Everything That’s Pretty Okay with Battle for Zendikar

Ugin's InsightEditor’s Note: I’ve been sitting on my PAX report for a while after some delays (my brother getting married, life and work). I’ll visit it later; it hasn’t come out the way I want to.

Earlier this week, Pro Player (and notably better Magic player than I) Paulo Vitor Damo de Rosa put out an article on ChannelFireball.com called “Everything That’s Wrong with Battle for Zendikar.” In it, he explains why he doesn’t like the philosophical direction that BFZ has gone and believes it’s a bad set. He came from the angle as a competitive player completely acknowledges that angle; that’s what I want when I read something from him. While I don’t fully agree with his position I want to take a look at this groundswell I’ve seen online about the hatred for BFZ.

There has been a little bit of an issue with Channel Fireball moving his article around trying to hide it so it doesn’t effect sales of the new set in their store. I’m not looking to comment on this as I’ve had my own issues with a large online retail site/store before with their content. I’m all for an author writing what they believe without being tied to sponsors; that’s the major reason why I don’t have advertisements on this blog. If I write something like Paulo had and a sponsor didn’t like the content and this article might hurt sells, I might be pressured into writing something different or censoring myself. Paulo wants to start a conversation while giving his thoughts on the topic, and I fully applaud that even if I don’t agree with him. Continue reading “Everything That’s Pretty Okay with Battle for Zendikar”

After MaRo – State of Design Response 2015

Profound JourneyAnother year, another State of Design response.

While I’ve tried to keep up every year that Maro has written one, I think it’s important to voice your opinion about what you have thought about the past year. I know Maro gets so much player response, especially on Tumblr where it’s short bursts of info, it’s also good to write something a little longer. If you’re giving feedback, there’s something you need to communicate that can be very hard to do:

Explain why.

If you liked something, explain the reason. Same for not liking something. There is nothing as useless as “this sucks,” but don’t explain why. “I didn’t like that there were too many aggro decks,” is a valid reason, “I don’t like dragons,” is a valid reason, “Because why can’t we have Counterspell back?” is not a totally valid reason but if that’s the way you feel, please respond that way. Be kind, be courteous. I’m not trying to “tone police”, but even if you disagree with what has happened you can still be respectful. If you want your voice to be heard, write something; WotC will read it.

I know that last year I kinda went into a “Theros wasn’t an enchantment block so it missed its mark” midset and in hindsight, I still believe that. It’s okay to disagree with how things turned out. Did I think Khans block turned out better? Let’s find out. Continue reading “After MaRo – State of Design Response 2015”

You Make the Card 4 – Round 5 (Submit the Mechanic)

YMTC - Black


So it all comes down to this.

I knew that non-arua would win the vote, but I didn’t expect it to be by that much. That’s all fine and good.

Now it comes down to those of us in America and Canada submit our designs. I feel bad for the rest of the world, since obviously the community is larger than just these two countries. I’m sure it has to do with something on the legal side of things, but I have no knowledge of what it could be. Hopefully one day we can live in a world without lawyers. But back to the good part.

If you haven’t submitted your design yet, stop and take a breath. You only get one design so you better make it a good one. Already I’ve seen hundreds of submissions that people have sent in and I’m noticing a huge pattern here:

You’re rushing things.

I was going to spend some time about what Black can and can’t do, but I feel like we need to take a step back and look at card design in general. Most everyone is getting the idea of what Black is, so that’s good. And I think the benefit of submitting a top down design is fantastic since we can convey the flavor easier. However, everyone’s so excited to submit their card they’re losing perspective on several things. I tweeted out this link to one of Maro’s posts on basic design but I feel like people need to see it again, and again.

And again.

Before we get to that review, I want you to look at your design and ask yourself some honest questions:

  • Is it fun?
  • Would you put it in a deck?
  • Would you be happy to see it when you draw it?
  • Would you be happy to see it played against you?

While the 4th question is a little awkward, let me explain. There comes a point in every card’s life that you just don’t want to see it played against you. Either because it’s too powerful, you see it all of the time, or a combination of both. Primeval Titan is a fun card that you play, but you get tired of seeing your opponents play it. What about Black Enchantments? Recurring Nightmare is a hugely fun card for you to play, but when your opponent has it, you’re just groaning and complaining about why would WotC print such a broken card? Cards that create repetitive gameplay gets tiresome. Cards that create repetitive gameplay gets tiresome. Cards that create repetitive gameplay gets tiresome.

Listen, I’m not saying your card can’t be good; balancing cards that are fun for the person using them while not completely ruining the game for your opponents is very hard to do. But saying “I’ve got an idea for a Black enchantment”, scribbling down your first idea then submitting it doesn’t give this contest justice. You can come up with a ton of different Black enchantments but if they don’t follow the first three questions, while maybe touching on the fourth, then why are you submitting it? Continue reading “You Make the Card 4 – Round 5 (Submit the Mechanic)”

You Make the Card 4 – Round 4 (Aura or Non-Aura)

YMTC - Blackhttp://wp.me/p5VSx-1xv
(Note: That link is this page’s address so it’s easier to share this page.)

And Black won the vote. Fine, I’ll just crumple up all my Red enchantment designs and throw them in the drawer of “stuff I’ll use sometime”.

Hopefully this vote also dispels the rumors that A) WotC is trying to control the vote by linking my articles (though I’m very grateful) and 2) that I have supreme power over the voting process.

I am not surprised that Black won the vote as I figured it would be Red or Black since the players want to complete cycles. They were the top two colors because that’s what people wanted to see. And now we’re in the all “important” phase of choosing if we want the aura card or not.

What we’re deciding here is if the card type line will read “Enchantment” or “Enchantment – Aura”. That’s it.

This might be one of the more lopsided votes that we’ll have throughout the whole contest but it’s not one to take lightly. By ignoring the vote, we could get stuck with a choice few of us want.

Vote for “Global Enchantment.”

Yeah, we don’t use the term “Global” anymore, but we did at one time. So, no, we’re not voting on “Enchant Worlds” either and that would be an aura anyway using modern templating. But there are two main reasons why you shouldn’t vote for Auras. Continue reading “You Make the Card 4 – Round 4 (Aura or Non-Aura)”

You Make the Card 4 – Round 3 (Choose the Color)

YMTC - Enchantmenthttp://wp.me/p5VSx-1wT

And enchantments won that exciting runoff.

First, let me say that it was fun debating the people of “Team Land”; or those that wanted to debate rather than just yell. I hope that those of you who were on that side stay with the rest of us until the end of the contest. You’re not out of voting by any means, but I’ve seen a number of you get upset that your choice didn’t win. Yeah, my first choice didn’t win either (it was creatures). The key to this contest is to think of this as more than just an “I want” thing, because then you’ll always be disappointed. We’re a team here, and we all get a vote. If you feel like you don’t care anymore because one choice didn’t go your way, then that’s the wrong attitude. While this might be my Selesnya side talking, but let’s work together to build the best, and most fun, card that we can.

Basically this contest is what WotC has to do plenty of times. Following their design skeletons, there are several holes in a set that they are creating. Instead of trying to fill it internally, they have decided to let the fans choose which hole they want to participate in finding an answer to. We, as a group, has decided to go after the Enchantment hole, and are now deciding on which color. Then, I imagine, we will decide if it’s going to be an aura or not, then finally pitch our ideas about what should be sorted through to fill that hole. I’ve seen plenty of people complain about just telling us pitch mechanics now and let the color be decided by the mechanic, but it doesn’t go that way. We’re using their process, we have to play by their rules.

At the moment, our decision is actually pretty hard: what color should the enchantment be? Continue reading “You Make the Card 4 – Round 3 (Choose the Color)”