Thursday, June 30, 2016

I Question This Design

Sorry for the continuing deviation from Rize of the Fenix but:

Emrakul's Influence.

When I talk about "top-down" design being a problem (top-down design is where the world and story provide the impetus for the mechanics, not the other way around), cards like Emrakul's Influence are what I want to highlight.

What is the point of having this card provide card draw only for Eldrazi spells?

Flavor. It's all because of flavor and making you "feel" like the Eldrazi are powerful. We aren't going to find a run on 7+ CMC Eldrazi creature spells that suddenly make this playable--because 7+ CMC Eldrazi creature spells are already doing what you want them to do: change the landscape of the game.

But you know what? This card is still damn near unplayable. It's not going in any constructed deck, because a) they have better things to do with their time and b) it's too narrow. It's not going in any sealed deck for the exact same reasons. Magic isn't like Star Realms, where one turn where you get to draw two extra cards can be backbreaking, so it's worth taking Embassy Yacht-a card that's good on its own. (Don't get me wrong, two extra cards is still good. It's just usually not 'turn the corner to game over' good).

So instead, this card is all about "reinforcing the world" that you're in. As opposed to using the art, flavor text and name to do that.

Why not provide card draw for any creature spell with converted mana cost over 7? You'd still have the Eldrazi influence-reflected in the high casting cost of their creatures, the name, the art and the flavor text-but you'd also have a spell that people who just like to cast big monsters can use! You have a card that could find a nice home in a Commander deck, where people who like to cast big monsters often find themselves running out of resources. Hell, I like casting big monsters sometimes and run out of resources...

Does Emrakul's Influence suddenly become a must-include if this change is made? No. Does it even become a good card? No. But it becomes one that could play a role in some fun decks and at least has a place in Commander, or even my "bad Cube".

Instead we have this incredibly narrow card that is going to do nothing but collect dust in binders, because of top-down design. 

That bums me out.

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