Thursday, February 12, 2015

Card Core Design #4: Origins

Art by Karla Ortiz

Magic Origins was announced. I was wondering why it hadn't been announced before the time it did due to the previous Core Sets usually being announced earlier than this. But it looks like the decision was made to announce it was during Pro Tour Fate Reforged, which was pretty great!

The set was originally announced to have 277 cards, but it actually has 272 cards. Five cards. Five planeswalkers. Speculation on reddit is stating that these extra five is probably due to the fact that each of the planeswalkers are probably double-faced cards, one side legendary creature, the other side planeswalker. This theory goes hand-in-hand with the theme of the set - the origins of each planeswalker, before their spark ignited, before they were planeswalkers.


Working on this Core Set, I knew that since this was the final core set to exist for now that all the rules that had been established for Core Sets before can be thrown out.

Chandra was the face of Magic 2014. Garruk was the face of Magic 2015. Liliana had a reprint as a planeswalker card in Magic 2015 leaving her due for another new version of her. Nissa, Jace, and Ajani had room to be reprints for another year for this year's Core Set. So, I thought we would get a black planeswalker as the face, either Liliana or Sorin.

Each core set starting from Magic 2011 had a returning keyword mechanic. Undying was an eligible choice for this year's core set. But the final core set being a final core set changes the rules. Thus, Magic Origins.

I've got a few paths I could take, two of which being obvious choices: 1) Attempt to emulate what Magic Origins will eventually reveal itself to be with my designs from now on; 2) Continue making an undying core set and pay no mind to what Magic Origins will turn out to be. I've chosen path #2.

It's more important to me to design a set I can call my own than for those moments where I can say, "called it!" Even though the latter is satisfying when you arrive to that answer through Magic design-minded conclusions. So, I'm going to branch off into the Core Set: Undying path.

Fork by Amy Weber

Christmas Time

Let's get back to it, then. Last time, I established what basic card effects were present in the colors white, blue, and black - and chose which effects and in what number they will show up in this core set. Let's finish this for red and green.


Direct damage to creature or player2222422
Power buff2322112
Destroy artifact1121121
Grant first strike1121111
Direct damage to player1110211
Direct damage to creature and player1011110
Land destruction1011011
Creature(s) can't block this turn1121001
Small buff1101110
Direct damage to creature1301001
Grant haste1100101
Temporary creature steal1010110
Grant firebreathing0000111
Grant "can't be blocked"0000110
Grant mountainwalk0001010
Add mana to mana pool0100010
Destroy Equipment0101000
Creature token(s)0001000
Creature attacks this turn if able0000010
Destroy creature with defender0100000
Small pump2241022
Life gain1121221
Prevent combat damage1111111
Mana acceleration1221111
Destroy artifact/enchantment1111111
Destroy flying creature1111110
Give +1/+1 counter2321100
Search for land, put onto battlefield1002111
Search for land, put into hand1110021
Big pump0101100
Fight a creature1111000
Grant regeneration0010101
Card draw1101001
Grant hexproof1110000
Recover card from graveyard0100100
Grant forestwalk0000010
Direct damage to creature or player0000010
Grant deathtouch1001000
Get a creature token1010000

And here's the results expressed in card slots form:

CR01creature, small, vanilla
CR02creature, small, intimidate
CR03creature, small, first strike
CR04creature, small, haste
CR05creature, small, firebreathing
CR06creature, medium, vanilla
CR07creature, medium, haste
CR08creature, medium
CR09creature, medium
CR10creature, medium
CR20enchantment, Aura
CG01creature, small, undying, defenderWall of Bamboo. G. Plant Wall. 0/2. Undying. Defender.
CG02creature, small, deathtouch
CG03creature, small, hexproof
CG04creature, small, reach
CG05creature, small, mana accelerationElvish Mystic reprint
CG06creature, medium, vanilla
CG07creature, medium, undying
CG08creature, medium, reach
CG09creature, medium, card draw
CG10creature, large, vanilla
CG11creature, large, trample
CG12sorcery, life gain
CG13sorcery, fight
CG14sorcery, small pump
CG15sorcery, token-making
CG17instant, destroy flying creaturePlummet reprint
CG18instant, +1/+1 counterBattlegrowth reprint
CG19instant, destroy artifact/enchantmentNaturalize reprint
CG20enchantment, Aura, grant hexproof and small pump

There's not much written here, but I've, sadly, run out of time once again. So, enjoy the reasoning for some of these choices, and I'll see you next week!