Making_Magic

Two Truths and a Lie

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LIE—Fact #1: The Journey into Nyx design team spent time trying to make an enchantment land.

During Mirrodin, I designed a cycle of common artifact lands. They were identical to normal basic lands except they were nonbasic and also artifacts. The thought behind them was that in an artifact-heavy set, players would run artifact destruction, meaning these lands were more vulnerable to being destroyed. The set had a strong "artifact matters" theme, so the lands felt like a good mechanical fit. It turns out, they were a little too good. All five Mirrodin artifact lands, plus one more from Darksteel, would later be banned. We went into Journey into Nyx knowing the set was going to have an "enchantments matter" component, so we knew an enchantment land would be playing with fire. As such, we never bothered trying to design one to be put into the set.

TRUTH—Fact #2: An early version of the constellation mechanic was first tried out as the Azorius mechanic in Return to Ravnica.

The mechanic was originally named enchantmentfall and worked very similarly to landfall, the mechanic from Zendikar block that triggered when you played a land. The idea behind it being an Azorius mechanic was that the Azorius are all about rule making and we felt we could up the number of enchantments as enchantments are flavorfully about setting new rules. Enchantmentfall would help ensure that the Azorius deck had enough card advantage to maintain its control strategy.

Azor's Elocutors | Art by Johannes Voss

The reason it was eventually killed wasn't because it didn't work in Azorius—it actually was very flavorful—but because it didn't play nicely with the guilds around it. For the multicolor environment of Ravnica to work in Limited, it's important that there is cross-guild synergy and the "enchantment matters" quality didn't blend well with other strategies. Also, late in Return to Ravnica design, we realized that the next block was going to have an enchantment subtheme and we wanted to be careful not to step on its toes. There is a fine line between creating some synergy and limiting what the later block will be able to do.

While looking for the mechanic for the gods' side of the conflict in Journey into Nyx, enchantmentfall was brought up very early. The advancement the Journey into Nyx design team had was the idea of always putting it on enchantments and then making sure that the card would also generate the same effect when it entered the battlefield. This allowed the cards to be a little less linear and allowed players to run some in Limited without requiring their decks to have high numbers of enchantments.

TRUTH—Fact #3: The design team tried to find a way to get Lucent Liminid (the first enchantment creature from a futureshifted card in Future Sight) into the set on a token.


Future Sight hinted at Magic's future with its futureshifted cards. Whenever we get to a design space that was hinted at by Future Sight, we always look to see if there is a futureshifted card we could print as the place in the future it came from. Usually it's tricky, because everything has to line up with both the mechanics and the creative. Lucent Liminid was a 3/3 flying enchantment creature with no other abilities. As the first enchantment creature, it would have been nice to have it show up in the block that "introduces" enchantment creatures.

Here was the problem: One of the rules of enchantment creatures was that they had to have qualities of both creatures and enchantments. Lucent Liminid had the former but not the latter. But wait, hope was not completely lost. There was one exception where you were allowed to make vanilla (no rules text) and French vanilla (no rules text other than creature keywords) enchantment creatures—on tokens. We needed enchantment creature tokens for mechanical reasons, so it was decided this would be the place where we bent the rules a little.

The trick, therefore, was to make a card that made Lucent Liminid tokens. Here's the card that was in the design file:

Lucent Dreamer
4WW
Creature—Human
2/1
Inspired—Whenever CARDNAME becomes untapped, you may pay 3WW. If you do, put a 3/3 white Elemental enchantment creature token with flying onto the battlefield.

The card was killed in development because Journey into Nyx wasn't going to have all that many inspired creatures in it and Born of the Gods had already made the enchantment-token-making inspired cycle.

Round Two

This second round is going to be about card designs from Theros block.

Fact #1: Although they didn't end up making it to print, we designed Achilles, the Furies, and Wonder Woman.
Fact #2: Although they didn't end up making it to print, we designed Hercules, Charybdis, and Scylla.
Fact #3: Although they didn't end up making it to print, we designed Helen of Troy, Orpheus, and Jason of the Argonauts.

Pick which one you think is the lie and then click here.



 
Mark Rosewater
Mark Rosewater
@maro254
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Working for Magic R&D since October, 1995, Mark Rosewater is currently the head designer. His hobbies include spending time with his family, talking about Magic on every known medium (including a daily blog and a weekly podcast), and writing about himself in the third person.

 
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