Design Class – Common Creature Data Dump

One of the projects I’m working on (out of, like, five currently) is a pauper cube so my friends and I can draft it. Why a pauper cube? One, all my “cool” and “pimp” cards are in my Commander decks and two, I can update it pretty easily when a new set comes out. No foils either, so I don’t feel like I have to keep them in there because they’re cool; it’s a personal choice. Plus, I wanted the challenge.

I was inspired to finally do it after looking at Adam Styborski’s Pauper Cube blog and it would give me a chance to create my own draft environment. I didn’t think much of it, and just tried to throw in cards that fit a theme (each color at their own tribe to work with) and throw in cycles of cards. I knew, and still know, it’s a work in progress but it was going to be a vailent first attempt. The cube was tailored more towards sealed play since that the limited format we prefer. I put it together and some friends and I drafted it once.

Spoiler: it wasn’t perfect.

Rarely do you get anything right on the first attempt. So I went back to work. Because I was working on a spreadsheet like Adam, I wanted to gather as much information as possible and see how things worked out. Before I come across Zac Hill’s amazing limited piece (which you should read and caused me to rework my cube while I was in the middle of reworking it), I wanted to look out how common creatures fared against each other. I found some fascinating information.

So, here’s a PDF of the spreadsheet with raw data:

Common Creature Spreadsheet


  • The numbers at the top equal the total number of monocolored cards of that color. The last subset is colorless cards (mostly artifacts but I threw the Eldrazi in there as well.
  • It’s separated into two pages. On the first page the first section is the power, the second is toughness, the third is the converted mana cost while the last is the full mana cost. Remember 1C = 1W in White, 1U in Blue, etc. The second page holds the percentages of the cards in the color that are at that number. For example, White has 24.37% of all commons with power equal to 0. Green comes next at 17.65%, and so on and so forth.
  • What is listed are the printed numbers. No, it’s not the best system in the world, but I haven’t built my own database of every card so I can constantly run hypothetical numbers all day. Phyrexian Mana counts as a whole mana, not a “free” one. Creatures that came in with +1/+1 or -1/-1 counters on them didn’t in the power/toughness numbers. Creature’s with a * in their P/T box was marked as a 0. This also meant that the back side of Double Faced cards were ignored; it was a special condition that had to be met so I ignored it.
  • Ignore the 0’s above the percentages, they’re just check sums to make sure I wasn’t missing any cards. They were very helpful as I was constantly missing 1 in a certain area.
  • This is throughout all of Magic. If they were printed as a common in any release (I did not include MTGO’s Master Editions changes in rarity because it’s a weird circumstance), they showed up here. Set themes have a role to play since Mark Rosewater has repeatedly told us that the set’s theme should be seen in the commons. This does not take into fact all of the abilities a card has, such as flying, haste, shadow, whatever. These are just the raw numbers.

What can we gleam from this?

Here are the average costs of a typical Magic common creature:

  • White – 1.52/2.04 with a CMC of 2.75
  • Blue – 1.81/2.12 with a CMC of 3.06
  • Black – 1.92/1.68 with a CMC of 2.96
  • Red – 2.10/1.94 with a CMC of 2.94
  • Green – 2.21/2.38 with a CMC of 3.16
  • Colorless – 2.1/2.2 with a CC of 3.43

But if we go by actual mode route (most likely) route, here are the numbers:

  • White – 1/1 with a CMC of 2
  • Blue – 1/1 with a CMC of 3
  • Black – 2/1 with a CMC of 3
  • Red – 2/1 with a CMC of 3
  • Green – 1/1 with a CMC of 3
  • Colorless – 1/1 with a CC of 3

Now, that Green number is a little deceiving because the numbers are so close to each other. It could almost be a 2/1 for 2 if a new more cards swing that way, which would be the most aggressive color (in terms of mode). White and Blue are the “Weeine” colors while Black/Red tend to be more aggressive.

White has no large creatures. It only has three creatures with power 4 or greater: Lairwatch Giant (5/3 for 6), Loxodon Convert (4/2 for 4), and Yoked Plowbeast (5/5 for 7). None of them really exciting. On the other hand, Green has a good number of the fat with larger creatures at greater or equal to 4 power and toughness. Black reaches its limits at 4 power, but I believe that a number of keywords work in Black’s favor.

I’ve always had issue with Blue’s “Serpents”. Back in Alpha/Beta/Unlimited there was Sea Serpent, where it had Islandhome (a discarded keyword that was there for flavor reasons: it said if an opponent didn’t have an Island, it couldn’t attack and if you didn’t control you, sacrifice it. It makes perfect flavor sense, but really limited). It’s supposed to be a drawback and help “stall” for Blue, but it’s just a huge monster in a color that really shouldn’t get big monsters, especially at common.

  • Chained Throatseeker – 5/5 for 5U, can’t attack unless defending player is poisoned
  • Harbor Serpent – 5/5 for 4UU. Islandwalk, but can’t attack unless there are five or more Islands on the battlefield.
  • Ronom Serpent – 5/6 for 5U. Snow-Covered landhome.
  • Scrapdiver Serpent – 5/5 for 5UU. It’s unblockable if defending player controls an artifact (semi-Serpent-like).
  • Sea Monster – 6/6 for 4UU. Can’t attack unless defending player controls an Island.
  • Sea Serpent – 5/5 for 5U. Islandhome.
  • Shoal Serpent – 5/5 for 5U. Defender. Landfall – loses defender. (to be fair, that was a fast environment so I doubt this got much play)
  • Slipstream Eel – 6/6 for 5UU – Can’t attack unless defending player controls an Island. Oh, and it cycles.
  • Slipstream Serpent – 6/6 for 7U. Islandhome. And it Morphs (for the “fair” cost of 5U).
  • Whimwader – 6/4 for 4U. Can’t attack unless defending player controls a Blue permanent (in the Shadowmoor block).
  • Floodchaser – 0/0 for 5U (enters the battlefield with 6 +1/+1 counters on it). Can’t attack unless defending player controls an Island. U: remove a +1/+1 counter from it, target land is an Island until end of turn.
  • Serpent of the Endless Sea – */* for 4U. P/T are equal to the number of Island you control. Can’t attack unless defending player controls an Island.

Yes, there’s plenty of history there with the “Serpent” ability, but all of those are at common. Is it supposed to help break ground game stalls between Blue players? Or is it something that gets thrown in there for the next block’s mechanics to create a “drawback”? I don’t get why Blue gets this huge creates at common while White, the second creature color, gets shafted at anything about a 4 power? Even with toughness, Blue matches White at toughness 3 and greater, where White is supposed to be the defensive color. Are the other colors supposed to win by turn 5 before Blue gets one of these creatures down to act as a wall? My knowledge of limited environments is growing, but this still baffles me.

Red has no common creatures that cost RR. This is funny to me. Every other color has a CC common creature. Only Green has a common creature where it requires 3 of a certain color to cast it. Kidercatch debuted in Innistrad, so it’s a new novelty.

White controls just under 24% of creatures with powers 2 or less. Green is second (19%), but with powers greater than 3, Green has that wrapped up at 29% (where Red is second at 24%). For toughness, Green takes the cake at toughness greater than 3 at almost 30% of the cards. Blue takes second place at 19% beating out white be .31 percentage points.

I haven’t mentioned Red or Black much because the data from it hasn’t looked too different that what I thought would happen. There’s a little more Red power in the upper end, but they’re both aggressive colors looking to lay the beats down fast.

Again, none of these number might not tell you anything, or they could mean a whole lot. There are no keywords attached to any of them, so it’s hard to quantify where some of these creatures fit with evasion and combat tricks. That takes a ton more time to find all of that out. Of course, I might end up doing that anyway.

Look over the PDF, and point out what you find interesting. If there’s an outcry for the spreadsheet, I’ll throw it up on Google Docs. All of the raw numbers are there through Dark Ascension.

3 thoughts on “Design Class – Common Creature Data Dump”

  1. Huh. I think I might have internalised that knowledge that red just doesn’t get common double-mana creatures, without consciously realising it. There’s always felt like there’s something wrong when someone creates one on Multiverse, but I couldn’t have told you that it never happened.

  2. Needs more graphs. I could do it, but you have that in a spreadsheet format and it would be almost no work for you.

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