GDS 3 – Round 1 Essay Answers

Number 10 will shock you!


As of this blog post, the first round of the GDS3 has ended and applicants were to submit their answers to 10 questions. I thought I would post mine since we’re now allowed to.

For WotC, there’s no “right” answer, you just have to explain why you thought that way. Multiple people are going to give the same answer on a question (There’s only so many keywords in the game, especially evergreen keywords), so along with the multiple choice question and the actual designing of the cards, it’s how you think about Magic and if you can covey that idea that they’re looking for. I don’t believe that there’s “wrong” answers for anything, but there are some far unlikely to be taken more seriously, like making Cumulative Upkeep evergreen (apologies to the one person who suggested that).

So don’t be surprised if I have the same answers as your submission, we just thought along the same path. Hopefully, I’m able to explain my thinking about how I got there, which is the important part of the test. I feel like you needed to explain both parts of the question: the setup and the resolution. I deleted plenty of drafts where I didn’t feel as if I had answered them in the fashion that I wanted to. In the space of 250-350 words that we were asked to write, it’s hard to have that intro-setup-resolution-outro that one can be completely satisfied. I know I ramble on in my intros far more that what should be (which could be my defeat when it comes to this), so it was doubly hard for me here. See, I’m rambling here.

Right now, it all comes down to the multiple choice quiz and if I pass that the card design section. I feel comfortable, obviously, but you never know.

I am leaving out my answer to the first question because it’s just me talking about me. There’s one or two things in there that I’m not gonna share at the moment in the first question. IF I make it to the Top 8, and they post the essays, then that will be a different story, I guess.

Continue reading “GDS 3 – Round 1 Essay Answers”

Let’s Talk About Ascend

Let’s talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be

6Hey, a timely post.

First, if you came over from the Beacon of Creation Podcast where I was a guest, welcome. If you’re just hearing about this Beacon of Creation podcast, take a listen. Adam and Bradley host a podcast about Magic design and the lead up to the Great Designer Search 3 (more info when that kicks off). I’m on Episode 5, which you can find right here.

We talked a bit about some of the Rivals of Ixalan cards that had been previewed that day (we recorded on the first day of Rivals previews). There was one new mechanic in the set that we briefly touched upon that I would like to go further indepth.

Ascend (If you control ten or more permanents, you get the city’s blessing for the rest of the game.)

Ascend is a Threshhold mechanic meaning it needs a criteria to be met for it to turn on (ala, Threshhold from Odyssey block). What’s the most interesting part of this mechanic is that it can’t be turned off. Once you have Ascend, you can’t lose it, even if you have no permanents left on the board.

This was done on purpose.

To understand Ascend, we need to go back a few sets, to Conspiracy: Take the Crown. Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Ascend”

Mining Unstable for Future Design Space

We’ll fix it in the flavor text…

I have this habit of calling Unstable, Unhinged. As I wrote the title of this piece, I did just that. I always thought that Unhinged would be the last Un-set unless something drastic happened. Well, no matter how much people try, the world hasn’t ended and we received a new Un-set.

I always believed that the Un-sets were a great way for Magic to poke for at themselves and do things that couldn’t be done in “normal” Magic. Some of the favorite “non-traditional” things have come out of Un-sets: Full art lands, split cards, tokens, ability words (think “Gotcha to Landfall”), etc. And Mark Rosewater has said that besides the printing technology, one of the reasons to push Unhinged was to explore possible future space.

Well, what can we find in this new Silver-border that we might see in Black-border land a few years from now? Let’s go exploring for possibilities. Continue reading “Mining Unstable for Future Design Space”

After PAX: The Death of Magic at PAX

All that lives must die, Passing through nature to eternity.
– Hamlet: Act 1, Scene 2

I’ve been to PAX West eight out of the past nine years, venturing specifically for Magic: The Gathering (the only one I’ve missed when my daughter had surgery). I feel like I have some expertise when I say this: This year was by far the worst effort put forth by Wizards of the Coast to do anything Magic related at PAX West. The only major event they produced was one panel about the worldbuilding of Ixalan for an hour. And that was it. How you found it was a blurb in the main schedule, not even a mention on

It was embarrassing.

Let me amend that:

I was embarrassed for Wizards of the Coast.

When I’ve written these After PAX pieces, I was trying to give you a little bit of the atmosphere of Magic-related PAX. They aren’t really reviews as it’s not something that one can experience again. I tried to examine what was WotC doing to promote their latest set and their actions at the convention itself.

For years the draw was the Magic Party where they would debut cards with music, food, drinks and a bunch of people including WotC employees. Over the past few years the party was toned down but the increased presence of Magic was there. Two years ago there was a huge Eldrazi arm crushing a police car on the street. Last year, they took over a whole theater for Kaladesh and the huge street wide banner hanging on the skybridge displaying Saheeli Rai for all of the PAX attendees to see.

This year, an hour long panel with two preview cards.

And as much as it would be easy to blame WotC for this, it’s not their fault.

There’s one clear reason for this complete drop off, but I have a feeling that there were to other factors that contributed to this choice that made it a bit easier. The elephant in the room:


Continue reading “After PAX: The Death of Magic at PAX”

10 Years

Time for some self reflection.

It was 10 years ago today that was first started. Not much has changed in the Magic landscape since then I’m sure. In fact, this was the “mission statement” I wrote on the date:

The reason for this site is to talk about the design aspect of Magic. What is Wizards doing right, what should we be expecting from them in the future? All of those things will be covered right here. Why? Because like everyone on the internet, they think they can do as good of a job, or better, than the professionals (don’t believe me, search YouTube for stupid stunts). Am I better than the design team headed up by Mark Rosewater? We’ll see…

Yeah, shooting a little high with Mark Rosewater, right? I had to make a statement when starting my blog. Put my voice out there in the aether. Do I think he was doing a bad job? No, I just felt that there was some room for criticism about Magic design. Am I professional Magic designer? No, not yet (is there a collation?). Since that still a goal of mine? Why wouldn’t it be?

I know it hasn’t been 10 years of constant blogging. There have been some regrets of not writing as much as I should. Life, babies, job all gets in the way. I try and make time for it, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out as the number of half finished articles in my queue can attest to. As of this writing I have published 253 posts on That’s an average of 25 a year or once every two or so weeks. So average it out and I’m doing okayish for a single person. And maybe because this isn’t a full time job for me (I make no money from this blog) that it feels like I wish I could’ve done more. I will always try and want to do more than what I can and that’s my guilt. I’ve had some real fun with pieces going completely absurd, like the parody pieces, and some real talk, like when I talked about the loss of my grandmother.

The Magic community is a fantastic place to be. I’m proud to be a voice in it for the past 10 years. It’s allowed me to do some fun stuff: PAX, meet Dr. Richard Garfield briefly, talk with WotC employees, write for other sites like Gathering Magic and interact with all of you.

I really want to thank you readers for actually reading my words (in whatever order they end up in). When I first started this and my Twitter account, I was considering of keeping myself fully anonymous so I could say anything without fear of backlash. Then, when I found out I don’t have that much to say to be worried about, I dropped that act. Whenever I go to PAX or places and introduce myself, it’s always a surprise to meet someone who’s heard of me especially when they say they like my work. I’m not doing any of this to be famous (as the number of posts can tell you), but just to write out my thoughts. With your kind words, it’s helped me through some tough times during the past 10 years. I’ll always be thankful for you.

So, what’s next? More articles (I’ve got enough in my queue to last another 10 years), but also branching out a little bit with another medium. I’m moving at the end of August/Early September so I’ll finally have my own office once again. My cards won’t be in boxes and I’ve always wanted a whiteboard in my home office for ideas. My notebooks is full of notes that I’m ready to spring into the world. I’ve toyed with the concept of streaming a bit, either card creation or building EDH decks or, drafting? Who knows. I mean, I’ve got all of this camera and video equipment and I haven’t really done anything with it yet. It will be much easier to create when I don’t have to constantly put away things when I have my own room and my girls are a little bit older.

If you’ve ever wanted to write or create content about Magic, I would highly suggest you give it a try. Don’t worry about what other people say. Write or create what you want to consume. Soon, you’ll find your voice and your place in the community. That’s how I started 10 years ago, and you can do the same. To paraphrase the proverb:

The best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago. The second best time is now.

As always, you can reach me by email (mtgcolorpie@gmail) or twitter (@mtgcolorpie). I’m mtgcolorpie most everywhere else as well. Again, thank you all.