Thursday, January 6, 2011

Your Ideas are Your Babies

And your baby is UGLY!

At the recent Worlds 2010, Mark Rosewater gave a rather lengthy interview on the past, present and future of Magic: The Gathering.

One of the best parts of course was the above description of how Development treats all of the designers' cool magic card ideas.

The expansion of the poison mechanic makes me smile as well.

More interesting, I love hearing Mark talk about the evolution of the Collectible Card Game. It bears some testament to the skill of its designers and developers that here and now in 2011 paying 1 red mana to do 3 damage to a creature (Lightning Bolt) is still a really, really good deal.

The "pendulum swing" he talks about can be easily shown in Lightning Bolt. Instead of publishing "Super Lightning Bolt" that does 4 damage, Wizards spent TEN YEARS or so printing and re-printing (and then printing again!) the slightly underwhelming Shock, forcing all the Standard format players of the time to adapt to a new 1-mana-for-2-damage world. How they must have groaned at the time.

On the other hand, the mighty monsters we love conjuring to bring damage to our foes, these have undoubtedly continued to grow in power. I used to use Black Knight as an example of how a slightly overpowered card from back in the day could still see some action now. Mirrodin Besieged offers a pretty awesome twist on ye olde fallen Knight with the amazing Phyrexian Crusader.

One more colorless mana seems like a good trade-off for the addition of protection from red. Or course White has been getting the same deal for some time with Paladin il-Vec. I note that this is the absolutely first time a black card has EVER been given "Protection from Red" in the history of Magic. Not counting the ludicrous Progenitus, of course.

Finally, Mark talks a little about the eventual and somewhat mysterious THIRD BLOCK of the new Mirrodin cycle. We know it will be either "Mirrodin Pure" or "New Phyrexia," depending on who will "Win the War."

The adult-minded of us must quickly realize these cards are going to the printer soon...there's not a lot of fudge room for creative inspiriation at this point. Certainly, the outcome of this war must have already been determined.

My prediction: New Phyrexia. New Phyrexia all the way.

The dark den over at WOTC inhabited by the world builders and background writers of Magic: The Gathering would certainly settle for nothing else. The Phyrexians are the Borg of the multiverse, awesome villains I love to see show up in any story arc. Ever since the Urza's block, when the meddling planeswalker of the same name bored his way into the depths of Phyrexia and put the boot to Yawgmoth...the pencil wavers have been looking for a way to bring the Monster Mind back into the action.

If "Mirrodin Pure" comes about, they will be forced to find some way to pass along the infection, creating a fairly repetitive line of action. The Phyrexians eventually need an HQ. A place to hang out and scheme. Mirrodin, a weird metal-infested world designed by Urza's golem servant Karn, is the perfect place.

On the gripping hand, I've never been right about any of these predictions, ever. So I should probably prepare my weasel essay backing out of this assertion now, before things develop any further. Only time will tell.

I post this at a public terminal at the local library. The content I had hoped to upload over lunch had to be carried (in the poorly-secured container of my mind) over here after I found out that during my regrettable absence my work had decided to black list "Social Networking" websites, which seem to encompass just about every single thing in cyberspace these days. Even the work-related blogs I used to visit occasionally are almost completely shut out.

So, along with non-magic-related games, I'll probably expand the scope of this Blog to study the weird world of public library terminals...I actually feel a bit like a Borg plugged into his alcove at the moment.

Have a great rest of the day, more content to come tomorrow.

P.S. I forgot to mention that the above video was a result of the efforts of the determined Evin Erwin, and you should probably check out "The Magic Show" as seen at Star City Games. The man asks great questions, and always finds a way to worm some hilarious comedy into each show.

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