M13 Skeleton
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11/17 Jay: I'm about to start up the next big design push. Do people want to continue using this file, should we start a fresh one (keeping this one for reference) or do we want to find another method entirely? Possibly sharing MSE files on DropBox?

Also flipped the order of posts on this page so the latest is at the top.
11/21 Pasteur:
I'd vote for fresh spreadsheet with this one kept for reference, personally.
I do think the dropbox will come in handy, however.
11/21 Jay: It didn't take long for us to run into the main drawback with DropBox: It's not clear who's working on what and it's very easy to overwrite others changes or at the very least to make multiple files, forcing one person to redo their work (if they want it integrated).
I wonder if we could use Subversion for this...
10/10 Jules: Just had an idea that's probably terrible. If we're making each Lair consistent across commons, then by giving each color the same base creature we could highlight what each color does (for example, white gets two 4W 3/4s one of which gains flying and the other of which gets vigilance. This probably ends horribly for limited play, so I don't think we should go down this road, I'm just opening up the discussion (and imminent dismissal) of the concept. 10/11 Jay: Heh. Let's just map some out for fun:

3W+Forest 3/2 & +1/+2
3W+Island 3/2 & flying

2U+Plains 2/1 & lifelink
2U+Swamp 2/1 & deathtouch (intimidate, +2/+1)

2B+Island 3/1 & flying
2B+Mountain 3/1 & first strike

R+Swamp 1/1 & deathtouch (intimidate, +2/+1)
R+Forest 1/1 & +1/+2

3G+Plains 3/3 & lifelink
3G+Mountain 3/3 & first strike

There might be other cost/size pairings that work better, but I think this restriction hurts us more than it helps us (particularly in blue and red). For the record, it would have been beautiful symmetry if it had worked).
10/11 Jules: Yeah, too bad. Another interesting thing I thought about is that lair could work with only stat bonuses at common: W:+0/+3 U:+1/+2 B:+2/+1 R:+3/+0 G:+2/+2 Of course, Kird Ape would feel really weird if we did that...

10/12 Jay: Another good let's-at-least-check-this thought. (Keep it up.)
10/17 GM: I don't think Kird Ape and Lair can be in the same set. You're not going to update Kird Ape's wording, right? So it would look really awkward.

10/18 Pasteur: We haven't discussed it overmuch, but the tentative concept was to do it Domain style, re-work the wording.

At the same time though, I agree that there are some definite drawbacks to that – it could be that the simplest solution is to functional-reprint Kird Ape, but then we do lose on any nostalgia factor.

No reason not to, Phosphorescent Feast gained Chroma. Since ability words have no rules meaning, they're free to appear (and I assume disappear) as appropriate.-Jules

10/18 Pasteur: Let's (for now) believe we live in a world where Phosphorescent Feast could lose Chroma as well. I'd like to think it so.
10/19 Jay: I see no problem reprinting Kird Ape with the Lair ability word.
10/8 Jay: Flash appeared on two cards total between Magic 2010, 2011 and 2012, at rare and mythic rare. It doesn't belong at common in a core set (unless it's the featured mechanic).10/8 Pasteur: Shame, Deathbrokers was a pretty cool card. Hmm. Rethinking other blue-deathtouches, Chah's already suggested a Cloud Elemental.
Is there any P/t that works on its own?

(I assume that it and Spire Monitor were the only two Flash in the file - I could be mistaken.)
Ok, I guess we need alternatives. Some ideas:
2-3cc 1/3 or 2/3 deathtouch without flash.
2cc 1/1 flying deathtouch. (Redundant with deathtouch Spider in Green, one of them will have to go.)
3cc Cloud Elemental deathtouch. (Kind of wordy, but maybe ok)
4cc 2/2 flying deathtouch.
A deathtouch guy with toughness 4 or higher would probably have to cost 5 or something.

I'm starting to think intimidate is not horrible. I don't think the two Lair intimidaters will be very different from each other, but we could give them very different costs.

Intimidate won't be so different from flying, but the good thing is that intimidate doesn't block flyers. Currently I think there might be too much flying & reach and it's making other flyers bad. (Nich's comment that his 3/1 flyer was useless made me think so. But our testing method of including doubles of each Lair creature might have something to do with it too.) Having different forms of evasion that don't cancel each other out might be a good thing. - Chah
10/9 Pasteur: I'm overthinking this, but if we have intimidate, could we have a Stonework-Puma around as well? Maybe uncommon is sufficient. (A 3 mana 2/2 Walking Atlas?) Just tossing this out there.

10/10 Jay: Why not Walking Atlas?

10/10 Pasteur: Mostly to have a creature that can trade with the Terrain-Intimidate 3/2. Presumptuous, I know. We'll see how it plays out.
10/8 Jay: Moving the "Convincing Mirage Mage" and land fixing discussion here.Convincing Mirage Mage 1U Human Wizard 1/1
Whenever you draw a card, you may have target land become a basic land type of your choice until end of turn.
Jay: Why does this target on draw? Why does it fly? This confuses me.Chah: Looking for a way to activate mirage ability once per turn only during your turn. "During your upkeep" also works but you want to know what you draw before fixing your land. I like how you can occasionally hurt the opponent's lands on his/her turn but it's temporary and takes work.

I'm trying to get a utility 1/1 flyer in somewhere to make 2/1 flyers different from 2/2 flyers. Flying + Mirage is not so different from Dream Thrush.
Greg: If you want Dream Thrush, just reprint it. Also, I don't feel Dream Thrush is really okay - it's too strong of fixing for a non-green color, esp in a core set.Chah: I changed it from Dream Thrush because an instant on-board Terrain trick is hard to keep track of. Also, I think Dream Thrush's color filtering is significantly different from green's mana ramping, and Convincing Mirage was in a core set.Chah: What I think this slot should do:
1. Create the fun of messing with opponent's terrain.
2. Don't do it as an instant-speed on-board trick.
3. Don't screw the opponent's mana base. There's been talk of punishing splashed lands with land destruction, but we can't lead players one way with Terrain and then punish them for following that lead. That kind of negative encouragement only works for players who know the set contents. Instead, just reward 2-color play rather than punish 3-color.
4. Fix your own terrain or color.
5. Combo with landwalkers. Not just blue islandwalkers. Make "multi-color landwalkers" an archetype that you can occasionally draft.
6. Only fix one color for yourself (the Mirage Mage fixes every color your deck intends to play, which I understand is too much.)
7. Be playable, so that these things can happen. Convincing Mirage is not.
Wobbles: I think designs like this are why we need to decide as a group how much splashing we want in limited. I'm fine with either, but if we're not reprinting rampant growth for allowing too much splashing, these guys also need to go.Chah: But I want to avoid wordiness + memory issues of this:
Dreamscape Canary 1U Bird 1/1
When ~ enters the battlfield, choose a basic land type. At the end of your draw step, target land becomes that land type until end of turn.

I also want to avoid this because it causes color screw:
Spreading Mirage 2U
Enchant Land
When ~ enters the battlfield, choose a basic land type, then draw a card. Enchanted land is the chosen land type.
Wobbles: What about:
Spreading Mirage 1U
Enchant Land
When ~ enters the battlfield, choose a basic land type.
Enchanted land is the chosen land type during your turn.

I still prefer good ol' spreading seas, but then I think the threat of color screw encourages conservative two color mana bases, which I like for this set.
Chah: Spreading Mirage looks great for this role. But core sets haven't had cantrips, unless the card draw has some flavor attached to it like Portent. I wonder how strong that rule is.
Also, I don't think color screw threat should be used to encourage two-color play.
1. In 90% or so of games (guestimate), Terrain only has a "turn-on" moment if it requires a splash land.
2. We would be communicating to players to play many colors with Terrain (whatever our intention is), then betraying them when they get punished for it. Only players with knowledge of the set contents would know that 3-color decks will be specially hosed.
3. Encouraging 2-color play is better than discouraging 3-color play. There can be a variety of styles in that way. I believe that that will still be different from Shards of Alara.
10/8 Jay: The set should have weak land-fixing and weak land-disruption for all of the reasons that have been stated against including them and for making them stronger.

Evil Presence and Convincing Mirage do exactly what we want for the set. The fact that they're usually unplayably weak gives us the Mirrodin-Shatter opportunity to show how context changes value, because they will be much better in this set.
10/8 Jay: It's impressive how much thought you put into this, Chah. I very much appreciate that. Remind me to never play you in Chess ('cause you'd crush me... and I hate Chess).
Responses to your list:
1 Definitely. It's interaction.
2 Yes. At least not at common.
3 With or w/o Lair, some players love this line of play. Like #1, it's another realm of interaction. That said, we want land disruption to be weak enough that players won't run it 'just because.'
4 Where color-pie appropriate, absolutely.
5 Yup.
6 Agreed.
7 Not really. If they're playable in a vacuum, everyone will draft them. We want a player to consciously choose this line of play at some cost: abstract marginal card value, in this case.
Some alternatives:
Dream-Mist Faerie 1U Faerie 1/1 Flying
Whenever an Island enters the battlefield under your control, target land becomes a basic land type of your choice until end of turn.

It's so conditional that I don't think that's too strong of a fixer.

Dream-Mist Faerie 1U Faerie 1/1 Flying
1, T: Target land becomes a basic land type of your choice until end of turn. Activate this ability only any time you can cast a sorcery.

This one is on par with artifact mana prisms.

- Chah

Ok, so the main point we disagree on is how playable Convincing Mirage is.

Convincing Mirage is like "you get a +1/+2 Aura, or a Flight - sometimes." Even if you got the full effect all of the time, you can't spend a whole card on that.

When you cast it on an opponent's land, the opponent can easily draw a replacement land.

Shatter gets rid of one solid card while Convincing Mirage doesn't count for a full card.

- Chah
These effects aren't like a Tome Scour, where the card is weak but you might get a killer deck if you collect like 6-7 copies of it. If you could do that with Convincing Mirage, that's a problem because land destruction isn't fun. Since we're aiming for a kind of land disruption that's mild even when it works, players shouldn't have to compromise their deck's power level to play these cards.

Rise of Eldrazi had a mission to make an environment where the game is easy to stall in the early game to give time for players to build up, but in the late game every deck has plenty of ways to break through that stall. The Invokers all had good bodies that were playable on their own. They wanted to make sure the Invokers were playable, not just a niche strategy for specialized decks, so that they affect the environment in the way they intended.

The best thing we can do with these land effects is to create "incidental combos" where a player feels clever for spotting a card interaction. For that purpose, we should make the card decently playable to begin with (but not better than others in the same cost). - Chah
10/9 Jay: Your concern is very valid and the project will benefit from exploring the alternatives. I hope we'll get a sense of how hard this card and those like it should be pushed during the design phase, but ultimately how strong any given element is the domain of development and the final decision well rest with the group responsible for that.10/9 Pasteur: My argument (though non-comprehensive) for Convincing Mirage would largely consist of "it's been printed in the core set before."

I realize that this is an opportunity to tailor the card and its environment to work together, but the card itself as is isn't the absolute worst (especially for simplicity's sake).

If we're putting the ability on a creature, and it isn't "target land is an island", I really start wondering why this isn't Green. (This, I guess, is my only reason for commenting here rather than leaving it for development like Jay suggests).
10/9 Pasteur:

1G Enchantment
At the beginning of your upkeep, target land becomes the basic land type of your choice until end of turn.

Could this be an awesome opportunity for a static enchantment at common?

95% of the time you never need it to actually change turn to turn, so having this constantly trigger is just less elegant than convincing mirage. -Duncan

Aight- Pasteur
10/8 Pasteur: What color(s) can make tokens at coreset common? (If it helps, narrowing it down to ability-less 1/1s, one-time creation. Dragon Fodder/Raise the Alarm, not Jade Mage/Seles Guildmage)10/8 Jay: Any could, but green is the top contender, followed by white.
10/5 GM: What is the plan for development? Do you guys have a separate team lined up for that?10/7 Jay: Ideally, we will find ~4 other guys and one of us to be on the development team. Haven't found them yet. Maybe we should start soliciting earlier rather than later...10/8 GM: sounds fine, no need to rush it, I was just curious.10/8 Jay: I wonder if we can get Andrea Shubert...
9/27 Nich: Does anyone want to comment on the ideas I have for three Bolas planeswalkers? I posted them in Blue, Black and Red. It might be too much for a Core Set, or they might be just the thing to give this set a card identity similar to M11 and the Titans (back before the Titans got reprinted.) Obviously the abilities are changeable, this is more a question about the viability of the concept.9/28 Jay: That is one zany idea, sir. I don't think we can afford to spend three mythic rare slots on cards that do so little by themselves. I would be pretty pissed if I opened one of these: "I've got to get two more matching mythics to use this?!"9/29 Pasteur: What if Chandra had a new form every year? DADA meets Dada seems within Red's section of the pie.

For the Bolas Aspects, I'd agree with Jay. I would also add that in general, I think Planeswalkers (or at least those that have the Card Type) should try to be as anthropomorphized as possible? Bolas himself seems to be the edge of what they'd go for.
9/29 Nich: DADA meets Dada?9/29 Pasteur: DADA, or Defense Against the Dark Arts (the idea of a new replacement every year) and Dada, or Dadaism, the movement of "passionate meaninglessness" from the early 20's in predominately eastern-European art (Duchamp, etc). If the Red planeswalker could never stay the same, it would be kind of a meta-aspect of the color pie. Not really a priority.9/30 Jay: How could we not have gotten that?10/4 Pasteur: More seriously, Jay, what's your initial opinion on the planeswalkers of M13?
(or on planeswalkers in core-set/non-plot capacity?)
10/5: GM Lol @ DADA + Dada.

All three have the problem that they fetch two others for free. It's already been said: one mythic shouldn't need another to work. Nissa fetches a common, and even then people often couldn't get a Nissa's Chosen in draft after taking her.

Enslaver: the ultimate has a clause that makes it sound like it will be happening more than once... but it's an ultimate. It's a weak sounding ultimate too, especially for a 6-CMC planeswalker.

Destroyer: you don't need to target a player. This also sounds very weak for an ultimate. You could say "destroy up to 3 target artifacts, creatures or lands" but it's still weak (and destroying creatures isn't quite red).

Unraveler: This one, at least, has an ultimate that sounds good. Too bad it's a savage non-bo with Enslaver's ultimate (which will destroy any creatures you control that you untapped with Unraveler).
10/7 Jay: I did go into the plan for PWs in an article at some point.

I think new Jace, Garruk and Chandra should be reprinted.

Everyone's on board with reprinting Elspeth.

That leaves black which needs a new planeswalker and there are at least two proposals for such on the black tab.

Maybe we consider replacing one of those reprints with a brand new planeswalker. Blue and red have only had one mono-colored walker so far...
10/7 Pasteur: Is Koth an unnecessary switchout? It's nice and Mountain-y, and Of The Hammer should appeal to Timmy as well or better than The Firebrand. Also frees up Chandra to return to Ravnica in the fall. Just a thought?10/8 Jay: I forgot about Koth...
9/26 JT: Relocating the Mistwing Unicorn discussion here because it's relevant to the whole set, not just the color, the slot or the card.Mistwing Unicorn WW
Creature - Unicorn
Terrain - ~ has flying as long as you control an Island.
9/2X GM: Again with the CC costs on guys with Terrain. Please think carefully about what you are doing here. It's not going to work out well this way. Also compare to Fledgling Griffin. That creature only gained flying on landfall, making it hit with evasion early a lot (as you played your lands turns 1-4) and then became an exciting moment each turn as the opponent feared you getting in for a little more with it if you drew a land. Mistwing Unicorn doesn't have that excitement, and is pretty strong at strictly better than Armored Warhorse. If you want to do Mistwing Unicorn, I recommend it cost 2W.9/2X Chah: Here's what I was thinking with this card..

1) I'm exploring Terrain. So far, multicolor cards could only have a number of colored mana symbols equal to or less than its converted mana cost. For example, Wooly Thoctar gets to be huge for its cmc because it requires 3 colored symbols. But you can't make a 3cmc creature that has 4 color symbol requirements - unless you use terrain. That's why I think it's worth exploring. I'm trying to find spaces in which terrain is different from just multicolor with extra text.

2) I want this to be different things in different decks. It would be a super-efficient flyer in an aggro W/u deck. But in a controlling U/W deck, it would be air defense that you can cast on turn 4 while leaving mana for counterspells up. (Of course, that depends on how meaningful the toughness 3 is. I originally wanted to make this a 2/1 first strike for WW that gets flying with terrain.) I like how cards like Rotting Legion can be good in a very slow deck with lots of board control removal, or a very aggro deck that doesn't care about defense, but doesn't do its best in any random deck. I wanted this card to be like that.
9/2X Greg: Wooly Thoctar appeared in a set with a ton of fixing and multicolor as a core theme. Players had access to uncommon trilands, common obelisks, and common fetch lands, as well as some creatures that made mana of other colors. None of that has synergy with terrain (except the fetch lands).

Exploring Terrain and exploring high colored mana costs aren't the same thing to me. Terrain instructs a player to include a second color in their deck. That's great for new players who often gravitate toward mono color. Mono is simpler, and it's easier to identify with one color than two at the same time. A core set's a great place to encourage this new player to branch out. If you put difficult mana costs on these cards, it becomes entrapment for that new player. They can't build a solid manabase yet, and you're giving them a CC card that wants a second land type. The new player can't possibly cast this on turn 2 and get flying. They might not even want to cast it until it will have flying (that'll be more true for the +1/+2 terrain creatures).

Highly colored mana costs (CDE, etc) is a gold set thing. Or, if they're all the same (CCC etc), it's a mono-colored set thing (which... I don't really think would be fun, actually).

Also, Terrain is part way to Domain. Of the 30 cards with Domain on them, exactly 1 has two of the same mana symbols in it's casting cost. Domain (and by extension, Terrain) is not a mono-color thing. Putting them together creates tension, sure, but it's bad tension instead of good tension. It's ""did you build the perfect manabase"" or ""did you get the perfect plains, plains, island draw every time"" tension.

Trying to make a card that's different things to different decks is a great goal, but even if this card does do that, the mana cost combined with Terrain is painful for new players.
9/2X Chah: (Sorry about the length of this comment... but I think it will explain why we designed cards that don't look compatible with terrain at first.)

Greg, how many colors do you think players should play in this set? Should we aim for 2-color world or 3-color world?

We haven't reached consensus, but some participants like Duncan and I were worried that a 3-color world would be difficult for beginners. The decisions involving multi-color play are seriously difficult. For example, if I'm playing Sealed and I have 5 great Red cards and some chaff Red cards, I think about things like: "Do I make Red my 2nd color, even if I have to run some chaff for the sake of curve? Or do I make Red my 3rd color, using only the top 5 Red cards? If I do, can I support it off of 3 Mountains and 2 Terramorphic Expanses? Are the Red cards all mid to late-game cards, or do I need them early sometimes? If I play 5 Red cards, do I need to cut my splash Doom Blade because my Terramorphics will be busy fixing Red? Would it be different if I decide to run only 3-4 of my Red cards? What if the Terramorphics were Prophetic Prisms instead?"

It requires different judgement every time, and it can't be boiled down into a simple guideline that new players can understand. My highest DCI rating was during Alara block, where new players had a lower chance of randomly beating me because the mana base required skill to build.

I agree that the best thing for beginners is an environment where you could slap together 8 Swamps and 9 Islands and call it a mana base. With Terrain, maybe the optimal mana base for the majority of scenarios will be slightly different: 8-8-1, 1-8-8-1, or even 2-7-7-2. There's no consensus yet, but that's the kind of balance I personally want to aim for. I think it's better than a solidly 3+color world like in Shards of Alara or Rise of the Eldrazi.

Maybe some skilled players could get tricky and try to build a 3-color or 4-color deck. Some players might get an advantage by focusing heavily on one main color and playing the second color lightly.

But if a new player asks for advice, you should be able to tell him "Play only two colors, splash 1 or 2 off-color lands for Terrain, and you can't be far from wrong." You won't have to tell him, "The best strategy is actually to use 3 colors, but that's a bit hard for you so you should stick to 2 colors."

I think that Terrain naturally leads to splashing. Having low color commitment on cards will make 3-color strategies the strongest strategy in the environment, like Rise of the Eldrazi.

I think everything hinges on whether this is going to be a 2-color world or a 3-color world.

If you think of the Pegasus as a card in a 3-color world, then it does in fact cause color screw for players.

If you think of the Pegasus as a card in a 2-color world, then it isn't actually a color-screwy card. Even with only 7-8 Plains, you could cast it on turn 4. On turn 4, a 2/3 flyer is only slightly below the curve and still very valuable as a flyer.

If the Pegasus required only one colored mana, not only will it be easier to cast in a 3-color world, it will also draw players into 3-color play. For example, if you're in RG and you see this card, you might be tempted to branch out into W. It's good that these 2 effects on game play are internally consistent.

On the other hand, if it requires double colored mana, it works just fine in 2-color decks (as long as it's decent on turn 4), and it also serves as a force to make 2-color decks the correct default choice in the environment. I believe this is also internally consistent.

I know that amateur designers like myself tend to overestimate what a new player can understand or know about. Will the player really know that they should stick to 2 colors, and splash only 1-3 lands?

I would say, how do players know they should play 17 lands or 14-16 creatures in the first place? They heard from some other players or looked in the rule booklet, right? I often see Limited tournament organizers explaining the bare basics of a limited deck (17 lands, 14-16 creatures) as they make announcements to start opening packs. I often see new players getting help with deck construction during tournaments, sometimes even from people they don't know.

For players who play in isolated pockets, there could be a tip insert that explains a default mana base to use as a starting point before tweaking. There may still be pockets of players who have no access to better players and don't look at information either. But at least that group is playing on the same ground amongst themselves.

For new players who want to participate in drafts, I think 2-color Magic is the friendliest, because at least it's possible to give some simple guildelines about how to build the mana base. Sure, you would have to know that guideline from somewhere, just like you need to know to play 17 lands, but it's way better than 3-color play that requires high-level judgement, where you can't even have a guideline to know about.
9/2X Greg: A lot of your logic is good.

You're right in thinking a 2 color world is best for new players (actually, 1 color is where they should start, so you want a world where 1 color is fine and 2 is good).

The Terrain mechanic naturally creates a 3+ color world.

I don't think that means you can't do it in a core set. Because it's a very optional 3 color world. You can certainly balance 1 and 2 color decks against the 3 color decks.

The problem I have is when you try to push 2 color decks using the cards that are already pushing for 3 color decks. You are making this card more difficult to cast for the players who are trying to get your cool new mechanic to work. You're punishing the player that likes terrain. Even with a perfect mana base, that player will still have a rough time getting to cast this card on turn 2 and have an island for turn 3. It's impossible for them to get him with his cool terrain effect on turn 2. Because of this, players will think terrain is bad or weak, because they won't have a good experience with it.

New players, really new players, do not do any of that thinking you described. That's for middle-players. New players do mostly hear they should have 17 lands, yes. They get the numbers by guessing, or by asking friends to help them. Some might have little tricks, like counting all their colored symbols and using those ratios... but most of those tricks will not account for terrain. The new player will still try to use terrain, co course, and include some other lands in their deck, but they won't properly balance the terrain needs against the double-color needs.

New players are most likely to draft one or two colors, and to take terrain creatures in those colors. They may not realize that once they take a terrain creature, they might as well start taking cards of that second color. They don't see a UW creature here, it's a white card with only W mana needed to cast it. Yet they'll still read it, and know they should put at least 1 island in their deck. If they have several of this guy they'll put in many islands.

If you want to reward the 1 and 2 color drafters, make other cards to reward them.

Players are not going to want to splash 1 land for terrain. They want to get their terrain effects all the time, wouldn't you? Once I draft one terrain guy, I keep drafting more of them, and then, in my otherwise mono-white deck (all cards are white) I'm going to play a 10-7 mana base so that I can always have terrain active. I don't want a lot of WW cards in that deck, it won't work well.

Now, as for what's strongest in the environment, that has a lot less to do with low color commitments on cards. It has much more to do with whatever you (or development) makes strong. It's more deck styles that are strong, not color combinations. Since you brought up Rise... BRG was strong, yes, but so were UW and UB (but not really WUB). WG could be very strong, but few real-world players drafted around Aura Gnarlid. BRG was good because the cards worked well together (lots of spawn, etc). They were allowed to come together because they had low color commitments, but that's not what made them a strong combination.
9/26 JT: Great discussion.

I agree that Mistwing Unicorn—featuring terrain with a WW mana cost—is sending a very confusing message to players. Just changing it to 1WW would make it possible to play at full effect on curve, but it's still much harder to play than it would be at 2W—which is exactly the thing I think Chah is trying to make sure we don't do with the set as a whole. The experiment to make a card with effectively more colored mana symbols than its CMC was neat, but not appropriate for a common or a core set.

The inclusion of terrain in the set inherently pushes players toward running more colors than they would normally. From an average of 1.8 colors to an average of 2.3, perhaps. The actual numbers aren't as important as the idea that we shouldn't force players to run more colors in other aspects of the set and we need to keep the mono-colored deck (however infrequent an accomplishment that is in any draft format) at least viable. At the same time, we can't to punish players for trying to run more colors. In order of difficulty to pull off profitably, I envision:
WU, WB, Wu, WuB, gWu, Wb, W, Wub, gWUb, WUB, gWuBr, gWUBr

We should have CC cards to reward players for concentrating on one color (W, Wu, Wb, gWu) but not on terrain cards because those are meant to reward players for playing two colors. We shouldn't have cards that specifically reward playing three colors with the exception of a build-around-me rare or three. While cards like dual lands and Terramorphic Expanse do enable three-color play, they don't visibly reward it or suggest it. That is, a new player won't look at the WU dual land and think, "great, now I can run wGBu!"
9/26 Duncan We really did discuss the awkwardness of having CC guys with terrain at common. I thought the consensus was that we'd go for single C guys at common and keep the CC guys at Uncommon. That was a design constraint when we were designing these cards. Exactly to address these issues. That said, after testing this set more, I think opening up the color constraints is fine. Innistrad is actually a great model for how to cost commons so that it encourages 10 color pairs without having to worry about really wacky mana bases. With dual lands at Uncommon, it becomes even easier to splash things and whatnot. This means 1-3 CC commons per color, usually reserved for cards that highly encourage that color. Having some decks that splash lands just to turn on terrain guys is fine, but probably wants to be discouraged.9/27 Chah: Do we want this set to be the set where beginners win with Tendrils of Corruption and Fiery Hellhounds while good players win with multicolor Terrain decks? It's not horrible, but it would feel weird if the theme of a core set is not friendly for beginners, even if they have other options.

Also, what if a beginner really likes Terrain? Or if s/he sees other players winning with Terrain or hear them talking about how Terrain is the way to go. Will s/he have to understand how to balance the ratios of colors in 3-color decks in order to compete with players who do?

I don't agree with the comments in Excel - Terrain can be applied in many ways. It doesn't have to represent 3-color play. While splashing lands of other colors in most sets means you might as well play spells in that color, it doesn't have to be that way.

I think it's worth looking for ways in which the type of play that beginners are able to understand is also the style that is strategically correct. (2 main colors, 1-3 splash lands, rather than a 7-6-4-ish build with different mana ratios every time)

If the environment is slow (I hope it will be after M12 was so fast), spells are easy to splash, and the power level of Terrain cards are pushed (I hope they are), 3 colors decks will naturally be strong.

Anyways I'm just saying Terrain isn't one thing. Other than the topic of "how many colors do we want players to play," we should also think about whether we want there to be a "turn on moment" or if it just feels bad when the creature doesn't have the bonus right away. We should also think about whether messing with the opponent's land or taunting the opponent to kill a Viridian Emmisary is fun. (How did these aspects feel in playtest?)

It would be hard to go into the "Ok, let's flesh out the rest of the set" stage without testing variations of Terrain play first.
9/27 Jay: I agree with a ton of what you're saying Chah, but one thing I'm hearing is "let's explore all the things terrain can do." I would love that sentiment if this were an expert expansion because we'd want to do all the cool things we could with terrain. In the core set, we want to do all the simplest, most straight-forward things and nothing more. If someone finds another way to use terrain that still qualifies as dirt simple, let's consider it, but I honestly think we've already found that baseline.

I definitely agree that we don't need to pigeon-hole a player running terrain cards as being two-color, three-color, one-splash-one, one-splash-two or whatever. We want all of those to be options. Keeping terrain cards easy to cast is what facilitates that. Keeping a *few* other cards color-intensive incentivizes players to limit their colors without restricting them from branching out.

I think some of the other questions can be left up to the individual player to answer. If you play UB evenly, you don't need to worry about your lair cards being off, but if you play BrG, turning lair on will be a very real and uncertain goal in most games. That's a good thing.

How much land destruction, fetching and similar effects to included is something we need to playtest, but I'm betting heavily that we will want at least some because it increases interactivity.
10/5 GM: I think Chah is asking to explore other options, but then choose one, not explore them all in the final version of the set. I agree a lot with JT's comments in column H.10/7 JT: Yup. I had misunderstood Chah's intent, but have since gotten it, hence the recent testing of alternatives.
9/23 JT: Is everyone on board with lair after playtesting?9/26 JT: I'm going to announce we're moving forward with Lair. Speak now or forever hold your peace (or until we have something new to say).9/27 Jay: Let's discuss the proposal to change the way lair works. Greg expressed dissatisfaction with it and offered up Turtle Banisher as an alternative (on the blue page). I'm not understanding the problem he sees with the current implementation nor the reasoning behind Banisher. The current setup offers a color's ally an effect it wouldn't normally get at all, at that size or at that price and that's consistent with Kird Ape and the cycle from Worldwake. Greg's setup offers a color's ally an effect it would normally get instead. I guess to keep things more color pie strict or mono-colored-feeling? Another possibility we explored early on is to grant an ability that either color could get, but that's a lot harder to pull off in a very simple manner. What have I missed? (I'm sure there's plenty, I'm really asking.)9/27 NG: To me the proposal is very similar to some of the gold cards in Shards of Alara. Like Rhox War Monk could easily be a mono-White card, but the extra colors let it be less expensive overall. I think Greg's proposal is to get good mono colored cards that cost less mana than normal because they have an extra condition attached.6/27 Jay: But shouldn't that condition make some kind of sense with the effect? I guess adding G and U to Rhox War Monk doesn't make much flavor sense, but I'm not sure that's an argument in favor of Rhox War Monk.

I suppose you could argue adding G and U to Rhox War Monk made it essentially Bant and the card is a good representation of Bant. If we apply the same argument to Turtle Banisher, Blue can be a better Blue with some emotional support from its ally, Black?
9/27 Nich: I don't think the flavor needs to make much sense beyond this is the kind of spell I'd play in a Blue Black deck. And also it should feel resonant. These types of cards also remind me of Dark Temper and friends from Conflux.
I am not opposed to this version of Lairs, but it is a very different beast than what we initially thought of for Lairs.
9/28 Jay: We should think about those cards from Conflux.
They're all effects that you couldn't get without the other color and they all use only a single colored mana symbol to cast, but they do include some ETB effects.
Power-level-wise, lair should be slightly weaker since it's easier to control a land of the right 'color' than a permanent of the right color.
10/5 GM: I was worried about tracking them, but you guys have tested it and found that's not a problem. (I suggested the turtle because it's a virtual vanilla, so there's no need to check your opponent's lands before you block.) So long as we've got confidence that a dozen commons that require you to be aware of your opponents lands will play smoothly, I can retract my objection.

As for the color aspect, perhaps I should have suggested an Ogre Savant style card instead.
9/21 GM: Realized you were using bold to indicate new comments, so people could find them, right? Who decides when bold should go away?9/22 Wobbles: When the author believes the comment has been read/responded to. Or when the intended recipient reads the comment.9/23 JT: Right. Where the default recipient is the current lead for that page/thread.
9/21 Greg: Created a general comments sheet for tracking discussion of things not confined to single cards. In some ways the Goblin Artisans blog is already doing this, but I think it might help more to have it in the same place as the cards. You're free to abandon this if you don't like it.9/22 Wobbles: Neat! This is also a good space to make note when comments are made in the other tabs.9/22 Jules: Excellent Idea9/23 JT: I fully approve, except columns-by-author will cause some crazy formatting. Why don't we use a row for each thread, left-to-right in order, signed by commentor?9/26 GM: OK.
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