Monday, May 10, 2021

The Perfect Storm: Vanishing, Allies, Ferocious, and Monarch

 Welcome to the next installment of "The Perfect Storm", a recurring article series where I randomly choose four mechanics rated between 5 and 7 on Mark Rosewater's Storm Scale and write about what environment those mechanics would need to return. This week: Vanishing, Allies, ferocious, and monarch. Check out the first installment of The Perfect Storm here.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 050721 - Dungeons and Dragons

Happy Friday Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom Magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.

Monday, April 26, 2021

The Usual Suspects: The Tapper

Welcome to a new installment in my series, The Usual Suspects. For those who haven't seen the first edition, in The Usual Suspects I take a deep dive into a card archetype that has seen repeated designs across Magic's history and analyze its purpose, its variants, and what makes it good (or bad). This week: One of the most archetypal white effects, the tapper – a creature that can tap itself to tap one of your opponent's creatures.



Saturday, April 24, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 042421 - Demon

Hey Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom Magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 041721 - If X Is

Hey Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom Magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Don't Make Me Think

Part of being a good game designer involves knowing when to do things your players don't like. Sometimes this is because your responsibility is to give players enough challenges that they have fun while suffering at the same time; sometimes this is because you genuinely know better than your players in how to give them a fun time. There are many cases where you can't give players what they say they want because it will make the game worse for them in practice: In this article, I argue that although people say they want more control and decision points in Magic, Magic's lack of them compared to other trading card games is what has made the game both highly accessible and long-lasting.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 040921 - Strixhaven Cycle

Happy Friday Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom Magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 040221 - Ward

Hey Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom Magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Designing for the Kitchen Table

Common knowledge among those who pay attention to Magic design is that the most-played format isn't really a format: It's "kitchen table" or "cards I own", where casual Magic players assemble decks from the cards they have on hand and slam them against each other. However, there hasn't been much of a discussion about what it actually means to design for kitchen table Magic. Let's take this opportunity to explore the implications of truly casual Magic formats and what that means for design teams.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 031921 - Strixhaven Teaser

Happy Friday Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom Magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.

Monday, March 15, 2021

The Perfect Storm: Rally, Adventure, Manifest, and Adamant

 Mark Rosewater's Storm Scale is an unofficial measurement for how likely a certain mechanic is to appear in an upcoming set. He has described in detail what every numerical rating from 1 (evergreen mechanics) to 10 (broke the game in half the first time) means; many of the ratings in the middle are things that "require the right environment" in order to return, but their return is plausible. This made me realize: Wouldn't evaluating exactly what these mechanics would require to come back be excellent knowledge for Magic design scholars?

Welcome to the first in my new series: The Perfect Storm. I have collected every mechanic worth writing about that were rated a 5 ("We need to find the right place to bring it back, but I'm optimistic"), 6 ("We need to find the right place to bring it back, but I'm a little less optimistic"), or 7 ("It's unlikely to return, but possible if the right environment comes along") on the Storm Scale as of 2020. Each installment, I will select four of these mechanics at random and write about what environment they would actually need in order to be reprinted. I ended up with rally, adventure, manifest, and adamant for my first outing – let's get cracking.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 031421 - Pi

Hey Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom Magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

CCDD 031021 - I Dare You

At best, a much better Cancel. At worst, a much worse Distress. It all depends on how the mind game plays out.

Monday, March 8, 2021

CCDD 030821 - Headmistress Greag

Inspired by the teaser for Strixhaven, here's a charming commander.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 030521 - Track Down

Hey Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom Magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Magic: The Removing

For a long time, many Magic players advised players just getting into limited formats to follow the heuristic "BREAD". After bombs – the absolute strongest cards in a set, that could singlehandedly change a losing game into a come-from-behind victory – the acronym recommended that players draft removal.

Although BREAD is better used as a vehicle for butter and jam than as a Magic strategy, the fact remains that removal is the cornerstone of Magic by providing a necessary element of interactivity and allowing players to affect each others' plans. Entire colors are frequently made or broken by how strong their removal performs. However, while there have been plenty of set breakdowns based on their removal spells, I have not yet seen a breakdown of general removal effects at common in modern Magic and what they need to be effective. That's what this article intends to fix, color-by-color.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 022621 - Treasure

Hey Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom Magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 021921 - Command

Hey Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Tuesday. (Apologies for the delayed posting this week!)

Monday, February 15, 2021

The Usual Suspects: The Green 4/4 for 4

Welcome to the beginning of what I expect will be a recurring segment on Goblin Artisans. In The Usual Suspects, I will analyze a card archetype common across multiple sets, exploring its history, variants, and value to the game. This week's suspect: The ruler of stats for the cost, the green 4/4 for 4.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 021221 - Valentine

Hey Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday. 

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 020521 - Marquee Card

Hey Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Tibalt's Bag of Tricks

Tibalt's Trickery caught the eye of the Magic player base as soon as it was revealed. It was a counterspell in red, something that hadn't been heard of before; not only that, the rest of the text was exceptionally bizarre, involving milling, random decisions, and Chaos Warp effects. While it looks like it was added at random, this text is Wizards' best attempt at preventing abuse while maintaining a smooth pace of gameplay. But is it the optimal decision, and what else could have been used instead? Let's find out together.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 012921 - Frostweb Spider

Happy Friday, Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Memorizing MDFCs: Kaldheim Edition

This is the second edition of my series on the inherent memory issues with modal double-faced cards and how different sets resolve them in different ways. Part 1, on Zendikar Rising, can be read here. I also wrote a companion piece for my personal game blog about why memorizing things in tabletop games is often a slog.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 012221 - Titan

Hey Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 011520 - L-A-N-D

Happy Friday, Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 010821 - Saga

Hey Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Designing for Spike

This is the third article in my series of designing for player psychographics. I encourage you to read my articles about Timmy/Tammy and Johnny/Jenny, as well.