Tuesday, November 28, 2017

As It Could Be

This article at ChannelFireball posits an interesting question about how to reinvent the color pie. The companion piece about how Magic has never been balanced, is also worth a read.

What I think is missed in the reinvention of the color pie-the solution to which is 'just don't let the colors do all the things well'-is that WotC is already implementing said notions in small ways. Most notably and recently, moving the Fight mechanic to Green and making it a way for Green to have creature removal.

However, to pull from an even more recent example, let's talk about Adanto Vanguard and Glorifier of Dusk.

You have to go back to Mercadian Masques in order to find another mono-white card that will let you do something for a life payment (Righteous Aura). The earliest card I could find with this kind of ability: Order of the Sacred Torch.

However, WotC found a place for White to justifiably break the color pie for story reasons, and they took it. It's likely only for a single set, (until they can find a way to justify it again) but they found a way to take a mechanic typically reserved for Black (life payment for an effect) and crossed it over. Sure, it doesn't do a whole lot but it does shake up how people think of the color.

So I think that WotC is at least a little ahead of the curve in their attempts to create dynamic playing environments. Sure, Mark Rosewater might complain a bit about the color pie being broken-and he should. The color pie being 'boring' means that the color pie is the standard.

That standard is critical to Magic: if you do not have a baseline to deviate from and return to, then what you have is simply chaos. Magic is too complex a game to endure or worse, generate, chaos. Someone has to vanguard that standard and it would seem that part of Mark's job is to do just that.

But I've come around to the notion that offering colors different options as appropriate-especially with story justifications-help keep the game dynamic.

I still don't like white vampires. But I like the mechanic there.

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