Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day -28: A Thing or Two

You know the card Mind Control from M11? Well, this Magic-related blog Inkwell Looter contained this cartoon of younger Jace developing his mind control abilities:

Inkwell Looter

Hilarious. The blog contains many other cartoons parodying/satirizing Magic and tokens with cool art that you could even download and print for yourself. So, check it out.

Anyway, so I've been studying the last Great Designer search's judge's comments on the contestant's submissions. I've decided to write down all the design rules/guidelines/whatever I didn't already know in a Notepad file for myself. I've finished the first "episode", so I just have a few rules so far, and I'm going to share those, in case you didn't know them either:

  • Alternate win conditions should trigger at the beginning of the upkeep, so the opponent has a chance to respond.
  • Counter spells that can counter anything with no catch ("hard counters." As in, NOT Mana Leak or Flashfreeze, what are known as "soft counters") need to contain at least two blue mana in their mana cost.
  • Cards aren't supposed to care about the stack. As in, they can't contain in their text box something like this: "CARDNAME deals 2 damage to target creature or player. If another spell is on the stack, CARDNAME deals 4 damage to that creature or player instead."
  • Players hate self-milling very much.

That last one is there to make sure I don't forget. I knew that players didn't like to be milled by the opponent, but it makes sense that they wouldn't like their own cards to mill their own selves, either. Especially the players that are really hoping for that one "bomb" to help them win the game that they only have a single copy of. They wouldn't want to see that card put into the graveyard.

However, I need to be taking into consideration that I'm learning design rules that were modern four years ago. Some things might have changed since then. Like my last blog post talking about the design rule regarding colored mana symbols in the mana cost. It doesn't seem to be true now, and it was true then. 

So, I'll just take it all with a grain of salt. I know that, for the most part, there is still valuable stuff to learn in this old material. If I had enough time, I'd catch up on all the great design articles there are out there to read. But, I don't have an unlimited amount of time. So, the time that's ticking away, working against me. It's like the pre-test to the actual test; testing how smart I can be about preparing myself as much as I possibly can for this.

And here's one untapped resource: You, reader. Perhaps you know of some material that I should read. You can let me know. It'd be funny if you were one of Magic R&D's members reading this. Because you'd have all this wisdom that you could impart upon me, but you couldn't. Or, at least, I don't THINK you can. *hints and winks*




  1. While The double-blue mana for counterspell sounds like a sound idea for a rule-of-thumb (pun kinda intended), i thought I should direct you to this:
    Countersquall - Counter target spell, its controller loses 2 life

  2. Josh, I'm not sure that counts as a hard counter because it has the stipulation that it targets a non-creature spell. Do cards like Red Elemental Blast ((R) Choose one -- Counter target blue spell; or destroy target blue permanent) or Dash Hopes ((BB) When you play Dash Hopes, any player may pay 5 life. If a player does, counter Dash Hopes. Counter target spell.) count as hard counters? They each have stipulations of sorts to them.

  3. Ah, there's where my eyes fail. Didn't notice the non-creature part for some reason. Thx for the catch!

  4. Found a resource for ya Brad:
    10 principles for Good Design (The above link is part 2, which has a link for part 1)

  5. the last design rule may not apply recently since ochoa and nelson top 8d nationals with dredgevine.

    in case you're haven't seen it, they self-mill with hedron crabs and fetchlands to set up vengevines and extractor demons

  6. Regarding double blue mana symbols in hard counters, here are some examples of what follows this rule:

    Cancel (of course)


    Daring Apprentice

    However, there may be older cards that break this rule. Magic is constantly evolving, and R&D changes its design rules over time.

    And, of course, this was a rule in 2006, so things may be different in 2010.

    Josh, I do agree that's a very good article to read. Thanks for taking the time and effort, dude!

    Devin, even if a card does something that players hate to do in general, professionals don't let the feelings that come from a card get in their way. Spikes may have the ability to overlook this because they might love to see their deck in motion toward getting another win.

    But, when it comes to casual play, playing with cards not to maximize your score in a tournament, then that's when these enjoyment factors come into play.

    But, I've been hearing about Dredgevine, yes. An Magic acquaintance of mine was piloting this deck some time ago, and Star City Games did a Deck Tech with him (his name is Grant Gardiner) and I'm not sure whether or not he actually was responsible for its creation.