Open letter to people who comment on cards powerlevel RE: Card Balance

I've noticed when I read people's advice on card balance, that they are assuming a card is being designed to be printed in a standard legal or commander legal set. That the power of the card must be such that it can't be a strictly better or strictly worse version of a card printed by wizards.

I find this type of thinking narrow minded. Card's on this site can be designed for their own isolated limited environment or constructed environment. They don't HAVE to be directly competing with other wizards' cards.

There are many cards printed, that even a strictly better version would not be competitive in legacy, or cube... However, if the card were pushed to the appropriate power level , they could be interesting cards in those formats.

Wizards have a lot of power level constraints on cards, that designers of custom cards aren't necessarily subject to.

I for example am designing a bunch of cards for my powered cube. A card equivalent in power level to swords to plowshares is a totally fine card for this environment, yet it would be utterly unprintable in standard.

Also, cards that may have a light combo synergy in a limited environment, could be totally fine, but utterly broken in constructed, where the effect can be built around. Hence, unprintable by wizards.


  • Most people can say this better than I can, but the overall reason that feedback on cards tends to gravitate towards balancing in the perspective of standard and EDH is because those are the two most popular formats. In addition, most people who come to this site and stick around generally seem to be wanting to create somewhat realistic cards, which is why feedback also gravitates in that direction. If you don’t state what your intent with a card is when it’s aimed for a substantially different power level, then people will have no idea, and will have to assume the norm. It seems you’re effectively blaming people for not knowing something they (from my understanding) couldn’t know.
  • I don't mean on the forums, but on the main site. As far as I'm aware, there's no way of providing this information when you submit a custom card.
    Yet, there is a comment section and some people leave balance criticisms there.
  • If you want to pre-emptive strike, you can always put Disqus comment stating your Cubist approach, or simply thank them for their advice and let them know you're not designing the card for those formats.

    Normally we get a lot of complaints there is not enough help on card balance!!
  • edited April 2019
    One of the goals a lot of cardsmiths have is to become better at creating their cards. Even if the custom cards never get printed, cardsmiths generally want to hone their craft, and to do so, they sometimes look to constructive criticism other cardsmiths leave in the cards comment section. Some folks come across too harsh in their comment(s) while others are extremely intricate, while still others are very nice, yet each type of cardsmith I described here will leave constructive criticism (most times) in the hopes the cards creator will read their thoughts and possibly consider applying these thoughts to their card at hand. Its nothing that is required, nor is it set in stone that your card(s) will be commented on. In fact quite a bit of cardsmiths don't get the recognition they deserve or are looking for. There are some amazing talents on here. I personally will accept what others will call a "broken" card or a "derp" card before some other cardsmiths would, so long as it peaks my interests! I guess I do this because I've accepted long ago that Im not perfect, lord knows I've made many a busted card on here. I have improved over time, (by improved I mean I got better at "balancing" but im still working on it as we all are, no matter what level of cardsmithing your at) and I still strive to improve which is why I'm as active as I am to this day, though sometimes I seriously feel like taking a break from the site for awhile like a lot of cardsmiths do. Life happens. But while Im here, I want to be the best that I can be at this, and help others along the way if I'm able to in helping them reach their own goals and helping them hone their own style of cardsmithing. And if I can't help them, i will direct them to someone i think can help them.

    Bottom line, your not going to please everyone, and their not going to always please you. If you don't like a card, just don't look at it. However, if you feel it can be improved (your definition of improved) than comment on it like the other cardsmiths you have talked about have done, and give your own constructive feedback, regardless what others might say, everyone's ideas and thoughts matter here, even if you dont get along with someone, it dont mean they dont have good ideas. "We're only human." Robocop said that once before. If you feel a card needs to be more "OP" than go for it! Have fun! But if you feel you want it to be more realistic, go for that too! Just know the difference, and have fun making cards is my point.
  • I feel like this open letter does not apply to me, being that I do my best to avoid critiquing balance, as I am aware that I am faulty at it.

    I am just here to say that because of the start of the thread name, the song An Open Letter (a song from Hamilton that was removed because of shenanigans) is now stuck in my head.
This discussion has been closed.