Magic: the Gathering in the UK
So, what's the plan for this. I'll either clear out Multiverse or add multiple set capability to it in the next few days.
But let's do some predesign(tm). What's the plan for this set?
What's the theme?
Update: Multiverse now has the Wedges set in it. Please do contribute - all are welcome to add cards or just comment on cards created by others!
Hmm, I can't actually remember exactly, but I think it used to insert a blank comment when you add a new card that had the designers initials. Hopefully Kieran's memory is better than mine.
From Maro's latest article:
How do you balance cohesion in a set that contains five (or ten) very different identities?
There are two things you have to do. First, make sure each faction has a strong identity of its own. If you don't, everything will mush together into a flavorless soup. Then once you let each faction have its own definition, find things that can be used to tie them together.
The strong identity will help give each faction flavor and mechanical understructure. The threads that run through the guilds will allow you to mix and match cards between them to create a rich drafting environment and allow the possibility of combining guilds together.
I think we need to further define what our five wedges actually do and are about.
Also somewhere I read that only the short guild names (Gruul, Izzet) took off and longer ones get ignored (WG) as general Magic terms. And that for this reason they gave all the Shards one or two syllable names.
So, revised flavor:
Damas, the Heavenly Kingdom of Peace (WBR)
Gerontocratic Military Theocracy; Humans, Angels, Knights, Clerics; Ancient priests lead a vicious militaristic society; repressive and violent; long time uneasy neighbors with the Sumas Republic. Possible mechanic: Overwhelm.
Sumas, the Republic (RWU)
Limited democracy (wealthy families only); Humans, Knights, Rogues, Noggles?; Fiercely protective of their society and citizens; long time uneasy neighbors with Damas; an advanced civilization reminiscent of the Roman Republic.
Pyk, City State of the Dead (BGW)
A city state surrounded on all four sides by Damas; entirely in sway to a Death-Life-Rebirth cult; seen by some as half on this plane and half in the Netherworld; their leader is said to be able to control them both in life and in death; not as advanced as Damas or Sumas, Pyk is one large city surrounded by primitive farmland, swampland and forests; Humans, Angels, Knights, Clerics, Elves, Cats?, Shamans; allied with Damas against Sumas and Seren. Possible mechanic: Soulswap.
Idara, Voyagers from Across the Sea (URG)
A vast army arrived from over the sea on the shores of Damas to reclaim ancient holy relics of Damas that they say were theirs hundreds of years previously -- they don't see them as religious but necessary tools to prevent their homeland being entirely submerged; Rogues, Warriors, Shamans, Noggles?; temporary allies with Sumas who have used their arrival to annex Damassian lands and begin open conflict with Damas.
EworyZhaur, Dwellers Below (GUB)
The arrival of the Idarans forced the hand of the Zhaur, strange and devious biological experimenters that have lived below the surface of Damassia for hundreds of years; they too require the ancient relics for the completion of their schemes; they burst forth from a pit in the gap in the mountain range between Damas and Sumas and entered the conflict; Elves, Rogues, Shamans. Possible mechanic: Manaplex.
Not at all sold on these names if people have better (short!) names.
I like all the names apart from Ewory because it doesn't scan well and feels really weird to say. Noggles making a comeback would be amazing, but the art surely isn't available. Looking good otherwise I'd say.
Re: Bakerverse, I'm sure it used to have a feature where it put a blank entry in when a card was made with the designer's initials in, but I might have just imagined it since I can find no actual evidence to show it was ever there!
Great stuff Tom. Glad we have you to add some flavour meat to the bones. I agree with Kieran, not sure about Ewory. I guess GUB is almost going to be the villain of our story, so maybe they need a slightly darker sounding name. How about:
Also manaplex is a bit of a crap mechanic name. I was thinking of renaming it, posiibly to surge, augment or thrive.
A quick search for noggle/donkey art is not bringing up anything useable, although it would be cool to bring them back.
Krinth is already something in Forgotten Realms but Zhaur works for me. It's a real (small) place in Kazakhstan but I think we can get over it.
Massively agree that Surge, Augment and Thrive are all better names. Surge best of all?
OK so let's talk about how we see the 360 cards breaking down.
We have are divvying up 360 slots between artifacts, lands, single color cards, allied-pair cards, enemy-pair cards and wedge cards.
Allied pairs appear in only one guild each and might be best left out altogether as they are no more applicable than wedge cards and may drag us off theme.
Enemy pairs are the area of overlap between two wedges and should get a small slice of the 360 cards.
Wedge colored cards are some of the marquee and power cards of the set and give you a reason to take fixing over a monocolored 2/2 for 2. But we probably don't want to drown in them, just some well chosen power cards. I guess we will have monocolored cards with enemy pair activations and things like that as pseudo-wedge cards that only have a single color in their cost to beef up the theme rather than having a lot of triple-color costed cards.
A very very rough sketch is:
200 mono-colored cards. Of which:
25 have both enemy pair related rules text (like a W card with R and B abilities)
25 have an enemy color related rules text (like a W card with a B ability)
50 enemy-colored cards. Of which:
25 have the final wedge color in the rules text.
50 wedge-colored cards.
Is that too much or too little in any of those numbers? Is it impossible to say without breaking it down further?
Breaking it down further in the Maro skeleton style we're looking at:
I have no idea what any of these do but I guess 10 or so are for fixing slots
10 fixing for wedges
10 fixing for enemy pairs
10 doing other fun things
150 truly mono colored cards
30 per color
W: 20 creatures (mostly small), 10 spells (including conditional and enchantment-based removal)
U: 10 creatures (including a serpent), 20 spells (including card draw, card selection)
B: 15 creatures (mostly crap), 15 spells (including good removal)
R: 12 creatures (mostly crap), 18 spells (hopefully not all of which are burn spells)
G: 18 creatures (mostly big), 12 spells (including giant growth effects)
25 enemy flavored mono colored cards
5 for each enemy pairing
25 wedge flavored mono colored cards
Just 5 for each wedge. Is that enough?
50 enemy colored cards
10 per enemy color pair varying from 2/8 creatures/spells (UR) to 8/2 creatures/spells (WG)
50 wedge colored cards
10 for each wedge. Hopefully these cards have good flavor for the wedges (Legendary?) or at least showcase the wedge's mechanic.
That gives us a minimum of 30 fixing-related slots in 360 cards. We could also consider landcycling as a mechanic for this set. Might be particularly good with some of the graveyard theme stuff we have been looking at.
Thoughts on that kind of breakdown?
asfan for a 13 (easier for the numbers!) card booster for this set is then (approximately):
7 mono colored cards of which
1 is an enemy-flavored mono colored card
1 is a wedge-flavored mono colored card
2 enemy-colored cards
2 wedge-colored cards
Hmm ... should we be looking at making the wedge-flavored mono cards more common and the actual gold cards less common?
Existing mechanics that are just about common to all three colors in a wedge:
Zhaur - Drawing cards (paying life, to do with creatures), +1/+1 counters (when something dies, sacrificed, moving them around).
Idara - Drawing cards (and discarding, to do with creatures).
Damas - Direct damage to attacking/blocking creatures, first strike.
Pyk - Lifegain, creature boosting aura, adding +1/+1 counters, graveyard recursion, creatures.
Sumas - Flying.
Sumas cards approximate breakdown (can be applied to any wedge by changing the colors):
6 artifacts, 2 of which deal with fixing.
2 wedge-fixing lands
2 lands not part of cycles (non-fixing)
1/3rd share in 30 each W, U and R monocolor cards.
Half share in 5 UR enemy flavored mono-colored cards (shared with Idara).
Half share in 5 WR enemy flavored mono-colored cards (shared with Damas).
5 WUR wedge-flavored mono-colored cards.
Half share in 10 UR multicolor cards (shared with Idara).
Half share in 10 WR multicolor cards (shared with Damas).
10 WUR wedge multicolor cards
We have a lot of options for our fixing lands.
ETB tapped wedge trilands with no basic types (as per Shards) seem like the obvious first cycle.
We have options, though, around basic types, enemy pair lands, trilands with pain or other costs to produce the enemy pair, the enemy pair version of the Scars duals, some kind of fetchland for your wedge.
My top two are ETB tapped trilands and enemy pair Scars duals. Third choice is something along the lines of Murmuring Bosk: one main color and basic land type, pain to tap for the enemy pair, and some (variable by wedge?) way of determining whether it ETB tapped or not.
But I don't feel super strongly about it.
Wow, lots to digest here. I'll start with the easiest: Lands
I also agree on Alara style wedge trilands and enemy coloured Scars duals. I certainly think we will need at least a third cycle as 10 mana fixing lands in 360 card set is not enough! For the that third cycle I quite like Kieran's "add a mana of any colour, but only use for white spells".
I remember Aaron Firsythe saying that the fixing available in Shards of Alara was not good enough for limited, so I am certainly onboard for landcycling.
Forgot about hybrid. Maro says "a little goes a long way". 5 cards of each enemy pairing, taking from the true monocolor section?