Please Review this New Big Set

I'm making a big set like the real ones. Same size. 

I would like your help picking out cards that should be revised or taken out. 

https://mtgcardsmith.com/user/Scott_Anderson/sets/51508

Take a look and tell me what needs help. And thanks.

Comments

  • edited March 26
    A few initial questions as well as a point about a creature type:

     - Do you want opinions aimed at particular balance areas, such as limited and standard? Should this set be viewed as though it's a standard set when considering balance?

     - Are you looking for advice purely on card balance, or are you also interested in any criticism / opinions on the set's wider design philosophy and methods that may be turned up.

     - Is there anything that we should be informed of about the set beforehand that you may have overlooked mentioning due to already being familiar with the set, such as whether it's supposed to act like a core set or whether there are any particularly elusive themes that we may fail to cotton onto that we should potentially be aware of while considering balance.

     - You seem to be using a custom creature type on a few cards, Bureaucrat. Personally, I feel that it exists in a space and logistical area already taken up by creature types such as Noble and Advisor, especially when taking in to account how MTG tends to use Advisor. As a result, I'd recommend that you remove it and replace it with alternatives.
  • edited March 27
    MemoryHead 


     - Do you want opinions aimed at particular balance areas, such as limited and standard? Should this set be viewed as though it's a standard set when considering balance?


    This is a standard big set. So the first thing is Limited, followed by Standard and probably Commander (although it's hard to tell what will work and what won't in commander. Almost anything could work.)

     - Are you looking for advice purely on card balance, or are you also interested in any criticism / opinions on the set's wider design philosophy and methods that may be turned up.

    I would like to know whether anything sticks out as too strong. If there are cards that are too weak, that's okay. Not everything has to be at the top of the power curve.

    Here are some of my goals for the set:

    balanced colors, identifiable tribes, interesting artifact creatures and equipment, some notable legends, consistent art direction, emotive flavor text.

    I do not know how to articulate a design philosophy; I'm still working out the nuts and bolts of 101/80/53/14/1, if you get my meaning.

    Please tell me about anything that comes to mind, bad or good.

     - Is there anything that we should be informed of about the set beforehand that you may have overlooked mentioning due to already being familiar with the set, such as whether it's supposed to act like a core set or whether there are any particularly elusive themes that we may fail to cotton onto that we should potentially be aware of while considering balance.

    It is supposed to act like - not a vanilla core set - but a contemporary big set such as Throne of Eldraine. Something that is very draftable and that will anchor Standard for a couple of years. 

    There are a few new mechanics that ought to be intelligible based on the commons.

     - You seem to be using a custom creature type on a few cards, Bureaucrat. Personally, I feel that it exists in a space and logistical area already taken up by creature types such as Noble and Advisor, especially when taking in to account how MTG tends to use Advisor. As a result, I'd recommend that you remove it and replace it with alternatives.

    Bureaucrats are a standard supported creature type but there are precious few of them. Thus far I have been toying with the idea of expanding the tribe, but they will probably revert to Advisors in the end.

    There are also green Gnomes in the set, which is not a supported Magic tribe. Gnomes are artifact creatures. I've decided to add green living Gnomes to the set because I think there is some flavor space between Elf, Dwarf and Kithkin.
  • Hello! Here are a few comments on the set so far:

    1) Right now it's giving me a strong core set vibe:
    • There is a really large number of vanilla and french vanilla creatures in the set (16).
    • I couldn't identify the mechanical themes. From what I'm reading in the description you posted above, it's supposed to be a tribal set but I counted only four cards in the whole set that mentioned any specific creature type.
    • Where's the hook to the set, what's the selling point, the new catchy feature? Basically, if you had to describe the set in two lines, how would it go?
    2) The mechanics are a bit all over the place:
    • There are too many mechanics for a Standard set. You usually have three or four non-evergreen mechanics per set though you could push it up to 5 or 6 if you had a good reason (e.g. factions) and they were on the simpler side. Right now, there are ten non-evergreen mechanics in the set: renown, muster, thorns, archive, sage, mulch, erupt, spartan, food, explore.
    • There aren't enough cards for each mechanic. You wouldn't keyword a mechanic in a set unless you had at least five cards doing that thing. Right now, if I counted correctly, only thorns has 5 cards in the set.
    • Some mechanics are a bit questionable. Namely, thorns seems quite weak and Erupt is breaking the very concept of exile by making it yet another graveyard. I'd suggest boosting thorns a little and making sure Archive cards create their own little pool of exiled cards where they draw, to avoid getting back cards exiled by the opponent.
    • The profusion of various mechanics create big synergy problems. For instance, Archive brings cards back from exile (which in itself is *very* problematic) but I only counted two commons, one uncommon, and one rare in the whole set that could exile cards. Those four cards won't be enough to enable the four archive cards. Another example, there are four cards with Erupt but only a single card at common in the whole set that searches your library.
    3) Some structural choices in the set seem a bit weird to me:
    • There is a massive amount of enchantments (11 commons) and artifacts (16 commons) but I see only one card caring about artifacts in the whole set. Enchantments and artifacts are lower demand card types. Unless the set rewards you for playing them (Kaladesh, Theros,...), you can't really put more than a couple of them in a Limited deck without making it dysfunctional. These enchantments and artifacts take the slots of more needed creatures and instants.
    • I see you have included the full lifelands cycle at common. If you intend to give them a special slot in the boosters like for M20 then it's completely fine, but if you intend to make them regular commons like in Tarkir then they will dilute the important cards in the booster even more and it will become very difficult to make a functional Limited deck.
    4) For the individual cards, I didn't find many that seemed problematic, I think the power level of the set seems reasonable (though a little low), it was mostly mechanical aspects of some cards that I though could be an issue:
    • Tipsy Giant Potion: It's too swingy for common, and repeatable coin flip should probably stay at rare.
    • A Penny for a Pound: "Draw four cards" is not a common effect, even with the discard cost associated to it.
    • Savanna Rebel: Putting Muster and Renown on the same card will make it very difficult to remember if the creature is renowned.
    • Painbringer: It really needs an activation cost, this is very punishing.

    Et voilà! Sorry, I know this is just an avalanche of criticism, but creating a full set is such a huge task it's completely normal to have loose threads here and there, that's why we proceed iteration by iteration ^^ I hope this helps, I don't want to discourage you, I just sincerely think that it's more useful to have a big block of texts with things that could be changed from the get-go. If I had to summarise my advice in a few short bullet points:
    • Define what's new and interesting about your set, what makes it different from the other set? Is it a tribal set? What separates it from Lorwyn, or Innistrad, or Ixalan? Then make as many cards as you can that capitalise on that. Also, create more pay-off cards for your themes in general.
    • Choose only three or four mechanics that are synergistic between them and your main theme, spend more time exploring their full potential, and dump the rest of them. If you keep thorns, I'd make it stronger, if you keep Archive, I'd twist it so it's not a huge philosophy break, and if you keep Erupt... well really I would reconsider again until it's not in the set anymore xD (It requires massive support which will involve a lot of library search at common, this is a big red flag as it takes a lot of time to shuffle every time.)
    • Focus on creatures and instants/sorceries for your precious common slots unless you have an enchantment and/or artifacts and/or lands-matter theme going on.
  • I agree with ningyounk, there are a lot of mechanics for one set, maybe cutting out one or two could be an option. Also, I personally feel Rosemetal man is a little to strong, mostly because he is essentially eldritch fold for half the mana, and you get at least a 1/1 vigilance out of it as well.
  • Thank you for your great input @ningyounk . No need to apologize. These are all important things to be aware of!
    I agree with you right across the way now that you have explained what can be improved. Rather than explain why I made the choices I did, I’m going to return to the set and re-set the formula I have been using. I will also remove some mechanics.

    I had thought I chose the right number of new mechanics but it appears I chose too many. Likewise with the deciduous mechanics. 

    I’m not sure what to do about there being too many enchantments. Add more creatures?
  • @Scott_Anderson The answer to there being too many enchantments (and, by the sound of it, artifacts) is probably to replace some of them with creatures, instants and sorcery cards, which should make up the bulk of any typical set. To give an example of a set that had no themes relating to artifacts or enchantments, Ravnica Allegiance had about 15 artifacts (several of which were also creatures) and 20 enchantments spread over all of the rarities and colors in the entire set, so try to aim towards numbers similar to those if you've got no themes going on.

    Going off on a different note, did you make a design skeleton or framework prior to starting work on the set? If not, I'd recommend creating one. They help keep work on the set on track and they're great for getting initial feedback on areas of the set early on (for example, if we looked at the skeleton before you'd made a single card of the set and said "Looks like too many enchantments", you'd save the time of making all of those enchantments and know to replace them with other things). Since they also tend to be extremely simple to create (I tend to think that I'm doing it wrong if I spend more than about five or ten words describing a card, and it's often just two or three).

    If you did make one and it's in a digital format (or can easily be transferred to one), is there any chance we could take a look at it? Doing so could potentially help with identifying issues in the set's layout before they even really become a thing.
  • MemoryHead I did but I don't think I did it as well as I want to do it. I'm working on a new one now and I'll post it for you tonight/tomorrow.
  • @MemoryHead @ningyounk

    Here are the docs I've made as a skeleton. Some is Word and some is Excel.

    Word

    Excel
  • Scott_Anderson
    Yeah, sorry, I wasn't specific enough in my previous comments about the enchantments problem. The issue is specifically at common, you have 101 commons for a regular-sized set so, at most, in a normal set you have 2 enchantments per color (and 10 is already a lot, you'll more often see colours with no enchantment than three).

    To give you an idea, here's the number of enchantments at common in the last past sets (barring Theros, which obviously is an outlier):
    - Core Set 2020: 10
    - Thrones of Eldraine: 5
    - War of the Spark: 3
    - Ravnica Allegiance: 3
    - Guilds of Ravnica: 6
    - Core Set 2019: 6
    - Dominaria: 5

    Right now, I've counted three enchantments in black, red and green, as well as four enchantments in white, all at common. That's really too much, unless they support a specific archetype in the set, my best advice is to start simple with only one enchantment in each colour that boosts a creature. Then, you can add the following:
    - A pacifism enchantment in White, instead of an instant/sorcery removal spell.
    - A freeze or transformation enchantment in Blue.
    - A shrinking enchantment in Black, instead of an instant/sorcery removal spell.
    - A land enchantment spell in Green, instead of an instant/sorcery ramp spell.
    After that, you can even consider transforming some of the pumping enchantments into instants/sorceries if a colour needs it. Just keep the number of common enchantments between 3 and 10, 5 or 6 usually being a good compromise.

    It's kind of the same issue with the artifacts, that cycle of monocoloured mana rocks takes up a lot of slots, it's not something you would see outside a set that needs a lot of colour fixing, ramp, or artifacts.

    Use all the slots you've freed to put more creatures and instants/sorceries! Make sure about 50% of all your commons combined are creatures.
  • @ningyounk ; I've taken everything right back to square 2. (I've kept the size of the set but everything else, I tossed out.)

    At some point in the near future we can talk more about it. I will need your input. 
This discussion has been closed.