What Would Mr Triceratopping Do? Magic 2015, Part 2

So, following on from yesterday, what other changes would I personally like to see in Magic 2015, if approaching by Wizards of the Coasts R&D team?

And yes, there will be more home-made cards. So many.

New Planeswalkers

I can’t be the only one getting fed up of Jace, Chandra and Garruk showing up in the Core Sets. While it’s sometimes cool to see new versions of the classic ‘walkers, do we really need to keep rolling out these guys? I don’t think it would hurt to give some of the other ‘walkers a chance in the spotlight, rather than have Jace v4.0, or Chandra Flamefire McFireflame.

So, who’d we have? Well, I’ve always been a big fan of Elspeth, Knight-Errant. I always wondered why Gideon was chosen instead of her for M12; Gideon has a fairly weird set of abilities and lacks a big, awesome ultimate ability. I guess Elspeth wouldn’t show up in M15, as she’s the star of Theros, but this is all hypothetical anyway, and at the end of the day, turning into a 6/6 creature just isn’t an impressive as making everything indestructible forever. Sorry Gideon, Elly’s got your spot.

What about the other colours though? I think we could see Koth of the Hammer show up for red. The Hammerman promotes a very different playstyle for a red deck than Chandra does; a deck with Chandra wants lots of cheap burn spells, while a deck with Koth wants to play it slow, lots of Mountains and big red fatties. Plus I’d love to see something along these lines…

earthbreaker

As for blue, black and green? How about brand new ‘walkers? For green, let’s have a Nissa that doesn’t suck! For black, how about a colour-shifted Tibalt? His abilities and background have always seemed more black to me than red, and I reckon Tibbles could bemade into a cheap, awesome walker for a suicide black deck. Something like…

"Am I... am I *playable* now...?"
“Am I… am I *playable* now…?”

As for blue, the Core set seems the perfect place for the first showing of a certain fan-favourite fishlady…

"No Tibalt, you still kinda suck."
“No Tibalt, you still kinda suck.”

Apart from new ‘walkers, the biggest change I’d propose would be to have the planeswalkers as the foil cards for the set’s theme decks. How good would that be? Instead of a dollar-bin rare, you get a planeswalker! Tell me that wouldn’t get packs flying off shelves; new players would get their hands on a planeswalker, and experienced players who normally wouldn’t buy theme decks would snatch them up for a guaranteed foil mythic. The easy availability would also (hopefully) help to curb the crazy secondary market prices, so that it’s not only the rich boys and girls who have some planeswalkers in their deck. Personally, I wait for Duel Decks to snatch up ‘walkers, but not everyone is as patient as I am…

On a sidenote regarding Duel Decks; I know this is kind of old news, but the next ‘walker duo is Jace vs. Vraska? Seriously? I will grump and moan until we get Tamiyo vs. Sarkhan…

Regenerate, regenerated

If you had to name some mechanics that’s the hardest for new players to fully understand, regeneration is probably one of them. It’s a very weirdly-ruled mechanic that sort-of but sort-of-doesn’t convey recovering from injuries. I think my biggest quibble is the fact that you have to pay the regeneration cost before damage is assigned, which is strange, but necessary given how the rules of the game work. There’s also lots of other ways regeneration is misinterpreted; does the creature actually count as dying? Do Equipment and Auras come off it if it regenerates? Can I pay the regeneration cost multiple times? If I do, is it cumulative, and does it last until the next turn? Is it tapped now, or if it would be destroyed? Can I regenerate if it’s sacrificed? I know stuff like this is why reminder text exists, but it’s still a strange mechanic for a new player to get their head round. 

You know what I like as an alternative take on regeneration? This little guy from, surprisingly, M14…

dead

 

To me, that’s a far more intuitive way for regeneration to work; rather than throwing up a pre-emptive “regeneration shield”, you have a nice, simple triggered ability. This way has advantages and disadvantages over traditional regeneration; you’ll lose Auras and beneficial counters attached to him, and if you stole him from an opponent he’d go back to them (but why would you pay for that to happen?), but you can bring him back from sacrifice and -X/-X effects, and he triggers “when this dies” effects like morbid.

So what’s all this leading up to? Well, a new regeneration keyword called revive, which would essentially look like Tenacious Dead’s version…

bludgeon troll

Cudgel Troll’s brother, his revive cost is slightly more expensive than his brother’s regeneration, as I think the advantages of revive (coming back from sacrifice, -X/-X effects, death triggers) outweigh the disadvantages.

More keywords

While we’re on the subject of keywords, there’s a few I feel that are overdue. “Mill” is always a suggestion that shows up on community forums, so that all those library depletion spells can be keyworded. However, there’s so many different varieties of “mill” – some take off a specific amount like Tome Scour, while the Dimir cards of Gatecrash milled a player until they revealed a land card.

And then there's ones like Mind Funeral that mill your opponent and DESTROY FRIENDSHIPS.
And then there’s ones like Mind Funeral that DESTROY FRIENDSHIPS.

There’s two common things in the game that I’d like to see keyworded, if for any reason than to save ink when printing cards! They’re both commonly associated with blue, and they are banish and stun. “Banish” is to return the target to its owner’s hand; it’s there to fit in with the other evocative language in the game like “exile”, “battlefield”, “graveyard”, and so forth. Observe!

expel

The other one, “stun”, is shorthand for “tap this permanent, and it doesn’t untap during its controller’s next untap step.”  It’s an ability that’s showing up more and more in the game, usually to represent being frozen or immobilised. I mentioned before about Triton Tactics having so many lines of text some people would glaze over and disregard it, so I don’t know about you, but I think a four-word letter  is a good substitute for 12 words. Observe!

angel chain

Man, this is going on longer than I expected! I think we’ll have to call it a day there, and finish up in part 3 about tribes and cycles.

– Gareth

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