After MaRo – Even a Blind Squirrel Finds an Acorn Sometimes


EDITOR’S NOTE: If you’re new to the After MaRo series (I haven’t done anything like this in a while so you might be), I sometimes have “conversations” with Mark Rosewater. These conversations AREN’T real; I make them up in my head. I know I’ve been posting some info lately that has been more “journalistic” and I wanted to re-visit this column again. If/When I do have real information about something like this, it will be done in a serious manner. Sorry for the confusion.

It’s been a while since I called MaRo. Let’s see what he’s up to.

(Picking up phone) Hello, Mark Rosewater.

Hello Mr. Rosewater, this is Robby from MtG Color Pie.

No comment.

But, I’m not the press.

No comment.

What’s going on?

I’m not talking about Priceless Treasures.

Okay… I wasn’t calling about that.

(Surprised) Really?

No, I wanted to talk to you about your article on Monday, how you said no one liked Odyssey.

Yeah, people didn’t get the point of the article and think that I don’t like Odyssey. I love Odyssey. I have a shrine in my house and write Odyssey love letters every week.

You do?

(Beat) No. But a majority of people didn’t like it.  Research shows.

And what is this research?

Microchips in every card.

I knew it!

So, that’s that. It was more of a Spike oriented set and most people didn’t like it.

But that’s ok. You’ve have Johnny and Timmy sets, why can’t you have a Spike set?

What do you mean?

Johnny’s set was Fifth Dawn. Timmy loved Scourge, well, most of Onslaught block except for Goblins. Why can’t you have a set that’s for Spikes?

Well, it’s the big set of the block, and the others you mentioned were the third set so they were going to sell less anyway because they’re in Standard for less time. We are a business and if we create a set that most people don’t like, a majority of our players don’t play in tournaments, they won’t buy it and we won’t get money. Money makes us happy.

(picking up Lotus Cobra and looking at it) Clearly.

What does that mean?

Nothing. So it’s ok to create sets that other demographics love and will buy, but if it’s to a certain one that doesn’t buy as much, don’t do it?

Well, we create cards that appeal to all demographics in every set. Not every card in Odyssey was a Spike card. Other players love Squirrels.


Yeah, you know the little rodent that runs around and eats nuts?

I know what they are. But that’s your nod to the Timmys? Squirrels?

Squirrel Mob, Squirrel Nest… (Sighing) I just wish I had put more squirrels in Magic since then.

I’m sure Creative loves that. “Imagine a plane with nothing but Squirrels. How about a Squirrel Planeswalker?”

Alright, alright. I get it.

Another Squirrel or two wouldn’t be a bad thing though.

See? But everyone was missing the point of the article. Odyssey made players do things they didn’t want to do: discard cards all the time. Players want to play lands, which is why Landfall is so successful. That’s all I was getting at. I learned from the mistakes I feel I made in Odyssey and applied them to make better sets.

Like Affinity?

Cheap shot.

I know. You learn more from your mistakes then your successes.

Just doesn't work
Just doesn't work

And you catch more flies with vinegar then with honey. The more you give players options that make them feel good, the better you can make Magic. Madness, while not in Odyssey, created something that made them feel good for an option. Discarding a card with an effect.

But you like that wacky stuff that makes paradigm shifts.

That I do. Hey, hint for Worldwake you should tell your readers: Vampire’s 10 life matters, will be a big mechanic.

That’s the new thing players need to care about. Life matters?

Doesn’t it always.

(Beat) Was that trying to be like a 90’s special show with a message at the end.

Hey, I did write for Roseanne.



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