Design Comparison

I listen to the Drive to Work podcast by Mark Rosewater, the head designer of Magic, a lot, and he says a lot of lessons about designing. This is a interesting example that I have found. Take this card from Magic 2012:

It's an artifact lord for the creature type of your choice. Interesting right? Well I had the same idea, before I saw that card and made this card:

These cards are both very similar and have similar effects. There is a key difference however. The WotC one is a lot more simple and elegant. It doesn't change its color, or make itself not a construct/shapeshifter, or give the creature's that it effects landwalk of the "basic land type that corresponds to its color" (which I'm not even sure works within the rules to be honest). This is something that Mark Rosewater has talked about. New/novice designers, like me, want to put everything into their design. They want to do things to show that they can, like doing this variable landwalk thing that Magic has never done before. 

I just thought that this was interesting, and kinda shows the difference between amateur and more advanced designers. 


  • That is definitely true. My first card was this:

    Caxus Thornsreaper

    On another account back in early 2020. Now, my cards are much better and cleaner. I have come a long way in a few years.

    Back then, I put all my ideas on one cards because I thought "the more words, the better", which is not always the case.

    Here are some of my cards now for comparison:

    I tended to put a lot of words and abilities, even if they didn't go together or make sense on the same card.
  • I think that is a valuable perspective to have on MTG design, and really any form of design. Good design is having a lot of tools in your toolbox and knowing how to use them; great design is knowing how to meet your needs using as few tools as possible.
  • @SPyBondPlays
    I'm going to feature this discussion in my live stream today. Just going to talk about it and how it relates to Cardsmith League. It's a pretty cool discussion!

    9:30 AM Central - 3:00 PM Central
  • Thanks man, that's really cool. Are the streams saved on the Twitch? I want to listen to it but I know that it happened yesterday.
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