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Rezatta — VISION DESIGN PHASE
Meanwhile, I'm kicking back the design skeleton design so we can start filling it soon.
A) For the size of the creatures, I took it where we left it last time.
ABOUT BLUE: I replaced one of the 5-mana blue creatures with a 1-mana creature that was probably more needed and made the largest blue creature 6-mana as default instead of 8 (we can still go higher if we want, especially with psylian life, but I'm not expecting Blue to produce a lot of it.)
ABOUT BLACK: I smoothened the mana curve of the three remaining colours because it was too high as mentioned earlier (page 3). Black is very versatile, it gets a solid mix of small and medium creatures but no large one.
ABOUT RED: Reduced mana curve here too as mentioned, it gets a similar mix of small/medium creatures than White but I decided to go with one large creature as well to help differenciate it even though it's optional (we'll see if it's really needed.)
About GREEN: Reduced mana curve though it gets the bigger creatures with two large ones (maybe it's too much, we'll see) that tops at 7-mana (we can go higher with psylian life in the mix if needs be.)
B) For the creature keywords, I followed the evasion levels ratio I posted earlier, I just removed the level-3 in White because it looked silly, and move a level 1 to a level 2 in Black because two black flyiers sounded like a bit much.
WHITE—1, 1, 1, 2: Flying (very small), Flying (small), Flying (medium), first strike
BLUE—1, 1, 2, 3: Flying, can't be blocked, prowess, (5/5 or bigger)
BLACK—1, 2, 2, 2: Flying, deathtouch, menace, indestructible until end of turn
RED—1, 2, 2, 3: Can't be blocked, menace, trample, (5/5 or bigger)
GREEN—2, 2, 3, 3: Deathtouch, trample, (5/5 or bigger), (5/5 or bigger)
Then, I add the non-evasion keywords to each colour:
BLACK—Haste, flash (yep that's new in Black starting from Dominaria)
Note that I don't really need to use them all, I removed some that were showing too often like Flash from certain colours;
I'll stop there for today, feel free to comment and jump in if you want to discuss any choice I made ^^ The design skeleton is a living thing, it will change as we make the cards, it's just here to make sure eveything stays balanced but there are a billion different combinations possible.
I assume by "unblockable" in red we're talking something like a Goblin Shortcutter kind of effect?
Oh, "Panic" effects (= Goblin Shortcutter = Target creature can't block this turn) are slightly different, I was thinking "can't be blocked until end of turn" effects that Red can give to small creatures sometimes ^^ Actually that's a good question, I don't know if they count Panic effects as evasion?
Anyways, sorry if it wasn't clear, I didn't have a lot of room. So that it's clear for everyone, by "Unblockable" in Red I meant this kind of effects:
Also, by "Regenerate" in Black, I mean this kind of effects:
Good to see this set come together!
Your green seems weird to me. Yes you can have a leopard flash in or have a deathtouchy scorpion, but having odd effects like that be in the color as much as reach and trample sounds off to me. The other thing I noticed is that 2 of red and greens two drops are both vanilla and 2 of green's 3 drops are vanilla. If I cracked a pack with 4 low mana green vanillas, I'd cry a little bit.
Wasn't White going to get extra Auras?
As I work through my own set (telling the story of our D&D campaign) I have noticed how incredibly challenging it is to design 19 x 5 = 95 colored commons that are all meaningful!
54 simple creatures is a LOT to do, not to mention the more complicated ones to come.
So vanilla are okay. They should have a range of p/t combinations and some should be off the power curve as tester cards.
Do you think some of the vanillas can have a drawback rather than nothing? Like “can’t block” or “can’t attack if you have more than two cards in hand” or something?
- I agree, the vanilla greens should be higher up in CMC. A big body makes a vanilla creature feel more valuable.
- auras are fun. White does good auras. I agree that white should have 3 or 4 instead of 2.
Here is a “regenerate” one mana black card.
You're making a really good point ^^
How about this: let's remove deathtouch from Green, and compensate with a second creature with trample except it's small-sized so it can synergize with the Rebirth mechanic.
I'm not sure we're talking about the same thing when we're saying vanilla here? A vanilla creature is a creature with no ability. Each large set has a common cycle of them and we'll probably do the same. When a creature in the table above doesn't have anything written except size and mana cost it doesn't mean it's vanilla, it just means it doesn't have an evergreen keyword. It could very well have one of our new keywords (like Rebirth) or just an ability that's not keyworded. For instance, the small green creature for 1 mana could be:
I think this set icon looks absolutely stunning at full size! =D
It also translates pretty well at card size! It looks very flourished while you can still read the shape, I'm really fond of this version.
Admittedly, the readability is lessened at other rarities than common but I like the general feel of profusion that it gives. I can picture a painter making loads of little swirls everywhere with his/her brush x)
Ultimately, I think the best way to choose the set icon will be through a poll like we did for the name, so don't hesitate to explore other concepts if you feel like it =) I promise I'll try to make some myself as well, so we have options ^^
About the extra auras in white, I looked at how previous recent sets were made and they usually have two common white enchantments, sometimes only one when something else is eating the design space in the set (e.g: Kaladesh) but never three (one exception being Theros and its enchantement theme.) I don't think we want to increase the as-fan of auras in white at common unless we have a mechanical reason to do so. Otherwise, it will mess with the playability of the set.
Thank you for defining it for us,
. That makes it clearer.
Oh, right. Good, thank you.
How do you plan out your uncommons?
edited May 2018
Right now, the only thing known about the uncommons is that there will be 80 because that number comes from printing restrictions and we're trying to mimick a real set.
Then, I'm trying to stick to the "good design maxim" given in
Nuts & Bolts #4
: Don't advance beyond common until your commons are getting the job done.
We can talk about uncommon designs in a vaccum, but specific planning like the set skeleton should wait until we're happy with the commons (that's partly because we'll have most archetypes figured out and the mechanics will be less likely to change.)
ABOUT THE COMMON SET SKELETON:
We now have a rough idea of our creatures distribution in each colour, and how our evergreen keywords are going to be distributed in each colour. The previous table will likely change a lot, but now we can keep the balance of each element in check.
Here are some things we still need to add to the set design skeleton:
1) The level of removal. Just like we seeded the levels of evasion in the set very early, we need to know how many answers there are at common. This category includes everything that helps you get rid of your opponent's stuff (even temporarily).
2) The staple effects. After implementing the evergreen keywords, all the kind of removals, etc. there are still effects that we need to make sure are present in every Magic set at common. Think ramp in green, card draw in blue etc.
3) The set specific mechanics. This is where things get really interesting. Until then, we were just making sure that our set looked like an actual Magic set. At this point, we're deciding the as-fan of Rezatta's own mechanics and themes (a.k.a. the frequency where they show up.)
So let's start with the first point: figuring out the level of removal. What type of removal does each colour must always have in any set?
- Unconditional removal (usually exile) X0-1 (it's either this or the next)
- Pacifism effect (enchantment locking a creature out) X0-1 (it's either this or the previous)
- Conditional removal for attackers/blockers (things like Gideon's Reproach) X1
- Enchantment and/or artifact destruction X1-2
- Tapping creatures (often repeatably) X1-2
- Unconditional counterspell (things like Cancel) X1
- Specific counterspell (things like Negate or Essence Scatter) X1
- Enchantment removal (things like Claustrophobia or Deep Freeze) X1
- Bouncing (return to it's owner's hand or library) X1-2
- Freezing (tap creature, it doesn't untap during its next untap step) X1-2
- Unconditional removal (usually costs 4 or more, barring Murder itself) X1
- Conditional removal (usually for weak creatures, sometimes an enchantment) X2-3
- Shrinking effect (-X/-X, counts as conditional removal) X1
- Deathtouch creature X1
- Inquisition effect (look at opponent's hand and remove one card) X0-1
- Big creature blast (deals at least 4 damage to a creature) X1
- Small creature blast X1
- Earthquake effect (deals damage to all creatures) X0-1
- Act of Treason effect (take control of a creature for one turn) X0-1
- Panic effect (can't block this turn) X0-2
- Artifact destruction (often coupled with the next one) X1
- Land destruction or disruption (freeze a land) X0-1
- Fight spell (can be one-sided) X1
- Flying removal (things like Plummet) X1
- Deathtouch creature X0-1
- Artifact and/or enchantment destruction (can be coupled with the next one) X1
- Land destruction X0-1
Let me know if you have comments on the removal levels! And, as usual, don't hesitate to jump in if you want to practice set building by trying your hand at the next step (the remaining staples) yourself =)
If one wanted to build a set that played a little different, would varying the number and quality of removal spells be a good or bad way to do it?
That's an interesting question ^^ I think -1/-1counters are a good example of how to play with the quality of your removals to make a set feel different. That said, if you look at the way Amonkhet was built, the removal distribution is actually really similar to what I described above.
The reason is that this distribution is not arbitrary but comes from the restrictions needed for a fun gameplay. You have to keep roughly the same numbers because there's a balance to hit between threats and answers. Otherwise, you get to a point where no one can keep a creature on the board, or every game ends up with a completely clogged board. Besides, you also have to respect the colour pie or you start getting colours that are stronger than others and the game just falls apart.
I think removal levels should be low in Psylian life strong colors. Having life gain that you can trade in for removal seems too good in sealed/draft.
I'm a big fan of counters, both the plus and minus kind. You get to play with little dice and glass beads.
ABOUT THE COMMON SET SKELETON:
My main reference for the proportion of everything at common is Amonkhet because it's the most recent set where the main theme doesn't strongly skew the basic structure of the set. But it still has some oddities, for instance it has more common lands than your average set because of the desert theme. There's one specific thing I just realized I have missed and is now skewing the design skeleton of Rezatta a bit: it has too many common enchantments because of the Cartouches cycle and the curses theme.
I put two commons enchantments in each colour by default but if you look at the rest of the big sets in Standard it's probably too much:
Kaladesh's common enchantments suffered from competition from the artifacts slots (vehicles especially act like some kind of weird equipments), but looking at the other sets I think the default rules should probably be:
1) Try to design at least one enchantment per colour.
2) You may transform up to one noncreature slot for each colour into an enchantment if needed. For instance, you need a ramp spell but you have a really cool
Grow from the Ashes
type of spell ready for uncommon and can't really put two in the same set. You may want a
Gift of Paradise
type of enchantment in the slot of the ramp instant/sorcery then.
3) You may replace your enchantment slot with a noncreature card in black, red, or green but try to avoid it. If your set really needs green to put +1/+1 counters on things for instance, then you may want to add a sorcery that puts two +1/+1 counters on a creature instead of the enchantment slot that would have given +2/+2 to the enchanted creature.
TL;DR: We should probably start with only one enchantment per colour as default.
That’s very astute. You are very good at noticing details.
Only one enchantment out of 19 cards? It should be a good enchantment!
Usually, it's not that exciting x) It's just that they don't do "gobal enchantments" at common so the effects they are willing to put on enchantments are very simple. Here's a mix of common enchantments from Standard, that were the ONLY enchantment in that colour for a big set:
edited May 2018
Here's just an updated version of the set skeleton with the removals and other changes we discussed above. I mainly wanted to see if it can be read as a two-column tables on the forum x)
I already included an additional enchantment for removal in white and blue but it's just an example. Blue abilities are evasion, red abilities are removal. As we progress, it's very likely that some keywords and abilities get combined in some creature slots to save space. Some of the removal slots will also very likely be attributed to creatures to make room in the instant/sorcery section.
EDIT: Well, it reads well on my computer at least =)
edited May 2018
We were just discussing the templating of Rebirth on the Creative thread and I think it actually raises an important question.
The discussion was about how to make Rebirth more flavourful, and the possibility of having Rebirth transform our creatures into Angels (which would be a creative specificity of the set, angels that are not created, but reborn from actual people.) Anyways, here's
's initial post:
"I think Rebirth should be worded, "[cost]: Exile this non-Angel creature and return it to the battlefield with two +1/+1 counters on it. It becomes an Angel in addition to its other types. Rebirth only as a sorcery." It's wordier, but I can't think of another way to make the creature an angel."
Which I answered that if we want to be thorough it should probably follow the template of Monstrosity:
Rebirth COST (If this creature isn't an angel, exile it then return it to the battlefield with two +1/+1 counters on it and it becomes an angel in addition to its other types. Activate only as a sorcery.)
The thing is, it's very wordy, which is a problem for three out of our four mechanics. We may have a bigger issue due to complexity with our mechanics: (Ideally, reminder texts should be 22 words or less.)
- Psylian life: So complex the reminder text has its own reminder card.
- Rebirth: Very wordy, more than 30 words if written like Monstrosity.
- Discover: Very wordy, more than 30 words even with liberties taken to shorten it.
- Compose: Nonproblematic, 19 words and already correctly worded.
I think we're at the upper limit of how wordy/complex mechanics in a set can be. It may be an option to consider removing a mechanic entirely. For instance, Discover is here for flavour but we can probably convey that through individual cards flavour. It doesn't synergize especially well with the set mechanical theme anyways. It may even leave just enough room for a very simple mechanic that could tie the life-matters theme together while emphasizing the emotion theme.
That's just a thought for now, but it's a road we could consider to help the set breathe a little instead of having a lot of very wordy mechanics.
While it's true that Discover might not be the most optimal use of its mechanic slot, I think it has amazing flavor that is really important to the set. We already have Psylian life to advance the life-matters theme, and, aside from that, it's much easier to convey that theme in individual cards than with the discovery theme, which is more complex (in terms of card mechanics).
It would be OK to print the reminder text on the backs of token cards. If the mechanics are solid, and they seem to be, then use them.
The idea about replacing Discover is still very hypothetical, we'll know after playtesting. Simply, if we do get a complexity issue, I'm anticipating a bit how we would tackle it.
So, with that notion in mind, here are some hypothetical thoughts:
1) A lot of sets have multiple mechanics synergizing around their main theme. Dominaria's sagas and legendary sorceries are also historic. Embalm, cycling and Aftermath all synergize with graveyard strategies. Vehicles, fabricate and improvise synergize with the artifact theme. Delirium and madness. Bestow and constellation. Etc... In this context, if the set is lacking synergy, it could be a good idea to have a mechanic that cares about life to synergize with our mechanic that gain/lose life (psylian life).
Besides, I think a mechanic that cares about something does a better job at hinting at a theme than a mechanic that does that something (bestow could work in a non-enchantment set, constellation is the mechanic that really screams "You're in an enchantment-matters set" to me.)
We talked about ways to notify the life-matters cards for instance. Here's just another example, now that historic is a thing:
Anyways, for now it's just food for thoughts, we're definitely trying the four mechanics we have before deciding if wordiness is an issue that necessitates to remove a mechanic.
2) I think the flavour of Discover can be depicted pretty easily through a combination of names and any card draw/filtering mechanic. Here's juts an example of card that works just fine with or without Discover as a mechanic:
I'm actually more preoccupied by how difficult the emotion theme can be to notice. If you see a card like Drown in Sorrow, Recumbent Bliss or Worst Fears alone, you're probably not going to realize the theme is emotion until you've actually seen them together with a bunch of other emotion cards.
Boy, the discover mechanic sure does take a lot of words! But it’s also very very strong, and very interesting.
I’ll say again that it makes sense to put it on a reminder card on the back of a token or advertisement card. But
Maybe if it’s on a simple common in each color, those commons can have reminder text. Then the uncommons+ don’t need the text.
Using a reminder card to explain a mechanic is something really special that was only done once in the game for a set mechanic (the Monarch mechanic in Conspiracy II, at least to my knowledge it's the only instance.) Note that I don't count evergreen mechanics and things like Planeswalker cards ^^
We use this once in the set with psylian life because it's flashy and it's *the* core mechanic of the set but if all mechanics in the set were like that we would definitely have bigger complexity issues than a reminder card can handle.
Removing the reminder text of set mechanics is something WOTC does very infrequently on Rares and Mythic rares if there's no other choice but not at uncommons. Here's a post by Mark Rosewater talking about it if you're interested ^^
CLICK ME, I'M A LINK! =D
(Look for the "wordiness" section.)
The bottom line of it is: Reminder text is important, we don't want to remove it, we actively want it on our cards, which is why it must be simple and not too wordy.
This discussion has been closed.
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