Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Day of the Murderous Cut

First of all, congratulations to all of the Artisans who made it to round 3. The sheer number of people who made it through says a lot about the quality of our community and about the things we've accomplished since GDS2. I'm so proud and excited for Jay, and Havelock, and for KingRitz, Carl, Jim, lpaulsen, Ryan, Josh and Diane, as well as any others I might have missed. I like the odds of a strong Artisan representation in the top 8, and wouldn't be surprised if at least a few don't end up in Renton by the end of the show.

I didn't make the cut. If the reddit post is accurate, I only got 70 right. I'm completely heartbroken right now, but I made some crucial and careless mistakes, and the timing of the test was strongly working against me. I know a few of you are in the same boat, frustrated by the test itself, or the high cutoff, or even the rules that may have prohibited you from entering in the first place.

When I didn't make it to the top 8 of the GDS2, I felt robbed. I knew I had a lot to say about Magic design, and felt like my voice would never be heard. But after a little while, I found GA, and started exercising my design muscles in the weekend art challenges. Shortly after that, I pitched Suvnica, and I got to spend six months diving deep on how the colors interact with each other. I would work behind the scenes with some of the Artisans in Residence designing a Challenge deck for players to team up against. I'd do some predictive design with Zeffrikar. I talk about Magic design constantly on twitter, and have run an annual goblin design marathon for the past four years.

More to the point, writing here made me start to wonder about designing my own games, and in the past few years, I've started designing three different games, each in various stages of development.

We all have a lot to say about Magic design, and while some of us won't be advancing, a Great Designer Search isn't the only avenue for demonstrating that. GA is one of a number of thriving designer communities, and we're going to keep talking magic design throughout the GDS and beyond.

And hey, there's always going to be another GDS.


  1. Thanks for the post, Zefferal. I was too young for GDS1 and GDS2 (I'm 23 now), so this way my first GDS experience. Like many of the Artisans in Residence, I took being eliminated pretty harshly. I'm turning it into something positive, though, and recognizing that this is more important to me than I thought. I hope the community here only becomes stronger, and I'm excited to get more involved and improve my design chops.

  2. Plan on being ineligible for the next GDS. Employees can't participate (in case you thought I meant leave the country). Continuing to put your work out there is the best thing you can do, as much as it feels like withdrawing is the answer.

    1. Definitely agreed, and it's been my advice to many of my friends. I will note as a brief aside, though, that it's also okay to take a break from Magic and game design for a bit to recuperate and get the passion back.

      After that break, though, definitely keep putting your work out there. That work should be more than just custom Magic design work, too:

      Start a blog. Make friends and talk on Twitter. Create things that Wizards can look at, such as your own games, Wizards-safe articles and podcasts and videos, etc.

      This isn't the end for anyone. People have gotten into Wizards without GDS before; just look at our very own Jules Robbins! If anything, the last year or so has shown how eager Wizards is to get new blood. Take advantage of that!

    2. True facts! After the last GDS, Dan Emmons (top 100 but not finalist) got a WotC customer service job, impressed the hell out of Rosewater, and went on to work full time in R&D. There are lots of ways in the door.

    3. Yup! And just like in many irl reality shows "losers" often go on to great sucess. There is a reason wotc pointed out the "many" gds alumni they hired as opposed to just the winners.

      This has always basically been my plan, my goal is to make top 8 and I'll be satisfied, if "being Jay Treat" is the fail case I'm good.

      Also by god is it hard, I literally passed out from thinking after working on trial 3, good shizz.

  3. Tweets from Doug Beyer about other routes into R&D.