it's ETB effect. It just gets to do it cheaper if you process a card or two. The idea that processors shouldn't be able to do what they do if you can't process a card is ridiculous. And this way, the card is always fairly costed no matter how you cast it.

      Regarding the processors with activated abilities, I would make the first use each turn free, and additional activations cost processing.

      Last thing, and this is more about creating some consistancy among the Eldrazi, I would make all Processor effects occur when they are cast, rather than when they enter the battlefield.

      Cryptic Cruiser (U)
      Creature -- Eldrazi Processor 3/3 3U
      Devoid (This card has no color.)
      Process 1: Untap Cryptic Crusier. (Put a card an opponent owns from exile into that player’s graveyard.)
      2U, T: Tap target creature.

      Oracle of Dust (C)
      Creature -- Eldrazi Processor 3/5 4U
      Devoid (This card has no color.)
      Process 1: Untap Oracle of Dust. (Put a card an opponent owns from exile into that player’s graveyard.)
      2, T: Draw a card, then discard a card.

      Void Attendant (U)
      Creature -- Eldrazi Processor 2/3 2G
      Devoid (This card has no color.)
      Process 1: Untap Void Attendant. (Put a card an opponent owns from exile into that player’s graveyard.)
      1G, T: Put a 1/1 colorless Eldrazi Scion creature token onto the battlefield. It has "Sacrifice this creature: Add 1 to your mana pool."

      Mind Raker (C)
      Creature -- Eldrazi Processor 3/3 3B
      Devoid (This card has no color.)
      As an additional cost to cast Mind Raker, pay B or process 1. (Put a card an opponent owns from exile into that player’s graveyard.)
      When you cast Mind Raker, each opponent discards a card.

      Murk Strider (C)
      Creature -- Eldrazi Processor 3/2 3U
      Devoid (This card has no color.)
      As an additional cost to cast Murk Strider, pay U or process 1. (Put a card an opponent owns from exile into that player’s graveyard.)
      When you cast Murk Strider, return target creature to its owner's hand.

      Ulamog’s Reclaimer (U)
      Creature -- Eldrazi Processor 2/5, 4U
      Devoid (This card has no color.)
      As an additional cost to cast Ruin Processor, pay U or process 1. (Put a card an opponent owns from exile into that player’s graveyard.)
      When you cast Ulamog’s Reclaimer, return target instant or sorcery card from your graveyard to your hand.

      Wasteland Strangler (R)
      Creature -- Eldrazi Processor 3/2 2B
      Devoid (This card has no color.)
      As an additional cost to cast Wasteland Strangler, pay B or process 1. (Put a card an opponent owns from exile into that player’s graveyard.)
      When you cast Wasteland Strangler, target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn.

    6. (continued...)

      Processor Assault (U)
      Sorcery 1R
      Devoid (This card has no color.)
      As an additional cost to cast Processor Assault, pay 2 or process 1. (Put a card an opponent owns from exile into that player’s graveyard.)
      Processor Assault deals 5 damage to target creature.

      Ruin Processor (C)
      Creature -- Eldrazi Processor 7/8 7
      As an additional cost to cast Ruin Processor, process 1 or pay 2. (Put a card an opponent owns from exile into that player’s graveyard.)
      When you cast Ruin Processor, you gain 5 life.

      Blight Herder (R)
      Creature -- Eldrazi Processor 4/5 5
      As an additional cost to cast Blight Herder, pay 3 or process 2. (Put two cards your opponents own from exile into their owners’ graveyards.)
      When you cast Blight Herder, put three 1/1 colorless Eldrazi Scion creature tokens onto the battlefield. They have "Sacrifice this creature: Add 1 to your mana pool."

      Ulamog’s Despoiler (U)
      Creature -- Eldrazi Processor 9/9 6
      As an additional cost to cast Ulamog’s Despoiler, pay 3 or process 2. (Put two cards your opponents own from exile into their owners’ graveyards.)

      Ulamog’s Nullifier (U)
      Creature -- Eldrazi Processor 2/3 2UB
      Devoid (This card has no color.)
      As an additional cost to cast Ulamog’s Nullifier, pay 3 or process 2. (Put two cards your opponents own from exile into their owners’ graveyards.)
      Flash, flying
      When you cast Ulamog’s Nullifier, counter target spell.

    7. I agree with all of Nich's concerns about processors and find his solution reasonable.

    8. Processing not being an ability word (not a keyword action though as Nich is suggesting) has been acknowledged as being a potential mistake by Maro on Blogatog.

      Otherwise I actually really dislike a lot of the alternate rules for processing proposed here.

      Sealed doesn't reward synergy at a fundamental level, this is more an issue with that format than any parasitism problems. Do hate tribal themes because they don't work in sealed?

      The cast triggers are fairly confusing and shouldn't be used frequently. They are clearly reserved for the large colorless Eldrazi to make you feel good even if they are countered or bounced.

      You say the processors are unattractively costed yet all the processors EXCEPT Murk Strider pass the vanilla test for the most part.

      Why do you think the first activated ability needs to not cost a process? Cards like Cryptic Cruiser and Oracle of Dust have been playing extremely well in the dozen BFZ limited events I've done.

      The pay 3 or process 2 wording is unacceptable at common. Reads badly, weakens the fun ingest synergy and the associated "hungry" and "interconnected" eldrazi feeling and is even more wordy than what you are trying to replace.

    9. The problem with processor's parasitism in Sealed is twofold: First, it's *doubly* parasitic: I can't play allies w/o enough allies and I can't play colorless-matters w/o enough colorless, but I can neither play ingest w/o processors nor processors w/o ingest. Second, most every set has one parasitic mechanic, but BfZ has a ton. Far too much. Sealed has a weakness to linear themes, but every other set for the past 10 years has handled that by limiting linear themes. BfZ makes for a miserable Sealed environment, and that's not okay because Sealed is the prerelease and if players hate the prerelease, they won't pay as much attention to the set after.

    10. To me, this is a problem with sealed not a problem with BfZ. Sealed formats are just bad for highly synergistic sets with nuanced archetypes. But, at least to experienced drafters, highly synergistic formats with nuanced archetypes are the good formats. This is exactly why Rise of the Eldrazi was marketed as "a set designed just for draft," as opposed to "a set designed for limited," because they knew it would not translate well to sealed.

      There are two unfortunate side effects, though. One is that prereleases are typically done with sealed, so the more nuanced and synergistic a format is the worse its prerelease is likely to be. The opposite end of the spectrum, KTK, for example, was great in sealed because it barely had arcehtypes at all, every keyword was in every deck, etc.

      The second problem specific to BFZ is that because expeditions exist a ton of players are opting to play sealed instead of draft online because they double their chances of opening an expedition, even though this is a format you should probably never play in sealed.

      The answer to this, though, is not to design sets that are better for sealed. That makes draft way less interesting, and for experienced players (and Magic Online especially) draft is the most important format.

    11. Addendum: The statement that for experienced players (and Magic Online especially) draft is the most important format has been universally true for many years. For evidence, one need only look at Twitch numbers historically. It was nigh impossible to find people streaming constructed.

      This, however, has shifted quite dramatically in the past year or so. I noticed it most strongly around the release of Origins, but there is a continuing tide moving towards streaming constructed and away from limited.

      Editorializing, I think this is because they haven't made a great limited format in many years (since Innistrad). Is this because they want people spending the money on the more expensive format? Who can say. I, for one, hope that BfZ ends up among the greats. Time will only tell.

    12. To abandon the format that introduces the set because draft is better (and it is) is dangerously elitist. And I don't agree at all that we can blame this on Sealed. Every format has strengths and weaknesses, but not set has been as terrible for Sealed in 15 years as this one.

    13. Why does every set have to have the same way of being introduced? That is dangerous and restrictive! I'm not saying that they have to abandon sealed (I even like sealed), I'm just saying that there are many alternatives to explore other than tanking your whole design so that sealed works. One could aspire to make the best sealed set possible sometimes, but that should not detract from sometimes making the best draft set possible, and good draft sets will tend to be bad sealed sets.

      The unfortunate thing is that WOTC had the perfect solution to the fact that sealed is a poor format for synergistic sets: seeded packs. Unfortunately, due to griping about how annoying seeded packs were to experienced players, WOTC disbanded the seeded packs right before releasing a set where it was justified. (For what it is worth, it was probably also justified when the started it in RTR.)

      I think, what this ultimately comes down to, is the fact that WOTC doesn't understand what makes a good and a bad sealed format, and they keep using sealed because of inertia and the fact that it would be night impossible to run a draft GP.

      And this isn't intended to be judgmental of WOTC, I certainly don't know how to make a great sealed format either, and sealed is such a low priority for everyone that nothing ever gets done about it.

      What is worth noting is that Team Sealed is usually a fantastic format when draft is good. It is one of my favorite formats to play even for two players.

      Aside: I think sealed has a higher skill cap than draft. You are given a wide variety of piles, and must make the best deck you possibly can out of a pile of cards that really have no innate desire to help you. You'll end up with great rares in shallow colors, enablers for things you can't support, and overall just a giant mess. To turn that into the best thing it can be is an art, and a beautiful and incredibly complex puzzle. What I am describing is the ultimate Spike activity, and something other profiles would have very little interest in.

      Unfortunately, after this huge enormous skill cap, you then add on a huge amount of variance. Some pools are just great and work well, others are awful. Some people open three Pack Rats, and others open none. In the end, the net effect, in my experience, is that while sealed has a much higher skill cap than draft, it is much less skill-testing because the variance between pools undoes a lot of the added skill.

      Exercise: Design a format that is as skill-testing as sealed, but simultaneously also involves less variance and appeals more to other psychographics.

    14. Also make that format as straight-forward and approachable as Sealed.

    15. The relative difficulty of sealed and draft scales interestingly as as the skill of the player and familiarity with the format increases. Once you hit a certain (not too high) threshold, drafting is way easier. I always note when doing sealed with newer players I am always the last to finish building and always wish I had more time, and when doing draft it is always reversed.

    16. Yup. Draft is far scarier until you get the hang of it. Kind of a deal-breaker for the prerelease.

    17. Draft is a bunch of easy choices consecutively. Sealed is one really hard choice that you have half an hour to make, and is somewhat lenticular in that the less you know, the easier that choice is. On the other hand, as a new player the idea of 45 consecutive decisions where you have to read all the cards is daunting.

      Nothing I have said should be construed as my saying "The prerelease format should be draft," but may be construed as "maybe the prerelease format doesn't always have to be sealed." I don't think this is especially controversial, since the prerelease format hasn't been sealed for years until BFZ (sealed where you select your colors in advance is a totally different format, and one they almost certainly should have used here).

      Your concerns about sealed at prereleases are definitely legitimate, though, is far less serious, to me, than the issue of sealed at GPs and PTQs in environments where sealed is unbalanced or less interesting (that is, almost every sealed environment). People who take these events seriously are forced not only to play the format for two days, but also to play tons of practice events as practice. Being forced to play sealed over draft as practice in formats where draft is more fun is a tax on the fun of a large number of players.

  2. Benthic Infiltrator should probably just have

    U: CARDNAME can't be blocked until end of turn.

    Remembering if something has an ability for multiple turns is difficult.

    1. It could also be an evoke-a-like, similar to the cycle from Original Ravnica:

      CARDNAME 3
      Creature - Eldrazi
      ETB - Exile 3, then sac this unless you paid U.

  3. However, Devoid is a really tricky question. In original Rise, they did have colored Eldrazi, but I'm going to assume Wizards has market research showing that those Eldrazi were unpopular.

    Devoid was a good solution in that it allowed all of the Eldrazi (there needed to be a large number of them) to have the same keyword, and it can be put on instants and sorceries. I think it would be more exciting if more effects in the past cared about being colorless rather than being an artifact. As it is, only Ghostfire Blade combos with Eldrazi. Perhaps looking forward from morph land, more of the "morphs matter" cards could have also affected "colorless non-artifact cards"?

    1. I'm confused. Artifacts combo with the Eldrazi's colorless-matters cards.

    2. Eldrazi's colorless-matters combos with artifacts, but artifacts don't combo with Eldrazi's colorless-matters.

      I think Zachariah Howell wants to see cards like Reclusive Artificer, Ramroller, and Whirler Rogue from Magic Origins care about colorless, in order to be forwards compatible with Eldrazi.

    3. I don't like Devoid because I don't don't think it is good policy to redefine a characteristic of a card to something it isn't just to reference it, like tacking on Enchantment to a vanilla creature, or printing a Sorcery that says its CMC is 7.

      To me, if you are going to define something to be colorless, it has to be at least a little colorless. This leads to the (obvious) solution of using twobrid mana. A Benthic Infiltrator that costs 1{2/U}{2/U} and has Devoid isn't nearly as offensive.

      Aside: We have a way to flag a random subset of creatures for reference by rules text that doesn't violate the basic English meanings of words, and that is creature type. Devoid also works on non-creatures, but that doesn't get used a lot in this set, and is remarkably an even cludgier solution to this problem than Tribal!

      Every time a WOTC employee writes something like "Colorless (non-Devoid)" or "Green cards, including the Green Devoid cards" or variations, I die a little inside. It keeps coming up because Green Devoid cards are Green, there is nothing remotely colorless about them.

    4. "Devoid also works on non-creatures, but that doesn't get used a lot in this set"

      How so? There are 18 devoid non-creatures in this set, compared to 4 Tribal Eldrazi cards in ROE. Or do you mean in the sense that the "colorless spells" theme has so little support as to not matter?

    5. As for the redefining argument, I'm not entirely convinced. Changelings are awesome. Scornful Egotist is cool. Cards with alternate mana costs are valid.

      I completely agree about "Colorless (non-Devoid)" and "Green cards, including the Green Devoid cards."

      Like enchantment creatures, devoid creatures should have something more colorless about them, like Sludge Crawler.

      I also agree that it seems like there were several viable alternatives to devoid.

      I was thinking Eldrazi-tribal would have been better because Eldrazi would be happy to eat other colorless creatures like... uh, Scion of Ugin. But it makes sense they have no interest in artifact creatures, so colorless-matters actually makes sense. (Except that they also shouldn't care about land creatures, but all the fiction shows they care a great deal about land.)

    6. Jesse Mason at Killing a Goldfish wrote a pretty good piece describing a number of mechanics in in BfZ as being hashtag mechanics, which I found to be pretty on-point. In Zeffrikar I have devoid (unkeyworded) as one of the major eldrazi mechanics, but I have a ability word mechanic (Ghostfire) that is colorless-fall. It works with the psuedo-colorless spells and creatures, but also with equipment, which the Zendikari cared far more about.

      I suspect R&D tried something similar in the real deal, but between a higher volume of landfall and using allyfall, I think colorlessfall was deemed a bit too much.

    7. Changeling isn't redefining something. You couldn't list every creature type in the type line, so they found another way. Scornful Egotist's cost is 8, the fact that it gives you a way to cheat it into play doesn't change that. Realizing Morph and CMC matters were a good combination was a stroke of genius because of the natural synergy. Devoid is the antithesis of natural synergy, it is using a gigantic hammer and saying "these things synergize, dammit!"

    8. I'm a little late to this party, but I feel strongly that Devoid is a fine mechanic.

      The reason that Devoid exists is not because the Colored Eldrazi were unpopular, or because they needed technology to indicate which cards were on the Eldrazi's Team. It exists because of the Artifact Creatures from Mirrodin. Mirrodin pushed artifacts as a central theme without making them colored, a design decision I side with largely because of something Jay pointed out a few years ago (I think). Artifacts should be different from enchantments, so they should be colorless. I digress.

      The problem with that decision is that it makes the format more uniform. When everyone gets the same toys, you have to find lots of clever ways to make sure those cards actually go to the players drafting their "psuedo-colors." Replicas did that, so did the Trigons, so did Sunburst, so did Affinity for Basic Lands... etc. Many good ways to make colors matter again in the set. They are necessary solutions to a fundamental problem behind the idea of the set. And even with those in place, a lot of the decks felt like they were running basics to "splash" a few colored cards.

      Whether or not you felt that was a desirable outcome, it's not an option on Zendikar. The flavor here dictates that color SHOULD matter. Zendikar's powerful colored mana has always been an intentional contrast to the Eldrazi's colorless mana. However, to make a limited environment where people are still playing Green-Red decks while still demonstrating that contrast between tribes you make things Devoid.

      I actually think the reason I like Devoid is that it is boring. It's not the exciting part of the cards it appears on, but that allows the cards themselves to be more interesting. Look at Ulamog's Nullifier, if that card had ANOTHER ability word tacked onto it, it would be a huge mess. It's already pushing comprehensibility. I was very proud to see my roommate cast it as a blocker against an aggressive deck. Modal spells are one of the best things in magic, but they don't always say "Choose One" on them. Again, I digress.

      With Devoid the reason that people aren't mixing Eldrazi and Zendikar "tribal" cards is because of synergy, an in-game reward that contributes to the fun of deckbuilding and playing the game. If all of the Devoid creatures were colorless, some decks would play them for their bodies, just like Mirrodin block, and you'd lose that contrast.

    9. I think Devin basically nails it here.

      Also worth mentioning that simply putting Eldrazi tribal on the type line would not have created reverse compatibility with 20 years of artifact creatures, Ghostfire Blade, etc.

    10. Why do you assume if they had not used Devoid that Ulamog's Nullifier would have another ability? If they had not done Devoid Ulamog's Nullifier would be a simpler, cleaner card, with a normal frame and one fewer line of text. It isn't like Devoid is holding up some crucial spot in the set that if it was gone would need to be replace by Flompling.

      The only argument for Devoid that speaks to me is Jay's, that Devoid allows them to print backwards compatible cards, like I can use my Ruination Guide to give my Thopter tokens +1/+0, an especially interacting with Morph and Ghostfire Blade and the like. That, I acknowledge, is a significant benefit to the way they have structured Devoid in BFZ. That said, it is, in my estimation, no where near worth the huge cost of printing gold colorless cards (and it is just mind-boggling to me that they even considered such a thing).

    11. Twobrid really would have helped sell devoid, esp on the gold cards.

      Changeling absolutely redefines cards. Yes, you couldn't physically list every creature type on the type line, but that's not the issue: You never would make a creature that's all types. All creatures have 1-3 creature types because a creature's types illustrate what that creature is. Minotaur Merfolk Cat Sphinx isn't a thing. In fact, the creatures with changeling have the only creature type that fits them printed on their type line: shapeshifter. Changeling is extremely analogous to devoid. The only significant difference between them is that one adds every [type] while the other subtracts every [color]. Again, I do agree that subtraction is both messier and less meaningful, but otherwise the concepts are kin.

      Consider also permanents with 0 cost. The back-side of DFCs, tokens, and Kobolds of Kher Keep. By default, all of these would be colorless. It is only by explicitly defining their color through text (or the more modern color indicator). This is the exact same thing as devoid, except that it's addition instead of subtraction (and that's significant).

    12. First, I think defining colors on cards with 0 cost and back-sides of DFCs is a very reasonable thing to do, and even the very occasional Cloistered Youth or Garruk Relentless doesn't bother me overly much. Color has a literal game defined meaning of "the color used to cast this spell" so letting Ancestral Vision be anything other than Blue would be pretty inexcusable. In Innistrad, the theme was transformation, about things becoming other than what they are. Cloistered Youth showed this very cleanly, and notably the Blackness of Cloistered Youth was never mechanically relevant (which I consider important).

      Unlike Color, there is no guiding force defining creature type. How do you know what creature type something is? You look at the type line. You can, mechanically, make anything any creature type. I really don't buy that Changeling is anything other than a shorthand for putting all the creature types in the type line. It is just like "Wall" used to be, it is a creature type that carries a bit of additional rules significant, but it doesn't violate anything.

      So to me, the analogy between Changeling and Devoid totally does not hold up. The rule for color is "it is the color of mana necessary to play the spell" and the rule for creature type is "it is whatever we say it is." It is not possible to violate the second rule, but it is possible to violate the first.

      I don't think there is any payoff that would make Devoid worth doing, but another key difference is that Changeling was an integral piece of the set that interacted mechanically with everything going on, while Devoid interacts with almost nothing.

      Finally, I'll say, I do think rules like the one that defines the color of a permanent or spell can give a little. I'd have been fine with a single WWUUBBRRGG cost mythic eldrazi with the line "~ is colorless." Ghostfire made a lot of sense in the days of everything having Pro Red (though I think it would never have been common if it wasn't in Future Sight). But there is a difference between doing something very, very rarely and doing it on 55 cards in one set. I can not think of anything Magic has done mechanically that I find offensive in the same regard as Devoid. [For example, they avoided printing cards that would artificially add to your Devotion, even though they were obvious designs.]

      All that said, the upside is that Devoid is basically flavortext anyway, it degrades the quality of the product, but since it matters so, so little, it can't possibly cost the set more than a third of a letter grade. That said, I hope this isn't a sign of things to come.

    13. 15 cards care about colorless creatures, so "Devoid interacts with almost nothing" is misleading.

      Otherwise, I understand and appreciate your argument.

      I was shocked to learn there are 55 devoid cards. That's a lot.

    14. I counted 11 when I did a rough count, and some of them are cards with an as-played of 0 (like Hedron Blade) or have a mostly irrelevant interaction (like Conduit of Ruin), but point taken, it does appear on more cards than it has felt like in my play of the set so far.

      Just from play, the only one I'd have named as having a "real" effect is Ruination Guide. I have seen the +0/+1 from Tide Drifter matter, but I expect that won't often be the case.

    15. I count 13. Anyway, If there was no devoid, all these cards could have swapped "colorless creature" for "Eldrazi creature":

      Conduit of Ruin
      Gruesome Slaughter
      Titan's Presence
      Ruination Guide
      Tide Drifter
      Dominator Drone
      Swarm Surge
      Barrage Tyrant
      Vile Aggregate
      Dust Stalker
      Forerunner of Slaughter
      Sanctum of Ugin (both)

      The loss of interaction with morph and artifact creatures doesn't seem valid to me, because so many of these cards are themselves creatures. How many creature cards are you going to put in your Standard deck? And how many of them won't be one of the cards in the list above that rewards colorless? How many cards that only gets rewarded are you slotting in? 4? 6? Is all the baggage of devoid worth that?

      Kozilek's Sentinel
      Molten Nursery
      Nettle Drone
      Herald of Kozilek
      Sanctum of Ugin (both)
      Shrine of the Forsaken Gods

      This list doesn't support Devoid at all. It doesn't interact with morph, and although it does with artifacts, it compounds how rewarding artifacts with these spells are not worth the slots in a Standard deck. between these cards and the one in the list above, there's even less room for artifacts in a deck. I think this list does make a strong argument for the use of Tribal - Eldrazi in place of devoid. Oh, that would have been clean and clear.

      I think Maro's first argument against the Tribal super type completely falls away when you see how devoid was used. I remember him saying Tribal made R&D feel locked in. Every spell would need to explain why if was or wasn't Tribal. The trick I think is to use Tribal only when it makes sense for the Block's needs. For Rise of the Eldrazi, it made sense, and I think it would here again. Anyway, I don't think devoid solves the problems Maro talked about with Tribal.

    16. 20 cards care about colorless, actually.|[%22colorless%20spell%22]|[%22colorless%20creature%22]&set=[%22Battle%20for%20Zendikar%22]

      Nettle Drone definitely works with morph. Does Herald of Kozilek not?

      I quite like the argument that devoid isn't any better than tribal was.

    17. I was always sad I could not Ghoulcaller's Chant back two Moan of the Unhalloweds.

    18. One more thought, is it really a good idea to be forming opinions of the set based on half of the cards? I recognize that sets should be good on their own merit, but BFZ is a lot of things, and one of the big ones is that it's the first half of the first block to have the new block structure.

      I want to wait until we see what the plans are for Part II before I start to think about whether or not devoid does enough for the cards it's built to support.

    19. I think Tommy's solution of twobrid would have been great. It means that Eldrazi would have been unified by colorlessness, high converted mana cost and creature type. There's plenty of nonparasitic designs that could have been made there.

    20. When you say twobrid would have unified Eldrazi in colorlessness, what do you mean? A spell that costs 2(2/B) is still Black whether you pay 2B or 4.

      Twobrid doesn't protect the color pie. Sure the extra cost helps protect it when you're creating cards that could be artifact creatures, like a Flying 1/1 for (2/W), but what about things that don't appear in every color? Complete Disregard, Molten Nursery, Oracle of Dust, etc, couldn't have twobrid costs. That leaves you only with designs in the safe spaces of the color pie. Designs that could be artifacts or artifact creatures. Unless I'm missing something.

    21. My point (and I am far from the only person that said this) is that it is less a lie to put the ability Devoid on a card that costs 2{2/B}.

      Now, as you say, design space for cards that cost 2{2/B} is much narrower than for Devoid as used in BFZ, because in BFZ they just stapled it on any random card they felt like. But I would argue the narrower is actually a good thing, because it is important that colorless cards feel colorless.

      I do think you are a bit too narrow in your definition of what could be done at twobrid, since twobrid should be a bit wider than Phyrexian mana. A 1{2/B]{2/B} complete disregard is probably okay, for example. Oracle of Dust could probably even cost just 4{2/U} these days.

      But, to be clear, my claim isn't that they should have made exactly the same set with 2briddevoid instead of current Devoid. Rather, my claim is that if they wanted to make colored colorless spells, this is a less egregious way they could have done it.

    22. I missed the part that Devoid would still be on the cards with twobrid casting costs.