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:
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.
This is the 5th State of Design that MaRo released since his tenure as Head Magic Designer who is the mouthpiece of Wizards. But this is quite an important one as now, after this amount of time, he has developed a pattern. Before we look at the present (and the “future”), we must look at the past.
MaRo always has goals that he wants to do for design for the upcoming block. This is always an easy task because *shock* they have already designed and close to printing the future block that MaRo is wanting to make goals for. It’s easy to make goals for something you’ve already done. Maybe goal in the traditional sense (the act of throwing, carrying, kicking, driving, etc., a ball or puck into such an area or object), should be replaced with another definition (Synonyms:1.target; purpose, object, objective, intent, intention. 2.finish). Um, let’s use intent. It’s their intent (goal) to do hit these marks and make them go over well.
Taking a look at the past year’s “goals” there is a pattern going on here (MaRo says humans like patterns). Let’s take a look at them for each year and see what the goals were with what they accomplished:
2005 – Ravnica: City of Guilds Block
1. Institute block design (Have colored pairs throughout the block rather than one set)
2. Design between blocks (Don’t have Ravnica beat up Champions, let them work together)
3. Design and create integration (Create more Spirits!)
2006 – Time Spiral Block
1. Continue with the past goals (Past-present-future, cards that work with multicolor, mix dredge/hellbent with flashback)
2. Embrace the tools of the past (Use old mechanics)
3. Find ways to surprise (Surprise! Psionic Blast is back! Surprise! Wrath of God is now Black! Surprise! Magic is making contraptions!)
2007 – Lorwyn/Shadowmoor Blocks
1. Go back to our roots (Creatures smash and Blue/Black get the best spells)
2. Find innovation that doesn’t shock (Besides that four sets a year thing. Two/two blocks (race-class, friendly hybrid/enemy hybrid))
3. Be all inclusive (Spikes got Faeries/Cryptic Command, Johnnys got hybrid and Timmys got the entire Lorwyn block)
2008 – Shards of Alara Block
1. Give things more time and space to breathe (The middle set? No new mechanics)
2. Embrace Flavor (5 shards each with their own keyword/theme)